The ignorance that kills

Estrada, Duterte, Arroyo, Marcos
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Within months of his coming to power in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte’s profanities, tirades, threats, outrageous remarks about women, human rights, heads of foreign states, and what he was actually doing, had called the attention of international media — in Japan, the United States and Europe — to what was happening in the Philippines.
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Offender of the faith

Rodrigo Duterte and Archbishop Romulo Valles
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Before Rodrigo Duterte, no Philippine president, as morally-challenged as some of them may have been, had ever disparaged Catholicism and Christianity, much less cursed the God Christians, Muslims and Jews worship in common. Even Ferdinand Marcos, to whose overthrow in 1986 both the institutional Church as well as its activists contributed, did not take that path, although among the victims of his terrorist regime were nuns, priests, pastors and other religious workers.

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Destroyer of worlds

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In a far from modest and less than truthful description of itself, the Philippine government, said a Malacanang statement, is “headed by someone who has strong political will, decisive leadership, and compassion for his fellow men,” hence the “fruitful” first two years of the six-year Rodrigo Duterte presidency.
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Surveillance state

Rodrigo Duterte
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Upon the declaration of martial law in 1972 and in the 14 years that followed, the Marcos terror regime arrested, abducted, and detained over a hundred thousand political activists; artists, writers and critical journalists; teachers, professors, lawyers and other professionals; student, labor and peasant leaders; Muslims and indigenous people; and members of the opposition and other regime critics. Accused of rebellion, subversion and/or sedition, but only in rare instances charged in the regime’s military kangaroo courts, many of these men and women were tortured, summarily executed, or forcibly disappeared.

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After the Supreme Court — the Senate?

Tito Sotto
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The newly elected president of the Senate has been accused of plagiarism, of disrespecting women, of cluelessness about the most pressing issues of public concern, and of ignorance of the Constitution.

During the debate on the Reproductive Health Bill, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who rose to his present exalted rank thanks to his credentials as a celebrity in a mindless noontime television program, used without proper attribution portions of someone else’s blog post in his speech against it, and translated for inclusion in it parts of a speech by Robert F. Kennedy.

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Just for laughs

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The gulf between what President Rodrigo Duterte says and what he does is raising already dangerous levels of cynicism about government and governance even among those who supported him in the 2016 presidential elections. But he doesn’t seem to be aware of it. Even if he were, it’s doubtful if he would at all be concerned, secure as he is in the conviction that his loyalists will continue to support him, anyway.
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Mere anarchy

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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.)

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Two countries called “Philippines”

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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.

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