P27. Contemporary Topics and Emerging Issues

Session: Session 4, 8:30 – 10:00 am, Saturday 9/30

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Loyalty

Chair: James Coburn (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenter: Partick Peralta

Dictatorship of the Vengeful: The Rise of Civic Authoritarianism in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines

Speaker: Patrick Peralta
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of Michigan
Abstract: Since its inception in 2016, the Philippine Drug War has unleashed waves of extreme brutality and terror, revealed in grisly photos of corpses sprawled on Manila’s streets. Thousands of these dead have been discovered under bridges, in alleyways, on sidewalks, in tricycles, and in their own homes, collectively testifying to the merciless power of the drug war’s steward: President Rodrigo Duterte. Yet even as the drug war has been vocally condemned around the world, Duterte remains extremely popular among Filipinos, many of whom approve of, and even participate in, the extrajudicial killings. How has this mass slaughter of human beings been maintained for so long? What drives people to violate and kill their fellow citizens? This paper draws on political theory and survey data to examine the psychology of accepting repression in ways that cannot be explained from the use of compulsory state power. According to what I call “civic authoritarianism,” alienated and disaffected citizens rediscover public agency by engaging in the state’s demonization and repression of targeted groups. From cavalier justifications of nightly killings to vigilante neighborhood “death squads,” such violent energies have afforded a perverse sense of community and thus dashed nearly all hopes of democratic mass resistance. Moreover, with Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte leading the country with an overwhelming electoral mandate, illiberal rule will likely be sustained. Can this grassroots repression realistically be overcome in a region already moving against human rights? And how likely will the revolutionary legacies of Asia’s first People Power survive?