Elections, memory, and martial law
May 14, 2016 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte, running on a platform of tough measures on crime, corruption, and drug abuse, has just recently won the presidential election in the Philippines.

The tough-talking politician, variously dubbed "The Punisher," "The Trump of the East," and "Duterte Harry," has spoken openly about his womanizing, has made casual rape jokes that have understandably caused concern and, although he has denied actually running death squads, has a reputed history of extrajudicial killings of criminals (with the promise of more of the same as President). He has been the subject of worried commentary, although at the moment, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China have offered their support. China is likely happy about his apparent willingness to negotiate with China on territorial disputes, including in the South China Sea (the Spratly Islands/ Kapuluan ng Kalayaan/南沙群岛), in exchange for China funding rail projects in the Philippines.

The vice presidential race, however, has perhaps been the more contentious one within the country, as Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., is still disputing the apparent victory of Congresswoman Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo. The history of the Marcos dictatorship, martial law, and the People Power revolution means that many who were part of the movement to end martial law are now faced with the fear that a Marcos might once again gain power on the national stage. (Imelda Marcos currently serves as a congressperson in Ilocos Norte, and her daughter Imee is governor of the same region.)

Concerns about how to teach schoolchildren about their history are being grappled with and the difficult conversation about how to explain martial law has been a topic of much conversation.

In a brighter note, the first out trans woman was also elected to the House of Representatives. Geraldine Roman, who promises to work towards modernizing public hospitals, improving infrastructure, and fighting discrimination won her race for election in the district of Bataan.
posted by PussKillian (17 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, fuck this guy.

I mean all that is bad enough (actually, it's blood-chillingly terrible), but all that and he wants to appoint someone from the Marcos family as his VP? And they've never found the Marcos fortune?

I really don't understand Filipino politics.

although he has denied actually running death squads, h

He had admitted to milling "maybe three" people ... he can't remember.

(Great post though).
posted by Mezentian at 5:58 PM on May 14, 2016

The VP isn't appointed; there is a separate race for the office.
posted by mayhap at 6:21 PM on May 14, 2016

Yeah, "although he has denied actually running death squads himself" seems like the kind of sentence that you want nowhere near a presidential candidate.

Major props to Roman, though!
posted by Itaxpica at 6:32 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Would like to hear more from people on the scene, but this is a really informative post!!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 PM on May 14, 2016

Great piece I read last week: What happened to the Marcos billions?

Truly staggering.
posted by smoke at 7:08 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Awesome post; thanks!
posted by lalex at 7:33 PM on May 14, 2016

Umm.. isn't his name Duterte?
posted by leviathan3k at 8:10 PM on May 14, 2016

Oh my god, I spelled his name wrong twice, I am an idiot. If the mods wouldn't mind correcting my spelling, I would greatly appreciate it. I was so caught up in trying to figure out my links that I missed something super obvious. Going to crawl away now.
posted by PussKillian at 8:23 PM on May 14, 2016

[Think I got them all.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:26 PM on May 14, 2016

Thank so much, Eyebrows.

On a quick personal note, I am also hoping to hear from more people on the scene. My Tagalog is mostly nil. Much of what I've read on the election has been via my cousin, a schoolteacher who is very invested in making sure the kids she teaches know their history. But there is a lot of discussion happening that I'm certain is very important and insightful but which I don't have the language to understand.
posted by PussKillian at 8:38 PM on May 14, 2016

Perhaps, like many others, he is suffering from "autocratic nostalgia"?
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:52 AM on May 15, 2016

Also by Richard Javad Heydarian: Philippines at a Crossroads: “Iron Fist’ vs. ‘Straight Path 2.0’?
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:57 AM on May 15, 2016

“Iron Fist’ vs. ‘Straight Path 2.0’?

Worst Marvel series ever.

But, I found this interesting: Ubiquitous nicknames defy officialdom and good taste in Philippines.
posted by Mezentian at 2:37 AM on May 15, 2016

Duterte's womanizing and misogynist remarks makes it crystal clear to me that Donald Trump is not a uniquely American phenomenon by part of a new wave of ethnonationalist authoritarians sweeping the globe (Marine Le-Pen, Modi in India, the UKIP).
posted by jonp72 at 8:57 AM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

There has been a Rodrigo Duterte campaign banner hanging on the side of a building in my neighborhood for a while now (I don't know if it's from his presidential campaign or an earlier one; it's been there for at least a year). I pass it all the time and didn't really make the connection that it was that Rodrigo Duterte. Like, I thought it was a leftover from some smaller local council race or something.
posted by Aubergine at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2016

The final tally has come through and Leni Robredo won the vice-presidency over Marcos.
posted by PussKillian at 8:20 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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