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Philippines Midterms Bolster Authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte

HeadlineMay 14, 2019

In the Philippines, early results from Monday’s midterm elections indicate strongarm President Rodrigo Duterte has further consolidated his power as his allies lead in races across the country. The results could tilt the government’s makeup in his favor, removing political barriers to some of his more draconian proposals.

The president’s oldest daughter, Sara Duterte, was handily re-elected as mayor of Davao City, while most of the senatorial candidates she supported have also won their races. She is seen by many as next in line to head the country. According to independent Filipino news site Rappler, an election watchdog reported incidents of violence, machine malfunctions and voter disenfranchisement throughout the day.

In related news, Maria Ressa, the award-winning editor and founder of Rappler, was arraigned today on one count of cyber libel. Ressa, who has been a vocal critic of President Duterte and his drug war, has been systematically targeted for her reporting. Her lawyers say the case may head to the Supreme Court. Click here to see our recent interview with Maria Ressa.

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