Posts Tagged ‘Philippine President Duterte’

Philippine President Duterte Insists He Won’t Listen To Congress, Supreme Court — Despite the Constitution giving them oversight, even during martial law

May 28, 2017
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An Air Force helicopter gunship fires a rocket at Maute positions in the continuing assault to retake control of some areas of Marawi City yesterday. AP

JOLO  , Philippines – President Duterte has vowed to ignore the Supreme Court and Congress as he enforces martial law across Mindanao despite the Constitution giving them oversight.

Duterte on Tuesday imposed martial law in Mindanao, home to 20 million people, following deadly clashes in the mostly Muslim-populated Marawi City involving the Maute group which, he said, was trying to establish a caliphate for the Islamic State group.

“Until the police and the Armed Forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court, Congress, they are not here,” Duterte told soldiers on Saturday.

“Are they the ones dying and losing blood, bleeding, hemorrhaging because there is no help, no reinforcement? It’s not they,” he said.

The 1987 Constitution imposes limits on martial law to prevent a repeat of the abuses carried out under the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was deposed by the people power revolution in 1986.

The Constitution requires Congress to approve a president’s declaration of martial law, and limits military rule for 60 days. If a president wants to extend it, he or she must again get congressional endorsement.

The Supreme Court (SC) can also rule on martial law’s legality.

“The Supreme Court will say they will examine into the factual (basis). Why I don’t know. They are not soldiers. They do not know what is happening on the ground,” Duterte said.

A day after declaring martial law, Duterte described the nine years of military rule under Marcos as “very good,” and said his would be similar.

Duterte also told soldiers on Friday they would be allowed to conduct searches and arrests without warrants.

“During martial law, your commanders, you, you can arrest any person, search any house. There is no more warrant needed,” Duterte told troops.

Duterte’s comments contradicted a government statement released on Saturday to explain martial law.

“Warrants of arrest or search warrants should be issued,” the statement from the government’s information agency said.

“No person may be arrested and detained without orders coming from these civil courts.”

Duterte has overwhelming support in Congress, which this week is widely expected to endorse his initial declaration of martial law.

Looming clash

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, however, on Friday expressed concerns about martial law, saying the sins of martial law during the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos could possibly be repeated under the current martial law.

“Given the present day, when the possibility of history repeating itself looms imminent, no cause requires your commitment as much as the cause of human rights, justice, and democracy,” Sereno was quoted as saying in her speech during the commencement exercise at the Ateneo de Manila University last Friday.

“Today, people’s fundamental human rights and freedoms, the core of our democracy, face grave and blatant threats. The culture of impunity is on the rise. People are pressured to favor the easy choice over the right choice: expediency over due process; convenient labeling over fairness; the unlawful termination of human life over rehabilitation,” she further stated.

But Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday questioned her opinion, stressing that statements publicly made by Sereno might be uncalled for.

“I believe such statements are premature and imprudent on the part of the Chief Justice,” he told The STAR.

Aguirre said that Duterte’s declaration of martial law to neutralize the Maute terror group after its occupation of Marawi City is expected to be submitted for judicial review of the SC through petition by critics.

The justice secretary said prudence dictates that members of the high court, including the chief justice, must refrain from commenting on legal questions and issues up for SC review, adding that public statements by magistrates could be used as ground for inhibition in cases.

Aguirre believes Sereno’s position should better be included in a magistrate’s written opinion on the issue only after submission of arguments, hearing and deliberations in the high tribunal.

The SC has yet to lay down guidelines on the use of executive power to declare martial law after the Marcos regime.

Still no implementing guidelines

One week into the declaration of martial law in Mindanao through Proclamation 216, no ground implementation guidelines have been issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the two major military commands in the area, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) and the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

“(Eastmincom) is awaiting guidelines from the (AFP) on how this will be implemented on the ground,” the Eastmincom said in a statement yesterday.

“We are yet to get a written guidance as to how the declaration will translate to our operations on the ground, especially here in Western Mindanao, where all threat groups are present,” the Westmincom said in a separate statement.

“The guidelines will come out soon. They’re working on them,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told The STAR.

Eastmincom officials said they have remained on heightened alert since May 11, when joint AFP-Philippine National Police operations encountered the group of Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi City.

While noting volatile situation in its area, which jurisdiction includes Marawi City, Westmincom assured the public it would use the current mandate to boost its campaign against terrorism, in accordance with the law and with respect to human rights and the International Humanitarian Law.

‘Misguided commentaries’

Meanwhile, Malacañang yesterday lashed at critics of the Mindanao martial law who feared it could lead to abuses and curtailment of civil and political rights.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella dismissed the criticisms as “misguided commentaries.”

“The President’s focus is on addressing the terrorist threat in Mindanao,” Abella said in a statement yesterday.

“He is committed to succeeding in this mission and to restoring peace and order so that other people throughout Mindanao can fully participate in our nation’s development.” — AFP, Edu Punay, Edith Rgalado, Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/29/1704646/duterte-wont-listen-congress-sc-ml

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 (Contains links to related articles)

Philippine President Duterte vows to ignore Supreme Court on martial law

May 28, 2017
/ 04:26 PM May 28, 2017
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Duterte on Tuesday imposed martial law in the Mindanao region, home to 20 million people, following deadly clashes in a mostly Muslim-populated city involving militants he said were trying to establish a caliphate for the Islamic State group.

“Until the police and the armed forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court, Congress, they are not here,” Duterte told soldiers on Saturday.

“Are they the ones dying and losing blood, bleeding, hemorrhaging because there is no help, no reinforcement? It’s not them.”

The 1987 Constitution imposes limits on martial law to prevent a repeat of the abuses carried out under the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was deposed by a famous “People Power” revolution the previous year.

The Constitution requires Congress to approve a president’s declaration of martial law, and limits military rule for 60 days. If a president wants to extend it, he or she must again get congressional endorsement.

The Supreme Court can also rule on martial law’s legality.

“The Supreme Court will say they will examine into the factual (basis). Why I don’t know. They are not soldiers. They do not know what is happening on the ground,” Duterte said Saturday on Jolo, a southern island that is under martial law.

A day after declaring martial law, Duterte described the nine years of military rule under Marcos as “very good”, and said his would be similar.

Duterte also told soldiers on Friday they would be allowed to conduct searches and arrests without warrants.

“During martial law, your commanders, you, you can arrest any person, search any house. There is no more warrant needed,” Duterte told troops on Friday.

Duterte’s comments contradicted a government statement released on Saturday to explain martial law.

“Warrants of arrest or search warrants should be issued,” the statement from the government’s information agency said.

“No person may be arrested and detained without orders coming from these civil courts.”

Duterte has overwhelming support in Congress, which is this week widely expected to endorse his initial declaration of martial law.

However the Supreme Court chief justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, on Friday expressed concerns about martial law./rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/900310/duterte-vows-to-ignore-supreme-court-on-martial-law#ixzz4iOXVATk5
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 (Contains links to several other related articles)

Friday, May 26, 2017

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Thursday, May 25, 2017 and Earlier
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Lorenzana said the confrontation opened Tuesday afternoon, when government forces attempted to arrest a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, an extremist organization with ties to the Islamic State. They had learned Isnilon Hapilon was in the area, but according to Lorenzana, the military had not expected him to be backed up by “more or less 100 fighters” — many of whom were members of another ISIS-linked organization, the Maute Group.

More than 100 gunmen responded to the raid by burning buildings and conducting other diversionary tactics, officials said, adding that thousands of residents have fled Marawi.

 (with links to related reports)

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South China Sea: Philippine President Duterte Expect Code of Conduct Agreement With China, Next Week

May 16, 2017
“There will be a code of conduct. I will not speculate on how or rather the dimension of the agreement. It has to be worked out. So I don’t want to speculate,” the President said upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport before dawn yesterday from China. Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP, File

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – For years an elusive target for nations with conflicting claims in the South China Sea, a code of conduct for managing the dispute is expected to be ready on May 19 when the China-led Bilateral Consultation Mechanism convenes for the first time, President Duterte said yesterday.

“There will be a code of conduct. I will not speculate on how or rather the dimension of the agreement. It has to be worked out. So I don’t want to speculate,” the President said upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport before dawn yesterday from China.

The President was in Cambodia and Hong Kong before his China visit.

The President stressed that both China and the Philippines are looking forward to a bilateral mechanism for settling the dispute over areas in the South China Sea.

The Philippines refers to the side of the disputed waters within its exclusive economic zone as West Philippine Sea.

Other claimants in the South China Sea aside from the Philippines and China are Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan. China claims almost the entire South China Sea through which 40 percent of world trade passes.

Many of the disputed areas were uninhabitable land features on which the Chinese built fortresses with airstrips and bristling with sophisticated weapons system.

“We look forward to the bilateral meeting on the South China Sea. This is one step forward in peacefully managing disputes,” the President said.

The President emphasized that the forging of deals with China amounting to billions of dollars under the latter’s One Belt One Road development strategy would not influence – much less undermine – the Philippines’ position in next week’s bilateral talks on the South China Sea issue.

He said the government does not have to take extra measures to ensure the sovereignty of the country is not compromised.

“It is not really the safety measure that you are talking about. The safety measure is that when you avoid trouble, we avoid violence and we avoid war because frankly, we cannot afford it and China cannot afford it also at this time. Masisira tayong dalawa (We’ll both lose),” the President further said.

While acknowledging there is indeed a dispute with China over territories, Duterte said he and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping had agreed there is a proper time to raise the July 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling on the issue.

The UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague invalidated China’s massive claims in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the Philippines’ maritime entitlements. Beijing, however, made it clear it would not comply with the ruling.

“There is a time for me to ask about the arbitral ruling but it is not now. We have to go into the mechanics of… We have to have an agenda, the structure of the meeting and… how to present the case to them first because we agreed to talk, to have a dialogue,” the President pointed out.

“Maybe at some future time these things will crop up. And you cannot avoid it because there is the arbitral ruling,” he added.

“In the end it would always be legal. The arbitral ruling rendered by an organ of the United Nations will always be there,” he said.

The previous Aquino administration filed a case against Beijing in 2013 with the arbitral tribunal in response to China’s escalation of island building activities in the West Philippine Sea.

The filing of the case came a year after the Chinese took control of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off Zambales after a standoff with the Philippine Navy. Chinese maritime surveillance vessels arrived in the area to rescue Chinese poachers arrested by the Philippine Navy earlier.

The poachers were allowed to leave with their illegal cargo of endangered corals, giant clams and baby sharks.

Fair and balanced

Meanwhile, President Duterte said he still has to study the suggestion of former speaker Jose de Venecia that the Philippines conduct joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea with China and Vietnam, as he stressed any deal would have to be “fair and balanced.”

De Venecia, recently named special envoy for intercultural dialogue, raised the idea at the Belt and Road Forum in China last Sunday.

He said the three countries should “discard occasional enmity and exaggerated pride” and consider conducting a three-way energy exploration in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

He expressed belief his suggestion, if adopted, could promote peace and development in the area.

Duterte said De Venecia’s proposal should be examined to ensure that the Philippines would not end up shortchanged.

“Let us see the wherewithals. Tingnan muna kung ’di ba ako malugi (Let’s see if we will not be shortchanged)? It has to be fair and it has to be balanced,” the President said. “So if we can get something there with no hassle at all, why not?”

A Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking signed by the Arroyo administration with China drew flak from various sectors, which saw the deal as tantamount to giving Beijing unbridled access to the Philippines’ maritime territory. – With Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/17/1700690/rody-expects-china-nod-sea-code-conduct

China death penalty rates ‘shockingly high’, says Amnesty — China executed more people last year than the rest of the world combined

April 11, 2017

AFP, AP, Reuters, France 24

© ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP | In this photo taken on April 10, 2017, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International and Amnesty East Asia regional director, speaks during a media briefing on the death penalty in China, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-04-11

China executed more people last year than the rest of the world combined – many of them among the country’s poorest – even as global death penalty rates declined, a leading human rights group said Tuesday.

Amnesty International said China’s death penalty is “shockingly high” when compared to the number of executions globally (excluding China), which fell to 1,032 in 23 countries in 2016 and 1,634 in 25 countries in 2015.

The precise number of people executed in China remains unknown because the government considers it a state secret.

However, the human rights group Dui Hua estimates that approximately 2,000 executions took place in China last year, down from 6,500 a decade ago, said the group’s executive director, John Kamm.

Crackdown

Under President Xi Jinping’s much-hyped crackdown on corruption, many high-ranking figures have been sent to jail, but their death sentences have been commuted.

While the number of crimes in China that carry a death sentence include treason, separatism, spying, arson, murder, rape, robbery and human trafficking; Chinese legal scholar Hong Daode states that up to 90 percent of executions were for homicide in 2016.

“There has been a long tradition in China that the one that has taken people’s lives should pay with his own life,” said Hong, a professor of criminal law at China University of Political Science and Law.

But Amnesty’s report painted a different picture claiming farmers were more frequently sentenced to death than any other group in China.

The claim is backed up by Susan Trevaskes of Australia’s Griffith University and author of the 2012 book “The Death Penalty in Contemporary China.” In a recent study, she concluded that close to half of all death sentences in China were handed down for drug crimes, many perpetrated by poor, rural residents.

Trevaskes says they act as low-level “mules”, hired by traffickers to transport illicit contraband but who reap minimal profit from the work.

As other countries shift away from capital punishment, China increasingly is seen as an outlier, said Amnesty International East Asia Director Nicholas Bequelin.

Government officials did not immediately comment on Amnesty’s report. But China’s chief justice, Zhou Qiang, told the national legislature last month that over the past decade executions were limited to “an extremely small number of criminals for extremely serious offenses”.

China has faced longstanding pressure from the international community to curb its use of the death penalty. The nation also has faced criticism for harvesting organs from executed inmates, including for sale to patients from overseas.

Dui Hua’s Kamm said the number of executions in China remains a national embarrassment.

“Pushing for the Chinese government to release the number is perhaps the most effective way to drive it down,” he said.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Related:

Amnesty criticises ‘rogue state’ China as global death penalty toll falls — Of course, Amnesty International could be crazy, as Philippine President Duterte says….

April 11, 2017

By  in Hong Kong
The Guardian

An execution chamber in Texas

An execution chamber in Texas. The US last year carried out its lowest number of death sentences since 1991. Photograph: Pat Sullivan/AP

Amnesty International has sharply criticised China for continuing to conceal the number of people it sentences to death, as the human rights group reported a fall in executions globally last year.

The number of executions around the world fell by more than a third to 1,032 across 23 countries in 2016, compared with 1,634 in 25 countries in 2015. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan were the top executioners.

It is estimated that China executes thousands of people, but Beijing does not release statistics and considers the number of death sentences to be a state secret.

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty’s east Asia director, said: “It is time for China to stop being a rogue state in the international community with respect to the death penalty and finally allow the Chinese people to have a proper, informed debate about capital punishment in the country.”

China has a conviction rate of about 99.9% and criminal trials heavily rely on confessions. Rights activists say suspects are often tortured or coerced into admitting guilt.

The Chinese government claims it has reduced the use of the death penalty and taken steps under a policy of “killing fewer, killing cautiously”. As part of this, the county’s top court must now approve death sentences handed out by lower courts.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/11/amnesty-criticises-rogue-state-china-as-global-death-penalty-toll-falls

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Of course, Amnesty International could be crazy, as Philippine President Duterte says….

 (The Chinese way)

  (The Chinese way)

  (The Chinese way)

A man suspected of dealing drugs shot dead after a “buy and bust” operation in Quezon City in September. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP

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Philippines: Filipino’s killed by police without a court warrant or hearing in President Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

Amnesty International accused the Filipino police of murdering defenceless people or paying others to kill as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war

Amnesty International accused the Filipino police of murdering defenceless people or paying others to kill as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war ©NOEL CELIS (AFP/File)

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Image result for Phelim Kine, photos

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz, Philippine Star

 (December 23, 2016)

Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl looks like it has been put out with the trash…..
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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Philippine President Duterte Ally Says New York Times is Destabilizing The Philippines — (Read it here and judge for yourself)

March 24, 2017
By: – Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:30 AM March 24, 2017

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles. MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles. MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Now, it’s the New York Times that is destabilizing the Duterte administration by publishing a profile of the Philippine leader as an emerging strongman, according to an ally of the President.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles on Thursday said the Times article was an attempt to “destabilize and topple down the government” so that “enemies of the State” may grab power.

“New York Times owes our country, our people and our President an explanation and an apology,” Nograles said in statement.

The Times article, “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman” by Richard Paddock, traced Duterte’s life and career as a “killer-savior”—from the beatings he received as a boy to his rise as one of the country’s toughest mayors to being a foul-mouthed president.

The article was published also by the Inquirer on Thursday.

“The spin doctors are on overtime to put in disrepute the President of our republic in a desperate attempt to take over. They are going international because they know that our people know better and nobody would believe them,” Nograles said.

Nograles, chair of the House appropriations committee, said the Duterte profile was “nothing more than a rebooted, rehashed, exaggerated remake of a movie script.”

‘Calculated move’

 

“This is obviously a calibrated and calculated move by enemies of the State to force themselves into power in an undemocratic manner. Only rich and powerful enemies have the means to operate in this manner,” he said.

Nograles said the details in the story were all “obviously fed” by detractors of Mr. Duterte and not based on objective research by “hard-nosed journalists.”

“The writer made it appear that he interviewed a few people for the article but it is clear that he picked only parts of those interviews that were unfavorable to President Duterte and his people,” Nograles said.

“It destroyed the time-honored balance required in journalism and recklessly tried to damage the interests of the Philippines,” he added.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a fierce critic of Duterte, was among the people interviewed by the writer, who also extensively quoted the President’s brother and sister.

“Curiously,” Nograles said, “the malicious article came at a time when there was this report from New York City by Filipina journalist Ethel Cantor Constantino, a former Davao broadcaster, that intense fund-raising activities are being undertaken in that particular American area.”

“The report from New York made public online did mention of Philippine opposition figures raising money to bring down the Duterte administration,” he said.

RELATED VIDEO

Duterte thinks Trillanes, De Lima, Robredo planning to oust him
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Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman

He is a child of privilege turned populist politician, an antidrug crusader who has struggled
with drug abuse. Obsessed with death, he has turned his violent vision into national policy.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte relishes the image of killer-savior. He boasts of killing criminals with his own hand. On occasion, he calls for mass murder.

Speaking of the drug addicts he says are destroying the Philippines, he said, “I would be happy to slaughter them.”

Mr. Duterte and his friends have long cultivated legends of his sadistic exploits, like throwing a drug lord from a helicopter and forcing a tourist who violated a smoking ban to eat his cigarette butt at gunpoint.

It is a thuggish image that Mr. Duterte embraces.

Whether Mr. Duterte has done what he says — the killings he claims to have carried out are impossible to verify — he has realized his gory vision in national policy. First as a mayor, now as president of the Philippines, he has encouraged the police and vigilantes to kill thousands of people with impunity.

 

While his draconian justice and coarse manner have earned him widespread condemnation outside the Philippines, an in-depth look at his rise to power and interviews with many people close to him reveal a man of multiple contradictions.

He has alienated many with outrageous comments and irrational behavior, yet remains wildly popular. He is an antidrug crusader, yet has struggled with drug abuse himself. And he grew up a child of privilege, the son of a provincial governor, yet was subjected to regular beatings.

His mother whipped him so often for his misbehavior that she wore out her horsewhip, according to his brother, Emmanuel Duterte. At parochial school, he was caned by Jesuit priests and, the president says, molested by one. By his teenage years, he was known as a street brawler.

“Violence in the house, violence in the school and violence in the neighborhood,” Emmanuel Duterte said. “That is why he is always angry. Because if you have pain when you are young, you are angry all the time.”

Years later, a psychological assessment of Mr. Duterte, prepared in 1998 for the annulment of his marriage, concluded that he had “narcissistic personality disorder” and a “pervasive tendency to demean, humiliate others and violate their rights.”

Nonetheless, his ailing ex-wife campaigned for his presidential bid last year.

That act of devotion only begins to unravel the paradox that is Mr. Duterte. Behind his brutish caricature, according to interviews with dozens of Mr. Duterte’s friends, family members, allies and critics, is a man who can be charming and engaging. He has many loyal friends and a soft spot for sick children.

As mayor of Davao City, he was known to help people in need by digging into his pocket and handing them a wad of cash. To many, his vulgar jokes only burnish his bona fides as a man of the people. When he appears in public, he is swarmed by adoring fans.

Still, the bodies have been piling up. Since Mr. Duterte took office last June and declared a “war” on drugs, the police and unknown assassins have killed more than 3,600 people, the police say, mostly in the slums of Philippine cities. Some put the toll at more than 7,000.

A man suspected of dealing drugs shot dead after a “buy and bust” operation in Quezon City in September. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

 

“I might go down in the history as the butcher,” he acknowledged unapologetically in January.

In less than nine months, he has already surpassed the death toll of President Ferdinand Marcos, whose forces killed about 3,300 political opponents and activists during his harsh 20-year rule.

Yet his gangland approach to combating crime and drugs has largely endeared him to Filipinos who have suffered high rates of violent crime and who see him as a refreshing change from the sophisticated but out-of-touch elite who have ruled this country for most of the last three decades.

The dissonance between the image of the gentle, caring grandfather and the brutal strongman spilling blood on the streets is just one of many in a common-man president who was born to the elite and has lived a life surrounded by violence.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-president-strongman.html?_r=0

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. Philstar.com/File photo
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MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
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Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
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In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
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“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
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China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
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An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
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In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
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“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
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Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
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Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
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“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
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He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.

Related:

 

Philippine President Duterte Tells Filipinos: If You Are Breaking U.S. Law and Get Deported, The Philippines Will Not Help You

January 30, 2017
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) – January 31, 2017 – 12:00am
President Rodrigo Duterte won’t lift a finger to help undocumented Filipino immigrants in the US as the Trump administration intensifies its crackdown on illegal aliens. “To the Filipinos there, you better be on the right track. If you are not allowed to stay there where you are staying, get out. Because if you are caught and deported, I will not lift a finger,” the President said in a press conference yesterday at Malacañang.

AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Read more at http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/01/31/1667134/rody-wont-lift-finger-help-tnts-us#uFvfXvhhPM81YlVp.99

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte won’t lift a finger to help undocumented Filipino immigrants in the US as the Trump administration intensifies its crackdown on illegal aliens.

“To the Filipinos there, you better be on the right track. If you are not allowed to stay there where you are staying, get out. Because if you are caught and deported, I will not lift a finger,” the President said in a press conference yesterday at Malacañang.

“You know that it is a violation of the law,” he added.

US President Donald Trump has vowed to strengthen the campaign against violators of immigration laws, which he believes are taking away jobs from Americans and legal immigrants.

He has also signed an executive order barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days.

The order, which seeks to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US, covered citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Civil liberty groups and political opposition have criticized the order, saying it constitutes discrimination and bigotry.

Trump maintained though that the order would shield the US from terrorist attacks.

Duterte kept mum on Trump’s controversial order, saying he would not interfere with the affairs of other countries.

“Now, if he (Trump) has policies to protect his country, I will understand. He told me ‘we will not interfere in your drug war, you are doing it right. As a matter of fact my country is also facing that serious problem,’” Duterte said.

“So out of respect, for the statement, I can only answer him in the manner that he has told me. I won’t interfere,” he added.

Duterte has expressed optimism that he would get along with Trump, who he said was supportive of his crackdown on narcotics.

He has badmouthed Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama after the former president had raised concerns over the spate of killings linked to his anti-drug war.

Read more at http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/01/31/1667134/rody-wont-lift-finger-help-tnts-us#uFvfXvhhPM81YlVp.99

Philippine President Duterte Extends “Drug War” — Admits Philippine Police “Corrupt to the core” — Unlawful killing by police mount up — Where are the lawyers when you need them?

January 29, 2017

AFP