Asia

Philippines’ Duterte ‘Bugged’ Again as Gecko Stalls Speech

By Reuters 20 September 2019

MANILA—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte just keeps getting bugged during his public speeches.

A noisy gecko was the latest wildlife contributor to an address by Duterte, interrupting the leader on Thursday evening just as he launched another tirade at human rights groups critical of his bloody war on drugs.

The reptile’s persistence caused laugher in the crowd of mostly soldiers, causing Duterte to stop mid-sentence, turn to his left and pause for a while to see what the off-camera commotion was.

“You brought a gecko here?” he asked an official sitting behind him, drawing laughs.

Geckos are common across Southeast Asia. The small lizard-like reptiles are known for their ability to produce various loud sounds, from barks to chirps, to communicate or when threatened.

While activists accuse Duterte of cowing his opponents into silence, reptiles and insects have no qualms about pestering him during his often hours-long, televised addresses.

A big cockroach crawled up his shoulder and down his shirt during a speech in May when he was lambasting an opposition party ahead of a national election. He joked the cockroach was its supporter.

Two months later, a fly kept buzzing around him and landing on his forehead, just as he was berating his rivals in the Catholic clergy. He said in jest that the fly was acting on their orders.

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