Government News Analysis

Careful what you wish for

We’re breaking with tradition this morning by posting a video rather than an article. And the reason is this. Right now, the battle lines are being drawn by the enemies of President Rodrigo Duterte and the indications are that they will be stepping up their campaign to deliberately thwart his government. And worse; many are suggesting that they are intent on toppling the president and driving him from power. Certainly, if they go ahead, we can expect to see large, well-orchestrated anti-Duterte demonstrations increasingly taking to the streets.

Ever since his election victory some seven months ago, elements of the Liberal Party – and the corporate, social and media infrastructure that supports it – has relentlessly attacked this man, who was swept to power in what amounted to a grass-roots revolution. The Liberal Party which ran the last administration was overwhelmingly rejected; apart from – somehow – it managed to get its vice-presidential candidate, Leni Robredo, elected.

This woman is now the Great Yellow Hope of a party that is facing years in the political wilderness. And so it is now recalibrating its strategies. Earlier this week, Robredo announced to the press: “I will continue to fight against things I do not believe in. If being an opposition leader entails that, then I will be an opposition leader”.

What that means is that there is a strong likelihood that the parliamentary Liberal Party – with five of the 24 Senate seats; 34 of the 297 seats in the House of Representatives, and the vice presidency – could break its alliance with Duterte’s PDP-Laban Party and form an official Opposition headed by the extremely ambitious Robredo.

On the surface it smacks of desperation but what it would do in practical terms would be to frustrate Duterte’s socio-economic agenda and keep pressure on the government in the execution of its law-and-order policies. It would put partisan politics in the Philippines on steroids. And, in turn, set back social reform in his country – not least in areas that would otherwise benefit the poorest in the nation. This would amount to political vandalism.

However, if this is indeed the Liberal Party’s new game plan, we would urge its architects to first watch this video. For what it shows is a tiny fraction of the opposition which the Opposition in Congress and its supporters outside can expect to meet. In other words, this is an extremely dangerous path to tread, for once it’s embarked upon all control will be out of the Liberal Party’s hands.

And if Duterte is ultimately removed, the seeds of division which they would have sown will reap a whirlwind of cataclysmic proportions. And the reason for that is very simple; they will have stolen the people’s hope.

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