Philippines 'concerned' as U.S. report labels Duterte a threat to democracy

Frederick Owens
February 22, 2018

The highlight of the event was the presentation of miniature housing model of Bahay Pagasa (meaning houses of hope) Phase II, a housing project of CFBCI that was inspected by President Duterte in Marawi City on January 30, 2018 shortly after the turnover of Bahay Pagasa I on October 2, 2017.

But the report comes just two months after Duterte last threatened to impose martial law across the Philippines, and he recently expressed his intention to extend the measure in the region of Mindanao until the end of 2018. At a time when the Philippines are experiencing a surge in new HIV cases, Duterte went against conventional wisdom and said not to use condoms, NPR reported.

The intelligence report, released on February 13 by the office of the Director of National Intelligence, highlights the Philippine president's threats to suspend the constitution, declare a revolutionary government and impose a nationwide martial law. "He adheres to the rule of law and remains loyal to the constitution", he continued, adding that the Duterte administration views the report with "some concern".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says his country and China are talking about the possibility of joint exploration for resources in the South China Sea.

Roque also explained that an autocracy is not prevalent in the Philippines since media are still able to broadcast and print what they want, including fake news. Our judiciary and the courts are functioning as usual. It is therefore foolhardy not to tap social media as a tool when the technology exists for free.

"I don't know of any government in the free world which does not use the internet and social media to promote its agenda".

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"This is something we are taking very seriously. This latest intelligence assessment is a classic case in point", he added.

Roque, for his part, said he does not believe the assessment report would affect a lawsuit filed against Duterte before the International Criminal Court since the USA refused to be a member of the ICC.

Rappler, set up in 2012, is among a clutch of Philippine news organisations that have sparred with Duterte over their critical coverage of his drug war which the government says has claimed the lives of almost 4,000 suspects.

During a visit to the Philippines in November, Trump boasted of his "great relationship" with Duterte.

Aside from Duterte, Cambodian leader Hun Sen was also cited in the report as he is seen to continue repressing democratic institutions and civil society, manipulate government and judicial institutions and use patronage and political violence to guarantee his rule beyond the 2018 national election.

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