Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pepe's Kite: A song on happy death [Saranggola ni Pepe]

Saranggola ni Pepe (Pepe's Kite). Image credit:By Johann Michael Voltz (Illustration), Johann Carl Bock (engraving) - Kinderspiele in 24 illum. Kupfern. Fibel und Rechenbuch für kleine Kinder, Nürnberg 1828, via http://www.bbf.dipf.de/cgi-opac/bil.pl?t_direct=x&f_IDN=b0078947berl, Public Domain, Link

Saranggola ni Pepe was sung by Celeste Legaspi and was written by her husband Nonoy Gallardo. It was believed that the song was really about Martial Law with Pepe as Marcos, the deaf old man. But stripped of its political meanings, the song is a nice lyrical poem. The poem has six-line stanzas. Each stanza has three pairs of rhyming lines: lines 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6. There is also inline rhyming in the lines 3 and 4:
Umihip ang hangin, nawala sa paningin
Sigaw ng kahapon, nilamon na ng alon
...
Hinuli ang ibon, pinagsuot ng pantalon
Tinali ng pisi, hindi na nagsinturon
...
Pinilit umawit, ang naglaro’y isang ingit
Lumuha ang langit at ang mundo ay nanliit
It is difficult to properly translate the song following the meter of the original, while preserving the rhyming scheme. So what I did was to try to be faithful to the meter so that the translation can be sung, while using different rhyming schemes and alliterative structures. Below is my translation.

A. Pepe’s Kite (Saranggola ni Pepe)

Singer: Celeste Legazpi
Writer: Nonoy Gallardo
Tagalog Lyrics Source: Genius Lyrics
Tagalog-to-English Translation: Monk's Hobbit

Far is the flight of Pepe’s kite
Far are the dreams of the deaf old man
With the wind it flew and was lost in sight
Yesterday's reckoning was buried by the tide
Faint is the tolling of friar's bells ringing
Loud is the clinking of a woman praying

[Matayog ang lipad ng saranggola ni Pepe
Matayog ang pangarap ng matandang bingi
Umihip ang hangin, nawala sa paningin
Sigaw ng kahapon, nilamon na ng alon
Malabo ang tunog ng kampanilya ni Padre
Maingay ang taginting, rosaryo ng babae]

Nay, nay, nay, nay...

Far is the flight of Pepe’s kite
Far are the dreams of the deaf old man
He caught the pigeon, and its pantaloons
He tied with a string, but girded not its loins
A jeepney passed by and sketched in the roadside
Leaving charcoal pieces he never kept aside

[Matayog ang lipad ng saranggola ni Pepe
Matayog ang pangarap ng matandang bingi
Hinuli ang ibon, pinagsuot ng pantalon
Tinali ng pisi, hindi na nagsinturon
Dumaan ang jeepney at gumuhit pa sa kalye
Mauling ang iniwang hindi na tinabi]

Nay, nay, nay, nay...

Far is the flight of Pepe’s kite
Far are the dreams of the deaf old man
He breathed out to sing, but blurted out squeaking
Teardrops fell from heaven and the world was shrinking
From the fence was waving the guardian angel calling
The old man obeyed not but followed his heart

[Matayog ang lipad ng saranggola ni Pepe
Matayog ang pangarap ng matandang bingi
Pinilit umawit, ang naglaro’y isang ingit
Lumuha ang langit at ang mundo ay nanliit
Kumakaway sa bakod ang anghel na nakatanod
Sumusuway sa utos, puso’y sinusunod]

Nay, nay, nay, nay...

B. Translation Notes

I shall divide my notes regarding my translation into stanzas and lines, e.g. 1.4 is stanza 1 line 4.

1.2 The phrase "deaf old man" is "matandang bingi", because "matanda" is an old person, male or female. But Pepe is normally a man's name.

1.4 "Yesterday's reckoning was buried by the tide" (Sigaw ng kahapon, nilamon na ng alon). "Sigaw" is "shout". I used "reckoning" or "pagalaala" instead of shout in order to exploit the "r" sound in "yesterday" and "buried". Also, "alon" is "wave" not "tide". I used "tide" to rhyme with "sight". "Nilamon" is "was swallowed" not "was buried". I used "buried" both for the "r" sound and alliteration with "by". But on a second thought, "was swallowed" has a nice ring to it, because "was" and "swa" sound good together. A more accurate translation of "Sigaw ng kahapon, nilamon na ng alon" is "Yesterday's shout was swallowed by the waves."

1.5 "Faint is the tolling of friar's bells ringing" (Malabo ang tunog ng kampanilya ni Padre). A "padre" is a generic name for priest, whether regular (religious) or secular. I chose the translation "friar" for padre, because "friars" or "frayles" are the mendicant religious orders (e.g. Agustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans) who were responsible for the conversion of the whole Philippines to the Catholic, save for the enclaves of Muslims and Pagans.

1.6 "Loud is the clinking of a woman praying" (Maingay ang taginting, rosaryo ng babae). A more accurate translation would be "Loud is the clinking of a woman's rosary". It is difficult to put woman and rosary together in the second half of the line and make the end word rhyme with "clinking" and at the same time conform to the song's meter.

2.3 "He caught the pigeon, and its pantaloons" (Hinuli ang ibon, pinagsuot ng pantalon). A more accurate translation is "He caught the bird, and clothe it with pants." I used "pigeon" to make it rhyme with "pantaloons".

2.4 "He tied with a string, but girded not its loins" (Tinali ng pisi, hindi na nagsinturon). Literally, "he tied with a string, [he] did not wear a belt." There is a wordplay in images here. The pants can apply to the boy who used a string instead of a belt. The "bird" can refer to the boy's reproductive organ which he needs to hide with a pair pants.

2.5 "A jeepney passed by and sketched in the roadside" (Dumaan ang jeepney at gumuhit pa sa kalye). There is a play of images here. The sentence structure says that it is the jeepney's wheels which drew on the road. But the jeepney can also represent the boy who drew on the road with charcoal. I used the word "sketched" because it sounds like "screeched"

2.6 "Leaving charcoal pieces he never kept aside" (Mauling ang iniwang hindi na tinabi). The imagery is that of a jeepney's passing which created a cloud of charcoal dust from the exhaust. I used "pieces" instead of smoke or cloud, because "piece" can refer to a charcoal painting drawn by the boy on the road.

3.6 "The old man obeyed not but followed his heart" (Sumusuway sa utos, puso’y sinusunod). "Sumusuway sa utos" is "disobeying the command". I initially used the word "heed" because it sounds like "head" to match with "heart". Another option would be to use "heard" instead of "heed" to make it sound like "heart". I settled with "obeyed" because it is more accurate and alliterates with "old".



C. What is the poem all about?

Saranggola ni Pepe is a poem about an old man reminiscing his childhood while waiting for his death. He remembered the church bells tolling from afar for the Angelus and how perhaps his mother would lead the praying of the rosary when the sun sets at 6 pm. He remembered the pigeon whose legs he would wound with a paper and tie with a string, as text messages were sent before not via Twitter but through homing pigeons, which were used by armies during World Wars I and II when the wireless telegraphs lines are broken or destroyed. He remembered the jeepney, which was invented after World War II from scraps of military jeeps, but made longer and wider to accommodate more passengers. And when the jeepney passed by, it would erase the boy's charcoal drawings on the street, such as those used for playing piko, a children's hopping game where the goal is build houses on vacant lots bounded by the charcoal marks, in such a way that the other players would have no more place to land their feet.

We can assume that the old man has been a faithful Catholic, as suggested by the Catholic elements of rosary, church bells, friars, and guardian angel. If these are the last things that he recalls, then these must be the most important things and persons in his life that left a mark on his soul.

The old man labored to sing--perhaps a childhood rhyme--but only a gasp came out as tears flowed down his cheeks. It was the last gasps of the dying man. His guardian angel said it was time to die, so we can assume he is going to heaven; otherwise, he would be tormented by demons instead. But the dying man refused to let go yet of his mortal frame and continued to recall the past. The song ended here, but it is possible to extend the lyrics to three or six more stanzas to include the days of his manhood, how he got a wife, made a family, and saw his grandchildren. Then the old man would recall how he lived his life and examine his conscience, so that he can for call a priest, confess his sins, and receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. It is a grace of God to live long unto old age, so that one can prepare for death and die well. As Our Lady of the Rosary promised to the St. Dominic and Blessed Alain de la Roche (Fifteen Rosary Promises):
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish. 6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered and never overwhelmed by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death (unprepared for heaven). The sinner shall convert. The just shall grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life. 7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. 8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have, during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise. 13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death
Perhaps, the ending of the song is just right. We can assume that he died thereafter. It was a happy death, since the melody of Saranggola ni Pepe is not a sad but happy. So let us end this song analysis with a prayer to St. Joseph, the patron of happy death:
O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close my life, come with Jesus and Mary to aid me. Obtain for me this solace for that hour - to die with their holy arms around me. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Martha and Mary: A Gospel Musical [tune: Mary! How sweetly falls that word]

"Christ at the home of Martha and Mary" attributed to Georg Friedrich Stettner († 1639) - Van Ham Kunstauktionen, Public Domain, Link

I wrote the song “Martha and Mary,” which I based from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 10:39-42). Actually, it should have been “Martha and Jesus” because the song is structured as a dialogue song of Jesus and Martha, with a narrator in between that should be sung by a chorus, such as those in the Greek Tragedies like Oedipus Rex. But Martha and Mary is a proper title, since each character serves each other's foil. The dialogue structure is similar to the song of Ents and Entwives in Lord of the Rings, while the melody follows “Mary, how sweetly falls that word” (music sheet, video). You will notice that Mary in the song speaks not, but kept all things in her heart, just like Mary the Mother of Jesus (Lk 2:19).

Actually, I initially planned to make a three part song that would include the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11) and Mary pouring oil on Jesus’ feet (Jn 12). But this will take several days of work and I can only blog during Sundays. Perhaps someday I can turn this project into a musical. 

MARTHA AND MARY: A GOSPEL MUSICAL

by Monk's Hobbit

Narrator: 
When Jesus entered a village 
A woman welcomed Him 
The woman’s name was Martha 
Her sister was Mary 

Martha: 
Stay, O my Lord. Rest for today 
O Master, O Master. So long was thy way 
Stay, O my Lord. Rest for today. 
O Master, O Master. Our home is that way. 

Narrator: 
So Jesus went to Martha’s home 
His disciples went with him 
And there He preached of child-like trust 
To God Who knows our needs 

Jesus: 
Look at the birds high in the air! 
They sow not, they reap not, yet are in His care 
Look at wild flowers out in the fields! 
They work not, they spin not, yet dressed more than kings 

Narrator: 
And Mary was listening to His Words 
She sat beside His feet 
Meanwhile Martha served all their guests 
And grumbled before the Lord 

Martha: 
Do you not care that my sister left me 
With cooking and cleaning to prepare us some feast 
Do you not care that my sister sits here 
Doing nothing, doing nothing while I serve all our guests 

Narrator:
And Jesus stopped his preaching 
He looked at Martha’s face 

Jesus: 
Martha, you’re anxious and worried 
About so many things 

But come, my child. You need just one thing 
Just listen. Just listen to all my teachings. 
Your sister Mary chose the better part 
And it won’t be and it won’t be that from her it shall part

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Do you seriously think Jesus would denounce a gay man or woman?

Christ and the Rich Young Man. By Heinrich Hofmann - Purchased by John D Rockefeller Jr, now residing at Riverside Church, New York, Public Domain, Link

In the comments section of the FB page of AdMU's Sanggunian: Commission on Gender Equality (25 June 2019), I read the following comment in response to Family and Life Update:
“Do you seriously think Jesus would denounce a gay man or woman? Seriously? Jesus? Go back and study the Bible again. Mga 300 times.”—Francis P.
This is an interesting question. Below is my reply.

REPLY

A. Studying the Bible 300 times

I don’t know how many times I have studied the Bible, because it is difficult to quantify the word “study”. Is studying the Bible equal to the number of hours you spent reading some books in the Bible? Or is it the number of times you have read the Bible from Genesis to the Book of Revelation? But even then, many of the most learned people who studied the Bible—spending hours, days, weeks, and years poring Biblical texts—may still end up as heretics, e.g. Arius (Arianism), Luther (Protestantism), and Manalo (Iglesia ni Cristo). Remember that even Satan can quote Sacred Scripture (c.f. Ps 91:11-12) to tempt Christ:
Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’" (Mt 4:5-6)
The Catholic Faith rests not on the Bible alone, but also on Holy Tradition, and Magisterium (Teaching Authority), in the same way that the Philippine Government is defined by the Constitution, Congress, and the Supreme Court:
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: - orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";33 - in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".34 . . . continued in apostolic succession 77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

B. Would Jesus denounce a gay man or woman?

There is no clear denunciation by Jesus of a gay man or woman, in the same way as he would denounce the Scribes and Pharisees: “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees!” (Mt 23) But why would Jesus need to denounce homosexuals, because cross dressing and homosexual acts were already forbidden in the Old Testament? There is no need for Christ to repeat what is already known to be true to his fellow Jews who are faithful to the Laws of Moses:
A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God. (Dt 22:5
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. (Lv 20:13)
 Remember, Jesus said:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. (Mt 5:17-18)
If there is a confusion regarding the true meaning or essence of the laws, Christ would clarify them as what he did to the Scribes and Pharisees:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. [But] these you should have done, without neglecting the others.” (Mt 23:23)
For the case of the woman caught in adultery, Christ did not condemn her to death, as the Mosaic Law dictates (Lv 20:10), but said:
"Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more." (Jn 8:11)
Christ, the Son of Man, has the power to forgive sins (c.f. Mk 2:10) because He is also the Son of God, and sin is an offense that only God can forgive (c.f. Mk 2:7).

Many of those who quote the words of Christ in support of LGBT lifestyle and the Pride Movement focused on the first statement "Neither do I condemn you," but won't mention the second statement "From now on do not sin anymore." Cross-dressing and homosexual acts are sins. A homosexual man or woman who repents will be forgiven by Christ in the same way as He forgave the woman caught in adultery, and we can be sure that Christ will also say the same thing: "From now on do not sin anymore" and not "Persist in your sin because of your pride."

C. Christ Speaks through His Church

The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ with Christ as its head (c.f. Col 1:15). This truth was revealed to St. Paul on the Road to Damascus:
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.c 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”d 5 He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.e 6 Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:3-6)

After His Resurrection, Christ gave the Church the power to forgive sins:
“Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:22-23)
Thus, a homosexual who repents of his sins and confesses them to a priest in the Sacrament of Confession will be forgiven by Christ Himself: the priest only acts in persona Christi. As the Catechism says:
1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Also, before His Ascension, Christ gave the Church the Magisterium or the Teaching Authority:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 h Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 i teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20)
As Christ also told his disciples:
Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Lk 10:16)
That is, if you don't listen to the Church, you reject Christ, the Son of God. If you reject Christ, you also reject God the Father who sent His Son to redeem the world. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," as St. Paul said  (Heb 10:31), echoing Christ's warning:
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. 5 I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. 7 Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.d 8 I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God." (Lk 12:4-9
Thus, if the Church denounces homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, then it is Christ Himself who makes the denouncement of these acts of gay men or women:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. 2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
This answers the question of Francis P.

D. Conclusions

The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ. Thus, if the Church forgives the sins of a repentant gay man or woman, it is Christ Himself who forgives him or her. If the Church denounces homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered, then it is Jesus Christ Himself who makes the denouncement. As St. Ignatius said:
13. If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines. For I must be convinced that in Christ our Lord, the bridegroom, and in His spouse the Church, only one Spirit holds sway, which governs and rules for the salvation of souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord who gave the Ten Commandments that our holy Mother Church is ruled and governed.
(The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: Based on Studies in the Language of the Autograph by Louis J. Puhl, SJ, p. 160)
There is still hope for conversion for LGBT, but they must repent and believe the Gospel before it is too late to do so on their deathbed--unless they steal heaven like the repentant thief who was crucified with Christ. But such grace may be rare for those who spent their lives fighting Christ and His Church. May the LGBT heed the words of St. Paul:
Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)
Outside the Kingdom of God is Hell, the fiery furnace for the punishment of the unjust:
"The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 43  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear." (Mt 13:41-43)
Hell is real. And the thought of being sent to hell for eternity may spur a gay man or woman to conversion. Even if this conversion is due to fear and not out of love for God, this conversion is still praiseworthy according to St. Ignatius:
18. Though the zealous service of God our Lord out of pure love should be esteemed above all, we ought also to praise highly the fear of the Divine Majesty. For not only filial fear but also servile fear is pious and very holy. When nothing is higher or more useful is attained it is very helpful for rising from mortal sin, and once this is accomplished, one may easily advance to filial fear, which is wholly pleasing and agreeable to God our Lord since it is inseparable associated with love of Him. (The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: Based on Studies in the Language of the Autograph by Louis J. Puhl, SJ, p. 161)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Is the Sacrament of Confession useless? A reply to Pres. Duterte

Saint Ambrose barring Emperor Theodosius from Milan Cathedral in 390 A.D. A painting by Anthony van Dyck (Wikipedia)

Manila Times: The President then made fun of the Catholic sacrament of confession, saying attending Mass and seeking forgiveness from God were “useless” as he would tend to repeat his sins everyday. “Kaya ako hindi nagsisimba. Kasi ’pag magsimba ako (That’s why I never attend mass because if I go to Church), ‘Forgive me, father, for I have killed last night three.’ Balik na naman ako kinabukasan (then I will return tomorrow), ‘Father, forgive me because I have killed 10 drug, drug lords.’ Pabalik-balik ako, bakit pa ako magpunta doon? Useless (I keep on returning, so why should I go back? That’s useless),” he said.

REPLY

The example given by our President is indeed a useless confession, because there is no conversion of the heart or interior conversion. As the Catechism says:
1430 Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, "sackcloth and ashes," fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.23 1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).24
Note that the Act of Contrition is recited after each confession by the penitent (though sadly some priests do not require this anymore) and this prayer states “I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.” That is:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.[8] (Wikipedia
And the priest will give the absolution:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself  and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. (EWTN)

If Duterte has the intention to sin again when he made his confession, then he has no intention of turning away from evil and going back to God, so that his hypothetical confession would indeed be useless.  Furthermore, to presume that God will forgive him without repentance is a sin of presumption, which is a sin against the First Commandment:
2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit). (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Normally, after the penitent gives his confession, the priest will give the penance, e.g. pray 3 Hail Mary’s, or return what you stole from your company, or refrain from using the name of God in vain. For the case of the sin of murder, the priest can tell the penitent to go to the police, report the crime, and accept the punishment given by the court, e.g. imprisonment for 40 years or death (c.f. Revised Penal Code). Otherwise, if the penitent has no intention of doing these, the absolution given by the priest won’t have an effect, i.e. the penitent remains guilty of sin and if he dies, he would go to hell.

For the case of a policeman killing a drug lord or a criminal, there are many mitigating circumstances in order for the killing not to be classified as mortal sin. Did the police kill him during a shootout? This can be a legitimate police operation and the culpability is lessened. But if the drug lord was rendered immobile and in the power of the policemen at the precinct, then shooting the drug lord in the head in this case can be murder. This is called rubout. Remember that there are three requirements for a sin to be mortal: (1) grave matter, (2) full knowledge, and (3) deliberate consent. As the Catechism says:
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.  1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.  1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church
Thus, if Duterte goes to confession and says he killed 10 drug lords, a good confessor will definitely ask questions. The matter is definitely grave, but the confessor needs to know the circumstances behind the killing, so that he can determine if the killing was a mortal sin or not. The Catholic Church is not stupid and its rules regarding the Sacrament of Confession are not stupid. There is a logic behind them and also wisdom. We just need to study our Catechism and learn what the church actually teaches, because the founder of the Catholic Church is Christ who is Truth Who can neither deceive or intend to deceive.  Unlike those of masons and other secret societies, the teachings of the Catholic Church can be read by any person of good will, e.g. they can be  found the the Vatican website. As a child-like voice told St. Augustine prior to his conversion: “Take up and read.”

Let us pray that Pres. Duterte may convert from his sins and do penance for the satisfaction of his sins. There is still hope. Even the Roman Emperor Theodosius I was guilty of extra-judicial killing, slaying both the innocent and the guilty—about 7,000 in all in Thessalonica--for the murder of his Gothic garrison commander:
In 390 the population of Thessalonica rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The garrison commander was killed in the violence, so Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus as retaliation; Theodoret, a contemporary witness to these events, reports:  ... the anger of the Emperor rose to the highest pitch, and he gratified his vindictive desire for vengeance by unsheathing the sword most unjustly and tyrannically against all, slaying the innocent and guilty alike. It is said seven thousand perished without any forms of law, and without even having judicial sentence passed upon them; but that, like ears of wheat in the time of harvest, they were alike cut down.[21]  Theodosius was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, for the massacre.[22] Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance as he had imitated him in guilt; Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the  Eucharist only after several months of penance. (Wikipedia)
May God have mercy on the soul of Pres. Duterte. He has blasphemed God and his Church. He has mocked the Sacraments. So let us pray:
Lord, you have give the grace of conversion to Emperor Theodosius I who unjustly put innocent people to death in Thessalonica out of vengeance, grant that through the intercession of St. Ambrose of Milan may President Rodrigo Duterte also receive the grace of conversion and lead our country the Philippines into the Catholic Faith, as Theodoisus I did for the Roman Empire. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.