By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
October 9, 2021
Let me discuss three kinds of viewpoints regarding the prospective 2022 presidential elections These are the viewpoints of the revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines; the legal patriotic and democratic movement involved in the electoral struggle; and the competing conservative or reactionary parties and groups that wish to preserve the imperialist-dominated ruling system of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who can otherwise be called corrupt politicians.
1. The revolutionary movement adheres to a people’s democratic constitution, builds its own system of government and elects its officials to organs of political power. It seeks to overthrow the ruling system which is run by the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlord class and their political agents who can be classified as bureaucrat capitalists who operate the conservative political parties or groups that coalesce and compete periodically in connection with elections, such as the prospective presidential elections in 2022.
The chronic socioeconomic and political crisis of the ruling system has worsened so much in the last 60 years. The reactionary decadent and moribund character of the ruling system is well exposed by the Marcos fascist dictatorship monopolizing political power from 1972 to 1986, followed by a series of pseudo-democratic regimes and resurrected from 2016 to 2022 in the form of the tyrannical rule or state terrorism of Duterte.
In common among all the reactionary regimes, including the fascist ones and the pseudo-democratic ones is antagonism to the struggle of the people’s revolutionary movement for national independence, people’s democracy, social justice, economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, expansion of social services, a national, scientific and mass-oriented culture and independent foreign policy.
By its nature and objective, the revolutionary movement seeks to overthrow the entire ruling system and establish the people’s democratic state by carrying out the people’s war. It is prohibited by the reactionary state from participation in the electoral exercises of the ruling system. And it does not participate in the 2022 presidential elections but it pays serious attention to these. It can comment on them for the edification of the people.
By all indications, the Duterte ruling clique will rig the 2022 presidential elections as in the 2019 mid-term elections because it controls the reactionary armed forces, the Comelec and the private company in charge of the electronic vote count and because the tyrant and proven cheat Duterte wants the election of a new president who will prevent his arrest upon the warrant of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity or upon the warrant of the courts of his own government whose Senate is now exposing his grave crimes of corruption.
Despite the 1Sambayan’s call for a united opposition against the Duterte regime, there is now a multiplicity of presidential opposition or independent candidates that present themselves as opposing or competing with the openly allied Duterte and Marcos groups. The authenticity of an opposition presidential candidate as opposition can be measured only by the substance and degree of opposing and condemning the crimes of the Duterte and Marcos regimes and presenting a program of government in opposition to treason, tyranny, mass murder and plunder.
The broad masses of the people should also be called upon to be vigilant and militant against the continuing possibility that Duterte would use either terrorist acts of his own making or the pandemic as pretext to declare a nationwide martial law or a presidential pseudo-revolutionary government, postpone the elections indefinitely and rule by decree as Marcos did in 1972. From sources close to Duterte, he has not yet dropped completely the option of doing away with the 2022 elections.
2. The legal patriotic and democratic forces and people that constitute the national democratic movement adhere to the 1987 Constitution of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. They assert, defend and promote the national and democratic rights of the Filipino people and seek reforms along the national democratic line through various forms of legal activities and campaigns on a daily basis and through periodic electoral and other political exercises of the ruling system.
Their viewpoint in participating in the 2022 presidential elections is to help cause the election of a president, vice president, senators, members of the Lower House and local officials whom they can rely on and cooperate in advancing the just cause of full national independence, democracy, genuine land reform, national industrialization, social justice, expansion of social services, a patriotic, scientific and mass-oriented culture and independent foreign policy.
The legal patriotic and democratic forces participate in the elections of the ruling system despite the overwhelming advantages of the exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists in having accumulated political power and private wealth that enable them to prevail in electoral and other political exercises and impose on the people anti-national and anti-democratic policies.
So far, the forces of the national democratic movement like the Partido ng Bayan and Makabayan Bloc have been been unable to field their own presidential candidate and they have not been able to elect any of the few senatorial candidates they have fielded since 1987 despite the superlative qualifications of these candidates. The reason is obvious. They do not have the money that imperialist, big comprador and landlord interests provide for nationwide campaigns and effective advertising in the corporate mass media.
They have been able to afford only the campaigns that party list groups can afford. And they have been able to elect a small number of candidates to the Lower House of Congress. These are a mere minority but have been outstanding in exposing the serious ills of the ruling system and the anti-national and anti-democratic policies and actions of those in power and in proposing reforms and pushing bills to oppose the oppression and exploitation of the people and ameliorate their dire conditions.
But the ultra-reactionaries of the ruling system cannot tolerate the party list groups in the Makabayan Bloc and wish to eliminate them by disqualifying them as “terrorist”, displacing them with fake party list groups masquerading as those of the marginalized and under-represented but actually organized and financed by the major reactionary parties or brazenly using the state terrorism under the so-called Anti-Terror Act in order to red-tag Makabayan Bloc party list groups, candidates and campaigners and subject them to harassment, abduction, torture and murder.
It is reasonable for the Makabayan Bloc to take the viewpoint of engaging in a broad united front against the ultra-reactionary or fascist alliance of the Duterte and Marcos dynasties, support only those genuine opposition parties, groups and candidates that also support the Makabayan Bloc. The mass following of this national democratic formation among the patriotic and progressive classes and sectors cannot be belittled. It runs in the millions if not cut down by electoral fraud.
The Makabayan Bloc can play an even bigger role than competing for a few seats in the electoral struggle in any of the following possible events: Duterte rigs the 2022 presidential elections and sustained mass protests are necessary or it postpones the elections indefinitely or he declares nationwide martial law, suppresses the anti-fascist mass movement and compels a great number of the members of anti-fascist parties, groups and activists to join the revolutionary underground and armed revolutionary movement in the countryside.
3. Political competition among the conservative or reactionary parties, groups and leaders is most intense before and during the presidential elections. This is the time in which the stakes are highest for the rival reactionary formations and leaders and for the financiers among the foreign capitalist interests, the big compradors and landlords. The electoral victory goes to the presidential candidate who excels at demagoguery and making false promises and gets the most campaign money from the aforesaid vested interests and from previous bureaucratic corruption.
But usually an incumbent president who apparently has the most ability to put together the biggest amount of campaign money cannot use it effectively in favor of his chosen successor because he stashes away a big part of the money and, more importantly, has for so long offended the people with his grievous crimes, unfulfilled promises and the much-worsened social conditions. It is not true that Duterte is an exception to the rule that an incumbent president becomes a lameduck within the last year of his term.
The so-called popularity of Duterte that has been built up by his own demagogic statements and behavior, his murderous tactics of mass intimidation in the bogus war on drugs and in the anti-communist counterrevolution, the traditional obeisance to authority and the huge amounts of money spent on the poll survey firms, troll armies, radio broadcasters and presstitutes of the corporate media and professionally anti-communist academic pedants and commentators, has become ineffective. Duterte himself has admitted that his own bid for the vice presidency has been rejected by the majority of the people in secret polls that he has commissioned.
He is now increasingly beset by complaints of retired and active officers of the reactionary armed forces who are outraged by his traitorous sell out to China of Philippine sovereign and maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea, the series of actions now being undertaken to investigate him for crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the exposé of his colossal crimes of corruption in Senate hearings, the fragmentation of his previous political loyalists and following and complaints that he has put away too much money abroad in his secret private accounts without providing for his candidates in the 2022 elections.
The broad masses of the people are wary about Duterte’s obvious attempt to confuse them. After the criticism that the Sara-Rodrigo tandem was too greedy, Duterte has been dishing up the possibility of being vice-presidential candidate to his valet Bong Go, then his fellow crook Bongbong Marcos and most recently to his top butcher Bato de la Rosa. There are also former allies of his who claim that they are running for president independently but who are widely suspected as his agents for splitting the opposition. Indeed, it will help Duterte to rig the 2022 elections if he will be able to cite the multiplicity of presidential candidates as cause for the defeat of the opposition.
The 1Sambayan has chosen the incumbent vice president Leni Robredo as presidential candidate and Senator Francis Pangilinan as vice presidential candidate. They have no record of loyalty to or alliance with Duterte and have the most credibility as opposition candidates. Even then, there is enough time for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who have recently distanced themselves from Duterte to prove their opposition credentials by hitting him hard for his grave crimes of treason, tyranny, mass murder and plunder and by presenting their own program of government in opposition to the rotten record of Duterte.
Makabayan Bloc is expected to engage in mutual support and cooperation with the best possible allies from the conservative formations that hit hardest the Duterte regime and that put forward a program of government which is opposed to the anti-national and anti-democratic record of Duterte and which approaches or concurs with the national and democratic program of the Makabayan Bloc on as many points as possible. It is essential and desirable that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations will be resumed in order to negotiate and make comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms as the foundation of a just and lasting peace.
The broad masses of the people, the legal patriotic and democratic forces and the armed revolutionary movement will certainly welcome the promise of any presidential candidate to let the GRP resume the peace negotiations and make the comprehensive agreements with the NDF to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. But so long as the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system persists, no elected president from any of the conservative or reactionary parties can be trusted without the accomplishment of the required agreements. Until then, the Filipino people have all the reason to continue their new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.###