About this Webinar
The Philippines has been under international scrutiny since the assumption into the presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte in June 2016. The United Nations, several international organizations, and leaders of Western countries have denounced the human rights violations of Duterte’s strongman approach toward crime, illegal drugs, and terrorism. He has been labelled a populist leader with an illiberal democratic form of governance and a master of divisive and combative language. At home, however, Duterte enjoys overwhelming public support despite international condemnation, and a consistently high approval rating even amid the botched strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. He represents public resistance toward the political elite and public disappointment with the failures of the country’s liberal political system. Love him or hate him, his controversial leadership has stirred passionate debates in both national and international deliberations. How then do we situate Duterte’s popularity within the context of Philippine politics? What are the implications of Duterte’s leadership for human rights and liberal democracy in the Philippines and the region? Finally, with only about a year before the Presidential elections in 2022, how will Duterte’s distinctive approach to leadership shape the immediate and long-term future of the Philippine political landscape? This ACUNS Tokyo seminar aims to answer these questions to galvanize political leadership discourse through the most pressing issues in contemporary Philippine politics: political values and legacy, national interest and foreign policy, as well as democratic elections and public opinion. It does so by bringing in some of the prominent thinkers in Philippine politics to discuss the pros and cons of Duterte’s leadership and debate his legacy to Philippine society and beyond.