And So It Begins

Ramona Diaz / United States & Philippines / 2024

Democracy is crumbling in the Philippines, where presidential candidate Leni Robredo is running for power in a toxic and brutal battle against one of the most extreme figures of the populist right, by celebrating freedom and solidarity.

Democracy is under pressure all over the world, but in some places the pressure comes from within. This is the case in the Philippines, where former President Rodrigo Duterte has shown a contempt on par with Trump, Putin and Bolsonaro for the most basic institutions of democracy and for minoritised citizens in the society he was elected to lead. In a hectic election year, Duterte’s vice-president Leni Robredo runs as an opponent and establishes a popular movement for a better future. Robredo is a lawyer with a clear vision for her country. But she is up against populist forces from the far right, where the goal always favours means such as trolling, fake news, alternative facts and other toxicalities from the bottom of the political toolbox. But every society has its own political culture, and Leni Robredo responds with huge election parties that bring together people who, like herself, have had enough of both Duterte and his replacement, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. Director Ramona Diaz describes her country’s modern history with astute insight into its dark past, and with Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa as an eminent and deeply sympathetic co-voice.