The plot against the Republic is graver than that vs Duterte

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

A DOCUMENT attributed to Ambassador Philip Goldberg, former US ambassador to the Philippines, is reported to recommend that the US play hardball with President Rodrigo Duterte, in order to teach him “fear of the Lord.” This has been described as a “blueprint to undermine Duterte,” which many promptly interpreted as “ousting DU30.” It was first revealed in the Dec. 27, 2016 issue of The Manila Times in an exclusive report filed from Lisbon, Portugal by its chairman emeritus Dr. Dante A. Ang. It was a journalist coup. Not even The New York Times, the world’s most prestigious newspaper, has the distinction of its chairman emeritus interrupting his European holiday in order to file an exclusive—and explosive—news report.

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But the expose, for all its worth, has focused the nation’s attention on the perceived dangers to the DU30 presidency, without mentioning the clear and present danger posed by that presidency. Assuming the alleged Goldberg threat is real, DU30 has all the means to “neutralize” it, as he has the means to “neutralize” all the illegal drug personalities in the slums. But the uninformed and unsuspecting citizen does not even know the threats coming from the presidency. Nor does he have the means to prevent them. If Goldberg is the real author of the reported document, it appears that not even the highest US official in the country fully appreciates the real threats associated with DU30.

Not just the killings
Until now, local and international opposition to DU30’s war on drugs has merely denounced the extra-judicial killings. Completely overlooked are the evils they have created, which are more dangerous than the killings. From July 1, up to the latest, the reports mention over 6,000 victims, and counting. Over 973,000 drug users and sellers have surrendered, some 43,000 have been arrested; there are no published report on how many have been charged of any crime. Under the Constitution, any person arrested whenever the writ of habeas corpus is suspended should be formally charged with a crime within three days, otherwise released. The writ has not been suspended, but close to a million remain in jail without any charges.

According to one survey, 78 percent of those polled fear becoming victims of extra-judicial killing. But about the same percentage, if not more, say they are “satisfied” with the performance of the President who has authorized and defended the killings. The most common comment one hears from the fearful, yet “satisfied” with DU30, is that the war on drugs has brought “peace and order” to their neighborhoods. Indeed, it has allowed the police to break into private homes and execute suspects; some 5,600,000 homes have been visited by the police, about a million people interrogated and asked to “spy” on others under the new spy system called “masa masid.”

No large drug laboratories have been busted, no large supplies seized, no drug producers, manufacturers, financiers, distributors killed, arrested or surrendered, only unshod drug dealers—people “whose lives are unwelcome, whose death is unmentioned in the Times” (T. S. Eliot)—have been wasted. What is billed as a war on drugs has turned out to be no more than a war on human life, especially against the urban poor, which the Departments of Health and Education are now feverishly trying to intensify with their massive distribution of condoms among high school students. The illegal drug traffic from China, Africa and Latin America has remained untouched, and the danger of the big drug lords trying to eliminate their rivals in order to control the traffic seems imminent.

The state now the killing machine
The extra-judicial killings have produced not just a mounting body count in the streets, but above all—and this is the far greater evil—a killing machine under PNP Chief Bato de la Rosa, which continues to kill, and will not know when it has already killed its last victim. The state itself has become the biggest killing machine. Supporting it is the Evasco-instituted spy system, in which a citizen is compelled to spy on strangers, family and friends. The whole thing is driven by an ideology that proclaims killing as a state weapon, and every human life expendable. The result is a Reign of Terror which is perversely praised for the “peace and order” it has brought into our neighborhoods by our innocent and unreflective citizens. But as the Star Wars film “Rogue One” reminds us, do not confuse peace, which Augustine called the tranquility of order, with terror. This is what Goldberg’s purported analysis sorely missed.

Back to Goldberg. Is there such a Goldberg document? Chairman Ang vouches for it, and the extensive quotes confirm it. These include the following: “The political actors (the opposition) would need all the political weapons in their arsenal to replace the Duterte administration and replace it with something more to the opposition’s liking.” However, deposing Duterte “would be a challenge to the opposition.” The US government should employ a combination of socio-economic-political-diplomatic moves against DU30 “to bring him to his knees and eventually remove him from office.” All this should happen within a period of 18 months, according to the report.

Not a blueprint but—
But the State Department has denied it. Goldberg had not written such a “blueprint,” it said. Assuming the denial is to be believed, this could mean one of two things. Either the Times has quoted a “bogus report,” meaning a document written by somebody else and made to appear as authored by Goldberg. Or Goldberg is the author of the quoted report, except that neither he nor State considers it “a blueprint to undermine DU30.” I am more inclined to view it as a hard-hitting “country report,” perhaps an end-post report, which analyzes what could happen to DU30, in the next 18 months.

A distinction has to be made between policies intended to create a situation that would make it hard for DU30 to govern and actual political and military intervention that would, for instance, put the Seventh Fleet at Manila Bay, the 13th Air Force in Philippine skies, and boots on the ground, all of which nearly happened during Marcos’ time, in order to physically remove the government.

This is not to suggest that the US government is incapable of serious political mischief, or that it has no reason to want to see the early demise of the DU30 government. In many parts of the civilized world today, particularly in North America and Europe, many who have followed the DU30 drug killings have come to believe that DU30 may have already overspent his political capital and popular mandate. Only DU30’s rabid supporters at home seem to be unaware of it.

The opinion abroad
Very few people abroad, it seems, would be surprised if DU30 were taken out in an Arab-Spring type of regime change. Given the verbal insults DU30 has rained on US President Barack Obama, the US State Department, the UN Secretary-General, leaders of the European Union, and Goldberg himself, and his blunt threat to separate militarily and economically from the US and to align his government with China and Russia “against the world,” it is completely understandable if the White House, the State Department, the UN Secretary General or the European Union leadership shared this very sentiment.

But for the US, the UN or the European Union to initiate his ouster is clearly out of bounds. It would demand an extraordinary situation, similar to that which prompted the US to intervene against Marcos in 1986. At that time, the military mutiny had already begun, and the civilian population was already in revolt; all that was needed was for the State Department, the Pentagon, the various intelligence agencies and the leaders of the US Congress to support what was happening on the ground. President Ronald Reagan, a staunch friend and ally, remained determined to protect Marcos, but once the positions of all the others had converged, his concurrence became virtually ministerial, if not academic. This is the substance of what we read in former Secretary of State George P. Shultz’s recollection of what happened in the Philippines, in his memoirs, Turmoil and Triumph.

Status of relations
There are no precise prescriptions or proposed mechanisms on how Goldberg is supposed to want to topple DU30. All I can read from the report is an analysis, which we are free to accept or reject. But DU30 knows the great political disturbance and discomfort he has caused, so it is but natural for him to expect some consequences. Of course, he can hope that despite the turbulence of the past few months, relations with Washington could improve under Donald Trump, whom he tends to regard as a “soul mate” and with whom he already had a telephone conversation for seven long minutes. But until it happens, if it happens, Philippine-US relations, largely because of him, stand on shifting sandy earth.

In principle, no foreign leader calls the US President a “son of a whore” or the US ambassador a “gay sonofabitch” and gets away with it. The US is not the world’s lone superpower for nothing; it will not hesitate to use the levers and instruments of power in order to uphold and protect its own sense of honor and self-interest. Thus, if the US believes it has enough reasons to strike back at an aggressive government, it could and will most likely do so, without need of an alleged destabilization blueprint.

That the US has done nothing against DU30 until now could be due to a number of factors. First, the US has no real policy on the Philippines, in the same manner that it has a clear policy on Korea or Japan. Second, the US official establishment is currently in a state of transition from one administration to another. Third, US policymakers have yet to determine whether DU30’s unrepeatable conduct is induced by ideology, an enhanced rereading of Philippine-American history, a forced immersion into statecraft and diplomacy, or his admitted regular use of Fentanyl, a narcotic painkiller to treat various ailments of the body.

Evasco vs State
Whether or not the alleged Goldberg report is indeed a blueprint for DU30’s ouster as alleged, its publication and the media hype it is getting from DU30’s propagandists have given DU30 and his communist coalition partners a perfect excuse to intensify their attack on the US, and fast-track their proposed revolutionary government. By highlighting the alleged American plot to get rid of DU30, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who has begun sporting a Mao-type headgear with a red star in front, has found a convenient smokescreen for his revolutionary agenda.

So far, Evasco appears to have outsmarted everyone, including the international critics. He has put together what threatens to become a “new communist party” within the old CPP/NPA/NDF and within the government itself. This would no longer be under Joma Sison or the CPP/NPA/NDF’s present leadership, nor even under DU30, but under Evasco himself. It will spring from the Kilusang Pagbabago (Movement for Change) which he heads, assisted by regional coordinators and other officers, who are all active CPP members. The KP will now molt or morph into a political party to become the engine and main apparatus of the revolutionary government. By means of this, Evasco and company plan to abolish the Constitution and the existing government.

If the US is a player, then the game is now between Evasco and the State Department. Clearly the threat to the Republic is far more serious than Goldberg’s reported threat to DU30.

fstatad@gmail.com

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32 Comments

  1. Evasco’s influence through his own political organization down to the Barangays political arena is not an alarming fire. If ever he could produce one that would have to become a perceptible, it would be put off soon before it would be inextinguishable fire; unless otherwise, Evasco would have to have a military backup to show off his prowess. As of now, Evasco is a hearsay, which means no one says so as true. However, I would advise Evasco to help the people by uplifting their lives from poverty by funding their education and food, health, and shelter. Organizing our people with a motive to change the democratic form of the Philippine government to a communist or totalitarian rule is not what we need. Totalitarian rule or communistic rule had already been proven a mistaken route of many nations that had been with it for many years. Why should you be spending your time for that? Spend Evasco your time, work, and money from us taxpayers to something worthy. What do you think?

  2. The Americans will not intervene in such countries such as the Philippines unless her interests are severely affected. The Americans invasion of Panama and Iraq came because these countries posed a serious threat to the stability and the security of the USA. Nothing in the acts of President Duterte would seriously affect the interest of the USA, so there is no worry that the Americans would intervene in the Philippines.

    Regarding the report of former Ambassador Philip Goldberg to forcibly remove Duterte from power, this is part of the debate that is happening in the USA before the Americans finally decide to intervene in the foreign nation. Goldberg has a right (even a duty) to express his opinion on anything that is happening in the PI, but his opinion is just one of the many opinions given by American public servants on how to react on the activities of foreign nations that affects American interest. His opinion is not necessarily the viewpoint of the American government.

    During Marcos times, some US government officials threatened to remove the aid that Americans are normally giving to the Philippines if martial law were not immediately lifted by Marcos. But Marcos just ignored these threats and the US government never reduced the aid that she was giving our country.

    This should not mean that Filipinos, including Mr. Tatad, should not express alarm at any proposal to end President Duterte’s tenure illegally. Filipinos have a right to be alarmed and this alarm is not necessarily negative. It is positive in the sense that we are prepared for all contingencies. But let us not make this alarm into a panic. Let us not lose our heads while debating for the best solution.

    While Philip Goldberg is entitled to his opinion, Americans will not act to intervene in the affairs of other nations unless the matter is extensively debated among her people and government officials.

  3. Everybody in Dudrty govt has its role to play. Its like a big orchestra and its baton is on the hands of Dudrty. The music will be rough, chaotic and dirty as he warned us earlier in his campaign and that the public will be like held up by the end of the dagger forced to capture the notes released one after the other. Then the Baton Leader suddenly strikes to release the note to lead the nation to total communist country!

  4. This is how a single article can change our way of life. Whether that blueprint is true or not (which IMO not true because it’s just stupid and the US is not that stupid), the wheels have been turned. And the ordinary tax-paying Filipino will be mostly affected. Good job huh?

  5. Come on Mr. Tatad ! no large drug lab busted, no large amount of drugs seized ? where are you now ? during the past admin only sachet of shabu are busted if ever there’s a drug lab raided it yields nothing or just a dusts of residues or several kilos presented just for show, it’s only 6 months since they assumed office and the amount of drugs seized already in tons and worth billions of pesos compared to what the pnoy admin accomplished in 6 years..The authorities cannot go soft in conducting anti crime and drugs operation for these criminal elements are ready to kill in any opportunity they can..how about the innocent lives lost from these criminals ?

  6. These articles attest to the fact that the battle has already been won. The US will be blamed for whatever happens no matter who starts the revolt. It seems the coup is inevitable and will come soon. If it is the Communist who end up in control then all hope is lost for the Filipino people. They will all sink to a lower level of misery together, like the Cubans did and like the Chinese did after Mao. Dark clouds are on the horizon. I blame the oligarchs for their greed and the Catholic Church in its worship of poverty and the poor when there is no virtue in being poor or in poverty.

  7. Now President Duterte must “DRAIN the SWAMP” just like what Pres elect Trump will do for the people of the USA. And of course those who are used to corruption cannot do what they used to do, they are now complaining and now sponsoring imoeachment, coup’d etat and the leader is no other than Trillanes, Delima and the LP. and Leni Robredo .

  8. The 1987 Constitution created under Cory Aquino, were hastily created and does not serve the well-being of the majority (unfortunately) the poor but to serve the interest of the rich and elite and the Catholic Church, therefore if President Duterte has a well-meaning purpose to change it to federalism under a democratic principle just like US then it is worth a try rather than the status quo. Under BSAIII a Catholic School Graduate condoned all forms of corruption, proliferation of drug Lords, and drug abuse which has damage the minds of many youth , AMLC and BS abuse of power, robbery Selective Dept Of Justice, abused under DeLima, , carnapping and abduction of foreigners Mamasapano massacre and many more.Mr Tatad ,Pls dont forget how you have expressed disdain of how the Aquino adm commited many injustices against many Filipinos Now we have a tough President who can correct the many abuses condoned by the previousadministration who had not done anything to resolve the chronic problem the country and the people has been in and it is but proper to distinguish him .with honor for an extremely difficult job he has to undertake in order to keep peace and order on many “Tarantado” and dysfunctional mind of spoiled brat Filipinos .Filipinos has elected Senators and Congressmen who failed to do their job, instead enrich themselves at the expense of many impoverished Fillipinos.,

  9. Macrena Sailor on

    I am a US citizen and live in the States. I have no idea of what your situation is like in your country. The media are now so corrupt and such liars, I can trust very little of what they write and that goes double for the truly odious NY Times. I do know that while on a cruise this Sept., I met many wonderful Philippines who were working on the ship. I asked those I met what they thought about Duerte. They would look at me hesitantly until I said that I have no opinion about him, I was just curious about their opinion. Every one of them liked Duerte. That is all I know.
    Regardless, I wish your country and your long-suffering, wonderful people well. Some of the nicest and most hard working people I have ever met are from the Philippines and that includes some wonderful nurses with whom I have had the good fortune to work with during my healthcare career. God bless.

    • If you have no idea I suggest you just keep quiet especially since looking at your post you must be one of the idiots who voted for Trump . The ugly American is back .

    • Many Filipinos love Pres. Duterte because for all his callous remarks and cursing he sincerely wants to improve the lot of the ordinary Filipinos in terms of livelihood, public service and the like. Unfortunately, a lot of those who had it good during the previous administrations want a return of the status quo. We are one of the most industrious people you’ll ever meet if given the opportunity to get a fair wager for aa hard day’s work. Again, unfortunately, such is not the case in the Philippines so, ergo, a lot of our country men go overseas to find work, sacrifice years of being away from family, not being there to oversee their children.

      Lastly, you’re right the media is not what it was before. Reporters have a tendency to be opinionated and biased towards their interest(s). The best way to determine what the truth is is go to the street and observe what is and how people respond to the going ons nowadays. You’ll find out that Duterte is doing good to many silent and desperate Filipinos. What you hear and see from the elite (educated, privileged, and does not worry about eating 3 sqaure meals a day-type).

    • Believe those hardworking Filipinos rather than this article written from an ivory tower somewhere in makati or new york…..

  10. Blame it to Duterte, who started all this problem. If he is an educated president, he should keep his mouth shut. If he has nothing nice to say, just don’t say it, to keep us out of trouble. Be a responsible president. Better yet he can go to China and stay there.

    • Be a responsible president? How responsible would you want PDigong to be? Be a yes-man? Play tuta to any sovereign states or entities who will say whatever they want to say about, and do whatever they want to do to, the Philippines? PDigong already looks bad with his foul mouth, how worse would he be without uttering a word in defense of his country and the people? If you should become a Philippine president one day, expect me to migrate. You will not be deserving of my respect and support.

  11. The same line of reasoning by anti-Duterte’s: the end justify the means. The reason why Duterte is painted in such a bad picture in the international press with the help of diligent albeit notorious opposition personalities.

  12. Hi. I am a US citizen living in the states. I was looking for something else on the internet and came upon your article today. I don’t know enough to comment intelligently except to say that I am more than sad and heartbroken to learn of your situation.

    I also wanted to share that in my opinion you can tell where our President stands by what he tells the media to cover. And I have never heard this story before. In my opinion (and we are still supposed to be able to voice that here), Obama and his administration, in addition to the Clintons, and of course George Soros and the Bushs, are sociopaths. I am praying that in Trump we will find something different. http://www.wikihow.com/Spot-a-Sociopath

    I KNOW you don’t need my advice, so please excuse me, but these days in America, social media is getting the attention of the people. Maybe that would help.

    I will add the people of the Philippines to my prayer list. We can hope for a better 2017.

    • The only genuine sociopath I’ve been seeing in the US news in recent months is trump. We should all say a prayer for America under this unpredictable new president. And by the way, I believe the Goldberg document is a planted fake that is intended by either internal or external forces to create animosity toward the US and push the PH closer to China and Russia as DU30 wants.

  13. Fake News? Nowhere in the Goldberg plot mentioning about “Fear of the Lord”.
    “the nation focused on perceived dangers of D30 presidency” is another fake! we are all actually focused on the role of Leila, Leni and Loida and FVR.
    “Star War film Rogue remind us do not confuse peace with terror” Good grief! now he is preaching peace lessons straight from a movie!

    I dont understand this writer – he has to read local news from New York Times thousand of miles away written by a tourist reporter and believe every word of it and yet he can not, would not, and will not report news that is happening under his very nose! He doesnt even report nor have a clue of the drug problems outside his gated community and his hometown in Catanduanes!

  14. Yonkers, New York
    29 December 2016

    A very careful reading of this column, The plot against the Republic is graver than that vs. Duterte,” in The Manila Times of December 30th easily convinces one that the political situation in the Philippines is now in a serious state of flux.
    First of all there is that document which fell into the hands of the head of The Manila Times, of which the alleged author is former US Ambassador to the Philippines PHILIP GOLDBERG, and which is essentially a blueprint for removing Little Tyrant Duterte.

    Then there is Cabinet Secretary LEONCIO EVASCO with his reported REVOLUTIONARY agenda under the aegis of a new Communist Party.

    Not that conspicuous as yet are possible pockets of growing resistance to Duterte’s REIGN OF TERROR, whose main objective is to depose him one way or the other, via Impeachment, or People Power, or even a Coup d’etat. Assassination cannot be ruled out as a last desperate measure.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • Your manic hatred of President Duterte is boundless and bordering on the pathetic. We don’t care about your kind who have nothing positive to say from the comforts of their overseas perches. You are no longer relevant to this country and its welfare and yet you keep up with your vitriol as if you care. Just shut up and leave us and our leadership to fix this country WE LOVE.

  15. It appears that Mr Tatad is uninformed, out of circulation or perhaps in hibernation since the time PRRD assumed office for him to claim that no major drug laboratory, drug personality or drug haul happened in the past 6 months. It is incomprehensible for him not to notice that just a few days ago a police raid on a drug depot and laboratory in San Juan netted P6BILLION worth of shabu not to mention the mega labs raided earlier. I do not expect that a columnist of his caliber to miss that unless by pure malicious intent or intellectual incapacity.

  16. The phrase , “ it kills without you knowing it ” best described the word extra-judicial killing.

    They say , extra-judicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

    It has become a government property because of the presence of the word judicial in it. And enhanced further by the word extra which prefixes the word judicial , fortifying the government ownership of it.
    It appears as if the killing is the activity of the government extra-curricular.

    You see , the word is a cold-blooded murderer for it kills without you knowing it. It is a killer in itself , and a crime that you cannot hide and escape from , for the word itself clings to the government like a bosom buddy.
    Therefore , it lends itself beautifully as an efficient political weapon capable of great destruction in the hands of the enemies.

    Even before a leader assumes power—he already has a crime to reckon with which is not his own doing because it has already done the killing before he knew it.

    The inventor of this wicked term has perfectly found a poison to kill any leader he wanted to bring down.
    The creator or creators of this deception could have copied this idea from the Devil.
    The devil in genesis , in order not to expose himself as evil , brought along a companion which is known to be good. So the partnership was born between the good and the evil. And this wisdom of Satan is called in ancient times as the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    You see the evil can use the name of his partner , the good , to deceive people. The good camouflage the evil and hid him comfortably albeit momentarily.
    This is the reason why Satan advocates the wisdom of the knowledge of good and evil. Sans the good , Satan cannot have power for deception for he will be exposed fully because he will be displayed in all his evilness.

    In the same token , the word extra-judicial killing hid itself under the auspice of the government by using words associated with government.
    There we have the word judicial which readily connotes government. And coupled with the wily word extra , then you have a very powerful word that can kill the incumbent ruler without him knowing it. It is really a cold-blooded murderer!

    The term itself , extra-judicial killing , and all those proponents of this devil’s term are the true cold-blooded murderers! They are the true extra-judicial killers!

    Just asking the Americans. Who coined the phrase , WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ?
    Is it possible that the creator of the first Monster is also the creator of this second Monster , EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING?

    • You made mention about the SWORD , thanks God you have it all capitalized. It therefore reflects the Word of God which is the true SWORD not the ordinary sword of man which kills.
      But the SWORD of The Lord gives life—if you live by it you are blessed , and even if you die with it , you are more than blessed because The Lord testified in Revelation , “blessed are those who die in The Lord from now on…”

  17. I’ll wage my war in spiritual….

    Father God at some point of our life, we got to choose either fear or faith. I chose the latter. And will continue to do so knowing that You are God of the supernatural. What is impossible with men, everything is possible to You.

    I lift to You all the anointed leaders You have raised up, raising up and will raise up in the Philippines. To bring forth the change we have prayed, and cried years ago. I firmly believe that the time of refreshing in our nation is now. That You will continue to protect these leaders. That You’ll grant them wisdom and righteousness in every situation they face.

    Likewise, You are a Father of all fathers and You discipline even Your anointed. And we entrust everything to You.

    But any forces that will try to befall our leaders and try to cause disunity in our land will have to go through You Lord Jesus. That these evil people who call themselves superpowers of the world will be shamed and humbled. Their folly will be returned to them exponentially.

    Because You have declared..

    I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning…saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’”

    To Him who sits on the Throne, all blessings, and honor, and power, and glory, and praise and thanksgiving forevermore be unto Your Holy Name Jesus! In Your most awesome Name I pray! Amen! So be it Lord!

    • It is nice to participate in spiritual warfare but waging a war with the old name of Christ is not worth waging. Did you know that The Lord is coming with a new name as he , himself testified in Revelation 3:12 (ESV)
      12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.
      Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and MY OWN NEW NAME.

      So Jesus will have a NEW NAME at his return. What is it , if you know?