Strategically, “Duterte is a paper tiger already in the process of being torn apart,” said Prof. Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), in his latest appraisal of the Philippine political situation last June 16, 2020.
“In tactical terms,” Sison said that “Duterte has still enough power and enough minions to abuse the people and act like a real tiger. He can still kill any specific social activist, critic or anyone opposed to his brutal and corrupt regime. He can still persecute journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, bishops, priests and opposition leaders as well as their institutions and organizations in so many ways.”
But he opines that for every Duterte’s “oppressive or exploitative act that he commits is rousing people to fight back. Thus, patriotic and progressive forces are gaining ground rapidly.”
Taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis, Duterte has stepped up efforts to “grab emergency powers, subject the people to extreme repressive measures and steal public funds in the hundreds of billions of peasos… has sabotaged the Philippine economy and bankrupted his own government and has thus grievously offended the people whom he has deprived of the means of livelihood and frustrated with the false promise of food assistance and economic relief.”
Sison continues: “In their tens of millions, the workers, peasants and the lower middle class are hungry and angry at the Duterte regime and are eager to move against it. The professionals and entrepreneurs have been deprived of income and have fallen into debt and bankruptcy and are ready to join the toiling masses in concerted actions to protest and make demands. Even big compradors and landlords who are not his close collaborators now consider him a plague worse than the Covid-19 virus.”
The NDFP chief political consultant then fearlessly pointed out: “Duterte is lucky if he can survive politically before the middle of 2022 or he will be even more unlucky and meet a more powerful resistance if he succeeds to extends his power beyond 2022 through any foul means offensive to the sovereign will of the people.”
Duterte is so isolated now as broad range of political colors are up against his tyrannical rule. Beyond the Philippine political arena, Sison noted that since 2017, “the inter-imperialist contradictions between the US and China have sharpened. The US is now displeased with Duterte for having allowed China to build and militarize seven artificial islands in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, control of the Philippine national power grid and to put up cell towers of China Telecom and its Philippine dummy in the AFP military camps in collision with the EDCA which privileges the US to have its own bases within the AFP camps.”