By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. – @inquirerdotnet
Inquirer Southern Luzon / 07:52 PM January 17, 2018
LUCENA CITY – The government order to close down internet-based media platform Rappler is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “fascist dictatorship” scheme, Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison said on Wednesday.
“The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) order to close down Rappler and the railroading of bicameral Resolution No.8 of both Houses of Congress to constitute themselves as the Constituent Assembly and to carry out charter change are part of the chain of events to impose the fascist dictatorship of Duterte on the Filipino people,” Sison said in a statement.
The top rebel leader noted that prior events in Duterte’s plan include the escalation of all-out war against the communist insurgents, alleged extrajudicial killings in the government pursuit of its bloody drug war, extension of the duration of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018 and the threat of martial law nationwide, the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the labelling of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and suspected supporters as terrorists.
“Duterte is hell-bent on imposing fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people and is flagrantly using basically the same strategy and tactics of mass murder, intimidation, corruption and charter change as the late fascist dictator Marcos used,” Sison said.
In a ruling dated Jan. 11, the SEC revoked the certificate of incorporation of Rappler Inc., which operates a news website critical of the Duterte administration, claiming it violated the Constitution’s restriction on foreign ownership of local media. The corporate watchdog also accused Rappler of violating the anti-dummy law, the Corporation Code and the Securities Regulation Code.
On Tuesday, The House of Representatives adopted constituent assembly (Con-ass) as the mode for amending the 1987 Constitution for a switch to federalism which the President has been pushing for long.
Sison said: “Duterte´s pretense to change the unitary form of government to that of a federation is akin to Marcos’ pretense to shift to the parliamentary form of government. As in the case of Marcos, the real objective of Duterte is to concentrate powers in his hands as fascist dictator”.
Sison also scoffed at President Duterte’s arrogance on asking for the surrender of the communist revolutionary forces.
Sison was reacting to Mr. Duterte’s demand that the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army rebels, should first “humbled themselves” and “go lower” before he considers reviving the aborted peace negotiation.
“What Duterte and (Presidential spokesman) Harry Roque meant by humbling is lay down arms and surrender to their power,” Sison said.
In a statement, Sison downplayed the Palace rejection of the proposed one-on-one personal meeting with Duterte to pave the way for the possible reopening of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political umbrella of all communist-led rebel groups in the country.
“I am glad that Duterte, through his parrot Harry Roque, has made himself clear that he never had the intention of meeting me and was lying when he told Mindanews that he wished to meet me in particular and converse one-on-one with me in a room,” said Sison, NDFP chief political consultant.
On Tuesday, Roque denied that Duterte offered to meet with Sison in a recent interview with news outlet Mindanews as a precondition for peace talks to resume.
Roque insisted that the context of the President’s statement was that the NPA should first humble themselves and not as if Mr. Duterte is willing to resume with peace talks after his talks to Sison.
“I had some misgivings that he (Duterte) did not mean what he said because of his notoriety for saying one thing and then saying the opposite within a short period and also because of his arrogance and anger in setting some absurd preconditions, like the CPP and NPA humbling themselves and capitulating to his tyrannical rule,” Sison said.
In May, Duterte suspended the talks with NDFP and dashed hopes of ending the almost five decades of communist rebellion in the country.
On Nov. 23, Mr. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360 that terminated the peace talks with the NDFP. Eleven days later on Dec. 5, he also issued Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.
However, the NDFP has yet to receive the written notice of termination from the government which is mandated under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) giving the revival of the peace talks a faint of hope.
Under the agreement, the Jasig is binding and effective until it is terminated by either party through an official notice of termination to the other and shall be considered terminated 30 days after receipt of the other party.