Witnessing the Duterte Revolution



Rodrigo Duterte began his reign with a big bang, a war against powerful criminal elements in society and the apparently indestructible terrorist Abu Sayyaf group. Simultaneously, he initiated peace dialogues with the MILF, the MNLF, the NDF – NPA, and China. Federalism is proposed. Likewise, “trade alliances” are being considered with China and Russia.

President Duterte vetoed the Ph–US joint naval patrol in the South China Sea for the duration of his term. For reason of national interest, he stressed that he might cross his Rubicon and execute a 180 – degree pirouette in the love – hate saga of Ph–US relations.

Such are tectonic upheavals in domestic politics and international, diplomacy during the first 100 days of the Duterte presidency!

The President is right to reckon our national ills by our history. Rizal exposed the Spanish cancer, deleterious politically, economically, and socially. Bonifacio with other heroes revolted to cure it. They failed. Then Mabini, Quezon, Recto, Tañada, Salonga tried to mitigate American imperialism. They, too, did not fare well.

Now President Duterte has started a revolution in every front – to save and preserve his nation.

Less than six months in Malacañang, President Duterte has become, indeed, “a clear and present danger” to drug lords, criminal bosses and corrupt police officials and politicians.

His marching order to the police is clearly a mere restatement of the law of self-preservation, the first law. Daily casualties include one or more police men, and several other persons, from police operations and extra legal initiatives. There are more than 2,000 estimated deaths so far. About 700,000 involved in illegal drugs have surrendered.

Negative reactions have mounted. At home, a Senate Committee first headed by Sen. Leila de Lima, then by Sen. Gordon, was formed to look into the matter of “extra judicial killing”. Abroad, the United States and the European Union have expressed serious concerns. The UN Secretary General has joined the fray. Certain quarters issued statements in the press calling Duterte a “serial killer” and alluded to the possibility that he might be brought before the International Criminal Court. He was even compared with Hitler.

US President Barack Obama cancelled a meeting with President Duterte, who, in turn, snobbed Obama at the last Asean Summit in Laos. Duterte has pointed out that American police have systematically murdered black US citizens, and that the USA – UK invaded and despoiled Iraq without UN sanction.

President Duterte paused and invited the USA, EU and the UN to send their representatives to Manila to observe the situation, particularly with respect to alleged “extra judicial” or “summary” killings, with the condition that their officiousness be subjected to his cross – examination, as a part of fair play.

Then Duterte thinks aloud about abrogating Edca (Ph-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement). Edca is an ignominy.

The President vows to implement a Filipino independent foreign policy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. If freed from the talons of the American Eagle, then Manila could do a paradigm shift to bring the country in closer relations with China, Russia and others.

Recall that during his time, Pres. Manuel Roxas had pledged “to follow in the glistening wake of America”. This was ultra vires since the 1935 Constitution, with the Tydings – McDuffie Act appended, forbade foreign military bases.

Criminal jurisdiction provisions, from the 1947 Ph-US Military Bases Agreement to the present Edca, have been contentious. Any dispute of the parties is ultimately resolved by the US in its favor Hence, no US servicemen accused criminally, such as the Moonys, the Smiths, the Pembertons, have ever stayed inside a local prison.

Due to our colonial mentality, the US ambassador in Manila has acquired the distasteful habit of lecturing Filipino presidents on what is politically and economically good for the Philippines.

Ambassador Goldberg engaged in local politics, meddling in the internal affairs of the Receiving State. Kristie Kenny acted like she was the American governor – general for Mindanao. Subordinate US embassy officials
haughtily deal with Malacañang, bypassing the Department of Foreign Affairs.

President Duterte could have declared Goldberg persona non grata but has not. However, he has treated him and others of his ilk as a mere nuisance per accidens Neither did he gloat over the decision of the UN arbitral tribunal in our favor and against China on Unclos and “nine dash line” issues. Recently in Beijing, he declared our “separation” from the USA.

As a political revolutionist, President Duterte may, under the current radically changed circumstances, terminate (denounce) the 1951 Ph–US Mutual Defense Treaty, legally pursuant to the 1969 UN Convention on the Law of Treaties – thereby doing away, in one stroke, with all the unequal, non-mutual and obnoxious agreements with America, especially Edca.

He might even withdraw from the Rome Statue, and slam ICC jurisdiction.

Again, only a reformer like Duterte could right a wrong protocol subsisting in Manila for decades. The Doyen or Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in this capital has always been the Papal Nuncio. In most capitals of the civilized world it is the longest–serving foreign envoy who is the Doyen. Duterte will redress an insult to non- Catholic ambassadors by following international practice.

Finally, the Duterte revolution will be unfinished if he does not correct a centuries–old anomaly. He should tax the Church – not because he is viewed as an agnostic but because national interest dictates it. This would place him on the same pedestal of two famous women in history – Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Catherine the Great of Russia, who, unmindful of hell, taxed and reformed the Church.

President Duterte is his own man and our last chance. He is the gift of Davao to the Filipino people whom he intends to liberate from vice, crime, superstition, and the American dream – all of which, like shabu, lobotomize the mind.

Nelson D. Laviña is a retired Ambassador


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  1. Brandon Switch on

    Gee, Always great to read a full on Marxist approach to the world view. I have heard this failed BS for more than 40 years. Nelson D. Laviña, stay retired. Your mindset died with the fall of the iron curtain. As soon as the Philippines embraces old school Communism, it will know real enslavement. Duterte compares himself to Hitler. A far better comparison would be to Pol Pot. Sad. Duterte was a fraud from the beginning. How many votes would he have gotten if he told the truth about his intentions of disconnecting with the West and being a subject nation of Red China?

  2. Might be a good idea to tax the Church. However, certain significant implications need serious attention, in case Prez Du30’s revolution takes its turn into this quagmire. Implication one is, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” The Church, or churches, paying its/their tax dues, will enjoy the right of representation, both in Senate and Lower House, even in LGUs. This political implication has its ramifications. Implication two, the State will bear an obligation to subsidize ecclesiastical programs, and there are lots and lots of them! Implication three, what about the principle, “separation between Church and State”? Are you listening, Mr. Lavina?

  3. Two women leaders “unmindful of hell”, one from Russia, the other Austria pillaged the Church’s treasury.
    One produced Stalin, the other, Hitler.

  4. I absolutely agree with you Ambassador Lavina. President Duterte is our last card to revitalize our country and stop graft and corruption that engulfed our country for many many years under different useless administration..More power to our President although I did not support him the last election… But you cannot ignore the many changes he made in just three months in the office…Keep up the good work Ambassador by informing our kababayan we have a leader who is sincere honest and love his people and country”

  5. Duterte recently said that with Chinese and Russian help, the Philippines can survive without aid from the United States.

    That is a terrible thing to say — he is saying your country can not survive without aid and donations from other countries. Philippines should work to be self-sufficient. And, how about striving to be a global leader instead of a always asking for aid from others. What a joke.

  6. Mr C, you are far behind the reality of what is happening in our country and to other nations as well, you sound like you can not stand on your own feet without clutches from foreigners, you are still on the infancy of analysing ideas because you did not take seriously your subject in history or maybe you are more incline with the history of other countries.

  7. better that drud lord and pusher are being killed after duterte they will be back poisoning the young people and anyone..

  8. I am pro American but it is best for our country to be independent militarily. We must invest heavily in modernizing our military and not depend on US for our protection. Each nation has a tendency to abuse if they know that we depend on them.

  9. What a stupid foreign policy….. making friends with China and making enemies of the USA and European countries is NOT a sign of an independent foreign policy. Duterte is making us dependent on China and Russia because he is a communist and not just a socialist. I won’t be surprised if he declares martial law soon, abolish our democratic institutions and make us into another Cuba all in the name of eliminating the drug menace, poverty and corruption. Every dictator from Hitler, Castro, Mao to Marcos has an excuse for staying in power and become dictators.

  10. ralph manalang on

    hey muricans philippine want a peacefull country without criminal roaming around like your country dont force us to live like you do where you can use drugs every where where you can rape murder and do crime because ull be out after paying money. crime in your country is business but here in the ph we feel what a greeving mothers feel. if one criminal killed here we are saving 10 inocent child and woman to be the victims of this dirts.

    for marcos you oust him because he is leading the philippine to the rich and modern world. in the past murica block the industrialization of the philippine and eu support it why? militarily you sell us old frigate without weapon Why?
    marcos is pushing to buy F16 in the past you murica push for ov bronc which is now has no upgrade and we call america a big brother haha we are being fooled

    going for china its ph problem its our gamble not yours if they will trick us or not but who knows china is poor like ph maybe they only want to feed thier people like us ithink what murica is afraid is because is if the 4 billion asian which are poor become even to 300 million murican in one people spending a day it will bring down your economy that my opinion

    philippine is a colony of usa that is why america fight for it and we follow you to your wars in korean war vietnam iraq is that not enough

  11. You think like an active ambassador eager to be tapped for more work. You started off “witnessing” by writing like an observer. But you went ahead trying to chart the course to right the perceived wrongs you might have suffered in your career. As you may or may not have witnessed, Digong does not give a damn about your cherished “seniority” even in the military. Who cares about diplomatic seniority? As a senior citizen you should relish your seniority. You have all the time in the world to delve deeper into history or any field of interest you choose. But to push a revolutionary to go your way…forget it. Tax the Church to earn the honor of “—the great” along with Empress Maria of Austria and Catherine the Great of Russia? Again, as a witness, you should have known that Digong does not give a hoot to anything that gives him honor. Just to goad you into delving deeper into history, the two women rulers you mentioned “breathe” the fresh air of the enlightenment (latter half of the 18th century). And being both German, they experienced both sides of the Reformation. The Austrian had a firstborn son who inherited the office of Holy Roman Emperor at the death of his father. “Josephenism” was coined after him for subscribing to the tenets of the “enlightenment” and his mother being “just” his co-regent of Austria, had no power to stop her son from being such a badass. Much like “Gallicanism” in France, “Josephenism” sought government control over religious matters. So much for being a “holy” Roman Emperor. The Polish woman who became Catherine the Great of Russia was a gift giver who later took back the gifts. She was a Lutheran who converted to the Orthodox Church (Russian) by marrying into the Russian royalty.. She gave back the Orthodox Church properties early in her rule, and later took away the properties. In both Austrian and Russian ways, it was way way more than imposing taxes on the Church. It was outright taking more than what belongs to Cesar. They were ruling as if “God is in the heavens and has no place on earth.”

  12. matthew c docena on

    bravo – PDU30 is all that and more. filipinos be proud!

    finally a true leader for us all.

  13. Your country will not let go of PH because you need our country for military purposes. That statement came from USA’s mouth that PH is useful for strategic location. Talking about internal affairs, dont you think your country is meddling too much? Remember this is PH not USA and we prioretize first the welfare and security of filipino people not forein policies. We dont creticize your country for how many decades of war against another country. You talk about the rights of criminals but you didn’t think about the people your country killed wether it is criminal or not. Now can you explain that?

  14. C- THE FUTUREif you are a non pinoy leave us alone your opinion is irrelevant to us,but if you are a pinoy I just hope you know what you are taking about because the way I see it you are an American sucker/sipsip, shame on you licking their boots for a piece of bread… can`t stand your own.

  15. A sound and good journal for the Philippines and the international community. This is the correct perspective that all should follow. The human rights issue should be redefined by the international community that more rights are needed for law abiding citizens and not for criminals.
    For it is clear that this right is used as a defensive weapon by the criminals to get away with crimes. Criminals know how to make use of this for their own advantage.
    I am not a hypocrite to say that President Duterte’s way in dealing with the bad elements of our society is somewhat inappropriate to some Filipinos and to the west but it is an effective and efficient way. Sowing fear is better than to be loved as Machiavelli wrote.
    And the fact is extra judicial killings are all allegations and are being used by President Duterte’s political opponents. The YELLOWS who used to be in power want to be in the seat again. This incompetent party whose leaders do not know well their functions in running institutions yet decided to assume office were but a destructive force that put our nation in disarray. They use main stream media to discredit President Duterte’s administration in their work toward reforms and true change. Thanks to social media now a days Filipinos will not be influenced anymore by media’s bias opinions. The YELLOWS should be ashamed.

  16. Ambassador – You are making a grave mistake thinking President Durterte is justified in what he is doing. The united states, un and European countries just want to make sure Philippine citizens are provided their rights thru a fair process of the law. You will find all criminals in the United States are provided the due process of the law. We do not kill them out right, like what is happening in the Philippines. What we are seeing is similar to Marcos era of martial law and Hilter.

    The U.S. police are not killing black people because they are black. They are killing all people that turn a weapon them and threaten their lives or others.

    You can turn the Philippines away from the United States and Europe and go to China and Russia. They will dine you and provide you many things. Then you will realize that they own you lock, stock and barrel. Please don’t come crying back to the United States and Europe.

    Oh lets not forget you could be speaking Japanese and a Japanese colony. I really don’t know why General McArther came back to the Philippines.

    • Are you sure your police are NOT JUST KILLING BLACKS? There are so many cases that Black Americans were shot and killed with no reason at all! We know your America too, we are not that ignorant if that is what you are thinking! By the way THANK YOU Mr. Nelson Lavinia!

    • ohh whatta creepy hypocrite “The U.S. police are not killing black people because they are black. They are killing all people that turn a weapon them and threaten their lives or others.” duhh

      maraming instance na pinapatay mga tao sa bansa nayan dahil ayaw nila parin sa black, kaya nga meron samahan dyan na White Supremacist

      Kahit ano pang sabihin niung mga amerikano, nasa Cultura niu nayang pagiging racist and take note sa Amerika lang naunang nakilala ang pagiging racist

      Wag muna i-sugar coat ang nangyayari dyan, nagmumukha katuloy bobo

      gusto mo English eto “Dumb”

    • i would like to express my views on some of your points above:
      -why are they suddenly making sure this time? have they expressed this concern before?
      -all criminals in the US, as in all? as in really really all? are there sources for this?
      -if this is the martial law era then i think people should have started an edsa 4 kasi grabe na Pilipinas pinapatay na ang mga durugista lol. Hitler killed Jews who have done nothing against him. Killing criminals i guess you would agree are different
      -that is what is being done right now. killing people that threatens their lives or others.
      -Nah, after your idol the US nuked Japan twice killing how many innocents (dont you dare justify it due to the bombing of pearl harbor) we can never really be a Japanese colony.

    • Illegal drugs criminals killed due to resistance from the authority. In fact, they were given an enough time to surernder themselves and be forgiven of their previous crimes so long as they will pledge to never return in their past doing. Your comment proves how media poison the mind of the people outside Philippines. We Filipinos know what happening here better than any other nations. I am inviting you to come in the Philippines and witness how we love lur President and how human rights over enjoyed by the opportunists like Sen. Del Lima and her allies, high profile inmates, abusive narco-politicians and many bad elements of this country. Mind you, I am a Muslim Filipino, in my year of existence and according to my research and according to our elders and according to me, HE (Pres. DUTERTE) is the only president of our nation who sees his contituents equal ireegardless of color, skin, faith, race, gender etc.

      What rights did international community to judge us without comfirmation?

      Let me invitre you again. Come, visit, observe and listen to us.

    • So are you saying that Our president is killing does criminals? I know your not a Filipino so your talking like you know the problem I the Philippines! Don’t you know That does criminals ate resisting to arrest? making law enforcers life endanger!SO don’t say that it had no due process for those aren’t innocent! And some were killed by some vigilante! And saying that itt is like marcos? Your wrong ! REMEMBER those are legitimate operations! And stop acting like you truly knw us!

    • The Catholic Church existed before many countries existed, even in Europe. Thus, without any government aid, it took care of the PHYSICAL needs of people, which is the proper responsibility of civil government.
      When NYC gay activists demanded that the Church employ homosexuals
      in orphanages, the Church stated that was the State interfering in religion.
      NYC backed off when the Church offered that it take care of the PHYSICAL
      needs of the NYC children.

      Church businesses are taxed and rightly so. Taxing donations is double
      taxation anmd so very short-sighted.

    • Big Mac, beef-less, came back because we were your territory, understand?
      And there was the issue of Uncle Sham losing face, a much-valued
      American trait. Asians were used not only to losing face, but also imperialist
      boots kicking it. And aside from losing face, your POWs would have lost
      their heads, via chopped necks, sometimes petroleum-jellied.

      Indeed, why did Big Mac come back ?
      The question should, why did Senior Big Smuck and others come here in the first place in 1898 and never left till after Pearl Harbor ?

      Again we were your territory, to be protected, not just milked.
      The first time that protection was put to the test, you skedaddled fast,
      tail between your West Pointer paws.

    • Enrique M. Avila on

      I agree with Mr. Lavina. If President Duterte fails in his job, we are partly to be blamed. On his own, Duterte is not making history. To be part of it summons the view that he is simply reacting to the circumstances of his country and our neighbors; we react to his actions, which, actually are also reactions to our own actions individually and collectively. This is a dynamic world! It is constantly changing. We cannot reduce it to the image of a dead criminal for what is actually emerging is the strengthening of the very institutions that could have prevented those deaths had they been strong enough to have fostered peace and law & order. The revolution we are making is in fact a revolution of the idea of revolution itself — transforming ourselves, our mindsets.

    • I don’t know which part are you from the globe. First of all, I am a Filipino and did not vote for Duterte. But I am into fairness. The way you say things, it is as if you are so well-versed in Philippine history and that of the world like the 2nd world war, the time of “Hitler”. As a matter of fact, you liken Duterte to that of Marcos and Hitler.

      You are so wrong. Marcos was a dictator and Duterte is not. Hitler killed thousands of Jews in the “gas chamber” because they were a threat to German interest. These people were innocent, Duterte is after the menace of the society, the big time drug lords and criminals. Therefore he is not like Hitler.

      I, as a filipino, would like to preserve our sovereignty. Who the hell are these people trying to interfere with our own internal affairs? And we are just glad we have Duterte.

      You want to know the reasons?

      1. Cases of murders, robberies, corruption in the government, have drastically went down. The media is just trying to magnify the numbers of death relating to this government’s drive to cleanse the society.

      In the past years, majority of the crimes committed were drug related… rape/robberies/murders… I had have been eagerly following the news on a daily basis as a concerned filipino.

      Now, if you try to interview the locals… they now feel safer walking in the streets at night without getting harmed.

      2. Duterte is not into extra-judicial killing. I don’t think he even did it when he was still a mayor of Davao City. It’s a national occurrence.

      It’s imbedded in the culture of Filipinos this kind of mentality. The one responsible of the so-called EJK are mostly done by the “Vigilante” group. I grew up as a kid and then a teen during the Marcos Martial rule. These type of people who take justice in their own hands were already in existence. They are like a cult.

      In the 80’s…when the Philippines was swarmed actively by rebels. There was this group known to the locals as “TADTAD” which literally means “to chop and chop”. This group flourished in the Visayan regiona and Mindanao, using a sharp bolo, literally chopped people suspected of being an NPA (communist extremist group) to death. The government never paid them. They existed as a fanatic cult with a cause. In fact, their banner bore the image of the sacred heart of Jesus.

      In the 90’s….there was this group we know as “vigilante”. They killed criminals. You just find dead bodies thrown anywhere, wrapped in masking tapes, and sometimes with severed bodies. Sometimes you could see an inscription written “I am a robber” or “I am a drug addict”. Those without an inscription, some the authorities would just found out they were former criminals or just being freed from the cell.

      In the past, how many police officers were being jailed because of the so-called “human right” violations. Where the hell in the world making it senseful, “you killed a criminal… and then you get jailed for human right violation”. So instead of running after these criminals, most of the police tend to collaborate. And they are receiving money for protecting their illegal activities in the form of “payola”. That’s the safest thing to do because these big time criminals and drug lords have the money to influence even the justice system here (they give money to the judge to acquit them) even the government officials (in fact…a senator.. a former Dept of Justice/Human Rights secretary… was now under investigation for allegedly receiving millions…from drug proceeds as a protector). Around thirty people already testified including a former Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (a counterpart of FBI). How could their testimonies be wrong?

      3. Lives of the common Filipinos have improved in terms of government services. Government bureaucracies now have improved. For example, it now takes me 15 mins to get my passport which could take around a day or days in the past. There is now 911 like the U.S.A. which could get into your household in less than 10 mins and all for free (well the phone charge is not but the service is). This was not in existent before and a lot more…it’s just supefluous for me to state here.

      4. Rebels are starting to go back to the government.

      5. And maybe things will get better in the future with our newly improved trade relations with China. (Sometimes you just have to put aside national pride and interest for the sake of the common good). When fighting China will tantamount to suicide…then it is still safer to improve our relation through other means like economic ties. Who knows…this is just the beginning…then China will give way to UNCLOS. This is a win-win situation.

      6. More to come….I just couldn’t wait it.

      So… I hope you understand what I mean.

    • Your “McArther” came back because the older Arthur “McArther”, Junior
      (boy, the family loved that name !) and others of that ilk betrayed us, your allies and made us your territory. Even a bully knows that he has to protect
      his turf or else he’d just be labeled a used, toilet paper tiger.

      And remember, there were many American POW’s here. Plus he had
      investments here.

      As for speaking Japanese, the Spaniards were here 330 years but we
      do not speak Spanish.

      While you keep yapping around the world with forked tongue.