By Deanna Tamayan

When Nixon’s Watergate scandal exploded on the world scene, it seemed that he was the odd one out. When Marcos declared Martial Law, he was the odd one. But then, in those days, it was easy to see what was right and what was wrong, and more importantly who was to blame! Nowadays, the lines between right and wrong have been completely blurred and nobody knows what the hell is going on!

Yes, we definitely live in extraordinary times when the most unlikely have been elevated to a respectable status and position. The technology boom has made it easier for everybody and anybody to have an opinion albeit if they were misinformed, as long as they were on Facebook! Then there’s the proliferation of fake news. Don’t read the news and you’re uninformed; read the news and you’re misinformed! Role models are scarce and leaders have become endangered species.

Last year saw Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, two of the most unlikely characters, installed into the highest position of the land. Definitely, the most far-fetched Presidents in history – at least in my lifetime! Although their personalities are miles apart, a closer look, will reveal that both share distinct similarities.

For starters, both do not have the looks nor the charisma, no matter how much they try. Both look unkempt and scruffy and no amount of designer makeovers will ever do. Trump with his red tie and Duterte with his chequered shirts. And that’s not even getting into the misuse of our beloved “Barong”.

Both Duterte and Trump have the same attitude and temperament – It’s I, me, mine! Both would like to think that they dazzle in their own perceived brilliance and think they are absolutely magnificent and magnanimous in their words and actions, without an iota of a doubt that they could be wrong. Muhammad Ali may be the greatest, but he’d be put to shame in their presence. Both have the propensity to twist and exaggerate things, leaving their spinning PR machines in a quagmire to explain, rebuff and retract whatever they said previously. In the case of Trump, he goes on the rampage on twitter which at least Duterte has not taken up yet.

Both think they are witty when nothing could be farther from the truth. They think insults are funny and wonder why you’re not laughing! More importantly, both men are “pikon” (spoilsports) to the max! They both have uncontained giant egos and suffer from delusions of grandeur. They’ll rebuke at the slightest provocation which then turns into incoherent rage. Both are masters at offending and double standards. Trump may choose his words a little more carefully but Duterte is the master of profanity and spatters his curses to anyone on his trail. Both also have utter disrespect for women and any other species on earth that doesn’t come close to their circle of pals.

For their inaugurations, Trump played it up – the more the merrier, even when there were none. Lucky, there was an inauguration committee or it would have been dragged to be unbearably gaudy. Duterte on the other hand, for his inauguration, ignored tradition to play it down if only to play “poor little me” and give the semblance of how humble he was.

Maybe he was saving up for his forthcoming road trips – for his weekly Manila-Davao-0Manila trips; or hopping from one country to another under the guise of good relations or to find loans. But one can’t help wonder, if he really was tightening the nation’s purse springs, why then the need to bring the string of “alipores” who really had nothing to do with the diplomatic mission?

Both buckled down to business immediately after taking the oath, eager to put to action their campaign promises. Trump is on a sweeping spree while Duterte was on a killing spree which after seven months has seen the death toll to almost 7,000.

Master manipulators, they are the kings of double standards! They want us to think how wonderful they are in whatever it is they do. While Trump may have proven business acumen than Duterte, it is also on record how many bankruptcies he’s had. Duterte also wants us to think that he is the Davao king, when it really isn’t crime free.

And lastly but surely, both hate the media with a passion! Anything printed that does not praise them to the hilt and they’re off on the vindictive train. “Alternative facts” are definitely much preferred and for as long as they do not bruise their delicate narcissistic egos.

But there is a difference. Trump’s constituents will rise, take a stand and question. Duterte’s followers will ignore and pull out a bigger straw – “sip-sip pa more”!

For now, take heed to words of caution. Careful, Beware!

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