Duterte’s legacy of lies reflects scorn for the Filipino people

From VERA Files video, “Buhay ka pa ba? Portrait of a President as a source of disinformation”

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.”

Usually, you summarize your accomplishments at the end of your term.

Funny that they have to use the 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 more numbers designed to influence the public to be impressed with Duterte’s performance as president.

We will let fact checkers verify the numbers but at first glance, we immediately spotted a false claim. It claims of “64 airports”as a Duterte legacy. Last year, VERA Files did a fact check of pro-Duterte broadcaster Erwin Tulfo’s claim of airports built or being built by the Duterte administration. According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), under the government’s Build, Build,Build program, there are now “64 completed and 133 ongoing airport projects, not new airports.”

The DOTr further explained thatP9 trillion Build, Build, Build infrastructure program are various projects from “complex road networks, long-span bridges, flood control and urban water systems, (to) public transport, port, airport, and railway investments,” including those started during previous administrations, some as far as back as the Ramos presidency.

When we speak of legacy, what comes to mind are not material things, jewelry or property but more lasting attributes like reputation.

We often hear principled 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 presidential legacy is upholding values for future generation. And that’s what makes the Duterte presidency deplorable.

In the 1,296 days of the Duterte presidency, he has shown his aversion to truth. He does not care about accuracy when he blurts out numbers to support his claim.

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” does not only apply to his target audience but also to himself.

Duterte’s disrespect for the truth is actually a disrespect for his audience- the Filipino people. He thinks so low of the Filipino people, presuming that we are stupid and will swallow hook, line, and sinker anything that he says.

One day he says there are three million drug addicts in the country. The next day, he revises it to four million. Later on, he bloats the number to eight million to justify his brutal war against illegal drugs that has killed more than 20,000 people. Woe to any official who comes out with data that contradicts his numbers.

Remember the time he showed on TV the manufactured documents of alleged overseas bank accounts of former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV? He even admitted with relish when his allegations were denied by the banks, that, yes, he “invented” the information.

Only a scornful person would to that to the people who has put him in power.

Taking their cue from their master, Duterte’s minions are propagating more lies. That’s Duterte’s legacy.