Groups to Duterte: “retirement is not enough”

October 5, 2021

(Political dynasties, democratic decay in Philippines—Asia Times/Photo from AFP)

October 5, 2021

“In obedience to the will of the people, I now say sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo — today, I announce my retirement from politics”. This is Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration last Saturday, October 2 despite his prior acceptance of his party’s vice presidential nomination.

While the seriousness of his speech is doubted by many, civil society and people’s organizations believe that the President’s withdrawal from the 2022 elections—whether plain lip service or not—is the fruition of the years of clamor against his administration and governance.

Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) spokesperson Liza Maza pointed out that “It is not only immoral for Duterte to run as vice president, above all, it is disrespectful and contradictory to our Constitution”.

Earlier this year, the possibility of a Duterte-Duterte tandem in the 2022 national elections drew widespread criticism from the general public. Many warned that this move is an attempt to undermine the investigations of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and the International Labor Organization’s high level mission on the relentless attacks against unionists and activists.

“Retiring or not, Pres. Duterte must be held accountable. The ILO and ICC investigations must immediately take place. The victims of HRVs and their families have been yearning for justice for years now and it is unacceptable to have them wait any longer,” said Rochelle Porras, Executive Director of Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research.

In an earlier statement, CPDG underscored that electing the right leaders in 2022 will open spaces for campaigning human rights and advancing pro-people reforms.

Additionally, Maza asserted that not only President Duterte, but the entire political dynasty system across the country should retire and be ended. The decades of this type  of rule has only proven that there is no hope for change if the same political families are to stay in power.

Many political forces, especially those who are critical of the current administration, expressed their rejection of any Duterte candidacy at the national level. The same sentiments apply for the possibility of the Marcoses’ return to power through the late dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

In light of the mulling possibility of a Duterte-Marcos tandem in the polls, Maza iterated: “the same names and faces, especially those who have committed crimes against the people should be kept away from holding public office. We should elect pro-people leaders that can pave the way for a truly democratic governance”. #