By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
9 July 2005
The Arroyo regime is visibly cracking up and disintegrating under the pressure of the broad united front of opposition political parties, mass organizations, professional organizations, church people, business groups, retired military and police officers and other forces demanding the resignation or ouster of Gloria M. Arroyo from her usurped position as president of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
After consultation with Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, former GRP president Corazon Aquino has categorically called for the resignation of Arroyo and her replacement by the vice-president, Noli de Castro. In turn, the latter has promptly begun to drum up his claims to competence as her successor. Through his most trusted agents, he has proceeded discreetly to contact military and police officers for support.
The ruling coalition is breaking up. The Liberal Party has taken the lead in calling for the resignation of Arroyo. Ten cabinet members and high officials of the Arroyo regime have resigned and in turn have demanded that Arroyo resign, instead of requiring all cabinet members to resign. They seem to be acting in coordination with church and business groups which have demanded the resignation of Arroyo.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has declared that units of the New People’s Army (NPA) are keeping away from urban population centers in order to encourage the broad masses of the people to march and rally against the regime. The NPA is concentrating on waging tactical offensives in the countryside.
At least four significant groups of military officers have welcomed the CPP declaration and have pledged to uphold civilian supremacy, respect the democratic rights of the people and withdraw support from Arroyo upon sight of at least 500,000 people in the national capital region.
The chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has declared that the military would respect the democratic rights of the people to assemble and speak. But the chief of the Philippine National Police is expressing extreme loyalty to Arroyo and hostility towards the people who are exercising their rights in opposition to the regime.
US officials at various levels have announced that any change of government in the Philippine must follow the “constitutional path” and “rule of law” and have continued to express support for the Arroyo regime. Thus, the regime boasts that it will stay in power so long as it keeps US support. At the same time, some pro-US elements in the conservative opposition parties claim that Arroyo has lost that support.
While the regime is definitely disintegrating, Arroyo can still play a few tricks in ways more serious than apologizing for a “lapse in judgment” and “sending away” her husband and her son. She continues to proclaim that she will not resign. The forces of the broad united front are therefore forewarned not to become complacent but to be more resolute and militant than ever in arousing and mobilizing the people in their millions and in adopting a wide range of tactics to demonstrate the regime’s inability to govern.
Plans are afoot for Arroyo to stage mass rallies in her favor, especially in some provinces where governors and mayors remain as her allies, and to use the Philippine National Police to suppress mass rallies that are not granted permits by pro-Arroyo local authorities. By these plans Arroyo is taking a gamble that is likely to inflame civil strife. The very crowds she tries to rally can also turn against her as in the Ceaucescu example in Romania.
As the public clamor for resignation or ouster continues to grow and her regime becomes untenable, Arroyo is supposed to have two possible courses of action. One is to take a leave of absence and have the vice-president Noli de Castro perform the functions of the presidency. Another is for her to become the “caretaker president”, who will follow a script prepared by former president Fidel V. Ramos, Speaker Jose de Venecia and some smart guys of Lakas-NUCD.
The script entrusts the “caretaker president” with the task of letting a “high commission” to go through the motion of investigating some corruption scandals, the two houses of Congress to become a constituent assembly that will make constitutional amendments for satisfying the US and the local exploiting classes and for adopting a federal and parliamentary system and the parliamentary elections to take place in 2006.
However, the most that Arroyo can do is to gain a little more time on her political death bed. She has politically and morally suffered a fatal wound by being caught in the act of electoral fraud and stealing the GRP presidency. The tapes are the incontrovertible proof of her grave crime before the court of public opinion.
They expose the immorality and illegitimacy of Arroyo’s usurpation of power. They have already kindled the fire that is fuelled by the wide and deepgoing social discontent of the people due to the crisis of the ruling system and that has the potential of burning down not only the political house of Arroyo but the entire ruling system of big compradors and landlords.
Since after the overthrow of Estrada in 2001, the institutions and stalwarts of the ruling system have considered the phenomena of mass uprisings repeatedly overthrowing a president as being very risky for the entire ruling system. They have been frightened by the expressed CPP view that the revolutionary forces and people strengthen themselves by overthrowing one ruling clique after another until they gain enough strength to overthrow the entire ruling system. In reaction, the apologists of the ruling system have invented the myth that the people are tired of mass uprisings.
But the ruling system has a problem in keeping a detested president long in power. The longer a president like Arroyo stays in power, the more rotten and despicable she makes the system to the increasingly exploited and oppressed people. And whoever is the president, so long as the rotten system persists, the people will detest it and have all the opportunity to strengthen themselves, irrespective of how long or short a president can stay in office.
The broad masses of the people demand that the basic roots of their oppression and exploitation are addressed. They wish to empower themselves against the US and the local exploiting classes that torment and make them suffer. They wish to uphold national sovereignty, conserve the national patrimony, carry out land reform and national industrialization, promote a national, scientific and democratic culture and adopt an independent foreign policy for world peace and development.
The crisis of the ruling system has become so grave that the ruling classes can no longer rule in the old way. The people want a revolutionary change of government, in which the toiling masses of workers and peasants obtain and exercise their due share of political power. There are revolutionary forces that can lead the people in the revolutionary process.
Social degradation and political turmoil will continue so long as the ruling system of big compradors and landlords persists. The victory of the broad united front against the Arroyo regime should lead to the formation of a transition council and a government that accommodate the patriotic and progressive forces of the legal democratic movement and pave the way for the success of peace negotiations with the revolutionary forces and people represented by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. ###