Paradigm shift: Communists, leftists and party-lists Esquire Philippines

Paradigm shift: Communists, leftists and party-lists Featured

SINCE DU30 assumed power, there has been a perceptive ideological shift to the right, epitomized first by the “peace and order” mantra upon his declaration of a “war on illegal drugs.” There was his boast that the fish in Manila Bay would be fattened by the carcasses of these criminals. Little did we suspect then that what was thought to be a simple but catchy sloganeering for election purposes would become a reality with the setting up of his nationwide “tokhang” (knock on doors) that was meant to flush out drug users and pushers to get to the drug lords. Indeed, the cadavers piled up in thousands — the innocent and the lawless together. Many indubitably are offenders, but proof of guilt under this regime is extraneous and not determined through the justice system and the rule of law but by the finality of the bullet. Verily, the state applied with precision its monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

Paradoxically the dumbfounded citizenry is complicit as the popularity of DU30, on whom these people’s blood are on his hands, consistently hovers around 80 percent. And the underling that directed tokhang is rewarded with a Senate seat.

The rightist senator
And this alopecic has now become the darling of the right, sponsoring laws to reinstate capital punishment; threatening academic freedom by allowing an intimidating police presence in colleges and universities; curtailing academic discourse and preventing on-campus leftist recruitment. And as a foretaste to a police state, he calls for the purging of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Fronts (NDF), echoing DU30’s pronouncements that he will crush the communist insurgency once and for all. And the current Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde invoking dramatically raw policy statements, “We will engage them in all fronts, [in] agriculture, labor, even the health [sector], even [in] academe.” (The Manila Times, Aug 30, 2019).

Old communist groups
History indeed has a way of repeating itself, not in a linear fashion, but obliquely, presenting some segments of similar circumstances over and over again. To recall, in the election of 1946, the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) formed the Democratic Alliance (DA) to participate in the 1946 elections. Osmeña and Roxas were rivals for the presidency. As the communists were in no position to field their own, they chose the lesser evil as the communists and leftists (PKP, Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan or HMB, etc.) abhorred Manuel Roxas as a “Japanese collaborator and a fascist” opposed to Philippine independence. The DA won six congressional seats in central Luzon, but was not allowed by Congress to take its seats, thus providing impetus to the communists to agitate instead for change outside the fold of the law.

Current leftist alliances
In 1957, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act 1700 (the “Anti-Subversion Act”) criminalizing membership in the PKP and its armed group HMB. A decade later, Jose Maria “Joma” Sison broke away from the PKP-HMB and formed the CPP, with Bernabe “Kumander Dante” Buscayno heading its armed group, NPA.

But after the euphoria of the EDSA People Power revolution and the booting out of a dictatorship that had caused the unprecedented rise of the communist movement, party membership and armed groups, “Pres. Fidel Ramos (FVR), in September 1992, signed RA 7636, effectively ‘legalizing’ the CPP by repealing not only RA 1700, but all the related executive orders issued by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos to this effect.” (People’s Tonight, Aug. 14, 2019)

The CPP-NPA-NDF and their allies in the party-list, may just sit this current one out awaiting the exit of this administration in 2022. They know full well that their existence and survival will not depend on the guns of government or another recent initiatives of this regime, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF Elcac). This mouthful of an acronym seeks the “institutionalization of whole-of-nation approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace…[and] requires Philippine embassies and Heads of Mission around the world [to commit] to join hands with NTF Elcac because Sison’s terrorist activities have spread to more or less 39 countries.” This smells like another budget extraction gimmick and some inanities coming out of the mouth of babes clueless as to the causes of communist insurgency in the country. And the absurd tactical objective is to target the odd man out of the communist movements, Joma Sison. A Presidential Communications Operations Office undersecretary “…stressed the importance of government missions abroad saying they are the key to ending the spread of the particular brand of terrorism by the CPP-NPA-NDF headed by Sison (Gigie Arcilla, July 1, 2019 PNA). It has not dawned yet on our bureaucracy that Joma Sison is no longer relevant to communist movements in the country. And like the Hydra, cut one head off and one or many will emerge.

The current brand of communism and the attendant insurgency has morphed from the class struggle of old and the conflict between labor and capital along the Marxist theory of “the struggles of the proletariat and their reprimand of the bourgeoisie.” Outlawing the communist party and creating appurtenant schemes, i.e. NTF Elcac, are simply palliatives applying a cure to the symptoms. The communism bogey has been tried successfully years before during the Cold War by the United States, but it is passé now under current Philippine realities.

The party-list
The Left has adapted itself to a pseudo-legal strategy brought on by the loose political environment since the Cory-FVR regimes. For one, they have begun to infiltrate the party-list system and compete with groups and nongovernment organizations tied to the oligarchy and political dynasties to pervert the concept of what was perceived to be a catharsis to their revolutionary zeal via the ballot. Thus, the party-list, which was in some ways a government and society’s concession embedded and protected by the 1987 Constitution, is being used by the Left and the elite to deleterious effect. This should be scrapped through constitutional fiat.

The communist insurgency is now just plain brigandage with nary an idea about the “dialectics of materialism.” True, many are still recruited for cannon fodder among the poor, the destitute and hopeless and from the ranks of the wide-eyed idealistic college and university students easily lured by the romance of the “classic struggles.”

And their ranks will continue to grow as our dysfunctional system of governance exacerbates a chasm among the “haves and the have-nots”; the resulting social injustice; corruption in all levels of governance; and the lucrative partnership of our oligarchy and traditional politicians who ride herd over the citizens. Government must uphold at all times the rule of law.

The high approval rating thus far for the Deegong should be construed by him not as a blind endorsement of his regime but must be seen as a cautionary tale. We Filipinos are a patient lot and have a high tolerance for suffering and as in any cautionary tale, the Deegong can’t afford to test the limits of his discretion nor the people’s patience.000
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