Thursday, January 18, 2018

Duterte unchecked - by Malcolm Cook

See -
"x x x.

Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, is a quarter of the way through his single six-year term under the current constitution. So far, he is changing the office of the president and the Philippine political system much more than it is changing him. The checks and balances that are supposed to constrain and channel executive power are being left unchecked and unbalanced. And the most fundamental change to the Philippine political system desired by Duterte – replacement of the current constitution with federalism – is only starting to take vague form on the horizon.

The list of measures under the Duterte administration is startling. Currently, they include:
Rappler, an influential news portal led by Maria Ressa attacked by the president and his supporters repeatedly, awaits a Securities and Exchange Commission decision to revoke its license.

The president is threatening not to renew the television franchise ABS-CBN, the leading television company that President Marcos seized when he invoked martial law in 1972.

The leading broadsheet newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was sold to a business tycoon with close relations to the president.

The House of Representatives is conducting impeachment hearings against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Duterte has established a new anti-corruption commission to investigatethe Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

The chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, Patricia Licuanan, has resigned before the end of her term under pressure from the presidential palace.

Vice President Leni Robredo continues to be excluded from cabinet meetings.

Senator Leila de Lima remains incarcerated.

Local elections scheduled for October 2016 have not been held.

Mindanao island, which accounts for a fifth of the national population, remains under martial law, with Duterte not ruling out extending martial law to other regions. He has also suggested he might declare a revolutionary government.

As part of the early federalism discussions, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has publicly mused about cancelling the midterm electionsscheduled for October 2019.

As part of the early federalism discussions, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has speculated about extending Dutertes term in office.x x x."