PERHAPS the pandemic lockdowns have gone to Sen. Franklin Drilon’s head or he has applied for membership with the Communist Party of the Philippines, but the bill he filed last week at the Senate just boggles the mind.
The Yellow Philippine Daily Inquirer headlined its report raving over Drilon’s bill, “Drilon bill to outlaw ‘red-tagging’ filed, cheered.” Cheered? Of course, no doubt by the communists, although the article quoted only one person doing so: Edre Olalia, the head of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL). Who is he?
Olalia officially has been the chief counsel of the National Democratic Front in all its negotiations with different administrations. He is also officially the personal counsel of Communist Party founder (and still its main strategist) Jose Maria Sison.
What is the NULP? The association of leftist lawyers that handled, wittingly or unwittingly, almost all legal cases of the Reds. It has been a member for nearly 10 years of Sison’s International League of People’s Struggles, which this megalomaniac thought would be kick off an international communist movement under his leadership.
Drilon’s bill (Senate Bill 2121 filed on March 21) has only one substantive section:
“Any state actor, such as a law enforcement agent, paramilitary or military personnel, who labels, vilifies, brands, names, accuses, harasses, persecutes, stereotypes, or caricatures individuals, groups or organizations as state enemies, left-leaning, subversives, communists or terrorists, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of ten (10) years and perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office.”
Remove the enumerations and it would read: “Any law enforcement agent, or military personnel who accuses as state enemies communists, or terrorists as part of a counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism program or strategy shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of ten years and perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office.”
Now do you understand why I think Drilon has become either insane, or a full-fledged communist?
The bill is in effect saying the military and the police can no longer accuse as enemies of the state Sison or any New People’s Army Kumander Che or Kumander Procopio, who openly call all for the violent overthrow of government or who may have been arrested after losing a firefight with the military. Anyone who does would be tried in court, and the penalty, if found guilty under the “Drilon Law,” would be imprisonment for 10 years and permanent ban from ever holding public office. Drilon deliberately chose that length of imprisonment as penalty, since that means that someone accused of that “crime” can’t be bailed out.
So, how does Drilon propose that the military should address armed Maoists and jihadist terrorists? As “conscientious dissenters,” “communist-rule campaigners” or “Islamic state advocates”?
Drilon has filed a bill that would in effect be asking government to capitulate to communists or terrorists, and desist from accusing them as state enemies.
Can you imagine if by some miracle Sison is hauled back to the country, is arrested and charged for the many murders that he ordered his people to do, and then Olalia and the NUPL files counter-charges against every member of the arresting unit and even the fiscal, threatening them with imprisonment for 10 years, invoking the Drilon Law?
I cannot fathom why Drilon — a lawyer who had been justice secretary and executive secretary, and a legislator for decades — would file a bill which at the very least shows him to be careless or mindless in proposing legislation, and at worst a protector of the violent communist insurgents.
The most rational explanation is that like most of the Yellows, Drilon has opportunistically allied himself with the Reds, and his filing of a bill that would prove to them his usefulness to them, and solicit their help for his political ends.
No one in the Senate has been as groveling with the Reds as Drilon has been with this bill — or has lost his wits. At least in the lower house, it has only been the Red agents like Sarah Elago and Carlos Zarate who have filed 15 resolutions condemning and asking for an investigation of such “red-tagging.”
The government’s “whole nation approach” to end this stupid but bloody insurgency, with its component of unmasking the fronts of the Communist Party, is hurting the communists as their fronts and masks are being unraveled for people to see their true faces as out to violently install their communist-party dictatorship. This is why they have been livid against this government campaign, and undertaking massive propaganda efforts to stop it, branding it as “red-tagging.”
I don’t think anyone in the Senate, not even Risa Hontiveros and Francisco Pangilinan who had flirted with the communists in their youth, will be joining Drilon in his stupidity and recklessness.
It should remind us though of one major reason why the communist insurgency has persisted since the 1970s: factions of the elite have opportunistically allied with or appeased them, thinking, to borrow a part of that old adage, they could ride the tiger.
It was Benigno Aquino Jr. and the Liberal Party that actively helped Sison’s party and army grow starting in the 1970s. They were then joined by the oligarchs who lost their riches for most of the Marcos martial law regime. After that strongman rule, Philippine presidents especially Aquino 3rd calculated that peace with the Reds would strengthen their administrations. Now, it is the slowly vanishing Yellow camp and other opposition groups who think that the tiger they have mounted will devour Duterte, and block a continuity of his regime.
To exploit that metaphor, however, I bet the tiger will soon reject Drilon, as too heavy, figuratively of course, to bear as a rider.