The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines took aim at President Rodrigo Duterte for saying that he likes “joking” and “playing around” with members of the Press Corps. (As reported in our weekly news briefing here).
I for one do not think that the president saying that he once threw someone out of a moving helicopter is very funny. Even less funny when he said he’d happily do it again.
I find it even less funny when the democratically elected leader of a country endorses slaying “corrupt” journalists who are “doing a bad job.”
Of course both of the above statements were recanted, and very quickly. That is, unfortunately, not the point. As the old adage goes “you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
When Duterte takes to the stage, for instance, and says that he cannot be held responsible for the spate of extra-judicial-killings in the country, I take issue with that. He became responsible for them as soon as he said (way back in June) that armed civilians who killed people involved with drugs who be given a medal and would be immune from prosecution.
“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun — you have my support,” he told citizens regarding the arrest of criminals. “Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”
One of the most ironic aspects of his war on drugs combined with his pivot away from the United States is that Chinese gangs have long been involved in the illegal drug trade in the country. A trend that continues, read more from Reuters here.
He has also more recently said that once he is finished with the drug problem in the country he will clean up the human rights activists in much the same way.
At the activation of a coal-fired power plant in November, the Punisher President said: “The human rights (defenders) said I ordered the killings. I told them ‘OK. Let’s stop. We’ll let them (drug users) multiply so that when it’s harvest time, more people will die. I will include you because you are the reason why their numbers swell.”
The Philippines is now more lawless than it has ever been and it has someone at the helm who has no respect for any human life. The longer this continues the worse things are going to become for what is one of the friendliest and welcoming parts of the region. What should really be concerning the population is how long it is going to take to regain the reputation of the country once he’s finished.