The following statement of Marco Valbuena, spokesman of the Communist Party of the Philippines is valid and true:
“Despite the precept of ‘civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military’ being enshrined in the 1987 constitution, the political power of the military generals has grown under the Duterte regime. To establish himself as a strongman, Duterte expanded the powers of the military and police, enlarging the budgets of the AFP and PNP, mounting wars and appointing former military officers to key government agencies.
Former and current generals of the AFP are actively invoking anticommunism to justify its interference in electoral politics, and its increasing role in dictating policy and budget priorities.
The entire Duterte government is practically under the authority of the NTF-ELCAC. Wielding vast powers, the NTF-ELCAC is a Duterte-military junta that compels all agencies of government to follow its every dictate under pain of being tagged as sympathizers of the communists.
The Filipino people must resist the growing powers of the military. If the military’s expansion of powers continues, especially under the NTF-ELCAC, the Philippines is not far off from going down the bloody path of Myanmar’s military dictatorships.”
Nevertheless, I wish to add the following observations to the above statement:
1. Duterte himself is not completely safe from the militarist monster that he has created and is using to fully realize fascist dictatorship. He is widely perceived among the rank and file of the reactionary armed forces as being generous to them even at the expense of the Filipino people but also as someone who is already physically and mentally weak and needs the military to replace him upon his incapacitation.
2. His faction of die-hard loyalists include firstly the military and police officers whom he befriended while he was mayor of Davao City and collaborated in corruption and murder operations, secondly the previous coup-makers (RAM and SFP) mainly against the Cory Aquino regime and thirdly the disparate elements who have been loyalists to Marcos and Arroyo. The most ambitious of these three types of Duterte loyalists are already in place in the NTF-ELCAC and ATC. The most ambitious of them is Esperon who is the vice chair of Duterte and brags to his closest subordinates that he is the Suharto to a sickly and wobbling Sukarno-type of president.
2. But there is a pro-China faction that has developed within the traditionally pro-US reactionary armed forces. They capitalize on the thinking of Duterte that China is a huge neighboring country and is bound to dominate the Philippines because of its rising economic and political power and that for military officers to rule the Philippines and benefit from such rule they must collaborate with Chinese businessmen in China and the Philippines in legal as well as illegal business operations (especially smuggling) like the Myanmar military officers.
3. Of course, the most formidable faction of military officers in the reactionary armed forces consists of the pro-US ones. The hard core of these officers are assets of the US intelligence agencies, the CIA and DIA. They believe in the continuing hegemony of US imperialism and are disgusted with the favoritism of Duterte for his die-hard loyalists and with the aggressive inroads of China in the West Philippine Sea and the China Telecom cell towers inside AFP military camps.
These pro-US military officers are expected to heed new orders from US President Biden and might adopt a bourgeois-democratic facade to “normalize” the Philippine situation and counter the fascist course of Duterte, inasmuch as the Philippine situation does not yet require a Suharto-type military fascist dictator. The Duterte regime itself claims that the armed revolution is almost wiped out, despite the self-contradictory drive for fascist dictatorship which is goading the people to wage armed revolution.
4. Notwithstanding the aforesaid three major factions of AFP military officers, there are inconspicuous AFP officers of the patriotic type of Crispin Tagamolila and General Raymundo Jarque who are in the minority within the AFP but who are conscious of the high potential of the people for mass mobilizations that occurred in the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship in February, 1986 and the corrupt Estrada regime in January, 2001.
It is important for the broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces to watch how the Duterte regime and its military support will crack up, as the socio-economic and political crisis of the ruling system worsens. This will intensify all class contradictions and drive the broad masses of the Filipino people to rise up and overthrow the terrorist, corrupt and bankrupt Duterte regime as in the mass uprisings of 1986 and 2001.###