His defenders and partisans, as well as the trolls his regime pays out of public funds, describe President Rodrigo Duterte’s “leadership” as “decisive.”
They’re referring to the speed with which he tried to address the drug problem — the extent of which his minions, among them Alan Peter Cayetano, and he himself, exaggerate — and his promise to end it within six months. (Cayetano told the United Nations last year that seven million Filipinos are drug addicts, while Mr. Duterte pegs the number at four million. PDEA, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, put it at less than two million in 2016.)
There are two countries that go by the name “Philippines.” The real, historical one is home to the Filipino millions, nearly half of whom are poor and powerless because they’re ruled by one of the most corrupt and most incompetent political classes on the planet. The other is an imaginary one — a creation of those very same rulers to convince the ruled that everything is fine, indeed nearly perfect, in this earthly paradise.
A March 31 statement by the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), for example, kept referring to “the Philippines.” But it sounded as if it were describing an entirely different country outside of history.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced last weekend that his office will soon launch a “big project.” He was referring to a program to promote the country as a tourist destination and encourage foreign investments.
By “big,” however, he also meant it will be heavily-funded, which should further warm the hearts of his already overpaid, skills-challenged fellow top bureaucrats in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) who’re daily trying to prettify the regime they’re serving while demonizing its critics and anyone else who doesn’t agree with it.
They said they weren’t pressured — nor, presumably, bought and paid-for, promised any favors or gifts, or intimidated — to make it. But the call by some judges, lawyers and Supreme Court employees for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign so obviously blames the victim for the decline of public respect for the Supreme Court rather than the desperadoes responsible for it that one can’t help but wonder how credible that claim is.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) isn’t as useless as President Rodrigo Duterte described it when he learned it was looking into the possibility of prosecuting him for crimes against humanity. But the ICC record over the last 16 years since it was established hasn’t been spectacular either.
The Court is mandated to prosecute political leaders who have committed the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. But in a world rife with racist tyrants, neo-Nazi and fascist dictators, and other vermin who use state power to torture and murder, since 2002 it has managed to convict only a relatively few of those guilty of the crimes mentioned, most of them from the African continent. It has ordered the arrest of 33 others, however, and twenty-three trials are ongoing.