For sure, the Duterte administration will come under tremendous pressure from all corners to extract the maximum strategic dividend out of his predecessor’s lawfare. Most likely, Duterte, who has vowed to adopt an independent foreign policy, will decide his next step based on the nature of the verdict and what he perceives as the most pragmatic option to protect the Philippines’ national interest and avoid unnecessary conflict with China.
Richard Javad Heydarian teaches political science at De La Salle University, and formerly served a policy adviser at the Philippine House of Representatives (2009-2015). The Manila Bulletin, a leading national daily, has described him as one of the Philippines’ “foremost foreign policy and economic analysts.” He is the author of Asia’s New Battlefield: The US, China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific (Zed, London). Follow him @Richeydarian.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy.