The Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police want to rescind the DILG memorandum of agreement with state universities and colleges that bars the police from entering them without the consent of their administrators. The purpose is to stop what they claim is the recruitment of students into “front organizations” and even the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. They claim that students are being brainwashed or coerced by their professors and fellow students into joining these organizations.
Despite the incoherence, contradictions and sheer illogic of the declarations of President Duterte, his mouthpiece, secretary of foreign affairs and other officials on the country’s foreign relations, the Duterte regime does have a foreign policy. It can be summed up as accommodation if not outright obeisance to China no matter what the costs to the Philippines and its people. Nothing else, it seems, matters — not ASEAN, and certainly not the rest of the international community.
Every tyranny has used fear and hate to take power and to keep it. Coercion and the use of force have never been enough. A gun can only kill, but fear can make entire nations tremble, and hate lead them into committing the worst of crimes.
Adolf Hitler used anti-Jewish sentiments to stoke German fears so effectively he convinced even learned men, among them the philosopher Martin Heidegger, that their country and Western civilization itself were on the verge of annihilation and needed a strongman to save them. German fears for the future found in the Jews of Europe a convenient target of hate, and a “problem” that required a “final solution.”
Like the American invasion and conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, the Duterte watch has been as bloody and as blundering.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) complaint of sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, obstruction of justice and harboring a criminal against lawyers, priests, Vice President Leni Robredo and several opposition candidates for senator last May is likely to make it to the courts. If it does, it will be one more instance critics of the Duterte regime can cite to validate their view that only an international body can check human rights abuses in the Philippines because the justice system is not working as it should.
The Parliament of Singapore passed last May a law against uploading and spreading false information. It requires online media platforms any government ministry accuses of carrying “fake news” to correct or remove the offending material, and penalizes those responsible with 10-year prison terms and fines of up to one million Singapore dollars (about US$740,000). The bad news is that the Philippine Congress could do the same thing.