Like father, like son.

Davao City mayor Baste Duterte has declared his own war against illegal drugs, drawing first blood just hours after he boasted on March 23, 2024 that he would kill those who will not stop using them. The first to fall in the early hours of March 24 under Mayor Duterte’s drug war is allegedly a top city-level drug personality.

All this sounds like Baste Duterte intends to replicate his father’s bloody war on drugs during the latter’s 22-year stint as Davao City mayor and six-year term as president.

On the face of it, Baste Duterte’s declaration reeks with contempt for the tens of thousands of victims of his father’s war on drugs and is in direct defiance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is reportedly preparing to issue an arrest warrant for Rodrigo Duterte.

Scratching the surface, however, Baste’s braggadocio can be seen as the Dutertes’ desperate attempt at being relevant, given the steady erosion of their power and influence in the face of the crumbling Marcos Jr.-Sara Duterte unity tandem.

The Dutertes are trying hard to prolong their days by making a bang, but will likely end their stay with a whimper.

The problem is, their desperate attempts to assert power will also likely come at the cost of hundreds or even thousands of lives, and numerous human rights violations.

Human rights defenders must put a stop to Baste Duterte’s attempts to tread a path like the one stained with the blood of Rodrigo Duterte’s victims.