“The Filipino people should not be distracted by the empty noise being created by the Aquino regime and press on with their basic demands. The people’s revolutionary movement can definitely gain from the political crisis of the ruling system. The deepening rifts between the rival political cliques are bound to spill over to, weaken and demoralize the armed forces and national police.”
Communist Party of the Philippines
The impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona can be considered as an expedient albeit minor course of action towards putting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the bar of justice. Corona is an Arroyo lackey. Foreseeing legal battles, the former president appointed Corona as Chief Justice at the eleventh hour so that she could avail of the powers of the Supreme Court when she needs to.
Corona’s impeachment was carried out swiftly last Monday by a coalition of anti-Arroyo forces in the House of Representatives. The effort was supported by the small minority of progressive parties which has long opposed Arroyo’s rotten and brutal rule. To succeed in having close to 190 congressmen sign the impeachment resolution against Corona in so short a time, however, Aquino and the Liberal Party leadership would have had to wield threats and dangle promises, using the extraordinary “convincing” power of the congressional pork barrel as a pressure point. Not a few allies of Aquino were nauseated with what they viewed as the railroading of the impeachment resolution.
It is utterly hypocritical for Aquino and his spokesmen to claim that the Corona impeachment resolution is an “independent act” of Congress and then hold a “celebration party” afterwards to “thank” congressional allies.
Aquino has launched an aggressive PR binge against Corona who he has accused of being the “biggest stumbling block” to his regime’s so-called anti-corruption drive and effort to prosecute Gloria Arroyo. Aquino has shorn off all things gracious and statesmanly and delivered one vitriolic speech after another attacking Corona, and couching his campaign with populist anti-Arroyo diatribes.
Working together with the Malacañang-supported Akbayan party, he has stepped up his attacks against Corona in the hope of generating political pressure to push him to resign instead of going through a lengthy trial at the Senate. This, however, is a thinly veiled attempt by the landlord president to hide his personal animosity towards Corona over the recent Supreme Court decision ordering the Cojuangco-owned 6,500-hectare Hacienda Luisita to be subjected to land distribution.
The ultimate objective, however, is not only to remove Corona from the Supreme Court, but to compel all other members of the high court to toe the line.
To the chagrin of Aquino, Corona has only become more bellicose and has himself engaged in political alliance-building, consolidating the ranks of judges and lawyers and gearing for a showdown. He has styled himself as a “democrat” at the forefront of what he denounces as Aquino’s creeping dictatorship. By pitting himself against Aquino, Corona hopes to win over support from the Filipino people who have grown disenchanted with the ruling regime.
The impeachment of Corona and the earlier arrest of Gloria Arroyo underscore the continuing deep-going dissension and political fissures within the ranks of the ruling reactionary classes. The maneuvers and counter-maneuvers of rival political cliques are setting forth an intense crisis that is shaking the ruling political system.
Before the 2010 elections, the Arroyo clique agreed to allow a smooth transition of power in exchange for political accommodations under the Aquino regime. Such an agreement, however, had become increasingly untenable for the Aquino clique. It had to face the growing clamor of the people to prosecute and punish Arroyo for her crimes. Prior to causing Arroyo’s hospital arrest last November, it was also fast losing popular support because of its failure to address the people’s worsening socio-economic conditions.
The Aquino regime charged Arroyo with a relatively minor crime compared to the high crimes of plunder and violations of international humanitarian law. The charges were calibrated in such a way as to allow future accommodations for Arroyo. However, the Supreme Court’s subsequent decision on the Hacienda Luisita case — widely seen as a response against Arroyo’s arrest — was too much of a counter-punch for Aquino.
By delivering the impeachment counterblow, Aquino hopes to punish Corona and ensure a more pliant Supreme Court. He, however, has also raised the ante and risks intense political backfire.
The people and their democratic and progressive forces can take advantage of the crisis of the ruling system by building alliances on several levels and fronts in order to isolate the ruling Aquino clique and attain justice for Arroyo’s crimes.
They must press for the prosecution and punishment of Arroyo. They can forge ties with various groups and personalities, including those supportive of the Aquino regime but are not necessarily its rabid apologists or defenders. They can unite on the basis of the people’s clamor to make Arroyo pay for the biggest cases of corruption and war crimes at the soonest possible time. They can serve as watchdogs against any political accommodation between the Aquino and Arroyo cliques.
On the other hand, they can also take advantage of the mounting grievances against Aquino of people who are not necessarily allies of Arroyo but are repelled by Aquino’s brusque and high-handed attacks against Corona.
Corona can gain broad popular support if he asserts his independence from Arroyo by steering the Supreme Court to the people’s side over the numerous crimes of Arroyo and her minions. If he succeeds in distancing himself from Arroyo, Corona can further earn the support of broad sections of the people by following up the Hacienda Luisita decision with more pro-people jurisprudence.
Corona’s Supreme Court should be challenged to revoke the policy of labor-only contracting, repudiate the budgetary cuts on social services, issue a temporary restraining order against all urban poor demolitions, repeal the Oil Deregulation Law, the Mining Act of 1995, the CARPER, the Foreign Investments Act and many other laws that oppress the people.
Furthermore, a broad united front can be built on the basis of exposing and opposing the corruption of the Aquino regime. Corruption, in particular, is rife in the implementation of the regime’s key programs, specifically the Public Private Partnership Program and Conditional Cash Transfer Program. This united front can help expose corruption in the cancellation and renegotiation of state contracts to favor Aquino’s “Kamag-anak, Kaibigan at Kaklase” allies.
The Filipino people are acutely aware that underneath all the anti-Arroyo din being generated by the Aquino regime is the fact that Aquino has failed to carry out any policy shift, implementing basically the same debt-driven, anti-poor programs carried out under the Arroyo regime that favor foreign big business and their local counterparts. From a broader perspective, they can see that the Aquinos and Arroyos are strategic allies in terms of their shared interest of maintaining the ruling system.
The Filipino people should not be distracted by the empty noise being created by the Aquino regime and press on with their basic demands. They must continue to push forward their struggle for land reform and demand to scrap the CARPER law. They must continue to press for nationalist economic policies that will give emphasis to generating local jobs, providing decent wages and reducing the prices of oil products and other basic commodities. They should continue to clamor for bigger budgetary appropriations for health, education and other social services and expose the debt-dependent CCT program.
They should continue to oppose the campaign to demolish urban poor dwellings to provide land for foreign and local big comprador projects. They should continue to oppose the incursion of foreign mining companies and big plantations that despoil the environment and grab thousands of hectares of land and ancestral domain from the peasants and poor minority peoples. They must expose and oppose the brutal war of suppression being carried by the Aquino regime, demand the release of political prisoners and condemn the widespread cases of military abuses, torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and the reign of military terror in rural communities.
The people’s revolutionary movement can definitely gain from the political crisis of the ruling system. The deepening rifts between the rival political cliques are bound to spill over to, weaken and demoralize the armed forces and national police. As in the past, disgruntled junior officers and rank and file of the AFP and PNP are bound to seek discussions and link up with the revolutionary forces.
The New People’s Army (NPA) should consciously plan to actively reach out to these officers and personnel in order to conduct political education among them and to win them over to the side of the revolution. At the same time, the NPA should continue to launch more frequent and bigger tactical offensives in order to weaken the state armed machinery, help defeat its campaign of suppression against the people, strengthen the people’s army and advance to the next strategic stage of people’s war.