Vice President Leni Robredo.  (File photo)

OBVIOUSLY countering the rising tide of authoritarianism in the world, especially in Southeast Asia, where democratic values, including human rights and basic freedoms are being curtailed, manipulated and even ignored, PH Vice President Leni Robredo lamented that many people across the globe today are associating “strong leadership with harsh behavior, brute force and punitive action.”

She said the future of a country is not in the hands of one leader alone, rather, it is the responsibility of everyone in society.

Speaking in a Leadership Congress in Manila, the Philippines second highest leader stressed that change lies in the hands of everyone.

“Everyone has a role; everyone has a contribution,” the Vice President added.

Robredo said that “strength in leadership flows from empathy and compassion and stressed that good leaders are inspiring leaders.”


It may be recalled that Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle also delivered a scathing homily last Palm Sunday about leaders who are violent, cocky, proud and divisive.

The Nikkei Asian Review cited Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand as countries in Southeast Asia which are fast embracing centralized control of government power or what it referred to as “galloping specter of authoritarianism.”

The Review wrote about the Philippines this way:

“For a time, democratic rule in the Philippines was on course for political openness consistent with liberal values. But President Rodrigo Duterte, a provincial politician with few debts to the Manila-based political establishment, has shaken the country with a vengeful and violent anti-drugs crusade since winning office in 2016...Unlike his predecessors, Duterte also has thrown in his lot with China...”

The Review also said that because of its economic dynamism, China has a big influence on the rising trend of central control and state-led capitalism in Asia.

It pointed to Australia, Japan and India as key democracies that could reverse the trend in Southeast Asia.

The Review concluded with a warning that “where authoritarianism holds sway, rights and freedoms will be suppressed altogether.”

For her part, addressing young people, VP Robredo concluded her talk with a reminder, “...No matter how inexperienced you are, your voice will always count. Your actions will always count.”

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