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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

RISE UP FOR COUNTRY AND DISSENT (Pt. 2 of 2)

in Mainstream

by Pat Gambao

Dissent in the military

The debased culture and unscrupulous practices in the military institution of the reactionary government have caused demoralization and dissent among its constituents. These have awakened their consciousness and revitalized their ideals.

Political patronage, an abomination passed on to the Filipinos by our Spanish and American colonizers, is an enduring feature of the AFP and PNP. The breaking away of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos from the DND-AFP command was in resentment of the favor and privileges accorded to General Fabian Ver by Pres. Marcos. The fray ignited the 1986 EDSA People Power Uprising.

The defection of bemedalled Brig. General Raymundo Jarque, the highest-ranking AFP officer who joined the New People’s Army (NPA), was in extreme disgust of the corruption in the military and then President Ramos’s accommodation of his allies. Jarque displeased the well-connected Pena family in Negros over a land dispute. This put him in a bad light as the court favoured Pena and turned the table on Jarque who was falsely charged with stealing prawns from Pena’s farm and ambushing the judge.

Amidst the struggling masses, Jarque realized that his greatest mistake was to have rendered service to the greedy and powerful who exploits and oppresses the poor. Having led the implementation of the bloody Oplan Thunderbolt in Negros in 1989-1990, he manifested his sincere repentance by going to the people, crying as he asked for forgiveness. Weeks after Jarque’s defection, a number of CAFGU (Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit) members from Northern Negros fled with their weapons and joined the NPA.

Corruption is deeply entrenched in the reactionary ruling system. It is endemic and at its worst in the military establishment because of the latter’s authoritarian nature and armed supremacy. Corruption in the military is manifested in the procurement process, in bribes extracted from foreign and local business and industrial corporations, through involvement in smuggling, in illegal drugs, and in the sale of arms and military materials to rebel groups.

Juggling and malversation of funds is just as common. Corruption plagues the top hierarchy of the institution and any dissent or exposé from below is met with drastic if not fatal repercussion.

Young Philippine Navy Ensign Philip Pestaño was found dead with a single bullet wound in the head inside his cabin after he discovered the loading of logs and drugs in the navy ship. Navy officials dismissed the case as suicide although autopsy results showed otherwise.

Lt. Jessica Chavez, platoon leader of the 191st Military Police Battalion stationed in Fort Bonifacio, was being used by her superiors in gunrunning and other criminal activities. She had planned to expose the corruption before leaving the service but she was summarily killed before she could do so. Again, the AFP declared her death as suicide.

The Oakwood mutiny in 2003 by 300 soldiers from the Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force, including 70 junior officers, was an expression of their grievance and dissent over the gross corruption in the military and the fascist regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which she wanted to perpetuate. The mutineers declared withdrawal of support from the chain of command and demanded Arroyo’s resignation.

However, because it lacked strong support from a people’s movement as the mutineers relied on spent politicians, the Oakwood mutiny, as well as the succeeding Peninsula Siege, quickly dissipated.

The brazen corruption is incessant and sickening. Imagine allocating PhP50 million from AFP funds as send-off gifts to retiring generals, over and above their legal retirement pay. Imagine the PNP police director for comptrollership being questioned by Russian customs office for carrying excessive amount of cash (105,000 Euros or PhP6.9 million). The general was with an 8-member PNP delegation that attended the International Police (Interpol) Assembly in St. Petersburg in Moscow in 2008.

The most contemptuous scam committed by the military top brass was the diversion of the funds of the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) for their vested interest. The funds came from the compulsory collection of five percent of every soldier’s monthly salary. The government continued to pay the pension and separation benefits of soldiers.

Meantime, the RSBS funds and proceeds from its investments were pocketed by the AFP officials. Although most investments incurred losses, the officers still benefited from brokering the deals and from substantial allowances they received, charged to the funds.

The Mamasapano incident in Maguindanao, on January 25, 2015, claimed the lives of 44 members of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force (SAF). Without notifying or coordinating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the SAF conducted Operation Exodus against a US-tagged “terrorist” adversary, the Malaysian bomb-maker Marwan or Zulkifli Abhir, (also known as Abdul Basit Ulman). Marwan was killed, but the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) bivouacked in the area were alerted by the firefight. They ambushed the SAF members as they were withdrawing, resulting in the latter’s massacre.

Operation Exodus was a joint operation with the US Army. However, the SAF was left alone in the implementation, while US authorities and Filipino political leaders and generals monitored the incident from afar through telecast.

It was utterly bad that for the protection of foreign (US) interest and the local ruling class the lives of members of an expensively-trained elite police force were unnecessarily sacrificed. The Mamasapano incident was no different from how soldiers are sent to senseless violent battles and pitted against their own class.

This is a wakeup call for the military minions of the ruling class. ##

RISE UP FOR COUNTRY AND PEOPLE (Pt. 1 of 2)
Revolution strikes chords in the state military

#ServeThePeople
#CherishThePeoplesArmy

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Unholy Trinity

in Countercurrent

What is the common thread binding former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and current President Rodrigo Roa Duterte?
Dictatorial and extraordinary powers. Forgive the pun: “Those whom the gods which to destroy they first make MAD.”

 

As is being repeated in history, no amount of force or threats or promises could fool the people to believe that these tyrants—like MAD—have the best interests of the people at heart.

Rehabilitating the Enemies of the People

in Countercurrent
by Vida Gracias

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s power grab on the Speakership of the House of Representatives that stalled Duterte’s delivery of his third state-of-the-nation address on July 23 has highlighted the collusion between the Duterte regime, on one hand, and the Marcos and Arroyo political cliques, on the other. While this turn of event may seem to strengthen and consolidate Duterte’s political clout, in the long term it could loosen his grip on power and hasten his doom.

Ferdinand E. Marcos’ fascist and plunderous dictatorship and Arroyo’s corruption-and-brutality ridden regime that attempted to replicate Marcos’ type of rule were, in their respective times, the nation’s most-hated governments – and Ferdinand and Gloria, deemed as enemies of the people. But President Rodrigo Duterte has taken it upon himself to resurrect and rehabilitate these enemies of the people and restore them (in Marcos’ case, his heirs) to power. This is not at all surprising, given that Duterte has one thing in common with them: an obsession for dictatorship.

Arroyo is a professed ally and confidant of Duterte, and vice-versa. The relationship goes a long way back when Duterte was still mayor of Davao City. A number of Arroyo’s trusted men played important roles in Duterte’s presidential campaign. Duterte was so in awe of Arroyo as an economist and hard-driving chief executive that he put in his cabinet her key people to head his economic and security clusters.

Charged with plunder and other cases after she ended her nine-year presidency, Arroyo parlayed her allegedly serious medical condition and her network of appointees in the judiciary to have herself placed in hospital arrest, then get the case against her dropped. She ran and won the congressional seat previously held by her son, and plotted her rise to power.

But the brazen way in which she became Speaker of the House, which startled even Duterte and almost had him walking out of his SONA, should be fair warning. Arroyo is notorious for her betrayals—talking to the military generals against President Joseph Estrada even before his ouster, lying to the nation that she wouldn’t run for president, and stealing the elections from Fernando Poe, Jr. (via the“Hello Garci” scandal). Thus, staging a coup against former speaker and PDP-Laban partymate Pantaleon Alvarez was, to her, peanuts.

Even before he launched his belated presidential bid, Duterte had been vocal about his love for and idolization of Marcos and his dictatorial ways (hailing Marcos as the country’s “best president”). Amid the nation’s protests, and publicly flaunting that he was merely fufilling a promise he had made to the Marcoses, Duterte authorized the burial of the late dictator’s preserved body in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, with pomp and rites as a “hero”. He also allegedly made a deal with the Marcoses, though he denied it, to have their purloined wealth brought back to the country.

This was “utang na loob” in full display: during martial law, the dictator Marcos rewarded Duterte’s father Vicente with a cabinet post and the governorship of the then sprawling single province of Davao. Marcos’s elder daughter Imee was one of only three provincial governors who openly supported Duterte, shelling out considerable sums for his campaign. More importantly, she delivered the votes of the Solid North to help Duterte win.

Duterte has also been doing everything he can to help Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong) to wrestle the vice-presidency from Leni Robredo, through a protest filed before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (constituting of all the Supreme Court justices). From day one, Duterte has sought to humiliate, belittle and demean Vice President Robredo, whom BongBong claimed narrowly won over him by cheating.

True, the Marcoses, particularly Imee, supported Arroyo’s power grab. But only in so far as this would also cause the downfall of her arch-enemy in the House of Representatives, former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, who hounded Imee with investigations regarding the misuse of the tobacco excise tax in their province.

In retrospect, the Marcoses and the Arroyos have an ax to grind against each other. Former President Diosdado Macapagal, Arroyo’s father, reneged on his promise to make Ferdinand Marcos the presidential standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the early sixties (Marcos switched party, became the Nacionalista Party presidential candidate and defeated the reelectionist Macapagal). Later, after he declared martial law in 1972, Marcos harassed and threatened to arrest Macapagal.

It was Sara Duterte, the President’s daughter, who markedly brought the Arroyos and Marcoses together, via her regional party Hugpong, in a common bid to demolish the ruling PDP-Laban party (which put up Duterte as presidential candidate) and strengthen their respective political turfs. Their collusion is highlighted at the moment. However, the emerging realignment of largely traditional and dynastic political forces, could give the Marcoses and the Arroyos more elbow room to undercut the power of President Duterte while consolidating their own in the coming days.

Already, Duterte’s draft charter change proposal for a shift to a federal system of government has come under fire from Arroyo’s minions in the Cabinet such as Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana. It is going to be a fiscal nightmare, they chorused. Government is not prepared for it, they said. While Arroyo did push for charter change during her extended term, she batted for a parliamentary system, not a federal one. She wanted to sit as Prime Minister with full powers to again rule the entire nation.

As for the Marcoses, they are not as eager as Duterte’s DDS to promote federalism, as they dream of getting back in Malacañang under the present unitary system. Imee is aiming to be senator while her brother Bongbong is intent on winning the electoral protest for vice president. Federalism will shoot down their ambitions. And should Duterte renege on any of his promises or deals, they can still wield the power of their stolen wealth and political bailiwick to make things difficult for him.

In a recent statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines hit the nail on its head by saying that “the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance is an uneasy one.” The CPP sees this alliance as a clear indication of the worsening state of the ruling system. “The ruling regime,” the party said, “now represents the starkest icons of fascism, corruption and puppetry,” adding, “it further boosts the anti-Duterte united front.”

Apart from his own sins against the people, Duterte’s maintaining such alliance shall make him jointly accountable for the plague of abuses and crimes that the resurrected Marcoses and Arroyo could inflict anew upon this nation. That said, the people’s progressive and revolutionary movements will have to make sure that when they drive Duterte out of power, the Marcoses and Arroyo shall be dumped along with him. They all must face the wrath of the people.

THE DUTERTE-ARROYO-MARCOS ALLIANCE ROUSES GREATER PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE

in Countercurrent

Communist Party of the Philippines
July 24, 2018

  1. To fully comprehend the significance of the House coup mounted yesterday by Gloria Arroyo, it is important to take stock of the political context. In its July 21 editorial, Ang Bayan pointed out:
  2. Under Duterte’s reign, the ruling system’s political crisis has exacerbated. The fissures among the ranks of the ruling class have deepened because of his repeated attempts to establish a fascist dictatorship and consolidate state power.
  3. In the coming weeks and months, the contradictions between Duterte and the anti-Duterte united front are set to intensify. Factional strife among ranks of reactionary forces will surely worsen. And the people’s movement will undoubtedly strengthen and gain ground. These contradictions and struggles will further weaken Duterte’s already weak control over the state. While his power weakens, it is certain that his attacks against various classes, sectors and groups that are hindering his fascist ambition will escalate.
  4. At the outset of his reign, Duterte, opportunist extraordinaire, sought to consolidate the widest possible political alliance. One of his key gambits was forging ties with Arroyo. Less than a month after Duterte took oath, the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court dismissed the plunder cases against Arroyo and had her released after four years of detention. To further secure her support, Duterte soon ran after Leila de Lima, who as Justice Secretary under the Aquino regime, prevented Arroyo from leaving the country, and ordered her arrest and detention to face plunder charges.
  5. Arroyo has played a key role in the consolidation of the Duterte regime. Besides having her cronies support Duterte’s agenda in congress, the large Arroyo bloc in the Supreme Court has repeatedly voted to favor Duterte–on the legality of the Mindanao martial law, on the quo warranto case against Sereno, and others.
  6. Of course, in the process of supporting Duterte, Arroyo has succeeded in expanding her political power and influence. Arroyo’s hand extends to the very inner sanctum of Malacañang. Her henchmen, including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, have been appointed to key positions in the Duterte regime. Under Duterte, courts have been most lenient to them. Last May, Arroyo’s husband Mike was allowed to leave for abroad in what many believe was aimed at securing the loot they have stashed in offshore accounts.
  7. Arroyo yesterday mounted a blitzkrieg coup to grab the leadership of the House of Representatives. She was fully supported by the Marcoses (Imee, Imelda and their loyalists, Floirendo et. al.). She gathered 184 votes or 67% of the 271 representatives in attendance. The supermajority in congress is no longer “super,” nor is it exclusively Duterte’s. Arroyo’s House coup was a consolidation of her power. While allied with Duterte, she remains her own power.
  8. Under Arroyo’s baton, Duterte’s charter change scheme will probably gain more headway, perhaps more than under the shabby leadership of Duterte’s minion erstwhile Speaker Alvarez. But Duterte will have to do a little more political wheeling and dealing to succeed in advancing his tyrannical aims. Duterte spoke before congress yesterday a little bit uninspired, perhaps aware of the political war clouds ahead, with the threatening “you’re next” ringing in his ears.
  9. The Duterte-Arroyo alliance, or more exactly, the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, is an uneasy one. It is a clear indication of the deepening political crisis and worsening state of the ruling system. The ruling regime now represents the starkest icons of fascism, corruption and puppetry. It further boosts the anti-Duterte united front.
  10. The need to unite against charter change, nationwide martial law, all-out political repression in the name of anti-terrorism and other Duterte schemes has become even more urgent.
  11. With the rise of Arroyo in congress, the ruling Duterte regime becomes even more isolated from the Filipino people. Aware of the grave crimes of corruption, plunder, extrajudicial killings, political repression and rampant military and police abuses committed by the Marcos dictatorship, Arroyo and Duterte regimes, the broad masses of the Filipino people are now even more determined to carry out mass struggles and revolutionary resistance.
  12. Under the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, worse liberalization policies will be further bulldozed to open the economy in order to attract more loans and investments, as ruling class politicians seek greater bureaucrat capitalist booty to share among themselves. The Filipino people are set to suffer worse socio-economic conditions as the reactionary regime seeks more loans, impose more taxes, provide incentives to big capitalists and further cut on social spending for the people.
  13. The demand to end martial law in Mindanao and end the military siege against rural communities reverberates even more. The demand for wage increases and an immediate end to contractualization is uniting even more workers and rousing them to carry out ever more militant protests and strikes. The demand for genuine land reform is mobilizing ever greater number of peasants to resist land grabbing by big landlords and big capitalists.
  14. The rise of the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance further incites the Filipino people to wage people’s democratic revolution to put an end to the class dictatorship of big landlords and big bourgeois compradors. It inspires more and more people to join the New People’s Army to wage armed struggle and build a truly democratic government that genuinely represents and serves the interests of the people.
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