Posts Tagged ‘Philippine President Duterte’

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/ FILE PHOTO

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles. MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB/ 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.


Duterte thinks Trillanes, De Lima, Robredo planning to oust him
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.


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. photo
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.
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.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
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.
“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.
China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
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.
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.
“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
 (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.



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


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.


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


Philippine President Duterte Revives His Animosity Toward the Catholic Church

January 19, 2017
In this Nov. 26, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his keynote address during the San Beda College of Law Alumni Homecoming at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taguig City. PPD/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday dug up old controversies including the so-called Pajero scandal and clergy sexual abuse in his latest tirade against the Catholic Church, which has been raising concerns over the spate of killings linked to his war on drugs.

Duterte said the religious group of more than 80 percent of Filipinos, has no moral ascendancy to criticize his narcotics crackdown because it also has its own share of sins.

“You expose me, fine. I expose you. Why? When you commit mistakes, it’s okay but when we do, no? B***s***. That’s stupid,” the president said during the oath taking of newly promoted police officials at Malacañan.

“What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines? Religion? What is the meaning of it? Hindi kayo nakakatulong, daldal kayo nang daldal (You do not help us. You just keep on talking),” he added.

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Duterte cited the issue involving bishops who allegedly asked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide them luxury vehicles.

“Remember you asked vehicles from Gloria? Knowing fully well that the policemen have no vehicles. You had Pajero, you sons of b******,” the president said.

“You were given vehicles knowing that there is a principle of separation between Church and State. It was sheer, purely graft and corruption because you did not deserve it. You cannot use property or money for your comfort. That is not for you but for the government but you had the gall,” he added.

In 2011, then Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairperson Margarita Juico revealed that some Catholic bishops got Pajero sports utility vehicles supposedly in exchange for their support for Arroyo.

Juico eventually apologized to the Senate after it was learned that the bishops did not get Pajeros but utility vehicles, which were then used to conduct humanitarian missions. The bishops returned the vehicles to the PCSO, with one of them admitting to have committed a lapse of judgment when he asked Arroyo for a vehicle as a birthday gift in 2009.

Duterte also questioned the supposed failure of the church to explain how donations given during masses were used.

“What did the church do? The Catholic Church earns millions every week all throughout the Philippines. There are many churches. Where is the money of the people?” the president said.

“We explain how we use our funds to the people. You? Priests and bishops, you wear fancy clothes, you have vehicles. Do you have a house, even with just five rooms, for rehab? What did your church do?” he added.

“You count money instead of going around the neighborhoods, explaining to the people why they should not be in that industry because they will die. Now you want the killings to end? All you have to do is to preach because most of the people here are Catholics.”

Earlier, the Catholic Church announced that it would work with local governments to establish rehabilitation centers. One of the church-initiated programs aimed at addressing the drug problem is the Sanlakbay Para sa Pagbabagong Buhay, which was launched last October.

Duterte also cited the clergy sex abuse hounding the Catholic Church as well and the illicit affairs of some priests. The president revealed last year that he was sexually molested by a priest when he was young.

“You asked for it. If you want a showdown, then let’s have a showdown. You mend your ways. If you cannot even give justice to the small boys that you have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to lecture (me) on what to do. Sanctity of life? You’re enjoying your worth,” the president said.

“When we were young, I talked to cabinet members. When we were making confessions to you, we were being molested,” he added.

Duterte also scored alleged homosexual acts happening inside seminaries and the alleged failure of the Church to improve the plight of its faithful.

“What will you do with the homosexuality in your seminaries? What have you done to the children there? Did you investigate us? Mga le**e kayo (You fools),” he said.

“You are in palaces while your faithful are in squatters areas and then you talk about  sanctity? Look at your mirror.”

Duterte encouraged the public to read “Altar of Secrets,” a book by the late journalist Aries Rufo published in 2013 that discussed the corruption, sexual abuses and other controversies that rocked the Philippine Catholic Church.

Last Wednesday, Duterte said priests should try shabu so they can understand the seriousness of the drug problem.

Philippine President Duterte Is Against Martial Law — So Why Does He Keep Bringing it Up?

January 15, 2017
Image may contain: 2 people, text
President Rodrigo Duterte, speaking to members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce late Saturday, said he has sworn to protect the country against all threats, including drugs, which he said has affected about four million people. PPD/King Rodrigue
No martial law; Palace slams ‘misreporting’
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) – January 16, 2017 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte is against martial law, Malacañang clarified last night as it assailed what it described as an “inaccurate reporting” of his remarks.

Wire agencies previously quoted Duterte as saying he would impose martial law if the drug problem became “very virulent,” just a month after dismissing as “nonsense” any suggestion he might do so.

Duterte, speaking to members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce late Saturday, said he has sworn to protect the country against all threats, including drugs, which he said has affected about  four  million people.

“If I wanted to, and it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law. No one can stop me,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court and Congress. “My country transcends everything else, even the limitations.”

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement that “the President has categorically said no to martial law.  He even made a pronouncement saying that martial law did not improve the lives of the Filipinos.”

“We therefore decry the latest misreporting that the President will declare martial law simply ‘if he wants to’ or that ‘no one can stop the President from declaring martial law.’ Such headlines sow panic and confusion to many.  We consider this kind of reportage as the height of journalistic irresponsibility,” he added.

Andanar said the President mentioned declaring martial law “only under the premise that the country has deteriorated into an utter state of rebellion and lawlessness.”

“As President, he recognizes the challenges and limitations set by our Constitution in declaring martial law but he would nonetheless act accordingly if it warrants the preservation of the nation,” he said.

In an interview last month, Duterte said he may declare martial only if there is an invasion from a foreign country.

“Maybe an invasion from other country but rebellion and insurrection, wala yan (that’s nothing),” he told ABS-CBN News Channel.

“Just declare war against them. You don’t have to declare a war against the Republic of the Philippines,” he added.

Duterte has made a brutal war on drugs a central pillar of his administration since he took office in June.

Since July, more than 6,000 people have been killed in the anti-drug campaign, in both police operations and unexplained killings by suspected “vigilantes.” More than one million drug peddlers and users have been arrested or have surrendered to authorities.

Duterte said that if people wanted the killings to stop, then terrorists should drop their guns and those in the illegal drugs trade to give it up.

Almost seven months into his administration and Duterte continues to be saddled with criticisms on the rising number of extrajudicial killings.

“You want no killings? You want a city with no military men, no patrol cars whatever? You want funeral parlors to go bankrupt? It’s easy. Drop your guns if you are a terrorist; drop the shabu tonight and tomorrow it will be heaven,” the President said.

He has no plans of letting up in his fight against the illegal drug trade, pointing out that the industry has flourished over the years making the Philippines a “narco” state.

The Philippines endured a decade of martial law from the early 1970s and memories of campaigns to restore democracy and protect human rights are fresh in the minds of many people.

Last month, Duterte appeared to rule out any possibility he might declare martial law saying, “That’s nonsense. We had martial law before, what happened? Did it improve our lives now? Not at all.”

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman cautioned the President against declaring martial rule, citing the restrictive provisions of the Constitution that limits it.

“President Duterte’s threat to declare martial law is a menacing pendulum from outright denial to a veiled intention,” the opposition lawmaker said.

He reminded Duterte, who is a lawyer, that the Constitution requires that “the basis for the declaration of martial law is the existence of an invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it.” – With Jess Diaz, Edith Regalado



 (Philippine Star,

“President Duterte sees a loophole in the current Constitution that is supposed to have safeguards against the declaration of martial law in the country.”

 (December 29, 2016)

 (Duterte to declare martial law only if needed, Philippine Inquirer, December 28, 2016 )

 (December 23, 2016)

Panic tends to be the effect of repeated warnings from the government about a supposedly heightened but vague terrorist threat. The warnings from top government officials are scaring away travelers and stoking fears, not of a terrorist attack but, because of recent developments, the possible suspension of civil liberties and suppression of political dissent. (Philippine Star, December 4, 2016)

Having suffered through terrorist attacks in the past, Filipinos already know the drill and need only gentle reminders about the benefits of eternal vigilance. The government can rely on public cooperation in the face of genuine threats. Anything beyond such reminders is unnecessary and, if the threat is real, already a victory for the apostles of terror.


 (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)

Philippines — Emotional Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa cries over erring cops, November 23, 2016. Phil Star photo

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

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

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)


 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Philippines Presidential Office Wants National Police Chief To “Come Clean”

December 2, 2016

Alleged Filipino drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, left, is presented to the media by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. photo

MANILA, Philippines – Faced with allegations of doing a favor for a “kumpare,” Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa should reveal the identity of the high ranking official who called him to reinstate a police chief, Malacañang said on Friday.

In a press briefing, Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said it’s dela Rosa’s obligation to explain these matters following his own admission that a “higher power” ordered the reinstatement of Superintendent Marvin Marcos as Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief in Region 8.

READ: Bato: ‘Higher power’ ordered reinstatement of Kerwin’s alleged drug protector

Marcos led the raid in the Baybay City, Leyte jail that resulted in the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa last November 5.

The slain mayor’s son, Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. named Marcos as among the police officials who have received drug money from him in exchange for protection.

When asked if President Rodrigo Duterte would remove the high ranking official from office, Banaag replied that they would first determine the identity of dela Rosa’s “kumpare” before taking any action.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“Alamin po natin muna kung sino si ‘kumpare’ kasi malaking bagay iyan na malaman ng publiko,” said Banaag.

“For now, we cannot comment on that kung ano gagawin ng presidente, kung ano ang maaari niyang gawin at doon sa gravity ng ginawa kung meron man at kung ano ang impluwensya ng tumawag sa kanya,” she added.

Earlier, Sen. Leila De Lima pointed at Presidential Management Staff head Christopher “Bong” Go as the “higher official” who called dela Rosa to reinstate the CIDG chief.

READ: De Lima: Bong Go ordered reinstatement of CIDG-8 chief

The senator said the information came from a reliable source and that the order was already an “open secret” among PNP officials.

Go has long been assistant to Duterte even when he was mayor of Davao City.

The Palace official denied his involvement in the reinstatement of Marcos, saying these are “pure hearsay and [are] unsubstantiated.” – Kristine Daguno-Bersamina



 Details of Police Killing of Prisoners Inside Jail Remain Murky
Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



Philippines — Emotional Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa cries over erring cops, November 23, 2016. Phil Star photo

Commentary: The terrifying lessons of the Philippines’ vigilante president

December 2, 2016

COMMENTARY | Fri Dec 2, 2016 | 12:57am EST


By Peter Apps

Every morning in the Philippines, a handful of bodies are found littering the streets. Their faces are often covered in black plastic tape. Sometimes there are signs of torture. Usually, they have been shot in the head. Few bother police – they are usually suspected of being responsible.

No one, frankly, should be surprised that it is happening. The country’s democratically elected leader, after all, was elected promising to do just this, cracking down on what he has described as a “drug menace” in the country.

If one world leader exemplifies some of the more alarming trends taking place in politics this decade, it is Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. His election – and the policies he has pursued since entering office – represent a comprehensive rejection of decades, if not centuries, of hard-won moves toward respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Such legal niceties, Duterte and those around him argue, have simply given criminals and others too much space. It’s the sort of sentiment that has sometimes also found its place in Donald Trump’s campaign – the U.S. president-elect talked, after all, of getting “really nasty” against Islamic State. In the Philippines, however, the death toll is already believed to have run to more than 5000. Of these, 2000 were shot in armed confrontations with the police – with 3000 more suffering extrajudicial executions.

“The number [of drug addicts] is quite staggering and scary,” Duterte said in his inaugural State of the Nation Address. “I have to slaughter these idiots for destroying my country.”

The Filipino leader has been in power barely six months. He has another five and a half years until he next faces the poll.

That his rhetoric can gain traction among voters should not itself be a surprise – the idea of vigilante justice clearly still has an appeal, if only evidenced by the way in which it remains such a common Hollywood theme. As mayor of Davao City for more than two decades, the Filipino president reveled in such imagery – he was often referred to as “The Punisher” or “Duderte Harry”, the latter a reference to the cinematic vigilante “Dirty Harry” played by Clint Eastwood.

As mayor, Duterte was repeatedly accused of involvement in death squads targeting both criminals and political enemies. Earlier this year, a man claiming to be a former associate accused the president of taking part in some killings and ordering others, including having a man fed to a crocodile in 2007. Nothing was ever proven, however – and in those days, Duterte denied direct involvement. An official inquiry published at the beginning of this year – and, unsurprisingly, heavily criticized – said it found no evidence of the reported death squad killings or Duterte’s own direct involvement.

Since Duterte took the presidency in June, however, he has been much more outspoken – as well as willing to take responsibility for what some estimate could be several thousand deaths. This week, he openly threatened to target human rights activists whom he accused of getting in the way of the purge.

Such tactics appear to have cost the Philippines its long-running alliance with the United States – at least under the presidency of Barack Obama. (The Filipino leader has said he hopes to have a rather better relationship with Trump.) Duterte has talked openly of seeking alliances with Russia and China instead; both countries are seen as more likely to let the Philippines do whatever it wishes when it comes to internal matters.

Duterte is clearly an outlier. For now, however, his approach is serving him relatively well when it comes to Filipino domestic politics – according to one survey, he remains one of the most trusted leaders in Southeast Asia.

But he is also part of a wider trend – one that may well be accelerating. There have always, of course, been leaders who have made a virtue of “doing what it takes” to restore order and have been relatively happy to get a reputation for sometimes brutal tactics, even if they publicly deny them.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, for example, has always said his country needs to sometimes take a tough line with those who try to destabilize it if Rwanda is to avoid a repeat of the 1994 genocide. Sri Lanka’s then-leaders used sometimes brutal measures to end the civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. After the chaos of the 1990s, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruthlessly traded off his reputation for toughness, particularly in the long-running insurgency in Chechnya, where Moscow’s forces have long been accused of unrestricted use of force and widespread rights abuses.

Most of those leaders, however, have always sought to deny outright responsibility – or at least maintain a degree of deniability – when it comes to unquestioned acts of extrajudicial murder. By being willing to make it so explicitly a tool of government policy, Duterte has significantly moved the goalposts of what might be deemed to be acceptable in international affairs.

Where he has been criticized, he has been outspoken in his response, even threatening to leave the United Nations and join a new group – perhaps Russian and Chinese-backed – that would also include African governments keen to push back on some international human rights demands.  Earlier this year, South Africa and Burundi both announced they would quit the International Criminal Court, set up in response to the genocides of the 1990s, but which critics say has been selective in which conflicts it chooses to investigate.

These trends are also, in some respects at least, clearly evident in the West. Trump talked openly of waterboarding and targeting the families of suspected militants during his campaign, although it remains uncertain whether he will pursue such policies in office. Far right European political parties and columnists have periodically called for a much tougher approach to migration, suggesting this might sometimes include the use of live ammunition to maintain potentially overwhelmed borders.

What this represents is an unraveling of the rules-based system – and in many respects the essential concept of basic human rights – enshrined in the United Nations charter signed by most progressive nations after World War Two.

That commitment was always imperfect – and frequently desperately hypocritically imposed. Still, it has rarely been as pushed back against as it is in the Philippines today.

Next year may well see the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reassert control in Syria and the unraveling of the unsuccessful U.S.-backed policy of supporting ineffectual opposition fighters. The United States and Europe will likely see a considerable political reaction against what had been seen as relatively fundamental rights, particularly when it comes to asylum and freedom of movement.

None of those things are unnecessarily unreasonable. What the Philippines reminds us, though, is just how short a journey it might be to really tear up some of the most basic rules which had been seen as underpinning a civilized society. Worse still, it can even be popular.

About the Author

Peter Apps is Reuters global affairs columnist, writing on international affairs, globalization, conflict and other issues. He is founder and executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century; PS21, a non-national, non-partisan, non-ideological think tank in London, New York and Washington. Before that, he spent 12 years as a reporter for Reuters covering defense, political risk and emerging markets. Since 2016, he has been a member of the British Army Reserve and the UK Labour Party.

The views expressed in this article are not those of Reuters News.



Philippine War On Drugs: Five months and nearly 5,000 deaths later, drug traffickers seem undeterred

December 1, 2016

By Ana Marie Pamintuan — Philippine Star


 President Duterte. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, file

Five months and nearly 5,000 deaths later, has Oplan Tokhang put the fear of God into the hearts of drug personalities? With the onset of Advent, into the sixth month of the most brutal administration Filipinos have seen, is the drug menace much weakened? Even more important, is the nation safer?

Despite extensive news coverage of the war on drugs, foreign drug traffickers seem undeterred. We’ve seen a stream of travelers from Latin America and Russia arriving at the NAIA, many of them passing through Brazil, with kilos of cocaine stuffed in their suitcases. Obviously, someone told them they could get away with it in the Philippines.

Tokhang’s outcome seems mixed. I’ve heard of notorious drug dealers and heavy abusers in high social circles who are now making a public show of being drug-free and engaging in wholesome, healthy activities. Among those who have little to lose, however, it seems people are still willing to take the risk. The huge profit margins must be irresistible.

We are presuming that the drug dealers operating from the New Bilibid Prison are now under close watch. But we don’t know for sure if their operations have been shut down. As long as the inmates enjoy unregulated access to mobile phones or other communication devices, the NBP can continue serving as the command or call center for the illegal drug trade.

Do people feel safer? There may be less shabu in the streets, but guns are proliferating, and they are used with impunity.

The war on drugs must be complemented by a war on loose firearms. It’s no coincidence that the nation in East and Southeast Asia with the highest homicide rate is also the most awash with guns.

* * *

The demand for illegal drugs appears to remain strong, as it has been in this country since even before martial law was declared, when the hippies and the Age of Aquarius glamorized drug abuse.

The persistent demand is one aspect of the drug problem that isn’t being sufficiently addressed. Strong demand makes cocaine and its cheaper cousin shabu among the easiest products to sell, whether in the exclusive gated villages of billionaires in Makati (yes, Juana, there are drug personalities there) or in the slums of Caloocan. There’s a drug for every income level in this country. For the suppliers, it’s easy money and the profit margins are enormous.

So there is no shortage of targets for execution. Yesterday in Metro Manila alone, there were 10 drug-related killings, as usual involving mostly persons from low-income communities.

You’d think that with daily reports of such killings, people would be sensible enough to at least suspend pushing sachets of shabu or abusing drugs. Yet the business continues – or at least that’s what we’re told by anti-narcotics cops, whose jobs, it seems, depend these days on their Tokhang body count.

President Duterte has said the killing is far from over, with his shock troops now shifting from the hampas-lupa to higher-value targets. The second phase of the extermination has in fact started, with scores of barangay captains and low-ranking cops among those killed.

Du30 has said his so-called narco list contains about 5,000 names, most of them barangay officials, with a smattering of local government executives, cops and even prosecutors and judges. The persons know who they are and they should stop, Du30 has said.

The first phase of Tokhang has amply shown the capability of this administration for mass killings. The fate that befell Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa also serves as a strong warning to those who think their positions in government protect them from capital punishment in the time of Du30.

Even if those persons in the new narco list decide to lie low, however, it looks like their fate is sealed. About 600,000 drug suspects and abusers have so far surrendered under Tokhang, and a number of them were shot dead shortly after they presented themselves to authorities. He can’t kill them all, Du30 has said, but he can surely have another 5,000 exterminated.

So many more to kill, so little time!

* * *

For sure, Du30 has managed to instill fear among certain lawbreakers. I know people who are cheering the permanent elimination of barangay captains accused of drug trafficking. Du30 might as well make full use of this fear factor to implement difficult reforms.

The fear factor can come in handy in his dealings with the princelings in local government, who are among the biggest hindrances to doing business in this country. The fear factor can also be useful in a campaign against corruption at all levels of government.

Du30’s avowed commitment to clean, transparent governance has been tainted by his unabashed admiration for Ferdinand Marcos and the dictator’s heirs. Duterte must understand that the protests against the Marcoses aren’t only over human rights violations – which are starting to pale in comparison with those committed under Tokhang – but also against world-class corruption.

Still, if bureaucrats understand that their boss has no compunction about applying the ultimate punishment for graft, perhaps even the Bureau of Customs and other revenue-generating agencies can finally be cleaned up.

At a great cost of thousands of lives, Dirty Rody has managed to instill fear among certain sectors. He should not let the fear factor go to waste.