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President Duterte Will Most Likely End as a Failure

Protesters in Manila mark the 45th anniversary of Martial Law on Sept 21, 2017
Protesters in Manila mark the 45th anniversary of Martial Law on Sept 21, 2017. Photo: WSJ.com

e Filipinos have to learn that in a properly functioning democracy, there are no shortcuts, no quick and easy way of doing things, no miracles—only hard work and constant vigilance. We said as much in an early editorial and we want to stress that point again today in light of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

It seems that we Filipinos have learned nothing from the nearly 2 decades of martial law. Marcos, a wily opportunist who managed to get himself elected president, declared martial law on September 21, 1972 and remained in power until he was forcibly removed by “People Power” in late February, 1986.

Marcos’ achievements as president/dictator were miniscule compared to the nearly irreparable damage he caused to Filipino society and values. Even today, generations born long after Marcos was removed from power are nevertheless still affected by those dictatorial years. And it may take many decades for those martial law “wounds” to fully heal.

And yet, in 2016 Filipinos once again elected another strongman who is only too eager to “cut corners” and trample on his people’s human rights in order to achieve his stated goals—no matter how irrational or ill-conceived they may be. In his first year in office, President Rodrigo Duterte has already caused significant damage to the Philippines and its standing in the world. His crude vocabulary and thuggish behavior are the least of global community’s worries. Instead, his nearly complete disregard for the rule of law (in spite of his being a lawyer) and his apparent condoning of the extra judicial killing of those of those involved in illegal drugs, has shocked the civilized world and made the Philippines a pariah state.

Checks and balances exist for a reason. They prevent any one entity or individual from accumulating too much power. Checks and balances slow any process down and the pursuit of justice can appear long and complicated—however, righting wrongs outside the rule of law almost always backfires. The thousands of alleged drug pushers and users found dead on the streets have cheapened human life in the Philippines. And as in most tyrannical states, the police is now seen as the villain, not the public’s protector.

In addition, Duterte has turned the Philippines’ stunning legal victory into a defeat for all practical purposes. The unanimous decision by the UN Arbitral Tribunal in favor of the Philippines with regards to China’s ridiculous South China Sea claims should have been used by Duterte to get China to comply and leave the Philippine shoals and reefs they now occupy. Instead, Duterte has tried to appease the Chinese in the hope that they would throw some “scraps” his way. A loser’s strategy—to say the least— that did not work the way Duterte thought it would. In fact Chinese President Xi Jinping told him to his face that China would go to war if Filipinos tried to drill for oil or gas in an area that the UN tribunal’s ruling said legally belonged to the Philippines.

President Duterte meets President Xi in Beijing. Photo: Simon Song/SCMP.com

The unfortunate reality is that China appears to be playing Duterte like a fiddle. On the one hand they are supplying him with loans and foreign aid, and on the other hand their triads are flooding the country with narcotics in order to destabilize it. And if the latest allegations of Senator Antonio Trillanes are true, the Chinese would have most likely involved members of his family in the illicit drug trade in order to use that fact to blackmail Duterte should he ever try to stray from their domain.

Sadly, Duterte appears destined to fail. He simply managed to hoodwink a majority of gullible voters (some say with the help of covert foreign assistance) into electing him president. He does not appear to have the smarts for the job, uses crude language, and—more ominously—appears to have dictatorial tendencies. He has so far achieved little and will likely end his term without any significant achievement other than that of making himself and his country an embarrassment to the entire world.  Even worse, he might plunge the country into an abyss that may take the Philippines many generations to extricate itself from. Published 9/22/2017

US Pinoys Call for Prayers to the Blessed Mother for Protection from China

Satellite pictures have now exposed to the world China's secret immoral rushed construction of extensive military bases, runways and stations in seven different areas deep inside the Philippines' UN defined 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Massive fortified buildings and runways are at advance stages of construction in expanded reefs and islands ... Published 9/8/2017

Duterte’s Timeframe Just Went From Six Months to More Than Six Years

Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise during the 2016 election was that he would need just six months to eradicate the drug problem in the country. Then as president on September 2016 he admitted that he would need another six months to achieve that goal ... Published 8/21/2017

Free Education? Not So Fast Mr. President

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that grants free tuition to students in state-run colleges and universities. Called the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017, the new law, Republic Act (RA) No. 10931, left it to lawmakers and government executives to figure out a way to fund it, for the 2018-2019 school year ... Published 8/4/2017

Why Is There No July 12 Philippine National Sovereignty Day Celebration

President Rodrigo Duterte won the most votes among US overseas Filipino voters in the May 2016 elections partly due to his strong showing in The Filipino Channel (TFC) special town hall forum on the Philippine elections held on May 1, 2016 and presented to a TV audience of 250,000 cable subscribers. At this town hall forum, representatives from all the presidential candidates passionately presented their candidates' views on a variety of topics and were cheered on by their supporters dressed festively in the political colors of their candidates ..." Published 7/21/2017

Ex-President Aquino’s Dilemma Could Be President Duterte’s As Well

Philippine Ombudswoman Conchita Carpio-Morales just filed criminal charges against former president Benigno Aquino III for the blotched military operation commonly known as the Mamasapano Massacre. Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former Director Getulio Napeñas of the Special Action Force (SAF) were likewise charged along with Aquino. The three headed the 2015 police operation codenamed Oplan Exodus where 44 SAF police officers were killed by the combined rebel forces ..." Published 7/15/2017

Chinese Missiles and Fighter Jets Soon Based at Panganiban Reef Just West of Palawan

In According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a Washington-based think tank, and a part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), China has upgraded its facilities in Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), Fiery Cross Reef, and Subi Reef. According to the June 19, 2017 AMTI report, China is continually “expanding its already substantial communications and radar capabilities on the artificial islands. A very large antennae array is being installed on a small outpost at the southern side of Mischief Reef ..." Published 7/4/2017

President Rodrigo Duterte Can Still Do the Right Thing

In a recent article in Asia Times, William Pesek a Tokyo-based journalist and former columnist for Barron’s and Bloomberg noted that President Rodrigo Duterte might be “shooting the 100 million-person (Philippine) nation in the proverbial foot?” with his bloody war on drugs, instead of continuing to improve the economy he inherited from former President Benigno Aquino—“an economy on the ascendancy – from weak link to investment-grade growth star in just six years” ... Published 6/25/2017

Why Xi Jinping Threatened War If the Philippines Drills for Oil

Though nothing Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has said or will say carries any shock value anymore, his surprising announcement on May 19 caused seismic tremors. At a Manila press conference on that day, Pres. Duterte disclosed that while attending the “One Belt, One Road” summit in Beijing on May 15, Chinese Premier China Xi Jinping warned him that there would be war if the Philippines tried to enforce a United Nations arbitration ruling and drill for oil in the West Philippine Sea ... Published 6/15/2017

Philippine Congressman warns of Duterte dictatorship, pleads for Congress to convene

Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat has expressed serious concern that President Rodrigo Duterte is dangerously close to becoming a dictator and it may just happen without Congress doing its constitutional role to be a check against abuses by any other equal branch of government ... Published 6/1/2017

Martial Law in the Philippine South

While on a state visit to Russia, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in response to a string of attacks by a band of terrorists known as the Maute group. During a press conference on his arrival back in Manila, Duterte mentioned the killing and decapitation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief of Malabang, as well as arson and fighting in the streets of Marawi ... Published 5/25/2017

ATM Statement on Social Justice and Environmental Protection

Secretary Dominguez stated recently that the mining industry requires good governance and transparency to ensure that it contributes to development. We agree. That is why closing and suspending those mines that violated the Mining Act (RA 7942) and other environmental laws were necessary. Our alliance sincerely believes that the results of the Mining Audit were credible ... Published 5/20/2017

UN Human Rights Council and 45 Countries Tell Duterte to Stop the Killings

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte received a stunning rebuke from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in its just released draft report on the Philippines. Duterte’s war on drugs and the alleged extra-judicial killing of thousands of Filipinos appears to be widely condemned by the international community ... Published 5/12/2017

Why San Francisco Is a Sanctuary City

I am a proud San Franciscan with the honor of being the first Filipino elected to public office in my city serving four terms in the San Francisco Community College Board from 1992 through 2008. City College of San Francisco has a Filipino student population of 3,800 in our main Ocean campus of 38,000 students. In my last term, we had a total population of 110,000 students in our 10 San Francisco campuses, the largest community college in California ... Published 5/6/2017

Congressman Teddy Brawner Baguilat Calls for Investigation of Secret Police Jail Cells

Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat is set to file a resolution urging the Lower House to immediately conduct an investigation into the alleged secret police cell in a Manila station where drug suspects are allegedly held until they cough up money ... Published 4/29/2017

Something for Filipinos to Ponder This Earth Day

As people celebrated earth Day all across the planet, Filipinos need to take pause and start championing our planet’s welfare in earnest. The Philippines once had an abundance of natural resources: lush forests, crystal-clear rivers and streams, and all manner of flora and fauna ... Published 4/22/2017

Read more articles from our archives

Opposition aghast as the Philippines ranks ‘worst’ in impunity index
MANILA, Philippines — With thousands of lives claimed by the government’s war on drugs, the Philippines has landed on top of the heap in the 2017 Global Impunity Index, but opposition lawmakers fear the worst is yet to come.

Ten conservation advocates receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award
The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is a program designed to recognize outstanding individuals from the ASEAN region who have contributed significantly to biodiversity conservation and advocacy efforts in their respective countries.

‘Islamic State extremist threat spilling over to other parts in south’
SPORADIC fighting between government troops and some Moro groups suggests that the threat of Islamic State-inspired extremists from Marawi City is spilling over to other parts of Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday night.

Palace says Philippines' impunity index score must be taken in 'proper context'
MANILA -- A report supposedly showing the Philippines with a very high impunity index must be taken in its proper context, Malacañang said Friday. In the 2017 Global Impunity Index, a survey of 69 countries by the Universidad De Las Americas in Mexico, the Philippines ranked on top with a score of 75.6 points.

Aguirre wants ‘beautiful fight’ with Hontiveros, readies airtight case vs senator
MANILA, Philippines – In the 2010 senatorial polls, then candidate Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros came out with a catchy jingle titled Maganda ang Laban to help boost her candidacy.

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