What is in a moniker or monicker? A lot. Remember how Sen. Gordon's supporters would say, "Ipasok si Dick sa Senado! (Let Dick penetrate the Senate!)" Mar Roxas as Mr. Palengke became very popular that he topped the senatorial race not a long time ago.
Recent history tells us that a presidential moniker helps build the image of the President to the public. It can make or unmake this image.
Tita Cory made Pres. Corazon Aquino appear warm, motherly, and reliable. To her detractors, Tita Cory symbolized a person who could do humanity a favor just by being everyone's favorite aunt but, puleez, get out of Malacanang already and let someone with the mettle run the government.
Erap made Pres. Joseph Estrada appear accessible or approachable as though he was everyone's buddy. To his detractors, Erap was just the perfect nickname for a gangster, a lackadaisical (non)leader who would stay awake until the wee hours drinking booze and playing poker in Malacanang. It was Fernando Poe, Sen. Grace's father, who gave him the nickname.
PNoy made Pres. Benigno Aquino appear like he was every Filipino who understood every Filipino. Because he was PNoy, people forgave him for the Luneta hostage-taking fiasco. They forgave him for the ineptitude of his dispensation during the Yolanda tragedy and flagellated Mar Roxas instead. When he strayed from Daang Matuwid by protecting his buddies committing shenanigans and by being callous to the abject conditions of the poor "every Filipino," PNoy began to stand for someone with the compassion of an egg or whose IQ is measured as an egg. When we get zero in exams, we normally say, "Itlog ang nakuha ko (I got an egg)." Penoy is duck egg.
Now, the political discourse includes the question of what monicker Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte should use. There are several suggestions, two of which are PDut (for President Duterte) and PDig (for President Digong).
If you understand Iloko, PDut does not sound good. A kleptomaniac is called "agpidut." My friend Bayan Muna Congressman Karlos Ysagani Kaloi Zarate does not like it either. He did not tell me his reason. He does not like PDig. He also did not tell me why. Maybe, it is because PDig is close to Pig.
This early, Kaloi is calling the incoming President PaDi for Pangulong Digong. He is quick to point out that PaDi means Tatay, the Filipino word for 'dad.'
PaDi does sound good, perfect in fact.
PaDi will soften the reputation of Mr Duterte as Mr Tough Guy. As I keep saying, people who know him really up close and personal like Kaloi swear by his soft and compassionate heart. When Kaloi asked me how PaDi sounds, I told him that in the Cordilleras, we use Apo Padi (Reverend Father) to address people of the cloth with reverence. There is a play called Padi Igorot about an Episcopalian priest named Clifford Nobes who lived among Igorots in the mid-20th century. Rev. Father Nobes was known as a dedicated and respectful missionary among the Igorots. Apo Padi is a man of compassion and service. And Padi Rex is not just a priest. He is a people's priest who lived and, despite health issues, continues to live a religious life dedicated to uplifting the condition of the oppressed. Like Apo Padi, every good father will do everything to protect his children from harm.
Like the proverbial/traditional father, though, PaDi captures Mr Duterte's strict side. No smoking except in the few designated areas. Be home early, young man. If you drink, don't drive. No jaywalking. No littering. No peeing against the wall. No petting and necking in the corridors.
Cong. Karlos Ysagani Zarate just coined the perfect monicker for the incoming President!
Here is looking forward to 6 years of PaDi's presidency. I am hoping it will be a sheltering presidency as it will be an empowering one.