Marcos-Duterte squabbles are contradictions among fascist oppressors
The Filipino people roundly rejects the conflict of the Marcoses and Dutertes, as neither represent the interests of the broad masses of workers, peasants, semiproleteriat, professionals and intellectuals. Both, in fact, represents the worst of the bureaucrat capitalists, and the ruling oppressive and exploitative classes of big landlords and bourgeois compradors, and both promote fascist suppression and imperialist domination in the Philippines.
The rallies last Sunday saw both reactionary camps squandering public resources to bus in people to conjure the illusion that they enjoy broad support. They took advantage of the people’s miserable conditions to entice them with entertainment and promises of government aid. They used the rallies as a platform to promote their anti-national and anti-democratic views, while misrepresenting themselves as representing the interests of the Filipino people, typical of the political tactics of fascist demagogues like Hitler.
Just as his dictator father promoted the false image of a “New Society” (Bagong Lipunan) to cover-up the abuse of power under the martial law dictatorship, Marcos Jr is now spending hundreds of millions of pesos to plaster all over the slogan of a “New Philippines” to lend luster to the old rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system that is marked by economic oppression, political repression, foreign domination, and gross corruption.
The stark fact is that there is absolutely nothing new in the conditions of the Filipino people who continue to suffer daily from rising prices, low wages, joblessness, landlessness, economic dispossession, deteriorating social conditions, lack of public services, and other old problems arising from basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Behind its “new” slogan, the Marcos regime perpetuates the decrepit, stagnant and moribund system that is long overdue for revolutionary overthrow.
Marcos and his lieutenants are now busy pushing to change the 1987 Philippine constitution to rid it of its anti-Marcos legacy, enshrine the neoliberal policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization, and further reinforce foreign capitalist ownership of the country’s resources and domination of the Philippine economy. Marcos’ charter change scheme will only result in further taking away the people’s livelihood and economic resources and leave them on the wayside.
Through the sham “people’s initiative” to amend the 1987 constitution, Marcos’ minions, especially in the House of Representatives, want to have controlling power to change the constitution, in order to railroad their interests including the plan to take away the limits on term extension. The political scheme is so brazen, self-serving and rousing the people’s contempt, that Marcos’ allies in the Senate have stood up to oppose it, even as they are also actively pushing for constitutional amendments that seeks to surrender the country’s patrimony to the imperialists.
The Dutertes have spoken against charter change not because they oppose neoliberal measures that will give foreign monopoly capitalists greater control of the country’s economy. In fact, the Duterte regime also pushed for charter changes for “economic amendments” but failed to do so in the face of widespread opposition fueled by exposure of schemes to perpetuate himself in power. Without charter change, Duterte aggressively pushed for enactment of neoliberal measures and laws. These include the Rice Liberalization Law that allowed rice imports to flood the country to the detriment of local rice production, the TRAIN law which imposed further tax burdens on the people, the CREATE Law which granted tax exemptions to foreign capitalists, and additional excise taxes on oil prices. Duterte also enacted the amendments to the Public Service Act and Foreign Investments Act which have allowed foreign big capitalists to allow full ownership of railways, expressways, telecommunications and other crucial parts of the economy.
The Dutertes want to ride the rising wave of people’s resistance to the charter change scheme, to gain leverage (and credibility) to push back against the Marcoses’ schemes to degrade their economic and political power. Duterte now seem to realize that he was had by Marcos during the 2022 elections in which he ensured a “landslide victory” for Marcos in exchange for promises of political and economic accommodation. They echoed the growing sentiment for Marcos to resign with clear self-interest.
Duterte is clearly disgruntled that multibillion peso government contracts he signed with China have been cancelled in favor of World Bank and Asian Development Bank programs, denying him of his billions of pesos of kickbacks. He is also clearly troubled by the refusal of the Marcos regime to block the International Criminal Court from proceeding with its case against Duterte and his cohorts for crimes against humanity, with the possibility of a warrant for his arrest being issued soon. As days and months pass, Duterte is becoming increasingly desperate as his influence within the military wanes with the retirement of his appointees and loyalists.
Duterte is again trying to take advantage of popular disgust against the rotten ruling system amid worsening socioeconomic conditions and rising outrage against the Marcos regime. However, he has lost all credibility for having aggrandized himself for six years through corruption and reign of brutal terror; and for working with the Marcoses to help rig the 2022 elections in their favor. The Filipino people can see clearly through Duterte’s demagoguery and populism and reject his scheme to ride on the people’s fight against charter change.
The broad masses demand that Duterte and his minions be made accountable and punished for the crimes perpetrated in the course of the sham drug war, as well as those committed by fascist troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in counterinsurgency operations under his command. The Filipino people also demand that Duterte be punished for widespread and large-scale corruption during his term, including those perpetrated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marcos and his lieutenants are employing the full range of political tactics to perpetuate themselves in power—from underhanded schemes (Liza Araneta) to open attacks (Martin Romualdez), as well as play-acting internal family dissent (Imee Marcos) to ingratiate themselves with their opponents. Since returning to Malacañang, Marcos Jr and his family have been living the life of kings and queens with lavish banquets, jet-setting and helicopter rides using the people’s money, all while securing the hundreds of billions of pesos of ill-gotten wealth accumulated under martial law.
Marcos is deeply detested by the broad masses of the Filipino people for having stolen the 2022 elections through rigging of the automated counting system to give him and Sara Duterte a “landslide” victory. The election fraud is now being exposed thoroughly by technical experts. Furthermore, Marcos is inciting the people’s outrage by luxuriating in power, while the majority wallow in social hardships and poverty. He is further isolating himself by ignoring the people’s clamor for wage increases, genuine land reform, greater spending for education, health and other public services, and other urgent demands; while providing foreign companies and their local partners with all the incentives to pocket large amounts of profits from the country’s cheap labor and cheap resources.
Marcos is brazenly using his power to put hundreds of billions of pesos under his control and funnel these into the businesses of his cronies and secure their political support. Like Duterte, Marcos continues to favor the bloated military with unprecedented amounts of money for the purchase of military equipment that invariably line the pockets of favored generals. The AFP continues to wage a brutal war of suppression in the countryside in favor of the aggressive entry of foreign business interests which dispossess the broad peasant masses and ethnic people of their agricultural and ancestral land.
Marcos is stoking the people’s patriotic fervor by acting fully subservient to US geopolitical interests. He is allowing the US military to fully take command and control of the AFP in carrying out its strategy of encircling and containing China, heightening military tensions in the South China Sea, in the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan, to compel its allies to arm themselves with US-supplied weapons, and provoke China into an armed conflict. Marcos is allowing the US to expand its military presence in the Philippines and establish facilities and bases within AFP camps in strategic locations. To secure and expand its economic interests, the US is also causing the Marcos regime to push out Chinese economic interests especially in key infrastructure projects to favor the businesses of the US and its allies.
The US-Marcos regime is further isolating itself from the Filipino people by subjecting them to worsening forms of oppression, political repression and imperialist domination. A broad antifascist, anti-imperialist and antifeudal united front will continue to develop with the patriotic and democratic forces at the head and core. The regime’s scheme to change the 1987 constitution is bringing together a broad range of classes and sectors, who are also linking their opposition to charter change to their clamor for higher wages and salaries, regular employment, genuine land reform, lower prices of fuel and other commodities, and other urgent demands.
The broad united front of the Filipino people excludes Duterte, despite his public rants against the charter change scheme and against Marcos, for all the crimes he perpetrated against the Filipino people. The broad united front, in fact, denounces Marcos for collaborating with Duterte to rig the 2022 elections to install themselves in power, and for failing to take decisive action to make Duterte account for his fascist crimes and corruption during his reign.
The Party and all revolutionary forces continue to exert all-out effort to arouse the broad masses of workers and peasants, the pettybourgeois intellectuals and professionals, and all other progressive and positive forces, to take action and fight. Amid crisis conditions under the Marcos regime, the revolutionary mass movement in both the cities and countryside, are bound to heighten and fight with even greater tenacity, along with the revolutionary armed struggle being waged by the New People’s Army.