The surreal presidencies of Duterte and Trump Featured

The surreal presidencies of Duterte and Trump Photo: Philippine Headline News Online

Picture this: the president of a country – one who DID NOT win a majority of the votes cast for president – sits at the head of a table, surrounded by the men and women he has appointed to his Cabinet despite some of them having questionable qualifications. Instead of a formal meeting to discuss the many problems besetting his nation, the president wants his Cabinet secretaries to say something, not necessarily related to matters of state.
The all end up singing praises to the man at the head of the table, the alpha male, the president and chief executive.
Question: Is this a scene from the Philippines or the US?
Answer: It’s both.
With every passing day, week, and month, it seems that the presidencies of Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte are following the same unconventional path. This could be for better or worse. Sad to say, in the case of both the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines, their presidents are sailing through dangerous, uncharted territory with what appears to be the absence of a road map.
Both leaders do not like media, in general, and this has resulted in the persons they appointed to deal with journalists to spread what is now known as fake news, or as Kellyanne Conway calls it, “alternative facts.”
Messers. Trump and Duterte do not understand that as chief executive of their respective countries, they are only in charge of the executive department, not the legislative and not the judiciary.
In both cases, there is no problem with their lawmakers, as their parties are in full control of Congress. Because they control two out of the three pillars of any democratic state, they believe that they should get what they want, and to hell with the law.
Mr. Trump’s numerous faux pas can be blamed on his total lack of experience in government service. Not so with Mr. Duterte, who has been city mayor for the longest time. Being city mayor, however, is different from being president, just as being CEO of a conglomerate of varied businesses is different from being chief executive of the most powerful country in the world.
Now, there is growing talk of possible impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, while for Mr. Duterte, impeachment raps were already filed before Congress, but these went nowhere as expected.
They may breathe easy knowing that the majority of their party mates are solidly behind them. But they should also realize that the winds of change can switch directions in the blink of an eye. Today’s allies can be tomorrow’s mortal enemies who will stop at nothing until the former friend falls hard.
Being very senior citizens, Donald and Digong are figurative old dogs unable to learn new tricks. But if they are to survive until the end of their terms, they have to understand that they were elected not to be kings but to be public servants. Their massive egos should be stored in some safe place and their administrative abilities must be brought to the fore. Their people are counting on them.

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