“The State does not decorate itself,” French President Charles de Gaulle famously said.
But the President is not only the head of State.
He is also the Chief Executive and head of the Cabinet, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
These are decidedly heavy-weight multi-role functions for which he is expected to take on a full-time, hands-on basis.
But multi-tasking can be quite a challenge, a daunting job for some.
For President Duterte, however, it is just all in a day’s work, building the nation meticulously one brick at a time.
And this patriotic effort can be richly rewarding.
But Malacañang on Wednesday stressed that an honorary degree from the University of the Philippines is not something that President Duterte would run after but said the President might accept the offer as a sign of goodwill.
"It would be quite an honor to receive that (honorary degree), but it’s not something that he (Duterte) is, you know, angling for. Of course, a sign of mutual respect would be in place here," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said during a Palace briefing.
"Although he doesn’t run after awards, you know, it would be a sign of goodwill towards the highest, well, one of the most premiere, one of the three premiere institutions," Abella said.
The UP Board of Regents the university’s highest policy making body, is reportedly keen on conferring Duterte the honorary doctor of laws degree as part of tradition.
UP offers the honorary doctors degree to Philippine presidents usually on their first year in office.
However, some sectors are opposing the move due to alleged human rights violations in the campaign against drugs.
Notwithstanding, Abella said that the President would be inclined to accept the conferment if it is offered.
"Well, if it’s offered, I suppose he would. Why not? It’s not something that he runs after," he said.
Abella added though that Malacañang has yet to receive an official communication from UP.
Meanwhile, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that protests against the conferment of a UP honorary degree to the President are unfounded.
“The allegations on human rights violations remain just that, allegations. The ground for the opposition therefore is baseless as it is misplaced,” Panelo said.