Daily Archives: October 19, 2016


October 19, 2016


By Philip Jr Lustre

Los Angeles–FOUR SCENARIOS.These scenarios are premised on violence and confrontation. It is probable that President Duterte’s term of office would be characterized by plenty of political dynamics that could make or unmake his government.

It is highly probable that these dynamics could lead to violent confrontations (plural is likely) among the contending parties.

Nevertheless, the scenarios do not appear palatable. They appear different from the previous administrations that had smooth turnover and transitions.

His own anti-drug war could bring him down. As experience shows, this war is simply unwinnable. Moreover, the President is perceived as one who could not lead and, ergo, is bringing the country to a slippery slope.

FIRST SCENARIO: President Duterte does not complete his six-year term of office. He dies either by illness, assassination, poisoning, or military coup. Or he gets deposed in a rebellion, military coup, or impeachment.

A peaceful transition happens, where the Vice President takes over and assumes a course far different from Duterte’s. This probability has two sub-scenarios: first, the Vice President assumes power only for the remainder of Duterte’s term and leaves the political scene after the 2022 expiry of her term as vice president; and second, the Vice President runs for president in 2022.

SECOND SCENARIO: A military coup, encouraged and sponsored by a foreign power most likely the U.S., happens, kicks out Duterte out of Malacanang, and installs a joint civilian-military junta. The junta makes sweeping but surgical changes, but, in the end, it gives back political power to the civilian leadership by calling general elections from the presidency down to the barangay level in 2019, or 2022 at the latest.

THIRD SCENARIO: The President overcomes his reported illness, performs some makeover, and compromises with his opponents to complete his term of office in 2022.

It has been projected that by that time, the country would have a tumultuous political environment and that only the presidential elections could defuse the country’s political situation.

FOURTH SCENARIO: President Duterte, reacting to the strong opposition to his leadership, declares a revolutionary government, suspends the Constitution, and proclaims himself leader of the Philippines for an indefinite period of time.

Of course, he would need the support of the Armed Forces, or foreign powers like China and Russia to sustain a power grab outside the constitutional framework.

This is a self-coup scenario. Stretching further, it leads to the secession of Mindanao from the Philippine Republic and the formation of the Mindanao Republic. At its extreme, a civil war is not far behind.




October 18, 2016



In view of the Supreme Court order to stay the decision on Marcos until November 8, 2016, we in the Kontra-Libing Coalition in the United States decided to cancel our rallies tomorrow,October 19, 2016 at all Philippine Consulates.

We heard that the Supreme Court is having a hard time deciding on the case. Thus they extended the status quo order.

That PRRD is exerting undue pressure on the court. By visiting Governor Imee Marcos in Ilocos Norte, the Marcos lover, PRRD is assuring the Marcoses that the burial with honors at the LMNB will happen.

We cannot let this pass. Please wait for further announcement for future mass actions.

Thank you very much and MAKIBAKA, HUWAG MATAKOT!



The Supreme Court vs the Marcoses


October 18, 2016

The Supreme Court vs the Marcoses

 / 12:18 AM October 18, 2016

If the Supreme Court did not exist, an Inquirer editorial once argued, it would be necessary to invent it. We can add a corollary: If an occasion demanded its invention, it would be the series of legal issues arising from the Marcos dictatorship. Ferdinand Marcos rose to power through skillful use of the means of democracy—the same democracy he and his wife then subverted when he imposed military rule and assumed absolute power.

The Marcoses, to steal one of Philip Larkin’s unforgettable opening lines, “they f*ck you up.”

I use the present tense, because even though Marcos himself died a quarter-century ago, many parts of the legal and political and cultural edifice he built persist to this day. So yes, the Marcoses continue to mess with our mind—and proof lies in President Duterte’s unrepentantly legalistic view that nothing bars him from ordering the burial of the dictator’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (and honoring his campaign promises).

It’s a narrow interpretation of a tenuous legal principle, against the whole weight of history. This is Marcosian in both inspiration and execution, a privileging of the created legal order at the expense of national experience and the public interest.

As I have argued before, the Marcoses masterminded what we can consider the fourth occupation of the Philippines; can we imagine, will President Duterte countenance, burying an official of the Spanish, the American, or the Japanese colonial regimes in the national heroes’ cemetery?

It is eminently the role of the Supreme Court to untangle the many and messy bonds of the Marcosian brand of constitutional authoritarianism, to impose clarity on the deliberate chaos the dictator created—and to mete out justice. By and large, the Supreme Court has overcome its unfortunate history under the Marcos dictatorship by ruling repeatedly against the dictator. It has the duty, and the capacity, to speak clearly on the burial issue.

What a tragedy if the high court, through a failure of will or a perverted sense of consensus, decides the Marcos burial case using Marcos’ own kind of reductionist legalism.

* * *

Over lunch at the University of Hong Kong yesterday, a forum of lawyers and journalists heard a retired Hong Kong appellate justice speak on his experience. Everything was off the record, but at one point, answering a question about political pressure on judges, he spoke about the privilege of working in a truly independent judiciary. Then he said—and I trust he will not mind if I quote him: “The difference is, we know the institutions of civil society, including the press, will back us.”

I thought that was a telling affirmation. When I heard him, I thought of our Supreme Court, and the rumors circulating of a 7-7 ruling on the Marcos burial issue, and wondered whether the justices have done all they could to agree on a consensus that will find the backing, not merely of a single powerful individual, but all the institutions of civil society, including the press.

The retired appellate justice also said something else that struck me: “I have always been able to say what I like. If the judgment is wrong, it will be overturned on appeal, so there’s a safety net.” If the Supreme Court turns the Holmes dictum on its head, and privileges narrow logic over national experience, who will overturn it?