Vincent Chloe Que, CSsR
Have you eaten Durian? Do you like the smell or taste of it? These are some of the questions that welcomed me as I arrived in Davao. I get the impression that Durian is a love or hate fruit; its either you love it or you hate it. This quite resonates the presidency of the former mayor of Davao – Rodrigo R. Duterte. People get asked, “Do you like him?” apparently, like Durian, many people love Duterte and to some, they hate him and his ways.
In our recent forum about the presidency of Duterte and its challenges to the Catholic Church, Bro. Karl shed light as to why the majority of the Filipinos seem to be consenting of Duterte’s violent ways. The tribal mentality of morality based on communitarian principles, not in the belief of a deity, still prevails in us Filipinos. Which puts the Catholic Church into questioning; what have we did for the past 500 years?
I cannot agree more with Bro Karl’s presentation: the violent ways of Duterte are not necessarily moral but it appeals to the people. What alarms me as a religious is the fact that people care less whether it is moral or not; the more urgent question is, “does it work?” When confronted with the choice of the good of the many and the good of the few I would readily choose the good of the many. But if it cost the lives of those few, deep inside it feels wrong. What if there is no other way, what do we do? Or is there really no other way? Am I just tired of looking for creative ways to be effective yet remain humane and Christ-like? Do I have a crisis of Hope to look into better possibilities that I seem to settle for what is here now, even if it compromises my conscience?
I like Duterte, his vision, his sincerity, his simplicity, and his love for the country. But even if there is due process, taking a person’s life can never be acceptable for my conscience. The culture of death that is creeping into our country is scary. The choices and dilemmas we are confronted today are consequences of the choices we made in the past. So think again and consider the future, will we be able to love it or we’ll just throw our hands down and hate it?
Vincent Chloe Que, CSsR is a student of the Redemptorist Missionaries – Cebu Province. Chloe, as he is fondly called in the community, is in his 1st-year theology in SATMI. Currently, he is a member of the Pastoral Committee and of the Vocations Ministry in Davao Community. After attending the Academic Forum given by Br. Karl Gaspar, CSsR he was then asked by the admin of this blog to share his own reflection.