Saturday, 16 February, 2019

USA intel tags Duterte as threat to democracy

Sen. Gregorio Honasan Senator Gregorio Honasan
Patty Aguilar | 21 February, 2018, 16:07

Furthermore, the report blamed Duterte for declaring and extending the martial law on Mindanao, where Islamic State-affiliated militants seized parts of Marawi City last spring.

"Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a 'revolutionary government, ' and impose nationwide martial law", a tiny paragraph on page 19 of the Worldwide Threat Assessment report said.

The US Intelligence Community is a group of 17 agenies that work separately and togethere to engage in intelligence activities that are necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the protection of the national security of the US.

It listed Duterte along with Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, who will be relying on China's political and financial support for the 2018 national elections. The only other reference to the Philippines in the 28-page report said that the country was identified by the Freedom House in 2016, as one of 30 nations worldwide, which "used social media to spread government views, to drive agendas, and to counter criticism of the government online".

"We note that more governments are using propaganda and misinformation in social media to influence foreign and domestic audiences", it added.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the assessment by the U.S. intelligence community is fair given the number of people who died in the administration's war against drugs and the recent actions by the President which shows a "creeping dictatorship". Duterte had branded the story as "fake news".

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"It could portend a broader assault on journalists and news organisations, whose critical watchdog role has magnified the government's poor human rights record, from extrajudicial killings of thousands of alleged drug dealers and users to conflict-related abuses in the south", added Conde. A Senate bill was filed in February penalizing government employees who publish or disseminate false information.

"[Ranada] has become known not just for putting tough questions to the president during press briefings, but also for being the target of presidential ire", said a statement from Human Rights Watch's Philippines researcher Carlos E. Conde condemning the move.

He also proposed a separate global summit to address human rights issues around the world.

Duterte has always been under fire for alleged extrajudicial killings and human-rights violations in his no-holds-barred war on drugs.

"We call on all colleagues to unite and reject this outrage and to continue resisting all attempts to dictate what we can and should report", it added.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Wednesday Duterte had made a decision to bar Rappler from all presidential coverage.

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