Letting the wolf into the house


By Chempo

I swear by the hair on my chinny chin chin
I’m gonna find a way to get in
I’m gonna  keep hanging around
Till I huff and puff and pull your little house down

…Sam the Sham and The Pharoahs.




The President Elect has offered 4 top posts in DAR, DENR, DOLE, and DSWD to the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP). It’s his prerogative so I’m not questioning the wisdom, but merely looking at the implications. This is unprecedented, anywhere in the world. Has there ever been any country in the world that offers top cabinet jobs to an internal enemy of the state that is still waging an on-going insurgency? This is a bold move that Duterte believes can finally bring peace to the country. Whilst Duterte has personal confidence that he is in control, he has not properly sold this idea to a segment of the population that remains apprehensive. After all, the Philippines is a fierce and robust democracy. There is of course, a bigger segment of the population, both educated and un-educated, who remains in ignorant bliss of what communism actually means.



In the words of the man himself, Armando Liwanag, Chairman, Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (allegedly the pseudonym of Jose Sison, the founding chairman of CPP):

“So long as it resolutely, militantly and thoroughly carries out its ideological, political and organizational building, the Communist Party of the Philippines is certain to lead the broad masses of the Filipino people of various nationalities and ethno-linguistic communities to total victory in the national democratic revolution against US imperialism and the local reactionaries; and bring about the start of the socialist revolution.”

Just what the heck does this mean? Communist lingo can drive one crazy, but they actually mean every word they say and we better pay attention and understand just what the words mean to them.

  • Militantly – their struggle is not through the ballot, but through sheer force. As Mao Tse Tung famously said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”.  They always have a political wing and a military wing. The CPP has the National Peoples’ Army (NPA).
  • Broad masses – The communist struggle is not about a small band of insurgents. It is about rousing the whole proletariat mass (working class) behind them to cleanse the economic and political system of the country. The communist struggle in the Philippines has been in stalemate for decades due to their inability to raise the masses to their cause.
  • Total victory – there is no compromise for them, no coalition or other forms of power sharing. Their end game is one party government, central planning and a classless society.
  • US imperialism – to the CPP, the Philippines is still under foreign imperialism and feudalism. They seek to vanquish this and replace it with a CPP government.
  • Local reactionaries – a reactionary is one who longs for the status quo of a past. If you long for the good old days of Marcos, then you are branded a Marcosian reactionary. So who are these targeted local reactionaries?  They are the elites, the entrepreneurs, the business class, the intellectual class – these are the people who want the status quo of the capitalist world.
  • Socialist revolution – be afraid, be very afraid when communists talk about this. First they get the masses into their cause, then they take over the political system, finally they go about implementing their socialist revolution. For those who want change, CPP will force down your throats 3 basic changes – (1) political change (CPP will be the one and only ruling party), (2) economic system change (central planning – no more businessmen class) and (3) societal change. Socialist revolution is their end game and just what does it imply? Total structural change in our society – there will be only one class, the working class. There will be great upheaval in the land, often brutally violent. A communist master will make Marcos look like a dear old strict headmaster. All these changes are necessary in order to transition from capitalism to socialism.
  1. Property seizure : Everything belongs to the state. Your factories, your land, your condos, your helicopters —  all nationalized and controlled by CPP.
  2. wolf-killing-fieldsRe-education or rehabilitation:  Kind words for indoctrination or brainwashing. Everybody’s mindset has to be changed. The highly educated and intellectual classes will suffer the most. Who are these people? Teachers, professors, journalists, politicians, aristocratic families, business owners, etc. Pol Pot in Cambodia had a simple solution – herd them to the “killing fields”. He slaughtered millions of fellow Cambodians. The Soviets exterminated the entire family of the Tzar and some aristocrats. The Chinese were kinder, they put them in rehabilitation centers and subsequently released them once they had reformed. Even the last emperor of China, Puyi, was spared. He eventually ended up as a gardener.
  3. Religion abolished: Yes, there will be no more Catholics, INC, Muslims or whatever denomination.



The “Communist Manifesto” of Karl Max and Friedrich Engels was a great philosophical work in 1848, relevant in the pre-industrial world of feudalism of the time. The working class, or proletariat, were suppressed by the aristocratic class, the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels foresaw a long class struggle between proletariat against the bourgeoisie, a struggle in which the former would triumph eventually. The world has changed a lot since then. Poverty remains a big problem worldwide, but socialist programs of governments have made capitalism a lot kinder. As an economic idea, central planning has failed miserably.

I expect many readers to ridicule the specter of communism in the Philippines in this modern age. After all, capitalism has already been accepted in communist China and Russia. Well, these countries remain communists politically. Capitalism is not a choice, but an evolution by necessity for the communists.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”.  This is the grand opening line of the Communist Manifesto. This is their creed, embedded in their souls. Inherent in this quote is the idea that the war against imperialism and feudalism never ends in human history. It means they are in a constant state of war with us. This is a mindset that those dealing with communists need to understand. Communist parties in free world countries all vow to pull down their legitimate governments by force. Jose Sison said so himself, shrouded in his communist speak-talk.The CPP rhetoric may be dated. Their economic concepts, grounded in theory and practice that germinated world proletarian revolutions in the mid 1800s, no longer apply today. But the flame for political dominance remains strong.

While each administration thinks in terms of 6 years, communists in opposition think in terms of a hundred years.  The original Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP-1930) has been around since 1930s. Men totally committed to their ideology conduct themselves with such fanatical dedication that is difficult to comprehend. Such is the nature of the beasts. The leadership is hardcore, the followers or cadres are indoctrinated. They can bear absolute deprivations and physical hardships for years in their struggle for their cause. These are people that cannot be bought out. (The Islamic religious fanatics are in the same vein.)

Communism is very much alive, to think otherwise is sheer folly. Exactly the way Sam the Sham sings it, the communists are hanging around, finding a way to get in, and they will huff and puff and blow the Filipino house down, if given the opportunity.



“I am a socialist, not a communist”…. Duterte

Just what exactly do these 2 terms mean – socialist, communist?  We can understand this from the perspective of economic and political systems:

In economics, we ask the questions – Who to produce? What to produce? Who to distribute to? Who keeps the wealth created from production?

The pure Socialist lives in communes – everybody shares in all properties, in the production, decides what to produce, divides the goods equally, and shares the wealth created equally. Everybody wins.

The Communist says nobody owns any property and everybody owns all the properties. Huh? The state owns all properties on behalf of all citizens. The government (meaning THE Communist Party) decides what to produce, citizens take their allotted share of whatever is produced, the state keeps the wealth generated (if any) on behalf of all citizens.  Families of members of The Communist Party win.

The Capitalist says the ones who own the production resources produce, they produce what the market wants, the products go to those with the means to acquire them, the profit belong to the one who takes risks –  owners of the production resources. The businessmen win.

In politics, we ask the questions – what is your ideology? What is your form of government?

Socialism is just an economic system, and there is no country that is pure socialist. It exists only in some small religious cult communes. Socialists exist with capitalism. Unbridled capitalism unfairly tramples the lower working class and so some socialist policies are introduced to re-distribute wealth. Communism, on the other hand, is both an economic and political system. So where does Duterte stand here? He is a socialist democrat. Well, every democrat is basically a socialist, it’s a question of how much to the left one leans. Duterte seems to favor more re-distribution of wealth, i.e., he is more left-leaning.

The Communist ideology is simply a classless society. We are all WORKERS, there are no entrepreneurs or businessmen. Production is collaboration between the government and workers. There is only one party, The Communist Party, that governs the country. Card holding members of The Communist Party elect members to the Politburo, the policy making and executive committee of the party. The Chairman is the supremo.

The Democratic ideology is freedom of choice and universal suffrage. The voting electorate gets to select their leaders through the ballot. There is plurality of political parties. The form varies, but generally the winning party or candidate runs the government.

By all accounts (economic ideas, ideologies and form of governance), communists and social democrats are at odds with each other. How on Earth will Dept Secretaries from the CPP, seeped in central planning dogmas, align the direction of their departments to the market-oriented objectives of the administration?  Here is just one illustration to underline this dysfunction. Duterte wants a more friendly open market policy to bring in foreign investors that will create more jobs. One major factor foreign companies look out for is a co-operative and disciplined, and let’s admit it, a subservient workforce. CPP sees foreign economic participation as imperialism and sees organized labor as a tool for agitation to serve their purpose.

CPP in Duterte’s cabinet is just a marriage of convenience. So what is Dutere’s motive? He has said he is not a communist. He has bank accounts, he owns cars, he owns real estate – so he can’t be a communist. Duterte’s daring olive branch approach is his way of showing trust and desire to bring communist members back into the fold of the Filipino family and achieve peace at last. It is an honest desire on his part but borne of a misplaced familiarity with the beasts. Jose Sison, the aged leader of the CPP who is living in self-imposed exile in The Netherlands, was Duterte’s university lecturer. In Davao, Duterte has a communication line with the local communist operatives and rubs shoulders with them occasionally.



Back in 2007, President Gloria Arroyo offered amnesty to the communists. The offer was rejected as the communists saw a “clear deception and cheap political gimmickry” by the government and that the amnesty was just another money-making scheme wherein the implementors would pocket funds to be given to “ghost” rebel returnees. Billions of pesos were budgeted for the scheme so the cynicism in light of systemic corruption in the country is understandable.

Will the communists take up Duterte’s offer and what will the conditions be?  Is it possible to have a working arrangement with the communist party wing without a solution for the military wing? Duterte wants the communists represented in the cabinet first, and then followed by peace talks.  In other words, give away the bargaining chips first and then negotiate.

From the legal perspective, the CPP is not an underground party ever since the anti-subversive laws were repealed in 1992. But the military wing of the CPP, the New People’s Army (NPA), is a different story.  This is branded as a terrorist group by the US, UK and other countries, as well as under the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9372). Obviously, the CPP has to disband the NPA if it accepts participation in Duterte’s cabinet. The touchy legal question remains whether CPP can take up the cabinet posts first and then negotiate peace over the next few years.

The incoming administration has to learn, like all previous administrations before them, that in many aspects of governance, all angles need to be carefully studied first before anything can be promulgated or implemented. If it can be done within 3-6 months, let’s all cheer them on.



The CPP is but one faction. There are several other parties, such as :

  • Komiteng Rehiyon ng Manila-Rizal (KRMR)
  • Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa – Pilipinas (RPM-P)
  • Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa – Mindanao (RPM-M)
  • Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP)
  • Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa (SPP) in 1998.
  • Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines (MLPP) and organized the armed wing Rebolusyonaryong Hukbo ng Bayan (RHB).

The National Democratic Front is their umbrella body, but not all parties are in the front. They are split on ideological grounds. The CPP is driven by MLM (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) thoughts whilst the others are for Soviet modern-revisionism ideals. Ideologies aside, the splinters are basically driven by personality and regional loyalties. Jose Sison is the iconic guy, but how much control does he really have over the others, not to mention the armed guerrillas in the mountains?

As to the NPA, are they really card waving indoctrinated communist cadres who are absolutely disciplined? Or are wolf-npathey a rag-tag bunch of bandits, refugees of the law and thugs, who are absolutely ill-disciplined? The reality is probably a mixture of both. No one knows what the size of this force really is. Conflicting estimates put it between 3,000 – 6,000. Their activities over the past few years are in hit-and-run, ambush tactics against the armed forces, assassinations, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, collecting revolutionary taxes. Their hold on terror has prevented economic growth in their spheres of influence. The pressing question is, are we dealing with organized insurgencies, or is it actually a big law and order problem?

Is Duterte’s approach legal and inclusive as far as all the parties are concerned, and able to bring the arm carrying cadres in from the cold?

The Bangsamor Basic Law (BBL) that seeks to gain peace in the Islamic region in Mindanao is in limbo at the moment. The BBL was negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberaton Front (MILF), but there are several other factions which did not participate in the peace talks. If peace is eventually realized, we can expect divergent factional interests to rear their ugly heads. Can we expect the same factionalism problems with the communists?



A fifth column is an organized group of nationals that works by covert and clandestine ways to undermine the country from within.

Communists are very good in underground organizations.  They create cells, indoctrinate cadres, and the propaganda machinery ceaselessly seek to degrade the governing administration. So why has the CPP not been a roaring success in creating mass uprisings? I belief events overtook them. Communism has its roots in the HUK movement in late 1930s. After World War II, the Philippines was on its trajectory of democracy and economic growth and it soon became the “Pearl of Asia”. Prosperity and the growth of a middle class is anathemic to communism. There was a brief groundswell of membership in 1980s during the days of Marcos dictatorship when repressive human rights activities by the regime drove many idealistic young Filipinos into the mountains to join the NPA. In the last few decades, communist insurgency efforts have been restricted to occasional  sorties against the government troops, and punishing commercial players in outlying areas that do not pay them taxes. They sure cause pain and suffering to locals caught in between and they hold development of the countryside at ransom. By far and large, communist sympathizers are few. For decades, it has been basically a stalemate for the communists without any means to reach the masses.

The offer to join the Duterte cabinet presents the communists with the golden opportunity to recalibrate, re-energize, re-strategize and re-organize. More specifically, the 4 departments offered on the silver platter are, by a stroke of divine grace, the very holy grail the communists seek. Now wait a minute, Duterte had communication with Jose Sison, he was even caught on video in one of these sessions. Most likely there was no divine hand after all. Sison probably asked for these departments :

– Dept of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
– Dept of Labour and Employment (DOLE)
– Dept of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
– Dept of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

wolf-riotsThe significance of these departments to communists is glaringly right there in our face! These are the very departments that connect them to the broad masses, the hotbed that they want to dive into. Here they can sit to cajole, agitate, build sympathizers, indoctrinate insidiously, build cells, infiltrate organizations, promote programs that will make them champions of the people, etc. The sweet jewels they crave for are the student and labor unions, which are easy prey to their propaganda machinery, easily infiltrated, where lots of social ills can be primed to full advantage. The path to communist victory is often lined with dead unionists.

There are some who suggest that a solution for the NPA in a peace effort is for the armed cadres to be assimilated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). No better Trojan horse could be built outside of Aegean lands. Imagine military intel, strategies, tactics and sensitive information are shared and exposed to a force whose loyalty to the state is not yet assured. What a tragic game of poker to play with the lives of our soldiers and security of the nation.

People’s Republic of China has been supportive of communist insurgents in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for decades. A great limiting factor in the past was due to an impoverished PRC. Arms aid from China was not really exciting, but even then, the NPA has received some weaponries. It was not until Deng Xiaoping decided to open up China that Lee Kuan Yew was able to extract from the wily old Chairman an understanding that PRC will stop supporting communist insurgents in Asean. What then is the importance of PRC now? The CPP is Maoist and thus China-looking. It’s a no brainer where the CPP will look to for support. This is a dangerous point in the Philippines’ history. Firstly, China is now a rich modern nation, thus the level of support should they wish to provide, is unquestionably serious. Secondly, the West Philippines Seas quarrel would definitely make China take a hard look at the CPP’s future role in Philippines, one that would obviously be more co-operative towards the mainland. If it suits their needs, President Xi would, in a heartbeat, renege on Deng’s pledge of non-interference with local communist activities.



It seems the CPP has attached some conditions for taking up the offer, specifically the release of political prisoners from which they have since back-tracked. What is important is that there must never be any secret deals and Duterte has said his administration will be transparent, so that is re-assuring. To Duterte, his initiative is an honest attempt to bring peace. CPP has said they can work with nationalist capitalists even as peace negotiations resume and take some time. To the communists, Duterte’s offer is the golden opportunity for their struggle for a socialist revolution. The name of the game is deceit as a means to an end.

Peter Lavina, spokesman for Duterte, has regularly mentioned they will select competent, efficient and effective persons for the cabinet and that there are equally qualified candidates from the CPP. Of course we can’t argue with that. However, of paramount importance is the need for the candidates to always work in the best interest of the nation. Therein lies the dilemma of CPP. If they sit in the cabinet, they must uphold two critical canons of  the Philippines — universal suffrage as guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. Their ideology is in conflict here, so to remain in Cabinet means they are being dishonest to the Filipino people.

As the next administration gets into the serious business of running the country to give the people a better life, will the wheels turn smoothly with 4 cogs that are totally out of sync in ideals, objectives and economic visions?

No matter what sheep’s clothing they try to put on, calling themselves nationalists, socialists, progressives or even democrats  (North Korea is officially called Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea), a communist is a communist. That is why countries like USA are so paranoid about communists they have a Communist Control Act that bans communists parties, and there was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt in the 1950s. That is why in all peace settlements or amnesty arrangements, the communists must disband their armed wing, surrender their arms, and all cadres must dis-avow to overthrow the government by force. In contrast, the Philippines seems rather nonchalant about communists.

Do the CPP cabinet appointments portend an eventual Philippines turning Red? Extremely unlikely, in fact probably never. Simply because the Philippines, despite all our faults, has been a robust democracy for much too long, and whilst poverty remains a problem, there is no proletariat class being trampled under the feet of the bourgeoisie. So then what is the fuss? CPP leadership in the 4 juicy departments will lead to communist infiltration in many levels of Filipino society and put them in a good position to agitate and make demands. Whilst a power grab is unlikely in the foreseeable future, much turbulence can be expected, particularly in student activism and industrial peace. For that alone, vigilance is called for or economic progress will be set back several years. Another question mark is the passing of the baton to yet another administration after 6 years. Will there be a continuation of the precedence of reserving 4 cabinet posts for the CPP? And if not, what then?

As regards the NPA, they must disband and surrender their arms. All CPP and NPA members must pledge allegiance to the constitution and dis-avow the use of force to overthrow the legitimate government. There is no Option B. Not to do so place the Duterte dalliance with the CPP illegal under the anti-terrorism laws.

Anyone trying to analyse Duterte’s bold plan, with attendant risks, should put these into perspective – (1) have strategies and tactics to contain the armed groups ran out of steam and ideas? British tactics in fighting communists in the Malayan jungles were laudable and worth emulating, but I wonder if their military annals were studied by the AFP. (2) The headcount of both political and armed wings of all the communists in Philippines is anybody’s guess. I wonder if there is any intel on this. Let’s say we put it at a high 20,000. With 20,000 on the left and 100 million Filipinos on the right, the surrender of 4 cabinet posts seems to be a case of giving too many chips away.

After decades of fighting and staring at each other through jungle clearings, the Philippines government has blinked. Left to the student and his teacher on the chessboard, who is going to be the tiger, and who will ride the tiger?


252 Responses to “Letting the wolf into the house”
  1. Jorge Barba says:

    Was Salvador Enriquez, DBM secretary of Ramos a Leftist? Why used the term unprecedented?

    • Joe America says:

      Other than that, what do you think about the article, Jeorge? As I recall, you are an avid supporter of President Elect Duterte.

    • chempo says:

      Sorry Jorge, I’m not familiar with Mr Enrique. Is he a card holding member of the CPP?. If he is left leaning, that does’nt make him a communist. All communists are leftist, but not all lefttist are communists. Perhaps my opinion of “unprecendeted” is politically incorrect. If you have info on historical incidences in the same context, would be interesting if you will share.

    • Fed redi6 says:

      No, he is not!

  2. uht says:

    First off, very nice story and insight. Thanks!

    Sison has already made it very clear that the NPA will not surrender for the remainder of Aquino’s term, and that they will continue all attacks done against the armed forces. All while he is accepting the idea of what amounts to appointing Cabinet secretaries himself. Distasteful.

    Another thing is that while I agree with you on many things here, there has to be something done to prevent indoctrination in the first place. There are still many in academia who, disillusioned with “American-style capitalism and imperialism”, want the younger generation to consider communism, arguing that it is merely a “buzzword” the government uses to turn us away from the idea of a “true, caring government”. One I knew pointed to Vietnam as an example of what they were saying, noting that Vietnam has been better off than us in the long run.

    But I beg to disagree. I have talked to people who lived in NPA-controlled territories. One of them was a mentor of mine (just as Sison presumably was to Duterte). He was fifty-one, but he was already gaunt from the horrors he had witnessed. In class, he would often narrate how his life was before coming to our school. I never forgot those stories, and I would never want to see them happen to anyone else.

    • chempo says:

      I do not know much of Vietnam so can’t comment much other than I’m dead sure the economic improvements have nothing to do with communist economic ideas.

      I just have a short story to share of Vietnam. After the North took over the South, spoils of war were dished out to generals and other important cadres. Some ended up with premium properties in Saigon. (Who says communists don’t own lands? — case of 4 legs good, 2 legs better). The bank I worked for opened a branch in Ho Chi Minh City. Like many foreign companies, we leased offices from specialist brokers, these are the guys who know who’s who. Many were the stories of the less fortunates — they leased office from someone they thought were the owners. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars sprucing up the place, someone else, usually some top generals, will come in to say they are the rightful owner, so please pay up again. I think they probably got their acts together by now.

      Thanks for sharing about your mentor. His stories would be great for some campfire evenings.

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    Another pt to consider: Duterte’s approach is a highly personalistic one, i.e. it’s hugely dependent on him alone. When he is gone, what are the chances it will continue?

    • It’ll continue if these Communists deliver, if not then back to the drawing board (no harm, no foul)… and back to the mountains for them, and back to cush Holland for Sison (he should definitely stay… but I’m sure he’s thinking if the SHTF in Belgium, Holland’s only a short hop and a skip 😉 )

      • chempo says:

        Well, if I’m loafing around, with 10 kids in tow, and living under a bridge, I’ll try my luck with the communists.

        If I’m a graduate MBA from overseas, owns a condo, a decent car, have some investments in the stock exchange, works my ass out so I have a decent life, travels once a year, enjoys Rolling Stones concerts, I’ll be extremely risk-averse as far as communists are concerned. I’ll try my luck with Binay anytime if that’s the only option.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        That’s a big if, considering chempo has clearly outlined fundamental ideological differences. Case in pt: for labor, Marxist doctrine holds that labor is in perpetual conflict with capital. If the new labor sec from the left encourages massive strikes, where will that take us?

        • chemp, andrew,

          Everything’s a big if. I thought Obama’ s Ron Paul (sort of isolationist) stance in the Mid-East was gonna ensure we’ll never have to worry about that part of the world, and today the ME is 10x worst, to top it off I can’t surf anymore nor enjoy roadside farm vendors because of fracking in California.

          I may not have an MBA or stock options, but the rest I have, or do (though I’m no fan of the Rolling Stones), and I’m ready to vote for Bernie (but short of that, it’s Trump all the way 😉 )… and those two are big IFs.

          My point is, there’s two options a). go with the flow, do the same that’s been done before (which I think you two are espousing here) or b). change some things up, maybe putting Communists in these offices will work, maybe not— what’s the worst that can happen over there really? … Haciendas get divvied up, workers get paid a fair amount, some rights finally, gov’t institutions get some teeth (instead of simply getting paid by rich folks to look the other way), etc. etc.

          I understand we’re not risking as much with Bernie or Trump over here, but

          maybe DU30 is right here, get passionate individuals into the office they are most passionate about, and give them a chance to partake in gov’t. DENR though, DU30 should get not only a communist but environmentalist (find the most rapid environmentalist, doesn’t have to be communist), since most communist-types over there go into the mountains,

          that won’t be hard to do. 😉 By definition they’ll be closer to nature.

          “If the new labor sec from the left encourages massive strikes, where will that take us?” C’mon, andrew, of all the powers at his disposal in gov’t and his first move is to call for a national strike? If he/she is hard core communist, he/she will study China and Vietnam closely and attempt to replicate what they did.

          That’s why it’s important to figure out who these people are first, then lay-out your critique or do some forecast analysis, IMHO the history of the 20th Century Communist movement has been cast aside by China & Vietnam.

          As for fallow lands in the Philippines, I saw it first hand in Mindanao, no one wanted to stake any permanent enterprise since technically it wasn’t their land, and the land-owners if not stuck in legal probate limbo (family feuds), were absent (either living in the US or simply no desire to return). Divvy up large swaths of land already.

          • chempo says:

            “….do the same that’s been done before (which I think you two are espousing here) or b). change some things up, maybe putting Communists in these offices will work, maybe not— what’s the worst that can happen over there really?…”

            Lance — This article does not dwell into the peace effort or how the country should handle the armed militants. I have my humble opinions on how to do this and it’s not the “same that’s done before”, but that’s not the purpose of this article. I did give a peek into this in my reference to the way the British handled it. The communists are free to stand for elections, there is no law against that. Whilst we have our kids’ gloves on, perhaps we should have invited them to participate in the recently concluded election. Perhaps throw in some red carpets to go with the occassion. As to what’s the worst that can happen — I think the article espoused sufficient dangers. My burning question is why take such unnecessary risks when we are not on the loosing side of a negotiating table?

            • It’s not a risk, if you (which is DU30) are of the same mind. He’s stated time and again that he is a Socialist. So he is simply recruiting like-minded supporters to carry out his vision.

              I agree with you that you laid out the dangers, but it’s a generation old, people have differentiated between tyranny and a system based on morals (vis-a-vis Capitalism on a rampage), hence Bernie Sanders’ popularity here.

              If Bernie Sanders for instance becomes Pres. and taps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_D._Wolff for a key gov’t position, there would be no qualms about it, no talk of risks (at least from the side of his supporters) and no talk about being out-witted by Wolff—- because they are of

              the same mind.

          • chempo says:

            @ Lance

            “..of all the powers at his disposal in gov’t and his first move is to call for a national strike? If he/she is hard core communist, he/she will study China and Vietnam closely and attempt to replicate what they did…”

            To say the CPP’s first move is to call a national strike is playing to the gallery. Come on Lance, of course that won’t happen. Let’s see what happens in the next US-Philippines military exercise, or next time some US battleships or carriers come to town, or next US serviceman commit some stupid acts here. Or some big time US corporations opens a giant of a factory here.

            Study China/Vietnam — Lance, there is a difference between communists already in government and communists still in resistance warfare. The Sandinistas, the Contras, the Shining Paths — they are not busy studying Vietnam/China.

            • That’s my whole point, chemp. Now these guys are in gov’t, no they are not in complete power, but they know that the Philippines is a democracy, so they will put away childish things (at least while their names are on the line),

              • That’s my whole point, chemp. Now these guys are in gov’t, no they are not in complete power, but they know that the Philippines is a democracy, so they will put away childish things (at least while their names are on the line),

    • chempo says:

      I agree with you Andrew, Duterte’s strong man style is personalistic. Problem with this type of leaderships is that they always leave behind a power vacuum. That’s not good for continuity and stability of the state.

  4. I ‘m with DU30 on this, chemp.

    “After decades of fighting and staring at each other through jungle clearings, the Philippines government has blinked.”

    The best way to defeat Communists is to invite them to the table. Look at China and Vietnam, most of my gear says Made in Vietnam (to think that Joe was there only a generation ago, fighting for whatever he and his generation was fighting for over there 😉 ). I’m critical of Pres. Obama, but I totally agree, & support, with his opening up of Cuba— if blinking saves lives, it makes sense. Same with the Drug war (though I want more scrutiny when it comes to opiates & any synthetics).

    When I read Communism, I don’t automatically think Marx. I think of Plato’s take on this system. He divvied it up to Property and Family communism, no doubt much of it came from looking at the Spartans. I don’t agree with what happens when Power comes into play (that’s w/ everything), but strictly on Plato’s morality mandate re this system, I tend to agree with him.

    So it all depends on the actual individuals being seated to these posts, are they folks inoculated from power, are their ideals of communism, simply about flipping the scales of power upside, down and inside, out (ala USSR and Red China post-Gang of Four)? Or are they folks and their supporters truly Communists, the way Marx intended and Plato? Which is to help bend the power and potential of the Philippines toward the good for all (or most).

    If you can convince me that there is proof (no matter how small) that these new secretaries (cabinet members) will become new Mandarins, and have the worst intentions for the Filipino people, then you will easily convince me…. but on this, my friend, I’m with DU30. I think his view is similarly in line with Bernie’ s (and I like Bernie), and his strategic move, though risky, has the potential to change things.

    I’m a lot more wary of the Capitalist model, but you already knew that 😉 .

    • p.s.——- a very good read nonetheless, chemp, thanks by the way 😉 .

    • chempo says:

      I’m totally with you on the moral standpoint of communism. But alas, there is nothing in history that supports the hope that communist states (defined as those with one party government, with leanings on Marxist-Leninist thoughts) has delivered the goods to their society in that great caring, equal sharing hype.

      Of the few that remain red, probably Norkor and Cuba remain in their Marxist warped time, the others are only communist politically, that is, one party control. With capitalism now embraced by such countries, and central-planning more or less abandoned, these countries are nothing but totalitarian states.

      USSR Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Estonia Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Latvia Lithuania Moldova Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan Afghanistan Cambodia Mongolia Yemen Bulgaria Czech Republic Germany (East) Hungary Poland Romania Slovakia Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Rep. of Macedonia Montenegro Serbia Slovenia Angola Benin Dem Rep. of Congo Ethiopia Somalia Eritrea Mozambique China Cuba Norkor Vietnam Laos

      Above are countries that were once communist states. The fact that only a few remains red is telling proof that communism is a failure. That Marx’s idea can’t work.

      • bill in oz says:

        In 1968 the Czechoslovak communist party tried to institute the Prague Spring’… And the Soviet red army promptly marched and destroyed the Czech communist party and government..That is the only known instance of a communist party not being totalitarian..

        By the way Chempo, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is not a ‘workers dictatorship’.. The proletariat is only the communist party membership.

        • chempo says:

          “Proletariat” comes from the Latin word “proletarii” which is a class of Roman citizens owning little or no property. Mark-Lenin term for the class of wage-earners.

          “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”… proletariat are “all animals”. Communist memberships are “some animals”.

          • Bert says:

            But isn’t it the same with the capitalist system? Only that the imbalance is so lopsided in favor of the elite capitalists the ratio being about 10% or less to 90% (just guessing/approximating), the 10% glaringly more equal than the 90%.

            • chempo says:

              Take away all the negativities of capitalism — the corruption, lobbyists, monopolistic power, etc.. capitalism allows entrepreneurial energy to flourish. Men with resources take risks for the challenge, for the possibility of making their wealth grow, for ego, etc, in so doing, they churn the wheels of the economy. All things being equal, resources will be channeled into production of goods and resources that the market wants. So the 10% provides for the livelihood of the 90%. If they make mistakes, they get screwed. The 90% has a say in what they want. The demand curve drives the supply curve. There is mobility for both the 10% and the 90%, you can move up or down depending on your capabilities and resources. Whether you are 10% or 90% you are and independent individual.

              In communism, the 10% are the party members. The 10% decides everything. If the goods produced are no good, who cares, the 90% got no choice. A captured market has no voice. If factory goes burst, the 10% looses nothing. There is no supply/demand curve, it’s just a straight line. If you are 10% you are “US”, if you are 90% you are nothing, a nobody.

              • chemp,

                The assumption here is that these soon to be Communist cabinet members will still have old Cold War mentality—- I think the thinking of the 40s-50s have largely been discredited, even the Chinese have caught on, so too the Vietnamese.

                These days an unwarranted assumption.

                So maybe as a follow-up article, or in the comments here, you or others familiar with these individuals, can get us a summary of their resumes, transposed with their beliefs & behaviors in the past, so we can say, Yup these are old Cold War types, versus Bernie Sanders types, or maybe they are simply folks trying to balance off Capitalism, like these guys…


                I just don’t wanna play assume, when we can get into the heads of these individuals (their belief & behavior available online or via scuttlebutt). Don’t get me wrong the summary of the Communist movement in the 20th century was great, but moving forward we can’t get stuck in the Cold War game of playing black & white (Communist bad/Capitalists good).

                Let’s figure out who these individuals are first and vet their track record, then cry fire. 😉

              • chempo says:

                Lance, absolutely right that cold ward mentality is dated, so too is Marx-Lenin ideologies. So the question to ask is why then does the CPP still exist? If they consider themselves communists, they must believe in the one party rule. OK they see the follies of central planning and they accept capitalists in their midst, but one party remains. Is that acceptable?

                As to personalities, all I have seen is the rhetoric remains in a time warp… the Kruschev shoe-banging era. As to the Chinese, Pres Xi may try to put on his dignified persona, but one catch the refrain to cold war rhetoric when they do their Philippines bashing over the WPS conflict.

              • “So the question to ask is why then does the CPP still exist? If they consider themselves communists, they must believe in the one party rule. OK they see the follies of central planning and they accept capitalists in their midst, but one party remains. Is that acceptable?”

                It’s the Philippines, chemp, so one-party rule or dictatorship are always possible.

                If the CPP manages to revive Leninist/Maoist style power grab in the Philippines, who will support them? It just won’t happen, IMHO. They’ll have a better chance if they morphed into some sort of Environmental Party, you’ll have backers from US, EU, even China.

                This guy Sison, lived in EU, chemp, so I’m sure he’ll bring some fresh thought into this old movement, and revive it as something new. But the Communist scare, although I’m sure it worked in the Cold War, just doesn’t bring the same scare for the new generation, IMHO

                who’ve seen Capitalism at it’s worst (and still going… 😉 ).

              • Bert says:

                “If the CPP manages to revive Leninist/Maoist style power grab in the Philippines, who will support them? It just won’t happen, IMHO.”—Lance

                Whoa, not so fast, Lance. Have you seen Pres. Duterte’s clench fist gesture every time he moves around places. That’s quite a pretty ominous sign of what to expect in his six years’ hold on power as president. And now the wolves are in the government, the “Trojan Horse” if you may.

                Please ask me again who will support them.

              • chempo says:

                The bottom line of my article is CPP power grab is unlikely, but the real danger lies in the unrest and turbulence that the CPP can bring to the land once they are entrenched in the corridors of power.

              • “Whoa, not so fast, Lance. Have you seen Pres. Duterte’s clench fist gesture every time he moves around places. That’s quite a pretty ominous sign of what to expect in his six years’ hold on power as president.”

                The Philippines is full of ominous signs, Bert.

                But I agree with chempo, with all the Sky is Falling tone, these Communists won’t overtake anytime soon.

                If that’s all these Communists are good for, ie. “unrest and turbulence”, like “ominous signs”, the Philippines is ripe with all that, w/ or w/out Communists, doesn’t necessarily have to come from the Communists, the way society there is set-up creates it, nay…

                Demands it.

              • Bert says:

                “If that’s all these Communists are good for, ie. “unrest and turbulence”, like “ominous signs”, the Philippines is ripe with all that, w/ or w/out Communists, doesn’t necessarily have to come from the Communists, the way society there is set-up creates it, nay…”—Lance

                Lance, just answering your question “…who will support them?”

                As to the outcome out of that “ominous signs” I was talking about, well, I think we will have to wait and see, within six years of his administration, but not after.

                And then we’ll talk again about it. Is that a fair deal, Lance?

      • Andrew III says:

        Communism is a means to an end.

        • Andres III says:

          Lol my name is Andres III. Im using Mobile, sorry for unintentionally using the name of someone.

          • chempo says:

            Haha coomon problem, especially when some stupid auto dictionary tries to be too smart.

            Question of communism is what is the end? — Utopia for everybody? or is that just BS to get everybody sucker up to the party who is simply planning for dominance over everyone else?

  5. bill in oz says:

    Chempo, you have written an excellent informed analysis of Communism in the Philippines. Thank you. However it does have one fault – it reflects the very ‘ideological’ focus of non filipinos like myself.However the Philippines mindset ( Sison being a major exception ) is far more focused on ‘personality’. I wonder What impact this will have?
    During the election campaign I saw a pro Duterte ad which said “Let’s get this nation working.”
    A powerful statement given all the problems. Maybe that is what Duterte wants to do. And so after all theyears of Duterte rule, does Davao work ?

    • From what I’ve gathered from everyone who’s commented on Davao… Davao works beautifully, gov’t services are there, but the people are not as vibrant as say in Manila or Cebu, the entrepreneurial energy is nil, precisely because of a local gov’t that’s too efficient 😉 .

      • Vicara says:

        A foreign businessman who knows fisheries in the Philippines and Indonesia told me some years ago that he’d prefer to invest in Gen San rather than Davao. He found the private sector and the local government in Gen San more open to new investors. “You just have to show the color of your money.” He noted there were a lot of self-made businesspeople there (first generation entrepreneurs), so it had a more egalitarian vibe. Whereas in Davao, he said, you had to deal with “old money”–second or third generation businesspeople who had initially accumulated capital through haciendas and logging.

      • chempo says:

        Business thrives on govt efficiency, so I dont get your explanation on the low entrepreneurial energy. Unless you mean to say the Davao has a “nanny state” governance. If that were the case, it would have seen vast numbers of immigrants from the surrounding regions.

        • I’m talking about gov’t services to the people, not to businesses per se, chemp. Yeah, there’s an element of nanny state-ism, as for vast numbers of immigrants from surrounding areas, Vicara might be able to expound, but from what I knew then, was that Davao had a tight check-point system around the city.

          • Mccoy says:

            Yes there is a element of nanny state-ism in the city. Regarding check points, it’s implemented year round especially roads leading inside the city.

    • chempo says:

      There are 2 sides to my story here.-
      On the one hand, it’s a play back to the human tragedies of the past when communists regimes take over the state. How confident are we that Sison is not another crack pot or Pol Pot in the making? Why take a chance at all on him?
      On the other hand, I mean, is he negotiating from a position of strength? It’s 6,00 max at most the armed cadres in the mountains for crying out loud. Peace is what everbody wants, but there is always a price to peace. The price Duterte is willing to pay is to allow the wolves into the house.

      “…more focused on ‘personality’” — I understand what you are saying. Sison obviously have’nt got it (at the moment) as far as the masses are concerned. So why allow them the chance to have a nest to build their future?

      “Let’s get this nation working.”…It’s like what you say, personality that’s the driver. The message can be anything. They could have a message that say “Screw the nation” and Duterte would have still won.

      • bill in oz says:

        Hi Chempo….Thanks for the response…I am still a foreigner here and I do not know enough about communism in the Philippines..So I am reluctant to make any real comment about Duterte’s plans vis a vis the NPA etc..But on communism elsewhere I can make informed comments..
        In Oz the CPA was a real threat from the 1930’s till the late 1970’s..especially in the unions..During the war in the 1940’s the communist lead waterside workers union even sabotaged war materials being sent to Australian troops fighting the japanese.. So I have no trust of communism in Oz.

        • chempo says:

          Thanks Bill, you reinforced my conviction — it’s always the unions, stupid, that’s the communists’ spin. So indeed, the CPA was your fifth column in WW2.

          To those who are serious with national well being, dallying with communists is playing with fire. LCpl takes a more liberal view.

          To me, it’s very obvious. Communists espouse Utopia for the people, but it’s not WYSIWYG.

          • “LCpl takes a more liberal view.”

            I’m a product of GWOT, the Too Big Too Fail system and fracking, chemp… I’m very wary of Capitalism gone wild. (plus, surveillance state) 😉

          • Maki says:

            Sometimes you have to immerse yourself with the common folks to get a better view of how the current governing body is felt by the masses. I believe your message comes from good intention, but pledging utopia is not what socialism/communism is about. It’s finding a better way to make the system work for more of our people. That’s why I’m not a fan of branding it socialism/communism because we still try to link it to the stigma of those terms.

            I’m leaving you with a talk that might give light to what I can’t eloquently write.

            Casey Gerald: The gospel of doubt

            • chempo says:

              Thank you Maki for the link.

              We all want the best for everyone, the rich, the poor and all those in between. For me, there is not stigma with the word socialism. It has noble objectives. It’s just a question of reasonableness of the extent of wealth re-distribution. But communism for me is a no, no,no.

              Every society has to figure out how to get things right. It’s a tough job and there is no perfect solution because Utopia is a fallacy.

              “…a better view of how the current governing body is felt by the masses…”
              That is the tragedy of the Philippines, in my view. This pre-supposes that the emotions of the masses must prevail or woe to the governing admin, which is what happened to LP because they got the pulse of the masses wrong although economic progress was there. So we are back to the old adage — the kind of people has the kind of leaders. So even if the admin has got it right, but it’s not right in the feelings of the masses, then they are considered failures. Much like when a parent tells a child he should not do something (which adults know is wrong) but the child insists, are we then to say the child is right? My personal conviction is that the LP admin put the ship in good condition, but they made some blunders and certain areas really needed better management. Much still needs to be done before economic progress can trickle down to the masses. So basically, the people has spoken, and they don’t want a calculated and studied but slow pace of prrogress, they want fast change which obviously comes with higher risks.

              • Joe America says:

                One of the things that LP did not do well was communicate with the masses. It is my understanding that President Aquino acknowledged this failing in his interview with Rappler. (I did not see the interview personally, but saw that reported.)

  6. NHerrera says:

    Communism 101 or a refresher course applied to CPP in particular — starring Joma Sison — and brought to the present with the advent of “socialist, not communist” PE Duterte. Another winner of a blog topic and I look forward to reading more commentaries in its wake. Thanks, chempo.

    (It may be rather stale as a reference, but George Orwell’s story of the Animal Farm is the story I would like to have in mind as I follow the thread of the discussions. With perhaps Cuba as a benign exception, it seems Orwell’s Animal Farm is the way all these essentially lead to. Can someone please give examples to show I am dead wrong.)

    • chempo says:

      Thanks NHerera.
      So I guess your burning question is — will Sison turn out to be Napoleon?. I don’t think time is on his side.

      I read Animal Farm as a 12 year old so of course had no idea at all other than its a nice little story, even though my elder brother explained it’s allegorical meanings to me. I saw the light a couple of years later. To this day, the one single line never fade from my memory is this :

      “Four legs good, two legs better”.

    • “Animal Farm” wasn’t just about Communism, guys, it was about any sort of tyranny, Capitalism, Theocracy, etc. It applies small scale as well, like the Ecleos in Dinagat.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    Good read Chempo. In Quezon province it was NPA infested 30 years ago,now that Quezon has now paved roads,and progressive (not leftist progressive),The NPA seemed to have transferrred to some other godforsaken town.
    I guess progress is one solution,poverty can not be eliminated,only reduced.

    • chempo says:

      Absolutely spot on, Karl. Poverty reduction is one of the tools to fight communism. The British strategy of fighting Chin Peng the Malayan communists makes for great reading. Poverty reduction in the communists infested area was one of their ploys. (Notive I mentioned Malayan — Chin Peng never recognised Malaysia).

      Poverty reduction and education are the 2 initiatives that communists in opposition hates. So how are they going to function in Duterte’s cabinet?

      • Vicara says:

        Thank you for a great summary, as always, Chempo. You mentioned earlier that the head count of armed CPP-NPA is anyone’s guess. Just going by recent news reports, they SEEM to be operating mostly in the eastern provinces of Mindanao, Samar/Leyte, and Negros. Relatively marginal places. I wonder about how centralized or disciplined the command structure is. Some units may be in competition with others? Also, is it the case that there’s a spectrum of behavior running from “pure” (total devotion to the ideology) to “rent-seeking” (e.g. groups that are more focused on extortion operations than class struggle).

        Perhaps Duterte is giving all those Cabinet chips away because he wants above all else people around him he can trust. (“Et tu, Brutus?”) Not trust in the sense of believing that the CPP will take support him for his sake or the sake of the presidency; but rather, being relatively certain that they are equally invested in joint survival with him. For that reason, they will support him. Duterte’s cordon revolutionaire.

        • chempo says:

          Thank you Vicara.

          Para one is insightful. I think they are also in the Sierra Madres mountains. My guess is they operate at places where they can have relatively secure base in isolated areas. It should also be proximity to where they get services, supplies, and targets for their fiscal needs. The AFP seems only to offer reactive responses, no blue print plans of starving them off their live support systems. The AFP lacks bold leadership and technological capability to track the guerillas in the vast jungles.

          Para 2 — if he thinks he can trust Sison then he has erred. If this is Animal Farm, Duterte is Snowball and Sison would be Napoleon.

          Duterte does’nt need CPP’s support. He is already a winner. Duterte is bold and unorthodox in his thinking. Can be good, can be bad. Be prepared to see lots of unorthodox way of doing things.

  8. caliphman says:


    A couple of weeks ago I expressed here my extreme reservations with Duterte’s plan to have CPP selected cadre leaders appointed to become heads of four key departments. My concerns then echoed the article’s focus on the inconsistency between the declared prime agenda of the CPP and its members to overthrow the government and the sworn duty of these heads to serve the same government. I believed then the plan was premature, ill-considered, superficial and cobbled hurriedly together by Duterte and his handlers to meet a campaign peace promise and to take advantage of his close acquaintance with his ex-professor and CPP head, Joma Sison.

    In fact, the Aquino regime sprang a surprise shortly after Duterte’s CPP cabinet announcement that it had been having backdoor talks with Sison, the length and breadth of which was quite extensive. The preliminary talks were quite successful and in 2014 had produced a draft which Sison had agreed to that would have resulted in a ceasefire and peace agreement. Like the aborted BBL agreement, it provided for inititial talks on agrarian and land reform and most surprisingly how to phaseout and integrate the NPA into the AFP.

    I think it is important to consider the history of these peace talks and process before concluding that the idea of any major role by the CPP in the government is a non-starter due to ideological inconsistencies. Certainly the prospects for the reestablishment of a ceasefire and a more lasting peace are great if not good, particularly after the Duterte administration takes over. The news link above attributes the main reason why the 2014 draft was never signed was due to an inability of Sison and Aquino to meet and finalize the agreement, mainly as a result of the Mamasapano crisis.

    All of these past and future peace talks should be taken in the context of the fact that in 1992 there was indeed a ceasefire and peace agreement that was successfully put into place. This agreement was broken during the GMA administration by the arrest and imprisonment of the top leaders of the NPA, which according to the CCP was in violation of the freedom of movement and safety guarantees provided for in the agreement. It was one of the surprises that the 2014 draft agreement agreed to by Sison excluded a demand for their release. One of the major points in this comment is that Sison who effectively is the head of the CCP, the NDFP, and CinC of the NPA is willing to talk with the right person and in the proper forum and the opportunity for a lasting peace is something that is within reach by the Duterte administration. The main concern is whether all the issues of how the CPA appointees can function given their ideological inconsistencies has been properly worked out by the incoming Duterte administration and the CCP before they start their new jobs.

    • NHerrera says:

      In the US, President Truman started the practice of having the Democrat and Republican nominees briefed by the CIA after their respective Party conventions and of course after the confirmation of the President Elect, the Daily Presidential Briefing on national security begins.

      I do not know if such or even a semblance of that is done here. I suppose it will come from a combination of the National Security Adviser and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. But NSA and NICA may not have the capability of their counterparts in other countries, and may, to be unkind, leak like a sieve, and so the insights that it provides the incoming President may be of little value.

      My point is that valuable national security info in a well-managed govt system should be passed on seamlessly from one Admin to the next. Sure, there is that past teacher-student relationship between Sison and the PE, but there are information that should be valuable were we to suppose our equivalent organization is like Mossad or CIA. Domestic local politics of the usual kind is one, but national security matter is another.

      PE Duterte and Sison may in fact — below the surface — play a game we can only guess. If valuable info as I ascribe to such organization as CIA or Mossad is something we have and is used by the PE, he may, if he is as clever as Sison have an advantage because of that information. Even in corporate war, the corporation with a superior info has a great advantage. Before two or three years are over, we may deduce who is the more clever of the two? It is the height of naivety to suppose each regards the other as brother unquestionably.

      • caliphman says:

        Thats wishful thinking for now in the Philippinea.

        • NHerrera says:

          Most probably so for most of my post. Does this include the last line?

          • caliphman says:

            Unfortunately. But its Duterte’s naivette that is really worrisome. Joma will play ball with Duterte for now as its a win-win situation. That includes a ceasefire and a peace agreement. Six years or however long Duterte stays in power is a small price to pay for the return and reemergence of the CPP in the Philippines.

            • We don’t know, but i’m sure some good investigating will uncover the answers. If they are actually friends, then maybe their vision (both’s) for the Philippines actually converge. It may not be either/or, an adversarial relationship. So I don’t think, it’s naive, NHerrera, but that’s where research comes in.

              • caliphman says:

                Duterte may consider Joma is his friend but not for,a moment would Joma or the CPP would put anyone’s friendship above their Marxist vision and lifelong goal of a communist society and government.

              • A vision that’s been largely discredited, caliphman. So we go back to the question, are they playing the Marxist/Maoist game, if they are who are their backers in the world stage then, Cuba?

              • Caliphman says:

                There are 5,000 armed NPA combatants who are risking their lives without pay and card carrying CPP party members whose websites declare thrir veliefs and committment who are prepared to disagree with you, Lance. And in the Philippine situation, this is what really counts.

              • caliphman,

                This is back to Joe’s story of when he first settled in Mindanao and met Communists, who gave him the old “Offer he couldn’t refuse”. Extortion is extortion, you don’t need an ideology for that.

                I don’t think most of them are married to the ideology. So it becomes basic Counter-insurgency, if they are not married to the ideology, what do they want? Some I’m sure will say they’re in it for adventure or vengeance (like many in Afghanistan), but for the rest I think many would love the opportunity to become productive members of society.

                I bet you my left nut, many of them aren’t fighting for ideology (Che Guevarra shirts are only cool in college 😉 ), so ask what they are fighting for, and you’ll get your answer.

    • chempo says:

      Thanks for the background Caliphman.

      Seems to me it would have been a better approach for the new admin to continue with the Pnoy initiatives and bring the peace process to a formal conclusion seeing how far it has progress. rather than to open new peace talks.

      • caliphman says:

        I think that is EP’s intent and he has appointed one of Aquino’s key negotiator to a key post in his cabinet to continue discussions with his CPP counterparts. But his outright gift inviting them to head four departments was a bit impulsive and tactical and not part of a considered strategy to bring the CPP into the fold or at least have it put aside its plans to eventually overthrow the government.

  9. What ideology left to the NPA why they don’t lay down their arms, it is simply because they are gangs of extortionist that turn the ideology into a profitable business.
    There is no reason for them not to surrender without condition, the dictatorship was long over that’s the only reason why they exist on the time of Marcos.
    Is there any guarantee to seal an infinite peace with them, the answer is a big NO, they act like a sulking kid that they will sulk once things doesn’t work on their side.
    Their ideology will succumbed anyway in the end if the economy improve, new generation get a decent job, well educated young generation after all no one will turn to be a communist anymore.
    The government should hold them accountable too for their crimes they committed against the society.
    Their numbers are decreasing as years go by, they are irrelevant, the president should not give them special condition on their favour. Or maybe Duterte is giving condition because Joma is a former classmate, friends, May utang na loob, etc., I believe that’s what it is.

    You are spot on Chempo, great article my friend, thank you!

    • chempo says:

      Thank you James.
      There is always the nagging feeling that most of the armed comrades are simply bandits plying their trade behind the veil of ideology. But there certainly are some true ideologues amongst them.

      • caliphman says:

        One could say the same about ISIS but they are just as ready to die for their cause and pose a deadly threat even to highly trained military combat units.

      • caliphman says:

        Yes and those idealogues happen to be the CPP and most of the NPA leaders who happen to be in command and control of the rank and file cadre. Because the NPA impose a tax to survive and to maintain operations does not mean they are more bandits and less idealogues any more than the ROP and BIR can be labeled such. There are no pure idealogues or Islamic fanatics as was the case in the jihadists who drank and gambled in Las Vegas on the eve they went on their 911 suicide missions. To believe that at the core the CPP and the NPA leadership are just a band of bandits and should just be dealt with as such is to seriously misunderstand the nature and extent of the potential threat they pose. Its almost as bad as condemning communusm and capitalism because the archtypal examples of each system are failures in their purest forms and survive only by transforming themselves into hodgepodge versions of each other.

    • David says:


      The question that I ask is the following:

      Who and what Duterte was doing during the Edsa revolution?
      Who did he supported and favor?

  10. karlgarcia says:

    DAR and DSWD will be lead by leftists appointed by NDF.


    Duterte also formalized the appointments of two leftists recommended by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines: former sectoral representative and current Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chair Rafael Mariano to the Department of Agrarian Reform, and former political prisoner and associate professor Judy Taguiwalo to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/788529/duterte-presents-cabinet#ixzz4AH4b4FV9
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

    • karlgarcia says:

      DENR is not yet filled and I am not sure about DOLE.
      So far no Communists in cabinet because,I think Jalandoni said they are not allowed to recommend CPP members,I am not so sure though.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Belay that. They make their own rules,so who would not allow them to name guerillas if they wanted to.

        • “Duterte also formalized the appointments of two leftists recommended by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines: former sectoral representative and current Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chair Rafael Mariano to the Department of Agrarian Reform, and former political prisoner and associate professor Judy Taguiwalo to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

          Perfect, thanks, karl.

          OK, so what do we know about Mr. Rafael Mariano (DAR)?

          and what do we know about Ms. Judy Taguiwalo (DSWD)?

          DENR should be a rabid environmentalist first, whether left leaning or not is not as important IMHO.

          DOLE should be a student of China/Vietnam and how they got their shit together. If avid Catholic (some communists are religious 😉 ) then someone familiar with Catholic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism (stop using Marx and bring Philippine Communism in-line w/ Pope Francis… DU30’s already started to chip away at Catholic bs in the Philippines, I hope he continues 😉 )

          • “A woman’s place is in the struggle” has been Judy M. Taguiwalo’s guiding principle for over four decades. An activist since university days as an undergraduate student in the late 1960s, Judy helped organize the Malayang Kilusan ng Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the militant women’s organization which espoused women’s liberation in the context of advancing the Filipino people’s national and democratic aspirations. She was twice imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines spending a total of three years and seven months in various military prisons.

            “I am honored to be nominated by the CPP/NDF to the post of Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. That an incoming president of the Philippines is extending his hand to the Left and inviting the latter to be part of government is a historic act,” Taguiwalo said in a Facebook post.

            Taguiwalo is among the Cabinet nominees that NDF spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili submitted to Duterte when they met on Tuesday, May 24. Duterte had called the Left’s list “impressive” but did not name the 10 nominees, 4 of them women.


            My only question is,

            is MAKIBAKA like GABRIELA over there? I hope she’s not a man-hating feminist militant, but seems this Judy Taguiwalo has a great background for the post. 🙂

          • The other’s info is kinda light, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_V._Mariano

            But putting a farmer to head DAR, seems to make sense. What’s the other option, appointing some guy with an MBA, listening to Rolling Stones and counting his stock options 😉 ?

            • chempo says:

              I think and MBa in Agrculture is not too bad. Someone who understands the micros and macros of the agri-business. It’s not just about the farming aspect — it’s land use, national security, national forecasting and national goals, equitiy distribution, infrastructure, institutional support etc. Not any farmer will do.

              • chemp,

                From what I saw with palm oil in Mindanao, and other fad plantations grown to satiate world demands, it’s a disaster… and I bet some guy with an MBA is advising farmers in Mindanao.

                I’m talking about a farmer that just wants to grow good crops, sure an MBA can help, but if he’s a business man first rather than a farmer, then things will be missed—- like bulldozing good trees for palm oil.

                We’re seeing it here too, chemp, with trademarked crops, industrialized farming, etc. etc.

                I read the other day that Jollibee is partnering up with Cargill for industrialized chicken farms there, that’s basically because they ‘re now under scrutiny here for not only screwing the chickens, but the farmers who grow them,

              • karlgarcia says:

                DAR is for Agrarian Reform. The DA or Agri Dep is another matter, the incoming secretary is a businessman (A boxing stable?),a former governor,but what’s controversial is his groups TRO on MOA-AD.making some call him peace spoiler.


                He must stay away from peace talks.

              • chempo says:

                Lance, I’m sure there are MBA guys advising them in Mindanao, and so too at Cargill, but I’m damn sure tthe MBAers don’t go right down the line and insist that the farmers should plant damn seeds 2.35 cm apart, or plant them on Apr 20, or dig 3.5 inches into the ground, or use fertiliser brand X rather than use pig manure, etc. Managers manage, the MBAs are smart enough to leave the dirty work to other experts.

              • chemp,

                My point was about missing the forest for the trees.

                I was born to all this. I live, breathe, the Capitalist system. I know these guys have to be watched closely, otherwise they will screw everyone over (themselves too) w/out knowing any better… such is the profit motive.

                Local police rigidly enforce animal cruelty laws, citizens feel compelled to report and the courts take this stuff seriously… not so much because of PETA-type morality, but because the presumption has always been that those who are cruel to animals, can just as easily be cruel to people.

                Because of lobbyists, strict NDAs (ie. no photos, videos, basically evidence of cruelty), these industrial farms get away with a lot… A LOT. And time and again that presumption has been proven correct— whether farming palm oil, pork, beef, chicken, etc.

                Someone with an MBA may know how to increase profit, but many times than not, they’ll miss the whole forest for the trees.

                Read Ben’s comment below—- who will keep an eye on them in the Philippines?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Not as devoted as Wil and Sonny,but I am still a Catholic,Lance,watch your fingers.😜
            I know a group of people in Opus Dei who supports Duterte,I guess he only lashes out on those against him from the get go.
            Nah,he does not care whose toes he steps on.

            Speaking of left,I must reread this article from mami kawada lover.


            The communist founder is from UP.

            MRP of course includes communists in his list of UP graduates he would love to bash.

            If at long last,therewill be laying down of arms,and a permant cease fire would not be permanent temporarilly,then this government gets my support on that aspect.
            But they are not the only problems.Rich warlords,land owners,politicians,bandits,etc.

            A total gun ban must also be legislated,after a multi sectoral peace talk has been successfully achieved.

            Isn’t The three little pigs a Grimm brothers tale?
            I googled the sam and the sham and they also known for Wooly Booly.Cool.👍🏻

            • “Not as devoted as Wil and Sonny,but I am still a Catholic,Lance,watch your fingers.😜
              I know a group of people in Opus Dei who supports Duterte,I guess he only lashes out on those against him from the get go.”

              There’s two ways to view the Catholic Church, karl…

              Church as the clergy and brick/mortars, the things associated with it, OR

              Church is the good people who compose it.

              DU30 ‘s I’m sure was targeting the Church as things (and power) aspect of Catholicism, ie. priests with large bank accounts, priests who get drunk, womanize, etc. I’m sure he also meant policy, like family planning, etc. I ‘ve always been consistent w/ my views on that.

              Time and again here we’ve identified the Catholic Church, INC and Salafi Islam as three “religious” movements to curb— that’s what DU30’s doing. And it’s high time.

              As for Opus Dei my only knowledge of this was when I saw Dan Brown’s book, turned movie, 😉

              • karlgarcia says:

                Not sure on the level of exaggeration about Opus Dei.

              • sonny says:

                Nephew, here’s an interview with a priest of Opus Dei regarding Dan Brown, THE DA VINCI CODE, ANGELS & DEMONS, the Vatican & movie-making and Catholicism. Dan Brown’s exaggeration is downright untrue.


                “Q: Do you think Dan Brown has a certain fixation with the Catholic Church?

                Father Wauck: Sometimes I wonder: Where would Dan Brown be without the Catholic Church? Almost all the interesting things in his novels come from their Catholic setting. Obviously, people aren’t being attracted by the cardboard characters and bad dialogue. That’s why the main effect of “The Da Vinci Code” wasn’t a decrease in religious belief or practice, but rather a sharp increase in tourism to Rome … and the Louvre. …”


              • karlgarcia says:

                I know Dan Brown was exaggerating,but still waited for some one like you to correct and enlighten me,Unc. I have spent a few days in Rome with a group of Opus Dei lay people and a priest. My aunt encouraged me to attend St(?) Escriva’s Beatification.Was he canonized,Unc.?I was thankful to be alive then,I just had a terrible accident, I had no second thoughts of coming to Rome.

            • chempo says:

              Yes Karl, Sam the Sham gave the world the Ago-go dance craze.
              Actually Sam is a flip-flopper. He sang in praise of the bid bad wolf in “Lil’ Red Riding hood”. Go check out this song, it’s kinda nice. I’m the worse karoake singer in town, so whenever a mic is forced onto me, I’ll sing this little red riding hood song cos it’s the easiest to sing along.

              By the way, my nickname is Sham, just a coincidence.

              • karlgarcia says:

                You already said Chempo is read as shempo,correct? I ‘ll go check out youtube and see for my self(Little Red Riding hood).They say if you sing “my way”,you get killed,I sang it one time during a party ,checking every body’s facial expression if they are ready to throw a glass at me .

              • chempo says:

                You have great memory, that’s why you’re Librarian.
                You must be a good singer, that’s why no bottle were thrown at you.

              • karlgarcia says:

                just got lucky,I guess.my voice is not that good,but I guess a little alcohol made me not so shy.
                Ok Sham.(last time I will call you that)

          • chempo says:

            Lance, we should be distinctly clear on this — all communists are leftist, but not all leftists are communists.

            There are many leftist organisations here which are not communists. I have no problems with these people although I do not necessarily agree with everything they stand for. I think their intentions are mostly honourable but I do not share the activism part nor the extent to which the economic cake should be divided. I’m always for the view that everybody should make their own choices and accept the repercussions. If you prefer to spend your spare time at cock-fighting arenas or a bar, that’s up to you. If you prefer to spend time improving your skills and knowledge to improve yourself, that’s great.(Read the story of the security guard who steals time to study his law books whilst at work. He eventually passed the bar exams). Having said that, the govt must always have a safety net for those in genuine extreme difficulties.

            • chemp,

              I’ve met my share of absolute retards in this world, and many had college and post-grad degrees, but as a whole I think Einstein’s right.

              “If you prefer to spend your spare time at cock-fighting arenas or a bar, that’s up to you. If you prefer to spend time improving your skills and knowledge to improve yourself, that’s great.(Read the story of the security guard who steals time to study his law books whilst at work. He eventually passed the bar exams). “

              I’m all for working hard, but I also know that there are people who don’t care so much about self-improvement (to them it’s masturbatory).

              Theae are farmers, artists, philosophers, monks, musicians, writers, crazies, tinkerers, etc. who have no need for advance degrees, they simply need the basics, which is clean water, be able to grow fruits/veggies, a humble home, the ability to boil food/water, and that’s it.

              BUT they can’t live simply, because industries pollute (hand-in-hand w/ gov’t), throw-away culture is pervasive, no clean water for growing, etc. etc. Can capitalism protect the minimum? Time and again, it’s proven it can’t.

              Who will protect those, that don’t want to participate in the Capitalist system? I can totally appreciate American propaganda vis-a-vis Communists over there during the Cold War, but I don’t see a difference, tyranny is tyranny no matter the guise, chemp.

              • karlgarcia says:

                American propaganda vis-a-vis the Communists during the cold war.

              • NHerrera says:


                I saved that Einstein’s quote together with the picture. Einstein is my enduring hero. (Chempo, LCpl_X — no relation to your lively debate; please carry on, love it.)

              • I just read Ben’s comment below, my work is done here… Ben’s said it all, IMHO. 😉

              • NHerrera says:

                Read Ben Zayb’s posts with appreciation.

              • bill in oz says:

                Lance, once the truth emerged after 1990, it was obvious that commie regimes were just as bad if not worse at pollluting the environment..Corrupt power of any color just does not care.

              • bill,

                I totally understand that. I’m not demonizing Capitalism while noblizing Communism here. I’m simply pointing out that in the Philippines the powers that be, need a counter-balance, sadly because of weak institutions the folks in the mountains with guns are it, maybe a better option will surface.

                In Bali, Indonesia, the Balinese didn’t need anti-Communist rhetoric to wipe ’em out, once they caught a whiff of the Communists’ anti-religious bent, the Balinese went Medieval on them. I’m pretty sure they didn’t read-up on Counter-Insurgency material from the British, they chose the DIY route.

                So both sides, even the Catholic Church, for a grand threesome can go crazy. But so long as there’s resistance one way or the other, Filipinos will be on tippy-toes.

                But you are right, bill…

              • chempo says:

                Lance — I never heard of the Balinese vs communists before. For Balinese to go nuts after hearing the anti-God part of communism seems strange. I can understand this if the people were Muslims, but Balinese are Buddhists. There is no God in Buddhism, and practising Buddhists don’t bother you even if you pray to a tree. So I’m curious on this episode.

                “..they didn’t read-up on Counter-Insurgency material from the British, they chose the DIY route”. Hahaha DIY, I like that. They don’t need the Brits because this is a peoples’ counter-insurgency resurrection. Had the Balinese called in the Indonesian Armed Forces, they would have nedded the Brits’ manuals. If all the Filipinos in the NPA regions rise up the same way the Balinese did, it will be game over for the NPA.

              • bill in oz says:

                Chempo, Balinese are devout Hindu believers.. Not Buddhists…and as Lance says they turned on local communists back in 1965-6 and about 100,000 people died in Bali.. Lots more died in Java. It happened after an attempted PKI coup in 1965 in which 6 Indonesian generals were killed. General Soeharto escaped and lead the counter attack..against the coup plotters.The Indonesian army encouraged local groups throughout Indonesia to capture & kill the communists..
                A similar thing happened in 1948 when the communist lead Madiun rebellion in Java happened. Most were executed.

              • chempo says:

                OK Bill, I recall now. They dumped the bodies of the 5 or 6 generals in a well they called “crocodile pit”..

                Hindu Balinese, ok that answers it then. Hindus are touvhy touchy when it comes to religion.

                Thanks for the history recap.

  11. Mccoy says:

    Great article Chempo! I’ve heard an analysis that PE Duterte want’s to put NDF personalities in the government so that they won’t have choice but to follow the constitution and laws of the land. But your analysis has more credence that the former, and to be honest scary if it will happen.

    • chempo says:

      Thanks Mccoy
      There is a part that people do not appreciate.

      Communists parties are not illegal. They are free to stand for election. Why are they not doing this? Because they know they stand no chance. Their battle is not at the ballot box.

      So why should they be given positions in cabinet? Why should they be handled with kids’ gloves? Because they have a small band of armed cadres in the mountains?

  12. Joe America says:

    Chempo, your articles are impeccable for their comprehension and way of drawing out meanings or questions from what we can see or deduce. This article stands as the ‘must read’ brief for anyone who wonders what this whole idea of leftists in government is all about.

    If I break the leftist movement down, it seems to me that the field troops are as James de Valera says, extortionist gangsters who are useful to the umbrella political organization because they hold hostage, not just the local communities, but the entire national government. They are horribly damaging for their small size, taking out important infrastructure, imposing wasteful costs of rebuilding (money that would be better spent on the poor), and keeping the AFP busy. Not to mention the deaths that keep toting up as this conflict or that plays out. They are the goon unit, the force, the hostility of the political organization.

    The political leftists in country are a strange breed of idealists who would return the Philippines to social and economic bankruptcy, quoting Marx or Mao all the way. They are in la la land, totally impractical, as we can witness from the fact that they command respect only among the tabloid media, and not among mainstream governmental organizations. They have yet to propose an idea that can actually get implemented to improve the lot of the peasants, as far as I know.

    Above both these units are the players, the bosses, Sison and PE Duterte, both angling for some kind of dominance for whatever drives them, and that is a mystery to me. Wealth? Power? Ideas? I don’t get it.

    Very clearly, PE Duterte has little respect for democratic institutions and decency. Putting a good woman like VP Elect Robredo to work, which any normal CEO would find easy to do, is impossible for him because he does not want to offend the third member of this distasteful power-team, Bongbong Marcos. So this back-patting clique of good old boys will define the Philippines, pretty much as checks and balances allow them to do. The checks seem weak at the moment, almost totally compliant, as politicians rush to join the winning side, and to hell with any principles or dignity.

    At this early stage, I’d say the biggest struggle of the Philippines is no longer economic, it is of decency and dignity.

    The commies and self-serving leftists (like Gabriela who threw women under the bus to support Duterte’s candidacy) are the enemy, along with the pseudo democratic capitalists like politicians who are so self-serving that they would crawl into bed with a cobra in the belief that it will feed them.

    Thanks for the kind of journalism that may become rare in the Philippines if dissent is suppressed and open expression is punished.

    • bill in oz says:

      Sison has been in exile the past 30 years in the Netherlands.I wonder what impact this has had on him as a person and as a political operator.

      • Sup says:

        Maybe Duterte can pay back to the Netherlands the ”expenses” they made the last 30 years for those ”reds”………….So the Netherlands can put it in their almost empty pension coffers, retirement age is going up and up in the Netherlands because of lack of funds because all those asylum seekers… 🙂

      • karlgarcia says:

        Maybe Sison collected more than the Vatican from the Philippines,through its revolutionary taxes.

        • Sup says:


          • karlgarcia says:

            haha.😜😉 but it is not far fetched,the revolutionary taxes do not go to the poor.There is no robin hood effect here,it goes to the higher ups at the Netherlands.Maybe it goes to Switzerland first.

    • NHerrera says:

      Re putting Leni to work, the reason offered is really illogical. Fine, Marcos Sr. And Jr. have been friends of long standing — setting aside the plundering and human rights violations of the past — but it is not as if the only work that can be offered to Robredo is a work to investigate further the plunder of the Marcos family. Why would giving work to Leni to uplift the poor hurt friend BBM? Wouldn’t BBM himself, like all Filipinos with means, want to help the poor? Can elementary logic like algebra be thrown out too?

      • NHerrera,

        If the assumption here, that DU30 will crash & burn, then Leni not getting a post, is probably a good think, no?

        She and Bam Aquino can set the stage for their run in 6 years (or simply count on DU30’s health issues to catch up to him, cut the waiting time short). What’s her pet project as VP going to be? What do VPs usually do there?

        • May I offer my bit in response to that @ LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)

          Basically, the VP is just a spare tire, so Leni is there to assume the Presidency in case Du30 dies, is incapacitated, or resigns. I understand, the office of the VP has a budget of its own, don’t know if Diokno will continue proposing in the next few years knowing the PE is wary of hurting BBM and the Marcoses, but I heard VPE Leni is forgoing the use of the Coconut Palace because of the 500K rental for the place and is scouting for a cheaper office to rent. I wonder if the Bahay Pangarap can be used (wishing, wishing) for that purpose if PE Du30 wont use the place.

          VPE Leni says if she is not given any position in the government, she can still work on many projects for the poor. I hope Gawad Kalinga and other NGOs will help her in this endeavor.

          • What do you know of Banta Dagat, Mary? I remember fishermen patrolling their own space in Mindanao under this program, but have always thought that it should expand to not just the seas, but rivers, and lakes and mountains, even aquifers, where ever water flows… which will place them up against loggers and miners… and polluters of all types.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Banta Dagat literal translation:Threat to the sea.

              Bantay Dagat is to guard the sea.

              what difference a letter makes in any language.

            • I’ve heard about Bantay Ilog…Gina Lopez of ABS CBN has made it her life’s mission to save Pasig River. I hope they can duplicate what was done in Iloilo where they have rehabilitated a stinky river and turned it into a truly magnificent park and show case area. Senator Drillon and the local executives there made that possible. The key is to relocate squatters to other areas where they can find livelihood and permanent place to raise their families. Another is to close those factories that empty their chemicals and trash to the rivers. Political will, political will……

              • bill in oz says:

                I walked by the Pasig the other day.. It’s still stinky here at quiapo…And the creeks that fllw through Binondo to the Passig are just awful.

            • Bert says:

              Just Google it, Lance. Bantay Dagat is now all over every seashores in the Philippines watching out for local fishers using illegal means like dynamite blasters, etc., in some areas like mine in Bicol using speedboats provided by the Coast Guards.

              • Bert,

                I know what it is (though I might have remembered it pronounced differently in my head, thanks, Karl 😉 )… I was just asking Mary if she had anything further vis-a-vis Leni, and if the concept of Guarding the Seas can be expanded to the rest of the water cycle. It’s not just local fishermen, Task Forces are set-up to coordinate with the PNP, sometimes with AFP. From what I know the idea came out of Mindanao, Muslim Mindanao to be exact.

        • NHerrera says:

          Yes, extending the thought — Leni has shown her willingness to work with the PE on helping the poor, her continuing advocacy. If such offer of help is not accepted then I say with you that she moves on and do whatever she can to continue with her advocacy. That is, optimizing her plans and resources for her advocacy — after all the office of the VP is usually provided with reasonable funds — unconstrained by the valuable time that needs to be used if the PE assigns her with something, especially if it is a Cabinet position. In the allocation of her time resource, thoughts of her political future and strategy is certainly something that may occupy her mind especially with like-minded people.

          • chempo says:

            Saw the tv interview of Leni’s spokeswomen. Three things she said made it very clear that Leni will walk the talk. (1) Forego Coconut Palace — it’s too expensive. Instead, using the allocated fiscal, she intend to open smaller offices in certain provinces so that she will be closer to her poverty projects. (2) If no cabinet appointment – she will dedicate herself to anti-poverty projects. (3) If no funds allocated, she will use her network of supporters to self-fund anti-poverty projects.

            • NHerrera says:

              If she stays focused and work on her project with no thoughts of politics, she may greatly be surprised to see one day unexpected returns not necessarily politically but the great feeling of satisfaction and thanks from the poor she helps. God bless you Leni. I hope you read this blog site.

      • Sup says:

        They don’t want Leni around when they have their ”cabinet” meetings…..? Don’t trust yellow?

        • I’ve always wondered about this yellow t-shirt thing,

          in the US once a president is elected he (she) becomes the president for all, so if a US president goes around wearing “Democrat” or “Republican” where ever they go, especially in natural disasters, it would be anathema to democracy, or simply governance for that matter.

          Why wear a uniform that constantly pits you against others? I don’t get it.

          • Joe America says:

            I believe the yellow ribbon the President wears is not meant to symbolize a political allegiance, but an allegiance to the principle of honesty in governance. It only pits the President against crooks and those who, for political or self interest, wish to undermine the ideal of his straight path transformation.

    • chempo says:

      Thanks Joe.

      I’m not trying to double guess Duterte’s motive for giving the cabinet posts to the communists. I think he is simply unorthodox in his ways, some may call it thinking-out-of-the-box approach.

      “The checks seem weak at the moment” — your reference to musical games being played now in Congress is really cause for alarm. I have read and heard comments in both Congress and Senate that do not augur well for these two houses. Some personalities talk in great deference to Duterte as the emperor that they will support when they should be seeing themselves simply as one of the 3 pillars of democracy working in the best interest of the country.

      • Joe America says:

        I spent the better part of the morning wrestling with this falling into line behind a leader who, for me, is beyond thinking outside the box, and is into thinking dangerously and threateningly, to institutions of democracy. Like journalists. He has rationalized that shooting journalists is justified if you, or anyone, find what they write to be offensive.

        Courts are no longer required. He has effectively given his executive approval to execute journalists, and I believe bloggers are not on any kind of exceptions list.

        Pardon me if I find this offensive.

        • In the mean time, over here, Trump called one journalist a ‘sleaze’ and everyone’s going nuts. Threat of assassination is no good, Joe—- I hope you guys have your parachutes or life-vests on already 😉 .

          But I’m curious how DU30 worded this threat? I heard that people were already delivering dead bodies of criminals over there, bagged and tagged as per DU30’s orders, morality aside, it is efficient… but the potential for a Witch-hunt is staggering.

          Time to move to Hawaii, Joe.

        • purple says:

          -Courts are no longer required. He has effectively given his executive approval to execute journalists, and I believe bloggers are not on any kind of exceptions list.-

          He gave no definition of corrupt, leaving it to mean whatever the listener wants. It’s a clear order to murder enemies.

          This man should not be allowed to take office.

        • madlanglupa says:

          Not only offensive, but also he still manages to polarize a lot more people even before sitting in the Palace. I am trying my best to put up with his decision-making, especially days after his victory, and yet whatever he says is like having splinters slowly being shoved under my fingernails.

          • I share your feeling @ madlanglupa, more so when I hear my aunt in the province saying a lot of those who voted for PE Du30 are now regretting their decision, at least in our place….thinking about it, the unthinking decision of the 38.6% will affect the 100% or 100 million plus Filipinos… those 38.6% of the 41,371,254 who voted for the PE Duterte will bear the responsibility if ever the leftists will succeed where their predecessors have failed since we regain our freedom.

            As chempo has written, be afraid, be very afraid.

            On the other hand, the Bible says, why worry when you can pray? We need to pray and be vigilant,

            • madlanglupa says:

              It’s not just the Maoists, madame, but also his minions, apologists, influential friends here and abroad (including Presidents Xi and Putin), and even the worst of the untouchable warlords and caciques, all are prepared to take advantage of any privileges he may give them. To the victor belongs the spoils, so as to speak.

            • Andres III says:

              Why should I be afraid? Just think, think and think before you act. No harm will happen to you if you are a good citizen, paying correct taxes and doing your job. Unless your job is to criticise them.

              • chempo says:

                You are right Andres. Let’s just shut up even when they catcall your wife, or lock your wife up when your child throws tantrum and runs out to play after 10pm.

  13. My father’s brother (who is retired now) was a former worker of a sugar mills in the south – a handsome hunk of a man who cut a dashing figure atop his motorcycle as he went to and from his work; he was at the time a farmer in the mountainous region where he and his family resides. He has a gift – a loud, deep voice and coupled with an ideology which I suspect was influenced by the left leaning groups, he delivered fiery speeches in various forums. During the Cory government, he participated in so many farmers’ rally fighting for their share of and land they are tilling thru land reform. When General Montano fired at the farmers at Mendiola, the farmers, including my uncle scattered at Recto and adjoining streets to secure themselves.

    Fast forward to the present (or decades later)… he has now mellowed, has a few hectares of land to his name where he constructed a very beautiful bungalow with fruit orchards, herbal and floral gardens that are the envy of his neighbors. He planted the rest of his property with thousands of mahogany trees as investment for his children who are all now successful in their own right, one became a PNP officer and an able SAF member, who opted for early retirement to enjoy his retirement pay and pension; he now owns almost a hundred heads of cattle which he manages together with his elder brother. The other children were all educated, married well and had beautiful homes and children in the lowland.

    From being dirt poor and tilling the land for the wealthy land owners, they were able to upgrade their lives and live comfortably. I hope all the other farmers can be as successful as my uncle in freeing themselves from extreme poverty, to own the land that they farm and still be under a democratic government.

    • Thanks for that story, Mary.

      What would your uncle say about the now new head of DAR, you think? You think he’d know him, or of him?

      • You’re welcome LCpl_X

        I need to ask him that if and when I have the time to their place. Haven’t gone to family reunions on my father’s side lately, due to work pressure and health issues. Maybe I’ll ask one of my cousins thru FB..

      • Bert says:

        The new DAR secretary is a known leftist/communist? Those kinds hate land owners, and Mary’s uncle is now a land owner, with a son who is a policeman. I hope the new DAR chief is not that kind of person.

    • chempo says:

      Mary, what a wonderful story you share. The irony is that your uncle could not have owned those lands under a communist regime.

      The farmers’ lot in Philippines as in most other backward countries, are tough. Being at the bottom of the supply chain, un-educated and lacking resources, they lead lives at the subsistence level. Lance’s heart is with them, and so do most of us here I am sure. Unlike Lance, I’m not cruxifying capitalism as the evil monster. Just like democracy, it is not perfect and humanity has been continuously trying to improve on its shortcomings. The Filipino farmers need lots of our love and greater effort to uplift their lives. Every admin has promised to do so with varrying success, if at all. Duterte has similarly vowed to do his best in this segment. Let’s hope this new admin will really make the difference.

      • I spent most of my time in District 12 (met some folks from District 13), only lightly visited the Capitol… so yes, my heart is with the latter Districts. Mary’s uncle I met plenty of.

      • Truly ironic, @ chempo.

        They supported RORO last May, we and my cousins on my father’s side agree on politics…unlike my cousins on my mother side…they are pro Marcos and PE Duterte and so hate PNOY with all their hearts and minds, and I cannot fathom why.

    • josephivo says:

      Good for your uncle.

      But a few hectares for his house and garden, thousands of Mahoney trees (at a planting distance of 5m, that’s 4 per are of 400 per hectare) this means at least another 5 hectares, let’s say half the cows, 50, they need some land too to survive… So the land your uncle has is far above average and that means that others have far below average (land is a zero sum commodity). He must have a brain above average or worked harder than average, or both. And what about the others with lesser knowledge, character, physical strength or energy? PPPP might help their next generation to create/find decent jobs, but in the mean time?

      And that’s only one side of the coin, on the other side you have world market prices/politics. European and American subsidies for their local farmers keeping prices down, dominant positions of multinationals and local traders leaving little to the producers, access to finances and the newest technologies… a lot is decided outside their influence, even outside the influence of this sovereign country, the Philippines.

      Leftist of the world unite. (not because it is needed for the strong, but in solidarity with the weak)

      • He was able to extend his property by buying the adjacent lands of neighbors (it’s either a fellow beneficiary or an outsider so they pooled their family’s money to acquire it or it will be like Binay hacienda acquired by Chinese dummies – my uncle is really smart and patriotic), no title yet as of now as per Land Reform decree where beneficiaries need to hold on to the land for X years before they can sell.

        • Not sure if they followed the required space between each mahogany tree…BTW, our lot in Batangas had three mahogany trees (planted by mistake) that looked like conjoined triplets, but they thrived and have trunks as thick as an obese lady’s waistline.

        • Bert says:

          Mary, if you would allow me to hazard a guess, your uncle if he got his land from big land owner as DAR beneficiary might have gotten a share of 4 hectares more or less as is the average and I understand he had it titled already to his name. The adjacent lot that he bought from the neighbor if acquired by the neighbor in the same manner as DAR beneficiary could have the same area of about 4 hectares also, expanding your uncle’s total land area to about 8 hectares. Titling the lot bought from the neighbor could pose two problems to your uncle; 1. It might be hard to have the lot titled to his name because awarded lot cannot be sold according to the Land Reform Law; 2. If titled to his name would make him a land owner with 8 hectares of land thus he could be subjected to the Land Reform Law if his land possession exceeded the limit (I think 4 ha. or is it 7 is the limit but not sure).

          • Noted, Bert.

            Not sure about how many hectares were awarded to them, as I have not asked. I posted my comments based on visual observations only on the size of their garden and coconut and fruit trees near their bungalow

            …have not seen the actual mahogany plantation, just a glimpse from afar….

            Some beneficiaries are subdividing their lots and assigning smaller areas to interested buyers. I know that for a fact, as I was offered by a beneficiary – a 1,000 SQM lot for a cool 1M. I did not bite because when I asked for a copy of the subdivided lot, they could not produce one, just a Notarized Deed of Assignment for each subdivided lot.

            My paternal cousins commented that we are being extra cautious while other buyers who are doctors and lawyers readily bought their lot and already had their mansions built but we told them that our little savings are truly hard earned, from our sweat and tears, and we cannot take chances like what those doctors and lawyers did for they had easier means to accumulate savings.

            We ended up buying a smaller lot from our aunt/cousins in Batangas.

  14. andy ibay says:

    Ideology is not like music that keeps coming back like a song that lights up brain parts towards sensual climax. Not to ideologues. Not anymore when ideology is ice-cold dead in theory and practice. Not when it is a cadaver lying in state in slow decay waiting for its last molecule of hydrogen to join other elements in the atmosphere. Not when Godless ideologues can’t even pray for the “audacity of hope” because they don’t believe in God. Not when ideology is DEAD MEAT. Not in USA, Canada, and the rest of the Free World. Not even now in Russia or China.

    A blogger has a reason when he says he skips reading text and scans the comments but knew the excellence of both text and comments based only on the real names or aliases of the authors because in the blogger’s youth he has read about the ideology : das kapital, thesis-antitheses-synthesis , the triumph of the oppressed, dictatorship of the proletariat, classless society, etc.

    The formula to reach the good life was factory-based, not on the struggle of landless multitudes in the dried plains or the frozen tundra. A classless society in factories in cities can not by any means achieved the same in desolate farms and coastal hamlets– the largest chunk of any country. Labor unionism dies; factories replaced by Malls. The formula judged from experience and history is erroneous. Synthesis did not happen. There was faulty thesis. The anti-thesis was only people wanting to live in peace. It remains crucial part of life, the charlatan’s quest for power promising the good life, for the peaceful life via religious ideology or ideology without religion .

    Presdu30 walks the tightrope when he took the first steps. He might be thinking: you people for decades have only honest and sincere wishes for the largest poor population. Denied you at every turn I am giving you the whole caboodle, the opportunity, the authority and the resources to prove the ends you seek are achievable even by democratic means. If you fail then people will response.

    To those correctly or wrongly alleged to be crooks whom he plans to appoint to high office, Presdu30 may be thinking, okay I talk bad they say, but I know also what is good behind those talks just like I know that when you are doing something bad deep in your conscience you still know good from bad. My God, not my religion gave me the chance to do good, I am not God but I am giving you the chance to do good too or do your expert worse. Whatever the stimulus , I think I know what to do, based on my experience in Davao City.

    “Being John Malkovich” is a movie about getting inside the mind of the actor; to get inside the mind of a President elect is to find the portal to satirical political empathy. Michael (Al Pacino) , Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) son knew what to do to the stones he mistakenly put inside his shoes. Authors, novelists and movie screenplay writers also have brains with experience. My point? It is farfetched not to see the good behind McCarthyism in USA; or when Whoopee Goldberg and company as they have promised, exiled themselves from USA. Justin Trudeau and Rodrigo Duterte and most likely Donald Trump are victories of some sort for countries in the throes of lackadaisical stupor needing a different kind of leader.

    • chempo says:

      In your cauldron of bubbling and mesmerising locution, I fear the sizzling heat and the fumes prevent me from seeing whether you have appreciation or trepidation of the wolf being let into the house.

      • andy ibay says:

        no homo sapien in his right mind will let a wolf into his abode; but mass hysteria can make it happen. When the wolf is already inside no homo sapien need be afraid, because he is God highest form of animal, who rules the animal kingdom.

        • chempo says:

          Elucidation needed.
          Are you saying someone is of unsound mind who let the wolf in?
          Are you saying we go hysterical about wolves we will proceed to let the wolves in?
          Are you saying this wolf who does not believe in God is His greatest creation in the animal kingdom?

          • sonny says:

            we can only use the proven track record and history of behavior (by the man) and their results (targetted outcomes) are all we must use for our sane analyses and syntheses (manageability/predictability). I am assuming that the PE’s now and future decisions and management form and substance will be characterized by the Lego forms and shapes he has in his mind, by method of mix & match, trial & error, with a logic that is comprehensible only to him, if at all. A logic that is, to us the opposition, unconventional and erratic – all at our expense, risk and precious time. This is my contribution to the ‘mass hysteria’ that andy speaks of.

          • andy ibay says:

            Sorry about that it never crossed my mind that I could mistakenly misunderstand as dissecting issues and ideas NOT people. Unsound mind because of letting the wolf in. We visited a wolf ranch in Ontario. The caretaker won’t let us go near the fence but he went inside and got surrounded by friends who he said he all raised as puppies. He told us the wolf family according to size is the fox as the smallest, the next bigger one is the coyote and the biggest is the wolf. He howled like a wolf and there was reverberating loud response. He said man should leave the wolves alone to 15 years, veterinarians are interfering trying to prolong their life with lots of medicine.

            TREPIDATION – I would be more afraid to see a Gorilla than a wolf inside my house. I would not let any wild animals inside my house but it is not my business about other doing it. As metaphor, the wily wolf might be an apt example to depict danger. But house owners will seldom show fear unless, it is a tiger, a lion, elephant or a bear.

            Mass hysteria or mass freaking out is a little strong analogy to represent the mass support of votes garnered garnered by the winner considering what media says about him. It is like MASS ACTION of voters all over the archipelago.

            The wolf is an animal. I was told they go to Limbo when they die. I don’t know whether they don’t believe in God. I have said here and elsewhere quite a few times, it is so unfair to the animals when they are compared to bad humans even if they are predators by nature. I have from old people “worse than animals”

            • andy ibay says:

              Let me try to clarify some more if I can:

              no homo sapien in his right mind will let a wolf into his abode; THAT’S THE REAL WORLD NOT YOUR METAPHORICAL PLACE. but mass hysteria can make it happen IN A ROUND ABOUT WAY, MASS SUPPORT AND VOTING A PRESIDENT CAN LEAD INTO THE ENTRY OF UNACCEPTABLE PERSONALITIES INTO POWER. When the wolf (THE UNDERSIRABLE PERSONALITY is already inside HIS HOUSE no homo sapien nouse NO HOUSE OWNER need be afraid, because he THE HOUSE OWNER is God highest form of animal, who rules the animal kingdom WHERE THE WOLF IS OF LOWER FORM. .

            • chempo says:

              Ah Andy, your penultimate para “mass hysteria or mass freaking out….” explains it. Thanks for the clarification.

              It was with reference to their tenacity, their cunning, audacity, and most importantly, their working in packs that I chose the wolf. With apologies to SPCA for using the wolf here as illustration. No animals were injured in the process of writing this article.

              • andy ibay says:

                you are welcome Chempo, the use of the wolf as the strong metaphorical thread to pull together the bits of ideas about communism is superlative as was “the wolf in sheep’s attire”. Wolves exist and survive in packs with always the most ferocious as leader, they fight to the death for leadership. It is preposterous bull shit to ask: Is Duterte leader of a pack destined to achieve Darwinian’s survival of the fittest? is he a sheep in wolf’s clothing trying to lead a sheep population to food and safety?

                I remember there was mass freaking out when anti-communists DND-Sec Monching run for office if only to suggest voters can also go hysterical.

                I focused and premised my thoughts on the fact that ideologies are not immortal. Duterte might be helping those attending the wake to bury dead meat and to move on in the embrace of non-ideologues. In UP it is like a UP President holding the hands of fratmen as they stand steadfast unbowed over dead meat urging fratmen to join back their brother barbarians to restore classical scholarship in the lyceum. I am saying imagination can be positive aside from being mostly sensual like undressing further a beauty already nakedly dressed.

                I read and hear that Canadians have no ideology and my mind searches for ideology among the countries shinning in permanence as TOP TEN in the UN Human Development Index.

        • bill in oz says:

          Andy, I am afraid what you write is too convoluted & confusing for me to understand. And I suspect that Chempo has the same problem..Sorry..

          Re Wolf in the door…Domesticated dogs are closely related to wolves genetically and can even inter breed…We keep dogs inside & in our yards as companion animals & guard dogs…So what about Duterte is he a wild wolf or domesticated ?

          • NHerrera says:


            The wolf in chempo’s article is the Joma Sison’s kind of wolf. But I appreciate that there are other kinds of wolf, of which Sison’s is the most dangerous kind?

            About the locution chempo writes about ( cauldron of bubbling and mesmerising locution ), my simple-minded mind gets confused too.

          • andy ibay says:

            Bill, I adhere to Heraclitus “know thyself” dictum and am for many decades trying. My problem is my context is so scattered jumping here and there in their relevance that readers confined to specialised disciplines somehow gets irritated. Imagine me saying something about McCarthyism being a factor in why communism did not prosper in the USA when the good senator had hurt a lot of good people.

            You would not be afraid of dogs if you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s “What the Dog Saw.” My language is Babel of the sciences jumping words from military, family planning, vasectomy, tubal ligation, coitus interruptus; education, androgogy vs pedagogy; health, induced coma, idiopathy; the agricultural sciences, soil sciences like soil physics, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, to literature, prose, poetry, the arts. The mind travels and my fingers just punch the keys of mixed vocabulary.

            • chempo says:

              Andy, some say that’s the inclination of a beautiful mind.

              • andy ibay says:

                I know, I know they also serve these blokes with beautiful minds and physics, philosophy and poetry are their asylum while they live on honest bread.

          • andy ibay says:

            No worry este no need to be sorry Bill we all are like Chempo and I as we keep on trying to understand convoluted and confusing LIFE is. We never learn and that keep us going.

      • andy ibay says:

        Sorry just got back from gallivanting all over town ’cause it is free bus rides today. — my indirect attempt at APPRECIATION above : Looks inadequate of course considering the magnitude of the issues tackled by the author.

  15. Ben Zayb says:

    Forgive me for the length. My mind was very provoked. I hope I am not out of line for this.

    Part I:

    A very thorough article. I do believe however that there is one critical flaw in the article and that is this–a lack of “respect” for the Communists and (note–in IMPLICIT terms) the Left. I can’t help but recall a piece of fanfiction I once read. The characters and plot are irrelevant, but all that’s relevant in this discussion is this:

    The slave-gladiator is at first troubled at having to kill his fellow slaves, yet he later on comes to terms with his disgusting role as a gladiator. He comes to terms with this disgusting role by resolving that the only way to give his enemies honor–the only way to be honorable on that stage–was to give it his all in fighting.

    If the Communists are our enemies–that means going so far as to step into their minds, apply the charity principle with vigor and even question our own beliefs and principles to find the best way to defeat them. For in honoring your enemies–you gain full understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and win with both ease and pride.

    Like the Communists. Hate the Communists. Give them “respect” whether as allies or as enemies. Regardless of whether one’s plans is to make them part of the solution or lessen them as a possible threat–it will still be imperative that one must see them INTELLECTUAL COMPASSION (“Objectivity” is overrated; everyone runs by a different “logic” anyhow). See them as neither clearly good nor bad–but a morally gray actor. See them not as one monolithic whole–but as a multifaceted and diverse part of Philippine politics and society. See them as not angels or demons. See them as human beings like you and me–with their organizations just as human.

    The pitfall of seeing things in an angels-versus-demons dynamic is that where there are
    “demons” born, there are also “angels” created. You make an enemy a “demon” and find that you have made yourself an “angel” in this stark and plain black-and white dynamic. This dynamic is bad as it gives rise to blind spots. To fail to see the enemy’s merits is to fail to see your own faults. Is Philippine Capitalism as monolithic as Philippine Communism (and by extension, the Left)? Or is it as diverse–and human–as Philippine Communism (and by extension, the Left) really is. Communism here has nuances that set it apart from Communism esewhere. Capitalism here is not the efficient but compassionate Capitalism elsewhere. Philippine Capitalism–driven by services and run by dynasties equal if not dominant over state power–here cannot certainly be equated to the highly-efficient (and coincidentally no surprise–entrepreneurial) American Capitalism or a social safety-net laden European Capitalism or a manufacturing-powered East Asian Capitalism where dynasties do manage the economy–but state power is still in the driver’s seat and ready and willing to force them to act towards national ends if necessary.

    This is not excusing the madness of NPA bandits and “rectification” campaigns. This is also not excusing the fact that the poverty rate has barely dipped in this current administration and that much of the wealth generated has gone to the richest in society.

    This is also not excusing the fact that when it comes to a machinery best suited for reform (that is–displacing our current semi-modern and personalistic elected aristocracy) now–and coincidentally an ideological machinery closest in structure to that of the Western nations that serves as part of the foundation of the modern “political parties” we so clamor for and admire–the Left (and more importantly–the Communist Left) is the only game in town. This is also not excusing the fact that the Aquino administration has raised us by leaps in global competitiveness ratings and has raised our debt ratings multiple times–on which all future successes (including Digong’s) will rest on.

    • Ben Zayb says:

      Part 2:

      Don’t get me wrong. I respect the accomplishments of the current administration. Heck–my heart is biased towards the yellow. I can’t help but cringe at the partisan blather that comes out of the dallies and the magazines–as if they reduce the administration to a few failings and ignore the just-as-substantial successes. Making our nation credit-worthy is nothing to sneeze at. And record low inflation? Wow.

      But my mind can’t help but pursue this train of thought. The public has spoken–and they consider the straight path a failed path. Of course–there are those who might say: GMA, CPP and Marcos have been working since day one to taint the straight path! Yes. I acknowledge that–with one caveat: the best (and only) lies that work are half-truths. Half of the administration has been record low inflation, unprecedented stock market heights and successive credit rating upgrades. Coincidentally–things that benefit the upper and upper middle-class people. Half of the administration has also been an utter lack of priortization of agriculture (see agriculture growth rates), a failure to deal with infrastructure that cannot cope with a growing economy (Abaya and traffic) and a failure to make a dent in the gross inequality and poverty of the nation. Coincidentally–things that either hurt the poor (agriculture and persistent poverty) or negate whatever good has trickled down to the lower middle-class (traffic, etc. for the people who can’t afford Skyway or have to use the MRT).

      In fact, this half-truth has proven so convincing that people are willing to resort to a man who–in the best case scanario–is fond of “speaking” like a dictator. People are willing to resort to total change. No more band-aids. They want surgery now. They are willing to go to a maverick who is willing to work with people who want to overhaul the whole Philippine Republic shebang. They do NOT want to work with people who promise to “keep what is good” and “fix what needs to be fix” in the system.

      That says something.

      All the research papers and policy papers by the experts in the world cannot dissuade me from the former. Not when I look at FB and see all the “Dayaang Matuwid” and “Noytard” comments. Not when I look at FB and see all the vicious anger. As much as I hate to admit it–my own stance: that the administration is doing “okay” at the very least–is not what the Philippine General Will believes. If the majority in a democracy believes that their democracy does not work–who is anyone to say that they are wrong? That, in spite of their widespread disbelief, democracy works fine?

      A bit off-track here, but on the “Never Again” versus “Marcos was Good” debate–I can’t help but think that the “Never Again” side has focused on much on tearing down the opposite guys that they’ve neglected to build their own side. Granted, I was just in debate club for one year but I learned there that you don’t just win by tearing down arguments–you win by also justifying your own. You don’t (note: IMPLICITLY) rely on any inherent moral superiority. Especially in this crazy post-modern era where everyone is–to use my generation’s term–goddamned EDGY.
      In this utterly insane post-modern era, this is key: if you want your sense of “good” to prevail then tearing down what you consider opposite to it–the “bad” as it were–will only get you so far. You must justify your sense of “good” if you want it to prevail so badly. We tore down the Church with Enlightenment stuff. We also tore down the Enlightenment with Critical Analysis stuff. With all this tearing down, we tore down the idea that there can be only “RIGHT” or morality in the world.
      Unfortunately–that has costs. That includes recognizing (at least in TACTICAL and PRACTICAL terms) that the “Never Again” camp cannot rely on any sense of moral superiority. An army guy who defected to the NPA who defected back to AFP once talked about, I think, the “taproot” of the Communist insurgency as the poor socioeconomic situation and general corruption. That is, you don’t defeat the Reds by guns–you defeat them with jobs and good governance. Maybe we’ve been using too much “rhetorical” guns against the Marcoses. Maybe we need to deal with the “taproot” of New Society Nostalgia?

      Maybe that means that the post-EDSA consensus is broken? Maybe that means incremental improvements won’t cut it–that you’ll need systemic overhaul to make it work.After all–if the post-EDSA consensus really was awesome–PNoy would be treated less as “irritating oligarch kid” and more as something like Lee Kwan Yew’s son?

      We ourselves IMPLICITLY find the system broken. We are disgusted at the dynasties that fester and run rampant, that feast on national welfare as if it were a corpse. We clamor for a strong and well-implemented anti-dynasty law that will drive these vultures away. We say NO–fine democracies are built on republican law and norms, on systems! Not on the personal caprice of these electoral aristocrats!

      Yet, the reformists outside the left seem to believe–ala the Don Quixote-esque “Unity” movements calling for us to be “One” nation–that all you need is character. To this all I have to say are the words of Tiglao–not that I agree with him but I find his words perfect here: “That kind of framework is actually centuries ahead of that prevailing mode of analysis you read in sophomoric blogs, and even in juvenile opinion columns, which agonize with a neurotic kind of self-immolation, on “what’s wrong with the Filipino character,” or what bad habits this group of people has that allow them to get stuck in a lousy nation with a lousy leadership.”

      …Or SEE the need to CREATE countering SYSTEMS (READ: MACHINERY) BUT are still in the nascent stages and prone to political miscarriage in the womb of this Inang Bayan (the moderate Left, i.e Akbayan). Let’s admit it, the manoks of the do-gooders, centrists and moderates cannot match the machinery of the National Democrats.

      Unfortunately, there is only one part of Philippine society here with enough ORGANIZATION to scare the trapos into becoming Tories. Unfortunately, there is only one part of Philippine society with the MACHINERY to approximate the political party systems of advanced democracies–and serve as the perfect sparring partner-cum-example for our Trapo-Tories to adjust to and form sound competing ideologies to compete against…

      The National Democrats. Because it isn’t enough to bring in good people like Bam and hope that things will turn out okay. Because it isn’t enough to just have good people. It is enough–to have a good system–that even if the parts are toxic, the whole is healthy. Sodium is toxic. Chlorine is toxic. Yet, add them up and you get SALT. The Salt of the Earth, if we need to be biblical here. 🙂

      Many people have talked about how the CPP-NPA are a waning armed force. But the status of their united front as the leading (and organized) “non-dynastic” force in Philippine politics means that if they succeed in their Duterte gig–we may see the weak trapos fall out of power and the principled ones empowered enough to turn into Tories. Yin needs Yang. The Avatar must balance all Four Elements. 🙂

      After all, we need to put a stop to the monopoly in our marketplace of free ideas.

      • bill in oz says:

        Wow… what a mouthful Ben…But just about the most insightful & intelligent post I have read since coming to the Philippines…Thank you for making the effort to write it

        I really get what you say : without a left inspired movement that can win mass electoral support, there is no incentive for the oligarchic capitalist families to change & reform.

        So now the question becomes : what kind of left ? A marxist dogma driven left or a pragmatic ‘Labour” party type left ? And can Filipinos who have been part of the former see that real change which benefits the poor & low paid & marginalised in the Philippines, can be achieved by the latter ?

        • I just realized who’s missing in this discussion. Ireneo used to be a Leftist, where is he? I think he’d agree w/ Ben’s sentiments, but add to the whole “Keep your Enemies closer” point, I think Ireneo would echo my sentiments of keeping a close eye on the profit motive driven machinery, when enterprises get Huge (to quote Donald Trump) in the Philippines…

          • You need regulation and compliance (without going too far into “big government”) to keep corporations from becoming a state within a state, or even like states unto themselves…

            Uncontrolled power groups tend to prevent others from moving up, while growing too comfortable and maybe even abusive…. whether they are corporate elites, Communist apparatchiks or whatever… power getting too cozy and powerless too hopeless isn’t good.

      • Ben,

        This could’ve been easily an article.

        “I do believe however that there is one critical flaw in the article and that is this–a lack of “respect” for the Communists and (note–in IMPLICIT terms) the Left.”

        Yup, there’s a reason for all this push back against Capitalism, it’s happening here as well, and I support it… doesn’t mean I’m Communist, nor Leftist.

        • chempo says:

          Lance, an article from you on capitalism vs socialism would be great. Not necessary to be heavy on the economics, but more current affairs discussion type piece.

          • Hmmmmm… that’s a good idea, chemp. But won’t it get into the muddy field of economics? I appreciate you not going full-Micha on me, but I think it’s best left to folks like you… where folks like me will just raise ethical issues… once numbers are thrown, statistics and such, ethical issues usually get over-shadowed.

            I think I’ve already written that article in Austerity to tell you the truth. I don’t think I can squeeze anymore. “Live Simply, so others can simply Live”. But I’ll look into it, chemp.

      • chempo says:

        Ben, you are not out of line. As Joe said, space here is free. It’s good anyone to contribute so long as it’s not hate mongering.

        I read 2 things here. One part is pre-election wisdom. Unfortunately, we are living in a world where people love the bad boys. Where dog bites man is no longer news, but man bites dog makes tabloid headlines.

        The other part is as Bill perceives it. I appreciate your bit of Sun Tze on the communists. But you are wrong, I DO respect these guys — for their dedication to their beliefs. Now these guys have beliefs, they stand for something. What does UNA, LP, Nacionalista, PDP-Labuan, and others stand for? Turncoatism is their ideology!. The fear of what communism means arise out of respect for them. You don’t “F” around with these guys — that’s respect. But understand me right, it is not a respect of what they can achieve for the citizenry. I don’t see any Utopia round the corner.

        • Ben Zayb says:

          Thanks for the kind words 🙂

          What I mean by “respect” is to see them as not just an honorable enemy–but also as simply human. That their actions and ideals–however wrong in our eyes–arose from the same human urges as our own. They are just as diverse as any center-left (liberal, social-democratic) or right-wing (libertarian, classical liberal) movement. Just as there are Bams in the “conservative” part of Philippine politics, so are there good people there. And they can adapt to the times, just as we can.

          Which means that we should be–while vigilant–give them the benefit of doubt. Why–Pareng Joma is ironically the “moderate” one in the CPP-NPA; ironically, right after the chaos of the 90s caused by his hawkish stance, he saw the strong showing of the Maoists in Nepal and started to change his mind on the whole “we’ll stick to guns” approach. The one to fear isn’t Joma–but the hawks in the CPP-NPA who don’t like what he wants now. Hopefully–Duterte’s overwhelming support is enough proof to quiet them.

          Heck, I’d say that the National Democratic movement is in a Catch-22 situation, as far as their dedication to the MARCH TOWARDS DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARTIAT UPTOPIA vision (which we all have reason to fear) is concerned.

          Use cabinet positions gained in the Duterte presidency to stoke instability to produce revolutionary tension? People–because this is the age of social media and black propaganda–see through the BS. Duterte gets pissed–and Leni and Hontiveros (by extension, Abad) are vindicated. Cooperate with Duterte and produce results? The electoral tail–BAYAN MUNA, GABRIELA and company–will finally wag the armed dog. Either way–whether by the vindication of the “Third Force” moderate/social-democratic Left or by the empowerment of the electoral (that is, parliamentary and relatively moderate) factions of the National Democratic movement–the Left will mellow.

          Quite happy that this might look to be the generation that will lay the foundations for a fully mature Philippine democracy.Of course, we would have had this all earlier if CPP-NPA didn’t implode and fall into pieces shortly before People Power. That is the one thing that struck me as plain deserving of resentment when I was browsing through the Philippine Left’s history in my high school library…

          • “Pareng Joma is ironically the “moderate” one in the CPP-NPA; ironically, right after the chaos of the 90s caused by his hawkish stance, he saw the strong showing of the Maoists in Nepal and started to change his mind on the whole “we’ll stick to guns” approach. The one to fear isn’t Joma–but the hawks in the CPP-NPA who don’t like what he wants now. “


            I’m of the same opinion.

            Holland’s a cool place, so if you ‘ve lived there long enough, you become cool by osmosis. 😉

            Speaking of Holland, my whole point has always been the protection of people like Baruch Spinoza. I’m familiar with the concept of Noble Savage, and I’ve seen poor in the Philippines aspire for more.

            When I say protection from Capitalism, I’m not necessarily thinking about the poor, I’m thinking of people rich or poor, educated or not, who don’t desire more… quite the opposite, they want less. How will they be protected?

            As bill stated above, Communists can be just as tyrannical, to people and their environment. So I also ask this same question to them,

            Will your system protect the guy who wants less, not more?

            • Ben Zayb says:

              It’s not that I’m a communist. I am a democrat who wants his democracy. It’s just that we can’t exactly take this at our own time like England or America. We have to think like the communists in this regard–with an eye towards tactics and strategy: what focused action will bring about democracy? In any other place–I would lean center-left. Used to be enamored with the idea of Big Government–but am now leaning towards a Leftist Big Society thing; let the State work with a developed Civil Society that’s close to the people and all. I also think that capitalism is the worst (economic) system save for everything else (like democracy)–and that it works best when it walks the talk and exists in competition with other economic ideologies and is thoroughly criticized by them in the marketplace of free ideas.

              It’s just that–name a developed democracy that hasn’t had a sustained and institutionalized Left to turn aristocrats into Tories, to turn their nations into fully-fledged democracies. Even Japan–one of the weirdest democracies around (completely different from Western democracies–if Western parties aim for domination, their parties aim for consensus…as their primary objective) and notably non-Western–had ’em. Having the Left mature is like a democracy going through puberty. Awkward but necessary to have them red pimples. 🙂

              I was approaching this from the tactical perspective. Just as some Communists would say that it is necessary to have a “Marxist bourgeois multi-party democracy” to transition towards socialist utopia–I say as a firm democrat that it is necessary to have “politically represented Leftist movement” as the necessary step towards “Fukuyamist End-of-History Liberal Utopia” 🙂

              On whether people who want “less” will be protected…I never actually thought about that point, capitalist and gadget-happy city-boy that I am…but as an intellectual exercise…

              I suppose that given the particularly radical nature of our Left and our closeness to the effects of climate change–people will probably be more critical of excessive materialism and consumerism of our current society. Who knows–maybe a Church with Her conservative hierarchy’s political capital lessened by conflicts with The Digong may have Her more adventurous laymen–cautiously empowered by the liberating rhetoric of Pope Francis–chart a new course that will so happen to align with these new political currents. Heck, there was lots of that during Martial Law. It depends though on who wins the “who gets to define the Philippine Left” race of history. While both the far and moderate sides are still pretty firm in their ideological moorings–I am somewhat frightened of the possibility our moderate Left turning New Labour….abandoning crucial criticism of capitalism for the overly modest goal of making it “a bit easier” to live with. Then again–people like Bello are still there…and the loss of the administration might induce some re-thinking…and it doesn’t look like the far left will yield any institutional advantage anytime soon…

              But who knows? Maybe a Sanders upset (and this weird American sorta-turn towards the Left) might embolden moderates and stop their slide towards neoliberalism…

              • Sorry, Ben, I didn’t mean to imply that you were communist, that last question was more of a hypothetical… But I get your point re course adjustments specific to the Philippines.

              • bill in oz says:

                Ben, I am puzzled by the ‘left’ in the Philippines…And quite ignorant..But here are a couple of guesses..

                The marxist/ communist left has always been able to survive & thrive because of Soviet & then Chinese aid, financial & moral..( The same as in other countries like Oz )

                But the rest of the left…trade unions, political groupings have not had this type of foreign help, or foreign ‘cachet’. And so maybe marginalised and politically irrelavant. So you see the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines putting out ads in the media saying vote Liberal party at the lat election…And not promoting their own candidates or even part list..While the Teachers union had it’s own party list…

                One thing is certain in politics : division means complete failure! .. Poe versus Roxas versus Duterte shows that well.. But so too does the lack of a Philipines Labor Party representing all working people and the rural poor..Even in the States there has been the Democrat party which traditionally represented working people ( Though taken over by professional political elite since the 1990’s under the Clintons & Obama)

              • chempo says:

                Ben, thank you for your contribution here. Your thoughts are very interesting.

                Like Bill of Oz, I’m more British influenced in terms of political perspectives so we are more inclined to a Left organised around Labour. Here in Philippines, the Left is in tatters, mainly I suspect, they fall prey to the disease of personality worship, incapable of coalescing behind a national ideal. In part also due to suppression of organised unions during Marcos time.

                The communists are the extreme Left. There is no political co-existence with them. It’s their way or the killing fields. My mind is probably moulded by life experiences and observations. I lived through some tumultuous periods, witnessed first hand the carnage of irrational youths with minds poisoned by insidious indoctrination, seen through the machinations of red propaganda, marvelled at their organisational strength from secretive cells to public political party to shadowy hit squads, had friends who had family properties snatched away and reduced to a pauper’s life. It did’nt help that in our own life time we witnessed the rise of evil men under communist colours in several countries who brought nothing but devastation of human lives and the quality of living. Against this backdrop, I ask the question — given an option, why take a risk with them at all?

                Once again, let me clarify. Not all leftist are communists. I am centre and left-leaning too.

              • bill in oz says:

                Chempo ! Spot on here. Agree completely.. But the first Labor party emerged in 1892-3 in Queensland in Oz. in the midst of a great depression..The UK labor party was formed later..

              • bill in oz says:

                HOW TO FORM A LABOR PARTY ? I have been reviewing my history on this. In the UK, in Australia, in New Zealand, in Ireland, the same pattern happened in the 1890’s & 1900’s. Trade Unions met and formed a united group, that nominated candidates for election to parliament. That took horse trading among the various personalities in the unions. All these Candidates pledged to be members of a Labor parliamentary party and to vote in parliament as decided by the majority in caucus…
                There you have it..

                Now I wonder if trade unions in the Philippines has the nous to do the same.

                An interesting note : after the emergence of labor parties., The conservative side of politics went through the same process with the formation of real parties that worked the same way.

                The first Australian Labor government was formed in 1904 with support from a smaller conservative group.

              • chempo says:

                Bill — this goes back to Lance’s question — who will look after those small guys.
                You have the rich, oligarchies, capitalists on one side — they can form what ever parties they want –UNA, LP, Nacionalista, etc, then the poor guys under a Labour movement or front, that’s it. Balanced representation. Cut out the shit party lists system. The more fragmented, the more rowdy it gets, and nothing gets done.

      • NHerrera says:

        I love the current blog and commentaries. There are many points made here. If one puts together only Chempo’s and Ben Zayb’s notes one can appreciate the broad scope of the ideas. In my case I mix the two concepts of C and B into some sort of formula:

        xC + yB

        with the weights x+y = 1. I have not quite decided what weight to give to x,y. I have to think about the ideas more in my head.

        Thanks, Ben. And thanks again chempo, the Sham.

        • chempo says:

          Hahaha NHerera I always look forward to the way you quantify everything.

        • sonny says:

          So far, I can follow this equation of NH. Having a Chemistry background I will run a parallel equation that goes like this: PV = nRT Not to worry, like NH’s equation I’m still deciding what things or systems my equation will describe relative to this blog. If and when it makes sense and worth sharing, that will be a eureka! moment and you’ll know about it. 🙂 (the formula is used as the equation of state for ideal gases, where P=pressure, V=volume, T=temperature, n=the number of molecules in the gas, R=is a constant that makes the formula a true mathematical equation; as I said ignore it for now).

      • sonny says:

        BZ, I hope you will extenuate the Sodium-Chlorine analogy to other chemico-political descriptions, so I can vindicate me to me. 🙂

  16. caliphman says:

    Like a drunk reeling left and right and sometimes in reverse, Duterte traces the country’s path to God knows where. A more nightmarish scenario from Alice in Wonderland would be hard to conjure.Off with his head declares the Mad King and other SOB journalists like him! Be afraid, be very afraid…Beware the Jabberwock!

    • But the 4 cabinet positions specifically, how will they create a nightmarish scenario, caliphman? Who are these individuals, what have they done, where will they take their respective institutions?

      • caliphman says:

        Lance, if you reread my posts its not about the cabinet appointments I hav serious qualms with but if one must be completely plain, its the king’s conduct.

        • I know you’re taking the marco view here, caliphman, but I’m interested re your take on the personalities involved vis-a-vis this article, the micro.

          • Caliphman says:

            Lance, I am not sure I can add anything on who these CPP appointed personalities are being a long time OFW stateside. if the idea was to fulfill his campaign promise of peace with the NPA it was risky and not necessary. Aquino’s secret negotiations had reached agreement with the CPP on that and more.If it was to staff up these four departments with honest, hard working, and the usual holdover trapo appointments from prior admins. Moreover, it supports his claimed socialist leanings. These are all tactical considerations and chempo has a point about their questionable allegiances. If there was a huge legal, moral, and political problem with Poe as a US citizen assuming key government positions, what more with people connected with an exiled and banned organizations sworn to overthrow the government? Are their upsides to these appointment? Potentially yes. These people will not need sensitivity training in serving peasants,workers and the struggling masses in general since they presumably have been doing most of their lives. They would not be beholden to oligarchs, political benefactors, or dynastic clans for their careers or been transformed by the ruinuous bureacratic, corrupt and do nothing culture that infests most of the governmrnt agencies. They will in fact bring in staff with similar desireable backgrounds and hopefully will bring radical positive change to these organizations. There are significant caveats as well. Remember that poor untainted pro bono lawyer Cory Aquino appointed acting mayor of Makati named Binay? That must not be what the PE had in mind. Remember that bright dedicated Goldman Sachs executive named Sevilla that was brought in to shake up and clean up the den of thieves masquerading as the Bureau of Customs? Ultimately, his failure was preordained given the entrenched culture of corruption deeply rooted from top to bottom of the agency and the deep involvement of top officials at the presidency and senate. Will Duterte be able to back these CPP appointees when the reforms they try to undertake run afoul of this entrenched culture and other agency heads supported by their own political connections? For someone who will start work at 1 pm and confounds the public and his own staff on what his real views are, I very seriously doubt it as he will be very busy fighting a lot of fires, many of his own making. Having said that, lets give the idea a chance as miracles do happen.

  17. NHerrera says:

    Joe, re Notes from the Editor, I believe there is a METHOD, if not on its face, below the surface.

    • Joe America says:

      The note says: “Unity, sweet unity. Be one with the borg, assimilate, resistance is futile.”

      • “The Borg Collective is the term used to define the forced combined consciousness of trillions of individuals, using technology

        take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully.”

        just me, trying the dot the i and cross the t.

        • karlgarcia says:

          From Star Trek,I guess.

        • Joe America says:

          In the Star Trek Next Generation series, the borg was feared and considered an enemy because it took thinking beings, attached their brains together, and used that power to find and assimilate other humans. Those in the borg had no thoughts that were completely to themselves, and they could not escape the force of the unified collective. To resist was futile.

          I see the kind of unity in what President Duterte and his followers seem to do, to troll and find others who think differently, and either recruit them or kill them. To resist is futile because, at some point, the borg’s power is all-consuming. When journalists are suppressed or eliminated, the borg grows in power.

          It is a hypothetical, a dark one, but there are signs . . . Vigilance is important.

          • Joe America says:

            The catcalling of the GMA-7 news reporter at his press conference was a form of power-mongering and advice to other impudent reporters who ask hard questions, “mind your place”. I found it just as ruthless as his “kill journalists” commentary, and directed at women. I can’t see how any woman could accept this, but it was apparently accepted within the room of reporters as being “all in good fun”.

            To me, it is very 1930’s. And humiliating to a woman reporter aspiring to compete fairly.

            Which makes me wonder why there are so few women in his cabinet, and why he did not exhibit the strength to appoint Leni Robredo to a meaningful position.

          • sonny says:

            Joe, any chance the PE is really a type of Jean-Luc Picard in control of the Borg, being once part of the Borg?

            • Joe America says:

              His behavior suggests he has not left it. So I don’t think so. He is busy assimilating others, and not holding any regrets in the meantime. Self-introspection and regret seem not to be within his wheelhouse, or station in the borg.

          • sonny says:

            Not quite on-topic, Joe.

            The idea of the Borg was a fascinating part of Star Trek trunkline. Angels and devils are part of celestial struggle in Catholic mysticism: angels were all the good guys in the beginning, devils are fallen angels implying a test of obedience to God. Devils are in eternal enmity with God, while the angels are in absolute and eternal allegiance to God’s will, beck and call. The Borg are angelic/diabolical in their exercise of will, i.e. resistance is not in their vocabulary.

            • Joe America says:

              They are a machine, so neither is compassion or guilt or joy. They just do what they do, x’s and o’s, and harvest the thoughts of the creatures that fuel the machine. I don’t think gods and devils are a part of the vocabulary, either. That’s my thinking. I’ve not read any analysis on the thing, so you probably have a better handle on it.

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, I had that italicized note above in mind when I wrote that line. But I was rather cryptic. By The METHOD, I mean that — and here I am revealing the secret I “was sworn” not to reveal, hahaha — the early rush to do a much publicized kill-scare is meant to REDUCE, by that scare alone together with his dramatized narrative in his present Kingdom, a significant fraction of the bad guys with perhaps a demonstration of one or two media-splashed examples. Then RESTRAINT, etc. I will have to stop here. As it is I have already said a mouthful. I was asked to keep the secret on pain of … Oh my, what have I done?

  18. Chivas says:

    Lost my email, got another one. It’s been awhile.

    I recently watched Forest Whitaker’s amazing performance on The Last King of Scotland which garnered him Oscars.

    The most interesting part of being president is that you will know the world’s secrets whether you like it or not.

    • sonny says:

      A well-deserved award to such an underrated actor.

      • sonny says:

        Another movie I recommend is THE BUNKER (Anthony Hopkins et al.). It is an old one available in youtube. It is about the pathology of the Third Reich.

  19. Sup says:

    For the Members who missed it…..A whistle said more than a thousand words…… 😦


  20. Micha says:


    You are sill stuck in the cold war dichotomy. The rest of the world has since moved on. Western capitalism has embraced some features of socialism and communist China has embraced the neo-liberal enterprise. An evolution of economic system is necessary because neither of the existing systems in their pure unadulterated form can guarantee the well being of the state and its people.

    Your fear mongering on Duterte’s cabinet is unwarranted.

    • bill in oz says:

      But what do you say Micha about journalists being executed ?
      I think we right to be very concerned about Duterte’s threat to allow assasination of journalists that he thinks are corrupt. Hitler used the same language in the 1930’s.

      It was disconcerting last Friday evening to come out of Isetan Mall here in Quiapo after eating, and find police 30 meters away.. There on the ground was a body lying in a pool of blood…Later I found out he was a journalist. He had not published anything since February..But it was a question about his execution that started Duterte about corrupt journalists.

    • chempo says:

      Micha, good to see you back…

      perhaps you are right
      perhaps Sison will turn out to be a sweet old man after all
      perhaps sison will keep his socialist ideals and adopt the best in capitalism
      perhaps sison will distribute wealth equally (pluses for the poor, but I don’t know where the minuses will be coming from)

      But for me, I’ll err on the side of safety anytime.

      But why oh why is the NPA still relevant to CPP after all these years?

      As I said, communism’s unworkable central planning economic model has no choice but to adopt capitalism, OK good for them. But why sole political party and power in their hands? The umbrella protest of Hongkong shows the ghosts of communists past are still hanging around.

      It’s not fear mongering, it’s a sober voice in a room full of people intoxicated by one on the stage..

      • Micha says:


        I’ve bookmarked JoeAm’s homepage in a folder called “establishment propaganda”. When it became clear that Mar Roxas decisively lost to Rodrigo, I was tempted to change the label to “useless propaganda”.

        Since having been banned from posting comments hereabouts for calling you spectacularly clueless, I didn’t bother to homer in on the irrelevancy of this forum even after the supposed exile period had expired.

        Because the outsider from Davao had dislodged the Manila centric establishment in a fair contest, I knew Duterds will be pregnant target even before the guy is officially installed, fueled of course by his bombshell retorts.

        As for me, I’m giving the guy some slack. I really have no idea how he will proceed in the business of governance. Maybe he or his advisers are aware that he will be vulnerable to being deposed if he fails to deliver. Or, because the guy is a veritable maniac and has all the potential characteristic of an autocrat, he will have no choice but to resort to authoritarian rule like his family friend from Ilocos.

        His self identification as a leftist and his cozying up to communist China will put him in CIA crosshairs. Quite a handful of like-minded Latin American leaders such as those from Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and most recently Brazil, have already fallen – covertly instigated and engineered by Washington Consensus operatives.

        Central planning is divorced from the actual socialism adopted by Western Europeans.

        • chempo says:

          Dear Micha, you are entitled to call your folder any which way you want. I don’t think most of us are here for a popularity contest.

          Actually, to me, Duterte’s win had given Philippines politics a great breath of fresh air. It has shown new generations of Filipinos that anybody outside Manila can aspire to the Presidency. It would have been better still if this win can demonstrate that someone from a non-dynastic background had won. Unfortunately, in this respect, Duterte is not much different from many others. In this respect then, it’s still business as usual. But Leni’s win is different and I shout hellelujah for that — for a commoner beating the monolithic power family of Philippines, a family that would have been extinguished had Cory Aquino been a communist.

          I don’t think people here enjoy being critical of Duterte. We would have loved it that Duterte succeed in office. People tend to hear what they want to hear, so I think you may have missed much initial comments here in earlier blogs that wished Duterte well. You may not have noted that Joe and myself made the same point that Duterte could do well if he utilised his strong man persona to inject some tough love policies ala Lee Kuan Yew. How he is going to move the country along is left to be seen. It will be open season and his performance is fair game for anyone. As a proud member of this Society, I would like to see credit be given where due, and criticism be issue and value based, offered with reasonable exposition.

          As an example, in this article, I said his offer to CPP was “bold”, out of “honest” desire for peace. I have not said it was dumb or any other derogatory terms. And I simply went on to posit the implications. I don’t think any one can shoot me for that.

          As regards coming into the “cross-hair” of the US I have no idea at all. All I know is the US has always been the first to assist Philippines in each natural calamity, given much financial and other aid, left the country peacefully when the legislative elected to unceremoniously and ungraciously boot them out of the bases in Subic, And now in times of need, with islands occupied by a new big bully, the US returns. It is not purely for love of Philippines, but because of alignment of interest of both countries. But they could choose not to be here because the economic interest of Philippines to the US is not substantial.

          As for Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina I would’nt in one sentence brand US the evil doer. You need a long article to posit the good, the bad and the ugly side of the story. As for Brazil, please spare the US just once. It’s a great example of how wrong economic policies, weak leadership and corruption can ruin a country. The are fighting the same fight as Philippines.

          Last sentence, of course I understand. As I have said, communism expounds socialism, but socialism is not communism. I am fine with Duterte saying he is a socialist, not a communists — because I understand what he meant.

          Micha, your views are appreciated. Just try to be kinder to commenters you cross swords with. Be cool.

        • Joe America says:

          People who have received the 30 day suspension seem to react one of two ways. One set takes the time to grasp that I am trying to create a discussion forum that is exceptional, and take the personal jibes out of their commentary. Irineo and LCX have done this and have made absolutely superb contributions. The other set gets angry and returns with a chip on their shoulder and are determined to show up or put down the blog and maybe me, personally. I7sharp and Primer come to mind. They can’t prosper because they don’t respect why I moderate and give people a cooling off period. You seem to have returned with the attitude to prove your greater wisdom, and to do it at the expense of the blog and others. I can assure you that your chip on the shoulder, no one matters but you, attitude will not prosper here.

          I cannot control the Presidential election, but I can control the quality of discussion here. Your thinking is often excellent. Your attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Grasp that you control your attitude. I control what you do with it in this forum.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Welcome back Micha.
      The CPP-NDF is also stuck in the cold war era.They still have arm struggle,they still indoctrinate,they still raid police stations,they still terrorize,they still collect revolutionary taxes.
      I hope the peace talks finally work.
      Me,I have no problem with them in the cabinet or the congress.

  21. Arguably, the only successful Socialist was Fidel Castro – but he cared more about his people than about ideology I think. Vietnam and China effectively moved away from Communism in order to achieve the progress they have today – they are practically authoritarian turbocapitalist states.

    There was an author who described China as the worst of both worlds – Communist lack of freedom plus neoliberal/turbocapitalist lack of care for people… Szhenzhen as its embodiment.

      • Sup says:


        The Cuban leader kept a gun at his feet when travelling in his Mercedes and never went anywhere without at least 10 bodyguards, including two “blood donors”. At home he would get up late, and start work around midday “after a frugal breakast”.

    • chempo says:

      Irineo, what is your criteria of a socialist success? By any mode of economic measurement Cuba is a laggard. Perhaps you mean Castro’s success in hanging on to power when so many other communists states have fallen?

      • bill in oz says:

        Let’s not get confused Chempo.. There are plenty of sucessfull socialist countries Swedon, Denmark, the Netherlands even France are such examples… But there are no examples of communist centrally planned economies..They are all failures. The most recent example is Venezuela … A total stuff up

        • chempo says:

          I mean communist, not socialist because Irineo referred to Cuba

        • caliphman says:

          China by almost all measures is a communist country that has achieved great success. One may argue its economic model is hybrid and allows free enterprise and capitalism to function to some extent. But politically, the politburo exercises tight control as vulnerable to corruption its members might be.

  22. bill in oz says:

    Duterte is getting world media attention for his remarks on Tuesday night…
    I suspect that even the fashionably leftish Guardian is appallled.


    I wonder if Dutters will be classed as a nutter like Idi Amin or Pol Pot or the current north korean wonderman.

    Definitely not good publicity for the Philippines

  23. chemrock says:

    In the Commission on Appointments interview, Senator Drillon asked DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo a succint question ; Will you give up on continuing with the armed struggle?

    She said NO.

    Wonder if Filipinos took notice of that.
    For communists, there is no peace talks, it’s only a ploy. They are at war until the dat they won.

    Now Duts have branded NPA-CPP-CNF as a terror group. That means he has so many terrorists in his cabinet !

    I think there are about 10 communists in his cabinet at the moment, Karl?

    • edgar lores says:

      It’s a crazy situation, isn’t it? These Reds are serving in a government they want to overthrow!

      So how does Taguiwalo go about her duties? Does she improve the welfare of the people and thereby strengthen the government? Or does she undermine her duties and responsibilities to hasten the revolution?

      And was Sotto’s na-ano comment meant to distract the people from Drilon’s question and her answer?

      These people do not know their front from their behind. This applies to most Filipinos actually.

      • NHerrera says:

        In the blog topic of “body-bag being rolled away amid several observers,” I wrote of the trigger-routine-reward thing which you nicely nuanced as an avoidance or defensive strategy for some of my enumerated “types.”

        Back to the current blog, we have the case of the constant trigger — which started from Day One of Duterte’s Administration, and which has largely become invisible like the air we breathe — aptly described by chemrock as “wolves in the house” . The routine reaction of majority of the Filipinos falls very nicely into the “avoidance or defensive strategy” you wrote in the other blog!

    • karlgarcia says:

      Methinks so too Chemrock.

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