It has taken on a life of its own, but it was evident that President Rodrigo Duterte’s only purpose was to stop Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s criticism of his so-called “war on drugs” when he dared her last October 31 to take charge of it for the next six months.
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.
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 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.