Press Release
June 11, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 322:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on Duterte's myopic small-town mayor worldview


Duterte has singled out Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio among the leading critics of his policy on China and the West Philippine Sea (WPS), blaming him for not doing anything in the past against Chinese island-building in the WPS. He also asks why Carpio and the "yellow" opposition had to wait for him to deal with China's presence in the WPS, and why the US did not stop China before by deploying the American fleet in the Spratly Islands.

This is classic Duterte, blaming everyone but himself for his cowardice and spineless policy in confronting China as the most dangerous threat to the country's national security.

Of course, it is not true that everybody else simply waited until he took over as President before doing something about the Chinese. The simple fact is, it is only now that the Philippines has a President who has chosen to be China's puppet and lapdog. And it is not as if we chose him to be the one to lead us against China's occupation of the WPS. The 16 million he fooled with his jet-ski promise left us with no choice on that.

In his unsophisticated and myopic small-town mayor worldview, Duterte thinks that either the Philippines bows down to China or goes to war with it. To him, the choices are between surrender and violent confrontation.

Such are the limitations of a provincial warlord mentality that Duterte has brought to the presidency. His brain simply does not have the capacity to deal with complex international issues. This is reflected in his choice for Foreign Affairs Secretary, a dilettante in international affairs who analyzes the world in terms of idiotic anecdotal analogies the same way Duterte does; without any grasp of the complexity of diplomacy whatsoever.

This has been our problem from the very beginning. Duterte had no experience in national politics before he became President, and much less in international diplomacy. His exposure to regional and world affairs before he became President was basically zero.

But the bigger problem is that not only does he not realize this, he even brags and confidently brings his small-town mayor worldview to the world stage, thus dealing with our neighbors exactly the same way he did as Davao City's local warlord. We simply cannot expect him to deliver as a competent statesman in the world stage.

The least that Duterte can do is not to be a traitor to his country and become China's lapdog. But even in this he has failed as President. This is the only reason why more capable minds than him like Acting CJ Carpio have to repeatedly remind him to shed his collaborator mindset and start acting like the country's leader, instead of its number one traitor.

The Chinese are already boarding the boats of our fishermen and stealing their catch in Scarborough Shoal, as if we are already an occupied people subject to their abuses and extortions. In a time of creeping invasion, what we need is a leader who will protect our territories from the invader, not a Judas who will sell us to the Chinese for 30 pieces of silver.

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