SHOW OF RESPECT. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte leads the candle-lighting and the offering of flowers at the blast site at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on August 30, 2020. The twin explosions killed at least 14 people, including seven soldiers and a police officer, and injured 77 others. (Presidential photo by Karl Norman Alonzo)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte kneeling and kissing the ground where the August 24 twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu took place is an “act of genuine respect,” a blogger said on Tuesday.
Pro-Duterte blogger Mark Lopez, in a Facebook post on Aug. 31, said there was nothing wrong with the President kissing the ground of the blast site in Jolo.
Lopez said Duterte’s gesture is known to Muslims as “sujood” or prostration, an act of low bowing as a sign of humility.
“This is an act of prostration where one bows down completely with the forehead touching the ground, signifying utmost humility, respect and reverence, and acknowledging the power and greatness of a more supreme being,” he said.
Duterte visited Jolo, Sulu on Sunday to condole with the victims of the twin blasts that killed at least 14 people, including seven soldiers and a police officer, and injured 77 others.
Duterte’s former special aide and now Senator Christopher Lawrence Go shared photos of the President kneeling and kissing the ground while wearing a face mask.
In his speech during his visit to Jolo, Duterte said his gesture was for victims of the twin explosions who lives were “snuffed out for no reason at all.”
Duterte’s “spontaneous” act, Lopez said, proves that he is a “true leader with authentic malasakit (care).”
“What [Duterte] did was to humble himself before those soldiers and innocents who died because of that cruel terrorist bombing, and conveying that powerful message that he will do everything to give them justice they deserve. It is also an act of genuine respect to the community, and telling them that he is their public servant,” Lopez said.
Lopez came to Duterte’s defense after some netizens have posted satirical memes of Duterte’s latest gesture.
He said Duterte’s latest photo showed the Chief Executive’s “authentic act of courage.”
“Most important of all, he went there to personally empathize, grieve, and assure his troops that he is there with the all-out support of government. You don’t do this just for the sake of propaganda, when there is too much at stake,” he said.
Photo shows the aftermath of the twin bombings at Barangay Walled City in Jolo, Sulu that claimed 14 including government troops, and wounding dozens last August 24, 2020. (Presidential photo by Karl Norman Alonzo)
Apart from Lopez, other netizens also defended Duterte.
Netizen Deriz Quintana said it was “rude” to create memes involving Duterte.
“At this point, it doesn’t even matter if it was President Duterte or whoever, but this meme is kabastusan (disrespect) in the highest level. Bowing and kissing the ground is a form of reverence, done with the utmost humility and sincerity, to another being,” Quintana said.
A certain Menchie Panganiban, on her Facebook account, also called out a teacher who allegedly edited Duterte’s photo by making it appear that the President is eating a dog food.
Panganiban said Laarni Villaluz, a teacher who posted an edited photo of Duterte, “deserves to get punished and be sanctioned for what she did.”
“It can be remembered that Villaluz is the licensed teacher who posted an edited photo of President Rodrigo Duterte while paying respect to the victims of Jolo bombings. Most of the netizens were disappointed because Villaluz was supposed to give a higher standard of learning to her students because she’s working in a private school,” she said. (PNA)