At Biden Democracy Summit, Duterte Promises 2022 ‘Honest, Peaceful and Free’ PH Elections

President Rodrigo Duterte also reaffirmed at the “Summit for Democracy” convened by US President Joe Biden that “freedom of speech and of the press are fully appreciated” in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (December 10) pledged to ensure peaceful and credible elections in May 2022.

The Philippine leader took this promise at the United States “Summit for Democracy” called by US President Joe Biden.

“My administration will ensure honest, peaceful, credible and free elections in May. It will be my greatest honor to hand over the reins of power to my successor knowing that in my tenure I have done my best to serve the Filipino nation, ”said Duterte.

In 2022, the Philippines will hold their national and local elections – the country’s first national elections during the global health crisis. The next election would determine Duterte’s successor.

For the presidential race, Duterte’s ally and son of dictator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will face opposition leader Vice-President Leni Robredo. Other presidential contenders include Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and union leader Leody de Guzman.

Duterte’s daughter, the mayor of Davao, Sara Duterte, is Marcos’ running mate for the May 9, 2022 elections. The president, meanwhile, is running for a seat in the Senate.

“Living” PH democracy

During his speech, Duterte reiterated his claim that the Philippines enjoys a “vibrant democracy” where Filipinos have “taken full advantage” of freedom of speech and of the press.

“The Philippines was the first republic in Asia and the inspiration for all Asian struggles for independence. Today we have a vibrant democracy and an open and diverse society, ”said Duterte.

“Freedom of speech and of the press are fully appreciated and the regular transfer of power is guaranteed by free and fair elections,” Duterte added, as he spoke at the democracy summit held on the same day. as Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry. Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight for press freedom in their respective countries.

Duterte’s government had tried to prevent Ressa from personally receiving the Nobel Prize in Oslo, Norway, claiming she posed a flight risk, but the Court of Appeal allowed her to travel.

Ressa is the first Filipina to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in the struggle for press freedom and democracy, which were threatened under the administration of Duterte, who openly lambasted media that publish reports criticizing his policies and his government. Ressa herself faces seven active cases in the Philippines as Duterte tries to silence the press and stifle criticism.

In the latest Reporters Without Borders (RSF) world press freedom ranking, the Philippines ranked 138th out of 180 countries. RSF cited Duterte’s continued attacks on the media, including “the grotesque campaign of judicial harassment” against Ressa. The report also mentioned the government-backed shutdown of the country’s largest broadcaster, ABS-CBN. (READ: FALSE: Duterte ‘completely neutral’ on the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise)

Since Duterte took office in 2016 until December 8, 2021, 22 journalists have been killed, according to data from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Human rights groups have also cited the country’s culture of impunity under the Duterte administration for the number of killings of activists and members of the legal profession in the country. According to Rappler’s tally, at least 65 lawyers were killed from 2016 to September 2021, an “alarming” number, according to groups of lawyers.

The National Task Force created by Duterte to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts, although formed for a national approach against the Communist insurgency, is seen as a tool to silence dissent as it has left its mark on individuals, celebrities and activists. who issue statements critical of the government.

Duterte himself has been accused of widespread human rights violations, especially in his notorious war on drugs. Rights groups have counted more than 7,000 campaigning deaths since Duterte took office in 2016. In September of this year, the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court opened its investigation into the war on justice. drugs in the Philippines as well as the extrajudicial executions perpetrated by Davao. Squad in Davao City when Duterte was mayor. – Rappler.com

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