7 May 2010
THE FACTS AGAINST PSYWAR INTRIGUES
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel
As chief political consultant of the Negotiating Panel of the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), I am well informed about the
revolutionary position of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),
the New People's Army and the NDFP as well as the position of other major
political forces in relation to the 2010 elections of the reactionary
It is the consistent revolutionary position of the CPP, NPA and NDFP, as
well expressed in the recent CPP and NPA anniversary statements, that the
2010 elections are on the whole and in essence a rotten process of a
rotten ruling system dominated by the political agents of US imperialism
and the local exploiting classes.
The NDFP Negotiating Panel has recently received word from the
revolutionary forces of the CPP, NPA and NDFP that they are exceedingly
happy that the necessity and objective conditions for waging revolution
are further enhanced by the fact that the 2010 elections are manifesting
the worst characteristics of the semicolonial and semifeudal system and
are generating further political disorder and social turmoil.
They are amused that the poll surveys and the media reports have made an
unstable, slothful and massacre-prone underachiever like Noynoy Aquino and
a convicted plunderer and ruffian-type like Erap Estrada as the front
runners in the presidential derby and that the Arroyo regime is still
desperately maneuvering either to stay in power through failure of
elections or choose the next president through manipulation of the vote
By manipulating the vote count through automation and/or manual count, the
Arroyo regime can install as the next president either its own bet Gibo
Teodoro or Noynoy Aquino who is the favorite choice of the the US country
team (including the US ambassador, political officer and the mission
chiefs of the AID, CIA , DIA and JUSMAG) and the Makati Business Club. One
more bad president will further damn the ruling system and further incite
the people to wage armed revolution.
Regarding such patriotic and progressive forces as Makabayan and some
party list groups, everyone knows that the CPP, NPA and NDFP regard them
as independent legal forces striving heroically to carry forward the
national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people
through the electoral form of struggle. The revolutionary forces and the
broad masses of the people appreciate them as exceptional and different
from the traditional politicians of the ruling system.
As a matter of public knowledge, I am aware that
the bilateral alliance between Makabayan and the Nacionalista Party
continues on the basis of the platform of land reform and rural
development, industrial development and job generation, respect for human
rights, indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the
Marcos regime, protection of the environment, negotiations for a just
peace, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and other unequal
agreements and independent foreign policy.
Brigadier General Francisco Cruz, chief of the AFP civil relations
service, and retired police general Rodolfo Boogie Mendoza are spreading
psywar intrigues and telling lies whenever they and their political
masters invent stories to put the revolutionary forces at odds with the
legal progressive forces and to counterpoise the central leadership of the
revolutionary forces against a mere political refugee and long-disemployed
teacher like me. In the days to come, the counterrevolutionary
propagandists are expected to spew out more intrigues and lies calculated
to favor certain parties and candidates and attack others.
I assure the two psywar intriguers and their
political masters that I have the highest respect for the central
leadership of the CPP, the national command of the NPA and the national
council of the NDFP, which are all based in the Philippines. It is known
to the public that I enjoy the trust and confidence of the revolutionary
forces. They continue to let me serve the Filipino people as the chief
political consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the
reactionary Manila government.
The broad masses of the Filipino people condemn the attempts of the most
reactionary politicians and their military minions to discredit the
Makabayan and progressive party list groups by Red-baiting them and witch
hunting them as communists and self-contradictorily maligning them as
being unprincipled for engaging in alliance tactics. These united front
tactics allow them to retain their integrity, independence and initiative
as patriotic and progressive forces and to facilitate and amplify their
access to the people in their millions.
The anti-communist propaganda is calculated to pave the way for cheating
the progressive forces and their allies and cutting down their votes. The
impending electoral fraud at their expense will only further discredit the
ruling system and will further justify the people's determination to
intensify the revolutionary armed struggle. Definitely, the 2010 elections
cannot be a way for any significant beneficial change. They are a device
of the ruling system for deceiving the people and suppressing their will
The CPP, NPA and NDFP have always openly expressed their contempt for the
entire ruling system of big compradors and landlords and their resolve to
carry forward the people's war for national liberation and democracy. They
are confident that the ever worsening crisis will continue to afflict the
ruling system. The crisis will put the next president in serious trouble
and compel him either to negotiate peace with the revolutionary forces or
escalate the armed counterrevolution in a monstrous and self-defeating
April 11, 2010
Church leaders, poll watchdog warn military vs. electioneering
DAVAO CITY – After receiving reports that the military is conducting
partisan electoral campaigning from among college students--campaigning
directed against members of the progressive partylists, the Pagbabago,
People's Movement for Change - a People's watchdog and leaders of
different church groups urged the Commission on Election to investigate
and bar the AFP from further committing such acts.
"Just recently, we learned from Makabayan Coalition that the 69th Infantry
Battalion of the Philippine Army conducted a forum among the students of a
college in Davao City where a powerpoint presentation was shown linking
the progressive partylist to the communists groups, and campaigning
against these partylist " said Sr. Diane Cabasagan convenor of Pagbabago,
and a member of the Sisters' Association in Mindanao.
Military elements have been categorially telling students and
community-based residents not to vote for Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis,
ACT Teachers, Kabataan and KATRIBU.
“It is a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code as well as the
democratic essence of the whole electoral process," said Cabasagan.
Reports reaching Pagbabago state that the group is also receiving
complaints from Tagum City, where the campaign posters of progressive
partylists were spray-painted with the “Kampon ng Komunista.”
“These blatantly electioneering activities may also instigate
election-related violence, hence we urge the members of the police and the
military to abide by its non-partisan status during the elections,” said
For his part, Reverend Sarly Templado of the United Church of Christ of
the Philippines, enjoined the electorate and concerned civilians to
monitor similar election-related violations which disrupt the conduct of a
peaceful and credible elections.
“If we want credible and meaningful elections, we should not sleep on our
rights and conscienticize the military, police and oher government
agencies to refrain from abusing their authority during this election
period. Let us report cases of election-related violence and do our part
in protecting our sacred rights," said Templado.
Pagbabago may be contacted thru its hotline numbers, 273-2669 or
Sr. Diane Cabasagan, RGS - 0920-9523604
Rev. Sarly Templado, UCCP - 0908-6719209
Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change - Davao City
Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change - Davao City
Makabayan’s response to the current red-baiting and witch-hunting of
progressive candidates, leaders and party lists
Submitted by mkbyn on Tue, 04/27/2010
is a marked heightening of red-baiting and witch-hunting in the campaign
for the May 2010 elections. The issues raised are pseudo-issues, part of
the concerted and long-standing effort of the US-Arroyo regime to demonize
progressive candidates, leaders and party-lists. It is led primarily by
the military and the rabid anti-communist party-lists and candidates like
known human rights violator Gen. Jovito Palparan.
What is relatively new is the
high-profile involvement of a senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party (Risa
Hontiveros-Baraquel) and the spokesperson of the LP presidential candidate
in the smear campaign and their attempts to besmirch as well candidates
allied to Makabayan.
Nonetheless, Makabayan and its allied
party-lists must tackle these so-called issues and in the process amplify
on their progressive electoral platform, stand on substantive issues and
their unblemished track record.
1. Are Makabayan candidates Satur
Ocampo and Liza Maza, and party-lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis,
Kabataan, ACT and Katribu, personalities and fronts of the CPP-NPA?
ANSWER: No, these candidates are not CPP-NPA personalities nor are
their party-lists front organizations of the CPP-NPA. Satur Ocampo and
Liza Maza are elected lawmakers who have served for 9 years in Congress.
Many of these party lists have consistently topped past national
elections, and have a combined voter base of some 3 million. Bayan Muna
led by Satur and Gabriela Women’s Party, by Liza and the other progressive
party lists are all engaged in legal and unarmed struggle, participate in
elections and operate within the bounds of the law. They do not advocate
the armed overthrow of the government nor do they take up arms against the
government. On the other hand, the CPP and NPA are revolutionary
organizations engaged in armed struggle against what they consider to be
an oppressive government and an unjust social system. The party-list
groups are distinct, separate and have no organizational links to the
For all the repeated allegations and
trumped-up charges hurled against Satur, Liza and other progressive
leaders and party-lists, none have prospered, whether at the Comelec or in
any court of law. The Supreme Court itself, in a landmark decision,
dismissed the charges of rebellion against the six progressive lawmakers
collectively called the “Batasan 6”.
We object to the communist-labeling
and other forms of red-baiting because such have been used to justify
extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations against the
members and supporters of the progressive leaders and groups. The
red-baiting that some parties are maliciously engaged in is the same
red-baiting used by the military to justify the arrests, torture,
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of hundreds of unarmed
activists, including workers, students, farmers, teachers, women,
indigenous peoples, pastors and priests. Those singing the same tune as
the AFP should be reminded that they are actually reinforcing the
conditions for more human rights abuse.
2. But aren’t these groups leftists just like the CPP-NPA?
ANSWER: Both groups belong to what is generally referred to as the
“Left”, meaning groups seeking fundamental and radical changes in society
and government. However, there is a distinction between unarmed activists
and those engaged in revolutionary armed struggle. Being a part of the
“Left” per se is not illegal. It has been the habit of the US-Arroyo
regime to maliciously label critics as “Leftists” and “communists”, even
“terrorists”, in order to vilify them and justify political and physical
attacks against them. In the past, the US-Marcos dictatorship called Sen.
Ninoy Aquino a “communist” in order to incarcerate him indefinitely and to
try to isolate him politically. It failed.
The AFP is using this worn-out tactic
of red-baiting to threaten progressive candidates and their allies and to
scare the people from voting for progressive candidates. The AFP has used
banners, posters, poison letters and death threats against the supporters
and allies of progressive candidates and party lists.
3. If they are not connected to the NPA, why don’t they denounce the
activities of the NPA, including revolutionary taxes and permits to
ANSWER: The progressive candidates are not connected nor do they
benefit in any way from the so-called revolutionary taxes and
permits-to-campaign of the NPA. Moreover, these supposed “issues” are
better understood in the context of the ongoing armed conflict in the
country between the government and revolutionary organizations such as the
CPP-NPA-NDF. The armed conflict has persisted for 40 years, with the
government unable and unwilling to address the root causes of the armed
conflict; historically and currently these are traceable to social
injustice, widespread poverty and backwardness and intense oppression.
More than merely condemning these activities, what is needed and more
helpful is to call for the resumption of peace talks between the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic
Front of the Philippines on the basis of previous signed agreements. This
constitutes the first step in addressing the root causes of the armed
conflict. Makabayan and its allied party lists have been consistent in
working for a just and lasting peace. Makabayan believes that the only way
to achieve this is through genuine land reform, a self-reliant economy and
genuine representation and empowerment for the people. For the record,
Satur headed the Committee on Peace and Reconciliation in the House of
We note that the challenge to condemn
so-called NPA atrocities is posed only to the progressive candidates under
the Makabayan banner. The desired effect is to put these candidates on the
spot, as if the absence of any strong condemnation on their part
necessarily means they are NPA supporters, if not NPA combatants
It is also illogical and mendacious
for Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros to say that the “it is actually their
(progressive groups’) refusal to condemn the atrocities and abuses of the
CPP-NPA that indirectly helps human rights violators like Palparan to
commit further abuses.” This statement clearly shifts the blame for human
rights abuse to the victims themselves, apart from covering up the
culpability of the real murderers and masterminds of the brutal Oplan
Bantay Laya like General Palparan and Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.
4. What is the reason then for the “communist-labeling”?
ANSWER: This is part of the government’s bloody anti-insurgency
campaign that targets legal and unarmed activists. Since 2003, the Arroyo
government has conducted a brutal campaign of repression against
activists, progressive groups and their sympathizers who are critical of
or oppose the US-Arroyo regime. Thousands of ordinary people are targeted
for extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest,
torture and detention not to mention the tens of thousands victimized by
mass displacement. The regime erroneously thinks that by suppressing these
unarmed, legal progressive groups, it would weaken the NPA. No less than
the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings has pointed out that
the heightened human rights abuse under the Arroyo regime is attributable
to the counter-insurgency program of the regime.
5. Is it true that these party
lists use their “pork barrel” funds to fund illegal activities of the NPA?
Or for personal gain?
ANSWER: No. Since 2005, after Satur, Liza and other representatives
from the progressive party lists led the impeachment drives against Mrs.
Arroyo, they have not received the said “pork barrel” funds usually
allotted for lawmakers. These progressive candidates and groups do not
have any history of diverting public funds for personal gain. In fact, the
representatives of the progressive party lists continue to rank among the
poorest in the House of Representatives. Congressman Crispin Beltran is a
prime example: he lived and died a poor man. It has also been the position
of the progressive party-list block in Congress to abolish the pork barrel
Voting for Change: Will the May 2010
By Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change
May 4, 2010
In the final stretch to the May 10, 2010 elections the most common
question on voters’ minds is of course who to vote for. Knowing the value
of their vote, most voters also ask which candidates will deliver change
for themselves, their families and the country. Certainly if there’s
anything Filipinos want in May 2010 it’s change from the political,
economic and social disorder that the Arroyo administration leaves behind.
Yet how change can begin to happen and who the ‘best’ candidates to push
it are not as obvious as it might seem. The presidency for instance is the
most important and highest-profile position at stake – but it’s alarming
that the presidential candidates’ positions on the most urgent issues
faced by the people still don’t figure prominently in their campaigns and
hence in how voters will make their choice.
Candidates can project an image of reform but what exactly, beyond the
worn-out motherhood statements, can and will they do? Pagbabago! People’s
Movement for Change drew up the People’s Criteria by which to measure the
candidates especially, but not only, for the country’s highest office and
together with IBON Foundation has researched the positions of all the
Presidential candidates’ stand on key people’s issues
The key issues confronting the country and challenging the candidates can
be clustered into five main areas: i) truth, accountability and justice;
ii) economic progress and the environment; iii) people’s welfare; iv)
sovereignty, peace and equality; and v) love of country. The antidote to
ambiguity and generalities is to ground the People's Criteria in the
concrete and specific problems that Filipinos face. On this basis,
presidential candidates can be assessed according to whether and how far
they offer real solutions.
A presidential candidate’s stand on an issue can be identified based on
explicit declarations such as his or her platform; positions taken on
government policies, programs or laws; and his or her track record or
personal involvement on the matter.
Truth, accountability and justice
The candidates all declare themselves to be anti-corruption even as the
most pressing corruption issues at hand have to do with Pres. Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, her family, and her allies in and out of government. The
most pointed proposal comes from Noynoy Aquino who declared that he will
set up a commission on the corruption scandals surrounding Pres. Arroyo.
JC delos Reyes, Richard Gordon, Jamby Madrigal, Nicky Perlas, Eddie
Villanueva and Manny Villar have also said that Pres. Arroyo should be
held accountable for possible crimes committed. Administration candidate
Gilbert Teodoro on the other hand evasively declares this a matter for the
courts. Former president Joseph Estrada has avoided taking a strong stand
against Pres. Arroyo on corruption scandals even as he says that there
must be justice regarding electoral fraud in the 2004 elections; however
he is unique for being the only candidate already convicted of plunder.
All similarly declare to uphold human rights but have widely varying
positions in practice. Delos Reyes, Madrigal and Villanueva have openly
opposed extrajudicial killings while Villar affirms seeking justice for
human rights victims from the Marcos dictatorship to the present. Perlas
does not have a strong stand on these issues. Aquino, Madrigal and Teodoro
voted against the controversial Human Security Act (Anti-Terror Law) –
which Gordon and Villar voted for – while delos Reyes has emphasized
pushing implementation of the law on Barangay Human Rights Action Centers.
Aquino spoke out against extrajudicial killings but downplays the Hacienda
Luisita massacre perpetrated by military, police and hacienda security
guards. Moreover, the commission he proposes to investigate Arroyo does
not cover human rights violations. Estrada and Teodoro meanwhile are
directly implicated in human rights violations committed by government
forces in accord with state policy during their stints as, respectively,
president and defense secretary.
Economic progress and the environment
The deterioration of the domestic economy affects millions of Filipinos
yet it appears most candidates have not offered a comprehensive analysis
of the problem, much less the basic reforms needed to solve these
problems. Only Madrigal spells out a nationalist economic program of
genuine agrarian reform, industrialization, and protection of the national
patrimony. She filed related legislation and voted against the free trade
deal with Japan; however she voted for the CARPer or extension “with
reforms” of the comprehensive agrarian reform program which has been
criticized by many peasant groups as a failure.
Delos Reyes, Gordon, Perlas and Villanueva appear to approach land reform
more from the point of view of agricultural productivity rather than
social justice. Aquino abstained from voting on the controversial CARPer
but in effect continues to defend his family’s stake in Hacienda Luisita
which is a showcase of evading agrarian reform. Villar did not vote on
CARPer and has said that he will review agrarian reform, yet is a real
estate developer facing allegations of land-grabbing. There were no land
reform gains under the Estrada presidency, while Teodoro says that there
should already be a shift in focus from land distribution to improving
Villar and to some degree Villanueva acknowledge the importance of
developing local manufacturing. They also express being critical of
so-called globalization and call for a review, as do delos Reyes and
Perlas. Conversely Aquino, Estrada, Gordon and Teodoro are the most
aggressive in opening up the domestic economy to foreign investors (even
in large-scale mining, with the exception of Aquino who is silent on the
The record joblessness can only be arrested upon reversing the economy’s
decline but there can still be immediate measures to address the people’s
welfare. Madrigal has taken on all of the workers’ major demands such as
higher wages (supporting a nationwide P125 hike), a ban on
contractualization and the defense of migrant rights. Villanueva and
Villar likewise support higher wages, with the latter open to legislating
this; delos Reyes and Villanueva both oppose contractualization. Gordon,
Perlas and Teodoro are silent on increasing wages. Aquino pushed
legislation against non-compliance with the minimum wage although his
proposal for productivity incentives for workers was criticized by labor
groups as undercutting the demand for a P125 wage hike. Estrada resisted
wage hikes during his term.
Debt service payments have long been proposed as a source of increased
funding for social services. Madrigal has the most defined position and
advocates cancelling or repudiating onerous debts, imposing a cap, and
even demanding reparations for payments already made on such debts. Delos
Reyes, Gordon and Villanueva appear open to at least a moratorium while
Perlas and Villar are amenable to changing the law on automatic
appropriation and pursuing debt relief, respectively. The Estrada
administration faithfully paid debt and was able to give relatively
greater priority to education than all the other post-Marcos governments,
which Teodoro likewise promises to do. Aquino has no clear position on the
Filipinos suffer a regressive tax burden. Madrigal voted against the RVAT
law and other tax measures’ delos Reyes says that he will lower the VAT on
food, water and electricity. Perlas vows he will lessen the tax burden on
the poor and Villanueva says he wants progressive taxation. In contrast
Aquino, Gordon, and Villar voted for RVAT and so-called sin taxes (with
Gordon authoring the sin taxes law). Aquino and Villar say that they are
open to imposing new taxes while Teodoro has already proposed raising the
VAT from 12 to 15 percent and Gordon is pushing for a tax on texting.
Among the crimes Estrada was convicted of was pocketing hundreds of
millions of pesos in tobacco taxes for himself.
Sovereignty, peace and equality
Philippine governments have persistently yielded to the interests of big
foreign powers especially the United States (US). Madrigal unequivocally
opposes foreign military presence in the country and stands for the repeal
of military treaties with the US. Delos Reyes, Perlas and Villar only seek
a review of the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other unequal
military treaties. Aquino, Gordon and Teodoro are particularly vocal in
their support of the US military presence in the country while the
controversial VFA was ratified during the Estrada administration.
Deep poverty and inequality have underpinned the armed conflicts on-going
in the country involving the Communist Party of the Philippines-New
People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF). Madrigal, Perlas and Villar support peace talks
and addressing the socioeconomic and political roots of the conflicts. In
contrast, Estrada opted to wage “all-out war” against the MILF, while
Teodoro criticizes the “hearts and minds” approach to insurgency as too
soft and advocates greater militarism. Aquino, delos Reyes, Gordon and
Villanueva have not publicly stated a clear stand on the resumption of
talks. Villanueva does however acknowledge the underpinnings of conflict
and his “long-term peace agenda” includes socioeconomic measures.
On long-neglected gender issues, Madrigal is
most specific in identifying and opposing various forms of gender
inequality such as unequal pay, discriminatory access to work, sexual
harassment, exploitation and abuse, and sexist culture and biases. Gordon
also declares opposition to gender biases but does not go into any detail,
which in effect places him astride Aquino, Perlas, Teodoro, Villanueva and
Villar who have no clear stand on the matter. Estrada also does not
declare any position on the matter even as he openly acknowledges his
mistresses and children by them. Delos Reyes meanwhile has actually
articulated a position opposed to women asserting their rights.
Love of country
Nationalist values have been particularly disparaged in the age of
‘globalization’. Only Madrigal and Villanueva actively promote nationalism
and patriotism, including but not restricted to prioritizing the national
language as the medium of instruction; delos Reyes supports nationalist
filmmaking in particular. Aquino, Estrada, Gordon, Perlas, Teodoro and
Villlar do not have a clear stand.
Assessing the presidential candidates
The People’s Criteria seek to assess candidates’ declarations and practice
in terms of the demand for meaningful change and from a patriotic,
pro-people and democratic standpoint. Voters will certainly also be making
individual judgments on the sincerity, integrity and character of
candidates as well as on their political capacity or clout to push for
what they stand for. The Criteria however aim to look into candidates’
concrete and verifiable positions on specific matters at hand.
The underlying questions are big and imposing: Who will be genuinely
anti-corruption as well as uphold human rights? Who is open to radical
economic and social reforms that break from the failed policies of the
past? Who will stand for sovereignty and social justice? At the same time
the issues at hand are specific and concrete: grand-scale corruption and
electoral fraud by the Arroyo administration; worsening poverty,
inequality and underdevelopment due to ‘globalization’ policies; and
state-sponsored human rights violations and political repression.
Applying the criteria to the presidential candidates, Madrigal articulates
a nationalist economic and political agenda and has a record in the Senate
of taking progressive stands on key legislation. Aside from these she also
has a record of taking up advocacies of people’s organizations. None of
the other lagging candidates, either those who have held political office
or even those coming from so-called civil society, have been able to
formulate a similarly coherent alternative agenda.
The profile and nature of the leading candidates if anything affirm how
Philippine elections remain fundamentally elite-dominated and
money-driven. The unfortunate implication is that the corresponding
front-runners whose agenda are much less progressive, or even
retrogressive, are the ones who have the political influence and
wherewithal to pursue these. Pushing for consequential reforms will then
demand an even greater effort from organized grassroots forces to seize
what little democratic space and opportunities exist or can be created.
Aquino’s appeal appears to stem from being portrayed as heir to his
parents’ legacies, being anti-corruption and a reluctant candidate. These
are said to be enough to establish his credentials as unambitious and a
non-traditional politician. However he does not express a broader and more
cohesive political, economic and social reform agenda. Moreover there is
nothing in his track record, especially his twelve years in Congress, to
indicate any intent, much less ability, to push and implement such an
agenda. Aquino also has a personal stake in land reform, through Hacienda
Luisita and other large landholdings of his family. He exhibits a
deferential attitude to US intervention in and undue influence over the
internal affairs of the country.
Villar meanwhile plays up his supposed personal odyssey from poverty to
riches as something that the country’s poor, through sipag at tiyaga, can
similarly undertake. However his candidacy appears to be hurting from
allegations of corruption in the C-5 highway extension as well as
accusations of being the unpopular Pres. Arroyo’s preferred candidate. He
does not have a particularly progressive legislative record although it is
positive that he has spelled out an economic and political agenda with
relatively progressive elements. This agenda is of recent vintage and is
mainly prompted by the electoral alliance forged with the country’s
mainstream Left political parties under the umbrella of Makabayan. This
could indicate an openness to building consensus with non-traditional and
progressive political groups.
The Estrada candidacy stands out not just for being a presidential
re-election bid but also in bearing the outcomes of the Estrada
presidency. Beyond any formally articulated agenda his stand is defined by
an outright plunder conviction (albeit he was later pardoned by Pres.
Arroyo), and the economic disarray and political disorder under his
Teodoro is important to consider as the official administration candidate
and presumed main beneficiary of its formidable resources and machinery.
Among all the candidates his position on political and economic issues is
the most continuous with that of the Arroyo administration.
The People’s Choice: Advancing democracy
The May 2010 elections reflect the state of Philippine democracy which
evidently remains a work in progress. Among the implications of the
country’s retarded democracy is that the likely winner cannot and will not
fully represent the people’s interest – he will come from the ranks of the
country’s ruling elite and will be most strongly influenced by the sorts
of anti-people and anti-democratic influences that have long kept the
majority of the people poor, exploited and powerless.
These elections cannot in themselves bring about the real change that our
people need and demand. What is more realistic is to see the May 2010
elections as a way to create the conditions for real change to take place.
Among the most important possible gains is to increase the influence of
progressive leaders and groups on conventional politics such as through
the party list system in the House of Representatives. It is now possible
to elect progressives into the Senate. It would also be desirable to have
a presidency that will give progressive forces a measure of space to push
for policies and programs that can benefit the people in the short- and
Beyond the elections and especially in light of the country’s iniquitous
and crisis-ridden socioeconomic and political structures, people's
organizations and mass movements are still the driving force of any
genuine democracy. They provide a vision and a concrete program for
achieving national freedom, democracy, justice, progress and peace. They
embody the most meaningful social sectors working for genuine change in
the country. Their determined efforts have kept the needed political and
socio-economic reforms on the national agenda. The openings for genuine
change grow the stronger the social movements are and the more successful
the people’s struggles outside the merely electoral arena.
A Footnote: Fraud, and failure?
As in past elections there will certainly be fraud. It is just a matter of
how much and how far any of this will come to light since truly fair, free
and honest elections still escape the Philippines. But there is another
looming problem with the May 2010 elections that threatens to make them
much more problematic than usual: it is widely believed that the Pres.
Arroyo is unwilling to accept the end of her term in office and has taken
steps to remain in power.
As things stand many are still hoping for peaceful, newly automated, and
at least passably credible elections followed by the transition to a new
administration. Ms. Arroyo will likely take the congressional seat of
Pampanga’s 2nd district; she hopes to somehow have enough reliable allies
in Congress to allow her to mount renewed campaigns for higher office –
the Speakership of the House in the existing presidential system and a
possible prime minister post in a parliamentary system. It is already a
given that there will be cheating at least of the traditional kind and, in
all likelihood, of a new and automated sort.
The situation however is made potentially volatile by Pres. Arroyo and her
clique’s resistance to relinquishing power amidst political isolation
unprecedented since the time of the Marcos dictatorship. At the same time
there are others clearly determined to take the incumbent’s place with all
its attendant economic and political spoils and, indeed, have invested in
electoral campaigns running in the billions of pesos.
Elections will take place on May 10 – the question though is what happens
then and afterwards. The main scenario being floated is a problem in
counting or even in voting in sufficient places across the country. This
in turn would preclude proclamation of elected president, vice president
and senators while allowing successors in congressional and local seats.
Many fear the automated elections has been designed to fail so as to
create conditions for electoral disorder and wholesale fraud.
The more extreme direction this scenario takes is, on a sufficient
pretext, a declaration of martial law or some kind of emergency rule that
leads to a holdover Arroyo presidency or some kind of transition
government under Ms. Arroyo. Another scenario is for a victorious Pampanga
(2nd district) Rep. Arroyo to quickly maneuver to take the House
Speakership and, in the absence of a president, vice president and senate
president, take over purportedly according to the line of succession.
Either direction keeps Arroyo in a strong position to influence if not
determine the outcome of the elections (or of new elections).
A brazen power grab of this kind would only underscore how subverted and
undemocratic the country’s political system remains. It would also
highlight how direct democratic action by the people through People Power
remains a most potent form of intervention considering the country’s
constant crises. There is at the same time the caution that it should be
protected from the self-serving schemes of the various factions of the
country’s ruling elite. If anything, bold efforts should be taken so that
another People Power episode results in a government that will push for
real change in the country and not merely more of the same elite rule. ###