- “War on drugs”“I hate drugs” is Duterte’s favorite mantra. In reality, however, Duterte has proven himself to be the overlord of all druglords and syndicates. Peter Lim, one of the biggest druglords in the country, is his compadre. Duterte’s police officers and death squads has already murdered more than 20,000 individuals, including the alleged heads of drug syndicates in Visayas (Espinosa) and Mindanao (Parojinog). He is using the “war on drugs” as a pretext to threaten and strong-arm syndicates to bow to his overlordship. Duterte targeted local shabu manufacturers and controlled the smuggling of the drug. On May 2017, his son (Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte of Davao City) and son-in-law (Mans Carpio, Sara’s husband) were implicated in the smuggling of more than P6-billion worth of shabu from China. Last June, an estimated 1.6 tons or P11-billion worth of shabu was smuggled into the country. Instead of being dismissed, Isidro Lapeña, then chief of the Bureau of Customs when the smuggling case took place, was even rewarded with a promotion in the reactionary bureaucracy. Instead of being thrown in prison, Nicanor Faeldon who was the designated chief of Customs during the previous smuggling case, was ironically appointed as head of the Bureau of Corrections.
- Marawi siegeDuterte bombed Marawi City for five successive months from May to October 2017 purportedly to defeat the Maute group. He carried out the campaign despite offers from Moro and religious leaders to mediate and hold negotiations to help resolve the armed uprising. In reality, Duterte pulverized the city to destroy residential areas, loot the people’s properties and benefit from the city’s reconstruction. Bourgeois compradors competed for the biggest contracts. Recently, it was uncovered that included among those awarded with fat contracts is the family of Bong Go, Duterte’s personal factotum. It was only this October 31 that the “groundbreaking” ceremony was finally held, which meant foreign and local capitalists can now enter Marawi after almost a year of negotiations with the regime. This is despite the fact that more than 214,000 residents are still considered displaced. Meanwhile, a military camp is now being constructed in the city-center, covering former commercial and residential areas.
- Boracay “rehabilitation”Under the guise of “rehabilitation,” Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay island and gave the military and police de facto martial law powers to evict small-scale businesses and residents in order to facilitate the construction of business establishments of his favored capitalists. These include the construction of a casino owned by a Chinese businessman and a housing project of the Villar family. To cover-up the series of anomaly exposés, Duterte boasted that he will “distribute” the island to indigenous peoples residing therein. On October 24, less than eight hectares were awarded to 44 Ati families. On October 26, Duterte “reopened” the island after six months of “rehabilitation.” On October 31, the military use for the island became apparent when the Philippine Coastguard announced the construction of a P30-million radar on Mt. Luho, Barangay Balabag purportedly to prevent the entry of terrorists in the island. In reality, the said facility is part of the radar system donated by Japan to the Philippines to guard the Sulu Sea and Pacific Ocean. This system will connect to the radar system previously constructed by the US across Sulu Sea and Palawan to counter Chinese militarization of the Philippine seas and the South China Sea.
- Anti-US and pro-independent foreign policy“I will break away from the US,” Duterte proclaimed in front of Chinese officials and businessmen in 2016. Since the beginning, this boast was designed to squeeze more funds for the AFP and his own grandiose plans. “It’s all about the money,” as he put it much earlier. In reality, Duterte is angling for modern military equipment from the US which he earlier promised the AFP. In time, Duterte reinforced the “permanent friendship” of the Philippine neocolony and US imperialism when President Trump, a fellow ultra-rightist, became US president. Duterte portrayed the “war in Marawi” as “counter-terrorism” to mirror the US’ fake war, allow its military to intervene and facilitate aid in form of new weaponry purchased using its gargantuan funds for “overseas contingency operations.” Eventually, the US launched the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines to oversee its intensified military intervention in the country and its increasing presence in nearby territories. Duterte declared the CPP and NPA “terrorist organizations” in compliance with the conditions imposed by the US so that the AFP’s counter-guerilla war can qualify for aid.
Duterte was strident in declaring that he will pursue an independent foreign policy but only to conceal his complete betrayal of the country’s sovereignty. This is a hollow declaration as he remains obeisant to imperialist dictates. Just to actualize his ambition to raise billions of dollars, Duterte has been desperately begging for loans from China notwithstanding extremely high interest rates and at the expense of the country’s victory in Arbitral Tribunal which recognized the Philippines’ claim over islands and other land formations across the South China Sea. In fact, he even contracted an agreement for Joint Exploration which surrenders the exclusive right of the Philippines to develop the marine resources, oil and other minerals within its own economic zone.
- Anti-corruption gimmick“I never stole, not even a peso, from the government.” Duterte often boasted to pretend that that his regime does not perpetrate corruption. This is despite an exposé revealing the millions of pesos deposited in his and his daughter, Sara’s, bank accounts. His pretension that he is merely a “common man” has long been belied by his family’s luxurious lifestyle, grandiose vacation trips, shows and parties.
Moreover, his promise to dismiss thousands of government officials once he “catches a whiff” of corruption is also an empty boast. He used this campaign to dismiss appointees of the former Aquino regime and replace them with his own henchmen. His relatives, friends and allies whom he favored alternately occupied various positions. Not a single official whom he dismissed was convicted, while some were even rewarded with promotions.
- “Mass surrender”The reactionary state is claiming that more 4,000 Red fighters of the NPA have already “surrendered” and “returned to the folds of law” since 2017. This is a component of its psywar tactic to make it appear that the armed revolutionary movement is weakening. This estimate contradicts even the AFP’s report that the NPA membership has been reduced to “just 3,600” in the beginning of 2018. In reality, majority of those who were paraded as “surrenderees” are civilians who were duped, threatened and harassed by the AFP. Many of them were coerced to “surrender” so as to “clean” their names even in the absence of any warrant or evidence against them. In many cases, residents are promised food and financial aid and are assembled in communities, only to be shocked upon discovering later on that their names are already listed as “surrenderees.”
- Red OctoberDuterte and AFP officials also used contradicting stories to weave their very own fantastic Red October tale which was their latest attempt to justify the intensification of harassment against legal organizations and alliances and their protest actions. Because of its extreme absurdity, the AFP was compelled to declare that the purported plot has already been “foiled” even before October ended. In reality, what actually failed was its attempt to create an anti-communist hysteria in schools, factories and communities, and moreso among the general public, which it expected to scapegoat for worse fascist plots. All malicious attempts to link strikes, collective cultivation (“bungkalan”) movements and protests to Red October were promptly exposed as attempts to illegalize the said activities and justify armed suppression against its participants. The regime is also using this as a veil to cloak its accountability to its hideous crimes, including the massacre of nine farmers in Sagay City.