FORMER President Fidel V. Ramos must have seen so many red flags when he was allowed into the inner corridors of the Duterte administration that he was impelled to express alarm over the regime’s straying away from long-held democratic principles.
Ramos did not explicitly say it, but he must have seen also the ship of state – with an avowed socialist President Rodrigo Duterte at the helm – veering precariously to the left.
We see an impending ideological clash among some power players in the Palace, with its repercussions disturbing the alliances of convenience in the Congress, and the pro-democracy stance of the armed forces.
Last Aug. 2, as Malacañang was preparing for negotiations in Oslo with communist rebels under the umbrella of the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines, we said in Postscript:
“Does President Duterte really believe that communist leader Jose Ma. Sison and his cohorts in Utrecht could be talked into signing and honoring a ‘peace agreement’ with the government?
“Why would Sison et al. agree to stop shooting and give up their life of comfort and safety in the Netherlands, their host that has allowed them to run by remote control a rebellion in their home country?
“Has President Duterte anything to offer to compensate for ‘het goede leven’ (the good life) that they will miss?”
We noted: “Actually there is no more reason for the NDF/CPP to continue its avowed fight for reforms. Duterte, a confessed socialist, has broken into the inner sanctum of the despised Establishment and captured it from inside and from the top.
“With him as a populist president, change for the long-suffering Filipino is at hand – if we are reading Duterte’s lips correctly.”
• Duterte leads shift to socialism
WE WERE casting our line in murky waters when we hinted of leftists gaining a grip on the levers of power.
Then last Friday, we were astounded to read in our colleague Francisco S. Tatad’s column in The Manila Times what looked like a roll of left-leaning individuals who he said have been imbedded into Duterte’s coterie.
Agreeing with a description of Duterte as an autocrat, Tatad said:
“Duterte is in earnest in his effort to turn the Philippines into a socialist state with the help of his closest childhood friends, former classmates, dormitory roommates, fraternity brothers, and political allies, who now compose the inner core of his government.
“This is what should concern all our people, beginning with his supporters. Where Marcos waged a revolution to turn back the communist movement, Duterte seems determined to lead a socialist revolution.
“This is spelled out in the organizing document of Kilusang Pagbabago (Movement for Change), the mass indoctrination movement under Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., which is now being organized at barangay level throughout the Philippines. The postponement of the barangay elections until October next year will allow Duterte to appoint all the CPP/NPA/NDF barangay officials who will form the base of the Kilusan.
“Seasoned communists are already entrenched in the Cabinet, even without the benefit of a peace agreement, which mandates a coalition government with the CPP/NPA/NDF. Until now, the popular impression in the media is that only four active CPP/NPA/NDF members have been named to sensitive government positions.”
• ‘Reds’ in Duterte’s coterie listed
TATAD cited a secret document from highly authoritative sources saying that the apparently non-ideological Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is allegedly a full member of the CPP. Others named in the document were:
> Leoncio Evasco Jr., former priest, former mayor of Maribojoc, Bohol, Duterte’s presidential campaign manager, in control of Kilusang Pagbabago and 12 strategic government agencies under his supervision as Cabinet Secretary was elected CPP Central Committee member at the 8th CPP Plenum at Susung Dalaga in Bicol in 1981.
> Rafael Mariano, secretary of Agrarian Reform; elected CPP Central Committee member at the 10th CPP Plenum in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, in August 1997; Anakpawis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid.
> Judy Taguiwalo, secretary of Social Welfare and Development; chair, Women’s Committee of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers; elected to the CPP Central Committee at the 9th Plenum in 1985.
> Silvestre Bello III, secretary of Labor; chief negotiator, GRP panel; active National Democrat, Davao.
> Liza Maza, chief convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission; elected CPP Central Committee member at the 10th CPP Plenum in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, in August 1997; former Gabriela party-list representative.
> Peter Lavina, undersecretary, Office of the Cabinet Secretary; NDF.
> Joel Maglunsod, undersecretary for Labor Relations, DOLE; elected CPP Central Committee member at the 10th Plenum in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, in 1997.
> Marcelino P. Escalada Jr., National Housing Authority administration; full member, CPP.
> Ednar Dayanghirang, administrator, National Commission for Indigenous Peoples; NDF.
> Delfin Cabrera, undersecretary, Office of the Cabinet Undersecretary; elected CPP Central Committee member at the 12th Plenum in Sariaya, Quezon, in 2008; member, NDF National Council.
> Terry Ridon, chairman, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor; elected CPP Central Committee member at the 13th Plenum in Quezon City, 2012.
Tatad said: “By striking a sharp contrast between his discontents with the US and his fascination with China, Duterte has succeeded in diverting public attention from the nation’s real struggle to the merely sensational one. The real struggle is between a morally righteous society and an amoral or immoral one, between our present democratic and republican Philippine state and the CPP/NPA/NDF’s projected socialist state.”
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Tags: Delfin Cabrera, democracy, democratic principles, due process, Duterte, Duterte administration, Fidel V. Ramos, human rights, Joel Maglunsod, Judy Taguiwalo, Kilusang Pagbabago, Leoncio Evasco Jr, Liza Maza, Movement for Change, National Democratic Front, Peter Lavina, Philippines, President Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte, pro-democracy, Rafael Mariano, rule of law, Silvestre Bello III, socialism, socialist, socialist revolution, socialist state, Terry Ridon