HOWIE SEE IT: Emperor Duterte’s New Clothes

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By Atty. Howie Calleja

Do you still remember Danish Author Hans Christian Andersen and his story “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which was first published by C. A. Reitzel, on 7 April 1837, as the third and final installment of Andersen’s Fairy Tales Told for Children? Well, to refresh your memory this story narrates about a narcissistic emperor who gets “exposed” (naked) before his subjects.

How? Two swindlers posing as weavers, offer to supply an Emperor with magnificent clothes that are invisible to those who are dimwitted or ineffectual. The emperor hires them, and they set up looms and go to work. A succession of officials, and then the emperor himself, visit them to check their progress. Each sees that the looms are empty but pretends otherwise to avoid being thought a fool. Finally, the weavers report that the emperor’s suit is finished. They mime-dressing him and he sets off in a procession before the whole city. The townsfolk anxiously go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear inept or stupid, until a child blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all. The people then realize that everyone has been fooled. Although startled, the emperor continues the procession, walking more proudly than ever.

Sounds Familiar? Yes, like in this story we can see so much parallelism with Mr. Duterte and his minions. First, the Emperor’s vanity allows the two con men to manipulate him. Playing on their personal friendship with the President, how many were appointed into public office? How many favors were given in the name of political accommodation? And How many times have they been defended just to protect his ego? Your answers are as good as mine.

Then we see how the Emperor’s pride prevents him from admitting that he cannot see the clothes. Such an admission would make him seem stupid, if the weavers are to be believed. He ends up deceiving himself because his pride matters more to him than the truth of his own eyes. Everyone keeps on saying that he is an experienced prosecutor and lawyer, so I too believe that he could be as such. So why all these incoherent and fallacious statements? Simple, PRIDE. He can never admit to be wrong because it exposes his moral weakness. The more pride you have, the more difficult it is to admit your fallibility, and the more likely you are to allow that fallibility to influence your judgment in a bad way.

Let’s not forget that the Emperor’s self-importance is boosted by having a whole bunch of obsequious “yes men” around him. None of these “yes men” is prepared to question his judgment and none of them is prepared to say or do anything which might damage their standing in their ruler’s eyes. Need I say more? Just analyze Sec. Roque’s statements and you’ll know what I am saying. This is notwithstanding the fact that though many of his current cabinet members are all well respected in their own respective fields none of them would even dare to correct all the President’s obvious errors of judgment and pronouncements.

Yes the EMPEROR, our President is wearing his new clothes. But we should not worry. In the end, the child will speak out, when no one else dares to be exposed to ridicule and scorn. But eventually, the truth wins when the crowd recognizes the lie which they’ve been a party to. And at this point of the “story” his own corruption will expose his own nakedness — Mr. Duterte can never hide the truth. We are now witnessing the unfolding of the DOH-DBM 47 billion face mask and face shield scandal, which equally reminds us of the 50 million peso immigration aspersion, the 60million DOT Tulfo-Teo disgrace and many more. Eventually, the truth will be exposed and justice will likewise prevail for all EJK victims.

In all his nakedness (revealing his true self), we will eventually see his “true colors” — weaknesses, insecurities and ineptitudes. Free thinking and freedom from all the disinformation created by an army of social media trolls will eventually allow the truth to emerge, even if no one else was initially prepared to admit it — And Let the 2022 Elections be the day we do so