As Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte begin their six-year phrases because the nation’s highest officers, residents will likely be watching if their insurance policies and actions hew to their non-controversial, unity marketing campaign theme.
Up to now, Marcos, the nation’s seventeenth president, has appointed skilled technocrats to his financial group. That has given some reduction to native and overseas buyers and multilateral organizations after his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte’s mercurial management, which included ham-fisted use of regulatory companies to go after enemies.
Early in his time period, Duterte went after Roberto Ongpin, then chairperson of on-line gaming agency PhilWeb, forcing the businessman to step down and promote his total 53.76% stake within the gaming agency to Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III, the brother-in-law of the brand new President.
Duterte’s time period ended with the Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) reaffirming its determination to revoke the certificates of incorporation of Rappler.
In between, Duterte’s weaponized regulation and its instrumentalities in opposition to big broadcast community ABS-CBN’s franchise and Rappler in what veteran journalist Sheila Coronel described as pincer-like assaults on the press.
Duterte additionally employed the identical technique in opposition to political enemies, together with jailed senator Leila de Lima and former (ousted?) Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, with the judicial department – which had additionally confronted his threats – throwing its weight behind him.
Hello, I’m Inday Espina-Varona, head of areas of Rappler. I used to be a really younger reporter within the final years of the Marcos dictatorship and might’t assist however surprise in regards to the future together with his son on the helm of our nation.
Throughout his marketing campaign, the son and namesake of the late dictator hinted that his Cupboard would come with specialists who had labored with what’s now the political opposition.
He has made good that pledge, however his decisions for positions holding energy over authorities officers embrace new Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, amongst Duterte’s legislative allies who pushed to kill the franchise of broadcast big ABS-CBN.
He has likewise attacked the media basically. At one level in the course of the 2022 elections season, Remulla accused large firms of dictating the information agenda of media firms.
Remulla, additionally recognized for red-tagging – the apply of linking authorized personalities and teams to terrorist-designated organizations just like the Communist Occasion of the Philippines and the Nationwide Democratic Entrance – will sit as a member of the anti-terror council, whose powers to designate individuals as terrorists and authorize their extended detentions had been upheld by the Supreme Court docket.
Up to now, the Marcos appointees have rolled out reassuring remarks on how they are going to deal with dissent.
Political scientist Clarita Carlos, the brand new Nationwide Safety Adviser (NSA), is the primary lady to carry the publish historically given to retired navy officers.
Carlos, who will sit as vice chair of the Anti-Terrorism Council, has stated she would attempt to cease red-tagging, calling it an unproductive technique. Urging the federal government to pour its assets into addressing socio-economic inequalities and the dearth of alternatives, Carlos stated, “Kapag pinatay mo ang kanyang kinabukasan, hahawak yan ng baril. Is that too obscure?”
Her dedication will instantly be put to the take a look at.
Two weeks earlier than Marcos’ inaugural, the Nationwide Telecommunications Fee, on orders of Carlos’ predecessor, Hermogenes Esperon Jr., ordered the blocking of greater than 28 web sites, together with that of stories organizations Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly, and a number of other authorized activist teams.
With no foundation, Esperon’s request claimed the organizations proudly owning these web sites are “affiliated to and are supporting” terrorists and terrorist organizations.
Among the many most worrisome of Marcos’ appointees is former solicitor common Jose Calida, who will head the Fee on Audit.
COA, a constitutional fee,has been instrumental in exposing corruption throughout completely different administrations, together with the navy “pabaon” scandal throughout Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the pork barrel rip-off that the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III pursued.
Calida is a loyalist of the brand new President’s father and considered one of Duterte’s best assault canine.
He was instrumental within the ouster of Sereno, the jailing of Senator Leila de Lima, the shut down of ABS-CBN and Rappler, and the cyber-libel instances in opposition to Rappler’s chief government officer Maria Ressa.
However his appointment additionally calls into query Marcos’ dedication to the battle in opposition to corruption, on condition that the brand new President has additionally stated he would favor to let sleeping canine lie – “kalimutan na natin ang nakaraan” (let’s neglect the previous).
Among the many main corruption instances at stake are pandemic procurement anomalies of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Company, which bagged P11 billion value of pandemic contracts.
Calida’s observe report of loyalty to deprave administrations raises doubts in regards to the decision of corruption instances linked to the Duterte administration, particularly in instances the place his former workplace could have given a authorized opinion.
He’ll most likely take to coronary heart the previous chief government’s tirade in opposition to the COA within the aftermath of the Pharmally anomaly disclosures, one thing that slides over into the individuals’s constitutional proper to learn about authorities efficiency.
“You make a report. Don’t flag and don’t publish it as a result of it would condemn the company or the individual that you’re flagging,” Duterte informed the impartial audit physique, going in opposition to its conventional apply.
Actions converse loud
Exterior of appointees, Marcos and his vice chairman, the previous mayor of Davao Metropolis, have shut hyperlinks to one of many nation’s extra controversial personalities.
The self-proclaimed “son of God” televangelist Apollo Quiboloy endorsed their candidacies.
The top of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is within the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted listing for labor trafficking schemes and forcing younger followers to enter into sham marriages or get hold of fraudulent scholar visas to proceed soliciting in america year-round.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have additionally filed a string of instances in opposition to Quiboloy and shut associates, together with conspiracy to have interaction in intercourse trafficking by power, fraud and coercion, intercourse trafficking of kids, marriage fraud, fraud and misuse of visas, bulk money smuggling, promotional cash laundering, concealment cash laundering, and worldwide promotional cash laundering.
Rappler’s regional group revealed a sequence primarily based on allegations by survivors of his “Kingdom”. They shared harrowing accounts of how, as youngsters, they skilled bodily abuse and had been pressured to lift funds and go into debt for the Quiboloy’s wants.
Quiboloy’s followers filed greater than a dozen cyber-libel instances in opposition to Rappler journalists, and 4 individuals they interviewed for the investigative sequence, and in opposition to Rappler itself. Prosecutors in 4 cities and cities have dismissed all 16 complaints and 50 counts of cyber libel.
As Sara Duterte took her oath as vice chairman on June 19 in her residence metropolis, Davao, I used to be surprised at Quiboloy’s place of honor.
Sara spoke of defending girls and youngsters from social ills, together with harassment and sexual abuse.
It was laborious to not empathize with this robust lady. Her metropolis has a number of the most progressive measures defending these susceptible sectors and I remembered how, following her admission that she, too, had skilled sexual molestation, her father, the President, sneered and referred to as her a “drama queen”.
And but there was Quiboloy, seated in between the President and Supreme Court docket Affiliate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, who administered her oath. Marcos was additionally current in the course of the occasion.
What does this say in regards to the nexus of phrases and motion within the incoming administration?
Each new authorities is entitled to the good thing about the doubt. However journalists and residents will likely be watching carefully. The very last thing this nation wants is a repeat of the Duterte playbook – going after enemies and giving cronies, kin, and buddies a free go.