Human rights abuses under Marcos and Cory: Same

SINCE the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, it has been an unchallenged dogma that one of the Martial Law period’s most horrid aspects was its human rights abuses. This again is another instance of that adage being proven true: “The victors write the history.”

The data even in an anti-Marcos book, Rebellion and Repression in the Philippines (Yale University, 1989) by academic Richard Kessler, however, show that human rights abuses during the Corazon “Cory” Aquino regime was just as bad as Marcos’ record. Ironically, Kessler’s data have been the basis of the oft-repeated claims by a more rabid anti-Marcos American historian, Alfred McCoy, that the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime were worse than those in the infamous Latin American dictatorships.

McCoy wrote, “Marcos’ tally of 3,257 killed exceeds those under the Brazilian and Chilean dictatorships.” That 3,257 number had become the most-used figure to allege the ruthlessness of the Marcos rule.

Quite ironically, Kessler presented his data in his book published in 1989, in order to hammer his point that that human rights abuses had not at all subsided even when Cory assumed power until 1988, the last year for which data was available. Continue reading

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Shameless prostitution of academe: The Communist Party’s martial law course at UP

I GIVE up. The University of the Philippines (UP) has become a veritable Red base, the only real bastion that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has managed to set up in its 51 years of existence (except of course Jose Ma. Sison’s residence in Utrecht).

The communists will be setting up at UP what is practically an annex of its higher party school, disguised as a course on martial law.

It isn’t coincidental that this course will be offered next semester, as it isn’t just about history. The CPP’s main propaganda line has now become, as its September 19 statement put it: “The Duterte regime is a thinly disguised fascist state. The Philippines is under Duterte’s undeclared martial law.” If they hate martial law, they’ll hate Duterte, the communists are hoping.

Just when President Duterte is waging an all-out campaign to end the communist insurgency, and when the nation has clearly rejected the CPP’s ideology and political program, the UP will start a course, purportedly on Martial Law. In reality, it will be nothing but an introductory course on the communist political program, glorifying and romanticizing the New People’s Army (NPA) — paid for by the government the party wants to overthrow.

To understand this, we have to realize that the central mythology that justifies the CPP’s existence is its claim to have led the struggle against Marcos’ dictatorship.

The party has never been able to make the Marxist-Leninist project the legitimizing discourse for its existence. It has even practically abandoned its declared aim in the 1970s, mimicking Mao, to lead the peasants’ liberation from tenancy, the implementation through four decades by administrations since Marcos of a state-directed land reform. It has lost any claim to being the vanguard of the workers’ movement in the Philippines, after most trade unions have rejected its cadres as trouble-makers.

Communist Party’s main propaganda line now: Martial law = Duterte. PHOTO FROM CPP.PH

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Washington Post: ‘Reds infiltrated rights groups, churches’

DOING research on another topic at — believe it or not — the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room at the US intelligence agency’s website, I chanced upon an entry “Philippine rebels targeting rights groups, churches.” It turned out to be a Washington Post article written in 1986 by William Branigin, a respected foreign correspondent here in the late 1980s, married to a patriotic and convivial Filipina, Bing.

I knew Bill as a very meticulous, careful journalist.

The following piece of his shows he was also bold. I’ve never read anywhere else such an exposé on the communists’strategy, and mind you, in that era, the communists’ death squads called the Alex Boncayao Brigade were roaming the city.

Why can’t our media write such real investigative pieces? Indeed, they have instead mostly become the disseminators of the propaganda output of such communist-infiltrated “rights groups, churches.”

Reading his piece, I got goose bumps: The piece was so prescient and it reads as if it had been reported yesterday. The “rebels” — i.e. the Communist Party — have indeed been so successful in this strategy that these “rights groups, churches” have been to this day the communists’ most potent propaganda weapon, and even recruitment offices.

Branigin’s 1986 Washington Post piece, slightly truncated to fit in this column space, follows:

According to Filipino and foreign sources, the Communist Party has infiltrated what it calls the “church sector” in the Philippines and forged links abroad with church groups, human rights organizations, labor unions and associations of expatriate Filipinos to a much greater extent than is publicly acknowledged here. The sources include Filipino political and military analysts, church leaders, western diplomats and researchers and communist officials and publications.

The CIA item on the Washington Post article.

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A brief, true history of the rise and fall of the Marcos dictatorship: An eyewitness account

WHEN Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, I was a 19-year-old Ateneo college dropout heading the Manila and Rizal organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

For all its fearful reputation even at that time, the party was merely a ragtag band of hubristic fantasists who thought replicating the Chinese revolution was a cinch. Founder Jose Sison, who saw himself as the Filipino Mao Zedong, was then 33 years old, and the legendary Kumander Dante, 29.

The fledgling party was giddy over the revolutionary flow of the student demonstrations in 1970, and thought it could artificially create such revolutionary fervor again. At the same time, it thought it could provoke internecine strife among the ruling class that would implode its rule.

Two teams of mostly converted-to-the-revolution toughies from the urban poor slums of Tondo and Caloocan — specially recruited for the operation by Sison and his five closest cadres — hurled three grenades at the stage of the Liberal Party’s miting de avance in Plaza Miranda in Aug. 21 1971, injuring nearly all of the party’s Senate candidates and killing nine people.

Sison tasked a New People’s Army (NPA) commander, a veteran Huk from Tarlac, to delay by whatever means his sympathizer, the Liberal Party’s superstar Benigno Aquino Jr.’s arrival at the Plaza. What he told Aquino that made him do so, I haven’t been able to determine. Aquino, though, would have been stupid if he had not concluded after the bombing what group was responsible. Continue reading

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Aquino-del Rosario offered Sabah to Malaysia for its support in arbitration case vs China

Fifth of a series
THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) under President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s watch, then headed by Albert del Rosario, practically offered to drop our decades-old claim over Sabah against Malaysia in exchange for Kuala Lumpur’s support in the Philippines’ arbitration suit filed against China in 2013.

This was disclosed by high-ranking former and current DFA officials involved in the preparation of the suit. Since I started this series on the country’s biggest foreign-policy fiasco that was the arbitration suit, these officials have been emboldened to communicate to me to disclose details on how it was rushed, and how much they abhorred it.

That the DFA offered to give up Sabah to win the arbitration is bolstered by the Note Verbale No. 15-0979 it sent in March 2015, two years after the arbitration suit was filed, to the Malaysian government.

Malaysia, however, didn’t even bother to acknowledge it, must less respond to it. The sources claimed that the DFA also sent feelers to Vietnam asking what it could offer it in exchange for its support. Vietnam similarly ignored the request.

That Aquino and del Rosario were so willing to give up our claim over Sabah to support their suit against China bolsters my suspicion, as I explained in this series, that its filing was a plot of the US as part of its so-called “Pivot to Asia” policy’s component of demonizing China as a way of preventing its rise as the superpower in Asia.

Indeed, stripped of its pungent veneer of claims that we won the suit, the most important part of the award was its ruling that China’s so-called nine-dash line had no basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos, and that no feature in the Spratly islands can claim a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Continue reading

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Poe is such a huge argument against democracy

THE EDSA traffic is becoming more horrendous each day, and in this day and age of technology and rationality, one would assume that government could use all its resources and sovereign power to solve a big obstacle to the country’s economic growth and relieve its citizens of their daily hell.

The traffic is a veritable crisis, and it is long past the time for debating that it isn’t. Metropolitan Manila consists of 16 cities and one municipality. Even if EDSA traverses only six cities (Caloocan, Quezon, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay), any solution to the avenue’s gridlocks would have to involve nearly all of Metro Manila’s 17 local governments, all of which have the authority to pass “ordinances” that tend to hinder efforts to solve this huge problem.

One solution, for example, would involve opening up the posh “villages” — parts of Forbes, San Lorenzo, Wack Wack and Greenhills, among others — but their rich residents would certainly get the courts to stop it.

It is a no-brainer that a solution to the EDSA traffic mess requires the grant of emergency powers to the country’s chief executive, the President. After all, extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions.

But then because of our Republican set-up, it is Congress that has the power to grant the President such emergency powers, or authority beyond what he normally has to fulfill his duties. Continue reading

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Arbitral ruling a colossal deception: It damaged our national interests

THAT the country won in the ruling of an arbitral panel in our suit against China over our disputes in the South China Sea region has been a colossal deception foisted on our people.

As a fabrication, it is rivaled only by the huge lie in the first years of the Yellow regime of Aquino 3rd, that since he is the son of the “saint of democracy,” he would create a graft-free and progressive nation.

If President Duterte had pursued the arbitral ruling, it would have been the very worst impact on our nation of the Aquino regime, even triggering an economic crisis.

The ruling by the five-man arbitral panel succeeded in being believed as a victory for us because the might of US media was mobilized to spread that lie, and the propaganda exploited anti-Chinese sentiment in the Filipino psyche.

US media was marshaled because the ruling served US interests in its “Pivot to Asia” policy of containing China. First, it demonized China as an aggressor in the South China Sea, that it ignores international law.

Second, the arbitration tribunal ruled that China’s so-called nine-dash line that marks its claim over much of the South China Sea has no basis under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos). This gives US warships undertaking their power-project patrols in the South China Sea arguable legal cover that they are sailing through international waters.

What people like the pro-American former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and the apparently pro-Vietnam Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio are ignorant about, or pretend to be ignorant about, is that China’s claims are not based on this nine-dash line, nor on exclusive economic zones (EEZs) under Unclos, which took effect only in 1995. Continue reading

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Strong leader, weak state: The BuCor fiasco and Dunkin’ Donuts case

EVEN President Duterte’s harshest critics would, I think, concede that he has emerged as the country’s strongest president ever, at par with Ferdinand Marcos in the first years of his strongman rule.

By “strong,” I borrow the political scientists’ definition of a strong state.

First, Duterte is a strong leader because he is independent from the economic elite that in most cases in our past influenced Philippine presidents for their own gain or even led them by the nose. This is shown by the fact that Duterte’s guns have been trained on what he himself names as “oligarchs.” He has moved or has started to move against the Rufino-Prieto clan that owns the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Lopezes of the ABS-CBN television network. He took on both Lucio Tan, for Philippine Airlines’s P6-billion unpaid fees to government, and Mighty Corp., the competitor of Tan’s Fortune Tobacco, for its P30-billion tax liabilities.

Second, he has shown a determination to do the things he thinks will set the country right, no matter the opposition or obstacles. He hasn’t let up on his war on illegal drugs, despite the virulent opposition by most of the Western media, international human rights groups, and by the lackeys of the Yellow crowd that saw it, falsely, as a cause célèbre to oust him.

But presidents do not operate in a vacuum. To do what he thinks he must do, Duterte can only operate through what we call the state, the ensemble of institutions, especially the bureaucracy, that manages a nation. Continue reading

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Aquino-Del Rosario betrayed our national interest in arbitration suit vs China

FORMER President Aquino, his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, and his Solicitor General Florin Hilbay patently betrayed our national interest in the arbitration suit they filed against China:

They asked the tribunal to degrade our islands in the Kalayaan Island Group, especially our Pag-Asa Island — the second biggest in the disputed area — to mere “rocks,” telling the arbitral tribunal that, as such, these therefore do not generate a 430,000-square kilometer (sq km) circular exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The tribunal, of course, upheld their allegation. Why wouldn’t they when it is the representatives themselves who claim their islands are not islands but just rocks? Their allegation in effect lost us at least 430,000 sq km of potential EEZ, an area bigger than the Philippines’ 300,000 sq km land area.

Potential EEZ of Pag-Asa (roughly that of Taiwan’s Taiping island) the suit gave up. Source: Author’s graphics using GoogleEarth.

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Sabio reveals: Trillanes the brains of ‘Bikoy’ caper

LAWYER Jude Sabio last week revealed that it was former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th who was the brains behind the so-called “Totoong Narcolist” videos, spread through social media in April that claimed President Duterte and his children were involved with illegal drug syndicates.

Last May, Peter Joemel Advincula, the narrator in the videos who called himself “Bikoy,” surrendered to authorities and disclosed that the allegations in the video were all lies and that it was a fabrication of Trillanes intended to sway voters to vote for the opposition Senate candidates in the elections early that month. Trillanes denied the accusation in a privilege speech at the Senate.

Last week, Advincula’s disclosure was supported by Sabio, who has been viewed as one of Trillanes’ closest conspirators in the latter’s anti-Duterte campaign. He was the lawyer for Edgar Matobato who had claimed to have been with the Davao “death squads” when Duterte was the city mayor. He also filed a case last April against Duterte and several of his officials at the International Court of Justice, accusing them of mass murder in their war against illegal drugs.

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