“The CPP and the various groups that follow its political line enthusiastically supported Duterte when he took office”

A historian of communism in the Philippines briefly explains in a post the time when the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic apparatus enthusiastically supported Duterte.

Submitted by kasama_libsoc on August 14, 2020

This wound up buried in a comment and I thought that it was useful enough that I would share it as a post.

Someone wrote in response to my lecture to deny the incredibly obvious fact that the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines] and the various groups that follow its political line enthusiastically supported Duterte when he took office.

I responded:

The CPP and its allied organizations had long supported Duterte during his mayoral rule in Davao. They were instrumental in building his political career. He could never have become president without their assistance.

You may wish to give some formal definition to the word “endorse” that is not meant in its standard usage. Certainly the party publicly expressed its enthusiasm for the newly elected president. Duterte had already proclaimed repeatedly that he would wage a campaign of mass murder under the rubric of a “war on drugs,” but the party and its front organizations nonetheless embraced him.

The NPA in multiple regions declared that they would work with the government to help carry out the war on drugs. Ang Bayan on July 7 wrote “The CPP welcomes President Duterte’s call of cooperation with the revolutionary forces against widespread drug trafficking.” Rather than denounce the “war on drugs” as fascistic, they welcomed it.

In August, Luis Jalandoni stated in Ang Bayan that “the relationship between the revolutionary movement and President Duterte is excellent.”

Joma Sison issued a statement declaring to Bayan which staged a “Selebrasyon sa Tagumpay sa Pagbabago,” declaring “Kasama ninyo ako sa pagbubunyi ng Tagumpay ng Pagbabago sa paghalal kay Rodrigo Roa Duterte” [“Celebration of the Victory of Change,” declaring “I join in the victory of change in the election of Rodrigo Roa Duterte]”

The various front groups affiliated political line of the party proclaimed the war on drugs to be “a boon to poor.” BAYAN staged demonstrations in support of the president. Renato Reyes publicly posed for cheerful photographs with Bato dela Rosa.

Bayan issued a statement on Duterte’s innauguration proclaiming their “high hopes” in the Duterte administration. They stated that “The Filipino people are elated over Duterte’s nationalist and pro-people pronouncements.”

Bear in mind that by this point Duterte had repeatedly stated “don’t elect me unless you want a hundred thousand dead bodies floating in the bay.” He had threatened to murder workers if they went on strike in Export Processing Zones. There was no mystery as to the fascistic character of his administration.

Sison dismissed these concerns telling Manila Today that they were “hyperbole” and that now that he was in office Duterte would be “prim and proper.” He added “I do not think Duterte will kill criminals by the truckload.... He is more intelligent than that.”

Sison began signing some of his political statements, “Long live President Duterte!”

Some members of Bayan began to complain about the intimacy of ties with Duterte and Sison publicly attacked them. He wrote “You don’t just attack capitalists... We can work with nationalist capitalists even as we talk to and persuade compradors ... Nagumpisa na nga ang honeymoon. Kinakausap natin. Nag-offer ng positions.” [“The honeymoon has started. We talked to them. They offered us positions.”]

CPP leaders and Bayan members alike began making Duterte’s fascistic fist salute.

Leading members of the Makabayan coalition entered Duterte’s cabinet. Carol Araullo declared that it was Duterte’s “law-and-order” perspective that won him the support of the poor. Renato Reyes made the point crystal clear when he wrote “To put it plainly he is an ally.... We should at least give him a chance.”

I could go on — and I will in my lecture — but let me state that the claim that the CPP did not endorse Duterte is what is known as a big lie, a lie so outrageous one does not know where to begin to rebut it. It is the stock vocabulary of figures like Trump and Duterte. It does not speak well for your politics.


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