Duterte regime tar­gets crit­ics

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

THE Duterte regime has ex­panded its so-called “war on drugs” to now tar­get – a la “Oplan Dou­ble Bar­rel” – its crit­ics and spe­cific in­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­u­als that can check its abuses of power. The move by Duterte’s al­lies in Congress to al­lo­cate a laugh­able P1,000 for the 2018 bud­get of the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights is just part of what looks like a de­lib­er­ate and strate­gic cam­paign to en­sure im­punity and ab­sence of ac­count­abil­ity for ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

This cam­paign started with the ha­rass­ment and in­car­cer­a­tion of Sen­a­tor Leila de Lima fol­lowed now by a cam­paign to dis­credit Sen­a­tors Antonio Tril­lanes IV and Risa Hon­tiveros, out­spo­ken crit­ics of the regime and its war on drugs. The regime has also tar­geted the me­dia and hu­man rights ad­vo­cates, mak­ing them fair game to its death squads and abu­sive law en­forcers.

The move to im­peach Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno should also be viewed in light of this ef­fort to un­der­mine checks and bal­ances in gov­ern­ment. Once Sereno is im­peached, Duterte will have thor­ough con­trol of the Supreme Court; the implications of this is ter­ri­fy­ing to even con­tem­plate.

The post­pone­ment of the barangay elec­tions gives the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion im­mense power to con­trol grass­roots pol­i­tics in the Philip­pines and forces be­holden barangay of­fi­cials to toe the gov­ern­ment’s line in its bru­tal “war on drugs.” They risk dis­fa­vor with the gov­ern­ment or los­ing their po­si­tions if they re­fused. We should al­ways keep in mind that lo­cal of­fi­cials are the ones pro­vid­ing the names of those in the po­lice’s drug watch list who are then tar­geted for elim­i­na­tion.

As the coun­try lurches from one scan­dal to an­other, we should al­ways be mind­ful of these de­vel­op­ments that not only un­der­mine checks and bal­ances in gov­ern­ment but also fa­vor Duterte and his al­lies in terms of de­flect­ing the se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and cor­rup­tion that they face. The Filipino peo­ple are up against not only a mur­der­ous regime but a cyn­i­cal one as well.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.