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.
Journalism students should look at government radio’s Erwin Tulfo’s reaction when he failed to immediately get an interview with Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista — he threatened to slap the retired Army general and even called him crazy — as an example of how those seeking interviews should never behave.
The problematic — and for many Filipinos, depressingly predictable — results of the May 13 senatorial elections have provoked the usual mini-debate on whether the mass of the electorate is really so stupid as to vote against their own interests. They have after all elected, among others, accused plunderers, liars, supporters of tyrannical rule, opportunists, enforcers of extrajudicial killings, and, in general, the yes-men and chorus line of the Duterte regime.
The protracted democratization process began during the reform and revolutionary periods of Philippine history, but was derailed and interrupted by both US conquest as well as by the treachery of the rural gentry that had hijacked the Revolution.
Some 1,800 new lawyers have just passed the 2018 bar examinations. Will they be going into the practice of law — or had been moved to take it in college — only to advance their interests no matter what the cost to the public and Philippine society? Or will they practice the profession in behalf of the urgent need of defending the laws that Philippine experience and history have demonstrated as necessary in the making of a just society?