Duterte Should Step back from martial law nationwide whether this is already de facto or to be formalized in January 2019

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
October 29, 2018

Consequent to the exposure of the Duterte plot to proclaim martial law nationwide in January 2019, Duterte and his mouthpiece Panelo are making assurances that there is no such plot and that Duterte intends to step down at the end of his term in 2022.

But even as they make such assurances, they speak with forked tongues. They continue to threaten the people by stating that Duterte can declare martial law any time.

With utter arrogance, Duterte himself declares that he does not need to formally declare martial law nationwide because he is already carrying out a de facto kind of martial law, which he calls “strong arm leadership”.

Indeed, at the expense of vital social services, he has been pouring public funds into the military and police in order to bribe them, emboldening them to kill, kill, kill with impunity in his all-out war policy, militarizing his cabinet and important government agencies and signing laws that facilitate repression like the national ID system and harsher provisions of the anti-terrorism law.

But I forewarn Duterte that in imposing martial law on the Filipino people, whether de facto or formally proclaimed, he will ultimately suffer the end and ignominy of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Martial law of any kind, as an instrument of fascist dictatorship, can easily victimize the leaders and mass activists of the legal opposition of all kinds who are arbitrarily listed as terrorists by the military and who are not prepared and agile enough to go underground and join the revolutionary movement.

But the revolutionary forces and people are ever ready to fight the fascist dictatorship. Under conditions of martial law, more public money will be wasted on military and police operations and the people will detest the fascist dictatorship even more.

The military forces will have even more difficulty in deploying more units for combat because too many military officers and their personnel would be busy occupying and operating erstwhile civilian agencies, manning checkpoints for the purpose of mass intimidation and extortion and being desk-bound to conduct electronic surveillance of the people.

In the final analysis, martial law whether de facto or formally proclaimed will be effective in arousing the people to wage revolutionary struggle and will be ineffective in suppressing the rise of the people and the revolutionary forces.

It is best for Duterte to step back from his drive for absolute power and absolute corruption before it is too late for him. He must recall what happened to Marcos at the end even as he had far more advantages like younger age, suaver way of deception, Ilocano affinity with most of the military personnel, bigger allowance for foreign borrowing, etc.

In fact, Duterte does not have the advantages that Marcos had. The chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, which allows protracted people’s war, has become worse than ever before. And yet Duterte always wastes precious time by ranting to provoke opposition to his rule and depends too much on intimidating the people and his critics with brute force. He has an exceptional talent for outraging the broad range of forces and the people against himself.###

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