President Rodrigo Duterte’s vaunted social media machine has achieved such a reputation that even Singapore’s biggest newspaper, the Straits Times, has taken notice.
In an opinion piece over the weekend, Straits Times Global Affairs associate editor Ravi Velloor nailed it on the head how die-hard Duterte supporters have successfully changed the dynamics of criticizing the president.
“Criticism is met with abuse. An army of online warriors, some of whom are perhaps employed in the booming outsourcing industry, seem to be readily on hand to troll presidential critics, putting a fright into even seasoned commentators,” it read.
Velloor was writing in the context of the Duterte administration’s bloody anti-illegal drug war, which in the past three months has claimed 1,840 lives.
“People with no links to the drug trade, either as consumers or suppliers, have been assassinated in the process, perhaps to settle private vendettas,” the opinion piece noted.
The write up had more sharp things to say about Duterte though, and the current state of affairs in the Philippines in general.
“The Duterte-ordered extrajudicial killings, and his gyrations on the maritime dispute with China, have raised a stench for the Philippines that is far more perverse than the haze that used to spread out from Indonesia. If it goes on for too long, it could potentially be a bone in ASEAN’s throat,” it said.
It also called the comparisons between Duterte and revered late Singaporean leader and founder Lee Kuan Yew as “laughably inappropriate”. [source]