Rodrigo Duterte

Expert Voices

Philippine midterm elections could further consolidate Duterte's power

Rodrigo Duterte speaking at a lectern
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Despite provoking international condemnation for his disdain for laws and institutions, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seems likely to gain stronger domestic support in the May 13 midterms, when voters will elect the lower house of Congress and part of the Senate.

Why it matters: Long one of the most democratic states in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has seen under Duterte an illiberal crackdown on the press, judiciary and political opposition and an anti-drug campaign that reportedly has led to the deaths of over 12,000 people, often through extrajudicial killings.

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa arrested

Famous Philippine journalist Maria Ressa
Maria Ressa. Photo: Noel Celis/Getty Images

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa was arrested at Manila's airport on Friday on securities fraud charges, another incident that watchdogs say is part of an ongoing attempt to silence her by the government of President Rodrigo Duterte, reports CNN.

Details: Ressa, a 2018 TIME Person of the Year who has faced multiple arrests on various charges, has reported extensively on Duterte's brutal war on drugs via her media company Rappler. The site's managing editor and 5 other former and current board members were also arrested earlier this week on similar charges.

Go deeper: Journalist critical of Duterte receives threats from Philippine government