I WON’T speculate. To me, there has never been a question of ifs or buts in making a decision, particularly decisions of far-reaching social and political implications. Social and political phenomena—and I don’t say this from the perspective of the academe but from hands-on learning—have a way of conforming to inexorable laws of development. You only need to know the start of a certain process of social development to be able to determine where that process is leading to.
When, for instance, Jose Maria Sison sought to re-establish the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968, you could say as early as then that a wedge would be driven through the Philippine proletarian movement. The otherwise already strong and unified workers struggle under the aegis of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) would split up depending on the existing world rift between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. The Philippine working-class movement was under the sway of the Soviet Union, hence the Sison initiative of establishing the new CPP (from the old merger party of Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-Partido Sosyalista ng Pilipinas), bannering Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought was clearly a push for the Chinese line in the local scene of its antagonism with Russia on the world scale. From then on, the great proletarian revolution in the Philippines that in 1950 was already perceived as poised for a takeover of Malacañang, was headed for defeat.
Thus despite the fire and fury of the Sisonite National Democratic Revolution, which appeared headed for victory by the time Marcos was appearing to fall in 1986, that revolution must crumble from an endemic characteristic of failure. The rigid, inflexible anti-US Imperialist line of the revolution stood no chance at all against the US-instigated purely anti-Marcos line which the Cory followers—the non-revolutionary populace—embraced heart, body and soul. Coupled with its catastrophic boycott error in the 1986 presidential snap elections, the endemic defeat of the National Democratic Revolution took its gravest toll: sitting by the roadside while Cory and the yellow forces took over Malacañang.
To begin with, that development called EDSA I was just a fitting finale of the gamut of processes that were the re-establishment of the new Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the formation of the New People’s Army (NPA), which came about as a result of the meeting of then University of the Philippines professor Jose Maria Sison and Huk commander Bernabe Buscayno, alias “Kumander Dante”—which meeting was brokered in Hacienda Luisita by who else but Cory’s husband, Ninoy Aquino.
Doesn’t this throw us back to our original proposition?—“You only need to know the start of a certain process of social development to be able to determine where that process is leading to.”
Ninoy started it all and the Aquino dynasty, from Cory down to their son, reaped all the harvest.
I embark on this reminiscence impelled by a most pressing question.
Duterte, perceived to have won the May 9 presidential election, albeit on the basis of partial unofficial returns, had come out openly to be an ally of Sison and his revolutionary remnants and, in fact, had chanted in a public rally in Davao City: “Mabuhay ang NPA.”
That chant certainly signaled the start of a process for Sison, in much the same way that Ninoy’s instigated meeting between him and Dante was in 1968. That 1968 start ultimately led to EDSA I. Where will this Sison start with Duterte lead to? Given the chaos and breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of the Sison-Dante meeting with Ninoy in 1968, I am inclined to believe the country is in for bad times under a Duterte presidency.
In the first place, the schism Sison implemented within the CPP with his Re-Affirm in 1991 has persisted and appears unceasing. Revolutionaries have been pitted against one another solely on the basis of whether one was RA (Reaffirmist) or RJ (Rejectionist). The purge he swept throughout the Party in this summary manner has decimated the revolutionary ranks, which on the eve of EDSA I were counting 25,000 regulars of the New People’s Army, 500,000 people’s militia capable of armed combat, and an undetermined number of Armed Propaganda Units spread all over the land on which the party organization had reached the level of Commissions. Within these commissions were poised to arise Armed Independent Regimes, preparatory to establishing a people’s republic encompassing the whole Philippine archipelago.
But a people’s republic was not the destined result of the Ninoy-Sison-Dante tryst in 1968; it was EDSA I.
With Sison gaining ascendance in a Duterte government, he shall have the pleasure of finally proclaiming victory for his nearly half-century of protracted struggle—a struggle capped by three scores of his furlough in the Netherlands, shopping in malls and rocking in disco joints, while his fanatical cultist followers endlessly suffer deaths and injuries in lopsided battles with government forces. Duterte will save the day for a discredited revolutionary movement, a discredited revolutionary leader.
This is the scariest development a Duterte government can bring to the country. Like Duterte who betrays an acute sense of megalomania, Sison has shown no regard for human rights, as evidenced by summary executions of rebels suspected of being government deep penetration agents (DPA). At the helm of the CPP Politburo, which implemented the wide-scale policy of rubbing out suspected government spies in the revolution, was a former solon whose loyalty to Sison had been unquestioned, ergo his executions of comrades was quite in line with this loyalty.
Nor has Sison shown reverence at all for life. The nation must be told time and again that the infamous Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971, which killed eight, including a seven-year-old girl cigarette vendor, was a craftsmanship of Sison, as bared in the Joint Investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Justice, in 1989.
For that carnage alone, Sison deserves multi-life sentences. And what about the admitted assassination by him of NPA chief Rolando Kintanar and NPA leader Arturo Tabara? Are these to be condoned in the name of peace? Criminal charges have been filed in court against Sison for these killings. Sison had been enjoying accommodation by the Netherlands, which has no extradition treaty with the Philippines. For which reason he gets unmolested by the police despite the charges which otherwise would warrant his arrest.
Welcoming Sison back to the Philippines with even a guarantee of peaceful living topped by a potential power sharing of some sort, depending on eventual negotiations between Sison’s rebel group and the government, is the height of injustice.
But then again, as madmen given to no qualms whatsoever about killing people—all sorts, men, women, minors and children—Duterte and Sison do just deserve each other.