President Rodrigo Duterte will address the Philippines today, as pushback against the arrest of an outspoken senator tests his authority.
Though critic Antonio Trillanes was already pardoned for previous crimes, Mr Duterte now seeks to revoke this amnesty and take him into custody. This unprecedented order has sparked direct resistance from both the Senate and the military, bodies which the President had previously been able to control. Now Mr Trillanes remains trapped in his office until judicial rulings affirm or reject the legality of the order.
The refusal to arrest the senator on part of the military likely stems from the rising dissatisfaction across the nation. Inflation has reached its highest point in nine years at 6.4% and recent polling shows trust in Duterte has fallen to 57%—a new low.
Expect Duterte to address Trillanes in his speech today, though what comes next for the Philippines largely hinges on the courts. If a swift arrest is approved, massive protests against Duterte’s affirmed authoritarian-like rule is likely. Alternatively, pushback within the courts could signal that the president has overstepped his diminishing power. Either way, expect an increasingly uphill battle for Duterte’s allies come next year’s midterm elections.
Taylor provides insight into trade and technology, with a particular focus on North America and the Asia Pacific. He also serves as a copy editor on The Daily Brief.