Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is subject to many varieties of slander from all sides of international media and from various political/ideological groups. What all of these otherwise disparate groups have in common is that they universally ignore the fact that Duterte won a fair and democratic election in 2016 and remains not only incredibly popular but far more popular than most elected leaders, including the Presidents of the United States and France, as well as the German and British heads of government.
In this sense, one is witnessing a perverse experiment in the colonial mentality wherein most Filipinos both in The Philippines and the millions of Filipinos who live abroad support Duterte while his mostly non-Filipino detractors have crowned themselves neo-colonial masters who will “save” the country from a President that most Filipinos either approve or, support or love.
The sanctimonious left
One of the biggest myths proffered both by liberals and the sanctimoniously alt-media far left is that Duterte is a “fascist”. Not only is this outright slander of the Filipino people and of Duterte himself, but it is slander of the real victims of real fascism including those in the Donbass republics who are being slaughtered by those who have openly pledged loyalty to fascist leaders.
In actual fact, Duterte is a man whose primary goal is to reduce his own power and those around him. Duterte’s proposals for a federal republic would reduce the power of the central government/imperial Manila and give more democratic control to local people over their own political future. Duterte has further stated that if anything he’d like to retire early, so long as his major reforms get implemented. Duterte views on issues ranging from taxation and labour regulations to health and safety, the environment and infrastructural investment are neither left or right. They are rational problem solving policies based on the logical needs of a developing country with immense potential that has been held back through decades of ineffective rulers. There is simply nothing remotely extreme, let alone fascistic about this. If one is in any doubt about this, one only need to examine the Communist government of China which unlike the corrupt, blood-soaked and malicious Communist Party of The Philippines, is more like Duterte when it comes to finding successful solutions to real life problems.
Those without a sense of humour
The other thing that binds Duterte detractors together is a total lack of any sense of humour. Duterte is not only a prolific President but an expert at trolling his opponents. He often repeats the insults he has to deal with and jokingly turns these insults into positive attributes as a rhetorical device to expose the absurdity of the original accusations. Those who do not understand this are guilty either of having no sense of humour, being objectively stupid or people from the west who can only understand an English speaker if their accent resembles that of Orson Welles or the Queen of England.
Snobs on drugs
Snobs are the other big group of people who are professional non-Filipino Duterte haters. To such people who have never had a family member raped, tortured, murdered and then mutilated by a monster in human form who has taken the drug commonly known as Shabu, Duterte is somehow evil because they associate him with a threat to their own perverse drug fixated lifestyles. Because even in the west where drug dealing and consuming is largely normalised, few people who want to be taken seriously will stand up and support drug dealing, they instead attack Duterte using long-winded criticisms that are unrelated to anything in the real world.
Instead of saying what they mean, such snobs engage in a feat of pseudo-intellectual acrobatics in order to say that somehow it would be better for Filipinos to live in a country where druggies kill normal people than in a country where police officers arrest and if necessary shoot resisting offenders in order to protect normal people from criminals.
To these people, the abstract concept of drugs being a normal while law enforcement against drugs is somehow wrong, is at odds with the reality of those whose lives consist of something other than trips to liberal art museums and long nights of drug purchasing from the safety of their rich father’s home in New York, Berlin, Paris, London or San Francisco.
The neo-colonial right
Then there are the sanctimonious right-wingers who cannot accept the fact that The Philippines is no longer a country that is willing to serve America’s interests in south east Asia. Under Duterte, the country has engaged a radical new foreign policy designed to put the interests of The Philippines first, while maintaining an official stance of neutrality in any global conflicts that could only harm the country if The Philippines were to chose a side. This is called rational multi-polar thinking in the pursuit of win-win geopolitical outcomes. It is the wave of the future, but for many who are stuck in the past, it amounts to a kind of treason.
Duterte’s domestic opponents who speak freely about why he’s “killing free speech”
Finally, there are a minority of Filipinos, usually those in elite circles or extremist political circles who dislike Duterte. They are in some ways Duterte’s best friends as their very presence nullifies their only argument. They claim Duterte is shutting down free speech and yet Duterte’s opponents in The Philippines are among the loudest people you will ever come across. Thus, if you are freely speaking out against a man you accuse of ending free speech, your very actions have defeated your argument.
In summary, right wingers see Duterte as a kind of Asian Che Guevara out to ‘harm America’ and left wingers see him as a king of far-right dictator simply because he is turning a lawless system into one based on normal laws, many of which long predate Duterte but have simply never been enforced by his corrupt predecessors. Then there are the snobs for whom Duterte reminds them of the fact that one needn’t be upper class in order to have morality while hammering home the message that many so-called upper class westerns live like pigs or even criminals who think they are above the law. Finally, there are there screaming Yellows and Communists who claim they have no rights….all the while exercising their rights. Thus far, it has been impossible to identify any rational voices among Duterte’s detractors.