‘And now the end is near… ’ So goes the song, Duterte’s ‘My Way’

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MAURO GIA SAMONTE

MAURO GIA SAMONTE

THE tune of the true terror taunts. Dr. Dante A. Ang’s “Duterte fall – source” headline story in the Manila Times of December 27, 2016, now appears to be the trigger for igniting, as in a nuclear fission, the series of reactions designed to cause the final atomic explosion.

Those reactions have begun. As the Manila Times itself has reported, China signaled the kind of action it would take in the event the Goldberg scenario for ousting Duterte gets underway. Says the Manila Times report December 31, 2016:

“The Chinese government expressed strong support for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, following a Manila Times report of an alleged plot by former US ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg to kick him out of Malacañang.

“In a news conference in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China was confident on Duterte’s leadership and would continue to support his policies.


“’As a friendly neighbor to the Philippines, China supports President Duterte’s policies and stands ready to help the Philippines speed up development by deepening bilateral cooperation of mutual benefit,’ the official was quoted as saying in an official transcript released by the ministry.

“’We believe that President Duterte will lead the Philippines to achieve greater development and prosperity’.”
The words in the statement are couched in diplomatic finesse, i.e., confidence in Duterte’s leadership, Chinese neighborly concern, assistance in Philippine economic development, etc. Even then, the essence of the message, not the manner of mitigating its damaging undertones, in the Chinese statement is what we must all be alarmed about. It is terrifying–already.

Might not the Chinese have otherwise bluntly threatened: “Just you touch Duterte and you’ve got instant retaliation coming from us?” If it had been stated that way, wouldn’t that have constituted foreign interference in Philippine internal affairs? Indeed, from the Philippine view. But it is not the Philippines that is being aggrieved by that statement but America. What, then, if the United States, in standing by its time-enshrined ideals of democracy, civil liberties, human rights, rule of law, due process, etc.—ideals which Duterte, in a consistent grand show of arrogance and impunity, openly defies, ridicules, tramples upon repeatedly—takes up the Chinese challenge?

This is the situation the nation is now faced with. The world’s two superpowers openly engage each other in confrontation over what should be only an exclusive concern of the Filipino people: to rid themselves of a burgeoning despot.

Duterte has only been in office six months and boasts of no significant achievements yet other than killing an estimated 6,000 drug users and pushers and imprisoning hundreds of thousands of surrendered drug dependents.

From the worker’s sector for instance, protests are increasing over his failure to deliver on election promises such as an end to endo and contractualization. By this, he has placed in great doubt his pretension to being a socialist. On the economy, his achievements remain largely on the planning board, but otherwise his extra-judicial killings and evident disrespect for the law and have already impacted severely on whatever industry there has remained in the country, Of late, a large foreign garment manufacturer in the Cavite export processing zone has closed shop, leaving thousands of workers suddenly unemployed.

Whatever big economic strides Duterte hopes to achieve, if at all, are hinged on the delivery by China on its promise of investments and loan assistance through the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), but that promise necessarily depends upon Duterte’s delivery in turn on what actually transpires from his wishy-washy handling of the country’s foreign policy: now he is anti-US, now he is not.

On the South China Sea dispute, Duterte has manifested at most an ambivalent attitude toward the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague declaring illegal the nine-dash-line claim China has over the vast area covered by the sea: now he sidelines the ruling, now he says he will tackle it later. The ambivalence seems comfortable enough for China, since the promised investments and loan assistance from AIIB—and, yes, whatever agreement there is regarding China delivering arms for use by the Philippine National Police (PNP)—are aces up China’s sleeve, for flashing out at the right moments.

Indeed, Duterte has done much more bad than good so that China’s motives become suspect when it takes up the cudgels for him in his worsening relations with the United States. If it were poker, China lays down its cards on the table, calling “all in,” although it is not yet the time to do so for Duterte; by so doing already, it is obvious it is merely making use of Duterte to advance an agenda Duterte himself may not even be aware of.

Certainly, not being the master tactician, his cozying up to China reflects his uninformed method of using the Asian behemoth for his own agenda, whatever that is. In one of my past columns, I asserted Duterte’s winning the May 2016 elections was through high-end machination which, according to an old hand in Philippine politics, only an organization like the CIA can afford to do. By that assertion, I was implying that in that election for president, Duterte was the American Boy. This view would be later confirmed by a friend who disclosed to me the process undertaken by Duterte before he finally agreed, though it was late in the day, to file his substitution for someone else’s certificate of candidacy. The convincing factor was US support. But then not long after his assumption to office, Duterte was increasingly cozying up to China. I thought, either Duterte was doing a Trojan Horse or a double cross. Either way, he was in for trouble. As gangland has no room for traitors, so, as Mao Zedong reminded President Ferdinand E. Marcos during the latter’s visit to China in 1975, “He who rides the tiger ends up in the tiger’s mouth.”

So, is Duterte now into payback time? Smarting from intense criticism of his illegal drugs war by his electoral benefactor, he makes good his otherwise feigned friendliness toward China. Or that is the way it appears. There may be some more compelling reasons, but we don’t know what they are. In any case, based on reasons we know, it is safe to conclude that Duterte’s relations with the United States have soured up to the extent that it comes in handy now—the Goldberg legacy of a “blueprint for the ouster of Duterte.”

Under these circumstances, Duterte and China have found themselves in some kind of symbiotic relationship, like you scratch my back, I scratch yours. If Duterte has found a new benefactor in China, China has found a convenient alibi in Duterte for intervening in what otherwise is an internal matter for the Filipino people. This makes it easy to tell why China’s Foreign Ministry calls a news conference in Beijing deliberately for the purpose of making a veiled threat to counter with whatever is necessary, the alleged US move to unseat the Philippine President.

Why a news conference in the seat of the Chinese government for issuing a stand for the Philippine president beleaguered by US belligerence? It is as if an attack on Duterte is an attack on China itself. Duterte has been his own man in conducting government such that he has hardly bothered about the consequences of his actions upon the Filipino people he is supposed to serve and protect. By salaaming to China, he has given the US’s main adversary in Asia just that kind of excuse to escalate hostilities in the region – hostilities that, because conducted in the war theater that is the Philippines, actually endanger neither Americans nor Chinese but Filipinos.

What staggers us now is not just the possibility, but a steadily increasing likelihood, of the Philippines being reduced to a battleground for a proxy war between China and the United States. In this development, the genuine aspiration of the Filipino people to depose the tyrant now and that tyrant’s intransigent resolve to continue imposing upon the people the horrors of his tyranny become just guises. The reality is the US-China War. With the United States perceived, by virtue of the Goldberg “blueprint,” as plotting his ouster, Duterte gets himself the good reason to turn to China for support. This was precisely the situation Syria strongman Assad was in—on the brink of ouster by civilian mass outrage—he turned to Russia for precisely the kind of support Duterte is potentially out to receive from China now.

It should not matter that the United States is behind the mass uprising against Assad. The Syrian people have all the right to seek succor for their salvation—from God and man. What matters here is that in the Syrian civil war, Russia provides help to the enemy of the people. It cannot escape responsibility together with Assad for the mass annihilation and destruction of the Syrian people.

In exactly the same manner, it should not matter that, if a mass uprising to oust Duterte does take place, the United States is, by virtue of the Goldberg “blueprint,” proven to be behind it. What matters is that for Duterte’s own intransigence in holding on to power, China provides him the means to embark on such carnage and destruction against the Filipino people, as Assad has been doing since 2012 against the Syrian people.

The question really that should confront China now is that in the conflict between Duterte and the Filipino people, who is the aggrieved and who is the aggressor? And of the two, for whom is China? Is China willing to embrace the ignominy Russia incurred in Syria for its support of Assad? If she is, then the Filipino people must be clarified early on, that if the Philippines plunges into such horrors as are the results of the continuing Syrian civil war, then China should be held solely responsible for allowing it to happen when she had all the liberty—and the power—to prevent it in the first place.

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16 Comments

  1. Hendry Kissinger the Director of Edsa People Power 1.. Cory, Ramos, Enrile, and Cardinal Sin; are the co-actors; produced by USAID, Scripted by the CIA..

  2. The way you write, me thinks you are part of the plot to oust Duterte. Are you in cahoots of Loida Nicolas Lewis and is one of her minions? Do you have any links to #LeniLeaks?

  3. Twisted analysis from a corrupted mind. Isn’t he the guy who makes soft porn movies? He should go back to doing that instead of breathing illogical political opinions to awakened Manila Times readers who I think are more intelligent than him.

  4. Your perspective is fixed with the Americans, why not analyze on both sides of fence in order for you to have a balance perspective

  5. Yonkers,New York
    07 January 2017

    Sad to say, the Filipino people have been in a stupor if not a deep slumber, since June 30th when slyly and on false pretenses, the Narco Menace, Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally inflicted a REIGN OF TERROR on the Filipino people with his specious War on Drugs, a psychotic warrantless genocidal extrajudicial mass-murder of his own people which has netted for him some 6,000 hapless victims, his boastful macabre goal being 3 MILLION.

    When hopefully, soon, many of those Filipinos finally wake up, many of them may come to the conclusion that it is time now to DEPOSE Little Tyrant Duterte–via IMPEACHMENT, or PEOPLE POWER, or even a COUP D’ETAT. ASSASSINATION should not be ruled out as a last measure of SELF-DEFENSE by the Filipino people.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

  6. He has done many things his predecessor failed to do specifically visit calamity affected locales including bailiwicks of the opposition like Batanes and Camarines Sur !!

    I was wondering where you were coming from given the above article, well I voted for Binay but I think he played footsies too long with the son of the facilitator of the NPA(while being an Amboy as well as a scholar of the Land of the Rising Sun during the Japanese occupation).

  7. You think too much and outrageously! I needed some entertainment from someone with a fertile mind
    and i got it today. Thanks.

  8. I’ll wage my war in spiritual..

    Father God, You have made it known that the battle here in this world is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against principalities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

    And the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have Divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

    That in the Name of Jesus Christ, every stronghold in our land will fall down, the stronghold of love of mammon, stronghold of idolatry and self-worship, stronghold of corruption and violence, that Satanic spirit of pride, envy, lies and insecurities shall all bow down in the Name of Jesus. That the work of darkness shall be exposed, For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. And Your Words shall extinguish all forms of darkness that are emanating in the land of Philippines.

    Let there be a collective hunger for Your Word ever in our land. And You O Lord will reveal Yourself to those who truly seek You and Your righteousness. That God’s righteousness will prevail and reign in our nation because righteousness exalts a nation. And this I claim to be a portion of Philippines as You will it.

    Let there be a Mighty revival in our land the Philippines in Jesus most Precious Name I pray! So be it Lord, so be it! Amen

  9. I find it ridiculous that the US will plot against the ouster of President Duterte. I find it also ridiculous that China and the US will sponsor a civil war against each other in the Philippines.
    Just because President Duterte is having his tantrums against the US does not mean the US will oust him. just because President Duterte is pursuing an independent foreign policy the US becomes the enemy of America.
    Who will change President Duterte…the yellow dogs who plunged this country into corruption, criminality and drugs..
    With huge economic ties between China and the US will it be sane for them to sponsor a civil war in the country…
    Lastly who will be their surrogate in this civil war…..

  10. I was entertained by the geopolitics but the column was given away by the reference to mass outrage. The similarity with Assad ends where mass outrage is concerned for only the sidelined politicians and groups with vested interests are enraged at the President. This column has painted its own picture of what is happening on the ground and denies what the President has already done, including his SWS and Pulse Asia performance approval and trust ratings.

  11. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

    I believe that whatever action is taking place between the Philippines and China that such would be to their mutual benefit. China has stated so so has PDu30. On the matter of the plight of the workers relative to ENDO, the workers must understand the axiom that one should not bite the hands that feeds it except when abuse is taking place. God bless the Philippines.

  12. “Duterte has only been in office six months and boasts of no significant achievements yet other than killing an estimated 6,000 drug users and pushers and imprisoning hundreds of thousands of surrendered drug dependents.”
    HOW UNKIND OF YOU, SIR, to write this line about the President. And CALLOUS you have been for 6 months. The huge paintings done of him in Japan, one of the most powerful men in the world, the best man of 2016, the rehab center build in less than 6 months, has inspired lawmakers to ink free education in state colleges and universities, free medicine at San Lazaro hospital, 1 B for medicines for the poor, FOI, Duterte’s Kitchen, lesser casualties in the New Year’s revelries, etc.
    What have you contributed to this nation so far, Sir, bigger than all of the above, to give you the moral ground to write what you have written?
    You wait another six months, Sir, and I hope to see your proverbial words turn into ashes in your mouth. And perhaps MT might not find you a credible columnist after all.

  13. I do not think the end is near for Duterte. He has 80 plus percent approval rating. What will happen is a steady decline in our economy and decline in our standard of living. More poor Pilipinos in the street.

  14. Amnata Pundit on

    Actually, Duterte’s biggest sin is not the war on drugs, it was his winning the presidency in the last election, right? It is this frustration caused by Duterte’s victory (over Binay?) that is the hidden anchor that is trying to desperately hold this analysis together, and that is why it sounds like pure bovine ordure, if you ask me. Wishful thinking is not the same as serious analysis. Whatever you lost with Binay’s loss, I hope it did not include your critical thinking faculty.