Country swings to the Right

Agence France-Presse notes the Edsa anniversary passed without comment. The Inquirer editorial explains why: we have come full circle, as Amando Doronila points out -the country has drifted to the Right.

The government faced a double whammy with the UN Special Rapporteur’s statements (see the end of this post, for his statement reproduced in full) and that of the Melo Commission: the President’s coddling of Palparan is a chicken come home to roost. The government’s response, besides the usual reflex call for “calm”, was to release a video of Jose Ma. Sison (a very interesting one, indeed, if genuine: as points out, has put it up on YouTube for the viewer to judge; Tingog has a clip from GMA7, and he also states Sison’s reaction: “it’s a fake!”), and call the UN official “in denial.”

Please read Alston’s report, as he explains why the Melo Commission’s efforts are unsatisfactory; he also looks into the question of human rights abuses in a very objective manner, refuting the claim it’s all a Communist exaggeration quite well, as he does the view that it’s a gigantic politico-military conspiracy. After you read the UN Rapporteur’s statement, it might help put in context the debate going on on the CPP-NPA-NDF and organizations, including some party list groups, accused of being Communist fronts.

One thing is sure: the government is trying to salvage its reversal of two decades of policy and wants to cling to its strategy of all out war. December 26, 2007 marked the 38th anniversary of the New People’s Army. The three sides that form the politico-military triangulation of the CPP-NPA-NDF, that is, the building up of the party; its armed struggle in the countryside; and the building up of front organizations or the cultivation of helpful, sympathetic ones, all feature in the debate on how the CPP-NPAS-NDF should be viewed in terms of the anti-terror law, etc.

Writing in Asean Focus Group, Filipino scholar Patricio Abinales penned a fascinating summary of where the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines is at:

…The NPA has largely survived on its own, amassing its weapons from carefully planned small attacks against government forces. Military victories in the countryside have been complemented by successes in ‘revolutionary taxation’. Businesses and entrepreneurs operating in the rural areas have now come to include NPA extortion as part of their annual budgets, with such allotments sometimes going as high as 2 million pesos.

These triumphs have prompted the Party’s eternal chairman Jose Ma Sison to encourage the formation of larger company-size units to replace the smaller platoons. But this move has been a major stumbling block for the NPA. Larger units will need better weapons and these can only come from abroad. Unless the Party taps into the illegal arms trade now prospering out of the Middle East, it will not be able to make that shift.

Moreover, the CPP’s experience with arms imports has been largely traumatic. In its early years it botched two attempts to bring in arms from China, largely the result of the ineptitude of those assigned to undertake the task. In the 1980s, CPP emissaries also failed to convince the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Nicaraguans and the North Koreans to sell them sophisticated armaments.

But the bigger problem will be in the battlefield. The NPA may outmatch the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in guerrilla warfare, but the latter, despite its failings, is still a better fighting force, especially with the United States as expected coming to its aid.

The upgrading to company-size units was one of the major issues that led to the debates in the 1980s and the assassination of the Romulo Kintanar, the former NPA chief, by Sison loyalists in January 2003. In justifying the gangland style killing of Kintanar, the CPP reiterated its criticism of his attempt to ‘prematurely regularize’ the CPP (ie, shift to a company and battalion formation) under his leadership – an attempt that devastated the NPA.

But the dilemma has come back to haunt the Party today now that the NPA has just about returned to the level it was in 1980. The unfortunate thing is that none of its current commanders have the talent and capacity that Kintanar had in shaping the revolutionary army into a nationally potent force during the era of the Marcos dictatorship.

WATCHPOINT: Though almost returned to its strength as of 1980, the NPA lacks the operational leadership that it had during the 1970s. The war in the Philippine countryside will most likely enter into an enduring, even permanent state of intermittent small clashes. And in these constant exchanges of gunfire between state and revolutionary forces, it is the communities caught in between which will likely suffer.

What do Socialists and Communists believe in, however? Red Flags is full of praises for the movement, and reproduces the anniversary statement of the CPP Central Committee:

Let us joyously celebrate the 38th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism) and on the basis of the history and concrete circumstances of the Filipino people.

This is a time to celebrate our revolutionary victories… and renew our resolve to lead and advance the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

Let us salute and congratulate all our Party cadres and members for all the victories won by holding high the banner of working class leadership and leading the broad masses of the people in life-and-death struggles with the enemy…

We must further strengthen the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally. We must build on our solid achievements won under the inspiration of the Second Great Rectification Movement and through hard work and fearless struggle. Only thus can we lead the Filipino people to a new and higher level of revolutionary struggle through revolutionary armed struggle and the united front…

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has consistently asserted that peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines are still ongoing in the absence of any side properly terminating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. It has repeatedly called for the resumption of formal talks upon the resolution of prejudicial questions, such as the so-called terrorist listing of the CPP, NPA and chief political consultant, the gross violations of human rights under Oplan Bantay Laya, the release of political prisoners and the indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

The NDFP has gone so far as to offer a concise immediate agreement for a just and lasting peace, which would serve to commit both the NDFP and GRP to definite principled points of agreement in the national and democratic interest of the Filipino. Such an offer is in response to the unjust demand of the GRP for surrender of arms or an indefinite ceasefire without agreement on substantive issues. It would lead to a truce in the civil war….

The CPP then remains blunt about its desire to wage revolutionary war, but continues to proclaim itself as desiring peace. Yet the movement itself, which once pined for “The East is Red” blaring from Beijing loudspeakers, now denounces the land of Mao (excerpt from the CPP Central Committee statement of December 26):

China has the appearance of prosperity, which is real for less than 10% of its people, but which has relegated more than 90% of its people to suffer exploitation even more rapacious than, and oppression similar to pre-1949 conditions. Sweatshops, migrant workers, vagabonds and beggars abound. Workers frequently undertake protest actions against reduced real incomes and mass layoffs. Thousands of peasant uprisings have been launched against the arbitrary grabbing of land by bureaucrats and capitalist enterprises. A revolutionary communist party inspired by Maoism can take advantage of the fertile conditions for revolution. The phoney communists in power so far still succeed in destroying even the good name of real communists.

Let them be anathema!

Here is the statement of Alston distributed at the press conference held February 21, at the Renaissance Hotel in Makati.


Professor Phillip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Manila, 21 February 2007

I have spent the past ten days in the Philippines at the invitation of the Government in order to inquire into the phenomenon of extrajudicial executions. I am very grateful to the Government for the unqualified cooperation extended to me. During my stay here I have met with virtually all of the relevant senior officials of Government. They include the President, the Executive Secretary, the National Security Adviser, the Secretaries for Defense, Justice, DILG and the Peace Process. I have also met with a significant number of members of Congress on different sides of the political spectrum, the Chief Justice, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, the members of both sides of the Joint Monitoring Committee, and representatives of the MNLF and MILF. Of particular relevance to my specific concerns, I also met with Task Force Usig, and with the Melo Commission, and I have received the complete dossier compiled by TF Usig, as well as the report of the Melo Commission, and the responses to its findings by the AFP and by retired Maj-Gen Palparan. I have also visited Baguio and Davao and met with the regional Human Rights Commission offices, local PNP and AFP commanders, and the Mayor of Davao, among others.

Equally importantly, roughly half of my time here was devoted to meetings with representatives of civil society, in Manila, Baguio, and Davao . Through their extremely valuable contributions in the form of documentation and detailed testimony I have learned a great deal.

Let me begin by acknowledging several important elements. The first is that the Government’s invitation to visit reflects a clear recognition of the gravity of the problem, a willingness to permit outside scrutiny, and a very welcome preparedness to engage on this issue. The assurances that I received from the President, in particular, were very encouraging. Second, I note that my visit takes place within the context of a counter-insurgency operation which takes place on a range of fronts, and I do not in any way underestimate the resulting challenges facing for the Government and the AFP. Third, I wish to clarify that my formal role is to report to the UN Human Rights Council and to the Government on the situation I have found. I consider that the very fact of my visit has already begun the process of acting as a catalyst to deeper reflection on these issues both within the national and international settings. Finally, I must emphasize that the present statement is only designed to give a general indication of some, but by no means all, of the issues to be addressed, and the recommendations put forward, in my final report. I expect that will be available sometime within the next three months.

Sources of information

The first major challenge for my mission was to obtain detailed and well supported information. I have been surprised by both the amount and the quality of information provided to me. Most key Government agencies are organized and systematic in much of their data collection and classification. Similarly, Philippines civil society organizations are generally sophisticated and professional. I sought, and obtained, meetings across the entire political spectrum. I leave the Philippines with a wealth of information to be processed in the preparation of my final report.

But the question has still been posed as to whether the information provided to me by either all, or at least certain, local NGO groups can be considered reliable. The word ‘propaganda’ was used by many of my interlocutors. What I took them to mean was that the overriding goal of the relevant groups in raising EJE questions was to gain political advantage in the context of a broader battle for public opinion and power, and that the HR dimensions were secondary at best. Some went further to suggest that many of the cases were fabricated, or at least trumped up, to look more serious than they are.

I consider it essential to respond to these concerns immediately. First, there is inevitably a propaganda element in such allegations. The aim is to win public sympathy and to discredit other actors. But the existence of a propaganda dimension does not, in itself, destroy the credibility of the information and allegations. I would insist, instead, on the need to apply several tests relating to credibility. First, is it only NGOs from one part of the politicaI spectrum who are making these allegations? The answer is clearly ‘no’.

Human rights groups in the Philippines range across the entire spectrum in terms of their political sympathies, but I met no groups who challenged the basic fact that large numbers of extrajudicial executions are taking place, even if they disagreed on precise figures. Second, how compelling is the actual information presented? I found there was considerable variation ranging from submissions which were entirely credible and contextually aware all the way down to some which struck me as superficial and dubious. But the great majority are closer to the top of that spectrum than to the bottom. Third, has the information proved credible under cross-examination’. My colleagues and I heard a large number of cases in depth and we probed the stories presented to us in order to ascertain their accuracy and the broader context.

As a result, I believe that I have gathered a huge amount of data and certainly much more than has been made available to any one of the major national inquiries.

Extent of my focus

My focus goes well beyond that adopted by either TF Usig or the Melo Commission, both of which are concerned essentially with political and media killings. Those specific killings are, in many ways, a symptom of a much more extensive problem and we should not permit our focus to be limited artificially. The TF Usig/Melo scope of inquiry is inappropriate for me for several reasons:

(a) The approach is essentially reactive. It is not based on an original assessment of what is going on in the country at large, but rather on what a limited range of CSOs report. As a result, the focus then is often shifted (unhelpfully) to the orientation of the CSO, the quality of the documentation in particular cases, etc.;

(b) Many killings are not reported, or not pursued, and for good reason; and

(c) A significant proportion of acknowledged cases of ‘disappearances’ involve individuals who have been killed but who are not reflected in the figures.

How many have been killed?

The numbers game is especially unproductive, although a source of endless fascination. Is it 25, 100, or 800? I don’t have a figure. But I am certain that the number is high enough to be distressing. Even more importantly, numbers are not what count. The impact of even a limited number of killings of the type alleged is corrosive in many ways. It intimidates vast numbers of civil society actors, it sends a message of vulnerability to all but the most well connected, and it severely undermines the political discourse which is central to a resolution of the problems confronting this country.

Permit me to make a brief comment on the term ‘unexplained killings’, which is used by officials and which I consider to be inapt and misleading. It may be appropriate in the context of a judicial process but human rights inquiries are more broad-ranging and one does not have to wait for a court to secure a conviction before one can conclude that human rights violations are occurring. The term ‘extrajudicial killings’ which has a long pedigree is far more accurate and should be used.


It may help to specify the types of killing which are of particular concern in the Philippines:

*Killings by military and police, and by the NPA or other groups, in course of counter-insurgency. To the extent that such killings take place in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law they fall outside my mandate.

*Killings not in the course of any armed engagement but in pursuit of a specific counter-insurgency operation in the field.

*Killings, whether attributed to the military, the police, or private actors, of activists associated with leftist groups and usually deemed or assumed to be covertly assisting CPP-NPA-NDF. Private actors include hired thugs in the pay of politicians, landowners, corporate interests, and others.

– *Vigilante, or death squad, killings

*Killings of journalists and other media persons.

– *’Ordinary’ murders facilitated by the sense of impunity that exists.

Response by the Government

The response of Government to the crisis of extrajudicial executions varies dramatically. There has been a welcome acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem at the very top. At the executive level the messages have been very mixed and often unsatisfactory. And at the operational level, the allegations have too often been met with a response of incredulity, mixed with offence.

Explanations proffered

When I have sought explanations of the killings I have received a range of answers.

(i) The allegations are essentially propaganda. I have addressed this dimension already.

(ii) The allegations are fabricated. Much importance was attached to two persons who had been listed as killed, but who were presented to me alive. Two errors, in circumstances which might partly explain the mistakes, do very little to discredit the vast number of remaining allegations.

(iii) The theory that the ‘correct, accurate, and truthful’ reason for the recent rise in killings lies in purges committed by the CPP/NPA. This theory was relentlessly pushed by the AFP and many of my Government interlocutors. But we must distinguish the number of 1,227 cited by the military from the limited number of cases in which the CPP/NPA have acknowledged, indeed boasted, of killings. While such cases have certainly occurred, even those most concerned about them, such as members of Akbayan, have suggested to me that they could not amount to even 10% of the total killings.

The evidence offered by the military in support of this theory is especially unconvincing. Human rights organizations have documented very few such cases. The AFP relies instead on figures and trends relating to the purges of the late 1980s, and on an alleged CPP/NPA document captured in May 2006 describing Operation Bushfire. In the absence of much stronger supporting evidence this particular document bears all the hallmarks of a fabrication and cannot be taken as evidence of anything other than disinformation.

(iv) Some killings may have been attributable to the AFP, but they were committed by rogue elements. There is little doubt that some such killings have been committed. The AFP needs to give us precise details and to indicate what investigations and prosecutions have been undertaken in response. But, in any event, the rogue elephant theory does not explain or even address the central questions with which we are concerned.

Some major challenges for the future

(a) Acknowledgement by the AFP
The AFP remains in a state of almost total denial (as its official response to the Melo Report amply demonstrates) of its need to respond effectively and authentically to the significant number of killings which have been convincingly attributed to them. The President needs to persuade the military that its reputation and effectiveness will be considerably enhanced, rather than undermined, by acknowledging the facts and taking genuine steps to investigate. When the Chief of the AFP contents himself with telephoning Maj-Gen Palparan three times in order to satisfy himself that the persistent and extensive allegations against the General were entirely unfounded, rather than launching a thorough internal investigation, it is clear that there is still a very long way to go.

(b) Moving beyond the Melo Commission
It is not for me to evaluate the Melo Report. That is for the people of the Philippines to do. The President showed good faith in responding to allegations by setting up an independent commission. But the political and other capital that should have followed is being slowly but surely drained away by the refusal to publish the report. The justifications given are unconvincing. The report was never intended to be preliminary or interim. The need to get ‘leftists’ to testify is no reason to withhold a report which in some ways at least vindicates their claims. And extending a Commission whose composition has never succeeded in winning full cooperation seems unlikely to cure the problems still perceived by those groups. Immediate release of the report is an essential first step.

(c) The need to restore accountability
The focus on TF Usig and Melo is insufficient. The enduring and much larger challenge is to restore the various accountability mechanisms that the Philippines Constitution and Congress have put in place over the years, too many of which have been systematically drained of their force in recent years. I will go into detail in my final report, but suffice it to note for present purposes that Executive Order 464, and its replacement, Memorandum Circular 108, undermine significantly the capacity of Congress to hold the executive to account in any meaningful way.

(d) Witness protection
The vital flaw which undermines the utility of much of the judicial system is the problem of virtual impunity that prevails. This, in turn, is built upon the rampant problem of witness vulnerability. The present message is that if you want to preserve your life expectancy, don’t act as a witness in a criminal prosecution for killing. Witnesses are systematically intimidated and harassed. In a relatively poor society, in which there is heavy dependence on community and very limited real geographical mobility, witnesses are uniquely vulnerable when the forces accused of killings are all too often those, or are linked to those, who are charged with ensuring their security. The WPP is impressive – on paper. In practice, however, it is deeply flawed and would seem only to be truly effective in a very limited number of cases. The result, as one expert suggested to me, is that 8 out of 10 strong cases, or 80% fail to move from the initial investigation to the actual prosecution stage.

(e) Acceptance of the need to provide legitimate political space for leftist groups
At the national level, there has been a definitive abandonment of President Ramos’ strategy of reconciliation. This might be termed the Sinn Fein strategy. It involves the creation of an opening - the party-list system - for leftist groups to enter the democratic political system, while at the same time acknowledging that some of those groups remain very sympathetic to the armed struggle being waged by illegal groups (the IRA in the Irish case, or the NPA in the Philippines case). The goal is to provide an incentive for such groups to enter mainstream politics and to see that path as their best option.

Neither the party-list system nor the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Act has been reversed by Congress. But, the executive branch, openly and enthusiastically aided by the military, has worked resolutely to circumvent the spirit of these legislative decisions by trying to impede the work of the party-list groups and to put in question their right to operate freely. The idea is not to destroy the NPA but to eliminate organizations that support many of its goals and do not actively disown its means. While non-violent in conception, there are cases in which it has, certainly at the local level, spilled over into decisions to extrajudicially execute those who cannot be reached by legal process.

(f) Re-evaluate problematic aspects of counter-insurgency strategy
The increase in extrajudicial executions in recent years is attributable, at least in part, to a shift in counterinsurgency strategy that occurred in some areas, reflecting the considerable regional variation in the strategies employed, especially with respect to the civilian population. In some areas, an appeal to hearts- and-minds is combined with an attempt to vilify left-leaning organizations and to intimidate leaders of such organizations. In some instances, such intimidation escalates into extrajudicial execution. This is a grave and serious problem and one which I intend to examine in detail in my final report.


The Philippines remains an example to all of us in terms of the peaceful ending of martial law by the People’s Revolution, and the adoption of a Constitution reflecting a powerful commitment to ensure respect for human rights. The various measures ordered by the President in response to Melo constitute important first steps, but there is a huge amount that remains to be done.

The Alston statement in PDF format (from


And here’s the Melo report:


And the anti-terrorism bill (also from, you may want to compare it to the PCIJ’s version posted yesterday):

And because not everything can revolve around politics: colossal squid caught.

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    • Nick on February 23, 2007 at 10:28 am

    The Melo commission is full of strong statements that, although, damning, is full of everything we already knew.

    Alston is correct in his conviction, that the MELO Report is lacking in its effort.

    The report definitely has that “kiss ass” feel to it in some portions, since it was, as the report goes, the president who ordered the commission to be formed…

    Be that as it may, the report is damning in so many parts, as to the role of the military in these extra legal killings. I was keen on reading the “UNDISPUTED FACTS” section of the report myself.

    I’ve only skimmed through the report, but the following recommendation is important to note and highlight, but seems all too obvious: “the investigation must be conducted by a body or agency independent from the armed forces.”

    Also: It’s sad that Esperon has to go on the attack. It’s as if he expects Kofi Annan himself to show up on our doorstep to do the investigating, thus legitimizing the role of the UN in this investigation.

    Esperon, knows full well that Alston is credible, but trying to shift blame and the spotlight is the only recourse Esperon and other military official has at this point.

    To be fair: the communist insurgency is neither clean on their role in the nation’s further spiral into violence.

    To be honest, I don’t trust either side.

    • DJB on February 23, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Hey how come no rush from the usual suspects to publish that Joma video? PCIJ? Ellen Tordesillas? MLQ3? Remember Garci? Who’s got a copy? I’ll publish it if you scaredy cats are too afraid of Ka Roger or something. I’m fairly sure PDI won’t, coz the Party cell inside won’t let it happen. But impress me, why don’t you?

    • Francis on February 23, 2007 at 11:41 am

    The Party List system was designed for that purpose. So that the Left will join democratic process in a peaceful way.

    GMA is good at blurring stuff.

    • Francis on February 23, 2007 at 11:42 am

    At hindi illegal ang CPP.

    • james on February 23, 2007 at 11:50 am

    every filipinos should rally the government against cpp npa and its affiliated party-list representatives.

    will alston stand by this country if our government collapses? he lacks appreciation of what exactly is going on with these communists.

    yes..mlq what can you say about joma’s video?

    what can media say about this confession? anc? pdi?

    • mlq3 on February 23, 2007 at 11:56 am

    the inquirer story specifically says it was a government source that made the video available. government’s welcome to put it up on line. the inquirer fulfilled its obligation as a news organization by reporting the circumstances surrounding the video. the real question is why a government official had to leak the video -if it’s so devastating, government should have been the first to trumpet it all over the place.

    no reasonable person thinks the cpp-npa is anywhere even strategic parity much less a takeover of the state. but, sober observers (including general almonte) acknowledge the npa is approaching its 1980s armed strength, which is a sign government tactics aren’t working. see my entry from a couple of days ago, about the observation of some media people that the cpp doesn’t have to aggressively recruit, volunteers are coming forward to join its ranks. the mailed fist policy is, at the very least, counterproductive to the security of the state.

    • james on February 23, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    so with garci tape, if its so devastating why was it not exposed during canvassing?

    more people signed in for cpp-npa because media wittingly or unwittingly encourages them to do so. more so because they are now funded by the congressional pork barrel.

    • Francis on February 23, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    It’s a 20 year old video, and the CPP has been on this struggle for almost 40 years…

    Bakit ba malakas ang propaganda nang Left ngayon?
    Sino ba presidente for the past 6 years?

    Someones not doing their job, or kailangan nya ang Left para me dahilan sya para takutin ang Filipino para magkaron nang mga batas katulad nang anti-terror bill? Katulad nang ginawa ni Bush sa US, lose some of your freedom for a false sense of security…

    Ok lang siguro sanay na Pinoy dyan eh itratong parang kriminal para lang makapasok sa malamig na aircon nang mga mall….. tsk tsk tsk

    • mlq3 on February 23, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    james, obviously because whoever had access to the tape was still on the side of the president at the time, or isafp hadn’t developed a leak/mole.

    and obviously because, as you saw, the palace moved heaven and earth to suppress the tapes.

    if you honestly believe that the only reason people risk life and limb to join the underground, is media and the party list access to the pork barrel, then no wonder the cpp-npa is increasing its membership and the government is handicapped in the battle for hearts and minds. there are many other reasons, some legitimate, some illegitimate, more often than not, at least understandable, why people decide to join a rebellion.

    • mlq3 on February 23, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    djb, as points out, the video’s up online.

    • ruth on February 23, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    have you seen that joma video? you know, i’ve see it when esperon played it during his presscon yesterday. Its pretty old video, 2 decades ago they say. Joma just mentioned that there are revolutionary organizations in the Philippines. Then he went on to say that there are also legal democratic forces in the country and mentioned organizations like Bayan, KMU, Gabriela, KMP LFS, kadena, (can’t remeber the others).

    From that statemement, joma was only statinga fact about the existence of such organizations in the Phils. He never said anything that these orGANIZATIONS ARE UNDER cpp-npa?

    guys, I haven’t heard that he mentioned Bayan Muna Partylist, GABRIELA Women’s Partlylist? or other partylists that they are saying as leftists. Besides guys, the video really looks very old (they say 2 decades ago), probably 80’s. But when was the partylist system became a law and implemented? Was it not in 1998? And when did Bayan Muna started to run and won 3 seats in congress? was it not only in 2001?

    Guys, I think you are smart enough to discern . We don’t have to be activists to know these facts because the partylist sytem is still relatively new, only in 1998.

    • Francis on February 23, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    KMU, BAYAN is as old as CPP-NDF (National Democratic Front)

    That is why they are named like that Democratic Front, they were the Legal way for CPP to participate in our democracy.
    They practically invented the Cooperative system. People are joining their group because what the government cant’ give them KMU, BAYAN, Gabriela can provide it to them whether it’s legal,justice, financial or job security.

    The party list system was engineered for them (CPP-NDF) so they can participate in congress so the government can address their grievances and hope at the same time that armed rebels will be diminished.

    Now the army is losing the battle, why? Baka walang pondo ang front line intelligence and foot soldiers to fight the armed group of CPP(legal) which is the NPA(illegal) kasi naipagawa na nang mga mansion at na invest sa real estate nang mga general…

    • Francis on February 23, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Lalu na pag nagtagal pa si Raul Gonzaleech as Justice secretary malamang 80% nang country side umanib na sa komunista kasi parang walang hustisya pag sya nandyan eh.

    • inidoro ni emilie on February 23, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    nah, it’s joma voice alright. but it’s not joma talking. or something like that. mike defensor, quick, come to my aid. i forgot how you put it when gma was caught talking to garci.

    • inidoro ni emilie on February 23, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    the transcript:

    “at any rate, even while there are the forces of armed rvolution, there are the legal democratic forces in the Philippines. [Pause for 4 seconds. Series of light flashes. Cameramen taking shots at joma?]The biggest of this is Bagong Alyansang Maka..makabayan, or Bayan in short. It has a membership of more than 2 million members, and more than…[cut]”.

    wow, pare, labo. where’s the context before that? ano ngayon kung may armed forces, at may legal forces. does that outrightly make one a front for the other?

    • hvrds on February 23, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Nicky Perlas sent me this sometime back. It reminds all of us on how we tend to view things.

    “A paradigm or worldview sits mostly unnoticed between us and our experiences, filtering and framing what we see and how we view the world. Left unexamined, these paradigms can limit reality and impact public policy for instance”

    Today both corporations and governments use expert communication specialists to frame their versions of reality. If you will hear government people speak on any issue they will usually speak around talking points. If you heard Esperon and the palace they will all speak around these talking points and repeat it to death.

    Getting back to the worldview or paradigm and the economic and political realities of the country. The revolutionary left also speaks with one voice. Their basis is historically determined.

    However their methodology in analysis is almost always correct. Dialectical or evolutionary.

    I wish to share Ting Roxas description of the economic system and structures of the Philippines which to a leftist corresponds to the neo colonial character of the country. When you read Sta. Ana III prescriptions vs. the same neo- colonial model outlined by Ting roxas you will see the difference between the Washington based model and the nationalist models fashioned by almost all our neighbors including China.

    This was all preceeded by a country freed from colonial shackles. On that point Joma is correct. There is still no collective conscious notion of nation in the country. It is tough going for a primitive agricultural economy in an archipelago.

    The national accounting consturct that the govertnment uses is simply a collection of disaggregates constructed in the minds of the statisticians. We still do not have a integrated aggregated mechanized linked economy (industrial state) so the measuremnt standards for this is simply a consturct that has no meaning in reality.
    Example: PLDT is the largest single composite in the Philippine Stock Exchange Index at 30%. Next would be the conglomerate San Miguel. PLDT is not 30% of the economy.
    Most everyone in the Philippines are still in the gold standard paradigm based on the peso-dollar exchange rate. Hence if the peso gets stronger the Philippines must be doing well. A complete false reality based on nothing but psychology.

    The paradigm mentioned below however has started to change after 1972 and for the Philippines the crisis after crisis since the fifties continues as it continues to stick to the Washington based policy structures. Hence the country has moved backward and has to depend almost entirely to the exports of human resource.

    That more than anything has blunted the left’s march toward history. If sound institutions are not put in place and you have external turbulence the Philippine state could crumble. That is what the country is facing today. The polarization is getting shrper as choices are being limited. We are strategically dependent on the imports of goods and capital. We are a net capital importing country. That is dangerous for keeping standard of livings stable.

    Hence my favorite Aryan Princess Ambassador Kenney becomes the modern version of the Roman procurator. In the U.S. Filipinos see themselves as more American than other immigrants. That is perfectly normal being colonials. That is the country’s biggest problem. The lack of a Filipino worldview. It will take time to develop or to evolve if ever.

    This was lifted from:



    By Sixto K. Roxas
    (Prepared for the Conference on
    Reexamination of Bretton Woods,
    Washington D.C., June, 1994)

    …..”In 1944, as the architects of Bretton Woods deliberated on the strategy for post World War II reconstruction, historical upheavals and theoretical ‘revolutions’ had already established a change in worldview. Four dramatic events contributed to this change: The first World War (1914 to 1918) brought the ‘hundred years’ peace to an explosive end. The 1917 revolution in Russia had established a Communist regime. The attempt to reestablish the Gold Standard ended in frustration and in its total demise in 1931. The world entered into the worst depression in history in 1929.”

    “In the intellectual field, the belief in a self-regulating market mechanism waned. Ideas and crude instruments of national planning were already in the air before the outbreak of the WWI. Put on a war footing after 1914, nations were forced into national planning, and the forms remained after the war.”

    “Disenchantment with the automatic market followed the depression and there was an increased clamor for state planning interventions. In 1926 Keynes wrote his essay entitled “The End of Laissez Faire”. And ten years later, his “General Theory” launched the “Keynesian Revolution” that became the theoretical basis of the “Mixed Economy”. Private enterprise should continue to be the prime movers of an economy and markets should be left to operate freely, but governments had a role to ensure the adequacy and wide distribution of purchasing power to ensure a high and growing level of effective demand to keep economies operating at full employment.”

    “The chaotic state of the global economic system in the period between the two world wars — the competitive devaluations, the raising of tariff and non-tariff controls on international trade, “beggar-thy-neighbor” tactics, and the attempts to solve domestic crises by classical remedies of budget cuts, and monetary constraints causing widespread deflation and, eventually, world wide depression — left a deep impression on economists and economic policy-makers.”

    “Hence the four primary goals established for the Bretton Woods System were full employment, price stability. economic growth and balance of payments equilibrium.”

    “The system design assumed that each member country would have a modern, capitalistic, market economy with a developed private business sector, reasonably free product and factor markets, a commercial banking system, a central bank, a finance ministry that managed the fiscal budget. It would help to have an economic planning ministry,and a reasonably developed financial market. The corporation laws, the accounting and audit groundrules, the system of macro-economic accounts with at least the following: money and banking statistics and money supply accounting, foreign trade and invisibles accounting to complete a balance of payments recording system, national income and product accounts and series on prices, physical production, income and employment, gross sales, investments.”

    “In the developing countries, these institutions generally existed in the colonial, import-export enclaves – the capital cities, and the mining, logging and plantation towns. These represented enclaves in the sense that they were more closely linked to the metropolitan countries than to their own hinterland.”

    “Here the economy operated according to the macro-model. Households in the cash economy sold their services to enterprise and government and received their incomes which they spent on consumer goods and consumer durables. A portion they saved with banks or invested in securities. Enterprises sold consumer and capital goods to households, other enterprises and governments, paid wages and salaries to labor, staff and managers, paid dividends, borrowed from banks or raised funds from the securities markets, and invested in inventory and new plant. Their export and import transactions were recorded at customs and the records were tabulated in aggregate trade statistics. Invisible flows were intermediated through the banks and were recorded in the corresponding balance of payments accounts. Enterprise, government, institutional and household accounts were consolidated into national income and product accounts and published as the series on national incomes and product. Banks took funds in the form of checking, savings and time deposit accounts, maintained reserves presecribed by the central bank and gave loans and invested in government securities. All transactions that might take place in New York or London.”

    “Where these institutions were absent, the Bretton Woods instruments were of little use. In pre-capitalistic and non-monetized societies, obviously, purchasing power is not created by simple infusion of money and credit. It avails little to prime pumps in societies where there are no modern economic pumps, or to fuel engines of demand where capitalistic engines have precisely to be designed, fabricated and installed.”

    • manuelbuencamino on February 23, 2007 at 2:11 pm


    You may not realize it yet, but the line you are pursuing “Hey how come no rush from the usual suspects to publish that Joma video? ” gives Joma the importance and credibility he does not deserve.

    You parrot the AFP line “yeah, we do it but they do more of it” and you fall of the moral high horse. You are now on the same level as Joma and his gang of murderers.

    It is not a question of who is worse. It is a matter of proving who is better.

    Legitimacy goes to the legitimate not to the one who is less illegitmiate.


  1. If the AFP and Norberto Gonzales keep on harping that the left-leaning party lists are part of the purging aka Operation Bushfire why would they release a 20-year old video? There were no party lists 20 years ago.

    Plus, why only show the video now?

    • manuelbuencamino on February 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    The AFP is an institution. Joma is an individual. You don’t sacrifice the integrity of an institution just to bring down an individual.

    • DJB on February 23, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    I’d like to hear Satur Ocampo, Lisa Maza and the rest of the front organization heads deny it. They could say, “I am sorry.” or something like that.

    Why WON’T they renounce all violent activities, including that of the New People’s Army? Look we were all “in the movement once” so these jerks aren’t fooling anybody. I still remember the line that justifies such hypocrisy. It’s to do with the persecution complex that the Left loves to play up. Now these extrajudicial killings are either murders or combat deaths. Because it is sheer hypocrisy to claim that just because they do not fire weapons or remote control land mines, they are not part of the armed struggle. If the accusations that pork barrel is being used from party list allocations, that would be a cause for their arrest, in my opinion. For treason and rebellion and graft and corruption.

    As for MLQ3’s point that the government is not winning the battle for the hearts and minds, I admit that is true. But that is no reason for rejoicing or congratulating the Left doing a better propaganda job. It is reason to arouse the people to the dangers these party list organizations actually represent.

    But all it takes for them to join society is to categorically deny any links with or support for the armed insurrection. Without such a rejection of the violent revolution that is really a criminal enterprise of extortion and blackmail and murder, coupled with Joma’s fullsome praise for them and the well known inclusion of parliamentary struggle in the overall revolutionary strategy, they are open to the accusation of being complicit in his lethal and immoral ways.

    What I really cannot stand is the hypocrisy of it all, and the condoning of it by the silence of the lambs.

    Where is our moral consistency if the Media and punditry do not care about whether they are fronts and whether the people’s coffers are being robbed blind to support a bunch of Utrecht residents and local extortionists?

    • DJB on February 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Unless the CPP renounces violence and disbands the New People’s Army, I am for their inclusion in a List of Terrorist Organizations. If they do, they can campaign for Marxism Leninism Mao Zedong Thought all they want. Who knows, the Filipinos may be just as dumb as the Palestinians.

    • cvj on February 23, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    They could say, “I am sorry.” or something like that. – DJB

    As Gloria has shown, saying ‘sorry’ is cheap. What counts is their actions.

    Now these extrajudicial killings are either murders or combat deaths. – DJB

    How can it be combat deaths if there was no actual combat? It’s a shame if people die because of a mix-up in metaphors.

    It is reason to arouse the people to the dangers these party list organizations actually represent. – DJB

    This should be done using reasoned arguments, not state-sponsored coercion.

    But all it takes for them to join society is to categorically deny any links with or support for the armed insurrection. – DJB

    In case you haven’t noticed, they (Satur, Liza Masa have already joined society. It boggles me why some of us want to push them back.

    • cvj on February 23, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Who knows, the Filipinos may be just as dumb as the Palestinians. – DJB

    But hopefully not as dumb as the Americans.

    • Mike on February 23, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    That quote from the CPP statement about China makes me think–

    If the Chinese Communist Party, once the epitome of radical communist philosophy, is now composed of “fake communists”:

    1. Why should people expect the CPP to be any different if it takes power? Perhaps after a few years, they’ll go the way of the Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese communists–capitalists in communist clothing. If so, what’s the point of going through a revolution if we’re going to be back where we started (except, of course, for being under a dictatorship of communists instead of the trapos)?

    2. Does the CPP actually think China was better off under Mao than it is now? If so, would they undertake initiatives similar to Mao’s (e.g., the tragic Great Leap Forward) if they take power?

    3. Would they “return the favor” and send “revolutionary advisors” to China to foment revolution?

    • DJB on February 23, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    I wonder why there is such a concerted effort to bring “international attention” to the “extrajudicial killings” in the Philippines.

    Is it because our own people are indifferent to the problem of “the militants” and “the journalists” that have been killed? Why is there no real outrage evident from our own people. Are we so immune to the human condition? Are our people so downtrodden that they consider their personal situations so much direr than those who are killed?

    I shudder to think that so many must believe these “victims” deserved their fateful ends.

    What was it, exactly, that the Filipino people allegedly did so heroically on this day 21 years ago, that they could not have done in 1973?

    I am struck by Philip Alston’s last sentence:The Philippines remains an example to all of us in terms of the peaceful ending of martial law by the People’s Revolution, and the adoption of a Constitution reflecting a powerful commitment to ensure respect for human rights. The various measures ordered by the President in response to Melo constitute important first steps, but there is a huge amount that remains to be done.

    That “peaceful ending” is largely attributable to Ronald Reagan’s “Cut and cut cleanly” statement to Marcos, and the decision to move him to Hawaii and not Paoay. Otherwise we would be calling it the Edsa People’s Massacre.

    But as the Bishops said, there can be no peace without Justice. Bringing Justice to the Marcoses and their cronies is something the Filipinos never did.

    Almost makes you want to be a communist doesn’t it?


    • OLIVE GROVE BOOKS on February 23, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    CLEVELAND, Ohio – THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the best-seller list at Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor.

    Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst who has given his advice to the National Security Council, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. He wrote down his analysis, and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY foreshadowed the Persian Gulf War by three years, and the resultant Iraq War followed by the Sept. 11 attack.

    Spirko states, “The chief threat in the region I see right now is the threat to Saudi Arabia by Al Qaeda. If Al Qaeda were to overthrow the present royal family in Saudi Arabia, cutting off the oil supply to western nations including Japan and China, it would bring down entire world economies. France and Germany would be begging us to go to war to retake those oil wells. It would be World War III.”

    “If such a scenario were to occur,” he reiterates, “France and the European economies would collapse in a matter of weeks.”

    “Another looming concern is Iran which wants to develop nuclear weapons to couple with their Shahab 4, 5 & 6 missiles on the drawing boards which have a range to hit London, Israel, all of Europe, southern Russia and the United States. Also, the Iranian government has said it initially had 300 centrifuges to enrich uranium to weapons grade material. They have increased that to 3,000. They will soon increase that again to 10,000 centrifuges,” Spirko says. “They have the additional capacity to add another 20,000 centrifuges in mass production techniques that will enable them to produce at least seven nuclear bombs in about a year. Where did they get these centrifuges?”

    Spirko answers that question by stating an Arab proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    “Simply put,” Spirko explains, “they probably got them from Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War started and were probably smuggled out of Iraq and into Iran just like he did his air force of 600 Soviet fighter planes. In other words, he gave them to his former enemy rather than let them be destroyed on the ground.”

    “Why would he have done any differently with the 30,000 centrifuges he supposedly had on a decentralized basis inside Iraq before the war?” Spirko asks. “Isn’t it strange that Iran could come up with a nuclear weapons program in about six months to a year when it took the United States six years under the Manhattan Project with 5,000 of the world’s most brilliant scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, Seaborg, Einstein, Fermi, and others working on it?”

    Another point Spirko makes on the Mideast is that, “It is time for the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the Camp David Peace Talks or some other place, resume where they left off and “freeze in place” the already-agreed-upon negotiating points,” Spirko says.

    “And, it’s all related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which I said back in 1987 was the crux of my book. It always has been, and always will be until it’s settled,” Spirko says. “That linkage is exactly what Osama Bin Laden stated in a taped message aired the weekend before the election in November of 2004. Whether you believe him or not is beside the point. That’s what’s he told us, and we’d better take that into account.”

    The novel is a mass market paperback produced by Olive Grove Publishers, and can be purchased at area bookstores through Ingram Book Group, New Leaf Distribution, and Baker and Taylor, priced at $14.99, ISBN 0-9752508-0-9. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY can also be ordered on the web at, or email orders from: [email protected], or from Barnes & Nobles, Border’s, Dalton’s, & Follett bookstores at colleges and universities, WaldenBooks,,, and other popular retail bookstores. Or, readers and store managers can call 1-800-BOOKLOG, or 800-247-6553 direct, to order.

  2. Dean,

    You are still harping at Joma Sison. I’ve told you time and time and again that you’re making that old sod more important than he is.

    He’s a has been. Even Ka Roger doesn’t listen to him anymore. Can’t find that press release of Ka Roger’s when he announced that it wasn’t Joma’s place to tell him what to do.

    Joma is a microphone piece when there’s a peace negotiation in Oslo, (coz he writes the redundant stuff for the NDFP), seconded by Louie Jalandoni, otherwise, the guy is pretty into ballroom dancing and karaoke thinggy in Utrecht.

    That 20-year old video stuff of Joma’s is a laugh. My interview with him in September (published in a Philippine broadsheet and which I reported to GMA first-hand by phone) last year is far more recent. Hahahah!

    Anyway, Dean, if you don’t find Alston’s report credible, what do you find credible? Melo’s report? The AFP’s Esperon report? The ISAFP report perhaps or Ermita’s verbal report? They should all contain some truth and if you’re so hung up on coming up with something that makes sense, decipher those reports and you’ll come up with something sensible – for your own peace of mind.

    Either way, why are you so upset over the UN Rapporteur’s findings? You should take them as a rough guideline to help you start your own crusade for good governance, a better AFP (as if that’s possible with Esperon at the helm and Allaga as head of the Marines – ugh and ugh again!), don’t you think?

    Why don’t you go over to Utrecht yourself and talk to Sison to see things for yourself – you know a la Alston in the reverse. Sison cannot and won’t do you harm – that’s a guarantee. He’s being listened to by your friends in the CIA and can’t do anything in that little house of his without the US knowing about it – I mean poor bloke I suspect can’t even go on the loo without a satellite being beamed on him. Heheheh!

    Wake up, Dean! The real fight is in Pinas, with Gloria and her husband, Esperon, Allaga, Tolentino, Ka Roger and his slipper donning warriors, MILF, Ermita and the ugly, greedy sods in Congress, but not necessarily in that order.

    • justice league on February 23, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Some years ago, I read about a Latin American country where their Supreme Court supposedly found their executive government liable for “not” being able to protect their citizen against “extra-judicial killings”.

    It was a columnists article so the story was already interpreted very much by the columnist but I can’t find if it was real.

    Has anyone heard of it?

    • manuelbuencamino on February 23, 2007 at 9:32 pm


    Why a concerted effort at international attention?

    Our people are not indifferent. They are terrorized.
    Domestic avenues for redress have been closed off. Our people have lost faith in our institutions because the current regime has shown no respect for those institutions.

    Notice how they came out when they saw that it was the United Nations and not the AFP and PNP conducting the inquiry?

    Okay na DJB, you don’t have to cast aspersions on the character of the entire Filipino people just to justify arming our government with a weapon to defeat whatever it is that disafrees with your new-found ideology.

    And just because the people didn’t go dancing in the streets and throw flowers at the conquering heroes of the democratic forces who sponsored the anti-terror bill doesn’t mean it’s the people who are fucked-up.

    The Filipino has more common sense than you care to admit. They are not so ideologically blinded that they don’t see the danger of giving Gloria and her security forces all that power over their civil liberties.

    Stripped of all that ideological neocon mumbo-jumbo the anti-terror bill is nothing but a gun in the hand of a ruthless despot.

  3. The government’s response, besides the usual reflex call for “calm”, was to release a video of Jose Ma. Sison (a very interesting one, indeed, if genuine: as points out, has put it up on YouTube for the viewer to judge; Tingog has a clip from GMA7, and he also states Sison’s reaction: “it’s a fake!”), and call the UN official “in denial.”

    So to blunt the Alston report and sort of justify the targetted assassination of leftys, the Arroyo admin leaked a 20 year old video of JOMA sison that tells us what exactly?

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 1:16 am


    Terrorized? You bet!

    Tell that to the little Igorot children of Natonin because their school was burned down when their principal refused to pay extortion money he didn’t have.

    Tell that to the forgotten families of Sipadan, the vacationers at Dos Palmas, and all along the merry route the Abus took.

    Tell that to the women raped and then married by “another man’s freedom fighter.”

    Tell that to the families of innocents blown up on the Manila LRT.

    Tell that to the thousands of families whose relatives died or were lost at sea after SuperFerry 14 blew up under their sleeping carcasses, dead before they knew it.

    Terrorized? Yup.

    Tell that to the farmers, small enterpreneurs, (and big), store owners and other common folk that have to pay “revolutionary taxes”, or else.

    Tell that to that to the politicians and their supporters who even now are anteing up “campaign fees” to thugs with Lil Red Books under their armpits.

    Tell that to laborers who better join up with the red union or be considered a “class enemy”.

    Tell that to those who try to get out of the movement and ended up in killing fields. They must feel just like Muslims who try to convert out of that religion of peace and find themselves given capital punishment.

    Now you say they are terrorized by the Law, or a Law which they’ve never even heard of.

    But let’s see, maybe you are right that they are terrorized by the authorities who “might” abuse that Law.

    Strange though that they seem brave enough to break even the smallest traffic regulations, zooming past cops at red lights; frequenting the WhoreHouse that is every big (and small city) in the archipelago; breaking every Intellectual Property Rights law we’ve ever passed or agreed to honor, slurping up DVDS while cussing the American imperialists; and pretty much doing whatever the heck they please and can get away with, which is just about anything.

    Now there’s your culture of impunity!

    If they are terrorized it is not a fear of the Law but a fear that if they don’t break the Law for their own benefit, someone else will.

    Since when has the government ever enforced ANY law to the point where people would be terrorized by it?

    Oh they get killed alright, but I daresay, it is not out of fear but courage and conviction, even if I might disagree with some of their convictions as deluded.

    The Filipinos are not terrorized MB. They’re disgusted. But they don’t seem to cotton to the solutions of the Left in any way shape or form. That is why we have the longest running insurgency that never gets anywhere because there’s never been a critical mass, or anywhere even near it that will swallow all that whole folderol of the Left and its allies. Too complicated, too theoretical, and already proven wrong in the implosion of what used to be the Second World. Hey, even china, the old socialist motherland has taken the capitalist road.

    And so have the Pinoys: they’ve hit the road and realized their best solution is just to leave. Because the Left is not to be believed in, yet the govt isn’t to be trusted much either because it is NOT ALLOWED to win, or doesn’t have the guts to win.

    The Left and the Right are in symbiosis in this country. They need each other to keep what territory they each have. The Right won’t defeat the Left because that’ll mean the People will be free to take their encomiendas. So they let the Left have just enough power to feel it IS a protracted struggle. That is why they have made so much space for the Left in the Media and Academe, where they can be moot and academic, though stentorian in their speeches and braggadocio.

    The Left can’t defeat the Right because they are just plain wrong and the people know it. They are not really interest in victory because that would mean actually taking responsibility for solving problems that can’t be solved in that Commune-in-the-sky they keep speaking of. That is why they are happy enough being in a state of permanent protest–the perfect place to have your cake and eat it too, beating their chests while standing in place, getting nowhere.

    The people are terrorized by the Law?

    No MB, they are just amused at idealists who don’t actually know a thing about terror.

  4. Hey how come no rush from the usual suspects to publish that Joma video? PCIJ? Ellen Tordesillas? MLQ3? Remember Garci? Who’s got a copy? I’ll publish it if you scaredy cats are too afraid of Ka Roger or something. I’m fairly sure PDI won’t, coz the Party cell inside won’t let it happen. But impress me, why don’t you?

    IIRC, yung administration (si bunye) ang unang nagpalabas ng tape named “original” and “spliced”. bunye even allowed the media men to download “original” and “spliced” audio file from his computer.

    at pinalabas naman sa tv yung doctored na tape (with edgar ruado and mike arroyo) at pinost kaagad ito ng PCIJ at PDI ang tape sa website nila (plus transcripts).

    but ruado got cold feet and backed out of his role as the iggy-like fall guy, and malacanang the next day asked PDI to remove the “original” and “spliced” audio files from it’s website. nagdis appir rin si bunye for a few days, before reappearing with a different storyline. DOJ also threatened to arrest anybody and any members of the media with possession of the tapes.

    • kimosabe27 on February 24, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Two words on the MLQ3 and DJB exchange: Sick burn!

    • kimosabe27 on February 24, 2007 at 1:39 am

    DJB: ” I wonder why there is such a concerted effort to bring “international attention” to the “extrajudicial killings” in the Philippines.
    Is it because our own people are indifferent to the problem of “the militants” and “the journalists” that have been killed”

    Waah Waah Waah. So why don’t you join KARAPATAN or AI or something and stop whining? Fag.

    • cvj on February 24, 2007 at 3:40 am

    Why should people expect the CPP to be any different if it takes power? Perhaps after a few years, they’ll go the way of the Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese communists–capitalists in communist clothing. If so, what’s the point of going through a revolution if we’re going to be back where we started – Mike

    The point is that the Vietnamese and the Chinese (not the Russians) seem to have hit upon a formula for economic takeoff composed of two steps:

    1. Take out the warlords and oligarchs. (In the case of Vietnam, they had the added burden of kicking out the Colonial rulers.)
    2. After that is done and members of society are on a more equal footing, introduce capitalist reforms and watch the economy take off.

    Although it’s not my prefered choice, from the point of view of the poor majority, the above model would be better than waiting for whatever trickle-down benefits from our comparatively anemic growth rates. Of course, we have to take care to avoid missteps such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which means not going overboard with the dogma.

    Does the CPP actually think China was better off under Mao than it is now? If so, would they undertake initiatives similar to Mao’s (e.g., the tragic Great Leap Forward) if they take power?

    If the CPP thinks that, then it’s wearing blinders. Deng’s capitalist reforms have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and into the middle class. This in turn is what makes China a force to reckon with in the world stage. The CPP has a point though when it comes to the adverse side effects of such rapid growth. Inequality over there is now worse than it is over here, so as hvrds mentioned in the previous thread, the potential for a social explosion in China is present.

    • Diego K. Guerrero on February 24, 2007 at 5:15 am

    The inept corrupt Arroyo government is just doing a lip service to stop political killings and rampant human rights violations. Gloria Arroyo oversaw an unparallel series of political assassinations of journalists, lawyers, church workers, and peasant and labor leaders, militant activists. Some rogue elements of the military (low level soldiers) cannot act alone without orders from their superior officers. The Arroyo regime all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army may be responsible for political killings of suspected CPP-NPA supporters. The military death squads take the law into their hands without due process. Suspects of the so-called enemies of the state have the right to a fair trial in court. Gloria is the number one recruiter of rebels. The military top honchos are untouchables. Military support is the key factor for the political survival of discredited Gloria Arroyo regime. Defense chief Ebdane and AFP chief of staff General Esperon are involved in massive electoral fraud in 2004 presidential election and its subsequent cover-up operations. Arroyo cannot afford to alienate the military hierarchy she depends on to stay in power.

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 6:35 am

    What a cute name. But I actually know who you are and where you work. So, please, watch your mouth around here.

    I liked you much better when you wrote the following poem:

    A Year Without Raul

    Perhaps it was a god’s way of mourning, Raul
    That a year after you departed,
    In all her gracefulness and majesty

    As we gazed from her perfect face
    Red ruby tears cascading

    As we listened from her bosom
    Sobs of pealing thunder

    As we felt from our feet
    Waves of her trembling sadness

    We were moved by the divine melancholy
    And awed by the mystic perfection

    In our heart of hearts
    We solemnly pray
    A mist of blessedness
    Be gracefully bestowed on us
    We who wretchedly walk
    This parched earth

    For a year without you Raul
    Evil remained triumphant

    We still seethe
    In remembering sacred oaths
    Pledged on hallowed ground
    Easily being disowned, discarded

    We still lament
    That usurpers remain in power
    Engorging themselves with fat of the land
    While people die of hunger and neglect

    We still grieve
    The brave souls who stood up
    For truth and justice
    Only to be felled
    By blood-hungry assassins

    We still condemn
    The Guardians of the Faith
    Who waylaid the flock
    When seduced by opulent temple offerings

    We rage on

    One year without you Raul
    We were still bewildered
    By that ancient riddle
    Which haunted men
    Who gazed the heights of heavens
    And plunged the depths of their soul
    Who traversed unfamiliar landscapes
    And waded through ancient papyri


    Why do good men die
    And evil men triumph?
    A tad sophomoric (“Red ruby tears?”) but touching, and like all bad poetry, Sincere with a capital S.

    Thanks for sharing though.

    • justice league on February 24, 2007 at 8:44 am


    That was quite a revelation. Since you hardly hide who you are; I think your statement should be taken as possible revelation of your protagonists’consistency in statements if such talk should continue.


    Ad hominem will hardly further your ideas in this blog and it is best suited in other blogs.

    • inidoro ni emilie on February 24, 2007 at 9:21 am


    who’s raul?

    • justice league on February 24, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Seems like Roco. And Magayon seems to be Mayon.

    • james on February 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    raul is my kind of guy. no ifs no buts. bad guys hate him because they can’t put up with him.

    alston has a simplistic explanation of his observation compared to Kit Colliers of the National University of Australia In his article on the Shifting Patterns of Political Violence Defy Old Stereotypes –cited by ms c. pedrosa.

    • hvrds on February 24, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    “I do not know which makes a man more conservative—to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.” JMKeynes

    Setting the record straight. Has there been a succesfull revolution or regime change in the Philippines? Never!
    What the country has experienced in the past have been conservatives vs revolutionary conservatives. The trend continues to this day. Look at the political parties, except the ideological leftist blocs, the others are agents of the status quo conservative vs revolutionary conservatives. Once again it bears repeating that the term left refers to those who were asked to sit on the left side of the French Assembly who wanted substantive regime change. Those who wanted the status quo were asked to sit on the right.

    The cry is graft and corruption and strenghtening institutions. Adam Smith was a revolutionary conservative. So was Keynes.

    Darwin, Marx, Lenin and Mao were revolutionaries.

    The revolutionary sees poverty as the effect of a deeply flawed societal system. The conservative sees it as the cause (indolence, laziness) of the problem.

    Revolutionary conservatism is akin to neo-facism. “We have lost our way.” “We were once number one in Asia.” “Solve the population problem and you will have better growth.” “We have to impose order and discipline.” “The politicos are useless.” Just read between the lines of all groups except the left. Impose order from the top. A militarist solution. Even a plebian like Austero pretty much sums up the feelings that democracy has failed and we need strong government (police state) to put the trouble makers in their place. Ramos, Enrile, Almonte, Honasan headed the revolutionary conservative movement vs. Marcos. Cory’s group joined up with them. The rest as they say is history. Look at the attempt vs. Gloria. A new batch of revolutionary conservatives. Ramos and his group decided on the status quo.

    Giving up part of our property rights (Taxes), the basic foundation of the social contract can only work if there are basic human rights in place guaranteed by the basic law and instituions as the ultimate protection vs. the state.

    The basic problem with the conservatives and revolutionary conservatives (neo-cons)here is that they do not see or bother to look at the historically determined format in place that is the cause of our problems. The same people who destroyed the constitution in Edsa II were fighting to preserve the same in the last few years and when the Human Security Act was passed you did not hear a peep from them.

    It is pointed anyway at the left. Where is One Voice, Black and White and the rest of those so called revolutionaries vs. Gloria. Where is Monsod and the rest of those revolutionary conservatives who only turned vs. Marcos when his cronies came after their personal interests. Joe Con and the rest from Cory’s time till now continue on their merry way. Look at the Recto family, the Aquino family. Is there a philosophical difference in their world views? What about Ninoy himself. Would he have been a traitor to his class of landlords? Marcos claimed he was but he simply replaced some of them with new ones.

    Look at the arguments between the participants in this blog. Arguing who is more corrupt than the other. Marcos and Enrile organized a fake pretext for the declaration of martial law. Today it is more sophisticated. They got a priest in the person of Intengan to draw a supposed pretext for the fight vs. the left. Destroy their legal fronts. He made himself the moral force in giving lectures to the military implicitly giving them the basis for his fatwah. The same way Pat Robertson and the Christian fundamentalists gave Bush his moral basis for the war on terror. They belong to the same vein of thought as Usama Bin Laden. Martyrdom and the final struggle of good vs. evil in the final days.

    Membership in the CPP is no longer illegal. Though I cannot for the life of me think of why anyone would still raise Marx to a theology of the human condition. It was never meant to be that. The same with raising the theology of market fundamentalism.

    I wish MLQIII would make copies of his program on Marcos and have it shown to every grade school and high school in this country.

    That way we could stop searching for our king or queen.

    • hvrds on February 24, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    To the conservatives of the left and the right the way forward is rooted in the natural moral law.

    The radical militant priest Intengan should resign his priesthood and join the political struggle on a temporal plane as he would become very popular like Pat Robertson and the rest of the militant Christian fundamentalists.

    He could also organize militant brigades openly along the likes of Moktada al Sadr. The Opus Dei groups I am sure would fund this. He could organize his jihad vs. the left.

    He, Esperon, Palparan and the rest would surely complete Joma and make him more popular than he deserves. They have given the extreme left in this country a PR coup worth millions of dollars worldwide.

    Take a bow, Intengan, Norberto Gonzales, Esperon, Palparan most of all the little one in the Palace.

    Papal Address on Natural Law
    “The Only Valid Bulwark Against Arbitrary Power”

    VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Feb. 12 to the participants of the International Congress on Natural Law, organized by the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

    * * *


    Clementine Hall
    Monday, 12 February 2007

    Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
    Esteemed Professors,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It is with particular pleasure that I welcome you at the beginning of the Congress’ work in which you will be engaged in the following days on a theme of considerable importance for the present historical moment, namely, the natural moral law.

    I thank Bishop Rino Fisichella, Rector Magnificent of the Pontifical Lateran University, for the sentiments expressed in the address with which he has introduced this meeting.

    There is no doubt that we are living in a moment of extraordinary development in the human capacity to decipher the rules and structures of matter, and in the consequent dominion of man over nature.

    We all see the great advantages of this progress and we see more and more clearly the threat of destruction of nature by what we do.

    There is another less visible danger, but no less disturbing: the method that permits us to know ever more deeply the rational structures of matter makes us ever less capable of perceiving the source of this rationality, creative Reason. The capacity to see the laws of material being makes us incapable of seeing the ethical message contained in being, a message that tradition calls lex naturalis, natural moral law.

    This word for many today is almost incomprehensible due to a concept of nature that is no longer metaphysical, but only empirical. The fact that nature, being itself, is no longer a transparent moral message creates a sense of disorientation that renders the choices of daily life precarious and uncertain.

    Naturally, the disorientation strikes the younger generations in a particular way, who must in this context find the fundamental choices for their life.

    It is precisely in the light of this contestation that all the urgency of the necessity to reflect upon the theme of natural law and to rediscover its truth common to all men appears. The said law, to which the Apostle Paul refers (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is written on the heart of man and is consequently, even today, accessible.

    This law has as its first and general principle, “to do good and to avoid evil.” This is a truth which by its very evidence immediately imposes itself on everyone. From it flows the other more particular principles that regulate ethical justice on the rights and duties of everyone.

    So does the principle of respect for human life from its conception to its natural end, because this good of life is not man’s property but the free gift of God. Besides this is the duty to seek the truth as the necessary presupposition of every authentic personal maturation.

    Another fundamental application of the subject is freedom. Yet taking into account the fact that human freedom is always a freedom shared with others, it is clear that the harmony of freedom can be found only in what is common to all: the truth of the human being, the fundamental message of being itself, exactly the lex naturalis.

    And how can we not mention, on one hand, the demand of justice that manifests itself in giving unicuique suum and, on the other, the expectation of solidarity that nourishes in everyone, especially if they are poor, the hope of the help of the more fortunate?

    In these values are expressed unbreakable and contingent norms that do not depend on the will of the legislator and not even on the consensus that the State can and must give. They are, in fact, norms that precede any human law: as such, they are not subject to modification by anyone. The natural law, together with fundamental rights, is the source from which ethical imperatives also flow, which it is only right to honor.

    In today’s ethics and philosophy of Law, petitions of juridical positivism are widespread. As a result, legislation often becomes only a compromise between different interests: seeking to transform private interests or wishes into law that conflict with the duties deriving from social responsibility.

    In this situation it is opportune to recall that every juridical methodology, be it on the local or international level, ultimately draws its legitimacy from its rooting in the natural law, in the ethical message inscribed in the actual human being.

    Natural law is, definitively, the only valid bulwark against the arbitrary power or the deception of ideological manipulation. The knowledge of this law inscribed on the heart of man increases with the progress of the moral conscience.

    The first duty for all, and particularly for those with public responsibility, must therefore be to promote the maturation of the moral conscience. This is the fundamental progress without which all other progress proves non-authentic.

    The law inscribed in our nature is the true guarantee offered to everyone in order to be able to live in freedom and to be respected in their own dignity.

    What has been said up to this point has very concrete applications if one refers to the family, that is, to “the intimate partnership of life and the love which constitutes the married state… established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 48).

    Concerning this, the Second Vatican Council has opportunely recalled that the institution of marriage has been “confirmed by the divine law”, and therefore “this sacred bond … for the good of the partner, of the children and of society no longer depends on human decision alone” (ibid.).

    Therefore, no law made by man can override the norm written by the Creator without society becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalizing the children and rendering the future of society precarious.

    Lastly, I feel the duty to affirm yet again that not all that is scientifically possible is also ethically licit. Technology, when it reduces the human being to an object of experimentation, results in abandoning the weak subject to the arbitration of the stronger. To blindly entrust oneself to technology as the only guarantee of progress, without offering at the same time an ethical code that penetrates its roots in that same reality under study and development, would be equal to doing violence to human nature with devastating consequences for all.

    The contribution of scientists is of primary importance. Together with the progress of our capacity to dominate nature, scientists must also contribute to help understand the depth of our responsibility for man and for nature entrusted to him.

    On this basis it is possible to develop a fruitful dialogue between believers and non-believers; between theologians, philosophers, jurists and scientists, which can offer to legislation as well precious material for personal and social life.

    Therefore, I hope these days of study will bring not only a greater sensitivity of the learned with regard to the natural moral law, but will also serve to create conditions so that this theme may reach an ever fuller awareness of the inalienable value that the lex naturalis possesses for a real and coherent progress of private life and the social order.

    With this wish, I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for you and for your academic commitment to research and reflection, while I impart to all with affection the Apostolic Blessing.

    [Translation of Italian original issued by the Holy See]

    © Copyright 2007 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

  5. The Inquirer also has this:

    Shoot them’

    The report said that in the course of his testimony before the commission, Palparan confirmed having made the following statements:

    “My order to my soldiers is that, if they are certain that there are armed rebels in the house or yard, shoot them. It will just be too bad if civilians are killed in the process. We are sorry if you are killed in the crossfire.”

    “There would be some collateral damage, but it will be short and tolerable. The enemy would blow it up as a massive violation of human rights. But to me, it would just be necessary incidents.”

    “Sorry na lang kung may madamay na civilian. The deaths of civilians and local officials were ‘small sacrifices’ brought about by the military’s anti-insurgency campaign.”

    “They cannot be stopped completely. The killings, I would say are necessary incidents in a conflict because they (the rebels) are violent. It’s not necessary that the military alone should be blamed.”

    I do accept that the military cannot be totally blamed for collateral damage resulting in a fire fight but at the same time, with that kind of declaration and on record to boot (Melo Commission) Palparan has opened the door for further scrutiny on his personal responsibility that resulted in unresolved deaths.

    The EU could take it from there – Palparan doesn’t seem to realize it but if the EU Rapporteur finds enough reasons to believe that he issued direct orders to kill, he might be transported to The Hague to stand accused of crimes against humanity.

    The EU rapporteur will pass its findings onto the Council of Europe (46 heads of state and government) whose prime duty is to protect HUMAN RIGHTS and if they determine there’s probable cause to indict Palparan, Gloria will be hard put to avoid being accused of human rights violations too on the international level.

    Gloria MUST NOT underestimate the EU.

    • justice league on February 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    “There would be some collateral damage, but it will be short and tolerable. The enemy would blow it up as a massive violation of human rights. But to me, it would just be “necessary” incidents.”

    – There’s a reason why there’s a spokesman for almost anything. Long speech many mistakes! And even spokesmen have their blunders.

    • DJB on February 24, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Let me answer an earlier question posed: Why is there a concerted effort to bring international pressure to bear on the controversy over “political killings”.

    It is because the communists –(and I am forced to use a label because NO ONE owns up to being a communist without delivering some long lecture on political taxonomy full of disclaimers and convoluted distinctions)– are unable to scare up much outrage from what MB calls a terrorized population. The Filipinos themselves seem to disbelieve their claims of persecution because there happens to be an insurgency and internal warfare. Filipinos are not stupid enough to believe that ALL these leftists are really just peaceful civil libertarians and human rights activists, because they’ve talked like that for decades but acted very differently. And they refuse to disassociate themselves with the armed extortionists and arsonists using a bunch of gobbledygook.

    Which really brings up MLQ3’s title about “swinging to the Right.”

    I aver that Filipinos have always been on the Right relative to the communist insurgency. ALWAYS. There’s never been a time when the Left enjoyed any kind of popular support. It is a movement of flags and banners and streamers hiding the sparse adherents.

    Their biggest problem and foil is America and the West in general, of which we are inexorably and perhaps inextricably a part. We are not Asians the way the ASEAN nations are. We are Little Brown Americans!

    If you removed all recognizable references on this blog and others to the Philippines and Asia, the rhetoric, argumentation, philosophies and clash of ideas that one finds is something you would find in most American newspapers, media and blog discourses. The idiom is unmistakably American, even among the most anti-American.

    Even our Leftist thinking is a form of “colonial mentality” since we learned our anti-imperialism from the US Anti-Imperialist League and Mark Twain. Of course, lately there has been some reaching out to Europe and dipping into the well of European thinking, but it is indistinguishable really from Euro-American leftist borrowing too.

    But the inescapable fact is that most debates I have with so called Filipino nationalists and leftists could easily be undertaken by American leftists, who are the spiritual and philosophical sources of Philippine leftist thinking.

    That is how inescapable America is for the poor Filipinos. That is why, it is to America that most of them want to, and try to escape. Once a Filipino lands in America, he actually feels more at home there than here. Most are struck by how “right” everything feels with respect to everything he has learned to expect of society, culture, politics and intellectualism.

    That is the real source of much anti-American angst because the obsession of many intelligent Filipinos, paradoxically, is to be unique, to be different.

    But look at language, which is fundamental to thinking and belief. Our idiom is unalterably American more than it is Spanish or European. It is certainly not Asian.

    Now inasmuch as the ideology of the Philippine Left is so deeply rooted in a hatred of America (no matter how much they deny it or make fine distinctions among peoples, states and cultures) what they are really trying to get Filipinos to do is to hate themselves.

    That is the essential futility of their cause, and the cause of their historic failure to win the hearts and minds of the people. All they have succeeded in doing is to create a paltry caricature of much more entertaining leftists like Mao and Lenin and Pol Pot.

  6. Re MB’s “Why a concerted effort at international attention?”

    Concerted effort became more intense after Gloria officially invited Amnesty International, the EU and of course the UN Human Rights Commission to “help the Philippines solve the extra-judicial killings.”

    Gloria was actually buying PR time on the international front. She knows full well that there’s nothing these institutions can do to help her “solve” those killings that willing good RP institutions cannot do.

    What is she talking about? Let’s get real. She’s the most powerful person in Pinas. If she commands the police and military institutions to do something, i.e., to solve the killings, they can be solved. She’s been twisting guys in those institutions around her little finger for as long as we can remember, then all of a sudden goes coy and turns abroad to say, “Oh please, help, help poor little me to solve the killings in my country!”


    • cvj on February 24, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    It is because the communists…are unable to scare up much outrage from what MB calls a terrorized population. – DJB

    Why is it that it has to be the communist’s role to scare up much outrage? Isn’t this the role of any decent human being, whatever the ideology? Why do you equate summary executions as if it were part of the normal rules of engagement?

    Their biggest problem and foil is America and the West in general, of which we are inexorably and perhaps inextricably a part. We are not Asians the way the ASEAN nations are. We are Little Brown Americans! – DJB

    Perhaps you are speaking for the Fil-Ams, or your generation that grew up to believe that America is the ‘greatest’, but you are certainly not speaking for the rest of us Filipinos. As a people, we have started to move on from that.

    • cvj on February 24, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    But look at language, which is fundamental to thinking and belief. Our idiom is unalterably American more than it is Spanish or European. It is certainly not Asian. – DJB

    Don’t you realize that if you subscribe to the above logic of cultural affinity as basis for assimilation, that would have put you squarely in the camp of Loyalists [to the British Empire] during your own War of Independence back in the 1770’s? Good for you that your founding fathers had a different mindset.

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