“IN the Philippines, President Duterte will continue to wage his signature campaign against drugs, corruption, and crime. Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law. His declaration of martial law in Mindanao, responding to the ISIS-inspired siege of Marawi City, has been extended through the end of 2018.”
That’s the entirety, all of 57 words, of what the US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats wrote in his “national intelligence estimate” of the situation in the Philippines under President Duterte, nothing more, nothing less.
I suspect Coats simply yielded to a lobby by a certain quarter in New York led by a Filipina-American billionaire to include Duterte in his report, but to spite it, wrote that analysis on Duterte that wasn’t really critical of him.
Read that paragraph 10 times. Decide for yourself if the following reports on it were accurate, or simply reveal their bias against Duterte, and spun it in ways they thought would damage the president’s image:
BusinessWorld: “US intelligence tags Duterte a ‘threat to democracy, human rights’”;
Rappler.com: “US intelligence agencies cite President Rodrigo Duterte’s suggestion to declare a ‘revolutionary government’ and impose nationwide martial law as a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia.” (Of course, Rappler’s photo for its article showed Duterte in army combat fatigues.)
Where the hell in those 57 words did the US spy chief claim Duterte is a “threat to democracy and human rights” in Southeast Asia”?
If not for the fact that that the statement was in a February 2018 report entitled “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community”—which the Yellows therefore spun that Duterte is close to being a dictator—the paragraph on the Philippines succinctly and accurately summarizes Duterte’s 18 months in power.
The statement implicitly is in praise of Duterte’s performance.
We should all indeed rejoice that at long last a President has made it his “signature campaign” – that is, has bet his reputation on it – to end the scourge of illegal drugs, corruption and crime, and that the US intelligence community is convinced he will continue this agenda.
There wasn’t even a word in the US intelligence estimate mouthing the Yellow and Western media propaganda that the Duterte government committed “thousands” of extrajudicial killings and violated human rights in its “signature campaign” against illegal drugs.
Has there been any president in the past who has had a “signature campaign” to end a particular, serious problem of the country?
There is no right-minded Filipino who has never thought that with the quagmire we are in, and especially since it looks like even the war-ravaged country Vietnam will be economically overtaking us soon, we need a revolutionary government to overhaul our political and economic system.
We should rejoice that Duterte is bold enough, and doesn’t care if the Yellows and the Reds claim that he is drifting towards dictatorship, to put the idea of revolutionary government in the national discourse. The US national intelligence estimate didn’t even use the pejorative words “dictatorship”, “strongman”, or “one-man rule” to describe Duterte’s suggestion of a “revolutionary government.” No way that the term “martial law” means dictatorship. What it is, is described in detail in our Constitution.
Those in absolute, blind love for our electoral system and political structure should rush to advance proposals on how to make a revolutionary government unnecessary by implementing exactly what reforms are needed.
Celebrities in the Senate
For example, how on earth can we accelerate the passage of urgent, necessary laws in a bicameral system, when 293 members of the House of Representatives debate for months, even a year on a particular bill, only for the 24 senators – most of whom have been elected for being celebrities, spouses or children of celebrities – to reject that bill, often by a slim margin of votes. Do you know that there are persistent rumors that certain representatives and senators are known to be puppets of certain oligarchs and the Communist Party?
How can we have a real rule of law in this country, when corruption remains pervasive in our institutions of justice, among them the Ombudsman and the courts?
Do you know that anybody who can afford a lawyer can bring to the Supreme Court any legal case he wants, and the high court is required to study it, resulting in such an absurd situation that the court has to study and rule on even land disputes and graft cases amounting to as low as P10,000? That some of its pending cases are 25 years old?
The degradation of Boracay may seem to be a small problem over a tourist spot. But it is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with our country: a weak state with an inappropriate political structure, landowners and capitalists who have a weak sense of community (nationalism if on national scale), rapacious foreign businesses, and a legal system they can manipulate to maintain the status quo. How can we save Boracay within our present political and legal system?
How can we not praise a President who, as the US national intelligence estimate reported, “declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the ISIS-inspired siege of Marawi City.”
In a country brainwashed for four decades that “martial law” is evil, Duterte’s move was bold, unconcerned about the Yellows and Reds’ propaganda that he is moving towards dictatorship.
The US national intelligence estimate’s words were actually covert praise for Duterte. C’mon now, do you really think the US intelligence community is condemning Duterte for defeating the Islamic State (IS) in Marawi?
Didn’t the US put two entire countries not only under martial law but outright foreign military control when it invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2002 in pursuit of international terrorist Osama bin Laden? Isn’t IS at the top of the US list now as the biggest threat to Western civilization? And Duterte is fighting their minions in the Philippines?
After all, why on earth would the hard-nosed US intelligence community dislike Duterte when he is fighting with success the kind of people they fighting all over the world — drug cartels, Islamic fundamentalists, and of course communist insurgents.
I had originally planned my column to be on the “EDSA People Power Revolution,” as Sunday is a non-working day dedicated to it. After checking my files though, I have written a piece every February debunking the myths over EDSA. I have grown tired, as many Filipinos have, of this Edsa-edsa.
If you missed these columns, these are some of them (just google the exact title): “EDSA and its celebrations have severely weakened Philippine nationalism”; “Was EDSA useless for the Filipino masses?”; “Why the hell do we celebrate EDSA I, anyway?”; “How the US maneuvered to put Cory Aquino in power”; “Smartmatic chairman: Cory’s close-in media adviser”; “Did EDSA 1986 matter?”.
My conclusion from my research and explained in these columns: From start to finish, the US brilliantly maneuvered to make the EDSA revolt explode, and it used the same template in Eastern Europe. It resulted only in the restoration of oligarchic power in this country, especially of a small faction of oligarchs who crossed swords with Marcos before he declared martial law. While our country has advanced since then, little of this has anything to do with EDSA.