“Severe” President Duterte and the Future of the Philippines

Since his inauguration last June, Filipino President Duterte has colored his reputation with his severity, most notably his drug policy, which borders on the inhumane.

But there is more to Duterte than the archetypal “tyrant” the world takes him to be. Information from insiders can escort us into the mind of the man who shakes his formidable fists at injustice.

President Rodrigo Duterte: compared to Hitler for inciting the deaths of criminals, seemingly without care; rides a Harley Davidson motorbike; admits his fondness for women, having 2 lovers in addition to his 2 wives. He almost sounds like a character from a film.

“I will simply say, kill them all so we can finish this problem.” (to the million drug users in the Philippines)
“Go to hell” (to U.S. President Obama)
“The UN can’t even solve the Middle East massacres. They can shut up.”

These are only a few of the things he has said that got the world’s attention. The world trembles at this impenetrable man. But believe it or not, the Filipino people do not unanimously hate this man; his support rate peaked at an incredible 86%.
“The international community know him for his brutality, but the Filipinos are proud of him”, said a Davao resident. “Unlike the politicians of the past, he has the will to steer the country in a better direction.”


Commanding a War on Drugs

“Eradicate all drugs and crime from society in 6 months.”

This is Duterte’s top priority. He campaigned to legalize the killing of illegal drug users and providing monetary rewards to the killers. As a result, over 2000 criminals were killed. The international community has been criticizing Duterte and raising his policy as a human rights issue. Duterte’s response was “go to hell”.

Drug eradication may be a completely foreign concept for people in relatively peaceful countries, but the Philippines is a nation where drug use is rampant and drugs can be bought for just a few dollars. People with power make money by selling drugs to the poor, so the poor ruin their lives and are unable to break out of this vicious poverty cycle. Such is society in the Philippines. The biggest problem is that politicians and police chiefs participate in the drug dealing.

When Duterte announced that he would allow lawful killing of criminals, the situation dramatically improved. Within 100 days after his inauguration over 70,000 criminals reported themselves to police, quickly filling up the prisons.

A Japanese migrant living in Manila said, “young drug addicts are causing crimes and rape incidents. Even little children enter prostitution for money. I understand that drastic measures are required to improve the devastating situation.”

Indeed, lawful killing of criminals is a violation of human rights, but from the perspective of ordinary Filipinos who live in fear of crime, this may be a huge relief. The people are happy with Duterte because they understand that sometimes a deadly poison is necessary to save society from the depths of chaos.


Eradicating Corruption

Another reason for Duterte’s popularity is the countermeasures he is taking against widespread corruption in the Philippines. Duterte is trying to improve the quality of civil servants by publicizing official documents to reveal bribery and speeding up office procedures. Further, in a bid to fuel competition among businesses, he has proposed an amendment of the strict regulations against overseas investments.

A Manila resident commented that past presidents such as “Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo were found guilty of corrupt practices. President Duterte is the only person brave enough to eradicate corruption.”
Duterte is a leader who can eradicate darkness from the Philippines.


Duterte’s Diplomatic Strategy

Duterte’s appearance is starting to change diplomacy in the Philippines.

Let us examine Duterte’s thoughts on 3 key countries: the U.S., China and Japan.


Separation from Partnership with America?

In October, Duterte suddenly announced his intention to separate from the U.S. in military and economic matters. The U.S. has found this suspicious, and with good reason. An important piece of knowledge we need to understand Duterte’s decision is that in the Philippines-American War (1899 – 1902) many Filipinos were massacred.

When Barack Obama criticized Duterte’s drug policy for violating human rights, Duterte brought the Philippine-American War into the argument. The thrust of his argument was: “How can the U.S. dare to impose human rights on the Philippines, without first apologizing for massacring the Filipinos during the War.”

Duterte’s anger comes also from Obama’s neutral stance on the territorial issues in the South China Sea and the implication that in an emergency the U.S. will just watch the Philippines from a distance.

But Duterte does not plan to annul the partnership. His words were just a provocation, which he followed up by saying that the ‘military alliance will remain unchanged ‘and that ‘since Trump has won, he doesn’t want to fight with anyone’.


Duterte is anti-America, but wants to keep the alliance


Did Duterte Abandon His Own Territory to Suck Up to China?

China and the Philippines are in a territorial dispute about the South China Sea. Duterte visited China in October and negotiated a postponement of the South China Sea problem in exchange for financial support of around US$25 billion (1/3 of their national budget).

Duterte’s diplomacy has taken the opposite approach to the previous administration’s firmness towards China, and as a result many think he is pro-China.

But Duterte himself has claimed that the main reason for his China visit was economic, and he didn’t talk about military matters or alliances.

Indeed, while Duterte succeeded in gaining huge funding from China, the agreement does not make any mention of handovers regarding territorial rights. Actually, China gained almost nothing through this agreement, and opposition has also sprung up within China.

Duterte’s harsh condemnation of the U.S. was actually a method of getting China’s attention to draw out greater financial support. So, Duterte isn’t exactly pro-China; he is using China to his advantage.


Duterte appears pro-China to gain advantage


Is Duterte Pro-Japan?

Returning from his visit to Japan in October, Duterte said, “Japan is and will always be a true friend of the Philippines”. He maintained a busier schedule in Japan than in China, which was unusual for someone who loathes being busy.

Journalists asked Duterte what he would say to the Japanese Emperor when they met (this was before it was called off), and Duterte said he would be lost for words, that he respects the Emperor like a god and that meeting him directly would be an honor.

Duterte’s adoration of the Japanese Emperor is also reflected in his frequent choice of Japan as a holiday destination.

When Duterte was the mayor of Davao in 2013 he built a monument for the Japanese people who have died in the Philippines, and paid for it out of his personal money. On it is inscribed: “Every human being is my brother, my sister, my child . . . ”

Masataka Ajiro, head advisor at the Japan Philippines Volunteer Association, endorses Duterte’s strong pro-Japan stance: “When I told him about the people who lost their homes in the Great East Japan Earthquake, Duterte said ‘the Philippines will help when Japan is in trouble. We will give them land if they ever come to Davao.’ He built the monument as a testament. The inscription is his motto.”


Duterte is pro-Japan


Spiritual Messages from His Guardian Spirit

Duterte has a grand vision for Asia.

Soon after Duterte’s Japan visit, Master Ryuho Okawa, founder of Happy Science, summoned the guardian spirit of the Filipino president to conduct a spiritual interview. Through this interview, it became apparent that Duterte’s seemingly disorganized diplomacy was connected with one unifying thread.

Below is a comparison between the ideas projected by Duterte and those of his guardian spirit:

Duterte: Military and economic separation from the U.S.

Guardian Spirit: The U.S. likes to keep others on a leash: we have to cut that chain. This is the same for Japan. Japan must aim for independence too.

Duterte: Military and economic separation from the U.S.
If the UN is rude to us regarding our drug policy, we will withdraw from the UN.

Guardian Spirit: The UN is no good. We cannot let them continue with their ‘war is might’ sense of justice.

Duterte: Military and economic separation from the U.S.
Now is not the time to talk about the South China Sea issue.

Guardian Spirit: We will draw out whatever we can from them, and that’s why we haven’t made any promises. We will only get their support, we won’t support them.

Duterte is feared for his spontaneity, and the press likes to portray him in such a way to inflate the public fear. The spiritual message made it clear that all of Duterte’s actions have an underlying strategic reason. Duterte’s guardian spirit commented on his own diplomacy in this way:

“I will end American supremacy and pull out China’s deadly fangs. Then, we will only have Japan left to become our next leader.”

“We need to make Asia strong. I will manipulate China and India to create a co-prosperity bloc in Asia: a Great East Asia Co-prosperity Bloc.”

In other words, Duterte is not simply anti-America and pro-China, as he may appear to be. His diplomacy is based on a grand vision for making Japan the center of Asia.

The Great East Asia Co-prosperity Bloc is a vision founded upon the idea that the world is one big family.

It is not a coincidence that the inscription on the memorial in Davao says the same thing: “Every human being is my brother, my sister, my child . . . “,

Duterte’s relationship with China is something temporary that he must endure until he can regain territorial power.

The spiritual message also uncovered that Duterte was once born as general Maresuke Nogi, who served Japan in the First Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars and defeated Russia when they tried to invade.

For Japan, Duterte is a powerful ally who will help protect Asia from invasion by China. The storm Duterte has brought about is indeed a kamikaze for Japan.

“Severe” President Duterte and the Future of the Philippines
Copyright © IRH Press Co.Ltd. All Right Reserved.