From inside the Mafia-like Duterte ruling clique, the latest report is that Duterte himself and his innermost cabal are hell-bent on ensuring their stay in power through a presidential proclamation of martial law nationwide before the May, 2019 mid-term elections.
They have decided to make the martial law proclamation as early as January 2019 in order to ensure that they control and determine the results of the elections. In accordance with their decision, they are mobilizing government agencies to hype the threat of a supposed rolling ouster plot by Reds, yellows and unreliables within the AFP and PNP and to step up the vilification campaigns, intrigues and repressive actions.
While being panicky and violence-prone, Duterte and his cabal underestimate the extent and rate of the people’s rejection of the Duterte regime. They are practically power-crazed and seem to be blind to the fact that the Duterte regime is isolated and hated by the people, despite the paid slanted opinion poll surveys still giving Duterte an unbelievably high popularity rating.
The Duterte regime is fast becoming isolated and hated by the people for the following reasons:
1. The economic and social conditions are fast deteriorating and making the people suffer from the soaring prices of basic goods and services, the decline in the value of the peso, the increased mass unemployment, worsened mass poverty, the widening budgetary and trade deficits and the mounting local and foreign public debt.
The people hold the regime responsible for the excise taxes imposed at their expense and for the misuse of the tax revenues to overspend for the military and police forces, feed bureaucratic and military corruption, finance overpriced infrastructure projects and pay for the rising debt service.
2. The people now recognize that Duterte’s “ war on drugs” is fake and is calculated to favor the Duterte drug empire, whose supreme overlord is Duterte himself and which includes as top players Duterte’s compadre Peter Lim, his own son Paolo and his son-in-law Mans Carpio, husband of his daughter Sara Inday. The Duterte drug empire has expanded its drug smuggling operations from Davao to other ports of the country.
The people are neither impressed nor intimidated by the extrajudicial killings perpetrated to favor the Duterte drug empire but are angry that the targets of mass murder are not the drug lords and protectors at the level of governors and generals but the poor in the slum communities and the police officers are bribed by Duterte to carry out mass murder with public money.
3. Criminality has become far worse than under any previous regime because the police officers under Oplan Tokhang and military officers under Oplan Kapayapaan have been emboldened by Duterte to abduct, torture, mutilate and murder drug and rebel suspects with impunity, presidential protection, cash rewards and promotions in rank. Criminals in power are far more abominable than ordinary criminals.
Criminality in the form of corruption in the bureaucracy and in the security agencies is rampant. The Duterte ruling clique is the most corrupt, vicious and lawless of all ruling cliques that have arisen in the neocolonial history of the Philippines. It is also scandalously allied with the worst plunderers of the likes of the Marcoses, Arroyos, Estradas and Enriles.
4. The word has spread nationwide that the destruction of Marawi City could have been avoided had Duterte allowed negotiations to be undertaken by the Sultan and the ruling families of Marawi with the small number of Maute and Hapsilon groups. But Duterte chose to destroy the city with aerial bombs and artillery fire in order to show off brute military force for the purpose of intimidating the Bangsamoro and Filipino nation. At any rate, the AFP suffered more than 2000 death casualties in Marawi City alone.
Under conditions of martial law in Mindanao, the Duterte regime has unleashed atrocities not only on Marawi City but also in other areas of the Bangsamoro and the guerrilla fronts of the New People’s Army. The regime has exposed both its barbarity and its failure to suppress the growing people’s armed resistance. The overstretched maneuver battalions of the AFP have suffered severe casualties and have become worn out and demoralized.
5. The Duterte regime is on record with Proclamation 360 of November 23, 2017 and Proclamation 374 of December 4, 2017 as the terminator or killer of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. These proclamations prove conclusively that the regime is not interested in peace negotiations because it wishes the armed conflict to continue and to scapegoat the CPP and NPA in order to be able to proclaim martial law nationwide.
Unfortunately for the regime, it underestimates the capabilities of the revolutionary forces and the people to overcome the atrocities of the armed counterrevolution and to grow in strength and advance in the process. The escalation of exploitation and oppression of the people by the Duterte regime is generating favorable conditions for the further advance of the people’s new democratic revolution.
6. In terminating the peace negotiations, the Duterte regime has shown its hostility to the people’s social and economic demands contained in the NDFP draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. Moreover, Duterte has exposed himself as a big liar in promising land reform, national industrialization, the end of short-term contractualization, raising incomes of the workers and peasants and respect for the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and ancestral domain.
Instead, the regime is violently trying to break up workers’ unions and strikes and murdering trade unionists and social activists supporting them. It is also murdering peasants and indigenous people and forcing their mass evacuation in order to make way for the mining, logging, plantation and tourist enterprises in Mindanao and nationwide. An increasing number of environmental activists are also being murdered by the regime.
7. Duterte is still obsessed with charter change for federalism as a pretext for establishing a fascist dictatorship ala Marcos. He wants to concentrate all governmental powers in his hands and to handpick the warlords and dynasties subservient to him in the various regions of the Philippines.
The people see through his scheme to use the May 2019 elections to maintain his supermajority in the Lower House and make a similar supermajority of at least 18 members of the Senate in order to ensure the success of his chacha scheme of fascist dictatorship under the guise of federalism.
8. Duterte is overconfident that he has already turned the AFP and PNP into his private armies by promoting officers that are rabidly loyal to him, by doubling the salaries of personnel, by turning them into his criminal accomplices in the abduction, torture, mutilation and murder of rebel and drug suspects and by rewarding them with cash and promotions.
But there is an increasing number of AFP and PNP officers and personnel who are opposed to Duterte’s favoritism and his criminalization and corruption of the security services. Like during the people’s struggles against the fascist regime of Marcos and the corrupt regime of Estrada, there are AFP and PNP officers and personnel who are discreetly organizing for the withdrawal of support from the tyrannical and corrupt Duterte regime.
9. Before and soon after the May 9, 2016 elections, Duterte was irritated by US-based human rights organizations for condemning his record of human rights violations and by the prospect of US military assistance being reduced by the US Congress because of said violations. It came to the point that he threatened to adopt an independent foreign policy and even cursed Obama for wishing to scold him on human rights violations.
But after his fellow ultra-Rightist Trump became US president, Duterte was assured of continued military assistance under Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines. Thus, he has become openly a rabid US puppet. He has done nothing to contradict or abrogate any of the treaties, agreements and arrangements that maintain the US as the dominant imperialist power in the Philippines. Thus, we still speak of the US-Duterte regime to signify the puppetry of the Duterte ruling clique to US imperialism.
10. What Duterte actually means by an independent foreign policy is to let any additional imperialist power take advantage of his treasonous and puppet character. Thus he has opened his regime to subservience to China. He wants to make the Philippines a debt colony and supplier of raw materials to China.
Through a Joint Exploration Agreement with China, he is giving up the sovereign rights of the Filipino people over trillions of dollars worth of the oil, gas, rare earth metals and marine resources in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for a measly few billion dollars worth of overpriced infrastructure projects at high interest rates. Duterte is a complete traitor to the Filipino people.
He does not respect the resounding legal victory of the Philippines against China before the Arbitral Tribunal in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Patriotic officers of the AFP and PNP agree with the NPA that Duterte should not be allowed to betray and sell out the sovereign rights of the Filipino people to China.
In view of the foregoing reasons, candidates of Duterte in the forthcoming May 2019 elections will surely lose in many parts of the country if the elections would be clean and not manipulated by the Duterte appointees to the Comelec. But Duterte is not taking any chances and is hell-bent on declaring nationwide martial law.
He is worried to death that his candidates for the Lower House and the Senate would be defeated by the opposition candidates and that there would be enough of the opposition in Congress to impeach him and try him for high crimes. He calculates that it would be less effective for him to declare nationwide martial law after his defeat or his questionable victory in the May 19 elections.