Southeast Asia’s Troubling Elections: Duterte versus the Rule of Law

Issue Date October 2019
Volume 30
Issue 4
Page Numbers 134-148
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Liberal democracy in the Philippines is under stress, and the midterm congressional elections on 13 May 2019 did little to temper fears of an imminent turn to illiberalism. Buoyed by the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte, his allies have gained effective control of both houses of Congress as well as other major institutions. This article argues that the current efforts to undermine the Philippines’ post-1987 constitutional order are unprecedented—and many of these efforts involve nominally legal means such as acts of Congress and threats of impeachment and broad constitutional change. Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy is dying not only by coercion, but also by law.

About the Authors

Björn Dressel

Björn Dressel is associate professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

View all work by Björn Dressel

Cristina Regina Bonoan

Cristina Regina Bonoan is a lawyer and law lecturer in the Philippines who specializes in governance, rule-of-law reform, and human rights.

View all work by Cristina Regina Bonoan