MANILA, Philippines — The results of the elections in the U.S. leading to Donald Trump’s defeat should remind President Rodrigo Duterte that leaders with authoritarian tendencies will all have their time to be out from power, the country’s former human rights chief said Sunday.
Democrat Joe Biden over the weekend secured more than 270 of the required electoral votes to become the 46th president of the United States, ending what has been described as a tumultuous presidency for Trump and denying him a second term.
Akbayan chairperson emeritus Etta Rosales in a statement said such outcome should prompt Duterte to look closely on what endings he too could meet.
“[We call] on Mr. Rodrigo Duterte to take a good hard look at the result of the US presidential election,” she said. “Trump’s defeat serves both as a warning and reminder to Duterte and his minions that all tyrants, regardless of their popularity and power, will fall.”
Across the world, the two leaders of nations that had since been longtime allies are often aligned with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin for their strongman-like leadership and rhetoric.
In 2017, transcript obtained by US media showed Trump praising Duterte for his anti-illegal drug campaign that has seen thousands killed and has, in contrast, earned widespread criticism from the international community.
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” the US leader was quoted to have said. “Many countries have the problem…but what a great job you are doing.”
For the drug war he has waged, Duterte now faces charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court, and a lawyers’ group has said too that cases await him after he steps down in 2022.
The president had since denied the strongman claims against him, saying he has never jailed critics and could take the heat. He has, however, continuously lashed out against human rights advocates and the press.
His threatening to shut down broadcast giant ABS-CBN over supposed unaired campaign ads had led lawmakers aligned with him to block the network’s franchise renewal and cause its shutdown.
“Duterte has been warned: ‘Beware the Ides of March.’ Those who lust for unlimited power will be strangled by their own grip,” Rosales said. “Today, it is Trump. In 2022, it will be Duterte and his continuity candidates.”
Despite criticism, a Pulse Asia survey had suggested that Duterte has managed to remain popular even as his administration took hit for its seemingly militarized response to the coronavirus crisis that has infected nearly 392,000 and killed over 7,400 Filipinos to date.
During the midterm elections in 2019, the senatorial ticket Duterte had endorsed won, securing nine out of the 12 posts then up for grabs and effectively reducing the minority in the upper chamber to only four members.
In Congress too, his approval for a supposedly independent matter — the selection of the House Speaker — also played a significant role under a term-sharing deal that he brokered which eventually blew up and threatened the passage of next year’s spending plan.
Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) -And as Filipinos revel over the results of America’s elections, they too will make a decision come May 2022 for the country’s next leaders in what could be seen as a referendum for the Duterte government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis or a complete change in leadership.
Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com)