In the Philippines, Who is the Real Duterte?

In the Philippines, Who is the Real Duterte?Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be in China from Oct.18 to Oct. 21 to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, yet another polarizing action as he moves beyond his 100-day honeymoon as the nation’s chief executive.   Using a combination of bluster, brutality and vulgarity to espouse domestic and international policies that have veered wildly…

Former Philippines President Ramos Loses Patience with Duterte

Former Philippines President Ramos Loses Patience with DuterteSharp criticism from his erstwhile major supporter, former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, has been a surprise antidote to the popular praise heaped on Rodrigo Duterte for the first 100 days of his administration. Outsiders might see his performance as almost entirely negative, focusing on his encouragement of murder of alleged drug dealers, insults to foreign…

Philippine President Duterte Sows Chaos Internationally

Philippine President Duterte Sows Chaos InternationallyWhat kind of drugs – or to be polite, medicines – is President Duterte taking? This is a serious question. It is hard to remember any Asian leader in the past half century whose behavior has been so erratic, whose pronouncements so damaging to the position and image of his country. Meanwhile his actions appear…

Can a Hero’s Burial for Marcos be Legally Stopped?

Can a Hero’s Burial for Marcos be Legally Stopped?The Philippine Supreme Court tackles this week three petitions which aim to stop the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a cemetery for heroes. The petitions, filed by victims of martial law, argue that giving the deposed strongman a hero’s burial is a dishonor to those who suffered under his 20-year regime. The…

Philippines’ President Duterte Earns his Cowboy Spurs

Philippines’ President Duterte Earns his Cowboy SpursJust six weeks into the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, the world is discovering with a good deal of horror that the Philippines is getting what he promised: hundreds of deaths of people who may or not be connected to the drug world, at the hands of death squads who are killing, often with little evidence.…

Contradictions in Philippine President Duterte’s War on Drugs

Contradictions in Philippine President Duterte’s War on Drugs“It’s not a lie, Drugs will make your Mama cry” was painted on a board by the gate of a primary school in a fishing village tucked away in the Visayan islands. It was a fading sign left over from an anti-drug campaign a couple of years ago, which apparently didn’t work.  The menace had…

The Duterte in the Eye of the Beholder

The Duterte in the Eye of the BeholderThe true sign of a successful demagogue is when leaders from various points of the political and social compass believe that he represents them. Thus with President Duterte – so far, at least.  Of course it is early days and many of the above may find that after a few months in office he was…

China May Try Cash to Buy Off Philippines

China May Try Cash to Buy Off PhilippinesThe Philippines may have handsomely won its case over the South China Sea at the Court of Arbitration, but the battle between the power of Chinese money and the Philippines' national interests has a long way to run. Politicians everywhere are susceptible to the prospect of short-term gains for themselves or their voters, and no…

South China Sea Ruling Greets an Unsure New Filipino Administration

South China Sea Ruling Greets an Unsure New Filipino AdministrationThe captain of the Philippine Navy flagship Gregorio del Pilar, a refurbished US Coast Guard cutter, turns teary when other vessels at sea acknowledge the ship's presence on patrol. The feeling is of both pride and helplessness. It was the same ship that backed away from a standoff against China at the Scarborough Shoal more…

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,…