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.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. unwittingly said something at odds with what his boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, has been saying since he came to power in 2016.
The officials of the Duterte regime contradict themselves and each other daily and almost by the hour. They have individually and collectively outdone and are outdoing every other administration in the incoherence, contradictions, unreason, and non sequiturs of their declarations. A reality that is arguably as alarming as the lawlessness and the extrajudicial killings that are continuing to ravage the ranks of human rights defenders, political activists and regime critics, it is specially evident in their foreign policy discourse.
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.
No one should be under the illusion that any impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte will by itself remove him from office. But it might help.