Let’s Judge By the Facts, Not Opinion

James Van Zorge
James Van Zorge, is a Business consultant in Indonesia that has worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development, Food and Agriculture Organization, McKinsey & Co., and A.T.Kearney’s Global Business Policy Institute. He completed his BA in International Relations, summacum laude, at the State University of New York at Albany, and he holds a Masters of Public Policy, International Economics, from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Jakarta, IO – In a recent opinion piece in the Jakarta Post, ‘After Philippines, Indonesia too is ripe for return to authoritarianism’, senior journalist Endy Bayuni argues the rise of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. as the Philippines new president-elect “signals voters growing discontent with liberal democracy and a penchant for a strong ruler.” Bayuni also intimates that Indonesia could also see a return of authoritarian rule such as it experienced during Soeharto’ New Order, only this time if a figure like Prabowo Subianto were to win the 2024 presidential election. 

If nothing else, Bayuni should be faulted with sloppy journalism and analysis, and he leaves one wondering if he has even bothered to conduct basic research on Marcos Jr. and current Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto. 

Read: Leading at LSJ survey, Prabowo seen as a capable figure who can solve Indonesia’s problems

Foremost, being the son of a dictator such as Ferdinand Marcos Sr. does not qualify one as harboring designs to follow in the father’s footsteps. Coco Quisumbing, a former Filipino veteran journalist, international affairs expert and advisor to the U.N. Human Rights Council, noted to me that Marcos Jr., unlike his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, has a track record spanning his career as a senator and governor that would not even remotely suggest he would rule the Philippines with an iron fist.