Shatter the illusion of democracy under Duterte’s tyranny

The Duterte tyrannical regime stole the recent midterm elections. Duterte employed strongman tactics and vast state powers and resources to ensure that the outcome of the elections will favor his ambition to control the congress and the entire government..
The midterm elections are being falsely touted as a show of overwhelming support for Duterte. But it was far from being free or fair, especially as these were conducted under conditions of martial law in Mindanao, all-out war nationwide and the fake drug war. The results merely reflected the extent to which Duterte has succeeded to put the entire ruling political system under his tyrannical sway.

He used the military and police to intimidate, silence and undermine support for his rivals and critics. Before and during the campaign, his clique has successively perpetrated the killing of numerous rival politicians.. He openly used the courts, agencies and local governments to brand progressive candidates and parties as “terrorists” in line with the “whole-of-nation” approach against “insurgency.” He spent billions of pesos of people’s money to flood the media with pro-administration lies and drown the voices of the opposition.

Most crucial of all, he used the Commission on Elections to carry out massive cheating by hacking the results of the automated vote counting and tallying system. On election day, around 1,000 vote counting machines malfunctioned and counting was delayed for seven hours. Voting for overseas Filipinos was also problematic. According to experts, the recent elections was the most unsuccessful so far, and the most dangerous in history.

By shutting out the political opposition from the Senate, Duterte has now effectively put all branches of government under his thumb. He previously controlled the Lower House through his alliance with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Using this same alliance, alongside the Marcos millions, he is set to dominate anew the recently-elected Congress, as well as the local governments. Aside from this, he appointed 12 out of 15 Supreme Court justices.
Duterte is further emboldened by his illusory victory to go after his rivals and critics with even more ruthlessness. He is determined to step up persecution and suppression of both the conservative opposition and the mass movement against his tyranny and prevent the democratic forces from building a broad front against his dictatorship schemes.

Duterte’s ambitious drive to establish himself a dictator is driven by his dread of being arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for all the crimes perpetuated by his brutal regime. His drive to monopolize power will deepen the schisms within the ruling class, even among his allies. The opposition is already preparing for the next elections. Competition between military and police factions will heighten as they jockey for favors and positions in the civilian and military bureaucracy.

Duterte’s cheating and tyranny has created even more favorable conditions for the advancement of the legal mass movement. The movement should persevere to break the illusion of democracy under Duterte’s tyrannical rule. It should further expose his grave abuse of power, widespread killings, protection of big drug lords, gross violations of human rights, imposition of onerous taxes, sell-out of the country’s patrimony to China, subservience to the US military, corruption in government loans and contracts, and other grave crimes.

They must broaden the struggle against Duterte’s plan to amend or overhaul the constitution to extend his term and remove guarantees to human rights. Among the amendments proposed by Duterte is to allow foreign big capitalists and their local comprador cohorts to plunder the country’s remaining resources and squeeze further the Filipino working class for more profits.

Alongside, Duterte is sure to push for the passage of other bills that would tighten his fascist control over Philippine society. His priority bills include the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, death penalty and mandatory military training of minors through the Reserved Officers Training Corps.

All democratic forces must painstakingly conduct propaganda work among the masses to expose Duterte’s tyranny. They must persevere in organizing those who are fed up by Duterte’s corrupt, criminal and puppet reign. They must strive to generate bigger and wider mobilizations. They must double the efforts to unite anti-Duterte groups and build the broadest unity against his tyranny. The key to ousting the rotten, fascist and puppet regime is through arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people.

These efforts should be complemented with the intensification of armed struggle across the country. The state’s security forces who relentlessly commit abuses, killings and intimidation against millions in the countryside should be dealt with big and small blows to show support to the people. As Duterte’s brutal reign continues, the task to overthrow him grows more urgent.