‘Tamang hinala’ can be so wrong

November 07, 2019

Were wrong assumptions behind the expletive tweeted by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to a reporter recently? And were wrong assumptions also used by those weighing in on whether or not Vice President Leni Robredo is right to accept the post of drug czar?

It’s common for Filipinos to use the phrase “tamang (correct or appropriate) hinala (suspicion)” when referring to a sneaking suspicion that’s quite bothersome, and the phrase is often uttered in a sarcastic manner, especially when implying the suspicion is untrue.

Locsin seemed to assume that Inquirer reporter Jhesset Enano’s live tweet on Nov. 4 was full of malice and was an affront to President Duterte whose absence at the last event of the 35th Asean Summit in Thailand was highlighted.

“Uh, did you get the putangina I sent you? That’s the last event, purely ceremonial and short. Jokowi had left, Mahathir too,” Locsin tweeted in defense of the president.

Stressing it “takes umbrage at the profane and insulting tweet” of Locsin, the Inquirer said “it was unbecoming of a diplomat and public official, and totally undeserved by Enano, who was doing her job reporting on President Duterte at the Asean summit with the professionalism, focus and comprehensiveness that our readers deserve.”

Locsin also seemed to assume the reporter he targeted with his foul language was male. “Had I known she was a lady I’d have let it pass,” he said later, after a barrage of expletives were also dished out against him by netizens disgusted by his behavior.

While his acerbic style of messaging might be amusing to some, many really think Locsin is unfit for a job necessitating a temperament and the degree of adroitness, tact, discretion, circumspection, and other essential aspects to become an effective and highly-respected diplomat capable of churning out diplomatic language.

Those who believe he’s doing a great disservice to the Filipino people he represents as our nation’s top diplomat have given up on him. For them, an evil mind is manifested in habitual foul language, as the Holy Bible says: “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts … (Matthew 15:18-19).”

And there’s this idea attributed to Buddha: The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love born out of respect for all beings.

Of course, as the 19th century Russian writer and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” So understanding that Locsin might be simply ill-bred, and should not be faulted if he can’t resist using expletives because he’s an alter ego of a president who’s also foul-mouthed, makes it easier to see what fuels his arrogance.

It’s that kind of arrogance that sometimes clouds Locsin’s thoughts, causing his Twitter-itchy fingers to type out asinine statements as when he called Robredo “boba” and asked people to “give her a brain” over the controversy on diplomatic passports.

And speaking of Robredo, many had the wrong assumption she would not accept the role of drug czar as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs.  It was weird to see a statement of Liberal Party stalwart Erin Tañada, which gave the impression she wouldn’t accept Duterte’s offer, posted online alongside Robredo’s acceptance of the post.

Many suspect the offer is intended to shame Robredo in retaliation for her criticism of the drug war and that she “would just be used to cover up Duterte’s failure to solve the drug problem.” Whether the suspicions are “tamang hinala” or not, Robredo needs all the support she can get in battling the drug menace plaguing our country.

Email: insights.xlr8@yahoo.com