Political Psychology of a Warrior

by Fr. Delfo Canceran, OP

If you listened attentively to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) speech of the President, you can glimpse at his state of mind being revealed in his style.

First part: Attack the enemy. After greeting the audience, he immediately artacked his critics, singling out Senator Franklin Drilon with regard to his comments on his family members labeling them as oligarchs.

Second part: Defend policies. He then went to enumerate his accomplishments, saying that hid anti-drug campaign and now anti-terrorism act are meant to defend human rights too.

Third part. Direct troops. He advanced his plans by directing the executive branch to implement his programs in different areas.

Ad Lib: Defend allies. He again repeated his stand on the contested territory in the West Philippine Sea, that the Philippines cannot go to war against China. He considered it as an exercise of futility to confront China due to our incapacity.

Fourth part: Back to attack. He again went back to Senator Drilon and attacked him, accusing him as part of the real oligarchs since he protected the interests of such as the Ayalas and Pangilinan.

What can you get from these parts of his speech? You can see that the speech is dominated by attacks at the beginning and ending of his speech. This preponderance to attacks speaks clearly of a mentality of an avenging warrior against the enemy.

Who is the enemy? Duterte is fond of saying “my country or my people.” These phrases seem to be inclusive since it encompasses the collective country and people. But that inclusivity is only in the surface level. If you dig deeper into that inclusivity, you will discover that it is in fact exclusivity. The phrase only includes his followers and believers and excludes his critics and oppositions.

Is he really for country and the people? Again, seemingly, the rhetoric is filled with patriotism. However, if you check it against the facts, you will again discover that it is not a true patriotism. The fact that he accepted his inutility against powerful China speaks of his alliance and subservience to China. Our sovereignty is compromised by his admitted inutility. If he really prioritizes our national interest, then he should defend our sovereignty. War against China is not the only option left for us.

The avenging warrior lashed against his perceived enemies and protected his chosen friends. His friends include his family members, his followers and China while his enemies include his critics, the oppositions and the old oligarchs. This division into friends and enemies reveals a government of nepotism and exclusivism.

A good government listens to the people, both friends and foes. Listening to friends and foes can provide us with a balanced picture and informed decision on any issue. Hence, the President should listen to them and incorporate these criticisms to his plans.

Democracy is the government of the people, not just his friends. The government is only the people’s representative and not its dictator. As representative, the government should feel the pulse of the people. The President should listen to surveys and include them into his programs. The people want the government to attend to their basic needs and not to its self serving interests. #