Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

There were several surprises in the election results: First, the landslide victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is now set to become the Philippines’ 16th president. Second, the close race between Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr and neophyte Congresswoman Leni Robredo for the vice presidency. And third, the possible entry into the senate of new and young leaders.

Duterte’s electoral success is phenomenal since he will be the first president from Mindanao in the south, the country’s second biggest island plagued by extreme poverty and numerous local conflicts. Duterte, who first became popular last year because of his image as a crime fighter, defeated four other prominent and resource-rich candidates. Duterte introduced himself as a man of the masses and an ordinary politician from the province who is prepared to rid the country of crime and corruption in less than six months. Frustrated by the repeated failures of Manila-based politicians, an overwhelming number of voters gave their support to the tough-talking leader from Davao.

Read more at The Diplomat

5 Trends That Define the 2016 Philippine Elections

After three months, election campaigning will end this week in the Philippines as more than 50 million voters will choose the country’s next president on May 9. While the next few days are crucial to ensure the victory of candidates and political parties, the major narratives of this year’s election have been laid out already. These happenings are expected to guide voters on how they will select the leaders of the country’s new government. Here are five interesting developments during the campaigns:

1. The rise of Duterte. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the last to announce his candidacy last year, but as of this writing, he is leading in several polls. Whether he wins or not, he has made a tremendous impact on Philippine politics. For the first time, a leader from Mindanao became the top contender for the presidency. He continued to gather attention and support in a Catholic-dominated country despite his public pronouncements that he plans to kill suspected criminals. Some believe his phenomenal rise is a reflection of public disgust against the inefficiencies of the incumbent government. Meanwhile, his supporters attribute his popularity to his pro-poor programs and his intention to dislodge elite rule in the country.

Read more at The Diplomat

Does the Philippines Have Its Own Donald Trump?

Leading Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is often compared to American businessman and politician Donald Trump by political analysts. Both are known for their tasteless humor, politically-incorrect views on gender, and populist posturing. Both are also gaining more followers even if many of their statements are widely criticized for being offensive, racist, and divisive.

But comparing the two is also quite inaccurate. Duterte is not a billionaire; he has been a public official since 1986. And unlike Trump, he boasts of having a good relationship with Muslim and communist rebels. It is unfair to Duterte if he is introduced to the world as a mere copycat of Donald Trump.

Even the tag ‘Dirty Harry’ only reflects Duterte’s tough stance on criminality. As mayor of Davao City, Duterte is also known for endorsing progressive policies that benefited his poor constituents.

Read more at The Diplomat

Nazi Germany Steals Headlines in Philippines Election Debate

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels became a trending topic among Filipino Internet users when his name was mentioned by presidential candidates in a televised debate on March 20.

Goebbels first made an appearance when Vice President Jejomar Binay said that the outgoing Aquino administration’s standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II had already determined that he was guilty of graft and corruption despite the fact that a court had not come to a decision. Goebbels, who served as the propaganda minister of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, is often believed to have said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Read more at The Diplomat

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