The political economy of right wing death squads (as applied by Duterte’s alleged 91% approval rating)


Many funposters on the chans like to claim that Right Wing Death Squads will be lots of fun.

The popular music group “Cybernazi,” for example, begins one song with the slogan “Join the Cybernazi division.” (I have to wonder just what that entails. Is it just edgy viral marketing, or would the nazi music enthusiasts actually have to get off their butts and do something that requires burning calories?)

There are two or three major disadvantages to Duterte’s war on drug dealers.

A: Once you join a death squad, you will get killed if you try to leave.

B: The death squads are only killing the small fry, and Duterte claims police “generals” are the kingpins. (Thus, Duterte can simply conduct never-ending martial law with summary executions, because the War on Drugs doesn’t ever have to be won, and doesn’t have to bear any resemblance to facts regarding drug use. Even if there were no drug users in the country, Duterte could continue killing people for fun; he could always claim the dead were druggies and therefore devoid of human rights.)

C: The boss handing out “hit” contracts might be a police officer. For some people, getting death threats from police officers is more obnoxious than getting death threats from ordinary gangsters.

When you meet an assassin who has killed six people, you don’t expect to encounter a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby.

“My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was my first time.”

Maria, not her real name, now carries out contract killings as part of the government-sanctioned war on drugs.

She is part of a hit team that includes three women, who are valued because they can get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would.

Since President Duterte was elected, and urged citizens and police to kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, Maria has killed five more people, shooting them all in the head.

I asked her who gave the orders for these assassinations: “Our boss, the police officer,” she said.

On the very afternoon we met, she and her husband had been told their safe house had been exposed. They were moving in a hurry.

This controversial drug war has brought her more work, but more risk too.

Maria and her husband come from an impoverished neighbourhood of Manila and had no regular income before agreeing to become contract killers. They earn up to 20,000 Philippines pesos ($430; £327) per hit, which is shared between three or four of them. That is a fortune for low-income Filipinos, but now it looks as if Maria has no way out.

Contract killing is nothing new in the Philippines. But the hit squads have never been as busy as they are now.

But it is a popular war. In Tondo, the shantytown area next to Manila port, most of the residents applaud the president’s tough campaign. They blamed the “shabu” [illegal methamphetamine] scourge for rising crime, and for destroying lives, although some worried that the campaign was getting out of hand, and that innocent victims were being caught up in it.

Maria also regrets the choice she has made.

“I feel guilty and it is hard on my nerves. I don’t want the families of those I have killed to come after me.”

She worries about what her children will think. “I do not want them to come back at us and say that they got to live because we killed for money.” Already her older boy asks questions about how she and her husband earn so much.

She has one more hit, one more contract to fulfill, and would like that to be her last. But her boss has threatened to kill anyone who leaves the team.

It is relevant to note that the War on Drugs has always been a War on Subcultures

Nixon ramped up the War on Drugs in order to repress anti-war hippies and anti-white Black Panthers.

Also note Duterte threatens journalists.

Bunnie Huang wants to protect journos.

Will Duerte have to kill Bunnie?

Filipinos are not degenerates, who need to be protected from themselves, but are mostly a nation of decent, sober, law-abiding and God-fearing people. The most revealing Philippine statistic is this: 37% of Filipinos attend church on a weekly basis. Less than 20% of Americans do.
Nonetheless, Duterte has succeeded in convincing large numbers of his people that drug use constitutes such an emergency that the very existence of the nation is threatened, and that only his rule can save the Philippines. It’s the oldest autocratic trick in the book.
“We’re on a slippery slope towards tyranny,” Philippine Senator Leila de Lima tells TIME.
A week after he took office, a poll conducted by Philippine research firm Pulse Asia showed that an astonishing 91% of Filipinos had a “high degree of trust” in Duterte. Among them are people like Ray Antonio Nadiera, a 33-year-old maintenance worker in the country’s second largest city Cebu, who says that by the time Duterte’s campaign is over, “all the addicts will be straightened out.” In Manila’s Pasig Line district, local resident Jamie Co says, “The people killed are the dirt of society. What Duterte’s doing, his war on illegal drugs, is right. It’s good.”
“In the opinion of many Filipinos, law and order is a major issue and previous administrations weren’t effective or dedicated in addressing it,” Richard Javad Heydarian, a professor of political science at Manila’s De La Salle University, tells TIME in an email. Duterte, he says, “has a lot of political capital to dispense with.”

Duterte, who is openly against the rule of law, despite being the son of a lawyer and a former Davao city prosecutor himself. “There is no due process in my mouth,” the President said on Aug. 7.
That night, he named 159 judges, public officials, and even police officers, whom he claimed were involved in the country’s narcotics trade. He ordered that the policemen on the list be immediately dismissed, the politicians have their government-assigned security details revoked, and the judges to report to the Supreme Court within 24 hours.

The list itself is also full of mistakes. The country’s Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, pointed out in an open letter to Duterte that only four of the seven judges named were still on the bench. One of them was dismissed in 2007, and another died eight years ago. When she instructed that nobody named should surrender unless an appropriate arrest warrant had been issued, Duterte said that she “must be joking,” and threatened to withdraw all executive support from her.

Summary: Duterte is interested in killing people, and he’s not so well-organized that he’s aware that some of the people on his list are already dead.

Rodrigo Duterte has warned journalists in the Philippines that they are legitimate targets for assassination if they do wrong, in the President-elect’s latest controversial comments ahead of being sworn into office later this month.
Duterte was asked during a press conference Tuesday how he would address the country’s high murder rate for journalists, reports Agence France-Presse. “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch,” he replied.
The Philippines is considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists and, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 75 reporters have been murdered in the country since 1992, many while investigating official corruption.

PRESIDENT Duterte on Tuesday threatened Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that he would declare martial law if the Supreme Court would hinder his war against illegal drugs.

Duterte, who has served as mayor of Davao for 22 years, was caught on tape referring to the incident during a campaign speech on Sunday.
“They raped all of the women … There was this Australian lay minister … when they took them out … I saw her face and I thought: ‘Son of a bitch. what a pity … they raped her, they all lined up. I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first,” Duterte told the crowd, according to Agence France-Presse.
Confusingly, Duterte also said the words were “not a joke” but spoken because of his “utter rage” over the incident he described. “I said it in the heat of anger,” he told reporters outside his home Sunday.

So apparently, Duterte only gets angry about rape when it means he doesn’t get the first chance to have sex. Does that really get him a genuine 91% approval rating in a Catholic country? If so, I clearly don’t understand Catholicism. And probably I don’t understand machismo.

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