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EDITORIAL: Highland Defense

FORMER President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat of a restoration carries ominous implications for the Philippines, as he attempts to regain political control with questionable motives and a tarnished legacy.

In the realm of political warfare, Duterte fired an audacious shot in a war of words against President Marcos Jr. However, he lacks the advantageous high ground, with a weary rhetoric that no longer resonates beyond his fervent supporters.

The promise of genuine change made in 2015 remains unfulfilled, leaving Filipinos questioning the sincerity of Duterte’s opposition to the current administration.

Duterte’s motivations appear rooted in personal grievances rather than a genuine commitment to the people’s welfare. His populist coat, now frayed, is cynically draped over accusations of injustice against his family, revealing a desire for self-preservation rather than principled opposition.

As Duterte invokes the spectre of a return to power, Filipinos are resolute in their desire to look forward, electing a president in 2022 who represents a departure from Duterte’s divisive legacy.

The sense of relief accompanying the new administration is a testament to the rejection of Duterte’s brand of governance.

Accusations of corruption and failed governance levied by Duterte against the current administration ring hollow, as blame for systemic issues during his six-year tenure now faces rightful scrutiny.

The legacy of Duterte’s era, marked by assaults on fundamental freedoms and a push for constitutional revision, is due for a reckoning that the current administration appears willing to undertake.

Duterte’s attempt to portray himself as a defender of the Constitution is contradicted by his aggressive pursuit of constitutional overhauls and power consolidation.

Reports of draft resolutions seeking to grant him extraordinary law-making powers during a transitory period underscore a concerning intent to manipulate the democratic institutions he swore to protect.

The Duterte period witnessed the erosion of constitutional principles, with a captive House serving as enablers of intolerance and incivility. The pandemic exposed a regime marked by poor governance, inefficiency, and lack of compassion, exemplified by questionable favors dispensed during critical times.

President Marcos Jr.’s direct response to Duterte’s allegations breaks the norm of presidential dignity but signals a refusal to be bullied. Duterte’s reality check highlights that wielding the big stick rests with the current president, and any attempt at a restoration faces a formidable counter assault.

Filipinos stand at a crucial juncture, yearning for a future untethered to the past. Duterte’s malevolent threat of restoration should be met with skepticism, as the nation strives to move forward with a renewed commitment to democracy and genuine progress.


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