How could the Filipino people have allowed the outrage that was martial rule? Why did they just stand by while “the show window of democracy in Asia” was being smashed and turned into a dictatorship? Where were they when the newspapers and television and radio stations were being padlocked?
Like the American invasion and conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, the Duterte watch has been as bloody and as blundering.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) complaint of sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, obstruction of justice and harboring a criminal against lawyers, priests, Vice President Leni Robredo and several opposition candidates for senator last May is likely to make it to the courts. If it does, it will be one more instance critics of the Duterte regime can cite to validate their view that only an international body can check human rights abuses in the Philippines because the justice system is not working as it should.
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.