Finally, the man himself is coming home, or so he is saying. Good. For the longest time, since 1986, Joma Sison had lived a life of comfort in exile in Netherlands while his faithful communist comrades and followers were left behind in the Philippines fighting and dying for an ideology now largely rendered obsolete, if not dead. This ideology, of which Sison was (and remains to be) its leading light, had served as the foundation of an insurgency movement which waged a vicious and deadly war against the government from the late 60s to its peak in the 70s, onwards to this day. This war left in its wake tens of thousands dead , not to say about other casualties and destruction it inflicted in the wider realms of society. Today, it is acknowledged as one of the longest running insurgencies in the world. Over the years, the rebels themselves have slowly degenerated into banditry and terrorism, though official statements are put out from time to time as if to reassure that the movement has not become a plain bandit organization but remains to be one guided by a noble cause.
What has become his true role in the movement is all too blurred now as sometimes he speaks like the commander in exile, sometimes a spiritual leader of sort, at times an elderly adviser. It must be frustrating being a communist ideologue when all communist countries save for one or two have all but abandoned the cause and the core principles and have turned more capitalist than communist in essence. In fact, you have to wonder why he was in Netherlands all these years not in some hard-core communist country like North Korea, for instance; didn’t he see the utter irony?
From his most recent statements, though, you do not see someone who has mellowed down one bit or has changed in his beliefs in any way. He sounds every bit a communist, as hard-core and die-hard as he was before. If not for his age, he would still be the communist fire-brand that he was with that patented clenched fist up in the air, agitating as fervently for a revolution to topple the government and in its place a communist government installed.
Should he really come home, I suppose he would be profoundly disoriented. After all, he was either in prison or exile, an enemy of the state, for most of his life. He is coming home to a country vastly changed since he left, even more so from that in the late 60’s when he first organized and launched the underground movement. He is coming home to a people who once saw in communism a ray of hope against the rotten social order, but now has a totally changed view. How the nation will welcome him, we will find out. Will he be the long lost hero coming home to the warm embrace of the people? Or the long lost heel coming home to their dread, a pest better shooed away or swatted down?
How his coming home will be helping the new President, I have no idea. It seems more like taking a rock with which to bang his head. Already, the Communist Party of the Philippines has issued statements that tend to discourage rather than encourage engagement. It’s certainly a bold gamble for the President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. If this gambit will pay off in terms of a permanent truce, well and good. I am not betting on it.
To be sure, a lot of Filipinos would be disoriented too if finally they see Joma walking in the corridors of power and rubbing elbows with the powerful. For too long he was a symbol of rebellion, if not always in good light, a symbol nonetheless representing anti-government/anti-Establishment. You have to wonder though how the traditional enemies of communism especially those in the armed forces would regard a Joma, no more the rebel. It was them after all who took the brunt of the fighting to defend the republic from their ambition and in so doing thousands of their brothers in arms fell.
For now, I just wish to take just one issue with him: the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing. Did he or did he not? That dastardly act certainly triggered a long, long chain of violent repercussions which ultimately shaped this nation’s current history— for good or for bad. He still denies the accusation to this day, of course, repeating the old tale that President Ferdinand Marcos did it out of his evil nature. For sometime too, the public believed that, until, years later, one of the bombing victims himself, Jovito Salonga, pointed his accusing finger to Joma, to the shock of the public, and much later, with Victor Corpuz, a former fellow ranking communist leader himself, confirming so.
Not so many people know, but Joma Sison is actually listed as one of the beneficiaries in that Hawaii court decision awarding billions of dollars to thousands of so-called Marcos human rights violations victims. Thus he also automatically qualifies as one of the beneficiaries of the P10B compensation for human rights violations victims during Martial law as passed by Congress just recently. He therefore is bound to collect a very considerable sum of money as human rights violations victim. Joma Sison, as human rights violations victim? really, I cannot wrap it around my head.
Right now, I could visualize a rather awkward reunion between him and the old anti-Marcos forces, composed mostly of the Yellows. For sure, they are united in one thing, in their hostility to the Marcoses. But otherwise, they would rather kill each other.
Of course, it’s par for the course, it’s part of the game. Cheating, vote buying, intimidation, all other underhanded acts, they have all become an evolving part of the entire process since elections were invented. But back then, I still remember as a young guy awakening to the ways of the world, there were yet efforts to disguise them or to keep them away from public eyes. These days, there is just no more disguising it or hiding it. It has all become too vulgar, all indecencies out in the open, at times, proudly. Indeed, it is remarkable how the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ deeds have been pushed this far to the edges, almost at breaking point. Think of a rubber band stretched so thinly close to a snap.
There is an old saying, all is fair in war and politics. But, hey, it comes with a warning: it cuts both ways, baby. You play unfair with me, next time around, by the grace of God, I will do it unto you too.
I think it is now more about the power and the prestige that come with the office than anything else. If they zoomed in on the all-too-heavy burdens of the office, the incessant flood of responsibilities that go with it, they’d most probably be scampering out and hiding somewhere instead, the same way they did when as children mother came calling out for one to do the dishes or to sweep the floor, not elbowing each other out. And so it was in the old days, the more responsible ones presented themselves in answer to the calling. But times have drastically changed since. The more responsible and capable ones have taken the backseat pushed aside by aggressive ones chasing after the rewards and perks of office. It is the reverse reading of Spiderman’s motto: with great responsibility comes great power.
There is wild rejoicing now in the Yellow camp in what looks like a defeat of Bongbong Marcos, son of the dictator, by a very slim margin. Ahh, but the hollowness of such a victory all but overlooked for now. When the dust shall have settled down and they have gotten back to their senses, it will be coming back to taunt them: all that force marshaled and led by the President himself, all that resources and dirty tricks— yet only by a margin so thin? A victory yet a defeat, I would say. Rodrigo Duterte is a resounding slap enough, a win so implausible and unconvincing against the son of the dictator would be another slap just the same.
Will the political virgin, Leni Robredo, still find stillness? As the days pass and the dark side of her victory begins surfacing, will she find peace? A good woman by all indications, unused to the dirty ways of politics, she seems being sucked helplessly into the vortex. When comes the realization that indeed she could all too suddenly become the President of an unmanageable nation, its possibility being more likely than unlikely, will she not shudder but rejoice?
Bongbong Marcos could indeed lose this one. When PNoy declared unabashedly that he will stop him from winning at all cost, he must have been forewarned. He meant it, by hook or by crook, if it was the one last thing he did as President to preserve the so-called EDSA legacy and ‘save the Philippines from the Marcoses’. But Bongbong could yet walk out of this bigger than before, being the rightful, more qualified winner who however was denied of his victory in the eyes of the public. His tormentors, self-proclaimed champions of democracy that they are, they have only exposed themselves if unwittingly as utter hypocrites of their very own cause.
“To protect the country’s hard-fought democracy,” it is important to stop a Rodrigo Duterte presidency and a Bongbong Marcos vice-presidency at all cost, so says President Aquino. Coming from the torchbearer of the Yellow movement himself, this statement, unseemly as it is, should not be taken lightly. On the verge of losing presidential powers, the President’s true motivations are at best suspicious. Self-proclaimed champions of Democracy, the Yellows ironically are not above employing undemocratic and underhanded means to gain political control. In fact, seen in a broader perspective, the game plan for the Yellows seems to be after the recapture of the presidency, not through their Presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, but through their vice-presidential candidate, Leni Robredo.
The game plan should be for Leni Robredo to win the Vice-presidency first, of course. Rodrigo Duterte, the most likely winner, or whoever wins the presidency, would later on be dealt with, through impeachment, disqualification, or by other means. Once the President-elect is taken out of the way, Robredo then gets to succeed as President. Neat. The Yellows, far from being finished, get to retake the highest power.
The ground work is obviously being set. Robredo is now inexplicably leading the surveys. It helps too that the three leading opposition candidates for President have issues that make them very vulnerable to the machinations of the Yellows. Duterte is being besieged by allegations of unexplained wealth, his rough and uncouth ways and other issues aside. Grace Poe has citizenship and residency issues with the Constitution. Jejomar Binay, graft and corruption.
Impeachment is possibly in the works by now for Rodrigo Duterte because his win is almost certain. With the Joseph Estrada and Renato Corona template, Duterte could be in for big trouble even as he had barely warmed his seat. This early you could sense a build up of forces determined to make it hell for him— even if he wins the election.
The Leni Robredo saga would indeed be for the books…
That is, of course, if the opposition presidential candidates and Marcos and their supporters do not smell their scheme. Indeed, it makes sense for the Duterte supporters to be pushing for Bongbong Marcos instead because this would effectively thwart the Yellows in their game plan. Or is this why the three candidates have openly adopted Bongbong Marcos as their vice-president in the last days of the campaign?
To be sure, the Yellows are masters in this kind of game and they have the trophies to show for it. They have led the successful ouster of two Presidents, Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, in the process also seizing political power without the benefit of election. (They even used that expertise too on Chief Justice Renato Corona.) They have also twice successfully created and installed Presidents out of unlikely and unqualified personalities in Cory Aquino and Noynoy Aquino. In this election, they have taken on Leni Robredo, again another unlikely candidate. If they succeed again this time, she would be their third successful creation. Perched on the back of a legend in a dead husband and backed up by a massive promotional campaign, Leni Robredo could yet win this too. And if the Yellows could replicate on Duterte their successes in ousting Presidents and a Chief Justice, Robredo would be President Leni Robredo in no time at all, with the Yellows, counted out as losers early on, instead of bowing out of power soon, to the great relief of many, ending up being the biggest winner of them all.
Perhaps it is also the desire to save the Republic from, in their view, the rascals and a stupid electorate, thus the Yellows could all be saying, the end justifies the means. But, of course, it is likely more about the fear of losing power and the disadvantages that go with it.
President Aquino has once again reiterated his vow to stop Bongbong Marcos from winning the elections. How he is going to do it, he is not saying, but one gets the feeling that he is determined to accomplish that commitment at all cost. He has stated so in many instances that the Marcoses are the scourge of the earth and as President he most likely deems it his solemn duty to save the Philippines from them. If by foul means, so be it: the end justifies the means. Because all attempts have all but failed so far, with Bongbong Marcos still topping the surveys, he and his band of Yellows must be contemplating on other alternatives by now. Cheating seems to be that alternative.
You think the Philippines is in peril from those you consider scourges of the earth. The elections are near but the scourges are instead topping the surveys. You wonder then how this very important decision of choosing the next leaders be ever left to the ‘stupid’ electorate. You are the President with residual powers yet to set things right, especially because you think you’ve done a real great job and what a waste it would be if the scourges take over. There is only one recourse left: cheat. Well, you do what you have to do, right?
Indeed, the effort at laying down the ground work for saving the Philippines is already palpable: manipulated surveys, and early signs of cheating targeting Bongbong.
How the Marcos forces are going to counter the scheme remains to be seen. But this early they must be forewarned that the anti-Marcos forces are out to stop Bongbong Marcos from winning the Vice-Presidency by hook or by crook— because he is a Marcos.
They want Leni Robredo. With her as Vice-President, they could move in quickly to try oust the President-elect, who in all likelihood could be another one of those they consider hoods. With some luck, Leni Robredo, the Yellow candidate would be on the saddle in a matter of months. Familiar scenario?
It is all about saving the Philippines because they believe the future of the nation is in grave danger with the bad guys and the people are just too stupid to decide for themselves.
Leni Robredo is now on top of the race for the post of Vice-President, according the latest SWS survey. Incredibly, she jumped by an astonishing seven points! Leni Robredo is understandably overjoyed. This is not the first time. In another SWS survey just a week ago, over two erstwhile leaders Chiz Escudero and Bongbong Marcos, she did a phenomenal pole vault jump for the first time. The divergence in result of other surveys aside, the leapfrogging numbers of the congresswoman in both instances are nothing short of amazing. Inexplicable though is the lack of a surging excitement on the ground to reflect such a phenomenal rise.
Which makes one wonder if there are forces now out at work to save the Philippine from becoming, as Leni Robredo puts it, a “laughingstock of the world.” The President himself has repeatedly expressed deep concern about this development, obviously horrified of the consequences and implications of a Bongbong Marcos win. Lately, he has taken it upon himself to personally lead the assault, even conscripting the help of government agencies and the remnants of old anti-Marcos forces— to no avail, it seems. Someone must be thinking, if the electorate could not be saved from their ‘foolishness’, they have to be saved by some other means. SWS seems to be a willing conspirator.
Their nightmare is threatening to become reality and , oh, how horrified they are. So the PCGG, the government agency that had been tasked to run after the family, is now taking the lead, most likely with the express directive of President Aquino himself, in the final offensive aimed at derailing Bongbong Marcos’s VP campaign. If the effort is going to produce the result they desire, we will see. But they are likely going to be disappointed. It is a wonder how it escapes them till now that the frontal attacks against him (books, mobile museum, daily bashing on mainstream media, Presidential speeches, manifestos, CARMMA, etc.) are producing precisely the reverse effect.
If you proceed from the premise that the people have forgotten, or that the so-called Millenials are just poorly informed, or that Marcos propaganda has been so mesmerizing it got the entire nation thinking the so-called Dark Years never occurred, you are setting out from a wrong point of departure. If you fail to see that, you have a problem.
I have discussed this often enough but for the purpose, let me do it again, in plain, unadorned manner.
Human rights violations. How can you use that as an issue against Bongbong Marcos? Because Bongbong is the son? The sins of the parent, if sins there are, do not visit upon the children. If you insist it should be, that is a fatal misjudgment. If you think he must apologize for the father, the implication being that he is condemning him and admitting his father’s alleged sins, all the more. In the first place, if you really have any issue on the matter of human rights violations, why have you not taken this up with the two of the most prominent personalities involved? They are alive and kicking: Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Fidel Ramos. You have not done so at all, which raises the question of intent. Now, until you can explain this omission, you are just howling against the wind. Besides, you have not really explained why you are singling out President Ferdinand Marcos, with all the vitriol and hatred, when all Presidents after him have the same issues . How you can dog the son now for the same controversies without looking crazy, I do not know.
Hidden wealth. If you google search “Marcos wealth” you will find many sites on the Internet dealing with the matter. But that is the problem: you do not even want to take a look because you probably consider it an insult to your intelligence. You call these “rubbish”, “crap”, “bullshit” and by similar other exclamations . That is a blunder. Because if you did, you would have found out why the so-called Millenials are at least giving the family the benefit of the doubt and that calling them Millenials gullible is likely going to offend and alienate them instead. But, I will not explain any further.
Indeed, hatred has a way of corrupting the mind. No wonder Bongbong’s campaign team is likely even welcoming it.