Reasons behind rifts and contradictions within the AFP and PNP

This article is available in Pilipino

Internal conflicts among the corrupt officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have broken out in open contest and threats of coups and destabilization. These come less than a year since the assumption to power of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. These “squabbles” reflect the deep-seated contradictions among allied political dynasties and groups within the ruling Marcos regime.

The re-appointment of Gen. Andres Centino as chief-of-staff of the AFP, which forced out and preempted the 3-year term of Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, was initiated and carried out by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin. General Centino, who will reach mandatory retirement age by February, will now serve a three-year term. His reappointment is anomalous and has made Marcos look like a moron for reversing his previous appointment of General Bacarro to a three-year term. This has caused widespread grumblings within the top military officers whose hopes of promotion are now gone. They created so much noise that Malacañang alerted and mobilized various units of the Philippine National Police yesterday during the transfer of command to monitor “movements of AFP troops” and “destabilization movements from the AFP.”

A few days earlier, Sec. Benjamin Abalos of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a public statement calling on all police generals and colonels to submit their “courtesy resignation.” This is purportedly part of efforts to “cleanse” the PNP of officers linked to the illegal drug trade. In fact, this forms part of efforts by political quarters within the Marcos regime to tighten their control of the PNP by removing officers who are identified with rival groups and linked criminal syndicates. The ultimate objective, of course, is to monopolize control of the PNP, the illegal drug trade and other criminal operations. The chief of the PNP and a number of other officers have tendered their resignation, but quite a number have yet to heed the call.

These open conflicts in the AFP and PNP are clear manifestations of the acrimonious contention between its officers and political patrons. They vie for control of bureaucratic corruption involving large amounts of public money. This involves control of hundreds of billions of pesos of public funds for “AFP modernization” involving the purchase and maintenance of equipment, for counterinsurgency, infrastructure projects under the so-called “Barangay Development Program,” as well as US foreign military funding. All these are invariably entangled in the web of corruption.

Officers of the AFP pocket large amounts of money from private military contractors, as well as from purchases of substandard spare parts and equipment, ghost “surrenderees,” and so on. Police generals also pocket their loot from large amounts of money involved in the purchase of over-priced equipment (from police vehicles to body cams). Military and police generals also dip their hands in pension funds. They accumulate even bigger amounts of money from directly operating or receiving payola or protection money from criminal syndicates involved in illegal gambling and drug trade. Military and police generals retire as multi-millionaires or morphed into civilians and appointed to juicy positions in the bureaucracy or government corporations.

Middle-level officers in the AFP and PNP get their own share in the loot with promises of a bigger share as they buy their way up the echelon and show blind loyalty to their commanding officers. The rank and file soldiers and police personnel, who are recruited mostly from the oppressed classes, are bribed with high salaries and bonuses (more than their counterpart in civilian agencies) brainwashed with the US-doctrine of “anti-terrorism,” used as cannon fodder in combat operations, and ordered to do the dirty jobs of extrajudicial killings, torture and massacres.

It was established, trained, indoctrinated, armed and funded by US imperialism to serve as the principal pillar of US semicolonial rule in the country. Its officers are bureaucrat capitalists and serve the ruling classes of big bourgeois compradors and big landlords.

The military and police are instruments of class oppression. Its weapons are trained mainly against workers and peasants. They drive away peasants and minority groups from their homes to allow foreign mining companies and big plantations to plunder their land. They break up unions and mass organizations to stop the people from defending their rights and interests and fighting for the cause of national democracy.

The contradictions within the military and police form part of the strategic weakness of the AFP and PNP. It shows the AFP and PNP are as rotten as the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system that it is sworn to defend. They incite the deep hatred of the Filipino people. For serving the interests of US imperialism and the ruling classes of oppressors and exploiters, they shape the losing course of their war against the New People’s Army and revolutionary forces under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The internal conflicts within the military and police and within the ruling Marcos-Duterte clique are driven by their greed for power and money. These are bound to intensify as the crisis of ruling system further worsen. This subject the broad masses of the Filipino to worsening socioeconomic conditions amid rising prices of food, low wages and loss of livelihood.

In the face of political maneuvers and jockeying that rock the ruling Marcos government, the Party calls on the Filipino people to intensify their efforts to get organized and intensify their mass struggles. They must accelerate efforts to build their unions and all forms of organization in order to fight for their urgent demands for wage and salary increases, lower prices, better social services and so on.

The Party calls on the rank-and-file soldiers and police personnel to expose the corruption and crimes of their superior officers, help expose and denounce the anti-people, anti-national and fascist acts of the AFP and PNP, reject orders that are inimical to the interests of the people, renounce their “anti-terrorist” fanaticism that has been used to justify their criminal acts. Indeed, many of you come from the workers and peasants and other downtrodden sector, yet are being used to oppress your own class brothers and sisters. The Party encourages you to abandon your work in the rotten military and police, join the NPA or secretly work with the NPA as many are doing or have done in the past, or return to civilian life and enjoy the fruits of the revolution with your family in the guerrilla zones.

The Party also calls on the young and junior military and police officers to critically study the mercenary history of the AFP and PNP, and how these have long been used to suppress the national and democratic struggles of the workers and peasants. We are sure that you are fully aware of the corruption of your senior officers and the crimes perpetrated in the sham “war on drugs” and in counterinsurgency operations. You owe it to the people to expose these crimes. Your silence will only make you complicit with these crimes and make you deserve the ire of the people.

The Party directs all its committees, as well as units of the NPA to take advantage of the rifts, confusion and maneuvers within the AFP and PNP. They must conduct propaganda and education within the military and police, especially among the rank-and-file in order to win encourage them to abandon the rotten organization and cooperate with the revolutionary forces.

These rifts in the AFP and PNP are also bound to cause disruptions in counterinsurgency operations (including coup and counter-coup movement of troops). The NPA must intensify its efforts to mount tactical offensives that it can win against the weak points of the enemy and seize the weapons used against the people. They must be ready for movement of troops related to internal power maneuverings and target disordered troops being hustled in and out of their camps. The NPA must take the initiative and intensify military and political work across the country and make big gains amid the enemy’s disarray.

Reasons behind rifts and contradictions within the AFP and PNP