That President Rodrigo Duterte only has harsh words against former Supreme Court chief justice Antonio Carpio and top diplomats of the administration of former President Noynoy Aquino on the issue of Chinese ships’ incursions into the West Philippine Sea only shows that the current dispensation recognizes this as a major issue in the coming elections. And with the United States having learned its lessons from the last elections that saw a pro-China President take over Malacañang, the Duterte administration is now feeling the pressure of public opinion taking an anti-China slant.
I do not have solid proof, but after decades of observing how the US influences our politics, I could sense that the US Central Intelligence Agency is now silently working in our midst. The next elections in the country would no longer be won by default by Chinese operatives. This happened in Malaysia when its aging leader Mahathir Muhammad rejoined the political fray after a pro-China leader got elected in that country.
Interestingly, Carpio is leading the initiative to unite the opposition to Duterte’s rule. The 1Sambayanan logic is simple. Had democratic and anti-China forces united in 2016, Duterte would not have become our President. With the votes of democratic and anti-China forces split, Duterte was able to wiggle his way through.
What should work in 1Sambayanan’s favor is the leadership change in the US. While former president Donald Trump’s fanatical base has largely remained intact, a chunk of the electorates finally saw the light. I think Duterte’s fanatical base is intact. But many voters have realized how damaging the Duterte presidency has been to the country.
Carpio’s group wisely rejected the overtures by the group of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a Duterte loyalist who is now showing his true colors by refusing to sign an anti-China resolution in the Senate. He is obviously wooing Beijing’s support in the next elections. But times are changing, and a pro-China stance could be a presidential bet’s undoing. Even having a wishy-washy stand on China won’t work now. We have seen enough of that in Duterte’s foreign policy.
There is also greater awareness of Filipinos on the use by politicians of social media. Duterte’s rule has exposed the shenanigans of Duterte’s social media influencers. For example, Mocha Uson and her ilk have been exposed. And where are Uson, Thinking Pinoy and the others now? Lorraine Badoy’s last act was to label community pantry organizer Ana Patricia Non as communist. But she has already been told by the government to shut up.
An administration, like fiction, has a beginning, peak and denouement. The Duterte administration has reached its denouement and that’s good. The US has gotten rid of Trump. Duterterisms’ time would be next year. A better and brighter future is seemingly ahead of us. A return to a democratic, patriotic and decent kind of governance could happen.
Let us all pray for that.