onsdag 19. mai 2021

5 Years of Duterte: A Calamity Reaching Its Crescendo

At the onset, Rodrigo Duterte pegged himself as a wild card thrown into a deck of traditional politicians vying for the Philippine presidency. His emergence in the 2016 electoral race, however, revealed him to be more of a loose cannon, trigger happy and firing (quite literally) on all fronts. He always claimed that it was all rooted in his deep love for the nation. No doubt a large section of the public was endeared.

At the time, the Philippines was on the back end of a largely frustrating tenure by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, whose liberal inclinations, soft power focus, and overall impotent administration perfectly set up any potential successor to stake a claim with a more action-oriented platform. There was a sense that anything was better than the status quo.

Like most populists, Duterte fit the bill. He was a man who capitalized, better than any of the other candidates, on the sentiment that something drastic had to be done. His highly questionable human rights record and past as a political turncoat didn’t much come into play during the campaign. With much fanfare, Duterte won the election.