The Philippines is a vibrant democracy led by an elected president, Benigno S. Aquino III, but is hobbled by a long history of patronage politics, poor governance and corruption. In spite of recent economic gains, poverty remains widespread, fueling the long-running Communist and Islamic insurgencies as well as terrorism. Human rights violations such as summary killings, torture and enforced disappearances have declined under the Aquino administration, but continue to occur regularly, often as part of security force actions in these conflicts. Attacks by often unknown assailants on journalists, human rights defenders, political activists and members of tribal groups also happen frequently. Impunity for rights abuses persists largely because of a dysfunctional criminal justice system and a resistance by state forces to accountability.