And in the Philippines (which holds ASEANs rotating chair in 2017) under the irascible president, Rodrigo Duterte, a vigilante crusade against drug-dealers will threaten to suck society under.

I can't find the definition.

source: http://www.theworldin.com/edition/2017/article/12612/asean-way

1 Answer 1


Your title is misleading due to a different word order than from the quote!

Basically, Duterte means that a vigilante crusade would be behaviour not expected of a civilised society.

Another way of saying suck under would be drag down, or that society would be stooping to a low level.

'Suck under' is sort of a metaphor - think of a whirlpool or a quagmire - anything that gets in it will be 'sucked' down - pulled down.

  • Not sure how you have arrived at "Duterte means", though your explanation of "suck under" as a whirlpool or quagmire is good.
    – TimR
    May 18, 2017 at 13:24
  • Rodrigo Duterte is the president of the Philippines - I was referring to him by name.
    – TCassa
    May 19, 2017 at 7:56
  • But he isn't making the statement. How are you understanding under?
    – TimR
    May 19, 2017 at 11:14
  • Apologies, I misread it - I thought it was a quote from Duterte. I understand the use of 'under' here.
    – TCassa
    May 22, 2017 at 8:16
  • I thought you might be understanding under to mean something like per, which might explain your reading of the passage.
    – TimR
    May 22, 2017 at 10:27

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