Earl Parreno’s book Beyond Will and Power is 227 pages long.
It could have been longer if the “unprintable parts” were included.
These parts, however, a result of years of painstaking research by the multi-awarded investigative reporter, did not pass the standards of “truth and fairness” – the two principles that guided the research and writing of Earl who pursued the facts doggedly, like a hound chasing the lone white hare in a warren of colored bunnies.
These parts, that included possible answers to wild rumors against President Duterte will remain unprinted, off-the-record in reporter’s lingo.
The book after all is not a collection of gossips in some sleazy tabloid but a serious, deep look at the man who now holds in his hands the fate of more than 120 million Filipinos, a president who has, rightly or wrongly, stirred controversy even in global circles.
And it is no easy task.
“It is difficult to write without a subjective analysis of things,” Earl said in opening his author’s remarks in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental where Duterte’s rival, Manuel Roxas III got more than 50 percent of votes cast for the presidential position.
The objective then, to the writer is to be “truthful and fair,” Earl said to a crowd of about a hundred that seemed to hang on to his every word.
He was forthright with the audience that in digging up Duterte’s rise to power, there were “a lot of unprintables.”
“These were not truthful,” he said.
A writer, after all, has to sift through the fake from the truth and be “truthful and fair to everyone, whether you are pro or anti (Duterte).”
Earl hopes the book will spark “intelligent debate, not generalizations,” instead of the bashing by pro and anti Duterte Filipinos against each other.
For the pro-Duterte forces, the book could be a guide as to “who they are venerating” while for those against him, “they can truly get to know the man they are opposing.”
NIETSZCHEIAN, NOT A ROA
The book is the first attempt to frame Duterte through the books he read, even his childhood traumas that Earl explains is how a biography should be: an examination of all facets of life of the subject.
“President Duterte is a wide reader,” Earl tells the crowd, some who are supporters of the Liberal Party looking disbelieving as Earl explains his findings.
Among them is Duterte’s adherence to the “master morality” concept of the German poet-philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who Earl described as Duterte’s favorite.
This type of morality, which Earl called noble morality is a “determiner and creator of values” that could explain the philosophy behind Duterte’s approach to the war on drugs.
Aside from reading Nietzsche, Duterte also read during the 2016 presidential campaign Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America by British journalist Ioan Grillo that detailed the operations of narco syndicates in Latin America.
There were also incidents, Earl said, that molded Duterte, details of which can be found in the book.
It is perhaps fair to ask Earl if he is pro- or anti-Duterte, a rhetorical question he himself answered during the launch.
“For the first two years of Duterte I was hoping he would succeed,” he said “because with all the problems facing us, there is a need to unite behind our leaders.”
In the end, Earl hopes readers would read the book with an open mind to help understand not only Duterte but our future as a nation as well.
After all, Beyond Will and Power is, as Earl hopes, a book for the future.