Three well-known women critics took turns over the past few days in crucifying President Rodrigo Duterte who said he wants the Philippines ruled by a dictator if he steps down before his term ends in 2022.
Duterte last week said one of his preferred successors is former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country with an iron fist for more than two decades until his ouster in the Edsa People Power revolution of 1986.
“We do not need the formal imposition of martial law for martial law to become a reality. We do not need to see tanks on the street, or men in uniform taking charge. We just need to be sufficiently afraid. Afraid enough to stay quiet when we see wrong, when we see our people being killed, when we know that our country’s coffers are being raided,” Sereno said.
Sereno said Filipinos should not just watch and see dictatorship unfurl without doing anything to oppose it.
“If all we do is complain among ourselves and not act collectively to publicly denounce corruption and lawlessness in government, then we have imposed martial law in our own minds. You see, the first objective of martial law is to impose control. And when we impose controls on ourselves by not speaking the truth when we should, then we would have helped the tyrant win,” Sereno said.
Senator Leila De Lima joined the fray and in a letter sent from her jail cell in Camp Crame said: “Now, more than ever, citizens must rely on their own organic power to thwart any attempt to undermine constitutional democracy and to foist Duterte’s illegitimate choice of successor upon the Filipino people.”
De Lima, an opposition Senator incarcerated for her alleged link to drug trading at the New Bilibid Prison when she was the Justice Secretary, warned against Duterte’s “malevolent plan” to unseat Robredo and make Marcos his successor.
“Now, more than ever, citizens must rely on their own organic power to thwart any attempt to undermine constitutional democracy and to foist Duterte’s illegitimate choice of successor upon the Filipino people,” she added.