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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL: A MEMORABLE FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEBUT
(Duterte’s visit to Laos was not flawless; his ‘antics’ overshadowed the substance at times, and while he was among leadership peers who probably got the message, clearly not everyone here at home in the Philippines did, and that is something that he and his diplomatic and communications team will have to work on.)
[RELATED READ: SEN. ALAN CAYETANO’S OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA (A CALL FOR OPEN-MINDEDNESS) SHARE]


SEPTEMBER 13 -How did President Rodrigo Duterte and our foreign policy team fare in their debut on the international stage at the Asean summit in Laos last week? Not everyone here is pleased with what transpired in Vientiane, and we would certainly not say that everything went smoothly. But in terms of establishing himself, and by extension the Philippines, as a significant presence in the region, and in terms of actual achievements, it was not a bad showing by a President who is a diplomatic novice.
The colorful narrative being advanced by Malacañang communicators and administration officials that describes President Duterte’s visit as a spectacular success in Laos, even quoting another country’s leader describing the Philippine President as a “rock star” with whom the other heads of state present wanted to have selfies, is probably a bit too generous. Friction did flare between the tempestuous Duterte and US President Barack Obama, and while the latter – a consummate diplomat – dismissed Duterte’s pre-summit comments as colorfully harmless, the attention they attracted obviously did introduce some unnecessary tension. On the other hand, the narrative about an embarrassing spectacle wherein Duterte’s behavior, particularly in an unexpected harangue (complete with a visual presentation) against the US for its brutality in Mindanao in the early 1900s, unfairly overlooks a couple of important points. READ MORE...RELATED READ, SEN. ALAN CAYETANO’S OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA (A CALL FOR OPEN-MINDEDNESS) SHARE...

ALSO: Duterte rides on near-perfect trust rating — Pulso ng Pilipino Survey


SEPTEMBER 15 -President Duterte scored a near-perfect trust rating in a non-commissioned survey conducted a week before unleashing his tirades against US President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki -Moon. In the Pulso ng Pilipino Survey covering the period from August 29 to September 4 conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center), 92 percent of the 1,200 respondents expressed their continued trust on Duterte as compared to the 4 percent who said they do not, giving the President a net trust rating of 92 percent. According Ed Malay, executive director of the Center, the survey covers the period during which several news-breaking and headline-hugging events were daily fare, including the ongoing Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima who herself is being pinned down for her alleged links to illegal drug syndicates; the landmark decision of Duterte in ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to finally put an end to the terrorist activities of the Abu Sayyaf group that was responsible for numerous kidnappings and the beheading of at least two foreign hostages; the tragic blast at the night market in Davao City that killed 14 persons and injured 71 others last September 2; the new reclamation activities conducted by China at thecontested Scarborough Shoal at the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). “Notwithstanding the issues related to the alleged summary killings of known drug lords and drug pushers, some 96 percent of those polled still place their trust on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who in his campaign promise vowed to put an end to the unabated sale and distribution of illegal drugs within six months of his administration,” said Malay. “Only 4 percent said they don’t trust President Duterte. This gives President Duterte a net positive trust rating of + 92 percent. This is by far the highest trust rating ever recorded by a newly sworn-in President in the history of Philippine politics,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jojo Robles -  New York Times essay blames Noynoy
[RELATED NY TIMES ESSAY: 'How Countries Like the Philippines Fall Into Vigilante Violence']


SEPTEMBER 13 -Not all members of the foreign media are clueless “parachutists” who become overnight experts on the Philippines after sitting in posh hotel lobbies. Some of them actually understand what’s going on in this country and write accordingly. Yesterday’s The New York Times ran an excellent piece on the spate of killings that started with the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines. And because Amanda Taub’s NYT essay, “How Countries Like the Philippines Fall Into Vigilante Violence,” went beyond the usual, lazy Western media framing of the highly publicized deaths as a human-rights issue, it cannot be dismissed as just another anti-Duterte screed.
Taub’s thesis is that when a victimized citizenry seeks tough anti-crime measures from a weak state, leaders will rise who offer quick-fix solutions that the government cannot seem to provide. As it was in Guatemala and Colombia, Taub posited, so it will be in the Philippines, now that Duterte has assumed the presidency. The comparisons to violence-prone South American banana republics are not new, of course. But unlike most Western commentators, Taub actually attempts to explain how the Philippines descended into weak-state status, to the point where its people started demanding Duterte’s ministrations. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN scores Duterte's 'striking lack of understanding' of HR institutions
[RELATED: Panelo to UN - Come here before you open your mouth]


SEPTEMBER 14 -Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
The top official of the United Nations' human rights efforts on Tuesday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his statements that "display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe." United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein made the comments on Tuesday in his opening speech at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. "The President of the Philippines's statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe," Al Hussein said. "Fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation of public confidence and security. Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice. The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice." He also urged the Philippines to invite the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions amid the rising death toll in the Duterte administration's war on drugs. "My Office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms," he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Panelo to UN: Come here before you open your mouth ...

ALSO Palace: Only Abella can speak for Duterte


SEPTEMBER 15 -LEFT, ANDANAR, RIGHT, ABELLA After receiving criticisms on conflicting statements from too many spokespersons, Malacañang clarified Thursday that only Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella can speak on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar asked the media in a press conference to direct clarificatory questions regarding the president's pronouncements to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), to which Abella's office belongs. RELATED: Analyst: Duterte's communication team should clarify chain of command "'Yung pakiusap ko lang po doon sa Gabinete ay, at inaprubahan naman ng presidente, na kung merong mga clarificatory questions ‘yung media, halimbawa may sinabi ang pangulo the day before at meron tanong ang media na 'ano po ba talaga ang ibig sabihin 'non?" ay i-direct, i-refer po kami, i-refer po sa PCO. Para 'yung PCO na ho ang magde-desisyon kung papano [sasagutin]. Para hindi ho naiba 'yung sinabi ni Secretary 'X,' iba 'yung sinabi ni Secretary 'Y,'" Andanar said. "Secretary Ernie Abella and myself, we are a team, and then we will huddle together and we will compose, we will craft the message or the clarification that you need," he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: By JB Baylon - Diplomacy by disclaimer?


SEPTEMBER 14 -By Jose Bayani Baylon
I WAS in St. Luke’s Hospital yesterday morning when I espied Ms. Karen Davila interviewing Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay. I was grateful for chancing upon the interview because it took my mind off the reason I was in the hospital in the first place. Instead, I was transfixed on how deeply Karen would pursue issues with Yasay, and focused as well on how well Yasay would dance out of, well, troubled waters. Because that’s where I figured he was, though not of his making. Let’s just blame the troubled waters on the media and how they have been reporting on President Duterte’s every word, facial expression, even every sigh. (Which is an improvement from his winks.) It all began before the President left for the Asean meeting in Laos, when he is said to have uttered the “P.I” phrase in relation to President Obama and the latter’s apparent intent to raise human rights issues during their planned one on one on the sidelines of the Asean summit. The P.I -- I didn’t hear it myself -- was in fact “icing on the cake” following an earlier outburst about being the President of a sovereign nation that has long ceased to be a colony of Washington. It’s been a long time since a Filipino president has spoken as frankly, and as colorfully. No surprise there when the Americans chose to cancel the one-on-one. As a result new coverage of the Asean summit prominently played up the Duterte-Obama differences, with international news agencies like the BBC and CNN prominently playing up the canceled meeting. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

TIMES EDITORIAL: A memorable foreign affairs debut

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) BY THE MANILA TIMES ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 EDITORIAL - How did President Rodrigo Duterte and our foreign policy team fare in their debut on the international stage at the Asean summit in Laos last week?

Not everyone here is pleased with what transpired in Vientiane, and we would certainly not say that everything went smoothly. But in terms of establishing himself, and by extension the Philippines, as a significant presence in the region, and in terms of actual achievements, it was not a bad showing by a President who is a diplomatic novice.

The colorful narrative being advanced by Malacañang communicators and administration officials that describes President Duterte’s visit as a spectacular success in Laos, even quoting another country’s leader describing the Philippine President as a “rock star” with whom the other heads of state present wanted to have selfies, is probably a bit too generous.


COMPOSITE PHOTOS

Friction did flare between the tempestuous Duterte and US President Barack Obama, and while the latter – a consummate diplomat – dismissed Duterte’s pre-summit comments as colorfully harmless, the attention they attracted obviously did introduce some unnecessary tension.

On the other hand, the narrative about an embarrassing spectacle wherein Duterte’s behavior, particularly in an unexpected harangue (complete with a visual presentation) against the US for its brutality in Mindanao in the early 1900s, unfairly overlooks a couple of important points.

READ MORE...

The first important point is that even though he was in an unfamiliar setting, Duterte handled himself thoughtfully – not thoughtfully for the stuffy rules of decorum in diplomatic gatherings, but as he thought appropriate to advance the interests of the country he leads. He said as much when he proclaimed he considered himself answerable to no one but the country who chose him as its leader. He adopted a more diplomatic tone in accepting the chairmanship of the Asean for 2017.

And when he thought it was time to defend his area of responsibility and put a stop to any notion of outsiders dictating how the Philippines’ internal concerns with drugs and criminality should be addressed, he did that, too, though harshly. It appeared he was aware he would be the one held to account for the results of the effort, not the current US President or the next one.

So, what did he accomplish at the summit? For one, the President was able to secure the cooperation of Indonesia to fight the growing problem of piracy affecting both countries.

He made it clear that he would deal with any other country on the basis of substance and what is in the Philippines’ best interests as he understands them.

Duterte’s visit to Laos was not flawless; his ‘antics’ overshadowed the substance at times, and while he was among leadership peers who probably got the message, clearly not everyone here at home in the Philippines did, and that is something that he and his diplomatic and communications team will have to work on.

-------------------------

RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

SEN. ALAN CAYETANO’S OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA (A CALL FOR OPEN-MINDEDNESS) SHARE



Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s open letter to Barack Obama

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An Open Letter To President Barack Obama. The White House

With A Prayer for a successful meeting between him and President Duterte.
Dear President Obama,

As a Citizen of the world and a believer in Change, allow me to write you an open letter to attempt to articulate the audacity of the Filipino people to hope for a better future and to aspire for a nation that is secure, peaceful, law abiding and prosperous.

While we are still mourning and recovering from the Davao Bombing, while our law enforcers are sacrificing and doing their duty everyday to reclaim communities from narcotics and criminality (many police officers have died in the line of duty), while our President is pursuing peace and fighting corruption, powerful forces are working against us (locally and internationally).

I write to you because more than any other person, you know how it feels to have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

To have the burden of fixing the problems of your own country but having to constantly live up to the expectations of the entire world.

To be called on, and depended on but at the same time to be hated and cursed at.

To be pulled and torn in every direction and at every crossroad.

I ask myself where does President Obama get the strength to see this through? It can only have come from the grace of GOD and a deep love of one’s people and of all humanity.

Despite all the challenges, you have persevered and have accomplished so much.

Now it is our turn. Our turn to experience Change we can believe in.

We finally have a President who has faith in GOD, who has a deep love for our people, who is willing to sacrifice even his life and honor to see that change comes to all Filipinos.

President Duterte and our entire nation is now fighting 3 wars simultaneously.

•The War against poverty (which includes leveling a playing field that by and large only oligarchs grow and prosper while the greater majority struggles just to survive);

•The War against crime, illegal drugs and corruption, and;

•The War on war. The quest for a just and inclusive peace and an end to the decades-long communist insurgency as well as other rebellions in our country.

After decades of hopelessness and up to 10 million Filipinos leaving our country to find work in foreign lands and after an entire generation exposed to the perils of illegal drugs, we finally have a President who is trying to get the country back on the right track.

Mr President, how many times have you been misjudged, prejudged or judged unjustly because of your nationality, Party affiliation, stand on issues or even your skin color?

Yet despite all these, you persevered. You never gave up! If there were mistakes along the way, you learned from those mistakes and you spawned an entire generation of people around the world saying “Yes We Can!”

Will you now allow us to lose hope and fail?

Will the West deny us the “Change we can believe in?”

Just because some people have misjudged our beloved President based on how he speaks. Aggravated by an obvious misinformation campaign about the human rights situation in the country.

Does he not deserve to be judged on his record and his actions?

On facts and not manipulated statistics?

On where he wants to bring the country rather than his sometimes politically incorrect words?

We Filipinos will always be your brothers and sisters. Your allies and friends. But we also deserve our own national identity and a chance for an independent foreign policy.

A foreign policy for Filipinos by Filipinos. A balanced friendship with our oldest ally and big brother the United States of America on one hand and a friendship of mutual respect with our neighbor China on the other.

You have tried at every turn to avoid war and done everything for peace! Can’t we work on a win win win situation for the U.S.A, Philippines and China?

Over the last 7 years you have patiently addressed concerns of pessimists, critics and hardliners and pushed your peoples agenda forward inch by inch.

Well now the pessimists, critics and hardliners in the West, the United Nations, and the Philippines want us to continue to bicker and disagree. To let disagreements escalate into fights. And for what? So that no one wins?

Hardliners fear the Philippine government will make peace with the communist rebels.

Critics Fear that CHRISTians and Muslims can’t build communities and a Nation together? Pessimists say that we can’t be a drug free Country.

Will we let the pessimists and hardliners win Mr President? Or will we persevere and try to understand each other, so we can wake up one day to a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Philippines.

Can’t we give the Philippines and President Duterte a Chance?

As We Pray that GOD Blesses America, We ask The Americans to be used by GOD To Bless The Philippines.

GOD Bless You President “Yes We Can” Obama!
GOD Bless President Rody Duterte!
GOD Bless The Philippines!
Respectfully,
Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano

at 8:37:00 AM SOURCE: https://www.thestar.com


TRIBUNE

Duterte rides on near-perfect trust rating — The Center poll Written by Charlie V. Manalo Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

President Duterte scored a near-perfect trust rating in a non-commissioned survey conducted a week before unleashing his tirades against US President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki -Moon.

In the Pulso ng Pilipino Survey covering the period from August 29 to September 4 conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center), 92 percent of the 1,200 respondents expressed their continued trust on Duterte as compared to the 4 percent who said they do not, giving the President a net trust rating of 92 percent.

According Ed Malay, executive director of the Center, the survey covers the period during which several news-breaking and headline-hugging events were daily fare, including the ongoing Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima who herself is being pinned down for her alleged links to illegal drug syndicates; the landmark decision of Duterte in ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to finally put an end to the terrorist activities of the Abu Sayyaf group that was responsible for numerous kidnappings and the beheading of at least two foreign hostages; the tragic blast at the night market in Davao City that killed 14 persons and injured 71 others last September 2; the new reclamation activities conducted by China at thecontested Scarborough Shoal at the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“Notwithstanding the issues related to the alleged summary killings of known drug lords and drug pushers, some 96 percent of those polled still place their trust on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who in his campaign promise vowed to put an end to the unabated sale and distribution of illegal drugs within six months of his administration,” said Malay.

“Only 4 percent said they don’t trust President Duterte. This gives President Duterte a net positive trust rating of + 92 percent. This is by far the highest trust rating ever recorded by a newly sworn-in President in the history of Philippine politics,” he added.

READ MORE...

The survey results, Malay said, gives the President an overwhelming mandate to fulfill his campaign promise to establish an orderly society that is free of illegal drugs and get rid of graft and corruption.

The same survey also revealed that 67 percent of the respondents declared they were in favor to bury late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) as compared to the 28 percent who opposed. Five percent stated they do not know.

“Upon his assumption to the presidency, one of the things that President Duterte announced was his decision to allow the burial of the remains of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani on the basis of the fact that the deceased President whose remains lie at the family residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte, was a former president and a soldier of the Republic of the Philippines who saw action during World War II,” said Malay.

“Understandably, President Duterte’s decision was apparently based on the current regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as to who can be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani,” he added.

“The survey shows that 67 percent of those who were asked are ‘in favor’ of the planned burial of the remains of the late president at the LNMB and 28% said they are ‘not in favor’ with 5 percent saying they ‘don’t know,’” he stressed.

“While the controversy lingers and in fact is now the subject of a hearing before theSupreme Court following the pleadings of certain groups opposed to the burial of the late strongman at the LNMB, the fact remains that the President is fully authorized as Commander-In-Chief to order the burial based on the existing regulations being observedby the Armed Forces of the Philippines which is the officially-mandated caretaker of the LNMB,” he said.

While here have been numerous protest rallies and demonstrations centered in the Metro Manila by certain groups opposed to the planned burial of the late strongman, Malay said these are by no means reflective of the sentiment prevailing in other parts of the country as seen from the results of the Pulso ng Pilipino survey.

Malay said the survey was based on the traditional multi-stage probability sample of 1,200 respondents and has a confidence level of 98 percent and a margin of error of + 3 percent.


MANILA STANDARD COLUMN

NYT essay blames Noynoy posted September 13, 2016 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles



Not all members of the foreign media are clueless “parachutists” who become overnight experts on the Philippines after sitting in posh hotel lobbies. Some of them actually understand what’s going on in this country and write accordingly.

Yesterday’s The New York Times ran an excellent piece on the spate of killings that started with the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines. And because Amanda Taub’s NYT essay, “How Countries Like the Philippines Fall Into Vigilante Violence,” went beyond the usual, lazy Western media framing of the highly publicized deaths as a human-rights issue, it cannot be dismissed as just another anti-Duterte screed.

Taub’s thesis is that when a victimized citizenry seeks tough anti-crime measures from a weak state, leaders will rise who offer quick-fix solutions that the government cannot seem to provide. As it was in Guatemala and Colombia, Taub posited, so it will be in the Philippines, now that Duterte has assumed the presidency.

The comparisons to violence-prone South American banana republics are not new, of course. But unlike most Western commentators, Taub actually attempts to explain how the Philippines descended into weak-state status, to the point where its people started demanding Duterte’s ministrations.

READ MORE...

This is what she wrote:

“The true roots of the problem can be traced to the administration of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. That is because, experts say, the true cause of this kind of extrajudicial violence is the public’s loss of confidence in state institutions and its turning instead to more immediate forms of punishment and control.

“Mr. Aquino, elected in 2010 on promises to support the rule of law and human rights, failed to fix the Philippines’ corrupt and ineffective justice system. His administration also faced a series of security-related scandals, [beginning with] a hostage crisis in Manila in 2010.

“And, perhaps most critical, Mr. Aquino was perceived as lazy and soft, unwilling to take the necessary steps to solve the country’s problems. Frustration with the government’s inability to provide basic security led to rising public demand for new leaders who would take more decisive action to provide security.”

It takes perception to see beyond the human-rights blather —peddled mostly by sidelined agents of the administration just past—and to recognize the culpability of Aquino in the creation of the country’s public security crisis. Indeed, if Aquino had merely decided to work at solving the problems of runaway crime and the proliferation of illegal drugs, Duterte would probably never had been elected president.

Now that Duterte is trying to solve the mess Aquino created, he is being pilloried by those who really should know better. Perhaps they really believe that doing nothing but paying lip service to reform and ignoring crime and corruption is really the best course of action.

* * *

THE HOUSE SPEAKER

I don’t remember the last time a House speaker and his majority leader attended a mere committee hearing on the budget of a department of the Executive branch. But that’s what Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas did, when Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade and his undersecretaries went to Congress last week to defend their budget for next year.

Alvarez, himself a former transportation secretary, was there for an important reason: He wanted to know if Tugade’s subordinates were really the hired help of big conglomerates sent to join the Duterte administration to take care of their rich employers’ interests.

In particular, Alvarez apparently wanted to find out if Tugade’s undersecretary for rail transport, Noel Kintanar, was not just a high-ranking dummy of the Ayala Group embedded in the department to make sure that the lopsided contract for the LRT Line 1 remains untouched. After all, Kintanar, as an executive of the Makati-based conglomerate, was said to have dreamed up the use of the “sunk cost” doctrine that allowed the Ayala-led consortium to purchase the original LRT line for a song during the previous administration.

The application of the principle to the train line did not only allow the LRMC consortium to secure the entire LRT-1, even if government only originally wanted to extend its service to Bacoor, Cavite. It also gave the Ayalas and their partners the P9 million in cash daily that the line generated—not bad, really, for a non-performing, sunk cost.

How Kintanar ended up as chief government official in charge of rail systems after a long stint in the company that bought a state train line is not really a mystery. It’s like the appointment of Tugade’s other subordinate, Roberto Lim, as undersecretary for air transport.

Lim admitted to Alvarez that he had only visited one of the country’s 80 or so airports other than Manila—and that was the politically strategic one in Davao City. Of course, Lim was formerly country manager for the International Air Transport Association, the organization of foreign airlines that could care less about all the other airports in this country outside Manila.

As they would say on the street, regulatory capture pa more!

--------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

How Countries Like the Philippines Fall Into Vigilante Violence The Interpreter
By AMANDA TAUB SEPT. 11, 2016


A Filipino woman hugged her husband after an unidentified gunman killed him in Manila on July 23. The placard at their feet read, “I’m a pusher.” Credit Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When campaigning for the Philippine presidency last spring, Rodrigo Duterte promised to kill so many criminals that “fish will grow fat” in Manila Bay from feasting on their corpses.

Since taking office on June 30, Mr. Duterte appears to be making every effort to meet that grisly goal. Over 1,800 people have been killed by the police and vigilantes since then, and the wave of killings shows no sign of subsiding.

Many of the victims appear to have been innocent by any definition, and none had been proved guilty in a court of law. But the crackdown has struck a chord with the public, and Mr. Duterte’s popularity has been soaring.

What drives this explosion of extrajudicial violence — which, far from unique, bears striking parallels to previous waves of killings in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand and elsewhere?

It would be tempting to reduce this to a simple story of good versus evil, with the villain — whether that means enforcers like Mr. Duterte or the criminal elements they claim to be expunging — solely responsible.

But social scientists who study extrajudicial killings say the real story is more complicated, and more tragic. It is often the affected communities themselves that unwittingly help create the circumstances for this violence.

It tends to begin, the research suggests, with a weak state and a population desperate for security. Short-term incentives push everyone to bad decisions that culminate in violence that, once it has reached a level as bloody as that in the Philippines, can be nearly impossible to stop.

The Spark

It might seem that the Philippines’ trouble began when it elected Mr. Duterte, a brash provincial politician who has for decades embraced extrajudicial killings as a legitimate method of crime control.

But the true roots of the problem can be traced to the administration of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. That is because, experts say, the true cause of this kind of extrajudicial violence is the public’s loss of confidence in state institutions and its turning instead to more immediate forms of punishment and control.

Mr. Aquino, elected in 2010 on promises to support the rule of law and human rights, failed to fix the Philippines’ corrupt and ineffective justice system. His administration also faced a series of security-related scandals, including a hostage crisis in Manila in 2010.

And, perhaps most critical, Mr. Aquino was perceived as lazy and soft, unwilling to take the necessary steps to solve the country’s problems.

Frustration with the government’s inability to provide basic security led to rising public demand for new leaders who would take more decisive action to provide security.

“The fact is that the judicial system, the court system, is broken in the Philippines,” said Phelim Kine, a deputy director of the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch.


Filipino demonstrators mimicking an extrajudicial killing crime scene as police officers stood guard last month in front of the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, northeast of Manila. Credit Mark R. Cristino/European Pressphoto Agency


Powerful people, Mr. Kine said, are often able to evade justice entirely. “When you factor in elements of corruption, and perceptions that people can buy themselves protection from the police or buy themselves out of trouble,” he said, “this adds up to a lot of frustration among Filipinos who sense that government and the judicial system is part of the problem, not the solution.”

The Demand

When people begin to see the justice system as thoroughly corrupt and broken, they feel unprotected from crime. That sense of threat makes them willing to support vigilante violence, which feels like the best option for restoring order and protecting their personal safety.

Gema Santamaria, a professor at the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology in Mexico City who studies lynchings and other forms of vigilante killings, and José Miguel Cruz, the research director at Florida International University’s Latin American and Caribbean Center, used survey data from across Latin America to test what leads people to support extrajudicial violence.

The data told a very similar story across all of the countries in their sample. People who didn’t have faith in their country’s institutions were more likely to say vigilante violence was justified. By contrast, in states with stronger institutions, people were more likely to reject extrajudicial violence.

People turn to vigilante violence as a replacement for the formal justice system, Ms. Santamaria said. That can take multiple forms — lynch mobs in Mexico, for instance, or paramilitary “self-defense” forces in Colombia — but the core impulse is the same.

“When you have a system that doesn’t deliver, you are creating, over a period of time, a certain culture of punishment,” she said. “Regardless of what the police are going to do, you want justice, and it will be rough justice.”

Surprisingly, that includes increased support for the use of harsh extralegal tactics by the police themselves. “This seems counterintuitive,” Ms. Santamaria said. “If you don’t trust the police to prosecute criminals, why would you trust them with bending the law?”

But to people desperate for security, she said, the unmediated punishment of police violence seems far more effective than waiting for a corrupt system to take action.

And so, over time, frustration with state institutions, coupled with fear of crime and insecurity, leads to demand for authoritarian violence — even if that means empowering the same corrupt, flawed institutions that failed to provide security in the first place.

The Supply

Leaders like Mr. Duterte have a political incentive to exploit this sentiment, marketing their willingness to go around the system to prove that they are willing to do whatever it takes to solve the country’s problems.

“When you have a weak government that faces a security crisis and also a crisis of trust of the people, the issue of promising more punishment is a shortcut to gain citizens’ confidence, to gain support,” Ms. Santamaria said.

Why not instead promise to fix the real underlying problems?

First, because institutional reform isn’t as politically appealing as identifying villains — in the case of the Philippines, criminal gangs — and promising to take them down. Second, because the very state weakness that created the problems often means that leaders are incapable of fixing the underlying issues.

A number of developing countries struggle to deliver security, said James Robinson, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago and an expert on state failure.

State weakness creates the “demand” for better security by any means, he said, “but there’s also a supply side.”

“And the supply side,” he continued, “is that the state encourages this kind of informalization of violence, this kind of informalization of security.”

A result is that politicians who embrace extralegal violence gain public support, and those who oppose it are often painted as weak and ineffective.

“Rule of law does not sell well,” Ms. Santamaria said.

The Escalation

This dynamic can drive leaders like Mr. Duterte to encourage vigilante violence, even if the bloodshed only worsens insecurity and its targets are largely innocent. The point is demonstrating a willingness to go to any length to get results.

By portraying the victims as criminals, Mr. Duterte can claim success, and local communities might believe things are improving. But the extrajudicial killings, though intended to provide security, instead end up provoking a self-reinforcing cycle of ever-worsening insecurity and retaliation.

Once the government makes it clear that no one will face legal repercussions for extrajudicial killings, Mr. Kine of Human Rights Watch said, “then anybody with a gun and a grudge has free license to go and victimize people without worrying about the consequences.”

That fuels public demand for more extralegal violence to quell the problem. Eventually, the situation spirals out of control.

Mr. Kine pointed to the Philippine city of Tagum on the island of Mindanao. There, the city government encouraged off-duty police officers and collaborators to murder petty criminals, including street children, in the name of being tough on crime.

Once its ability to operate with impunity was established, Mr. Kine said, that death squad began engaging in contract killings for money. People who opposed the death squad, including some police officers, were deemed enemies and often targeted. The city became more dangerous and lawless, with devastating results for ordinary citizens.

The real problem, Ms. Santamaria said, is not just the violence. Rather, it is the way it alters the rules of society itself: what is acceptable, and what is necessary to survive.

People whose relatives have been unjustly killed see violence as a legitimate way to right that wrong, Ms. Santamaria said. Once violence becomes an acceptable means for settling disputes and exerting power, it is difficult for people to trust any other system, she added.

States, locked in that escalating cycle, struggle to re-establish order. A culture of vengeful punishment takes hold, crowding out the rule of law. State officials have little standing to demand that people follow the rule of law when the state itself has been encouraging lawless violence.

In Guatemala, decades of extrajudicial violence have left thousands dead, opened space for ruthless street gangs and sent tens of thousands of child refugees north in search of safety.

In Colombia, vigilante “self-defense” groups grew, in the 1970s and ’80s, into large paramilitary organizations. They joined with state-supported counterinsurgency groups and became major players in the country’s drug trade and a party to its civil war, in which they were known for particularly gruesome attacks on civilians they perceived as enemies.

This is perhaps the most worrying lesson of the social scientists’ research: that it does not take evil to destroy a community’s peace and safety. Rather, ordinary human desire for security, coupled with weak institutions and desperate short-term thinking, can lead a country into an escalating disaster.

Follow Amanda Taub on Twitter @amandataub.

A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2016, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: How the Philippines Fell Into Vigilante Violence.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

UN scores Duterte's 'striking lack of understanding' of human rights institutions Published September 13, 2016 9:07pm


Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

The top official of the United Nations' human rights efforts on Tuesday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his statements that "display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe."

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein made the comments on Tuesday in his opening speech at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The President of the Philippines's statements of scorn for international human rights law display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe," Al Hussein said.

"Fair and impartial rule of law is the foundation of public confidence and security. Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice. The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice."

He also urged the Philippines to invite the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions amid the rising death toll in the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

"My Office is ready to assist, including with respect to rule of law institutions and the prevention and treatment of drug use in accordance with international norms," he said.

READ MORE...

The remarks from Al Hussein are the latest in a series of critical statements from UN human rights officials against Duterte's drug war, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,400 drug suspects in police operations, according to government data. More than 1,900 others have been killed by unknown gunmen.

Last month, UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Dainius Puras called on the Philippine government to stop the extrajudicial killings of persons linked to illegal drugs.

In response, Duterte threatened to have the Philippines withdraw its membership from the UN.

The animosity seems to remain, with Duterte turning down a one-on-one meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit last week. Duterte also skipped the meeting among ASEAN nations and the UN at the event. —JST, GMA News

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Panelo to UN: Come here before you open your mouth By Levi A. So (philstar.com) | Updated September 15, 2016 - 12:25pm 2 364 googleplus2 0


"You're 10,000 miles away and you cannot be saying that unless you come here and see for yourselves," presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the United Nations' (UN) special rapporteur should have first visited the Philippines before making comments on the extrajudicial killings of alleged drug suspects.

Panelo said the special rapporteur should have come to the Philippines "in the first place before they open their mouth."

"You're 10,000 miles away and you cannot be saying that unless you come here and see for yourselves," he said in an interview over ANC's "Headstart."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions Agnes Callamard have condemned the stark rise in extrajudicial killings in the country following the government's relentless drug war.

RELATED: Duterte decries UN's 'attribution' of killings to government

Special rapporteurs of the UN could only conduct fact-finding missions to a country that invited them.

This week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein asked the Philippine government to extend an invitation to the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

RELATED: UN: Rody has ‘striking lack’ of understanding of rights

'Defense of president defies protocol'

During the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit last week, Panelo approached Ban and US President Barack Obama to address them on criticisms against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Panelo said he told Ban that perpetrators of extrajudicial killings were drug syndicates and not the government. He said there are many killings because there are thousands of surrenderees who are going to reveal information about their colleagues.

"Now if you are one of their colleagues, what would you do? You're going to protect yourself and kill them," Panelo explained, adding that the police committed no abuse.

Panelo said he also told Obama: "Mr. president, can I escort you to our president?"

Obama, however, declined saying that he already talked with Duterte.

Responding to criticisms that what he did was a breach of of diplomatic protocol, Panelo said that when the president of the Philippines and the country itself is being attacked "defense of that president or the country defies protocol."

"Any opportunity you have, you grab at it and defend your president," he added.

Many have raised concern on the conflicting statements on issues by the Duterte administration.

RELATED: Analyst: Duterte's communication team should clarify chain of command

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said the administration should have one voice to avoid confusion.


PHILSTAR

Palace: Only Abella can speak for Duterte (philstar.com) | Updated September 15, 2016 - 8:58pm 1 0 googleplus0 0


LEFT, ANDANAR, RIGHT, ABELLA

MANILA, Philippines — After receiving criticisms on conflicting statements from too many spokespersons, Malacañang clarified Thursday that only Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella can speak on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar asked the media in a press conference to direct clarificatory questions regarding the president's pronouncements to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), to which Abella's office belongs.

RELATED: Analyst: Duterte's communication team should clarify chain of command

"'Yung pakiusap ko lang po doon sa Gabinete ay, at inaprubahan naman ng presidente, na kung merong mga clarificatory questions ‘yung media, halimbawa may sinabi ang pangulo the day before at meron tanong ang media na 'ano po ba talaga ang ibig sabihin 'non?" ay i-direct, i-refer po kami, i-refer po sa PCO. Para 'yung PCO na ho ang magde-desisyon kung papano [sasagutin]. Para hindi ho naiba 'yung sinabi ni Secretary 'X,' iba 'yung sinabi ni Secretary 'Y,'" Andanar said.

"Secretary Ernie Abella and myself, we are a team, and then we will huddle together and we will compose, we will craft the message or the clarification that you need," he added.

READ MORE...

If an issue requires a comprehensive explanation, the Communications secretary said that the PCO could tap the Cabinet secretary "who is the expert [in] that particular field that we want to clarify."

Duterte's communications team has been under fire recently for issuing differing statements on controversial issues raised by the president.

Last week, officials gave contrasting explanations on whether the state of lawless violence the president declared after the Davao blast covers the whole country or only Mindanao.

RELATED: Palace clarifies: Duterte’s statement telling US troops to leave not yet a policy

The administration also failed to reach a unified voice in explaining what the president meant when he said US troops should leave Mindanao.

RELATED: US: No official request for Mindanao troops withdrawal

Some said the president was worried for their welfare given the presence of terror group Abu Sayyaf on the island, while others stated that the president was coming from the context that the US has not apologized to the Philippines for past atrocities, in particular the Bud Dajo massacre in 1906 when about 1,000 Moros in Sulu died. — Levi A. So


MALAYA COLUMN

Diplomacy by disclaimer? By Jose Bayani Baylon September 14, 2016


By Jose Bayani Baylon

I WAS in St. Luke’s Hospital yesterday morning when I espied Ms. Karen Davila interviewing Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay. I was grateful for chancing upon the interview because it took my mind off the reason I was in the hospital in the first place. Instead, I was transfixed on how deeply Karen would pursue issues with Yasay, and focused as well on how well Yasay would dance out of, well, troubled waters.

Because that’s where I figured he was, though not of his making.

Let’s just blame the troubled waters on the media and how they have been reporting on President Duterte’s every word, facial expression, even every sigh. (Which is an improvement from his winks.)

It all began before the President left for the Asean meeting in Laos, when he is said to have uttered the “P.I” phrase in relation to President Obama and the latter’s apparent intent to raise human rights issues during their planned one on one on the sidelines of the Asean summit. The P.I -- I didn’t hear it myself -- was in fact “icing on the cake” following an earlier outburst about being the President of a sovereign nation that has long ceased to be a colony of Washington. It’s been a long time since a Filipino president has spoken as frankly, and as colorfully. No surprise there when the Americans chose to cancel the one-on-one.

As a result new coverage of the Asean summit prominently played up the Duterte-Obama differences, with international news agencies like the BBC and CNN prominently playing up the canceled meeting.

READ MORE...

If the Americans thought the press conference outburst here was the end of it, they didn’t see what was coming next. And what came next was off-the-cuff remarks that came complete with “Exhibit A” - pictures of US Army atrocities committed during the early 1900s when they needed to engage in “pacification efforts” to quell the rebellious spirit among many pockets of Filipinos.

I don’t think any president before Duterte ever came to a summit with the US president compete with such a presentation. But Yasay portrays it as an excellent achievement because PResDU was able to express his sentiments about the need for the Philippines to craft an independent foreign policy that does not favor any foreign power.

That, Yasay pointed out, was all that was meant by the off-the-cuff remarks.

And then there was the stop in Indonesia, which has stayed the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina allegedly caught being a drug mule. PResDU was being pressed by Filipino human rights and OFW activists to seek clemency for Mary Jane, which I mentioned in an earlier piece was like asking him to commit diplomatic “jiu jitsu” - for how can you ask a foreign country to grant clemency to a Filipino involved in the drug trade when here at home clemency is not part of our all-out war on drugs?

And again it was not surprising that the Indonesians claimed that our President gave his Indonesian counterpart the green light to execute Mary Jane. Well, to be fair he didn’t exactly say go execute her; according to Yasay, PResDU says he told Pres Widodo that we Filipinos would respect the legal processes of Indonesia. (Because we would also like Indonesia to respect our own legal processes.)

In the context of Mary Jane Veloso i guess we know what that means, yes? Even if Yasay insists it was never giving the green light for her execution.

Finally, our President wants US forces out of Mindanao. Their presence there makes things worse, he says, because they only attract attack. To a certain extent he is right, they do serve as lightning rods-- although it is interesting that no attack against Americans in uniform has actually occurred, whether an armed raid, an ambush, or kidnapping.

Comes again the Foreign Affairs secretary who insists that the President was not throwing out decades of foreign policy relations with the US. In fact, explained Yasay, the President was saying nothing different from our national policy opposing the stationing of foreign troops on our shores but is only expressing concern about finding Americans in the line of fire. (For which they are trained anyway!)

When a doctor entered the room I was in I was jolted out of my focus on the Davila interview and returned to focus on what brought me to St Luke’s. But not before I caught myself thinking one last thought: we are, it seems, in the age of “diplomacy by disclaimer”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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