The “Reds will die for me,” President Rodrigo Duterte declared early this week at a business forum.
Evidently, the statement was meant to telegraph the message to the “Yellows” who are perceived to be coveting his seat in Malacañang that he has got his back covered by friends whose politics and ideology he does not necessarily embrace.
Well, not all of the local radical leftists will breathe their last for him even if their life depended on it, especially Filipino Marxists from the so-called rejectionist faction of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) who were left out in the cold upon Duterte’s assumption of the presidency almost six months ago.
Gloating at the savvy through which the other half of the CPP–the so-called reaffirmist faction–had wormed itself into the Palace, the rejectionists have allied with the “Yellows” led by former president Benigno Aquino 3rd in their rumored bid to oust Duterte from power, via impeachment or “people power.”
If neither constitutional process nor popular revolt works, Aquino and his ilk in the Liberal Party and “civil society” would not be past arming themselves with pitchforks in forcibly taking over the government with a little help from the rejectionists and a big hug from the Aquino group’s foreign friends who also had helped catapult Cory to the highest post in the land more than 30 years ago.
Duterte can only hope that officers and men of the military would not turn against their Commander-in-Chief who has been going out of his way to tell them that they matter to him very dearly and not the least to ordinary people who look up to them for protection and security.
Lately, the President was delivering on his campaign promise to give the country’s soldiers the best weapons that he could possibly source from abroad, the fastest boats that could match those of the terrorists and other trouble makers even if they are not necessarily brand-new as had been hoped and the supposedly long overdue pay increases that would tide over the troops’ families as they give chase to the Abu Sayyaf Group and communist and separatist rebels.
Topping the fatherly attention to the men and women in uniform is Duterte doing the rounds of military camps across the country during which he awards medals for bravery to wounded soldiers as well as handing out modest sums to bedridden privates and corporals in moves that clearly differentiate him from a few of his predecessors who may have never set foot on any outpost of the Armed Forces.
If the members of the military might have other plans, however, the President cannot expect help from his newfound friends among the Reds, whose presence as a significant political or armed force in the urban areas like Metro Manila has not been felt since the storied days of their partisan group Alex Boncayao Brigade or the Sparrows in the early part of the1980s.
The CPP, it’s political arm the National Democratic Front (NDF), and its armed wing the New People’s Army are apparently aiming for the establishment of a coalition government with Duterte at the helm between now and 2016 when the President’s term ends.
The NDF is pressed for time, however, even as it is still smarting from the debacle of 1986 when it had falsely hoped that it could turn the EDSA uprising in that year as a vehicle for its “urban insurrection” that failed to materialize because they had zero presence in Metro Manila at the time.
It cannot wait for another 30 years to even come within a foot of Malacanang, an opportunity that it has been given by the “socialist” Duterte.
The next round of peace talks in Rome have to succeed, for failure would mean a delay not only in the timetable of the NDF for a piece of history but in that of President Duterte who could seal his legacy whether he finishes his term by becoming the leader of the Philippines to have united the country against all odds, his “cancer” and many other illnesses and issues and controversies included.