Duterte 2018 Speech: Photo: “Duterte_Philippines_President_Business_Forum_03“, by Republic of Korea licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Ragragio, Jefferson Lyndon D. “Strongman, patronage and fake news: Anti-human rights discourses and populism in the Philippines.” Journal of Language and Politics (2020).


Human rights are essential pillars of democracies. But under populism, they are a proclaimed nemesis of political leaders who claim to represent the common people. This article argues that the discourses of strongman, patronage and fake news constitute three prominent right-wing populist ploys that erode human rights in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines. It interrogates the communicative power of populism as a means of disfiguring free expression and press freedom. Drawing from human rights and media reports and interviews, the pro-human rights current is reformatted by strongman pronouncement in the war on drugs, unity of long-established blocs of power through patronage, and belligerent charge of fake news.