I HAVE been so critical of the past moves of the revolutionary Left that I have gotten to the point that I no longer want to write about these. I was thus pleasantly surprised when I read about the recent statements by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on two “issues of the day”: the war on drugs waged by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and the planned burial of the body of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
I said I was “pleasantly surprised” because all along I thought the CPP would persist on its “tactical alliance” stance vis-a-vis the Duterte administration. I bumped into that “tactical alliance“ phrase when I surfed the web weeks ago and I was incredulous. My immediate question was: How did the CPP size up Duterte and his administration? Could a Marxist appraisal ever consider Duterte a progressive?
But last Saturday, the CPP zeroed in on the most important drive of the Duterte government, the one against the illegal drugs trade, describing it as rapidly spiraling into a “frenzied campaign of extra-judicial killings and vigilante murders.” The CPP even accused the President of having become “so full of himself and intoxicated with the vast power he is not used to handle that he thinks he can get away with upturning the criminal judicial system and denouncing people for defending human rights.”
The party's other beef was with the President's decision to allow the burial of Marcos's remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, which could happen next month. It said that the burial “will complete the Marcoses’ political restoration and will complete the whitewash of all the crimes they perpetrated against the people.”
The CPP also frowned on the plan to accord the former dictator military honors befitting a head of state, as it would virtually delete “Marcos’s bloody record as a military despot and the fascist violence, human rights violation, corruption and economic hardships he made the Filipino people suffer through 14 years of dictatorship.”
Are the gloves off?
The Supreme Court has granted the conditional release of former top CPP cadres Vicente Ladlad and Randall Echanis and former Bayan Muna party-list congressman Satur Ocampo to allow them to participate in the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) that will start on Aug. 20.
A lower court has also allowed Benito Tiamzon, his wife Wilma and Adelberto Silva, also former top CPP cadres, to post bail so they can join the talks but they haven't been released because they are facing three other cases in other salas. Other rebel leaders who were named NDF consultants and whom the Solicitor General wants released number to around 20.
President Duterte has promised that all of the designated NDF consultants would be released in time for the talks in Oslo, Norway, which is not far from where CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison and NDF officials like Luis Jalandoni and Fidel Agcaoili are based (Ultrecht, the Netherlands). But that can only happen if court processes are short-circuited, which cannot be done.
Anyway, it is good that the Duterte administration is pushing for the release of these political prisoners. This augurs well for the peace talks.
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ twitter: @khanwens)