Sara Duterte

[The Slingshot] The communist-inspired Sara Duterte

Antonio J. Montalvan II

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[The Slingshot] The communist-inspired Sara Duterte

Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

'What is it that makes these Dutertes kowtow to Red Chinese imaginations?'

She is fast with anti-communist rhetoric. But the paradox of Sara Duterte is the fact that she is not fast in promoting democracy.

Anti-communist, she claims, yet she would be the first to sing hosannas to Chinese autocrat Xi Jinping and deliver a practiced Mandarin greeting for the national day of the People’s Republic of China. She appeared like a small child delighted at her newfound toy, the Office of the Vice President.

What is it that makes these Dutertes kowtow to Red Chinese imaginations, even if Philippine territories are being occupied as feudal possessions in exchange for our homage and allegiance to China? Is their allegiance to Communist China an exchange for money that funded their political campaigns?

The annual civil and political rights Freedom in the World report warns that in fact the China path “is a path that includes politicized courts, intolerance for dissent, and predetermined elections.” That about echoes the same trademarks of more than two decades of Duterte family rule in Davao City, where there is intolerance for dissent and where media criticism against the family is regularly monitored. Democracy has long died in Davao City under the harsh Duterte dynastic rule.

Analyze her usual verbose retort to those who criticized her statement: “If you cannot understand our position, or refuse to understand our position, or even pretend not to understand our position, this is only because of your unbelievable propensity to push a hardline agenda that punishes the general public.” She is a take-it-or-leave-it person, thereby dispensing with the art of listening that a national leader is mandated to do. What she wants is for the people to listen to her and to her alone, or go bust.

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In contrast, when a student of De La Salle University asked Vice President Leni Robredo what her position was on the jeepney modernization program, she bared how for four years she had consulted different transport groups. “Surprisingly, most of them are not against modernization,” Robredo revealed.

Jeepney drivers and operators revealed to her that they understood the wisdom of migrating to e-jeeps. It was the cost that was prohibitive to them. What they wanted, she said, was easier payment terms. Jeepney drivers are part of the struggling masses. National leaders should learn to respond in empathy, Robredo said.

For Sara, the right to seek redress of grievances (Section 4, Article III Bill of Rights, Philippine Constitution), campaign rallies of political opposition in her city, or local celebrations of EDSA People Power, is quashed under her slugger’s hand.

In rhetoric, she makes it appear that communism is her threat. In her actual demeanor and praxis, she is threatened by democracy. She got her political novitiate from Dutertismo’s personality cult and intolerance for dissent. She succeeded her father as mayor and her brother succeeded her. These are traits not of democracy but of communist dictatorship, where Duterte word is the law.

In 2017, Sara spoke about “destructive politicking.” She defined politicking as “criticizing to paint a sad and hopeless Philippines.” Yet she has been caught by media cameras distributing kits and goods with her name and photo on them, even when she is now vice president. Her own terms, her own definitions.

The Dutertes are a study in “how hard it is to fathom that a democratic society can allow itself to be governed by a single family” – according to Michael Yusingco, senior research fellow at the Ateneo Policy Center to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Of course the world is perplexed at the political freaks we elect into office.

If we want our democracy to be in crisis (as it already is), we can elect Sara Duterte for president in 2028. And suffer the consequences.

I would not pose any objection if she were to become president in the People’s Republic of China or North Korea, where one-man rule is shamelessly strutted as the only way to achieve government. A vestige of the outmoded Cold War can do well in those deviant countries. –


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  1. ET

    Firstly, being “too political or aligned with a political party” is a matter of perception.
    Secondly, Rappler’s news are effective because they are based on true and fact-checked information.
    Thirdly, the articles in Rappler need not represent Rappler as a Media Organization, their writers should be responsible of their own views and advocacies.
    Lastly, thanks to writer Antonio J. Montalvan II for eloquently pointing out the “Doble Kara” character of VP Sara Duterte when it comes to the subject of Communism.

  2. JM

    I realize that this is commentary and I agree with the article. But Rappler can’t be seen as too political or aligned with a political party to be effective as a news source.

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