The Long View: A wedge of Chiz

The Long View
A wedge of Chiz
By Manuel L. Quezon III


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:49:00 11/04/2009


IN JAKARTA OVER THE WEEKEND, I discovered that a famous political saying from the Philippines enjoys wide currency particularly within the circle of President Sudhuyono: “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” The phrase dates back to 1922 when public opinion became a factor in elections and it summarizes the recent decision of Francis Escudero to renounce his party affiliation and to adopt – in fact, reintroduce – a proposal first made in 1940, that of Partyless Democracy (which is still being seriously discussed in India to this day) and which rejects parties as guardians of patronage, the spoils system and partisanship in politics.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition, the second-largest party in the country, has carved out a role for itself as a useful ally in forming coalitions. What, exactly, that useful role serves, beyond its share of spoils by always having a seat at the table, has been widely perceived by the public as being a simple one, as far as objectives go: to maintain, protect, and if possible, expand, the economic power of the party’s principal. For power doesn’t flow merely from the barrel of a gun, but also from the depths of a deep purse.

The legitimate ambition of Escudero – that he can be the youngest president the country’s ever had since the presidency has been the actual gift of the electorate – naturally had to collide with a party oriented towards such limited goals. His frustration over the condescension of his party elders reflects similar sentiments among an overwhelmingly young population over the short-sightedness of their elders. He had to leave, not only to fulfill his destiny but in order to continue representing the aspirations of his followers.

His alienation is the alienation of his constituents, his defying convention a reflection of his follower’s impatience with hierarchy, pragmatism, consensus and cooperation. But it leaves leader and followers alike without prospects of what the very things they are rebelling against, make possible: the transformation of opinion into action. The National Democratic Front and its affiliates know how to translate resentment into action.

The NDF was caught off-guard and left befuddled by the entry of Aquino into the presidential derby as Villar’s camp – with whom the NDF had decided to ally, out of pragmatic consideration – was, and for the same reasons: it upset the political calculations that had driven the political campaigns of all sides up to that point. Pursuing their generations-old vendetta against the Aquinos, the Left faced a backlash when its immediate reaction to Cory Aquino’s death was sustained criticism; it nimbly did an about-face and embraced her so as not to be exposed as having such a deviant opinion from the public as a whole. But the Great Remembering followed by the Great Awakening when Cory died gave rise to the candidacy of Aquino.

Before Benigno Aquino III threw his hat into the ring, the then-frontrunner, Manuel Villar Jr., by all accounts had oriented his campaign towards considering Escudero as his number one opponent, the real threat to his presidential prospects. Aquino’s entry into the fray – at the precise point when Villar had achieved what all the experts assured him was a major turning point in the campaign, achieving the crucial 25 percent survey rankings that made him the man to beat – essentially wiped out Villar’s gains, since Aquino’s ratings raised the bar and rendered the conventional wisdom obsolete.

Manuel Roxas II accurately read the signs of the times and sacrificed his 2010 ambitions. But Aquino also made Escudero seem callow by comparison, so it seemed, for a time, as Roxas took his time to accept Aquino’s offer for Roxas to be his running mate, a window of opportunity had opened for Escudero to make a similar renunciation of ambition and become Aquino’s running mate, instead. But Roxas accepted Aquino’s offer (the sensible and honorable thing for both candidates to do) which left Escudero out in the cold, and facing a lukewarm reception from the leadership of his party, besides.

Escudero and the NDF proved to be mutual saviors of each other’s sagging prospects of remaining relevant in 2010. It was bad enough for the purists in the field to have to accept their Eternal Chairman’s decision to back Villar; just as bad were proposals to open discussions with Aquino for this would confront the NDF with another dilemma: having to support an Aquino when it had demanded the blood of martyrs to stain their claim to representing the democratic aspirations of the people.

Escudero’s role is to be a wedge. His political gifts are the sharp point that the NDF parties flocking to his banner perceive to be the sharp point of their mission to chop the existing democratic order to smithereens. Of course, there is an irony in iron-disciplined NDF party lists proclaiming the virtues of a man who has disowned party affiliation. Put another way, they would make short shrift of someone trying to leave their ranks in order to fulfill an individual sense of political integrity.

But he’s from the outside. Chances are, somewhere down the road, in fulfillment of the sense of historical inevitability that drives their faith, the excommunication of Escudero will come. But not now, not when he can be so useful.

The importance of Escudero doesn’t lie in his becoming the next president of the Philippines, but rather, how he will influence the prospects of the current frontrunners. His newfound allies calculate he is their secret weapon in pursuing their vendetta against the son of the Aquinos who conclusively proved the public prefers reform and non-violence to blood and revolution, and he will do so by trying to out-Aquino the real deal. So he has decided to ride the purring tiger.

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    • rego on November 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    wow, the ndf angle is certainly a very different perspective from all opinions that I ve read. iba ka talaga manolo. bilib na bilb ako!

  1. “Prof.Joma Sison would like to reassure his Filipino fans that he’s not backing down, and will selflessly and single-handedly continue to consume sumptuous European food, mouth-watering Belgian chocolates, and fine Dutch cheese so that the Filipino masses he dearly loves — especially those who are actually shooting soldiers, eating nothing but sweet potatoes, and using wet mountain leaves to wipe their crapper — would not have to suffer and get corrupted by these evil bourgeois consumer products.”skirmisher

    • apanfilo on November 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Is Akbayan one of the NDF parties? Coz I thought I saw Reps. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Walden Bello during Noynoy’s announcement of his candidacy.

    Or maybe the Left of Akbayan has a yellowish hue?

    • mlq3 on November 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm
      Author

    Akbayan is viewed as revisionist by NDF

    • mlq3 on November 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm
      Author

    rego sa iba kasi nagfocus lang sa tampuhan with danding. that’s fine but it ignores chiz genuinely representing a constituency, which makes his dilemma as much the constituencie’s dilemma and that is: bakit ayaw pa ng oldies tumaya sa mga bata, etc. at the same time if you’ve been attuned to the posturing on line and elsewhere, the NDF has been moving forward and backward because of the consequences of cory’s death and noynoy’s candidacy, and as committed ideologues, while they aren’t bound by bourgeois convention, they must make political choices that ultimately do greater good and less harm to their ultimate cause.

    • Carl on November 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Ah, so Noynoy is the new Magsaysay? 🙂

  2. “We expect that the presidential candidate who will be elected will win by a plurality vote because of the number of candidates. The Left with our mass base could be a swing vote.” Dr.Araullo,Bayan Chairman

    • gen asenjo on November 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Insightful! Love this Manolo!
    Oo nga naman, di ba. Kasi tama bang sabihin na na-etsa puwera ang Left after 1986 (saan tumulong din sila para mabuwag ang diktaturya)/Cory administration pero hindi rin naka-bwelo o nakapapel kaya ang dis-ilusyon nila. Kaya si Chiz, at ang kanyang posturing,ang swak sa kanila ngayon. Ang tanong: malakas pa ba ang clout nila? And when we speak of ‘youth’ na sinasabing primary supporters ni Chiz, malamang we mean here ‘yong mga college/university-breed, di ba (may latest survey ba rito) kasi ewan ko lang, pero from my end, parang hindi naman translatable into votes talaga ang popularity niya. To think na marami sa mga estudyante walang paki, at ‘yong mga kabataang voters naman in baranggays, malamang boboto ‘yon sa kung ano ang sabi/kung sino ang kandidato ng kanilang Brgy.Captain o local leaders.
    Para sa akin, out sa laban si Chiz. It’s between Gibo and Noynoy.

    • punona on November 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    “We expect that the presidential candidate who will be elected will win by a plurality vote because of the number of candidates. The Left with our mass base could be a swing vote.”

    I do not have the exact number but the mass base Bayan is saying can be best measure are the votes Bayan partylist and other NDF-inclined parties got in the recent elections.

    That could number more than one million but will not reach two million. How could that become a “swing” vote considering the number of voters and the number of candidates?

    Assuming that Noynoy got the plurality votes, their two million votes ( at the most) will be insignifcant. Same with the case of Villar’s.

    The Left must be dreaming. Or overrating themselves.

    • Jes on November 5, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    “We expect that the presidential candidate who will be elected will win by a plurality vote because of the number of candidates. The Left with our mass base could be a swing vote.”

    Isn’t this the same logic that NDF used to support Erap in 98?

    • Brian_B on November 5, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    “His newfound allies calculate he is their secret weapon in pursuing their vendetta against the son of the Aquinos who conclusively proved the public prefers reform and non-violence to blood and revolution, and he will do so by trying to out-Aquino the real deal. So he has decided to ride the purring tiger.”

    You should write profiles for Tina Brown’s New Yorker.

    • Brian_B on November 5, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Read the comments and I agree this is quite a shock. Would someone like Escudero risk it? This is more than political suicide; it can socially pauperize him. Communist Golden Boys never glitter. Look at that lawyer whatshisname.

  3. Holy smokes, is this really the risk Chiz wants to take?

  4. Well to be fair this does represent a populace wary of a Villar Presidency, rejective of a Gibo candidacy and unsure of an Aquino run. Yet correct in overall structure. But I get that nagging feeling that Chiz is running for Veep.

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2009 at 12:29 am
      Author

    Survey results on Nov. 16 will probably clinch whether he runs for prexy or veep.

    • Carlo on November 6, 2009 at 11:08 am

    @apanfilo, Akbayan was formed in 1992 to serve as the NGO-third plank of the LP and PDP-LABAN tandem of Jovy Salonga and Nene Pimentel. It was coinciding with the internal crisis within the NDF which resulted in the defection of a small but significant group. This group meeting and finally coalescing with non-NDF leftists (i.e. Social Democrats, Independent Socialists, ex-PDSP members) formed Akbayan as a pluralist Left alternative to the monolithic and rigid CPP-NDF.

    Sir, Manolo, I have to say well done on the analysis. I tried to bring this view into discussions with some friends but few seem to agree. But such a view is without proof.

    For the most part, Chiz Escudero has been the personality within the traditional opposition, aside from Jamby Madrigal, that has consistently carried traditional NDF or natdem issues and stands. We just have to look at 2 years of interview material from GMA and ABS and it shows his opinions on the 125 peso wage hike and the VFA have more in common with the NDF stand.

    Even those who argue that “well you have to remember his father was a minister under Marcos” can’t discount the fact that his dad was one of the technocrats along with Cesar Virata in creating a state managed economy. This plays well within NDF consistently calling for more state intervention in the economy.

    Chiz is right, he’s no haciendero, heredero, or a bilyonaryo. But ever since launching his political career, he has always depended on their support. Now that he’s shutting the door to a bilyonaryo, being outchosen over Legarda by the haciendero-Teodoro, and no chance with a heredero-Aquino, maybe it is time to get the support of a Rebelde?

    • Carl on November 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Well, with headlines such as: “Luisita ready to eject 5,000 ‘illegal’ farmers” and with the likes of Manny Pangilinan and Ramon Ang playing “Monopoly” with the local stock market, why should there be any love for the so-called “reforms” of the Aquinos? It’s really just a shell game the elite plays with the hapless masses.

  5. I am not quite sure I get the gist of your message, Manolo.

    Are you saying the the extreme left (CPP and NDF) are using Chiz to drive a wedge between the radical and moderate youth in order to split the support base of Noynoy among them? It seems to me this would be counterproductive on their part since the support base of Noynoy goes across age and income demographics, while the support base of Chiz comes primarily from mid to upper income urban based and young voters.

    Sure, it may take away some votes from the LP tandem of Noy-Mar but it would also reduce support for the NP their original coalition partner. So as a wedge, he doesn’t seem to be performing his role properly if this is what he was designed to do.

    And by going naked (partyless), I don’t see how this belated disavowal of the spoils system would resonate with people who are alienated from the political system. There is a school of thought that these people accepted Erap because they perceived he would deliver the spoils to them. True Erap didn’t bother with setting up a formal party, but that is not what endeared him to the masses.

    Again I don’t see Chiz driving a wedge between the conscientisized and non-conscientisized masses who previously supported the former president’s bid in ’98, only the FPJ and Erap fan base which constitutes the latter.

    • UP n grad on November 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Side-topic: Special elections (vote ends November 19).
    Choices include a Filipino, a Zimbabwe woman, a white bartender.

    Read about them, then vote. [Votes from anywhere — Mindanao, Russia, Tanganyika, Canada, Texas — are counted.]
    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/vote/

    • supremo on November 7, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Escudero the Wedge is more like Melted Chiz.

    • GabbyD on November 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    i love how people are having fun with his nickname!

    • mabini on November 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Survey results on Nov. 16 will probably clinch whether he runs for prexy or veep.

    Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…

  6. EQ’s Top 5 Pinoy Political Blogs
    http://www.equalizerpost.com/2009/11/eqs-five-most-powerful-pinoy-political.html

    • Bert on November 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Chiz’ best political move is to decalre his support for the favorite, that’s Noynoy, then run as an independent vice-presidential candidate. That way, he can snatch some votes from Mar Roxas, the stronger candidate over Loren. That might make him the man to beat in the vice-presidential race. My two cents.

    I wonder who between Noynoy and Villar will be negatively affected by Erap’s running for president?

    • Carl on November 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    We’ll see how things evolve. There could be some surprises between now and the end of the year. The situation may be more fluid than most people think.

  7. The reason for the “quick melt” down of the Chiz E candidacy was its want for a compelling narrative, other than his quip that “I may be suffering from TPS (trad pol syndrome) if I wait til I am older” (paraphrase).

    His painting himself as the “indie” character or as the impatient angry young man without a party is an attempt to try and manufacture a narrative. But by denying himself of party machinery and resources, he is forced to cobble together disparate elements of an alienated force since these are the only groups who would be attracted by that story.

    If he runs, he will probably detract from Erap with the FPJM endorsement (not yet assured). Erap will detract from Villar (both are using the rich v poor slogan). Only Noy’s narrative seems to be appealing to all groups in society and detracting from all other candidates.

    If there is one thing in the Philippine psyche that trumps the champion of the masses story, it is the vaunted redemption story of the suffering saint.

    Noy’s candidacy may have started with the much maligned “civil society” but it has quickly metamorphosed into a narrative that promises deliverance and salvation from the “evil” structures that bind the nation. How can anyone seriously compete against that?

    • Carl on November 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Yup, it’s probably all about the narrative and I seriously hope it won’t be just the usual tall tales we hear from candidates during election season.

    We are aware that Noynoy’s handlers are attempting to copy Barack Obama’s campaign strategies and style. But Obama himself has, of late, run into a brick wall on his promises of hope and deliverance. If the original is having a tough time bringing about change and salvation, the copycats will most likely fare no better, if not worse.

    • luke55 on November 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    but how true is it that according to http://thekwin.wordpress.com, the event planners of NP standard bearer Villar wants to properly project the NP ticket( with Loren as VP) as the alternative choice of voters against the perceived front-running tandem of SENATORS Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas?

    • bikolano on November 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    manolo, just one thing, please elaborate on your accusation that the “the Left’s…. immediate reaction to Cory Aquino’s death was sustained criticism”

    can you prove it? vis-a-vis nat dem orgs and personalitys’ pronouncements published in mainstream media and accessible at their websites?
    “it nimbly did an about-face and embraced her so as not to be exposed as having such a deviant opinion from the public as a whole” -can you give a time table? concrete examples? certainly for a media savvy person like you, its eay to post two statements from the left one,with the sustained criticism the other one after they purportedly turned around.

    it you cant give any… then your’e a big LIER. hope to read your response.

    • Carl on November 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I don’t know if it’s fair to tar Chiz with the Communist bogeyman, but Tony Abaya also claims that the Noynoy camp is infiltrated by the Left. Here’s what Abaya a couple of months ago:

    “It is not a coincidence that two of the loudest drumbeaters for Noynoy are columnists with whom I exchanged insults in the 1980s – ironically during the Cory years – when they were arrogant drumbeaters for the Magick of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Socialism and harangued their readers to Trust in dialectical materialism and the allegedly inevitable triumph of Communism……while I argued from empirical evidence that Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Socialism was a failure, even before the collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989, the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the restoration of capitalism in China in the 80s and 90s.

    But old habits die hard. Magick and Trust in Unseen Forces in the 1980s. Magick and Trust in Unseen Forces in 2009-2010. Just as I relied on empirical evidence in the 1980s, I also ask for empirical evidence in 2009-2010: what has Noynoy Aquino accomplished in eight (?) years as a legislator, which could indicate what he can or intends to accomplish as president?

    Ironically, these two drumbeaters for Noynoy’s Magick were the most acrimonious critics of Cory Aquino’s Magick in the 1980s when they were still true believers in Joma Sison’s Magick.

    Will President Noynoy mix pro-Communists and anti-Communists in his Cabinet, as his mother Cory Aquino did during her watch? That would be a precursor to endless conflict within his own government, as it was in Cory’s…

    Will President Noynoy release the 14 “consultants” of the National Democratic Front detained by the military, as demanded by the Communists as a pre-condition for the resumption of “peace talks”, as his mother Cory Aquino did Joma and other top ranking Communists in 1987, which directly led to military coups against her?

    Will President Noynoy exempt the family crown jewel, Hacienda Luisita, from land reform, as his mother Cory Aquino did during her watch? What would such exemption do to his presumed goal to be seen as the Reformer of Philippine Society?

    Will President Noynoy refrain from lifting a finger against the Arroyos, as his mother Cory Aquino refrained from lifting a finger against the Marcoses during her watch? 23 years later, not a single Marcos heir has gone to jail for his plunder. 23 years from now, can we foresee that not a single Arroyo heir will go to jail for her plunder?”

    This is just the beginning. We will see much more dirt thrown to and fro in the next few months. I am amused that Manolo is squarely in the middle of it all. Early on, he has stepped into the political fray, engaging in muckraking and political hatchet jobs for his candidate Noynoy.

    • Amihan on November 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Chiz I think is too “fresh” to become our president….

  8. Wait, so de Quiros is communist?

    • bikolano on November 12, 2009 at 1:30 am

    still no replies for my querries mr quezon?

    • J_AG on November 12, 2009 at 7:50 am

    I guess the old 19th century/Cold war rhetoric still resides in the Philippines.

    The rest of the world has gone past that. The ongoing structural change in the advanced economies to an algorithm based economy and the emerging industrial nations of India, China and Brazil are creating unique challenges the planet has never faced. Yet the old rhetoric between left and right still run through some old dinosaurs here in the country.

  9. Pursuing their generations-old vendetta against the Aquinos, the Left faced a backlash when its immediate reaction to Cory Aquino’s death was sustained criticism; it nimbly did an about-face and embraced her so as not to be exposed as having such a deviant opinion from the public as a whole.

    I am befuddled. “Generations-old vendetta”? For what? What I know is Joma Sison immediately issued a statement of condolence to the Aquino family upon Cory’s death, even remisniscing about those days when he was a visitor or the Aquino’s in their home and Cory herself preparing drinks. Cory even released Joma and Kumander Dante so what’s the Left angry about.

    As for Chiz and the Left, when did their alliance start?

    • mlq3 on November 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm
      Author

    Bicolano,

    On August 1 the Left “assailed” Aquino in jarring contradiction to the overall response of other sectors to Cory’s death:

    Critics however assailed Aquino, who belonged to a family of landlords over the infamous Mendiola Massacre, which saw several peasants marching for land reform killed by state security forces. The incident led to the collapse of peace negotiations between Manila and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

    Within a day even this “assailing” (fleshed out in the Bulatlat.com article by Benjie Oliveros on August 1) was reversed and all official communications partook of the party line starting August 2 to praise her, see all the official communiques in Arkibong Bayan. So tha by August 3 the “exceptional relationship” of the Chairman and Cory was being glowingly written up.

    By August 5 the adjustments to the public mood had taken place. I observed this in my entry Initial Summation, the discomfort the Left had with her passing:

    The difficulty with Edsa as National Deliverance extends not merely to the agnostic who acknowledge incomprehension in the face of miracles, but outright skepticism and hostility from those whose faith is of the incongruous kind anchored in historical materialism. For as columnist Manuel Buencamino, writing on the day Cory was buried wrote in The Business Mirror, what the Filipino people gathered at Edsa did was not just to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat,” as Cory herself put it in her famous speech to the US Congress. What Filipinos did was slay dogma:

    In 1986, the Filipino people, inspired and emboldened by the sincerity and courage of Corazon Aquino, took back the democracy that was taken away from them in 1972. Armed only with their faith and a firm belief in their capability to decide their own future, they faced down tanks.?

    Their valor and audacity proved that Mao’s famous adage on power was just another lie foisted by oppressors. Edsa established, once and for all, that power comes not from the barrel of a gun but from the hearts of the people.

    Dissent to this and similar verdicts, of non-violence as the dominant political discourse since Ninoy’s martyrdom, was registered with some vehemence at first, until it became obvious that the country had once more united in defense of Cory and was quite prepared to stare down any rumblings of either Marcosian machismo or Agitprop from the other extremity of the political spectrum –at which point it became more muted. At the heart of the big push that end up faltering, was the re-assertion of Cory as irredeemable Class Enemy, and of what was put in place at Edsa as “mere” restoration and indeed, betrayal.

    In the extract above, I linked to Amando Doronila’s article which explained the dilemma that required rhetorical adjustments from the Left in 2009 as it faced 1986 redux:

    The only significant social group that was left out in People Power I was the Left and that was because they took the arrogant position that they won’t have anything to do with a middle-class led movement since the only revolution worth the name was the proletarian and workers’ revolution fought in the paddies and the streets drenched in blood. The Left, which did not think much of Cory because she was a daughter of a wealthy landed-class, paid heavily in political terms for their abstention from the People Power movement. They were marginalized from any power sharing with the middle and upper classes after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. And now the hard-core Left is withering away in exile in The Netherlands, after their EDSA blunder.

    A day after that, the entry A Leftist’s Reflection on the Death of Former President Corazon C. Aquino appeared, crystallizing the Left dilemma of dogma colliding with reality,

    I contented myself with the proposition that my current disposition is valid, politically correct and consistent with the masses’ interest and pulse. Cory will not have my sympathy.

    But then again, as I was watching Mrs. Aquino’s funeral service, I cannot help but notice the continuing pouring of support and sympathy from many people. I am not talking about here of middle class people who we often associate with Cory but rather, of ordinary, everyday people; the labanderas, the obreros, the manangs, the urban poor, the probinsyanos; the very same masses we from the broad left movement have sworn to serve with utmost passion and dedication.

    They have no anger in their eyes, no impassioned tirades on the Aquino government’s horrible mistakes, no finger pointing, no rage, no resentment. All I saw on television was a long yellow line of sad heart-broken faces waiting for their turn to view their president one last time; mourning as if they too have lost a loved one, grieving as if they too lost something important in their life.

    My first reaction was sheer amusement and bewilderment which immediately turned into anger. How could the people have possibly forgotten? How could have they possibly forgiven Cory and her regime when they were never given any exoneration from their misery and poverty in the first place? How could they idolize her and identify with her?

    I concluded this could be the result of the Filipino people’s overt romanticism, its legendary propensity to easily forgive and forget which inevitably fused with corporate media’s proclivity for creative spins and spectacles. I said to myself, this would quickly fade as it was quickly created with the people going back to reality; back to their wowowee dreams, back to our same old rubbish shitty lives.

    However, each passing day was a revelation. Particularly, what struck me most was when people were asked why they were there. Almost all answered that they wanted to pay tribute to the woman who helped them restored democracy, who helped them reclaimed what was rightfully theirs. From the mother who brought her daughter all the way from Isabela to teach her about democracy, the students who were too young to even remember Edsa 1 up to the laborers and the poor who proudly claimed to have been participants to people power 1, 2 and even 3, all said it was because of democracy.

    Then it finally dawned on me why this woman despite her regime’s numerous social and economic transgressions is so loved and cherished by a people representing three generation of Edsas. It’s not so much because she is religious, a mother-like figure to many, a glorified widow or simply a martyr; beyond the labels, our ideological flexing and the comfortable branding of pundits, Cory has been duly recognized by the people as an icon in their transition from despotism to rule of law, their struggle from tyranny towards a sense of freedom and democracy. Cory is first and foremost the representation of that ideal, of that difficult journey towards democratization, of that collective national experience.

    And it did not stop there. She will also be remembered as a defender of that particular form of democracy flawed and wanting it may be in so many ways, not measuring up to our Marxist concept of a democratic archetype. From people power 2 which removed an incompetent and corrupt regime up to her participation in the fight to throw out the illegitimate Arroyo regime and its sinister plan to amend the constitution, Cory will be remembered and respected as a person who despite her privileged status joined the people in their most trying and important political junctures.

    She will also be remembered for her seemingly incorruptible disposition and her lack of desire to cling to power more than what was bestowed to her. This is in sharp contradiction with the succeeding governments that followed her especially the current Arroyo regime which has shown its penchant to further its illegitimate rule through a combination of brute force and fake consent.

    The above was linked to in my entry Saint and Tippler, and what followed is what followed. One does not have to be a critic of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to see the turnaround to curry favor with the public. See
    MSH on August 11:

    Let’s take a look back, in the late 80s and in the 90s, when the movement was in turmoil. Sison, as a leading theoretician, had the daunting task of putting the revolution back on track, to rectify the entire revolutionary movement. Sison outlined everything from organizational errors to ideological deviation. Sison was absolutely correct in reasserting Maoism as the universal ideological weapon of the oppressed and exploited peoples. In many of the party documents, Sison evaluates the aftermath of the EDSA 1986 “revolution.” He states that conditions under the U$-Aquino regime was as bad or worse than its predecessor. (1) An alternative news source, the Bulatlat describes Aquino’s regime:

    “Aquino also implemented the same militarist solution to the armed conflict by ‘unsheathing the sword of war,’ displacing more than a million people in rural areas. The ‘low intensity conflict’ strategy that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) learned from the US Armed Forces and was implemented by the Aquino government included arming anti-communist vigilante groups, which was responsible for brutal attacks against the people in rural areas.” (2)

    State terrorism was higher under Aquino than under either Marcos or Arroyo. The U$-Aquino regime unleashed many cutthroat vigilante groups, baranggay defense units, and other mercenaries, even calling them “defenders of democracy.” These were simply goons of the Aquino-Cojuanco clan, especially clerico-fascist cult outfits, Tat-tad, Ilaga to name a few. This also includes the heightened formal anti-insurgency operations of the repressive police and the military.

    Now Sison has reversed himself. Two decades after, Sison implies that Cory is a “progressive.” In recent interviews with Sison himself, he reminisces about the friendly ties he had with the Aquinos prior to the downfall of the U$-Marcos regime. According to Sison, he had maintained a good relationship with the Aquinos even though he publicly opposed them. (3) (4) Now the misleaders of the popular movement in the Philippines, the NDF, not only conveyed their condolences to the Aquino family, they also align themselves with Aquino, the hated fraud. The NDF even states that the U$-backed Aquino regime promoted human rights, civil liberties, nationalist and progressive programs, land reform, etc. as called for by the 1986 Constitution. (5) To set the record straight, the U$-Aquino regime upheld such idealist rhetoric only on paper; to say otherwise is to betray the masses, whom the NDF claims to be fighting for. Nobody with a brain believes such nonsense. The Aquino government was an instrument of class rule. Like the Marcos dictatorship before it, Aquino’s regime inflicted terror upon the masses as an instrument of the comprador bourgeoisie, landlords and land thieves.

    This unprincipled media stunt by Sison and the NDF is an effort to gain popularity with certain segments of the population, especially the middle classes. For decades, these segments have had a negative opinion of the popular movement for the most part. So, Sison sacrifices Maoism to win some points as a bourgeois politician.

    This degenerate forgive-and-forget bullshit is unacceptable. These statements by Sison and the NDF are a betrayal of those who have suffered abuses under Aquino’s reactionary government. Sison only confuses the masses by making such opportunist statements. Such opportunism undermines Maoism as revolutionary science. It is now clear that the NDF has joined the yellow flag waving horde of intellectually bankrupt hippies. They have lost their revolutionary character many times over. And, they have lost their very minds by joining in the Pro-Aquino chorus. Nothing distinguishes the NDF from their predecessor groups. Revisionists are revisionists. And, they have misled the proletariat for far too long. If they can’t even distinguish friends from enemies, how can we expect them to lead the masses to socialism? Unlike the NDF and Sison, Maoist-Third Worldists are steadfast and determined to take principled stands. Genuine revolutionaries speak the truth. The shining path to communism is Maoism-Third Worldism. We shed no tear for a fraud such as Corazon Aquino: the death of an oppressor means nothing to the poor peasants, whom they kill and starve.

    If you have a problem with the above, please take it up with your fellow Marxists and not me. You may wish to see similar obervations in Europe Solidarite Sans Frontieres,

    THE Philippine left’s reaction to the death of Cory Aquino has been intriguing.

    The CPP did a complete about-turn, literary recanting their previous position of Cory Aquino being a representative of the reactionary classes. The NDF statement laid the blame for the massacre of unarmed peasants at Mendiola under the Aquino administration – one of the most tragic episodes in the history of the left in the Philippines – at the feet of the “military and police [who] caused the termination of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP when they indiscriminately fired on the peasants and their urban supporters marching for land reform on January 22, 1987.”

    Thus a massacre became an “indiscriminate firing” and the Aquino administration was devolved of all responsibility in a stunningly hypocritical rewriting of history.

    As for Cory Aquino’s active support to keep the US bases in the Philippines and against moves by the senate then to remove the bases, the NDF statement has only this to say: “She was openly critical of the long running support of the US for the Marcos dictatorship in exchange for the aggrandizement of US economic interests and the continuance of the US military bases.” Not a word on her pro-US bases stance after she came to power.

    Even those of us now well-accustomed to the CPP’s unashamed pragmatism swallowed hard while reading the NDF statement signed by top CPP leaders including Joma Sison. However, this is not the first time that history has been rewritten, especially by the CPP, to suit the various twists and turns in its political line.

    But again, this is Left criticism of the Left. But this is the kind of observation that shows that I was not alone in seeing the nimble adjustment of what was originally a critical line to a far more accomodating one, because of the gulf it betrayed between the Left and the public in responding to Cory’s death. As for other things that showed this -mainly comments on Twitter and Plurk, by avowed Leftists who started off critical going into August 2 and were embracing Yellow by the funeral, those disappear over time.

    It will be interesting how this plays out. If it’s true the National Council decided finally to support the candidacy of Villar, this represents a return to original inclinations after the aborted attempt to swing support to Escudero; but after Escudero lost major backers and machinery, it seems pragmatic considerations mean Villar, once more, is the man to back. The NDF was supposed to announce endorsement of Villar tomorrow, complete with Satur and Maza being on the NP senatorial slate. Now the announcement’s been postponed, supposedly to permit last-ditch overtures to Aquino by Tuesday next week, though again why Makabayan and other groups would think this is desirable or possible can only be suggested by upcoming survey results -they may believe Villar’s star is waning. So let’s see.

    • Carlo on November 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    It think what the “Left” (I use “” because I don’t believe one political tendency has the monopoly to call themselves leftist and brand other socialist who’ve either ditched the armed struggle or those who never even accepted it as counterrevolutionaries or revisionists) has said about Chiz was mere pragmatism to see if he can still put up a fight. After all if they dismissed him and realized later that Chiz could put up a formidable campaign would make it the biggest blunder since 1992. Now that they realize that Chiz is now all talk with no dough, they can risk all their eggs in one proverbial political basket: the NP. Sure they’ve tried to pull off a 2010 elections by entering into the ticket of almost every political group entering into talks with everyone except Gibo but then the most enticing political alliance they could make was already taken by Akbayan. God forbid they enter into an alliance with Akbayan.

    Now they realize that NP has the money, the candidate, the machinery, and best of all the senatorial slots. Never mind that Villar is anathema to what they stand for (Satur Ocampo’s claim that Villar wasn’t into unfair labor practices doesn’t hold water. Villar’s businesses practically engulfs entire farmlands.)so long as an NP slate means national exposure and possible senate seat(s). If Villar loses, they still win. It’s a no lose campaign. Villar’s money rubs off on them but the same can’t be said true of their political discipline rubbing off on NP.

    If I may ask Mr. Quezon, what do you think are the chances of the MAKABAYAN’s senate candidates in securing a seat and what does it mean for them if they do or don’t because as far as I know hindi na sila talo sa House of Representatives it’s all in the bag ika nga pero iba ang usapin dahil ang pagpanalo sa Senate ay parang gauge na rin ng lakas ng kilusan nila. Who knows, future Natdem president? I can imagine Palparan and Alcover shooting themselves in the head if that happens.

    • Carlo on November 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    If I may answer freesince09’s query, sir, i don’t think De Quiros is communist. The same way I don’t think all members of the NDF or the above ground organizations of the ND are communists. Sure some are socialists and definitely all have their politics on the left of the spectrum. But I don’t believe that they’re all communist much less De Quiros who I don’t think is a member. It’s like in all mature political parties like Die Linke who have their own political streams within and like the Democratic party with conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and closet social democrats. I think most oppositionist columnists in the country tend to be liberals. Not the free market type but more like liberals in the USA.

    • mlq3 on November 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm
      Author

    Carlo my understanding of the dynamics is that the best resolution, politically, from the point of view of the ndf showing it is going from strength to strength and is gaining potency, politically as well as relevance, would be for the Left to coalesce with Aquino, much as that might be uncomfortable all around, but less problems than settling for the other candidates.if, however, aquino will be open to coalescing with them, which so far he shows little inclination to do. If it’s true those on the ground are anti-Villar, with peasants (Anakpawis) and labor (KMU) anti-Villar, then tactical alliance with Villar would divorce the leadership from the mass base: the problem from the start when the alliance seemed headed for NDF-Villar since he was the most willing to accomodate demand for senatorial slots and so far, remains most open if two slots for Satur and Maza turn out to be accurate.However, Bayan Muna, Gabriela more open to Villar because they have had good working relationship with Cynthia Villar. Who knows, perhaps the farmers are split. Escudero on the other hand was promising because the ground was supposedly more friendly to him; but obviously the leadership no longer considers Escudero viable as a candidate to coalesce with; so back to Villar, or Aquino. But that brings up the problem of the LP slate filling up and already counting an Akbayan candidate, another dynamic that is difficult for the Left to swallow. But there remains possibiliity of at least one slate for NDF candidate, perhaps Satur, but that’s 50% less than what Villars willing to offer -but then solves problem of disgruntled cadres having to engage in tactical alliance with Villar camp. So maybe what we’re seeing play out is last-ditch effort, from what sources say, to try to hammer out a modus vivendi with Aquino but in this case, NDF is operating from mixed position, considering it’s ramped up Luisita issue focusing on Noynoy himself and not on Pat Sto. Tomas who was the one who ordered the crackdown.

    The Left does not take well to any criticism of course so has been particularly upset by my pointing out the rather clumsy maneuvering it’s resorted to in the wake of the political situation changing with Cory’s death. This does not speak well of it’s ability to engage in alliances since any criticism is taken as an assault, when for example I intend to vote for Satur regardless of which camp he settles on and regardless of whether I agree or disagree with any or all of what he represents; it’s the role he plays as representative of his constituents and their need to be represented in the highest levels of government that matters. But anyway, again, it;s closing days as everyone has to sort out their alliances prior to filing the candidacy papers soon that’s playing out.

    • Carl on November 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    “I guess the old 19th century/Cold war rhetoric still resides in the Philippines.”

    ****************************************************

    So true!

    We keep getting mired in the past, while other countries are trying their best to capitalize on a rapidly changing world. The world is facing rapidly changing demographics. It is facing a multipolar world, where the balance of power may no longer reside in the old order. And the world is facing an increasing need for sustainability.

    Demographically, emerging markets are rapidly becoming urbanized, while developed markets are facing an aging population.

    On a multipolar world, Asia is rising, while the Western World, as we knew it, is declining. We now have G-20, not the G-7, and we now have BRIC to contend with.

    On the aspect of “sustainability”, the environment and innovation will be very critical in the coming years. We need to be more nimble and attuned to these in order to cope with a rapidly evolving world.

    Yet our politicians are stuck in a warp, pettily trying to tar each other with who is coddling what, or who is the dumb and autistic one among the candidates. They sound much like pots calling the kettle black.

    • Carlo on November 12, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Sir Manolo, I agree that it is indeed a last ditch effort on the part of the NDF which only means that the Luisita issue is also as much a liability for them as it is for Aquino (as they say).

    I absolutely agree with your observation regarding the “Left’s” disdain for criticism as I have attended a few meeting with them and whenever I speak before them they tend to agree with my political views but then when they do ask me what my political affiliations are (let’s just say I’m not natdem) all of a sudden it’s as if I’m the most contemptuous person in the world. What they fail to see though that (and this is simply based on my personal observations) many of these activists from the “other side” will often disagree with them on policy and engage them in verbal tit for tat but when elections do arrive many will likely also vote for Satur and Maza out of a feeling of solidarity with fellow leftist even if natdems may not vote for Hontiveros. I’m not sure though if they won’t vote for her since I rarely talk with natdems on such issue.

    I’m not sure though if they can maintain this kind of aversion to criticism since their foray into the senate will require them to be more circumspect with their statements. Supposing they get two seats in the senate with Hontiveros also occupying a seat they will likely vote consistently the same. If they can simply make “demdma” in the House which is a very huge chamber I don’t think they’ll be able to keep some distance from Akbayan.

    • J_AG on November 13, 2009 at 5:44 am

    It is about the money stupid! National versus Congressional party list.

    To run a national campaign requires funding. If one can bring a semblance of a mass base to trade for funding pragmatism rules.

    It is not about any ideological basis. The Congressional seat comes with funds and a natural platform to get known. The leftist groups in Congress had to become more pragmatic and simply coalesced with opposition groups in in opposing the sitting government. The people in Congress are all lightweights.

    The guys who will run for Senate need desperately to remake their image as they are so low down in the ratings that they stand no chance of making it.

    Politics in the Philippines is not about clashing ideas it is all about money. The left in the country are all gasping for breath.

    • Mark on November 13, 2009 at 11:25 am

    ANTI-LEFTIST,personified.
    One question though, will you serve or take the position as Press Secretary if not ghost writer for Pres. Noynoy?

    @carlo: don’t be confused and don’t confuse others,its your mind speaking.i suggest you refresh yourself with JMS’s LRP and dig the untold stories behind the revisitionist defection of Akbayan $ company from the natdem.

    • bikolano on November 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    manolo mahina ako s aingles kaya pipilipinohin ko na,

    noong sinabi mo na may “sustained criticsim policy “ang kaliwa pagkamatay na pagkamatay ni cory ang nag sasalita ay ikaw.kaya nga hinanapan kita ng ebidensya kung san mo pinagpupulot yung ideya na yun.

    yun pala sa msh, sa masp at sa solidarite mo nakuha yung mga premise mo, may gad manolo alam mo naman siguro na kontras initiated sila, yung reflections mo sa kontras din.

    national demcrats kami, r.a,binsagan mo pa ngang ndf diba? i suppose alam mo yung great devide.pero here you are accusing the left of a ‘sustained criticism policy” towards cory AFTER her death getting all your info from these anti-natdem groups? c;mmon

    the “assailing” as mentioned in tonyo cruz’s blog was part of a whole presentation detailing aquino’s political life. it was not intended manolo to mean that right after her death she was assailed for her errors.

    And the left was consistent in praising her for her achievments but way down frank on her errors. it was a balanced assesment, (arkibong bayan communiques).besides, historical naman yung mga binabangit ng kaliwa, qoute naman talaga ni core the she will “unleash the sword of war” na nag brought about ng low intensity conflict na nanganak sa maraming vigilante katulad ng alsa-masa. mali bang mga state ng facts?

    No where can you find a “sustained criticism policy” unleashed by the left RIGHT AFTER AQUINO’S DEATH. manapa’y ang mga kritisismong natanggap ng nat-dems sa mga rabid ultra left groups ang patunay nito. ang salitang “turn around ” na inadapt mo mismo manolo na mula kay doronilla, sa msh(isang weird maoist group) at sa solidarite ay nag dedescribe sa umanoy cory bashing na kaliwa noong nabubuhay pa sya,lalot higit noong administrasyon na, HINDI noong PAGKAMATAY NA PAGKAMATAY nya as you alleged.

    sana masagot mong muli ito,mr explainer

    • Carlo on November 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    @Mark, I also suggest you read before commenting. All that I said were either facts or personal observations. We’re talking about politics not about theology here. Are you offended when I said that the NDF entering into a coalition with Villar is a win win situation for them no matter what? That’s the truth. We should congratulate them for that. Brilliant move.

    As for Akbayan’s corruption, I believe the topic was about Chiz and the “Left” not Akbayan and the LRP. If your answer to numerous observations by people in the outside of the NDF is simply to point out defects in other political groups. That’s the most half assed retort I ever seen. I don’t disagree with any of your response. They may actually be true. But does that even change the fact that BAYAN made a huge blunder in 1986 by distancing from Cory? No. Does that Change the sheer mistake in creating the PnB? No. Does this change the fact that Bayan Muna endorsed GMA in 2004 (heck, even Akbayan did that)?. No. Does that change the fact MAKABAYAN coalescing with the NP is indeed a brilliant move? No. For some it’s sheer opportunism and the ND try their best to respond by branding such criticism as rambling of out of touched pseudo leftists. The ND would be better off by dismissing such criticism and just bragging about its strength. I’m on the side of the ND on that issue. Opportunism? come on. It’s politics, opportunism is a means to and end. E bakit nagiging balat sibuyas ang “Kaliwa”?

    The fact is, naunahan ng Akbayan ang ND. Edi Tapos. Sus.

    • mlq3 on November 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm
      Author

    bicolano, hininge mo ang ginamit kong basehan sa aking pananaw na nag umpisang kritikal ang kaliwa kay cory nuing namatay siya at naging mas accomodating bilang pagpapatunay na di sila malayo sa simpatiya na pinakita ng publiko. inilatag ko ang available pa -at siyempre naman kung ang natdem mismo ang tatanungin, napaka consistent ng lahat; pero hindi nun ibig sabihin na ang interpretasyon ng iba ay dapat sumunod sa pananaw ng mga natdem. ang natatandaan ko lang ay ang paglalatag ng luisita issue sa pamamagitan ng plurk at twitter ng ilang natdem na sinbaybaan ko at ng pagiiba ng kanilang tono oras na bumaba ang statement mula kay joma; pagkatapos nun ay ang taus-pusong pag-embrace kay cory at paggamit ng dilaw, etc. eh di naman tumatagal ang mga bagay na ito on line. ngunit, makikita mo rin na sa opinyon ng iba, at hindi lamang ako, may incongruity naman talaga sa posisyon ng mga hanay na nagpadala ng kabao sa times st. habang buhay kay cory, at ang pagtrato nila sa kanya nung namatay siya at naging malinaw ang pananaw ng publiko tungkol kay cory: kahit mahirap tanggapin ito para sa mga nd (katulad nung blog entry na itinukoy ko, yung batang naguluhan sa pagluluksa sa lahat ng uri ng sektor).

    nasa iyo kung tatanggapin mo ang aking opinyon, o kokontrahin mo, o kung ang basehan ko ay walang kuwenta para sa iyo; eh hanggang dun la lang tayo dahil sa pagwawakas ng lahat, pareho tayong may sariling isip.

  10. Ika nga sa CEGP, their can be no objective stories. The mere fact that the ND presented the lighter and more Cory side to their history is suspect.

    • bikolano on November 14, 2009 at 8:27 am

    manolo, ang gusto ko lang naman bigwasan sa statements mo ay yung pinag didiinan mong may ” sustained criticism policy” ang kaliwa PAGKAMATAY na PAGKAMATAY ni CORY.

    “the Left faced a backlash when its immediate reaction to Cory Aquino’s death was sustained criticism; it nimbly did an about-face and embraced her so as not to be exposed as having such a deviant opinion from the public as a whole.”

    Sa mga sinabi mo sa itaas kita pilit na tinitimbang at sinusukat manolo.

    Hiningi ko ang prueba mo sa mga akusasyon mong ito, para mas kongkreto kako, maghambing tayo ng mga statements, una ay yung may sustenidong kritisismo na inaakusa mo at kahambing yung noong nag complete turned around na ang kaliwa gaya din ng inaakusa mo.(statements both ng national democratic orgs)

    Sa pag hingi ng basehan, ang tinutukoy ko ay yung mga ebidensya at pag hahambing ng mga statements ng ND. Hindi yung maghahanap ka ng kakampi at magpopost nung mga analisis ng mga kontra ND na sumasang ayon sa analisis mo. Pati yung batang nagluluksa sa pagkamatay ni cory member yun ng MASP isang akabayan initiated org-hindi nd.

    Kung meron ka mang nabasa na mga nag plurk o nag twit na ND elements, then they are intitled to their own opinion, hin di sila representante ng boung kilusang ND, wag mong ipagkakamali ang indibidwal no posisyon at ang pangkalahatang posisyon, elemetary naman yun sa lahat ng pagsusuri diba manolo?

    Pag sinabi mo kasing may sustained policy of criticism parang ganito yung scenario: “patay na si cory, magpapatawag ng national council meeting si renato reyes, mag lalabas ng statement reading: ang hacienderang maka imperyalista pumanaw na, then kinabukasan noong napansin nila na madami ang nkisimpatya, mag papainterview si carol araullo at magsasbaing, nakikidalahati sila sa pagkawala ng democracy icon”. PERO WALANG GANUN. walang ganung ginawa ang kaliwa,

    Manolo wag mo akong pagsasarhan ng bintana, hindi ko ibinabasura ang opinyon mo,iniengage ko nga. kahit pagod ako sa 12 hours duty sa ospital pinipilit kong magbasa at magsulat, ang tatlong araw ko nang pagbababad sa site mo ay produktibo at nakakaengganyo.Nasa kaliwa ang ng political spectrum, kaya obligado ako na sumagot at magtanong din. salamat.

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  1. […] Quezon writes an incisive article on Chiz Escudero and the national democratic front. A wedge of Chiz By Manuel L. Quezon […]

  2. […] sa kanyang blog, pero hindi gaano sa kanyang kolum sa Philippine Daily Inquirer. Sa kolum niyang “A wedge of Chiz,” gayunman, buong giliw nang binanatan ni Quezon ang Kaliwa, kaugnay ng posisyon nito sa […]

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