By Raïssa Robles
At times, his eyes would dart sideways and he would clamp his mouth shut, as if he was stopping himself from saying something.
On the front row sat his foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, who had just warned the media not to “provoke” the president into anger with questions. Yasay seemed to sit on the edge of his seat. He was clearly not comfortable, although he sat poker-faced.
Duterte got through his short speech with aplomb.
But clearly Duterte still wanted to say something. He started talking off-the-cuff.
He himself opened up the floor to questions from the media.
And pretty soon, the insults, the obscenities came out of his mouth against the US and the EU (European Union).
Along the way, he took a swipe at the foreign businessmen operating in the Philippines who had expressed their concern over his “war on drugs”.
“E di magsilayas kayo (Then leave),” President Duterte told them.
Did the media again provoke Duterte into anger?
Duterte’s tirade against American officials was not provoked by any question. He himself had opened up on the matter. He was apparently provoked by the news that came out on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Because he kept showing the Inquirer’s front page.
The reporter who had asked him about EDCA – which allows the presence of American troops in the country – had merely “provoked” him further. Although it was a very tame and legitimate question about EDCA.
I don’t know why, but what the President just did at the airport reminds me of a child staging a tantrum. And when it was over, all the President’s men present clapped at his performance.