Did the Philippine Collegian go overboard with its latest Duterte-mocking lampoon issue?

February 17, 2020 - 2:05 PM
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UP Oblation
The University of the Philippines Oblation (Philstar/File photo)

The recent lampoon issue of the University of the Philippines-Philippine Collegian featuring President Rodrigo Duterte earned the ire of his supporters and criticized it as “going too far.”

The cover of the publication’s February 15 edition showed an edited photo of Duterte’s head wearing a face mask against an ill-looking body without a top on.

The issue’s title is “Mayor’s Health” and the edited figure’s name is called “Mayor Dudirty,” a play to the president’s former title.

The state university’s publication also patterned the cover from the best-selling US men’s magazine Men’s Health.

Philippine Collegian posted this on Facebook with the caption:

“Macho is what makes a man. Flip the pages of this issue of Mayor’s Health to know more about how today’s most prominent leaders manage to look strong while stripping people of their basic rights and liberties. Is it really as easy as they say?”

Macho is what makes a man. Flip the pages of this issue of Mayor’s Health to know more about how today’s most prominent…

Posted by Philippine Collegian on Saturday, February 15, 2020

A lampoon is a publication’s satire version directed to criticize and ridicule public figures, particularly government officials.

Despite indicating the paper was lampoon, several supporters of the administration took offense to it.

Facebook user John Paolo Nartatez viewed this as disrespectful to the president, citing that the institution’s students owed their free tuition to him.

“The arrogance and insolence of the publication team had gone overboard. How can they be so disrespectful to the man who approved the Free College Tuition Law?” Nartatez said.

“It’s high-time for the government to take over what really belongs to the State and start teaching self-entitled scholars their lesson,” he added.

UP Diliman's Campus Journal – Lampoon Edition 🤬😤Shared by a friend taking Masters in UP. The arrogance and insolence…

Posted by John Paolo Nartatez on Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is enacted in 2017 to cover the tuition and other fees of select students in state universities and local universities and colleges.

Lampoon issues are a tradition to the Philippine Collegian, Reddit users pointed out, with more scathing graphics against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Some even mentioned spoof issues of other student papers such as the University of Santo Tomas and the De La Salle University.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

What is a lampoon?

According to Merriam-Webster, lampoon is a “harsh satire usually directed against an individual.”

In terms of writing, Cambridge Dictionary said that it often focuses on a famous person or a public organization and criticizes them “in a humorous way, allowing their or its bad qualities to be seen and making them or it seem stupid.

Popular lampoon or humor magazines in the United States include the long-running Harvard Lampoon and the National Lampoon.

Given that there are no specific guidelines in writing, their content had been criticized as insensitive and unethical in the past.

According to Boston Magazine, a 2019 issue of the Harvard Lampoon drew flak for a photo of Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

In the Philippines, these are commonly student-run magazines, newsletters and other journals wherein student-writers can express their thoughts on certain issues within the school.