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Duterte: Mass murderer in power

Mar 24,2018 - Last updated at Mar 24,2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte once said that Ferdinand Marcos, who was overthrown by the first non-violent revolution “People Power” in 1986, would have been the Philippines’ best president “if he did not become a dictator”. Just as Duterte himself had the potential to be the Philippines’ best president if he had not become a mass murderer.

He does not react well to criticism, either. Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) began to investigate a complaint by a Filipino lawyer that the extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s anti-drug war, now 8,000 and counting, amount to “crimes against humanity”. He responded by declaring that the Philippines would no longer accept the authority of the world tribunal.

On Sunday he went further, urging other countries to withdraw from ICC too: “Get out, get out, it’s rude.” Rude? That is a bit rich coming from a man who has called former US president Barack Obama, former US ambassador Philip Goldberg, and even the Pope “a son of a whore”, but Duterte does not suffer from an excess of self-awareness.

Less than two years into a six-year term, he has already threatened to pull out of the United Nations too. His main mode of speech is stream-of-consciousness, so he does not necessarily mean what he says, but you can never be sure. He is not unintelligent, but the one constant that shapes everything he says and does is his tough-guy persona.

That is what Filipinos love him for, last year he had a 91 per cent approval rating, but the problem is that he really is a tough guy - and not in a good sense. He graduated from law school and became a prosecutor in his home city of Davao, the biggest city in the southern island of Mindanao. It was then the most violent city in the country and he set out to tame it.

It is not clear when Duterte decided that a death squad was needed to accomplish that task, but he makes no secret of its existence. In fact, he boasts about it, and sometimes hints that he did some of the killing himself. He became the mayor of Davao in 1988, and claims that 1,700 suspected criminals were killed on his watch.

Most of them were street kids, petty thieves and small-time drug dealers, but it did work, after a fashion: Davao is now reputed to be the safest city in the country. And it was his promise to do the same thing country-wide that won him the presidency in 2016 with 39 per cent of the vote, almost twice as many votes as the nearest runner-up among the five candidates.

It would have made more sense if the Philippines was an ultra-violent country overrun by crime and drugs, but it is not. It is a profoundly unequal country, whose politics has been dominated by a privileged and largely hereditary elite, but neither the crime rate nor drug usage is significantly higher than in other southeast Asian countries.

Amphetamine use, the Filpino drug of choice, is around the same level as in the United States or Australia, and opioids and cocaine are virtually absent in the country. The murder rate is around the same level as the United States: four per 100,000 people in 2015, six per 100,000 in 2016, due to Duterte’s killing spree.

In less than two years in office, Duterte has presided over the extrajudicial murders of some 8,000 people, most of them drug-users, who do little harm except to themselves. It is a classic displacement activity, the real problems are corrupt politicians and police and income disparities so huge that a quarter of the population lives in absolute poverty, but it is much easier to wage a war on drugs and crime.

Displacement tactics are quite common in politics, like Donald Trump promising to bring back millions of lost American jobs from foreign countries when most of them were really destroyed by automation. But the pity of it is that Rodrigo Duterte, for all his bombast and vainglory, had other qualities that would have been very useful in the presidency.

He is an honest man, as Filipino politicians go, and he has a real empathy with the poor. During the Marcos dictatorship, he protected opposition protesters in Davao, and he is gay — and Muslim-friendly in a country that has little tolerance for either. He calls himself a “socialist”, but the city of Davao achieved the highest economic growth rate in the country under his mayorship.

Alas, Duterte is also a mass murderer, he has said he will sign a pardon for himself “for the crime of multiple murder” before he leaves office. He has become addicted to the cheap popularity he gets from saying and doing shocking things, and lacks the discipline to work on the country’s real problems.

He is a disaster for the Philippines, but that is probably where the damage ends. And although he occasionally talks about abolishing the Congress and leading a self-appointed “revolutionary government”, he is unlikely to be able to carry it off, because by then he will not be popular any more. The Philippines will not prosper under his rule.

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Comments

Well-researched article. Compliment! Comes very close to reality and living conditions in the Philippines right now.

ARE ALL THESE INDIVIDUALS POSTING THESE ARTICLES SAYING THAT THE BEST WAY OF GOVERNING ANY NATION SHOULD BE THE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN CHIEF. YOU DO NOT KILL ANY PERSON BECAUSE THEY ARE SICK BUT YOU ARE REQUIRED TO SEND THEM TO HOSPITALS, DETOXIFY AND TREAT THEM. IN FACT, THE ISSUE IN THAT COUNTRY IS NO LONGER DRUG ISSUE BUT THE BEST ASSURED WAY FOR THE ARMY AND POLICE TO MAKE MORE CASH SINCE THEIR INCOME HAS BECOME THE FUNCTION OF HOW MANY HEADS OF DEAD BODIES THEY SHOW. IS THESE REACTIONS THAT I AM READING HERE A STATISTICAL FLUKE OR JUST THE CULTURAL IMPACT OF RELIGION. TO COMPARE HIS HONORABLE PRINCE ZEID OF JORDAN WITH DUTERTE IS THE WORST AND MOST UNFORTUNATE INSULT ON EARTH. HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS IS ONE OF THE MOST RESPONSIBLE AND PRINCIPLED INDIVIDUAL THAT HAS EVER SERVED THE UN. IRRESPECTIVE OF OUR DIFFERENCES IN FAITH AND RELIGION, ALL PATHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS ARE SICKNESS THAT NEEDS MEDICAL ATTENTION AND NOT DEATH SQUARD. SOME MAY CLAIM ADDICTION WHEN IN FACT MORE THAN HALF OF THE JORDANIANS ARE ADICTED TO TOBACCO AND ALL ARE HARAM. TOBACCO KILLS AS MANY PEOPLE AS OTHER DRUGS AND DOPES DO. ADDICTION IS A DISEASE BE IT FOOD, SEX, SMOKE OR THE LOOTING OF RESOURCES BY SOME OF OUR LEADERS.

All information above is just copy-paste from what irresponsible and one-sided, pocketed media has been writing as if they really know what the Filipinos are going through, live there! try it for yourself! I'm sure you will be able to walk freely at night without fearing that someone will grab your bag or held you at gunpoint or at least if you are a woman, no one will pull you inside a car and rape you. Minimum wage earners can now enjoy tax-free earnings. Infrastructure development is everywhere, OFWs are given priorities and recognition. He has balls to implement deployment ban of Household workers to countries who don't give respect to human beings who are taking care of their children when they CAN'T. He is the only Phils. President who is not afraid of America, he befriended China and Russia and became so actively working out with other countries for better Philippines. He is the most hardworking President the Philippines could have. He is far from being perfect, but Filipinos needed Duterte now! Filipinos need an iron fist now or never!

This is absolutely a disrespectful Article that does not fully aware of what was happening on the ground, the headlines itself creates an outright impression of an impartiality just like the Prince of Jordan, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, UN Commission on Human Rights attack towards Duterte being a mentally disturbed that must seek a psychiatric evaluation.

Infact, nobody from ASEAN Community has ever condemned his campaign. Malaysia and Indonesia, the closest neighbor even try to replicate his methods. Let alone China and Russia fully understood the drug menace.

So to the readers, be careful of what you are reading, they might be funded by the Drug Syndicates.

When he campaigned for President, his opponents said that he will never win. But he won.

Everytime a survey came out, they said "next time for sure". Uh, still nope.

They said he will be dethroned in his first year. Yeah, right....

Duterte wouldnt have such high ratings from all wealth classes and educational backgrounds if he was a disaster for the Philippines. Maybe a disaster for your kind though.

- Love from Filipino in the Philippines. Duterte pa rin, ulol!

Inaccuracies. He tries to solve part of the income inequality problem by fighting oligarchs and giving tax breaks to the lower income-bearing population. Meth users do not only harm themselves, they rape and kill innocent others, because it messes up with their brains when they are poor and hungry.

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT BUT DUTERTE IS A FRIEN OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE MOST POWEFUL NATION IN THE WORLD AND ALSO JORDAN FUNDS ITS COFFERS THROUGH SLAVE MAIDS. WHY DONT JORDAN EITHER FIND A WAY TO DENY DUTERTE THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE THAT ARE WIRED TO PHILIPPINES BY THE SLAVE OWNNERS IN JORDAN. IF NOT, YOU ARE ALSO DOING BUSINESS WITH THE COMMANDER IN DEATH SQUARD?.

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