By Alexander Martin Remollino
Bulatlat Online Magazine
September 21, 2004
1. In the ranks of the militant mass movement and among civil libertarians and mainstream opposition groups, there is a perceptible common observation that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is treading along the path that Marcos took in 1972. What are your comments on this?
* Reply: Indeed, there are striking similarities. The economic and social crisis of the ruling system is again extremely severe and the people are in deep discontent. The reaction of the reactionary ruling clique is to use and threaten the use of force against the people. But there are also striking dissimilarities in the situation, like the reactionary armed forces and police are fractious and the armed revolutionary movement of the people are far stronger than in 1972. The legal forces of the national democratic movement are also much stronger.*
2. Do you agree with former Vice President Guingona’s observation that we now see a public discontent of the same magnitude as that which
immediately preceded martial law?
*Reply: Yes, I agree with him. *
3. In July 2003, Trillanes and company accused President Macapagal-Arroyo of plotting to impose martial law. Considering the post-May election scenarios–characterized, among others, by violent dispersals of mass actions–do you see a confirmation of their allegation?
* Reply: Indeed, there is a clear trend in the increasing use of state violence against the people. The regime is on the path of state terrorism and is inclined towards the declaration of martial law. *
4. Considering the many developments in the military since July last year–with various military rebel groups like the Magdalo, Kawal, and Patriotic Filipino Soldiers sprouting here and there–what are the chances that President Macapagal-Arroyo would be able to do anything similar to what Marcos was able to do in 1972?
*Reply: Macapagal-Arroyo is escalating the use of state terrorism against the people. But she is also afraid that in a martial law situation she would not be able to handle the factions within the armed forces and she could be gobbled up by whichever would be the ascendant military faction. Long before 1972, Marcos cultivated the image of a bemedalled war veteran and capitalized on the big number of Ilocano officers and men in the armed forces. All military officers felt indebted to him for a long while, because he was often promoting them in an expanding armed forces.
Macapagal-Arroyo often tries to sound and look like a macho commander. But she will increasingly fail to handle the military factions and the discontent among the troops. The failure will accelerate if she declares martial law.*
5. What options are available to the people for preventing a repeat of 1972?
* Reply: The broad masses of the people must be vigilant and militant. There must be a broad united front for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the greatest number of people. All patriotic and progressive forces must be strengthened in order to express the grievances of the people and make demands for national liberation and democracy against US domination and the puppet ruling clique. It is possible for a people’s uprising to overthrow a ruling clique, as proven in 1986 and 2001. If the ruling clique manages to stay longer in power by crushing the legal opposition forces, then the armed revolutionary movement of the people would grow faster as it did during the Marcos fascist dictatorship.*
Salamat po, Ka Joe, ingat po kayo lagi, at mabuhay kayo!