Duterte’s legacy of untruthfulness

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    A LITTLE bit strange. President Duterte is only a little over halfway in his six-year presidency but his office last Friday launched the “Duterte Legacy” campaign to showcase, in the words of Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, “the honest summaries of successes and sacrifices of public servants in order to achieve our national goal of development.”

    Funny that they have to use a qualifier, “honest,” to describe their list which has a digital media version containing numbers like 4.5% unemployment rate lowest since 2006, 16,706 drug-cleared barangays, 2, 799 children involved in illegal drug activities rescued, and many others designed to influence the public to be impressed with Duterte’s performance as president.

    We will let fact checkers verify the numbers.

    When we speak of legacy, what comes to mind is not only material things, jewelry or property that are being bequeathed by well-to-do parents or ancestors but more lasting attributes like reputation.

    We often hear persons who have been in difficult situation and chose the option that meant losing a job, explaining that “I have nothing to give my children but a good name.”

    What we have in mind when we talk of legacy is upholding values for future generation.

    And that’s what makes the Duterte presidency deplorable.

    Duterte has no respect for truth. He spews out lies frequently to the point that we suspect he believes them. Goebbels’ doctrine of “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” did not only apply to his target audience but also to himself.

    Take, for example, the numbers he gives out on the number of drug addicts in the country to justify his brutal drug war that has claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people. The numbers started with three million, then it became four million. Later it became eight million.

    Records of the Dangerous Drugs Board say there are 1.8 million drug addicts in the country. Its chair was fired for not supporting Duterte’s numbers.

    The lack of truthfulness about Duterte’s drug war makes one wonder why government officials who failed stop the smuggling of huge supplies of shabu were never punished. Why allegations of alleged involvement in illegal drugs of persons close to the President like his son, Rep. Paolo Duterte, and his former presidential adviser Michael Yang, were never investigated.

    Duterte’s untruthfulness is also manifested in the issue of his bank accounts exposed by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

    After denying the existence of the bank account, he concocted more lies about person he suspected of leaking the bank account documents. He even came out with fake overseas bank accounts of Trillanes. He fired former Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Melchor Carandang who was pursuing the investigation of his unexplained wealth.

    The public also is not given the truth about the President’s health.

    Duterte’s legacy is a murky as the lies that he feeds the Filipino people.