Drug war casts doubt on Philippines' rule of law

Jose Katigbak - The Philippine Star

WASHINGTON – A harsh crackdown on the drug trade and President Duterte’s heavy-handed style of governance have raised troubling questions about the rule of law and the integrity of the Philippines’ fragile political institutions, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said.

A report by the UK-based EIU said widespread public discontent with the failure of traditional elites to rein in rising economic inequality and voters’ concerns over domestic security brought the Filipino strongman into power following transformative elections in 2016.

“Having been in office for a little more than six months, Mr. Duterte has already become embroiled in numerous international and domestic controversies,” the report issued on Wednesday said.

“Nevertheless, macroeconomic fundamentals will remain strong for the most part of 2017-21,” the report added.

The EIU’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.

The index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation and political culture.

Based on their scores on a range of indicators, each country is then classified as one of four types: full democracy (scores of 8 to 10), flawed democracy (6 to 7.9), hybrid regimes (4 to 5.9) and authoritarian regimes (below 4).

For the 9th time since the inception of the index the Philippines was classified as a flawed democracy.

A big surprise in the standings was the demotion of the United States from a full democracy to a flawed democracy for the first time ever.

In the overall country standings, the Philippines scored 6.94 points, its best ever, from 6.84 previously and it ranked in 50th place from 54th in the 2015 index.

However, its civil liberties score dropped to 8.24 from 9.1 previously.

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