Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines
16 June 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Increased public debt, stalled peace negotiations and lingering doubts about his electoral win are just some of the challenges being faced by President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, according to the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

In an interview with Roselle Valerio of Liberation International, CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said Aquino will need to solve various problems left behind by his predecessor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as well as new challenges being faced by the country. Among the problems left behind by the Arroyo presidency are: a P4.5 trillion debt, scuttled peace negotiations with CPP-New People’s Army and lack of genuine land reform for farmers.

Sison said the first acid test for Aquino is fulfilling his campaign promise to hold President Arroyo accountable “for crimes of corruption and human rights violations.” He noted that Aquino would be branded a liar and a deceiver if he fails to make Arroyo pay for her crimes after promising to do so if he is elected.

He said restarting peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the CPP-NPA’s political arm, will also be an important test for Aquino. He noted, however, that there is still “no sign that Aquino is serious in pursuing peace negotiations with the NDFP.”

“It remains to be seen whether his regime is willing to comply with The Hague Joint Declaration and other major agreements. Teresita Deles (Aquino’s peace process adviser) used to be Gloria M. Arroyo’s presidential adviser on the peace process. The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations would not move forward if she would recycle the same positions and tactics used during the time of Arroyo,” he said.

Sison said Aquino is expected to release political prisoners just like his mother, then President Cory Aquino, in 1986. He said the release of political prisoners will help improve the atmosphere for realizing justice for the victims of human rights violations and for resuming the peace talks.

The CPP founder, meanwhile, warned that Aquino’s close ties with the United States could lead to an increase in human rights violations against activists and revolutionary forces. He said the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre, which saw the killing of 12 farmers during a protest rally in 2004, could be a preview of what the incoming administration is capable of doing.

Sison: Pre-programming helped Aquino win

The rebel leader, meanwhile, maintained that there was rigging of the country’s first automated elections.

Sison said an informant told him that Aquino’s sister, Pinky Aquino Abellada, and President Arroyo conspired to pre-program thousands of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to ensure Aquino’s electoral win. Abellada and the President’s spokesmen have denied Sison’s allegations.

Sison said it was still possible that Aquino won the presidential election but not by the 5-million vote margin reflected in the final results of the Commission on Elections tally. He said Aquino’s closest contender, former president Joseph Estrada, had to overcome his previous conviction for the crime of plunder.

Nacionalista Party bet Manny Villar, who received the backing of leftist groups, placed third in the presidential race.

“It is possible that Noynoy Aquino won even without the pre-programming. Estrada also attacked Arroyo but had far less campaign funds and had to overcome a previous criminal conviction for plunder. Villar had huge funding but he did not attack Arroyo and made himself vulnerable to the Villarroyo line of attack. But it was the pre-programming that gave Aquino unbelieveable leads over Estrada and Villar,” Sison said.

He added: “There was overkill in reducing the votes for Estrada and there was more of such in the case of Villar and his vice presidential teammate. The latter two fell abruptly within the last month of the campaign as if they had committed a heinous crime. The programmers decided to give Aquino an incredibly large lead over Estrada and Villar supposedly to discourage protests. The pre-programmers were careless to make Estrada run second to Aquino even in San Juan, Rizal.”

Sison said he does not regret saying that Villar was a better candidate than Aquino for president. He said he backed Villar after the latter accepted Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza as guest candidates in the Nacionalista Party senatorial slate.

He added, however, that he regretted that Villar also accepted Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the NP senatorial slate and that he refused to criticize President Arroyo.

“Any alliance carries risks. That’s why progressive forces need to maintain their independence and initiative,” he said.

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