• Communists in Duterte’s gov’t: Good or bad?



    SINCE the communist insurgency started in the 1950s led by a Soviet-influenced Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, President Duterte is the first president to have appointed not only former communist leaders but probably even active communist cadres as members of his Cabinet and as lower-ranking officials.

    His Cabinet Secretary—ranked as powerful as the Executive Secretary in Duterte’s Cabinet—is Leoncio Evasco, Jr., his former chief of staff for nearly a decade when he was Davao City mayor, who also supervises about 15 government agencies, including the powerful Philippine Coconut Authority, which during Marcos times was headed by the defense secretary, Juan Ponce Enrile. Evasco left the priesthood to join the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the 1970s, and in the 1980s was one of its top leaders in Mindanao, when that region became the center of the communist insurgency.

    Others are Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who in the 1980s was even a CPP central committee member; Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, chairman of the communist peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Masa, a former representative of the Red Bayan Muna party; and Joel Maglungsod, a former NPA commander and Anakpawis party-list representative, as labor undersecretary. I am not sure if she retains her Marxist ideology, but Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones together with her husband was a member of the Soviet-influenced Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. There are a few other communist former or active cadres in sub-secretary positions, although most of these haven’t publicly disclosed their past or present affiliations.

    While it was probably Evasco who convinced the President to get these communists into his government, I would think it was a brilliant move. Only this kind of irreverent President who doesn’t care what other people—or forces—think could have made so bold a move as appointing communists to high positions in his administration.

    Five reasons
    First, at least for those positions held by these cadres or former cadres, he won’t be worried about corruption. There are of course exceptions, and I know a few high-ranking communist party members in the 1970s who became corrupt and even turned to a life of crime, but communists are like the Iglesia ni Cristo faithful in the workplace: mostly incorruptible. Communists indeed have been the refutation of that dogma that only those who believe in a personal, powerful Deity would have high moral standards.

    Perhaps it is because of their extreme brainwashing and sense of membership in a community, akin I would surmise to that of the INC, that communists are known—which is ironic in view of their materialist philosophy—to be non-materialistic people.

    Second, Duterte would in effect be co-opting not only the communists who have been given posts in government but others in the insurgency. In effect, Duterte is telling them that there are other, more realistic and effective, ways of “serving the people”—the Maoist formulation of giving one’s life in devotion to the masses’ welfare—than armed struggle to establish the party’s dictatorship.

    These actually had been occurring since the late 1970s when many former communist cadres—either disillusioned over the party leadership, rebelling against the killings it had ordered, or losing faith that the New People’s Army would ever rout the Armed Forces of the Philippines—joined the mostly foreign-funded “nongovernment organizations” to organize oppressed farmers for nonviolent political actions.

    Join government
    Some also even decided to join government through their own efforts, as I did when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recruited me into her government in 2001. Indeed, I learned from that experience, as I think communists in Duterte’s administration will, that government is the most powerful institution to change people’s lives, and it is a difficult struggle to change it from being an instrument of the elite.

    The other more Machiavellian impact of getting communists to work in government is that after years of having a comfortable, rather normal way of life (compared to hiding in safe houses in the cities and in jungles in the mountains), even the most hardened communists become soft, and will not return to armed struggle, to that kind of harsh life ever. This is especially so in the case of several cadres in the cities whose children are in convent schools like St. Scholastic’s.

    Have you heard of former communist party-list congressmen returning to the armed struggle? Even the CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison found a good excuse and, rather than return to his Red base here wherever it was, chose to spend the rest of his life in a capitalist welfare state that is the Netherlands.

    Third, putting communists in key positions in government is Duterte’s way of telling the insurgents: “You’ve been fighting for this and that for more than four decades. So, I give you the machinery and resources of government, let’s see you undertake agrarian reform, uplift laborers’ welfare, help the poor, make education serve the poor. So, if you can’t undertake even agrarian reform, why would the nation let you capture power?

    Fourth, Duterte in effect would have these communists in his government as his Fifth Column of sorts in the insurgency. After tasting power as high-ranking officials in government—even for instance having a driver and a car for the first time in their lives—these communists would find all the arguments and excuses for the CPP leadership not to break ties with the Duterte administration and to continue peace talks.

    The party spokesmen for instance threatened to get out of the peace talks if Duterte allowed Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The strongman’s bones were buried anyway, and the party and its cadres just let the issue fade away.
    Not risk-less
    Having communists of course is not a risk-less strategy.

    While communists in government will most likely be incorruptible, their revolutionary ethics would allow them to siphon off finances to the party’s cadres in the underground, and even to the New People’s Army, as allegedly happened in the case of government funds of Red party-list congressmen. Cadres and even NPAs could be given agrarian reform department IDs, for instance, so as to escape military dragnets.

    I don’t think though that such resources siphoned off by communists in government to the insurgents would be significant. Believe it or not, government regulations are so strict in the handling of finances and other resources, and lower-ranking, career officials who will be the ones releasing these moneys won’t risk losing their jobs.

    The biggest risk for Duterte is for those, especially the Yellow Cult and its Clerics planning to overthrow him through a coup d’état is to exploit his having communists in his Cabinet for black propaganda. They will claim that the President has become a puppet of godless communists, and therefore has to be overthrown by force.

    This in fact was what happened in Indonesia in 1965 when Lt. Gen. Suharto overthrew the duly elected Sukarno on the excuse that the latter had become a puppet of the Indonesian Communist Party. The trigger for Suharto’s coup d’etat was the assassination of six generals by soldiers of the Presidential Guards, which to this day has been unexplained, but which was blamed on the communists. Suharto and his generals subsequently launched a pogrom against communists and everyone suspected to be communists, that resulted in about 1 million Indonesians of Chinese ethnicity murdered.

    This also happened in Chile in 1973 when the leftist President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup led by General Augusto Pinochet, who claimed that the President wanted to establish a communist dictatorship. As in Indonesia, but on a much lower scale and intensity, the military rulers killed over 3,000 leftists.

    The United States government in both cases conspired in the overthrow of these democratically elected presidents, with its Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) role in propaganda and execution of the coups d’état established without a doubt by historians.

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      Fine article, sir. Incorruptibility is what the country needs. I’m not so sure about the communists, though, as their fellows have had a dubious track record elsewhere (INC at least has extensive social welfare programs), but if “brainwashing” is what makes incorruptible people commit to their cause, then it should be re-branded with more honorable terms. “Indoctrination” or “upbringing” could be somewhat more neutral, but if it moves an organization forward and contributes meaningfully to the Filipino people, then patriotism, loyalty, and commitment would be more appropriate.

    2. Communism is already a passe’, and to use it as a tool to govern the Philippine will make the Philippine a passe’ country in the world. In fact, many of those countries, which were formerly under the communistic rule, had already shifted to a democratic rule or a semblance of it. No one is sure how far those leftists in Du30 administration can go free from any issue of corruption. Corruption has been endemic and that is the reason why we are always lag behind to other countries in many areas of development. We only need honest and sincere leaders in their service to the people. We don’t need communistic rule; we need effective laws and justice system to fight corruption and to help and guide our leaders down to the Barangay to a true service to the people.

    3. Dear Mr. Tiglao, congratulations on straining very hard to come up with five reasons for why Duterte appointed communists to his cabinet. (By the way is it five reasons or four? The sub-heading says FIVE reasons but your article only mentions FOUR).

      But to say that the communists are incorruptible is being naive at best and deceptive at worst. After all in your own write-up you have stated that these officials after having tasted power and even having a car and driver for the first time would want the peace talks to continue. Well if these officials have tasted power and have now a car and driver for the first time, what is there to stop them from wanting more cars and drivers in the future? And that is how the seeds of corruption are sown.

      • I concord with your idea. That is why a good check and balance in the government and in the different levels of administration is important. But how can we have the good laws and make them work when our congressmen and senators are the ones holding the government funds for the countryside development? How can our congressmen and senators make good laws for Philippine progress and their safety nets when they are already taking up the worker of contractors? DU30 should stop that old practice of our congressmen and senators: they are elected to make laws for Philippine progress and of their safety nets; they are not contractors. Corruption comes when the funds are granted by the congressmen and senators to their election supporters who want to remake and redouble and retake their contributions to a certain congressmen or senators.

    4. The net worth of Xi Jinping is $100 million, Castro is $900 million, Kim is a whooping $5 billion. Did someone says communists are incorruptible????

    5. The communists will provide the necessary check-and-balance in the government. European countries like Belgium, France and the Netherlands have allowed the left to have a say in its senate and downwards and it is the people who are benefiting from this. In a healthy “democracy”, all minorities must also be heard, as they are part and parcel of the whole.

    6. It is relative whether it is good or bad cause if we are talking of communist, all of them existed among the past administration. Certainly what we can conclude is that ,the communist have been working under democratic conditions without achieving any of its ends for years. Who knows the prospect of attaining peace under the Duterte
      administration can happen. and the plotters against the Duterte administration just vasilate cause they know the Filipino People wont allow it.

    7. so far so good, and very good, i dont care if theyre communist, aetheist, buddhist, methodist, or any ‘ist’ you can think of as long as they are delivering and doing agood job, the ‘communist ghost’ is again being played over and over again and a monster to deal with. Does this sound familiar? american soundbite to oust a leader? If we are being run by commie, then this is the best commie we ever had! my kind of commie!
      Dont wear a hat with a red star Mr. Tiglao, you next door columnist is so paranoid that he may call you ‘Kumander Robert’…

    8. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

      Good and Very Good! PDu30 has his own mind and experience with the leftist having admitted to be a Socialist. Peace can only be realized if the parties concerned understand and work for what both believe is for each others good. PDu30 is doing just that and whoever would disrupt his direction would certainly be disappointed. God bless the Philippines. God save the Philippines from a selfish and materialistic world.

    9. Ideally it is good as it might boost the spirit of democracy in governement as it now encompasses the broad spectrum of society. But we must consider that CPP ( and all its front organizations) is technically at war with the government ( with the the AFP and civiliians in rural areas carrying the greater burden of damages). This position of the Commandet-in-chief certainly would affect the morale of the men and officers of the legitimate armed forces.During the time of Cory Aquino, this scenario brought our country in international limelight due to series of coup attempts against the government. Having communists is not assurance for reducing corruption in the government for communists themselves are not free from corruption influence.

    10. DU30 has put together a government with all segments and all sides represented. So far only the yellows (Leni) have not performed. We can see what happened in that the yellows want to control everything and not just be a part of it. The rest argue, present alternatives but most of all they are moving forward to improve the PH for everyone.

    11. A fine explanatory article. Hopefully, we can understand and see the rationality behind our President’s move. Thank you.

    12. Bobbi Tiglao maraming salamat! If good or bad? I like to wait for only time & space can tell. Yes, you’re right, Pres. Duterte outdrew the communists active or not, with major/minor jobs in government and at governance for the taste of the camote is in the eating. Lets hope these communists will endure the mundane in the bureaucracy. Nation building belongs to every Pilipino, those Phil-Ams included.

    13. “… he won’t be worried about corruption. … communists in government will most likely be incorruptible”

      I guess the writer has forgotten “Animal Farm”, or considered what is happening in China right now.

      China corruption crackdown ‘netted 300,000 in 2015’ http :// www. bbc. com/news/world-asia-china-35741357

      Torture in secret prisons: The dark side of China’s anti-corruption crackdown http :// www. cnn. com/2016/12/06/asia/china-shuanggui-communist-party-torture/

    14. Thank you Sir Bobi for this article.
      Mga kababayan, let’s give peace a chance.
      Let’s hope and pray that PRRD’s dream of peace in the whole archipelago be realized.
      Why don’t you watch in youtube this one, “Nostradamus Predicts Duterte Presidency.”
      “Land of Promise: was Nostradamus’ word for Mindanao.
      Today’s Araling Panlipunan textbooks and workbooks do not anymore carry this reference of Mindanao as the “Land of Promise.” But during my student days, it was always an item during tests. And as a grade school teacher some years later, I taught this same concept, Mindanao is the Land of Promise. Take heed and believe what Rizal thought the Philippines is, “the Pearl of the Orient Seas.” At this point, can’t you still believe? Our President is admired by 10-member ASEAN plus Russia, Japan, China, SKorea. Only the USA (who put Cory in power) is PRRD’s antagonist, yes? Sorry, but I could only refer to Obama and Goldberg. The UN has backed out.

    15. Your article answer your own question. Good if these appointees will do their job as required of them. Bad if they use the government finances for their own agenda. As for the yellow cult, it is the media who is creating the chaos. Duterte wont let these things happen to him as he has all the resources to quell any plan to oust him. Otherwise, 100 percent martial law is in the offing.

    16. Hopefully , with the presence of the “UNDEMOCRATIC OFFICIALS” in the Duterte’s Administration , the problems of the “Poor Farmers” in the Hacienda Luisita (IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TRUE AGRARIAN REFORM) would already be resolved once and for all .

      Probably , adopting something from every form of government (A LITTLE OF EVERY ISMs) would be beneficial to the people in general … IS IT POSSIBLE ?

    17. The reds or so called progressives are given the chance to prove themselves. Giving up the armed struggles, we as a people who loves our country deserves to support them.They might be better in governance than the hypocritical yellows whose legacy is continued American style of democracy filipinos can never understand with an empty stomach.Who knows they might be able to replicate what the communists have done to China, morphing into a decadent capitalists challenging the great imperialists America. Lastly, Mr. Tiglao and Samonte should join the Duterte administration to complete the club.

    18. Duterte is a communist and sympathetic to MILF, bringing destruction to the Philippines for all the idiots who backed him.

    19. Russia, China and Philippines — communists of the world. The next headline? Yes, it is Duterte’s wish and is the end of PH as we have known it. Bye Bye PH, signed, USA.