Fear and intimidation as government policy
I support President Duterte for what he said in his inaugural address, that he would restore trust and confidence in Philippine government. Well, I thought President Aquino had been doing that, too, but if others need something more, who am I to argue?
That said, I have some reservations about the early weeks of President Duterte’s Administration. His SONA did not give me ease.
I see a lot of intimidation tactics emerging from leadership rather than inclusion and confidence-building.
Perhaps we have different definitions of trust and confidence.
The cynical me believes that, to this government, they are saying “have trust and confidence or I’ll make you pay big time.”
- Take the case of the five generals who had their reputations smeared in public without evidence or proper civil process. Talk about a chilling effect.
- Take the case of Senator De Lima who said she wanted to hold investigative hearings on the large number of killings and suddenly found the Speaker of the House waving documents threatening an investigation into the Senator’s doings as DOJ Secretary.
- The Speaker subsequently broadened his targets to include former cabinet secretaries Roxas and Abaya, a clear intent to intimidate political opposition.
- Take the police and their shoot first and investigate never mode of operation.
- Take the way normal citizens have become killer agents for the administration, spreading fear and intimidation across the land. A special 888 phone number is being set up so citizens can rat on citizens. Boy howdy, THAT will breed trust and confidence.
- Take the way popular media no longer have benefit of press conferences because a few reporters were impertinent with their questions. “That’ll teach them!”
- Take the way the national government is moving to control everything we read or see, with close-up shots of the President thumping his heart when speaking passionately during the SONA. Weird, man. We are being programmed.
- Take the way that the Administration’s troll armies remain in full force labeling and threatening upstarts who would dare to disagree with the Administration.
- Take the case of President Duterte commenting about critics of the way the war on drugs is being waged: “That’s the problem with Filipinos, many pretend to be bright when they are not.”
- Take the way human rights advocates were cited as a danger to the nation in the SONA: “Human rights must uphold human dignity. They can’t be used as an excuse to destroy your country.”
Labeling citizens as stupid seems to be a strange way to gain their trust and confidence. Implying that critics of the flood of killings are out to destroy the country is one step short of gestapo. The good are defined as bad, and as a sovereign threat. Then the dogs are sent after them, only in modern society they look a lot like a social media trolls.
What’s next, hauling the Human Rights Commissioner off for treason?
These deeds for sure don’t build my trust and confidence. I would add that President Duterte demanded in the SONA that the efforts to rid the nation of drug dealers and criminals be doubled or trebled. It was a call to slaughter. As if 500 recent killings are just an appetizer for the Philippine’s blood president.
Well, we run into trouble, do we not, when we believe we have the right . . . nay, the moral OBLIGATION . . .to speak of these matters . . . but the government would rather that we did not.
I don’t know what to say. I’m not out to destroy the Philippines. I’m for compassion and care for the outcasts our society has created, those who need the crutch of drugs. Killing the outcasts is holding THEM responsible for society’s ills. No no. NO!
The outcasts were generated by entitled people running government and failing to take care of the nation and the poor. Today’s killings are the work of yet another set of entitled people who add murder to their roster of backward, incompetent deeds.
Accept accountability for the drug problem, eh? Do REAL change, not some fake slogans you paste across the nation to rationalize a whole host of human rights violations.
One is inclined to think the Administration has absolutely no idea how to build trust and confidence among the educated and liberated . . . the humanists . . . unless it is to have an agent sidle up to them and offer them cash, a cushy job or a death sentence.
Let us zoom back to a bigger historical point of view on this matter of intimidation, and its brother fear.
It seems to me that the Philippines, as a collective of peoples, has never been a confident nation. Spain laid waste to the sense of nationhood. The Philippines was a Spanish realm, not a nation. Spanish rule was followed during the 20th century by fits and starts and occupations, this daddy then that one. The nation’s many localized tribes and regions never signed on to the idea of aligning with “National”. National is a bastard, after all, born of unwed parents. While National was busy philandering with an assortment of self-involved bums, the children – the regions and tribes – were left to fend for themselves . . . and so they gathered up the angers and insecurities that lead the abandoned to bad thinking.
The tribes and regions are the abandoned step children of a wayward and untrustworthy parent . . . the parent who would just as soon beat you and steal your savings as feed you and wrap you in her arms.
And so the people expect abuse. It affirms their sense of powerlessness, and it indoctrinates them into the view that the powers of National are supreme. If our lives are to become better, they think to themselves, we need power in National, someone who can cut through the crap and give us definition. We need the biggest badass we can find to put the other abusers into line. Give them their own medicine, so to speak.
The unloved . . . seeking love in all the wrong places.
Seeking trust and confidence in all the wrong ways.
Well, I certainly agree that President Duterte is the biggest badass the Filipino children could find. Never mind that these children are adults now, way past their teens, yet are so tormented as to not have figured out yet why they struggle so.
President Duterte is a town mayor, and we all know, those of us who live in the hinterlands, that the mayor is not to be messed with. He, or she, carries a big stick and uses it. Well, this particular big stick is now President, and he knows that intimidation tactics work. They keep others off balance. Keep them compliant. Keep them quiet. No wonder he admires the NPA, because he governs exactly as they would, except that he is burdened with troublemakers like Senator De Lima.
As President Marcos was burdened by a guy named Ninoy Aquino.
There are not very many of such courageous character in today’s Congress, I think.
The historical perspective suggests that it is unlikely that this will end well.
- The Philippines has gone from a nation rising to a nation afraid.
- From a nation building to a nation tearing down its institutions (it certainly looks like the Legislature and Judiciary have been compromised and are no longer focused on the law and national well-being, but on personal advantage and allegiances).
- From a nation gaining a glowing international reputation to one gaining the reputation of an abuser of her own peoples.
- From a free work force emerging as competitive and competent to nation of subjects cowering to a stern and ruthless strong man.
And the President, rather than offering calm and reason and a sense of safety and well-being to Filipino citizens, wants what exactly?
He wants more troops and more police to help him build trust and confidence . . .