Populist governance on the rise
Dutertismo in the Philippines
This study explores the central elements of Dutertismo – Rodrigo Duterte’s brand of populism in the Philippines in his first three years in office. Using Paul Taggart’s analytical theory on populism, this paper argues that upon Duterte’s assumption to office, he has used populism to maintain a steady grip on power, while concurrently portraying “Others”, particularly members of the once dominant Liberal Party, the media, Roman Catholic Church and most controversially, drug users as enemies of the State; and sheds light on how Duterte deals with reactions from external actors such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and international human rights groups who, according to him, have been ‘attacking our sovereignty’. It also looks into how he justifies and legitimizes his populist actions by framing and exaggerating the drug problem as a national crisis, exploiting national surveys and the social media, and offering vague policies and agenda. Lastly, this paper presents the chameleonic nature of Duterte’s politics by looking at his coalition with relatively liberal institutions such as the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, and his relationships with the Communist Left. This analysis gives us an unprecedented opportunity to move from discussing the explanations on the rise of Duterte in 2016 into exploring the nuances of Rodrigo Duterte’s regime and major developments in the Philippines three years after his electoral victory.
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