Philippine Eagle in Davaothat Obama is insulting according to Duterte (link) is simply the latter’s sense of entitlement. Not the dignity of those killed and wrapped in cardboard on the street, not the dignity of Mayor Espinosa who was killed in jail (link) under strange circumstances after a long story of what looks like harassment and intimidation. Not the dignity of Senator Leila de Lima, who was subjected to public humiliation, and finally no sufficient evidence was found of any drug involvement – but before that the hearing on extrajudicial killings started by her was stopped without even hearing all potential witnesses.

It is the sense of entitlement many of the powerful in the Philippines have. Archimedes Trajano (link) did not live long after criticizing Imee Marcos. The newfound boldness in facing the USA is not because of real guts or backbone – it looks more like acting tough because of a feeling of having Chinese backing. Real valor is rare in Filipino leaders who tend to be turncoats and collaborators, going to where the advantage or the pork barrel is. The obsessive worship of heros in the Philippines, I think, is due to the fact that most Filipinos in power have rarely been heros at all. The Filipino is content with crumbs from them.

Marcos and his group got popular support by going against the oligarchy of then. A new oligarchy of cronies in the inner circle was created and some supporters got bread, some got crumbs and the rest got a sense of being on the side of power. A few members of the oligarchy were made examples of and had to leave – the Lopezes being the best-known – while the rest did not lose anything. The typical Filipino did not gain dignity. In fact slums grew during the Marcos period, the first malls were built, and labor export started – setting the country on a trajectory it never got off from until today, anything but dignified.

It takes just a look at James Deakin’s Facebook page to see the brash and pushy behavior of the newly affluent by the way they drive. It takes just a look at reports on the drug wars to see the extreme squalor in which the poor live. It is the Philippines of the Marcos era – a Philippines I personally experienced – only with its extremes magnified over decades. It is definitely not the Philippines of the 1920s or even 1950s, were there was it seems more dignity and decency in general.

The acceptance by so many Filipinos of just killing the poor they left in the dust out of pure luck is not a dignified or decent attitude to show. They insult themselves, more than anyone else can.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 5. November 2016