By Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
At the peak of his narcissistic arrogance and greed for political power and ill-gotten wealth, Duterte has signed into law the bill of state terrorism that he had railroaded together with his servants in both houses of Congress, mostly beneficiaries of the rigging of the 2019 elections. This law of state terrorism nullifies the basic democratic rights of everyone and anyone of the social activists and critics of his regime whom he targets as his opponent and whom he can arrest, torture, kill or detain and dispossess on the basis of mere suspicion.
We are now in the last act of a tragedy in which a local tyrant gets elected to the presidency and becomes a hubris-afflicted national tyrant, a traitor trying to serve two competing imperialist powers, a mass murderer of tens of thousands of the impoverished people, a gangster who has gained a monopoly of the drug trade and a plunderer stealing more public money than any of his predecessors in four years of sitting as president.
Duterte is driven to realize his scheme of fascist dictatorship by his fear of trial and punishment either by the people’s court of the revolutionary movement for his so many grievous crimes against the Filipino people or by the International Criminal Court for his brazen violations of human rights and for his bloody crimes against humanity. He seeks to enjoy impunity without end by either keeping himself in power beyond 2022 or picking his successor and protector.
The law of state terrorism that he has signed exceeds the qualified powers of the commander-in-chief in the 1987 Constitution and practically nullifies the Bill of Rights and all related human rights provisions. By signing this unconstitutional and anti-democratic law he has already obtained unlimited powers, exceeding those in the martial law declaration of 1972 which enabled Marcos to impose fascist dictatorship on the people for 14 years.
Duterte has done the worst at the expense of the Filipino people. But it is fine that he does so at a time when the broad masses of the people and the broadest range of patriotic forces of the people have manifested their resolute and militant opposition to the accumulated crimes of tyranny, treason, butchery and plunder committed by the Duterte ruling clique and at a time when the people are outraged by the regime’s militarist and repressive lockdowns, the nondelivery of food and other forms of assistance, the gross malversation of public funds and the railroading of the law of state terrorism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte could not have chosen a better time than now to seal his political doom. He and his ruling clique are thoroughly isolated as the enemy of the people. He has become notorious as a physically, mentally and morally deranged person, addicted to Fentanyl and now subject to dialysis treatment three times a week. But in terms of ability to rule, even with the use of his subalterns, he is already cramped now and in his remaining years by the unprecedentedly worsened crisis of the domestic ruling system and the world capitalist system.
He has bankrupted the economy and his own government. All the ills of the semicolonial and semifeudal society, including unemployment and mass poverty, are rapidly worsening. The regime does nothing but to escalate oppression and exploitation. Thus, there is widespread and deepgoing social discontent among the workers, peasants and the middle social strata. This is fuelling the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.
With the crisis of the US and world capitalist surpassing that of the so-called Great Recession that started with the financial crisis of 2008 and that of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Duterte regime cannot borrow enough resources and time from foreign banks to cover the widening budgetary and trade deficits and mounting foreign debt service. There is no way for Duterte to fullfil his promise to Trump on November 13, 2017 that he would destroy the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people.
The signing of the law of state terrorism is quite similar to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in 1971 in serving as conclusive proof that Duterte now, like Marcos in 1971, was on an incorrigible and irrevocable course of fascist dictatorship and as clear signal for the revolutionary movement as well as the legal democratic forces of the Filipino people to be ready for a life-and-death struggle against such a monstrous regime.
The Duterte regime and its loyalists try to disarm the people by blaring out that the law of state terrorism would be applied selectively by the Duterte-led civilian-military with executive and judicial powers. But it is a law of unlimited state terrorism, which guarantees absolute power and absolute corruption for the benefit of the fascist dictator and his clique of cronies and generals. We can expect that the law will be used for mass arrests and mass murder and for the grabbing of properties of the Duterte rivals within the oligarchy as well as the properties of the lower classes who are vulnerable to extortion by military and police officers at all levels.
If the Filipino people and the broad range of patriotic and democratic forces are to learn from the preparation and realization of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, they must intensify all legal and political efforts to oppose the law of state terrorism which has practically installed and entrenched the Duterte fascist dictatorship. At the same time, those who are in imminent danger of arrest, detention or murder are expected as in 1971 to retreat into the underground in the cities and in their home provinces and be ready for integration with the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside.
The Kabataang Makabayan is a prime example of legal mass organization making an orderly retreat from legal struggle to armed revolutionary struggle when it was the prime target of state terrorism in 1971. This orderly retreat resulted in the increase of the membership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Red fighters of the New People’s Army from the level of a few hundreds to 4,000 by the 1974. The state terrorism of Marcos inflicted great suffering on the people but unwittingly goaded the people to strengthen and intensify the armed resistance of the people.
The anti-communist terrorists headed by Duterte have boasted that they could destroy both the CPP and NPA by launching bloody campaigns of suppression in both cities and countryside against all persons suspected of either being members or allies of these revolutionary forces. They do not understand certain points like the armed revolution thriving because of oppressive and exploitative conditions and because the revolutionary forces can grow far beyond the knowledge of enemy spies by means of revolutionary education, mass work and campaigns of mass struggle.
The counterrevolutionaries and even their US imperialist masters do not understand that the CPP under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is completely different from the Communist Party of Indonesia which was an open and legal party thoroughly exposed to the enemy intelligence services from 1951 to the year 1965 of anti-communist massacres. And right now, to kill just one communist the armed thugs of Duterte would have kill 100 to 1000 suspects, including some of their own relatives who like to study in the University of the Philippines and join the patriotic and progressive organizations.
The current strength of the patriotic and progressive organizations, which is now at least in the hundreds of thousands, is a far cry from the much smaller strength of KM in 1971, which had only 15,000 members nationwide. The anticommunist terrorists are acting like idiots by trying to compel an already huge legal democratic movement to go underground and wage armed resistance and satisfying themselves with false claims of having decimated the revolutionary forces by forcing or bribing them to surrender or get killed under the law of state terrorism and actually using such false claims to corrupt themselves by stealing public money for fake surrenders, fake projects and fake operations.
In 1971 the CPP had only 2000 members and increased from only a few scores in1968 to hundreds in the course of small-scale people’s war in Tarlac and Isabela in 1969-1970, a period when the Task Force of 5000 troops could not nip in the bud the few squads and armed propaganda teams of the NPA. But the police and military breaking up peaceful mass demonstrations in Manila and other cities in effect delivered thousands of mass activists to the CPP and NPA from 1969 to 1972. By 1974 the CPP had 4000 members who were educated, trained and deployed as revolutionaries on a nationwide scale.
Now, the CPP has many tens of thousands of members and the NPA has thousands of full time Red Red fighters, assisted by the people’s militia and self-defense units of revolutionary mass organizations, in thousands of barangays, hundreds of municipalities and 74 provinces in more than 110 guerrilla fronts. They have well-developed mass organizations of various types and have organs of political power which constitute the people’s democratic government.
Definitely, they have a bigger and wider welcoming capacity for the integration of the urban mass activists compelled by the law of state terrorism to join the armed struggle and mass work in the countryside. These activists trained in armed struggle in the countryside can be sent back in the short run to the cities to operate against the enablers and enforcers of state terrorism in every branch of the reactionary government and in the long run as cadres and commanders leading regular mobile forces to seize power in the cities.
Before and soon after becoming president, Duterte boasted of wishing to become the “first Left and socialist president of the Philippines”. But he was being duplicitous, he was already already under orders by US imperialism through his pro-US military advisers to unleash an all-out war against the armed revolutionary movement.
He was completely impervious to the good advice given to him by his peace-minded advisers that he could engage the NDFP, the CPP and NPA in a just peace agreement with a substantive agreement on genuine land reform and national industrialization to be financed by the trillions of US dollars worth of oil and gas that can be extracted from the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.
But what has Duterte, the bloody and greedy moron, done against such good advice. He preferred to stay in the good graces of Trump by promising to destroy the armed revolution with strictly military means and deliver charter change allowing US and other foreign corporations the unlimited right to own land, natural resources, public utilities and all other businesses.
At the same, he preferred to monopolize the illegal drug trade in collaboration with the Chinese criminal triads and to beg from China high-interest loans and overpriced infrastructure projects in exchange for cuts for himself and his Davao-based Chinese cronies and for laying aside the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines against China.
The last four years of Duterte’s rule has been characterized by treason, tyranny, butchery, plunder and bankruptcy of the economy and his government. The last two years of every one of his presidential predecessors were normally lameduck years for proven failure to solve the problems of foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism and the inadequacy of time to make up for lost time.
Now, this traitor, tyrant, butcher, plunder and incompetent Duterte thinks he can use his last two years in power to use state terrorism and fascist dictatorship to rule beyond 2022 and pick his own successor. The Filipino people and all patriotic and progressive forces—including those who uphold the 1987 Constitution of the reactionary government against state terrorism—ought to rise up, fight for the national and democratic rights of the people and oust the Duterte regime as soon as possible.###