A temblor hits Quezon Province Wednesday. At intensity 5, it doesn’t create much stir. But it nonetheless serves to highlight the shockwaves that sweep across the nation over the week.
The previous Tuesday, the Supreme Court, voting 9-5, once and for all cleared the way for the burial of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The decision junked all petitions filed before it for the prevention of such burial soon after President Rodrigo Duterte gave clearance for it back in August.
And the following Thursday, a group calling itself IDEFEND held what it described as an urgent meeting by various “human rights defenders and progressive organizations” to, as expressed in a text message sent to this columnist, “fight and resist the Supreme Court’s latest ruling in favor of a Marcos burial @ the Libingan ng mga Bayani.” This development appears to be a confirmation of an apprehension hinted at by the Manila Times editorial that same day, to wit: “But some have hinted on taking ‘more moves.’ We hope the more forgiving and less combative side prevails.”
Just what those “moves” are, President Duterte already envisaged when he gave the go signal for the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in August. In a press statement, Duterte had said: “He (Marcos) is qualified to be buried there. Kung ayaw ng ibang Pilipino (if some other Filipinos don’t like it), fine. Mag-demonstrate kayo (you can demonstrate), go ahead. You can use the streets.”
Also that same day, the Senate Committees on Public Order and Human Rights, in a joint hearing, heard testimonies of police officers on the pre-dawn CIDG raid of the Baybay City subprovincial jail in Leyte which resulted in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate. At the conclusion of the hearing, Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Chairman Panfilo Lacson announced categorically, “There is one word to describe this (Espinosa killing): premeditated.”
Still also that same day, the media, local and international, were ablaze with stories of street protests sweeping across the United States over the election of Donald Trump as US president, trouncing a stunned Democratic rival, Hilary Clinton. Certain leaders across the world, suddenly came out pronouncing friendly greetings to the erstwhile popularly-hated candidate for his coarse language and sexist regard for women.
Earlier in the period of the campaign for the US presidency, Trump had called for a ban on Filipino immigration to the US, calling Filipinos “animals,” to which Duterte had reacted with a challenge to Trump to a fist fight – minus gloves – saying that if Trump would not come to Manila for the bout, he would go to US to mix it up with Trump in Las Vegas, in the Trump Tower or in MGM arena. But true to form, once news was out that Trump won the US presidential contest, Duterte suddenly reversed his spoken belligerence.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump. Long live,” a news account quotes Duterte as saying in a speech to the Filipino community in Malaysia during his recent visit in that country. “We are both making curses. Even with trivial matters we curse. I was supposed to stop because Trump is there. I don’t want to quarrel anymore, because Trump has won.”
But to begin with, Monday saw the Socialista Pilipinas commemorating the 99th Anniversary of the October Revolution that gave rise to the first socialist state in the world, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). On a personal note, the occasion was completely satisfying. It depicted the unending struggle of the Philippine proletariat to assert its vanguard role in the development of Philippine society. Beginning with a recalling of the history of the October Revolution by Crisanto Apit of the Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong Pilipino (KRP), who, among the other epic facets of the Russian revolution, made a startling revelation that Lenin did not die from heart attack, as generally alleged in historical accounts, but from poisoning; to a dissertation on the need for industrialization as a condition for socialist development by Joel Odio of WASTO, a workers advocacy group; and to a visual presentation on the topic of scientific socialism by the Socialista Secretariat – the discussions indicated a continuing effort by Filipino workers to establish a socialist state in the Philippines by which alone the problem of mass poverty can be solved.
Such solution is betrayed in the way the agenda of the Socialista affair was crafted. On top was the seizure of political power, followed by a vigorous pursuit of industrialization of the country’s economy, and the installation of institutions by which to establish scientific socialism. This last topic is my cup of tea, so to speak, dealing as it does with dialectical and historical materialism (DHM) on the ideological plane and the theory of surplus value on the political plane. These topics formed the core of my lectures to workers in my heyday of integration into the proletarian struggle in the 70s; I had the rewarding experience of being able to instill in workers the necessary class consciousness for them to be able to take up arms against capitalist oppression and exploitation.
In the affair, reactors from the audience were given options to speak their minds out. Rasti Delizo, spokesman of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and Nilo Brin of the Katipunan ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (KMP) both exposed the stoogery of Duterte to US imperialism and exposed the bankruptcy of Duterte’s pretensions to socialism. Delizo pointed out that if it were true that Duterte was separating from the United States, then he should have already notified US that he was ending the RP-US Mutual Defense Agreements (MDA), the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), such notification being the requirement for the process of terminating the agreements to begin.
If, then, the beginning of the week augured for anything at all, it is that an upheaval approximating the height and breadth of the Russian October Revolution is needed to bring about a truly qualitative change responsive to the concrete needs of the Filipino people. On Sunday previous to the Socialista affair, traditional anti-Marcos crowds, already anticipating a SC ruling averse to them, held an anti-Marcos concert rally at the Luneta Park, in which rally, immediate past President Benigno Aquino III lent his intriguing presence. Certainly Aquino asserted he was there as an observer, but considering the game of subterfuge, that observer status foretold of graver implications to come.
Recall that a series of protest rallies in which an Aquino – Noynoy’s mother Cory – was the rallying point led to the overthrow of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. What the Supreme Court decision on the Marcos burial seems to have spawned now is a brewing uprising by an unforgiving Cory throng who much early on in the President Joseph Ejercito Estrada administration had twisted Erap’s arm, making him back off from a Marcos burial
preparations already underway even before he was sworn into office in 1998.
As history has proven time and again, the Marcos burial as a hero has been highly controversial, one that evidently has to be stopped at all cost. That Marcos could be stopped by a popular, though minority, rising when he was alive, all the more can he be by a similar rising now that he is dead, oh, so long dead.
One relevant issue falls in the way. How will the US, which favored the Aquinos in the overthrow of Marcos in 1986, react to a rising by Aquino loyalists in order to stop the implementation by Duterte of the Supreme Court decision allowing the Marcos burial at the heroes’ cemetery? Boiled down to its basics, the question actually poses itself this way: How will Trump react to his former fearless challenger, middle-fingering him even as Duterte middle-fingered him, too, or at least that’s how Duterte was made to appear in a meme?”
In short, will Trump acquiesce to an overthrow of Duterte, as the US in fact engineered the downfall of Marcos in 1986? If a middle finger can decide the issue, the answer is obvious.
Now, to the propositions advanced in the Socialista event that Monday, would the Philippine proletariat pass off this one more golden chance – as the CPP/NPA/NDF did, being content at just sitting arms akimbo at the sidelines, in the 1986 upheavals – of figuring decisively in this threatening upheavals so as to gain vantage position from which to seize power as the Bolsheviks did in the October Revolution?
Or has not the very concept of revolution undergone fundamental changes so that workers now must realize that serving as mere pawns in a rising that, whether peaceful or armed, results only in the installation in political power of a caste of leadership that eventually frustrates the socialist and communist aims of the proletarian revolution?
The Supreme Court decision and the blatant rub out of Espinosa actually constitute the challenge now to the Filipino proletariat: make sense of all the implications of these cases. The burial of Marcos and the killing of Espinosa are just issues, but in the hands of the US it could trigger such disturbances as had brought the downfall not only of Marcos but of other US-unfriendly Philippine administrations in the past. It behooves genuine Philippine socialists to determine exactly where it should fit into this scheme of things and bring about a tremblor with intensity so high it could turn the country upside down – for keeps.