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.

After naming a general as his next secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte quipped that he will soon establish a junta and allow the military to take over the country.

Duterte may be joking but for some of his critics, there’s nothing funny about an idea that could soon be a reality. After all, Duterte now has 12 retired generals holding key positions in his Cabinet. Three of these Cabinet members were named in the past two weeks.

Excerpt of my contributed article to The Diplomat magazine.

Is Duterte Already a Dictator?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly admitted his admiration for former dictator Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country from 1966 to 1986. He allowed Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in 2016 and he recently hinted that his government is open to facilitating a compromise deal with the Marcoses for the return of their ill-gotten wealth in exchange of immunity from prosecution.

It’s one thing to admire the leadership skills of a former president, but it’s quite different and disturbing for an incumbent president to justify authoritarianism in order to solve the country’s problems.

A year after Duterte promised to bring change in the country, his government is accused of killing 13,000 drug suspects, a martial law regime is in effect in Mindanao, critics face trumped-up cases, and the ghost of the authoritarian Marcos rule is being revived. Dictator or not, Duterte has eroded respect and protection of human rights in the country.

Excerpt of my contributed article to The Diplomat magazine.

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