Category: the left

SONAkakasindak 2017

imagine. the president who disappeared on us twice last june (including on Independence Day) for several days at a time due to undisclosed health issues — nagpahinga lang daw — delivered a two-hour speech in congress, then went outside the batasan and berated the leftist rallyists for some fifteen minutes, and then went back in for an hour-long press conference.  all this with nary a hint or whine of weariness.  awesome performance for a 72-year old.  i wondered what he was on, some upper, surely?  or maybe he was just still super high from the overwhelming support of the house and the senate that had recently okayed the extension of martial law in mindanao for another 5 months?

whatever.  the speech was vintage duterte.  belligerent, brusque, bellicose.  unrelenting on the drug war.  no apparent change in strategy: first, kill the demand, that is, kill the addicts.  second, stop the supply, that is, the drug lords, and so he continues to seek the death penalty.  meanwhile, or should i say, otherwise, nakita naman natin ang nangyari kay espinosa the druglord at kay marcos the policeman.  yung una na-rub-out while in jail, yung huli nasuspend sandali tapos naibalik rin sa puwesto at tila mapo-promote pa in 6 months.  ika nga ni duterte sa minamahal niyang mga pulis at sundalo, yang mga human-rights-human-rights, wala yan! I.HAVE.YOUR.BACKS!  ang sweet, di ba.

but i must say, he pushed the right buttons a few times — calling out the mining industry that pollute farms and seasides  and, even, calling for industrialization, wow!  calling out the supreme court for the RH TRO, and, even, america for refusing to return the bells of balangiga — quite effectively confounding critics, raising hopes anew, even if only a little.  cheap thrills.

the bad news — though good news to many — is that the president seems to be gearing up to call off the peace talks with the Left.  i suspect that if there had not been that ambush on his PSG the week before the SONA (No ceasefire, no prior notice: Joma explains attack on PSG convoy.  read also satur ocampo’s Gov’t ceasefire demand snags peace talks anew) the president’s men would have come up with some other reason anyway.  sa joint session of congress pa lang nuong july 22, when it convened to vote for the extension of martial law in mindanao, maya’t maya ang ungkat sa CCP-NPA, almost in the same breath as the maute and abu sayyaf and other terrorist groups.

but the peace talks, the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms) round, especially, is our only hope for a truly “comfortable life for all.”  without it, duterte’s campaign promise of a new economic model that will lift the masses from poverty will remain just that, a promise.  balik na naman tayo sa trickle-down eklat and dole-outs just because the president’s economists are loathe to give up the goose that lays their ilk (and only their ilk) the golden eggs, pardon the cliche.

nakakasindak sa lahat, of course, is that the mayor who called for a stop to lumad killings in 2015 is now the president who threatens to bomb lumads and their schools to extinction for being allied with the Left.  if the president follows through on this, it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  again, pardon the cliche. (we have become a nation of cliches.)

i guess, like erap, the president made campaign promises vis a vis corruption and the economy that he didn’t realize were undoable until he was himself in the driver’s seat?  i guess it was too good to last, the president’s accommodation of the Left that is, was? unprecendented in recent history.  and then, again, Can DU30 afford a break with the Left?   read marlen v. ronquillo:

A year ago, in his SONA, Mr. Duterte promised a “peace for the living“ with a peace pact with the Left and the Muslim secessionist groups in mind. His accommodation of the Left is unprecedented in recent history. Through a series of tactical moves—naming Leftists to his official family, convening a serious peace panel that promptly opened up peace talks with the leaders of the Left, and supporting that peace process wholeheartedly—his strategic goal was to make history by going the way of Colombia in dealing with the FARC.

As mayor of Davao City, Duterte dealt with the Left. He left the Left alone and the Left left him alone to pursue his Davao agenda. But that was a smaller, more manageable setting.

Now, all of these grand initiatives on a national scale are in jeopardy.

Question: Can DU30 afford a break with the Left, the one sector that he wants on his side and did a lot of political accommodation to win it?

The Left is often dismissed as a “sunset group” but the application of that is limited. As a rebel group with an agenda of seizing state power to put in place a government of central planning guided by Marx, Lenin and Mao, that is deemed as next to impossible. Its chosen road to state power, that of encircling the seat of power from the countryside and peasant hordes overwhelming the reactionary forces of the state, is now a failed approach. As far back as the 1970s, a group of heretics led by the late Popoy Lagman wanted to change strategy from the Maoist version to the Nicaraguan model.

… While the Left has a very narrow path to seizing state power, it remains the most potent enemy of the established order. It is the only group with an above-ground force, an army of ideologues that can argue from the mainstream, a cadre of Marxist intellectuals that can speak from a perch of high moral ascendancy. There is nothing more morally right than preaching from a perch of liberating the poor, the huddled masses.

The Left is spread out and almost omnipresent. It has leaders and advocates from the academe, the small businesses, organized labor, the peasantry, the Church and almost every institution that matters.

There are uninvolved people who nonetheless believe in the rightness of economic parity, social justice and egalitarian causes, which makes them sympathetic – and closer to the left-wing beliefs – than any other belief system, including the flawed liberal democracy. I know of many good and decent people under this category.

And when the Left opposes a particular government, it is with fire in the belly and the rage is not dictated by focus groups and survey results. The mainstream oppositionists would not oppose a President as popular as Mr. Duterte. The Left will fight and fight to the death the most popular President on the planet.

Mr. Duterte knows this. Deep in his heart, he does not want an enemy as relentless and as committed as the Left.

What the strategists of Mr. Duterte fear most is a tactical coalition between the Left and the mainstream groups. Once this happens, the opposition to Mr. Duterte will not be of the timid, calibrated kind. But the type and kind of protests that embody the fury of the Left – go for broke and without heed of the consequences.

At this point, the last thing Mr. Duterte needs is the Left protesting on the streets with fury in the eyes and fire in the belly.

High stakes confirmation hearing

Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

On Wednesday, three progressive Cabinet members — Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano — will be up for confirmation by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).

They have been twice bypassed by the CA and subsequently twice reappointed in the interim by President Rodrigo Duterte. But because the current CA has approved a rule that a Cabinet member may only be bypassed three times after which the CA will have to reject or confirm the concerned official, it appears that Wednesday will be the final showdown.

Read on…

calling on the church, the integrated bar, and the communists

on facebook, duterte’s pa-thinking trolls have been bashing bashing bashing vp leni for being on vacation in the states during and after typhoon nina that hit her home province hard.  kesyo hindi daw dapat umalis in the first place, kesyo dapat umuwi na, now na, kesyo wala siyang kuwentang vice president, at kung ano ano pang panlalait na tuloytuloy lang, to the point na OA na, as though the vp had committed, were committing, an impeachable offense?  medyo over the top, guys.

i suppose it has everything to do with rumors of an attempt to oust duterte and replace him with leni before january 10 when, it is also rumored, the supreme court is set to replace leni with bongbong, which btw rendered rene saguisag incredulous (what with an indolent SC in the middle of a long break), and so you wonder why these pa-thinking peeps are even dignifying it, one of them even warning that if leni et al. should attempt a people power action, well, sila mismo, with mocha in the lead, playing joan of arc i guess, would respond in kind.  how exciting.

i suppose, too, that it is these same rumors that had the president flipflopping on martial law. just early this december he had said it would be “kalokohan,” he would not allow oppression, it did not do any good the first time around, blah blah blah.  but just before christmas he was suddenly lamenting that he couldn’t impose military rule without the ok of congress and the supreme court, and practically ordering that the charter be amended to allow him to do a marcos!  takot ako, seriously.

i suppose also that leni being in new york of all places is driving them paranoid.  easy to imagine that she’s cozying up to loida and, who knows, ex-ambassador goldberg?  UN human rights commissioners?  the CIA?  the senators markey, coons, and rubio?  the extrajudicial killings has rendered the president infamous, after all, his war on drugs failing to net any big fish but a lot of small fry who have no ex-deals to offer, not to speak of the bystanders, and the “innocent until proven guilty” that’s been honoured more in the breach than the observance in the last six months.

read david balangue’s Justice–Philippine style.  and manolo quezon’s Freedom from fear.  and this, from tony la viña, posted on facebook the day after his bloomberg TV interview on extrajudicial killings.

… we are nearing a point when legally and politically, whether intended or not, what is happening in the country will be considered by objective and independent international mechanisms as genocide. It’s the number and the typology of the victims, certainly not mainly pushers or definitely not drug lords, at most addicts and users with increasing number of innocents and almost universally poor. The evidence being gathered is damming and at some point will be overwhelming. It will not only have aid implications but there will be severe trade consequences once genocide is determined. Can ordinary citizens stop it other than self-restraint by the government? In my view, only the Church acting with such institutions like the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the communists by making human rights compliance a non-negotiable in the peace talks are in a position to make a difference here. The opposition is too weakened or compromised or complicit to even contribute to what has to be done. 

“self-restraint by the government” is a pie in the sky, given the president’s martial law talk.  and indeed, even the opposition (leni loida leila and LP, take note) is “too weakened or compromised or complicit to even contribute to what has to be done.”

but, yes, the church acting with such institutions like the integrated bar, and the communists by making human rights compliance a non-negotiable in the peace talks — they ARE in a position to make a difference.  especially the communists.  would that they rise to the occasion this time around.  not necessarily to oust duterte but, at the very least, to make. him. stop. the. killings.

joma sison, plaza miranda, ninoy aquino

it was while i was writing marginal notes to the ishmael bernal anti bio, grounding a “dialogue” between bernal and jorge arago (both leftists at some point) in the culture and history of their times, when i found myself forced to deal with senate president jovito salonga’s studied view that it was cpp chairman jose maria sison who had ordered the bombing of plaza miranda in august 1971, and not, as we all had believed, president marcos.

sison has always denied it.  of course.  but salonga was known for rectitude and probity; he would not have charged sison so unequivocally if there had been any doubt in his mind.  and in this light there is no ignoring related questions raised re ninoy aquino who was expected at that miting de avance of the liberal party of which he was secretary-general.  it is said that he was just delayed by a wedding that he had had to attend; but it is also said that he had been warned to stay away from plaza miranda by a kadre friend, thereby insinuating that ninoy had not only saved only his own skin, but even that he had been complicit in the bombing.

i wondered if that was that why ninoy stayed and submitted to arrest in september 1972 instead of going underground or fleeing into exile — he felt that he deserved some punishment for plaza miranda?  perhaps he could have done something to prevent the carnage?  but what if maybe, if there had been a warning, it had come too late to warn anyone else?  more recently, as i was reading up on the affair and writing this blogpost in my head, i wondered if the discovery that sison was responsible for plaza miranda may have affected the way that the senator had felt about ninoy, given the latter’s admitted links to the ccp-npa.

steve salonga, a friend from u.p. days and on facebook today, was quick to enlighten me via private message:

I looked positively at those links [of Ninoy with the CPP-NPA]. That happened way before Miranda and has no relation to later events. Most of what you hear about that today was actually trumped up ‘evidence’ during Ninoys military trial for murder.

Dad began hearing the ‘scuttle-butt’ about JOMA ordering the Plaza Miranda operations as early as 1982. Although it wouldn’t be until 1990 that testimony at a senate blue ribbon comm hearing would expose the whole fiasco.

The rumors that Ninoy knew about the bombing before the fact are true, but then, so did we. At that time we had raw intel of a plan to bomb our campaign sorties. But nothing definite. After Miranda, the rumors about Ninoys surfaced. But neither Dad nor I believed any of it. We knew Ninoy was at a party with Doy Laurel at the Sky Room at Jai Alai. We also knew he would follow shortly after that party. We never changed our mind about his innocence.

just the same it boggles the mind that when ninoy came home from exile, he timed it so that he landed on the tarmac on the 21st of august 1983, twelve years to the day since the plaza miranda bombing.  at the very least, it tells me that august 21, 1971 was a critical juncture in his life that he deemed worth marking.  with his death, as it turned out.

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Truth about blast first told in Sierra Madre by Jovito Salonga
Revolution by assassination? by Max Soliven
Days of Shame: August 21, 1971 and 1983 by Rigoberto Tiglao
Once upon a ride to the Plaza Miranda bombing Part 1 by Mauro Gia Samonte
Part 2 …  Conclusion 
Ninoy Aquino, the Plaza Miranda bombing and Japanese collaborators
Jose Maria Sison Arrested by Dutch Govt for Murder
Victor Corpuz, Joma Sison, Martial Law, Plaza Miranda Bombing