The next president of the Philippines?

Later today, the Philippines will officially declare the winner of its presidential elections. There are five candidates running and since there is no run-off, the winner needs only a plurality to become president. I had not been aware until today that the candidate currently leading in the vote count and expected to win, Rodrigo Duterte, has a horrific record and platform and has made no secret for his disdain for democratic checks and balances if they stand in the way of his agenda.

He asks voters to “forget the laws on human rights” and has boasted about his involvement in at least hundreds of extrajudicial killings of criminals while he was mayor. He made comments about wanting to rape an Australian missionary and called Pope Francis “son of a whore” when the pontiff’s visit caused a traffic jam in Manila. He is a self-confessed womanizer who admits taking Viagra and has vowed to ride a jet ski to a disputed island that China claims in the South China Sea to personally stake the Philippines’ claim. Rodrigo Duterte is also the front-runner to become the country’s next president.

It seems like people have responded favorably to his hardline stances on crime and corruption.

Given the close links that the US has with the Philippines, I am surprised that this election has received hardly any coverage here. Maybe the wall-to-wall coverage of the US presidential election left no room for anything else.

John Oliver had a segment on Duterte’s appalling views.


  1. gc says

    “policing america’s empire”

    “In Policing America’s Empire Alfred W. McCoy shows how this imperial panopticon slowly crushed the Filipino revolutionary movement with a lethal mix of firepower, surveillance, and incriminating information. Even after Washington freed its colony and won global power in 1945, it would intervene in the Philippines periodically for the next half-century—using the country as a laboratory for counterinsurgency and rearming local security forces for repression. In trying to create a democracy in the Philippines, the United States unleashed profoundly undemocratic forces that persist to the present day.”

  2. cweigold says

    I think there is a little more to this, but it is difficult to document. Do you remember how in the initial stages of the Rouseff impeachment the only news we really saw in the American media made her out to be corrupt and worthy of impeachment. But then later it came out that the people leading the impeachment proceedings seemed to be even more corrupt and were accused of much worse?

    This situation strikes me as similar because it seems that there was also a rather extended smear campaign against Duterte. I was in The Philippines immediately after the election and many people were talking about various sides of the election that were not reported at all in the US. Many people believed that the establishment was trying to steal the election from Duterte.

    That does not excuse his crass comments, however.

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