Duterte admin critics slam President's misogyny, threats to democracy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 12) — Critics of the Duterte administration slammed the President on Independence Day for endangering the country's democratic freedoms and for his offensive remarks against women.

Cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas, in a gathering in Quezon City on Tuesday, asserted that the public should be educated about the war on drugs, the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, corruption, impunity, poverty and judicial independence.

Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano said the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity are under threat and foreign policy is being sacrificed.  Filipinos must not be fooled by China and must continue to fight for the country's natural resources, he added.

Alejano also said the Philippines should not be lured by trade and investments from China at the expense of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

China has lifted restrictions on Philippine bananas and pineapples and has offered to open its market to other products from the country amid warming ties with the Duterte administration. Beijing has also extended aid and huge loans to bankroll the government's infrastructure projects.

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez of Akbayan said the people need to continue challenging the courts and even look for other venues to bring up concerns such as taking them to the streets.

He said judicial independence has been compromised, citing the cases of the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao, and the quo warranto proceedings against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was a guest of honor at the event.

Sereno is still mum on whether or not she will run for next year's election amid reports she will be included in the Liberal Party's senatorial line-up.

In Manila, hundreds of members and supporters of #BabaeAko Movement gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

They challenged Duterte to make good on his promise to resign should women protest his controversial kiss with a married Filipina at a public gathering during his official visit to South Korea. Protesters said they want freedom from sexism and misogyny.

During a briefing after he arrived from South Korea last week, the President initially said if there were enough women who would sign a petition for him to resign, he will do so. But as he went on, he rephrased his statement saying if all women would sign the petition, he will resign.

Women's group Gabriela Secretary General Joms Salvador said the President is using his authority to take advantage of women - kissing them in public, catcalling, and throwing anti-women jokes.

She said Duterte should do the nation a favor by resigning from his post.