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.