editorial.3.7.19a


Two months before the May 13, 2019 elections in the Philippines, in our view as observers from the outside, President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sarah could be the big losers in this political exercise.

They are promoting candidates with questionable characters.

Candidates who don’t want to engage in debates with opponents.

Debates are good bases of selection.

One of their candidates keeps insisting she graduated from UP and Princeton University, but the two schools certified she did not.

The anger, disdain and distrust of the Filipinos against almost every word and action of the two Dutertes are expressed in thousands of social media comments.

Each time an issue comes up, hundreds, if not thousands, would leave critical or even insulting comments against the two on a 9:1 ratio (9 against; 1 in support).

Gone were the days when the ratio was the other way around.

In fact, there are observers who say that Mr. Duterte has outlived his likability, especially after he said publicly that God was stupid and repeatedly attacked verbally the Catholic Church.

(The Philippines is 85% Catholics.)

Another big reason is non-fulfillment of his 2016 election promises of eliminating drugs, corruption and crimes in three to six months.

Two-and-a-half years have passed, his promises are still promises.

More big reasons for the disdain of the people against their president are weaponization of the law in order to throw vengeance against his critics and politicization of independent institutions of government as part of his authoritarian approach to governance.

Sarah Duterte, on the other hand, is talked about as having ambition to run for president at the end of her father’s term.

The other night, she was widely condemned in social media when in defending the lies of candidate Imee Marcos about her college graduation, Sarah said that all the candidates were liars and that honesty was not an issue in the campaign!

As the election season goes into its final two months, it has become more evident that the Dutertes launched two groups of senatorial candidates in order to fill the Senate with more “yes” boys and girls.

Presumably, Mr. Duterte wants to ensure he is covered when his term is over for the abuses of power he is accused of committing, especially extrajudicial killings.

Furthermore, he needs a friendly Senate to secure passage of his constitutional changes.

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