Diehard Duterte Supporters

Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS) is a name adopted by political hardliners who support the 16th president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte,[1] whom they defend as a necessary strongman, to refer to themselves.[2][3][4] The term was popularized during the 2016 presidential elections and has since been used to refer to the most unquestioning (i.e., the diehards) among Duterte's loyalists,[5] who wear it as a badge of honor and pride. The term commonly refers to a group of people (including netizens) engaging in internet trolling and disruptive behaviour online to defend Duterte.[6]

Its initialism, DDS, was taken directly from the Davao Death Squad—a vigilante group that had existed in Davao City during Duterte's term as mayor.[7]


As their self-appellation suggests, the DDS are identified by their unwavering loyalty to Duterte rather than alignment to any particular political-economic ideology.[8] The DDS mirror Duterte's policy stances and shifts, even when such shifts contradict his self-identification as a socialist and membership in a democratic socialist party,[a] PDP–Laban.[12][18][19] Accordingly, observers have described the DDS as a right-wing populist or even far-right phenomenon the existence of which preserves the status quo.[2][11][20][21] Such an assertion has been demonstrated by the expansion in recent years of the historical and religiously informed cultural hostility toward left-wing politics in the country as the Philippines has been described as the most right-wing country in the world,[9][22] which had been previously reserved for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) but which had during Duterte's presidency begun to include national-democratic, social-liberal and even centrist organizations such as the Makabayan, Akbayan and Liberal parties,[23] respectively.

In common with Duterte's original support base outside Manila,[24] the DDS had been enthusiastic about the subsequently derailed transition to a federal form of government through constitutional reform.[25] Some within the DDS, disillusioned by both the social doctrines of the Catholic Church and the sanctimoniousness of the professional–managerial class (PMC), may have also stood behind left-leaning causes such as the redefinition of civil marriage,[26] which Duterte had also supported but has since backtracked on.[27] The DDS have also mirrored calls made by some core supporters for the installation of a revolutionary government with Duterte as leader.[2][28] Such calls, however, have been motivated less by a willingness to pursue systemic transformation than by a desire for greater participation in the status quo.[2]


The DDS are distinguished by their uninhibited use of rabid and vitriolic speech,[8][29] which mirrors Duterte's own and purposely contrasts with the genteel delivery typified and cultivated by the professional–managerial class (PMC).[30][31][32] They respond to the slightest criticism of Duterte with accusations of bias, shilling,[b] wokescolding, CPP membership or sympathizing with the New People's Army (NPA), notwithstanding Duterte's own tactical dealings with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) during his mayorship of Davao.[33][34] The DDS usually engage in online bullying and harassment against all activists, as well as the Otso Diretso electoral alliance, Vice President Leni Robredo, and even fellow Dutertists suspected of disloyalty,[4][35][36] often by issuing threats or tagging them implicitly for punishment.[1][8][37] Dilawan[c] and pulahan[40] are two of the slurs most frequently employed to shut down or gaslight those marked for harassment.[8][41][42] The DDS, despite Duterte's claims to being a socialist,[9][19] have also participated in amplified smear campaigns directed against organizers of and contributors to COVID-19 mutual-aid efforts.[43][44] It is for these reasons that the DDS are collectively considered even by otherwise sympathetic analysts as a successful hate group.[45]

Long before the DDS' ascent to national prominence,[46][47] however, certain PMC actors themselves had allegedly orchestrated smear campaigns, known locally as "black propaganda", through SMS and other means against disfavored politicians and unapproved-of election candidates.[48][49] Shortly prior to the DDS' adoption of pejoratives against the PMC, the former had already been derided by the latter as Dutertards,[d] not dissimilar to how the masses that had catapulted Joseph Estrada into the presidency had been and continue to be dismissed by the PMC as "irrational" and "uneducated".[50] Such derision has been described as a desire on the part of members of the PMC to "want to humiliate their adversaries by attributing to them a desperate lack of intelligence, empathy, and virtue".[51]

Organizational representationEdit

Several organizations and social-media communities bear the DDS initialism as a way of signifying unapologetic allegiance to Duterte.[52] Some of these are the Duterte Youth, Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Sanduguan (PDDS) and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP).[53][54] These organizations claim to represent sectors of Philippine society marginalized by those who had taken power through the first EDSA Revolution and betrayed by those behind the second.[10][11][12]

Global contextEdit

The DDS is but a small fraction of an ascendant global far right;[55] indeed, members find affinity with right-wing populist movements across the globe and their respective leaders.[13][21] In the academic and popular discourse, parallels had been drawn between the DDS and other strongman populist movements such as Erdoğanism in Turkey, Bolsonarism in Brazil and Trumpism in the United States,[23][45] among many others,[56] notwithstanding the uniqueness of the conditions that give rise to and, in turn, motivate each of them.[57] For instance, it has been demonstrated that popular support for Duterte has been driven to a significant extent by expatriate workers resentful of having to support themselves and their families from abroad,[55] a motivating factor only partially shared by workers in core countries.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ National democrats,[9] along with others who are placed to the left of social liberals on the political spectrum,[2][10] themselves refute Duterte's self-proclaimed socialist credentials given his inability, due to structural constraints,[10][11] to concretely and seriously tackle the economic aspects of liberalism.[12][13] Such constraints have had a similar dampening effect on the actions of other socialist leaders such as François Mitterrand and Evo Morales.[14][15][16] Significantly, however, and unlike his predecessors, Duterte is the first Philippine president to have had "no reservations" in openly declaring his ostensible socialism while operating within a hostile political-economic environment,[9] drawing comparisons to Bernie Sanders' renormalization of the previously taboo term socialism in US political discourse.[17]
  2. ^ Shills are referred to as bayaran (literally "paid") in the national language which, to some extent, may also refer to prostitutes.
  3. ^ Dilawan loosely translates as "Yellow-supporter" in the national language, in reference to the color employed by protesters in the People Power Revolution. This usage, however, is a misnomer given how Duterte's own party had participated in the protests and was indeed co-founded by none other than Corazón Aquino's husband.[38] In addition, Sara Duterte, Duterte's daughter, recounts how her father had helped sear the significance of EDSA I into her mind.[39]
  4. ^ A portmanteau of Duterte and retard


  1. ^ a b Contreras, A. P. (2020-02-01). "Labels and political tagging". The Manila Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bello y Flores, Walden (2018-01-01). "Filipinas: ¿Un "gobierno revolucionario" de Duterte?". Sin permiso.
  3. ^ Schmachtenberger, D. (2019, December 19). War on Sensemaking II. Rebel Wisdom. https://www.rebelwisdom.co.uk/12-film-content/sensemaking-series/608-war-on-sensemaking-ii-daniel-schmachtenberger
  4. ^ a b "Facebook woes". The Manila Times. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  5. ^ Abillar, Adel (2020-09-01). "Before we pray for the President". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  6. ^ Heydarian, Richard (2020-12-15). "Dutertismo: Five types of supporters". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  7. ^ Robillos, Alyosha. "Duterte: There is no Davao Death Squad". CNN Philippines.
  8. ^ a b c d Contreras, A. P. (2021, January 19). The deadly outcome of free hate speech. Manila Times. https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/01/19/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/the-deadly-outcome-of-free-hate-speech/829388/
  9. ^ a b c d Palatino, R. (2017, May 2). Is the Philippines' Duterte really a leftist? The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2017/05/is-the-philippines-duterte-really-a-leftist/
  10. ^ a b c "Why Duterte has to be ousted, and why even that won't be enough to defend ourselves". Rappler.
  11. ^ a b c Chua, Ethan (2020-08-29). "The End of Liberal Democracy in the Philippines". Lausan Collective.
  12. ^ a b c Magsalin, S. (2020, March 31). Towards an anarchism in the Philippine archipelago. Southeast Asian Anarchist Library. https://sea.theanarchistlibrary.org/library/simoun-magsalin-towards-an-anarchism-in-the-philippine-archipelago-en
  13. ^ a b Fraser, N. (2017, January 2). The end of progressive neoliberalism. Dissent. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/progressive-neoliberalism-reactionary-populism-nancy-fraser
  14. ^ Kaup, B. Z. (2010). A neoliberal nationalization? The constraints on natural-gas-led development in Bolivia. Latin American Perspectives, 37(3). https://www.doi.org/10.1177%2F0094582X10366534
  15. ^ Broder, D. (2019). The state we need. Jacobin, 32, 28.
  16. ^ Birch, J. (2021, February 13). The rise and fall of French socialism. Jacobin. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/02/french-socialism-francois-mitterrand
  17. ^ Engler, M. (2017). Naming our desire: How do we talk about socialism in America? Dissent. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/talking-about-socialism-america-michael-harrington-dsa
  18. ^ Cinco, Maricar (April 18, 2016). "Duterte: I'm a socialist, not a communist; last card". INQUIRER.net.
  19. ^ a b "Duterte and PDP–Laban as "Leftist"". CNN Philippines. 2021-07-07.
  20. ^ Docena, Herbert; Hetland, Gabriel (2016-06-30). "Why Duterte Is Unlikely to Pursue Socialism". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  21. ^ a b Bello y Flores, Walden (2021-05-21). "Walden Bello on Rodrigo Duterte and Fascism". Rappler.
  22. ^ Lalu, G. P. (2021, January 19). UP students poke fun at DND's claims campuses are communist recruitment centers. Philippine Daily Inquirer. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1385865/up-students-poke-fun-at-dnds-claims-that-campuses-are-communist-recruitment-grounds
  23. ^ a b "Trump and the diehard Duterte supporters". The Manila Times. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  24. ^ Lorenzana, L. M. C. (2021, February 10). Duterte's time running out—monumental failures. Manila Times. https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/02/10/opinion/columnists/dutertes-time-running-out-monumental-failures/838741/
  25. ^ "Reviving the federalist dream – The Manila Times". www.manilatimes.net.
  26. ^ Tan, Rebecca. "In the fight for gay marriage in the Philippines, Duterte could be an unlikely ally". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  27. ^ Reginio, M. K. (n.d.). Group says Duterte's LGBT promises "empty". Kodao Productions. https://kodao.org/group-says-dutertes-lgbt-promises-empty/
  28. ^ Pascual, Rev Fr Antonio Cecilio T. (2020-09-03). "What 'revgov' implies | Rev. Fr. Antonio Cecilio T. Pascual". BusinessMirror. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  29. ^ "State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers". Rappler.
  30. ^ Hegina, A. J. (2016, April 18). Analyst: PH should fear "loose cannon" Duterte. Philippine Daily Inquirer. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/780101/analyst-ph-should-fear-loose-cannon-duterte
  31. ^ Swaine, Michael [@Dalzell60] (2021-05-03). "Your job is to defend your nation's interests by using diplomacy, not the language of a school boy. This is embarrassing for you and your country" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Escalona, K. A. (2018, July 19). Duterte's war on tongues. New Mandala. https://www.newmandala.org/dutertes-war-tongues/
  33. ^ Manlupig, Karlos (2015-11-09). "Duterte Cheers Rebels: 'Mabuhay ang NPA'". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  34. ^ Sison y Canlás, José María (2018-07-28). "The Fate of the People's War". Jacobin (Interview). Interviewed by Denis Rogatyuk.
  35. ^ Márquez, Consuelo (2019-04-23). "Pangilinan on Sharon Cuneta's Support for Duterte: Families Are Divided, We Are No Exception".
  36. ^ Lalu, Gabriel Pabico (2020-10-23). "Parlade asks: Is Mayor Isko welcoming 'terrorist' CPP-NPA in Manila?". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  37. ^ "Philippines Troll Patrol: The woman taking on trolls on their own turf". BBC News. 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  38. ^ Cruz, E. S. (2017, August 16). Story of LABAN. Philippine Star. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/08/16/1729898/story-laban
  39. ^ Nawal, A., & Alconaba, N. (2017, February 25). Sara Duterte fires back: My father understood spirit of Edsa. Philippine Daily Inquirer. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/875179/sara-duterte-fires-back-my-father-understood-spirit-of-edsa
  40. ^ Pamalakaya. (2020, May 31). Anti-terrorism bill intends the people to be a "flock of sheep" —groups. https://angpamalakaya.org/2020/05/31/anti-terrorism-bill-intends-the-people-to-be-a-flock-of-sheep-groups/
  41. ^ Reysio-Cruz, Cathy Cañares Yamsuan, Matthew (2020-02-23). "'It's time for young people to find their own yellow ribbon'". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  42. ^ Heydarian, Richard (2018-09-04). "Neither DDS nor 'dilaw'". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  43. ^ Terraloza, V. E. (2021, April 20). PNP 'profiling' of community pantry organizers slammed. Manila Bulletin. https://mb.com.ph/2021/04/20/pnp-profiling-of-community-pantry-organizers-slammed/
  44. ^ Del Mundo, R. (2021, April 21). Mutual aid, community pantries bring out the best in Filipinos and the worst in Duterte's inhumane regime. Philippine Revolution Web Central. https://cpp.ph/statements/mutual-aid-community-pantries-bring-out-the-best-in-filipinos-and-the-worst-in-dutertes-inhumane-regime/
  45. ^ a b Contreras y P., Antonio (2021-02-04). "The Other Threat to National Security Is Not Coming from the Left". Manila Times.
  46. ^ Clapano, J. R. (2012, July 14). Groups spearheading black propaganda to smear Binay's image. Philippine Star. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/07/14/827669/groups-spearheading-black-propaganda-smear-binays-image
  47. ^ Cabañes, J. V. A., & Cornelio, J. S. (2017). The rise of trolls in the Philippines (and what we can do about it). In N. Curato (Ed.), A Duterte reader: Critical essays on the early presidency of Rodrigo Duterte (pp. 233–252). Ateneo de Manila University Press.
  48. ^ Herrera, C. F. (2016, March 18). Drilón, AMLC, Inquirer tagged in "conspiracy". Manila Standard. https://www.manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/202003/drilon-amlc-inquirer-tagged-in-conspiracy-.html
  49. ^ Magno, A. (2015, October 26). Smear. Philippine Star. https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2015/10/26/1515264/smear
  50. ^ La Viña, A. G. M. (2013, May 18). Rejecting elitism in Philippine elections. Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/rejecting-elitism-philippine-elections
  51. ^ Liu, C. (2021). Virtue hoarders: The Case against the Professional Managerial Class. University of Minnesota.
  52. ^ Share; Twitter; Twitter; Twitter. "Terrorism respects no one, overseas Filipino groups say". www.pna.gov.ph. Retrieved 2020-10-25. {{cite web}}: |last2= has generic name (help)
  53. ^ "Federal party wants Duterte as chairman". The Manila Times. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  54. ^ Share; Twitter. "Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan with Its Pres.Greco B. Belgica". www.pna.gov.ph. Retrieved 2020-10-26. {{cite web}}: |last2= has generic name (help)
  55. ^ a b Bello y Flores, Walden (2019-09-30). "The Global Rise of the Far Right". Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
  56. ^ Bello y Flores, Walden (2019-10-04). The Global Rise of the Far Right. University of Portsmouth. Event occurs at 47:37.
  57. ^ Coronel, Ethan James (2020). "Is the DDS (Diehard Duterte Supporters) the Filipino Equivalent of America's Alt-Right?".