Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Duterte's flawed logic---peace thru war

I really can't understand the logic of President Duterte, pardon me. 

He wants peace and order, because for him, that's the necessary element to sustain the country's economic growth. I agree with him on this.

What I can't seem to understand is, why pick fights with people whom he refers to as "enemies of the state"? During his predecessor's time, the economy picked up because there were quite a few skirmishes and a very low incidence of sectarian violence. Likewise, in Ramos' time, there were lower incidences of crime and violence inspite of the existence of local terror groups, dreaded drug syndicates, greedy jueteng lords and of course, rebels from the Left and the Right fields.

In just 12 months, Duterte fought a hopeless war with drug lords. That war resulted to 8,000 deaths and rising. Until now, we still don't know how many were just caught between crossfires. That war sparked more violence in the streets, as drug groups fought against honest cops, honest cops fought against bad cops, and bad cops fought against their evil accomplices. With one or two big names killed, most of those "in Duterte's list" are still alive and are still peddling that white powdery stuff in the streets. A million and a half reportedly surrendered, yet most got into the habit again and bought those crytals just 10x higher than last year's prices.

Meaning, Duterte's anti-drugs war only (1) led to the increase in prices, as shabu supplies reportedly dwindled. That's the first impression. A check with a source from the PDEA indicated that shabu prices rose as a consequence of "normal market forces." Meaning, drug manufacturers, their financiers and their chemists remain in the business and are not even afraid of Mr. Duterte. THERE IS STILL A STEADY SUPPLY NOT ONLY OF SHABU, BUT OF OTHER ADDICTIVE AND PROHIBITED DRUGS IN THE COUNTRY.

Worse, Mr. Duterte not only failed in curbing the drug menace----his actions and verbal theatrics created an environment where people, and that includes cops and soldiers, now consider themselves overlords.

Imagine, the President himself suggesting for the abolition of the Commission on Human Rights and even asked cops and soldiers not to follow the orders of the Office of the Ombudsman? I don't know if Duterte forgot that these two bodies are constitutional creations and you can only order for their abolition thru constitutional amendments. Such statements weaken democracy and encourage instead the rule of men, not the rule of law.

I understand why Mr. Duterte is acting like a bitch of cops and soldiers--he's terribly worried that someday he'll get the brunt end of the stick. Mr. Duterte has created so many enemies and defied the law so many times, that it is but natural of him to side with those with arms to protect his tough hide.

I really doubt if Mr. Duterte really meant what he says when he said that he is not afraid of dying. Like what Atty. Bono Adaza once wrote, Mr. Duterte is not the man he portrays himself to be. When he was challenged in a duel with journalist Wally Carbonel, Mr. Duterte reportedly did not even appeared at the very exact day and time.

Aside from stirring the criminal world's hornet's nest, Mr. Duterte challenged extremists by publicly humiliating them and even suggested that they go ahead of their plan to go against the Republic. When they did that indeed, Mr. Duterte immediately declared martial law and like a child with his new toy, did not even flinch when he ordered the "surgical bombing" of Marawi City.

It has been sixty plus days already, and this war in Marawi has led to about 700 dead, 250,000 lives displaced and cast a deep shadow of doubt as to the economic future of Mindanao. Worse, it has created deep resentments among Maranao Muslims and Lumads who now vow to fight Mr. Duterte. I will not be surprised if this war turns into a bigger one in the next few months. The subject of the operations, the Maute Brothers and Isnilon Hapilon are reportedly on the lam, and no one knows where they are.

Mr. Duterte is so confident that he has given his complete trust to the military. Truthfully, Duterte has no choice. He is a victim of a trap. He has given all his political capital to this war and this Martial law that, if these two fails, Duterte risks being deposed similar to the fate which befell Mr. Estrada in 2001.

For us, Mr. Duterte is the evil incarnate, the would-be Hitler, who orchestrates violence in Mindanao and the rest of the country.

What we failed to realize is that Mr. Duterte is now a virtual slave of reactionaries and militarists, dummies of oligarchs, who uses him only as a populist prop while they do their thing ridding this country of its precious public funds and resources.

As what I wrote in this blog several months ago, Duterte will fall by his own sword. If he fails in this, Duterte has no one but himself to blame. He is being misled to believe that those surveys gave him the widest latitude and the stable public support necessary to further his ambitions and schemes.

Mr. Marcos fell at a time when he himself, enjoyed a very high public satisfaction rating. The Marcos loyalists were not able to move fast and in time to save their idol from destruction when the progressive forces moved to replace the ageing dictatorship.

If Mr. Duterte thinks that he can replicate what Macoy did in 1972--declare a nationwide Martial law--he is definitely mistaken. There is now a strong and emerging force ready to directly oppose him in an armed confrontation should he and his militarists decide to throw their fate in the political gameboard.

And since Mr. Duterte is fond of history, let me refresh his memory and bring him back to 1986 and 2001-2002. Mr. Duterte is no Macoy and he is not as popular as Estrada. Estrada has a segment of the progressive forces with him when he fell from power in 2001.

With his pronouncement that he is closing his doors for the Left, Mr. Duterte, again, wagered so much political capital.

Mr. Duterte fails to realize that he needs true friends to be with him especially at this time when he is being held hostage by militarists and reactionaries. He can't rely on trapos. He is mistaken if he thinks that these politicians would actually lift even their puny little finger for him when the surge of dissent against his rule begins. These people will sit by the sidelines if violence breaks out.

His political ally, Senate president Pimentel is weak. And so does Speaker Alvarez inspite of his highly public asta. PDP-Laban, for all its posturings, is a paper tiger. No, I am sorry---it is an inflated lion.

At the start, Mr. Duterte and his advisers were right when they decided to maintain strong ties with the Left. Historically, it is the Left which worked doubly hard against the country's two perceived dictators--Marcos, a real dictator and an Estrada who was publicly maligned and falsely accused of being a dictator.

With Mr. Duterte's almost daily threats against the Left, there is a possibility, a strong one, of a fully consolidated Left movement before the year's end. Sison's interview over QRT GMA7 is very incisive---the Left is mulling three options: a. still work out a peace settlement with this administration, b. work for Mr. Duterte's ouster or c. struggle still for the eventual victory over the reactionary state. Sison says the first two options are feasible and are easy. And he's right.

The Left is not a pushover. It is still a force to contend with, not because it has an active armed component--it has a more than 10 million mass base throughout the country, even bigger than the MILF-MNLF combined. The AFP knows that it does not have enough resources and force to fully end the insurgency. This is a lesson which the AFP knew even before 1986--and that explains why it has to sacrificed its strong ties with the dictator because the Left is capable to tilting the balance of power.

If Mr. Duterte continues its war-like posturing, he is committing a very grave error. By misjudging and misinterpreting what is happening on the ground, Mr. Duterte stands to lose this eventually.

A resurgent and fully consolidated Left is definitely a force that could prolong violence and impede the further economic growth of this country. With this insurgency, you cannot force a military solution. Past leaders have known this to be true, and if I'm Mr. Duterte, I will not tempt the Fates especially at this juncture in our history when people's patience is getting very, very thin.