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It Might be Back to the Dark Ages with the Duterte Plan to Reinstate the Death Penalty

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (left photo insert). Apollo Quiboloy (right photo insert)

ccording to Deterte's choice for the next Speaker of the House, Incoming Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, they will definitely bring back the death penalty to the Philippines. In a video interview with local press, Alvarez noted that he is confident it can be done. Turning his back on the United Nations and its Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who stated in 2014 that the "Death penalty has no place in 21st century," Alvarez pointed out that that was just the UN's opinion and they can keep it to themselves.

So is the Philippines—the Southeast Asian country with the highest GDP in 2015, moving back to the "Dark Ages" of Philippine politics—a period characterized by "intellectual stagnation and widespread ignorance like we had during the Joseph Estrada administration? Will the country move forward or backwards with Duterte at the helm? As we intimated in an earlier editorial, who Duterte surrounds himself with will determine the ultimate success or failure of his presidency.

A positive sign is Duterte's recent distancing himself from his close friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. Critics of Quiboloy point out that anyone who claims to be the "Appointed Son of God" should not hold any serious government decision-making authority.

So at this stage, it is still a wait-and-see game regarding this incoming administration. We see some good signs but we see some troubling ones as well. Filipinos should soon get a clearer picture of what a Duterte presidency will be like. The incoming president promised significant changes in three to six months. So we really don't have to wait long to find out if we made a good decision or a bad one this past election. Published 5/22/2016

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