The anti-terrorism act in the Philippines in relation to the CPP and the revolutionary movement
by Professor Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Under the Nuremberg Principles, the war of aggression is the most destructive form of violent attack on the civilian population and the social infrastructure and is therefore the worst form of terrorism. Since the judgment against the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, US imperialism has been incontestably the No.1 terrorist power in the world. It has been responsible for the mass murder of 25 to 30 million people and the destruction of social infrastructure in several countries and continents.
The US has also been the No. 1 promoter of state terrorism within its own borders and in its client-states. It is the main source of indoctrination, planning, cross-border intelligence, psywar techniques and military and police logistics for building the state apparatuses of coercion and state terrorism in order to maintain US global hegemony and the rule of the exploiting classes on a global scale.
But it is ironical that the US is the imperialist power that hypes most the shibboleth of anti-terrorism in order to carry out endless wars of aggression, to promote state terrorism in various countries and subvert the national sovereignty and the democratic will of the people to form their own governments and to assert their right to rebel against tyrannical and oppressive regimes.
The US is most hostile to revolutionary movements for national and social liberation and tries to misrepresent them as “terrorist.” Thus, it has directed and prodded its puppets in the Philippines to enact an anti-terrorism law. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, the revolutionary organizations and the people’s democratic government abhor terrorism. They exist precisely in order to oppose the super-terrorism of US imperialism and the state terrorism of the current tyrannical Duterte regime and the big comprador-landlord ruling system.
The overriding reason for existence of the revolutionary movement is to uphold, defend and promote the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people and to oppose the oppression and exploitation of the people by foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. This revolutionary movement is guided and bound by its constitutional Guide for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government; by its declaration of adherence to international law on human rights and humanitarian conduct in armed conflict; and by the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
The deliberate obfuscation of US imperialism as the No.1 terrorist power in the world, as the No.1 promoter of state terrorism and as the No 1 creator of cultist Islamic jihadist groups like the Al Qaida, Salafi, Islamic State and Al Nusra and the lack of critical attention to the irrational and undemocratic complexing of the political offense of rebellion or armed revolution of peoples with common crimes are among the major causes why there are so many confused definitions of terrorism.
Because of the conflicting views and interests of its member-states, the United Nations finds it difficult to arrive at a simple and single definition of the term “terrorism, ” which ought to focus on the death and destruction rained down on the civilian population by imperialism and state terrorism. All current states, as a matter of course, have a firm conviction that they are duly-constituted and legitimate. They are convinced that they conform to just and fair, democratic domestic and international laws, especially on human rights and humanitarian conduct in armed conflict, and that acts of “terrorism” are perpetrated solely or mainly by what they derisively call “nonstate actors”.
The main purpose of the US and its imperialist allies and client states and all their ideologues and propagandists in stressing that the revolutionary movements are “nonstate actors” is to obscure and bury the laws on co-belligerency in civil wars or local armed conflicts that are still carried in the Geneva Conventions, deny the fact that revolutionary movements have the attributes of a belligerent force (people, territory, system of government and army with a unified command) and vilify said movements as mere “terrorists” that must be suppressed by draconian and outrightly fascist laws like the Anti-Terrorism Act.
And yet most, if not all, current states, which are UN members are proud of having a revolutionary tradition in which their peoples have asserted and exercised their sovereign will to constitute a democratic nation-state against a foreign colonial power, a local tyranny or local feuding forces. The people’s sovereignty, which is an expression of the right to self-determination, is a principle invoked in common by the constitutions of states and by the proclamations of revolutionary movements and is recognized in international law and in so many UN conventions.
Despite its being the No. 1 terrorist power in the world today, US imperialism is the main propagator of the notion and line that “terrorism” comes solely or mainly from “nonstate actors”, such as revolutionary movements or some cultist or anarchist groups which supposedly combine political, religious or ideological purpose with a criminal propensity to threaten or inflict harm on duly-constituted authority or the civilian population. In fact, the US has whipped up Islamophobia while collaborating with Saudi Arabia and Zionist Israel in forming pseudo-Islamic jihadist groups, deploying them in operations threatening or harmful to civilians and then hyping them as prime examples of “terrorism”.
Paradoxically, the US has never cast away its founding documents which uphold the people’s sovereign right to bear arms, to rebel and to overthrow a tyrannical and oppressive government. It has always been proud to have signed domestic and international documents upholding the democratic principle of people’s sovereignty. Likewise, the Philippines has enshrined in its Malolos Constitution of 1899 and in the 1935 and 1987 constitutions this principle and cannot deny the revolutionary heritage of the Filipino people in fighting foreign domination and establishing their own nation-state.
Terrorism so-called as a phenomenon of threatening or inflicting harm to the lives, limbs and properties of the civilian population and destruction of the social infrastructure has been mainly and almost solely perpetrated by imperialist states in wars of aggression and by states oppressing the peoples that they rule and committing gross and systematic violations of human rights. Revolutionary movements are the consequent resistance to tyranny and oppression.
In the course of political rivalry for global hegemony, the imperialist powers themselves accuse each other of terrorism and expose each other’s acts of terrorism. States are presumed to be responsible for respecting human rights in their own countries. Thus, quite a number of them have in fact been the proper target of criticisms and appeals by UN human rights agencies regarding people’s complaints of systematic human rights violations by state or state-sponsored forces, which amount to state terrorism.
The only instances when the UN comes out strongly against “state terrorism” is when the US and its allies in the UN Security Council succeed in making resolutions against states denounced as “rogue states” chiefly by the US, such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein or Libya under Muamar Qaddafi. Otherwise the US and its imperialist allies and client-states wish to limit the label of terrorism to revolutionary movements that they oppose. They make it a point to conceal US culpability for creating terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Salafi, Al Nusra and the Islamic state in the Middle East and the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and other Southeast-Asia-based groups like Jemaah Islamiyah that also operate in the Philippines.
I. Principles and Phenomena Relevant to the Term “Terrorism”
The victory of the bourgeois-liberal democratic revolution in France and in other countries signalled the advent of modern democracy. No longer did the concept of a divine authority to rule, which had been pervasive in ancient feudal and slave societies, hold sway and since then, the sovereign will of the people has been upheld as the supreme principle governing the constitution of the state. Socialist societies have further arisen in history to reaffirm the same democratic principle, with the decisive qualification that it is the proletariat, and no longer the bourgeoisie, that is the leading class in society.
Any constitution that purports to be democratic requires the state to be republican and truly representative of the people and adopts safeguards to ensure that the state does not become tyrannical and oppressive. A democratic constitution carries the Bill of Rights and the guarantees of civil and political liberties for the citizens, groups and communities within the nation-state. It consistently upholds the sovereign will of the people by recognizing the right of the people to rebel and overthrow the state or government that becomes tyrannical or oppressive.
But of course, in the real balance of state power that claims republican validity against a revolutionary movement that denounces it as having become tyrannical or oppressive, the incumbent state or government tries to deny the legitimacy of the revolutionary forces, throws at them all kinds of invectives, derogatory terms such as bandits, outlaws, illegal nonstate actors, subversives and terrorists and rationalizes the use of state violence against them.
To use the law against the revolutionaries, the reactionary government in the Philippines had complexed the charge of rebellion with the common crimes of murder, rape, arson, kidnapping, robbery or theft and illegal possession of firearms or explosives and the like. This contravenes the jurisprudence of all civilized societies which distinguishes political crimes from common crimes. And the Supreme Court set the jurisprudence in 1956 that the charge of simple rebellion could not be complexed with common crimes because the former absorbs the latter. This is now known as the Hernandez doctrine in which all acts in pursuit of one’s political beliefs are subsumed in one case of rebellion.
Not only did the Supreme Court rule that it is a violation of the constitutional right against double jeopardy to multiply the charges against the accused for the single political offense of rebellion but it also explained that this charge was bailable and carried a lesser penalty (6 to 12 years) than the common crimes. The rationale is that rebellion is socially rooted and the social grievances need to be addressed whereas common crimes are motivated by selfish interest, personal gain or malice.
The reactionary government can try to address the social grievances by undertaking the needed reforms or by negotiating a just peace with the revolutionary movement, unless those in power seek to take advantage by using the revolution or civil war as a pretext for escalating oppression and exploitation and even establishing a fascist dictatorship. That was what Marcos did and what Duterte is now trying to do.
In many major instances in world history, civil wars have been resolved through peace negotiations and mutual general amnesty of the conflicting forces. Working out a just peace through mutually agreed reforms can be a wiser, more economical and humane choice for the warring parties than for each to try to destroy and punish the other side. There are certain times when two domestic parties decide to agree on a truce in order for them to confront and fight a third party, especially when this is a foreign aggressor.
However, since the Philippine neocolonial state was established in 1946, the reactionary authorities have persisted in the practice of maliciously imposing extremely heavier penalties for rebellious or revolutionary acts to overthrow the government. Despite the fact that the armed revolutionary movement was defeated by the reactionary government in the early 1950s by force of arms because of serious errors of political line and strategy and tactics on the part of the leadership of the revolutionary party, the reactionary authorities enacted the Anti-Subversion Law of 1957 in line with the US-directed Cold War.
The law defined subversion as a conspiracy of the Communist Party to overthrow the state and to deliver it to a foreign power. In instituting the barbaric principle of guilt by association, the law sought to suppress the freedom of thought, speech and assembly of those suspected as communists, and made it easy to convict the accused and impose the death penalty on alleged communist party officers on the basis of the bare testimony of two witnesses. But the threat of death penalty and repeated anti-communist witchhunts did not deter the reemergence of revolutionary movement inspired by Marxism-Leninism among the workers and youth.
The Anti-Subversion Law was a surplusage even to most reactionaries in relation to the lack of any significantly strong communist party and people’s army and was often blunted by the critique of the law by progressives and enlightened conservatives alike, such as the Civil Liberties Union. Thus, it was used more as an instrument of anti-communist propaganda than as an instrument for legal punitive action by the authorities. In 1957, the Lava leadership practically liquidated the old communist party. And the military adopted the tactic pf planting firearms as evidence against remnants of the old communist party and the old people’s army until Marcos used the Anti-Subversion Law as well as the law on rebellion to arrest, detain and charge all his critics and political opponents. Many of those detained were subjected to charges of both subversion and rebellion before military commissions.
The abuse of the charge of subversion became so notorious during the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship that when General Fidel V. Ramos became president in 1992 he repealed the Anti-Subversion Law in an effort to entice the revolutionary movement to enter into peace negotiations and the Communist Party of the Philippines to surface. However, he made the charge of rebellion nonbailable by raising the penalty to reclusion perpetua. Yet even then, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) began to engage in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration as the framework.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the development of friendly relations between the US and Dengist China, the US began to depart from the strictly anti-communist line of the 1950 McCarran Internal Security Act. Instead, it started to use the term “terrorism” as the new catch-all term against its opponents on an international scale. It served as a flexible term to differentiate tolerable “communists” from communist “terrorists” still engaged in revolutionary struggles for national and social liberation.
The US officialdom, as well as the duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties, the national security agencies, the military-industrial complex, the think tanks, the academic institutes and corporate mass media increasingly used the term “terrorism” against all regimes and forces that resisted the wars of aggression unleashed by the US under its neoconservative security policy so as to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of Soviet influence in the Middle East and to reinforce the position of Israeli Zionism against the Palestinian and Arab peoples.
After the events of September 11, 2001, the US declared the “war on terror” on a global scale and enacted the USA PATRIOT Act on October 21, 2001 to fight terrorism in the US and abroad. When President Gloria M. Arroyo went to Washington for a working visit from November 15 to 20, 2001, she requested the US to designate the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison as “foreign terrorists,” rendering them subject to political and financial sanctions. The Bush regime complied with the request in August 9, 2002 and certain US allies followed suit.
The false charge of terrorism against the CPP founding Chairman was used to undermine his status as a recognized political refugee under the Refugee Convention. However, he succeeded in having his name removed from the EU list of terrorists on December 10, 2009 by proving the violation of his basic rights before the European Court of Justice. It must be pointed out at this point that the mere allegation of “terrorism” has been used to foul up applications for political asylum and defeat the provisions of the Refugee Convention.
Although those who committed 9-11 came from Saudi Arabia under the direction of Al Qaida, Iraq became the main target of US aggression in 2003. Iraq was accused of being a breeding ground for “terrorism” and a base for weapons of mass destruction. The US hypocritically accused the Saddam regime of having used the US-supplied chemical weapons during the Iraq-Iran war against the Kurdish people. The Philippines became a part of the “second front” of the “war on terror” with the Muslim areas of Mindanao regarded as belonging to the hub of countries whose population is predominantly Islamic and therefore presumed by US propaganda to be most prone to terrorism.
II. The Previous and New Acts of State Terrorism
The Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 9372 as its first anti-terrorism law on March 6, 2007. It bore the euphemistic title “Human Security Act” (HSA). It contained an overly broad definition of terrorism. It included as acts of terrorism certain predicate crimes, like murder, piracy, kidnapping, arson, and the destruction of property, if supposedly intended or aimed at “sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand.”
The HSA set the penalty for terrorism at 40 years of imprisonment without parole. It also prescribed harsh penalties even for relatively minor violations. For example, it allowed the detention of “terrorism” suspects without adequate procedural protections. It allowed authorities to engage in spurious prosecutions. It likewise permitted persons apprehended in the Philippines to be rendered or extradited to countries that commit torture, on the flimsy assurance that the receiving government would extend “fair treatment” to the extradited person.
The HSA allowed the government authorities to construe less serious offenses such as vandalism or even legitimate acts of protest as crimes punishable by a mandatory 40-year sentence. For example, a political activist who protests and demands or calls for the ouster of the president from the presidency, who sets fire to an effigy (reinterpreted as committing arson or destruction of property), could be falsely charged with terrorism and, if convicted, sent to prison for 40 years.
The HSA set a penalty of 40 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy in cases where “two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of the crime of terrorism . . . and decide to commit the same.” It allowed prosecutions even where no overt criminal act has occurred. This could have a chilling effect on critics of the government legally and peacefully seeking to hold political protests and make petitions.
The HSA allowed regional trial courts to declare a group of persons to be a “terrorist and outlawed organization, association, or group,” and seize its assets and search its financial records, among other actions. Such a declaration could be made not just in cases where it is shown that a group has engaged in “terrorism” but also in cases in which the government asserts that the group is “organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism.” The organization concerned was supposed to be given due notice and opportunity to be heard, but it and its members could lose their rights without the guarantee of a full and fair judicial process.
The HSA also allowed the police to double the period of detention of persons without judicial supervision, allowing up to three days of custody before the detainees must be brought before a judge. This provision allowed for the likelihood of further abuse in a country where maltreatment or torture is the standard practice to humiliate and extract self-incriminating statements from suspects during detention without access to legal counsel of their choice.
In supposed cases of “actual or imminent terrorist attack,” the HSA sanctioned detention beyond three days if the police obtained the written approval of a court or a “municipal, city, provincial or regional official” and set no express limit to the allowable period of detention. Considering that in the Philippines, where authorities are notorious for holding suspects for extended periods without arraignment or trial, this provision could be used to justify indefinite detention.
Deplorably, the HSA allowed the practice of rendition whereby a person may be given to the custody of another state, even without a formal extradition proceeding, if the detainee’s testimony is supposedly needed for a terrorism-related trial or police investigation. All the receiving state needs to do is merely give an official assurances of fair treatment to detainees. Experience has shown, however, that such assurances or diplomatic promises have been ineffective safeguards against torture and other human rights abuses.
Eventually, though, the Philippine reactionary authorities have considered the HSA as ineffective and decided to replace it with Republic Act No. 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020. The ATA gives an even more vague and overbroad definition of terrorism and related concepts like “recruitment,” “material support” and “inciting to commit terrorism”; and requires a subjective criterion for the exercise of speech, expression and assembly.
The ATA creates an executive body of presidential appointees called the Anti-Terrorism Council which can decide to designate an individual or organization as terrorist on the basis of mere suspicion or any other arbitrary consideration; empowers it to authorize the military and the police to take into custody anyone suspected to be a terrorist; renders unnecessary any judicial process for the proscription of any organization like the CPP and NPA; and allows ex-parte preliminary proscription within three days.
The ATA extends the duration of detention before arraignment of the suspect before a court is done; extends its application beyond the territory of the Philippines; violates the right to bail and against incommunicado detention; controls humanitarian aid; authorize interception of communications and freezing of bank accounts; and frees the military and police from the liability imposed by the HSA for illegal arrests and detention, among many others.
The ATA violates even further the basic democratic rights and fundamental freedoms set by the international instruments on human rights and international humanitarian law and the liberal-democratic Bill of Rights in the 1987 Constitution, which incorporates the rights under the Miranda doctrine and guarantees due process and the freedom of speech and assembly. This anti-terrorism law is actually a fascist law of state terrorism which considers any criticism of the government as an act of terrorism, subject to immediate punitive measures.
The ATA redefines as acts of terrorism crimes already defined and deemed punishable under the legal system preceding the devious use of “terrorism” as a legal term. These are merely made to appear more odious by attaching them to the supposed “terrorist” purposes, such as to “intimidate the general public, create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear, provoke or influence by intimidation the government or any international organization, or seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic, or social structures of the country, or create a public emergency or seriously undermine public safety”.
The crime of “terrorism” includes engaging in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endanger a person’s life; engaging in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place, or private property; engaging in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage, or destruction to critical infrastructure; developing, manufacturing, possessing, acquiring, transporting, supplying, or using weapons; and releasing dangerous substances or causing fire, floods or explosions.
Under the ATA, persons who propose, incite, conspire, and participate in the planning, training, and facilitation an offence under the act, as well as those who provide support to ‘”terrorists” as defined under the act, or recruit members of a “terrorist organisation”, could face life imprisonment without parole. The act also punishes the following offences with 12 years’ imprisonment: threatening to commit “terrorism”, inciting others or proposing to commit “terrorism”, voluntarily and knowingly joining any “terrorist group”, and acting as an accessory in the commission of “terrorism”.
The ATA allows suspects to be detained without a judicial warrant of arrest for 14 days which can be extended by 10 more days, and be placed under surveillance for 60 days which can also be extended by up to 30 days, by the police or military. These give the authorities unlimited latitude in framing up suspects, in torturing detainees and forcing confessions and in killing detainees and disposing of the corpus delicti.
Legal acts in the exercise of the freedom of speech and assembly can be considered as terrorism in its overreaching and vague meaning. The authorities can freely interpret one’s intention or purpose behind anyone’s act as terrorist. You can be considered a terrorist even if only one person is allegedly affected by your act despite the repeated reference to terrorism as an act against the government and community.
The ATA discourages, restrains and threatens with punishment the legal exercise of free speech, press and association. Anyone can be easily listed, arrested and detained as a “terrorist” by mere allegation of inciting terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations . . . without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism.”
Criticism, airing grievances or even petitioning the government can be misconstrued as “inciting to terrorism” and make you liable for imprisonment. A rally, protest or strike can be considered an act of “terrorism” to “create a serious risk to public safety”. Anyone can be accused of being a terrorist by providing expert advice or legal assistance to any organization of individual suspected of “terrorism”.
The authorities can arrest anyone on the basis of mere suspicion. Under the so-called Anti-Terrorism Council, non-judges usurp judicial authority and can authorize the police and military to arrest and detain people on the basis of a mere list of suspects, as in the “war on drugs” (Oplan Tokhang). Anyone can be detained for 24 days – which can be compounded in practice – without charges and without access to counsel and family, and placed on house arrest without any cellphone or other means of communication with counsel and family. While you are designated or suspected as a “terrorist”, your money and property can be taken away and your family can become prey to extortions by the authorities. Your bank records can be opened and examined. Your calls, messages, social media posts and other forms of contacts with colleagues, relatives and friends can be surveiled.
In addition to executive authorities usurping judicial authority, they can let the courts brand your organization as “terrorist” even without a hearing. And thus you can be considered “terrorist” for being a member of a “terrorist” organization. Humanitarian aid can be tagged as involved in “financing terrorism” and hence restrained and controlled. Overseas Filipino workers and migrants can be made liable while abroad and the authorities can intercept their remittances to their families.
The authorities can act with impunity because the ATA assures them of far lesser penalty for abusing its provisions than the penalty of maximum life imprisonment for supposed acts of terrorism. Besides, as in Oplan Tokhang, the commander-in-chief no less publicly assures his armed agents of impunity and brazenly advises them to frame up their victims. In the first place, the ATA is a brazen violation of the 1987 Constitution and international law and the standards of human rights.
The opposition of the Filipino people to the ATA is overwhelming. There is a broad united front of the patriotic and democratic forces and the most respected personages, institutions and organizations resolutely and actively calling for the repeal of this law of state terrorism. To this date, there is an unprecedented 33 separate petitions of former Supreme Court justices, constitutionalists, former government officials, parliamentarians, civil libertarians, lawyers, law deans and professors, artists, media and bloggers, professionals, students, trade unionists, religious, women, indigenous peoples, mass organizations and human rights activists petitioning the Supreme Court to strike the ATA down as unconstitutional.
The petitioners share their just and lawful position with the broad masses of the people and expect the court to be self-respecting and to nullify a law that is unconstitutional and illegal, violates the right to due process and the fundamental freedom, castrates the judiciary with the provision endowing the Anti-Terrorism Council with judicial powers and poses a chilling effect on speech, expression and assembly. But then the judiciary has been rated as the weakest of the three branches of government.
The current Supreme Court has the reputation of being servile to the tyrant and being corrupt as shown by its brazen dismissal of the plunder cases against the allies of Duterte and the judicial ratification of overreaching state power like martial law in Mindanao. It can vacillate and shamelessly accept the castration of the judiciary under the cover of letting the law take its course and passively waiting for complaints of abuses to be filed with the lower courts. As in the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the Supreme Court can find the devious language and disingenuous rationalization to harmonize with the executive and legislative branches of the tyrannical government at the expense of the Filipino people.
III. State Terrorism in Relation to the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army
Before he became president, Duterte spouted a lot of big lies like wishing to become the first Left and socialist president of the Philippines and promising to release all political prisoners by general amnesty, negotiate a just peace with the revolutionary movement and form a coalition government. But immediately after assuming the presidency, he surrounded himself with pro-US retired and active military officers and launched an all-out war against the revolutionary movement under the pretext of continuing the Oplan Bayanihan of his predecessor Benigno Aquino III.
Then he sought to trick the Communist Party of the Philippines into agreeing to a prolonged indefinite ceasefire without any substantial progress in peace negotiations as the basis worth considering and to the appointment of four of its party representatives as members of his cabinet. The NDFP told Duterte to fulfil his promise to free all the political prisoners by general amnesty, to accelerate the peace negotiations and forge the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and to appoint to his Cabinet on their own individual merits patriotic and progressive competent people who were not direct representatives of the CPP.
In January 2017, Duterte launched his own Oplan Kapayapaan to carry on the all-out war against the revolutionary movement. In August 2016 he released only 19 political prisoners on bail and then in July 2017 threatened them with rearrest after he failed to obtain from the NDFP a prolonged indefinite ceasefire without a substantive basis for the benefit of the people. In fact, he had rejected the offer of the NDFP to agree on a program of genuine land reform and national industrialization as the basis for economic development and just peace, to be realized self-reliantly and to be assured of funding from the development of the oil and gas resources in the West Philippine Sea with foreign technology provided by neither the US nor China.
But the narrow-minded and short-sighted Duterte was obviously more interested in making money for himself and his cronies by seeking onerous loans from China for overpriced infrastructure building contracts and other forms of tied aid and by making himself the supreme crime lord of the Philippines in collaboration with Chinese criminal triad syndicates engaged in the smuggling of drugs, rice and other goods. In trying to please China, he went so far as to sell out to this upstart imperialist power the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, laid aside the 2016 judgment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines and allowed China to build and militarize seven artificial islands. The traitor practically allowed China to build seven military bases within the sovereign ambit of the Philippines.
Trying to serve two imperialist masters, Duterte promised to Trump on November 10, 2017 that he would terminate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, designate the CPP and NPA as “terrorists”, wipe out the revolutionary movement and deliver to US corporations unlimited ownership of Philippine land, natural resources, public utilities and businesses—all these in exchange for US military assistance under the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines and US support for his scheme of fascist dictatorship through charter change under the pretext of shifting to federal and parliamentary form of government.
Duterte terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and designated the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations on December 5, 2017. But under the Human Security Act of 2007, the proscription of the CPP and NPA must go through a judicial process. At first, more than 600 alleged CPP officers and members were listed as respondents but these were reduced eventually to only two after the spurious list was challenged by a barrage of rightful denials and condemnation from many quarters, including UN special rapporteurs and international human rights agencies. But the case is now overtaken by the repeal of the Human Security Act of 2007. At any rate, there has been no letup in the Duterte regime’s all-out war against the revolutionary forces and the people.
Everyday the military, police and other propaganda mills of the Duterte regime churn out reports which are then echoed verbatim by corporate mass media and the Duterte and related troll armies in social media, that CPP cadres and members and NPA commanders and fighters are either being killed or surrendering in numbers already exceeding by several times the estimated full strength of the CPP and NPA. One would logically expect that there is no more need for the Anti-Terrorist Act if the regime believes its own propaganda.
But Duterte has publicly boasted that, because he says so, the Anti-Terrorism Act is directed mainly against the CPP and the NPA, which he labels as “communist terrorists”. In response to Duterte, former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio has answered that the CPP and NPA can neither be declared terrorists under the new Anti-Terror Act (ATA) nor proscribed by judicial process under the now repealed Human Security Act.
Carpio pointed out that under the ATA, “rebels are not terrorists and cannot be declared as terrorists.” He further pointed out that rebellion is not considered a “predicate crime” by the ATA. This is different from the Human Security Act which states that rebellion, if qualified, is absorbed under terrorism. The ATA has replaced the HSA.
Carpio pointed out that the intent of rebellion “is to remove any territory or military force of the Philippines from allegiance to the Government or its laws” and is different from the ATA’s definition of terrorism. “CPP-NPA rebels, whose intent is clearly rebellion, are not terrorists under the ATA, and consequently they, individually or as a group, cannot be proscribed as terrorists under the ATA,” he said further.
Regardless of the legal question whether the CPP and NPA can be held liable for”terrorism” under ATA, the tyrant Duterte and his armed minions will continue to vilify the CPP and NPA as “terrorists” and will continue to use and escalate all forms of violence and deception in order to attack them and try vainly to wipe them out. It is absolutely necessary for the Duterte regime to vilify and attack the CPP and NPA as “terrorists” in order to carry out state terrorism and pursue his scheme of fascist dictatorship.
Nevertheless, regardless of the overweening arrogance and fascist ambitions of the tyrant and traitor Duterte, he is like Marcos unwittingly generating the most favorable conditions for the growth in strength and accelerated advance of the revolutionary movement by escalating and sharpening the conditions of oppression and exploitation and driving the people to wage armed resistance. The people abhor the many high crimes that have characterized the Duterte regime as a tyrannical, traitorous, genocidal, plundering and swindling monstrosity. Increasingly, the people now see through behind the bluff and bluster a desperate and bungling coward.
Contrary to the calculations of the Duterte regime, the ATA has failed to intimidate the people even in the urban areas. They are intensifying all legal forms of resistance along the line of the broad united front of relying mainly on the toiling masses, winning over the middle social strata and emboldening the anti-fascist conservative forces to fight, isolate and oust the Duterte clique of oligarchs. If this broad united front succeeds in raising gigantic mass actions, this will encourage the patriotic and democratic-minded officers and even the pro-US but anti-China military officers to withdraw support from Duterte and allow a constitutional successor to replace him.
The armed revolutionary movement is not yet in a position to seize political power from the reactionaries in Metro Manila and other cities in the Philippines. But it can contribute to the weakening and isolation of the Duterte regime as what happened when the Marcos fascist dictatorship was overthrown in 1986. The Duterte regime’s crimes and the resistance of the people have served to generate favorable conditions for strengthening the forces of the people’s democratic revolution. The longer the Duterte reign of greed and terror persists, the more favorable are the conditions for the development of the people’s revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation.###
Books and documents
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2. Blum, William. 2000. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, Monroe Maine, Common Courage Press
3. Chossudovsky Michel and Cunningham Finian THE IRAQ WAR READER: A History of War Crimes and Genocide. The Unleashing of America’s New Global Militarism ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-iraq-war-reader-a…/31067
4. Communist Party of the Philippines. 1972. Guide for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government, in Jose Maria Sison, Building Strength through Struggle (2013), pp. 41-48. Accessed 2020-08-08: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/54a/071.html
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23. United States of America. 2001. USA Patriot Act. Accessed 2020-08-08: https://www.congress.gov/…/107th…/house-bill/3162/text