By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
By rigging the 2019 midterm elections, Duterte was able to create his supermajorities in both the Senate and the Lower House of Congress. The nonrenewal of the franchise of the ABS-CBN was a foregone conclusion of congressional hearings despite the fact that this broadcast company had not violated any law to justify the nonrenewal of its franchise and its prior closure.
The attack on the ABS-CBN is an attack on press freedom. It is a major part of the Duterte campaign to intimidate and silence the entire people and facilitate Duterte’s rush to fascist dictatorship. It is aimed at stepping up Duterte’s drive to gain total control over the means of information and to monopolize political power through a fascist dictatorship in line with his law of state terrorism.
I appreciate the efforts of the broadest range of patriotic democratic forces and the best legal minds in the Philippines for filing cases before the Supreme Court to prove Duterte’s law of state terrorism as being grossly unconstitutional. It is an outright nullification of the Bill of Rights and all other provisions of the liberal democratic constitution that are pertinent to fundamental civil and political rights that are supposed to be guaranteed.
But I will be pleasantly surprised if the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the plaintiffs and the entire Filipino people despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the justices in this court have repeatedly voted in favor of the interest of Duterte and his allies and have become notorious for being corrupt after dismissing the plunder cases against the Marcoses, Estradas, Arroyos and other big plunderers allied with Duterte.
Duterte in a Rush to Fascist Dictatorship
The Filipino people and the broad range of patriotic and democratic forces are convinced that the Duterte regime is in a rush to its goal of imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people and that the enactment of Duterte’s law of state terrorism surpasses in scope of arbitrariness and brutality even the 1972 declaration of martial law that enabled Marcos to impose a 14-year fascist dictatorship on the people.
Such law of state terrorism gives to Duterte and his armed minions the unlimited license to engage in mass arrests, indefinite detention, torture, rape and confiscation of bank assets and properties of any social activist, critic or legal opponent of his regime on the basis of mere suspicion or red-tagging as “communists” or “terrorists”.
It is fine that the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army are asserting that the No. 1 terrorist chieftain of the oppressive and exploitative ruling system is absolutely wrong in labelling them as ‘terrorist’. They are revolutionary forces which are motivated by the people’s needs, demands and aspirations for national liberation and democracy and which constantly arouse, organize and mobilize the people to wage their own new democratic revolution.
The CPP and NPA are guided and bound by the highest principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the policies decided by the leading organs of the CPP, NPA and the people’s democratic government, the Three Major Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention and the commitment to International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
When Duterte decided to terminate the peace negotiations in 2017, the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels were already elaborating on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and they set forth genuine land reform and national industrialization as the basis of economic development to be financed by the exploitation of the oil and gas resources worth at least US 26 trillion in the exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte as a Double Traitor to National Sovereignty
But obsessed by his ambition to become a fascist dictator, Duterte pledged to Trump on November 13, 2017 to terminate the peace negotiations and do everything in his power with the military support of the US under Oplan Pacific Eagle-Philippines to wipe out the revolutionary movement and to deliver to US corporations the unlimited privilege to own Philippine land, natural resources, public utilities and all types of businesses.
At the same time, the double-dealing traitor Duterte kept reassuring China that he was laying aside the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines against China’s false claim violative of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. He emboldened China to establish military bases in seven artificial islands in the EEZ of the WPS and gain vantage points over the oil and gas resources there.
At one time, he offered co-ownership of these resources with China under the guise of joint exploration under Chinese control in exchange for onerous loans and overpriced infrastructure projects. Noting the shortsighted personal greed of Duterte for quick advantage, China has delayed delivering on its promised loans by preconditioning them with Duterte’s outright surrender of the sovereign and maritime rights of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte can be ultimately squeezed by his attempt to serve his own selfish interest by playing the role of double traitor to the national sovereignty of the Filipino by serving as puppet to two imperialist powers that are now increasingly in conflict with each other after decades of being main partners in implementing the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization.
Unfavorable Conditions for the Duterte Regime
Duterte is madly pursuing his ambition to impose a fascist dictatorship on the people exactly at a time that he has bankrupted the Philippine economy and his own government, the economic and political crisis of the ruling system is daily worsening and the crisis of the world capitalist system is now emerging as worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s and can no longer provide the easy loans for Duterte’s political survival.
Duterte and his criminal accomplices have taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to acquire emergency powers and complete control of the 2020 budget, apply repressive measures on the people, railroad the law of state terrorism, steal public funds in the hundreds of billions of pesos and deprive the people of medical attention and the cash assistance and economic relief promised to countervail the loss of livelihood due to the lockdowns. The Covid-19 contagion is still spreading fast and is bound to further bankrupt and cripple the economy.
Duterte and his armed minions are deluding themselves that they can easily impose fascist dictatorship on the people and enjoy absolute power for absolute corruption. They seem not to realize that the broad range of patriotic and democratic forces as well as the armed revolutionary movement of the people are far more developed and stronger now than in 1972 when Marcos declared martial law and that Duterte’s rush to fascist dictatorship in his lameduck years is already alerting the Filipino people to wage all forms of resistance.
Based on the objective facts, the conservative anti-Duterte groups in government, in the military, in the dominant Church and in the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords are in a position to carry out a constitutional withdrawal of support by the military from Duterte, in concert with the broad masses of the people in gigantic mass actions, like it was done to overthrow the Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986.
The revolutionary forces of the people do not yet have the regular mobile forces for a strategic offensive by the NPA against the ruling system in cities despite the fact that the nationwide strength of the NPA is now far greater and stronger than in 1986 and is growing faster than ever before in response to Duterte’s state terrorism. It is solving the problem of conservatism, involving overconcentration on mass work at the expense of launching NPA tactical offensives.
The Fast Growing Strength of the NPA
But it is estimated by the most knowledgeable analysts that the NPA can intensify their tactical offensives mainly in the countryside (including police stations and small army detachments in municipalities) in order to seize more arms and inflict more costs to the regime of terror and carry out punitive measures against the urban-based human rights violators and plunderers in order to tie down more military troops and police to bodyguard functions and defensive positions.
If the conservative forces and the patriotic and democratic forces can coordinate in a broad united front and play the key role in the ouster of Duterte within a relatively short period of time, there is the bright prospect of restoring democratic rights and resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and working for a just peace based on a program of genuine land reform and national industrialization to be financed by the oil and gas resources in the EEZ of the WPS.
The conservative anti-Duterte groups expect the US to advise pro-US military officers to junk Duterte like it did when it considered Marcos more of a liability than an asset, unless it can still order its puppet Duterte himself to drop his scheme of fascist dictatorship and let the 2022 presidential election happen without him rigging the vote count in favor of his handpicked successor.
Whoever is the US president elected this year, the US-China contradictions will sharpen to the extent that it will be in the interest of the US to cease supporting Duterte, hold him accountable for human rights violations and serving China’s aggressive interests and help the Philippines demand the dismantling of the Chinese military bases in the EEZ of the Philippines and obtain compensation for the illegal occupation of the artificial islands and damage to the marine environment.
If the conservative forces fail to play their key role in combining with the legal democratic forces and causing the ouster of Duterte from power through a constitutional withdrawal of military support from him, the Duterte fascist dictatorship and dynasty will persist but the people will continue to resist with all their resoluteness and militancy and rely on the CPP, NPA and other revolutionary forces to grow faster in strength and make greater strides in the new democratic revolution against the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.###