Esperon, goon of fascist presidents
Karapatan vehemently lambasted National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. for filing a perjury case against the organization, along with Gabriela and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, after the Court of Appeals dismissed the groups’ petition for writs of amparo and habeas data. Karapatan said that the filing of a case by Esperon proves that the Duterte regime is hell-bent in silencing its critics.
Esperon’s attacks against progressive organizations is not new. From the Arroyo regime up to the present, he continues to serve as a fanatical goon of fascist presidents.
Esperon is known for being former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rabid follower. He led the Presidential Security Group in 2002-2003 before being assigned to the Special Operations Command. In the 2004 elections, he played a big role in the electoral fraud, particular in Mindanao, which led to Arroyo’s victory. Esperon used his rank in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to bribe military commanders, or relieve those who are controlled by the opposing candidate.
As a reward, Arroyo promoted him as the commanding officer of the Philippine Army. Afterwards, he was given an extended term as AFP Chief of Staff, where he became involved in corruption cases, including the repair of three Philippine Navy patrol boats which was overpriced by P800 million.
Esperon held key positions in the AFP at the time of the brutal campaigns Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2. Under Arroyo’s rule from 2001-2010, more than 1,300 cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances were recorded. Esperon is accountable for a considerable portion of this—as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (2003), Philippine Army chief (2004) and AFP Chief of Staff (2006-2008). During this period, inveterate fascists Jovito Palparan and Eduardo Año ran amok.
Aside from this, 32 cases of torture were slapped against Esperon in 2001 as commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade in Basilan.
From the time Esperon became AFP Chief of Staff until serving as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process under the Arroyo regime, he had constant private meetings with former US ambassador Kristie Kenney. In these meetings, Esperon reported the political situation in the country—from coup attempts, extrajudicial killings of activists, war against the revolutionary movement and the Bangsamoro, and so on.
It is also during these meetings where the US directed the AFP, particulary with regards to “counterinsurgency.” Even before the US State Department released its Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009, Kenney along with US embassy officials already have for a number of times pressed for the sustained “war against terror,” “upholding democracy,” addressing “public perception on government corruption,” and other components of “counterinsurgency.”
Esperon would bring along the US COIN Guide’s atrocities and deceit when he became director general of the National Security Council of the Duterte government. Using COIN Guide, he pushed for the formation of the National Task Force (NTF) to “end local communist armed conflict” and served as Duterte’s right-hand in its implementation. Part of the NTF is the “whole-of-nation approach” or subsuming civilian agencies of the government under the AFP’s command, intensifying psywar and the corresponding escalation of armed suppression of the people’s resistance.
Corrupt and opportunist
Upon returning to government, Esperon became involved in bureaucrat capitalist corruption. His role in businessman Dennis Uy’s bagging of the contract for the country’s third telecommunications company was exposed. Esperon was part of the committee which oversaw the selection of Uy’s company. This is not a surprise since Esperon is a long-time “consultant” of Uy’s other company, Phoenix Petroleum. In 2010, Uy was slapped with a case of oil smuggling which was discarded by Duterte. It was revealed that Esperon received favors from Uy, including using the latter’s private plane.
Also, at the height of the operations of Janet Lim Napoles, the “pork barrel queen,” she and Esperon were business partners in a company believed to be dummies for pork barrel funds.