The Filipino people are the losers if Duterte is taken out

Tuesday September 20, 2016 ()

Filipino people loses if Duterte is taken out

Besides lawless groups and their cohorts in government, elements of the past administration are plotting ouster PDU30, according to President Duterte himself. He said recently that "yellows" were behind machinations to remove him - referring to politicians and media linked to BS Aquino. His emblem is the yellow ribbon popularized by his late mother, "democracy icon" and former president Corazon Aquino.

Duterte's predecessor sought to continue Liberal Party (LP) rule, but LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas lost, along with erstwhile survey topnotcher Sen. Grace Poe, widely seen as Aquino's Plan B. But Roxas's running mate Leni Robredo won, fueling speculation that the LP could oust Duterte and install his vice president.

The Filipino people are the losers if Duterte is taken out

"Vice President" Robredo denies the purported plot, saying she has a good working relationship with Duterte, and any impeachment move would not prosper.

For an official to be impeached and sent to the Senate for trial and possible removal, one-third of the House of Representatives must approve the Articles of Impeachment. That is deemed unlikely, given Malacañang's immense clout among congressmen, who have mostly allied with Duterte.

Moreover, his Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno now has pork barrel records of all legislators, many of whom benefited from the tripling of pork under Aquino to more than P20 billion a year, plus his illegal P157-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Notably, as the Senate moved to probe anti-drug killings, Duterte announced a deeper pork barrel probe, which had mainly implicated Aquino opponents. That would give pause to ouster plans by lawmakers who got pork and DAP in the past regime.

Still, if Duterte's 91 percent trust rating crashes, he may yet see a sudden House revolt. That happened to then-President Joseph Estrada in 2000 after his crony then-Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson admitted giving him jueteng payoffs. The House impeached Estrada in a lightning petition signed by most congressmen–including dozens of his own allies.

If that happens to Duterte, Robredo's Liberal Party and the Aquino camp return to power, to be cheered no doubt by the crime, jueteng and smuggling syndicates, which flourished under LP rule and are now under threat by Duterte.

Also likely to gain from an LP comeback is the United States and its allies. Washington wants Duterte to continue Aquino's pro-American policies, including the confrontational stance toward Beijing and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The EDCA would escalate US forces in the archipelago and grant them use of Philippine bases. It is crucial to Washington's pivot to Asia policy to move 60 percent of naval assets to the region.

If Duterte drops EDCA, American forces would be hard put to find another vast host nation close to Asian flashpoints.

That's why his conciliatory moves toward China and recent rough talk toward America and President Obama worry the West, which now shows growing antipathy toward Duterte.

The US and the European Union have criticized the anti-drug killings, in contrast to their muted response to abuses by regimes they back, like Egypt's brutal suppression of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Western aid and investment may sour, as warned by Western business chambers in the Philippines.

Western media too is increasingly negative, decrying killings but hardly mentioning the crime explosion Duterte inherited, and his campaign's dramatic gains. Compare them with the more balanced Middle East network Al-Jazeera.

Sources:

  1. Who wants Duterte out? by Ricardo Saludo, September 19, 2016 (Manila Times)

(Most of this article is adapted from the source listed above. We are unable to grant permission for any kind of reproduction of this article other than social media shares.)


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