Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said that the Duterte government is measuring public perception and "conditioning the public's mind" regarding its two major political projects: absolving the Marcoses of their crimes and pushing for term extensions via federalism.
Hontiveros said that the sudden talks of a "no election" scenario, term extension and proposals to drop all cases against the Marcoses in exchange for a cut of the Marcos wealth is part of an elaborate political communication strategy to measure and massage public opinion.
"It comes as no surprise that the public is being bombarded with all these political prospects and scenarios coming from the key leaders of the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. After all, these twin political projects will determine the fate of the Duterte government. The Marcos compromise deal will fortify its political alliance and federalism will extend the term limits of power-hungry public officials. The public must not be hoodwinked," Hontiveros said.
"Together with its command of fake news, the Duterte government is testing the waters, measuring public perception regarding the acceptability of its twisted political projects and conditioning the people's mind to create false consent. It is a classic feature of an authoritarian regime. The government is keen on controlling public opinion knowing that it is ultimately the basis of its power and legitimacy," Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros likened this to the failed attempt to mount support for a "revolutionary government." She said that President Duterte tried to create fake public clamor for a revolutionary government primarily to persuade the military to support the idea. "Fortunately, the proposal was shelved in the meantime because it failed to shore up support from the public and sway the military," the Senator explained.
Hontiveros called on the public not to be swayed by the government's attempt to condition them into accepting its grand political schemes, which she said will only solidify authoritarian rule in the country.
"If anything, this regime bows to strong public opinion and pressure. Let our voices be heard. Let us show our strength in the streets. The fear of public opinion by authoritarian leaders points to the potential of our voices as a force of good. We must not be intimidated and silenced," Hontiveros concluded.
Source: Senate of the Philippines