Duterte’s Federalism: False Promise

Duterte’s Federalism: False PromiseAs a Brit with an interest in Philippine history, I am struck by the similarity of the demand for Brexit with the call for a Federal system for the Philippines. Both are ill-conceived, emotional responses to the real or alleged failures of the existing system to tackle problems of governance. In the case of Brexit,…

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China Sea

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China SeaIn his first cabinet meeting after taking his oath as president on June 30, Rodrigo Duterte slid into his most comfortable mode: rambling on about ways to cut red tape for the poor and setting up a 24-hour hotline for complaints that would directly come to his attention. But Duterte was upstaged by his foreign…

Cops Already Acting on Philippine President-elect’s Death-to-Thugs Vow

Cops Already Acting on Philippine President-elect’s Death-to-Thugs VowAs expected, the shooting has already begun in the Philippines, eight days before Rodrigo Duterte is sworn as President on a public promise to support police who take out criminals in gunfights instead of allowing them due process. Alleged drug dealers are turning up dead with signs written by vigilantes stuck to their chests. According…

Filipino Politicians Rush for Presidential Perks

Filipino Politicians Rush for Presidential PerksIn a graphic illustration of the tendency of Filipino politicians to abandon political parties without hesitation, as many as 80 to 90 members of the Liberal Party headed by outgoing President Benigno S. Aquino III have indicated they will shift to Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP-Laban, the party of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte,…

Philippines Gets Ready for the Duterte Ride

Philippines Gets Ready for the Duterte RideRodrigo Duterte skipped his official proclamation by Congress as the new Philippine president this week. This was no surprise: he has said such an event was “corny” anyway, and he has also famously said he has little regard for Congress, claiming during his campaign that he’d shut the whole thing down if Congress tried to…

Questions over Duterte’s Philippine Cabinet

Questions over Duterte’s Philippine CabinetBy electing Rodrigo Duterte, the rough-hewn outsider from Mindanao as president, the people of the Philippines have voted for change, perhaps radical change. But whether they will get much beyond a lot of rhetoric and possibly some dubious action against drug dealers and criminal gangs, is far from certain. Let's not start with the vote…

Philippine Vice President Not Settled Yet

Philippine Vice President Not Settled YetA week into maverick tough-guy Rodrigo Duterte's victory as Philippine president-elect, his campaign team has begun a shortlist of his future cabinet members.  What is crucial, however, is who will be vice president, a position of great import in a country with a history of booting presidents out of office, as in the case of…

Davao and the President the Philippines Might Get

Davao and the President the Philippines Might GetIn December, considering the possibility that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte might be a formidable candidate, Manila-based journalist Criselda Yabes visited Duterte’s stronghold and produced the following story, which ran in Asia Sentinel on Dec. 18. Duterte is now close to actually becoming president of the Philippines. We will know more overnight. But Yabes’ story deserves…

Could Duterte Control the Philippine Congress?

Could Duterte Control the Philippine Congress?With maverick Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte perhaps poised to win the Philippine presidency on May 9, the more important races may well be in the Philippine Congress, which at least for now has little loyalty to the tough-talking Duterte. Duterte has sparked a political earthquake that in turn has generated rumors of coup talk…

Philippine Islamic Peace Process at Risk

Philippine Islamic Peace Process at RiskPhilippine Army Captain Jimmy Amolay looked across the river at the charred wreckage of a backhoe sitting in shallow, muddy water. Islamist militants had blown up the tractor even though it was being used to dredge the river to build a road and prevent flooding, which could only benefit the local community. Confoundingly, the villagers…