Jan 152018
 
RESPONSE TO INTERVIEW BY HONG KONG SATELLITE TV through producer Amber
Gonzales, Dec. 12, 2017.


1. WHAT ARE THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE PRESENT POLITICAL STANCE OF THE
DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION TOWARDS THE CPP-NPA? FROM DECLARING THEM AS
TERRORISTS, TO SOMEWHAT FEELERS OF OPENNESS TO PEACE TALKS(AGAIN).

1. The Duterte administration shows that he (Duterte) is in a sort of
tug-o-war between the Philippine Left (CPP-NPA-NDF) with whom he has
had a long friendship and modus vivendi for 22 years as Davao City
mayor, versus the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) and the
Philippine oligarchy which wants the status quo to remain.  For 22
years, he praised and aligned himself with the Left and gave them his
unequivocal support, now, can this just change overnight? I don't
think so. As president, he fears that the military will overthrow him
if he acts too chummy with the Left, both armed and legal left. In
2016, as soon as he became president, he released the top 20 key
leaders of the CPP-NPA-NDF to act as consultants of the peace talks.
He even appointed to key positions in the Cabinet some known Left
personalities who were nominated by the CPP-NPA, and others to head
many agencies of the government.  The  military does not like this,
having been inflicted with heavy casualties in their anti-insurgency
war, and because of their anti-communist indoctrination in American
military service and training schools.

     President Duterte knows very well that the insurgency cannot
really be beaten with military force; that the CPP-NPA-NDF are not
really terrorists, but dedicated revolutionaries who cannot be bought
or threatened because what they are fighting for is for social justice
and the genuine sovereignty of the country. He himself said this when
he was Mayor and when he was campaigning. He knows very well that they
will outlive his 6-year administration if the root causes of the
rebellion and insurgency are not addressed by the government. He knows
that these revolutionaries are not terrorists, because unlike the AFP,
police and paramilitary forces who kill wounded prisoners, the
revolutionaries treat their captives well, heal their injuries, and
turn them over to their families, or thru former Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
on many occasions. For 22 years, Duterte has said so many
commendations for the CPP-NPA that he can now be said to be their
former admirer, based on his own words.

2. HOW DO YOU THINK THE ONGOING HOUSE IMPEACHMENT HEARING OF THE CHIEF
JUSTICE CAN AFFECT THE NARRATIVE OF A COUNTRY THAT HAS BEEN ON THE
SPOTLIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND SEVERAL ISSUES ON JUSTICE?

 The ongoing House impeachment hearings are unfortunately, an
onslaught  on an already weakened institution, which is the Judiciary.
Now, its survival and independence is being threatened if not at
stake. At a time when this institution needs to be strengthened as a
counterfoil to check and balance Executive Power abuses, those forces
seeking a restoration of authoritarian rule with unchecked abuses are
now contemplating on attacking independent institutions in government,
individuals, organizations and sectors of civil society which will
surely block tyranny and dictatorship. Some pro-Duterte supporters are
agitating for a power grab, a "Revolutionary Government" so that they
can trample on the constitution, the very legal basis of the
presidency which Duterte swore to uphold and protect. I doubt if the
constitutionally-loyal Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will
contribute to this destabilizing act, which will may also lead to the
abolition of  Congress, the Judiciary, elections, and the
constitutional line of succession.

3. THE PALACE ASKED FOR THE EXTENSION OF MARTIAL LAW FOR ANOTHER YEAR
IN MINDANAO, TO COMPLETELY ERADICATE TERRORIST GROUPS. IS THIS GOING
TO UNITE THE COUNTRY, OR WILL IT JUST PUT A CIRCLE ON MINDANAO, THUS
SEPARATING IT FROM THE REST?

The extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year will only
ignite more conflict and suffering in Mindanao. Marcos' martial law
and its mailed fist policies only led to the expansion of the CPP-NPA
and the Muslim secessionist movement in Mindanao. Pres. Duterte will
turn out to be the best ally and recruiter of the CPP-NPA because if
he resorts to an authoritarian dictatorship, attacks the legal Left
and other sympathizers in civil society, he will only radicalize the
moderates and centrists and push them towards the armed Left led by
the CPP-NPA. Martial law or its derivatives will always divide rather
than unite the country and will make the situation more fertile to
insurgency and rebellion. It will only separate and alienate the
Filipino people whose civil and political rights will be wantonly
curtailed, from their government which they will perceive as their
oppressor rather than as their protector.

4. CRITICS SAY THAT THE WAY THE ADMINISTRATION DEALS WITH ISSUES HAVE
BEEN DIVISIVE OR POLARIZING FOR THE FILIPINO PEOPLE. DO WE SEE A SHIFT
OR AN EXACERBATION OF SUCH, GIVEN THE STRUGGLES THAT THIS
ADMINISTRATION FACES?

 In words and deeds, the administration has become very divisive and
polarizing. The insecurity and paranoia that it sees lurking to
destabilize it is actually its own shadow: antagonizing human rights
defenders, dedicated civil society groups, women, indigenous people,
farmers, public utility transport drivers, and the church who are
bad-mouthed for their critique of the cheapening of human life,
impunity, the selective form of justice , etc..
The Duterte administration had the opportunity to address the root
causes of social malaise and insurgency, and to heal past social
injustices, but it blew it by giving in to the wishes of the pro-U.S.
generals and militarist minds. They have never seemed to learn their
lessons since the Marcos martial law dictatorship.

   

 

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