The Method to Duterte's Madness

Aug 23, 2016 | 09:31 GMT

Since his election, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has upheld his campaign promises to aggressively fight the country's social ills, including by cracking down on drug dealers.
Since his election as president, Rodrigo Duterte has upheld campaign promises to aggressively fight social ills in the Philippines, and almost 2,000 killings of suspected drug dealers have followed.

(MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte surged to victory promising a ruthless campaign against the country's myriad social ills, and he is proving to have a healthy appetite for a fight. Since taking office in June, he has unleashed a campaign of vigilante violence against drug dealers and publicly threatened senior politicians, military leaders and business tycoons suspected of involvement in the trade. Over the past month, nearly 2,000 suspected drug pushers have been killed, according to police, and tens of thousands of people have voluntarily surrendered for drug offenses. He has dismissed human rights concerns from the Catholic Church and the United Nations and threatened to install martial law if the judiciary questions his extralegal tactics. Meanwhile, he has also been publicly "naming and shaming" powerful figures accused of everything from corruption to tax evasion to environmental malfeasance. The multifront offensive is heavy on populist theatrics, but there is method to...

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