United States intelligence sees Duterte as threat to democracy in Southeast Asia

Saul Bowman
February 24, 2018

Intelligence Community, composed of 17 organizations including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has branded President Rodrigo Duterte as a "threat to democracy ang human rights" in Southeast Asia.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community released on Feb 13 said Duterte's suggestion to declare a "revolutionary government" and impose nationwide martial law as a threat to democracy in the region. "He adheres to the rule of law and remains loyal to the Constitution", he added.

Roque said Philippine media are still able to broadcast and print what they want - "fake news" included, and the judiciary and the legislature are functioning as usual.

Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a 'revolutionary government, ' and impose nationwide martial law.

Roque likewise defended the administration's use of social media to promote government messages and accomplishments, saying the political opposition and other groups utilize the same platform to advance their agenda.

"I don't know of any government in the free world which does not use the internet and social media to promote its agenda".

The US Intelligence Community predicted that democracy and human rights in the region would remain fragile this year as "autocratic tendencies deepen in some regimes and rampant corruption and cronyism undermine democratic values".

"This is something we are taking very seriously".

The government statement also suggested that the Philippines takes the report more seriously because it came from the intelligence community and not the State Department, and hinted that the Asian nation's top leadership is concerned the us may decide to meddle in the country's internal affairs.

US intelligence chief Daniel Coats delivered the annual assessment of worldwide security threats in a 28-report to an American congressional committee on February 13.

Apart from the two leaders, the intelligence community said the Rohingya crisis in Burma would threaten its "fledgeling democracy, increase the risk of violent extremism, and provide openings for Beijing to expand its influence".

"It sends a clear and chilling signal that everyone else better report only what he wants you to or else", said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. "And we are considering", Duterte said during the induction of the new board of directors of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Inc.in Malacañang Palace.

During President Barack Obama's administration, Duterte had on numerous occasions been about drug-war killings in the Philippines.

"The Philippines still wants to be friends with the US but with declarations such as this, it is very hard to be friendly with the United States". It is not even coming from the State Department. "There's an ease of doing business and I am here, your President, whether you're a national because I am the President here", he said.

Earlier this month, the prosecutors from the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into Duterte's anti-drug campaign.

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