By Communist Party of the Philippines
For several weeks now, officials and mouthpieces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have intensified their dirty psywar attacks against the revolutionary forces, disparaging the policy requiring political parties and candidates to observe policies and guidelines regarding the conduct of reactionary elections within areas under revolutionary jurisdiction.
It is unfortunate that the advisory issued the other day by the Commission on Human Rights somehow found itself caught in the web of tall tales spun by the AFP. It branded the revolutionary authorities' issuance of permits to campaign as a "form of extortion" in "violation of human rights and international humanitarian law," including the "rights to electoral participation and suffrage," as well as the "rights to equality, free expression, freedom of movement, and freedom against discrimination."
In view of the heightened psywar spins surrounding the issue and the confusion such spins have stirred in others, we now need to clarify our position on the matter. We are confident that the CHR and its chair keep open minds and will give due consideration to the real political and socio-historical issues surrounding the matter. For full understanding, the matter needs to be viewed, though, from a larger socio-historical point of view, and not just from the point of view defined by the prevailing reactionary system, much less from the way the reactionary government, fascist forces and reactionary politicos want to make it appear.
The Communist Party of the Philippines and the entire revolutionary movement stand by the correctness of their policies on the entry and conduct of candidates in the reactionary elections within areas under the jurisdiction of revolutionary authorities. The CPP and the entire new democratic revolutionary movement fully respect, protect, and fight for the people's human rights and international humanitarian law, and their rights to free expression, freedom of movement, and freedom against discrimination. The interest and rights of the masses are given foremost consideration.
At the core of the issue is the fact that the CPP-led revolutionary movement is not a "non-state actor," as it has its own state power and runs its own government.
There actually exists in the country today dual political power. In more than 120 national democratic guerrilla fronts today, there exist practically two governments and two political systems. On the one hand, there is the ruling puppet reactionary state that represents, protects and advances the interests of the ruling classes of imperialists and big landlords, big bourgeois compradors and big bureaucrat capitalists. On the other, there is the emergent and advancing revolutionary people's government and new democratic organs of political power that represent, protect and advance the interests of the oppressed and exploited masses and hold sway in wide swaths of the country. These two governments, their armed forces and their following are currently locked in a civil war that has been going on for more than four decades now.
In many areas in the countryside, these two governments exist side by side where effective political power is already increasingly being exercised by the emergent people's democratic state and revolutionary movement, even as the ruling reactionary state remains formally in power and some activities of the reactionary system, such as the reactionary elections, still go on in varying degrees.
Revolutionary authorities give full play to the exercise of revolutionary political and governmental activities in the revolutionary areas. Genuine democratic elections are conducted in the revolutionary areas where the masses are able to freely select their officials who serve them under a truly democratic system.
In contrast, elections under the prevailing puppet reactionary state and system are farcical and merely serve as circuses for the masses and concentrated contests of superiority in guns, goons and gold among the reactionary elite parties and candidates. They are not true democratic exercises. Worse, it is the masses and the few progressive parties and candidates vying for office and their following that have most often become the victims of the violence and dirty tactics that characterize reactionary elections.
However, in as much as the masses still have something to gain from the reactionary elections, the revolutionary movement allows the free exercise of reactionary elections in the revolutionary areas. But, in doing so, the revolutionary authorities need to carry out measures to ensure that these remnant reactionary political and governmental exercises are conducted in a manner that remains consistent with and will not violate the rights and interests of the people, and may still benefit them one way or the other.
Thus, the revolutionary movement, through its duly constituted organs, maintains policies and issues guidelines on the conduct of reactionary elections within the revolutionary areas. Practically all political parties in the Philippines and their local counterparts and candidates, except for the most rabidly fascist and actively counterrevolutionary recognize these policies and have cooperated in one degree or another with the revolutionary authorities in upholding these policies.
These policies have long been demanded by the people who are victims of the rotten elections, the absence of true democracy and the disregard of their human rights under the prevailing semicolonial, semifeudal socio-economic-political system. The peasant masses especially have long been victimized by reactionary politicos, tyrannical landlords, brutal warlords and fascist bureaucrats who sway votes not through democratic discourse but through sheer armed might, threat and intimidation. They employ armed thugs and even government military and police forces to eliminate or threaten opposing candidates, as well as their supporters. The big politicos bribe local warlords with millions of pesos for the wholesale buying of the votes of entire clans and communities.
The principal objective in issuing these guidelines is to ensure that election-related campaign activities do not violate the people's rights and interests, and are conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner. Many political parties and candidates who have sincerely abided by these guidelines have in fact become allies of the revolutionary movement and have been helpful in practical cooperative undertakings beneficial to the masses.
Political parties and their candidates voluntarily meet with representatives of the revolutionary authorities in order to discuss these guidelines and forge commitments to respect and uphold the policies and measures contained therein. These meetings are freely, even if secretly, conducted at the national, regional, provincial and local levels.
Among others, these guidelines first and foremost, ensure that the interests of the masses in the area are protected and advanced. They forbid the entry of armed thugs, including military and police escorts as well as private armies accompanying candidates. They prohibit the exercise of dirty election tactics including the use of bribe money to buy votes. They require coordination with duly constituted people's organizations in order to facilitate smooth entry and campaign activities and to prevent untoward incidents.
Representatives of the people's government and people's organizations take advantage of these consultations to discuss the specific problems of the people within the scope of their authority and what can be done mutually to promote the socio-economic, medical, educational, literacy and cultural programs being carried out by the local people's organizations. Through these meetings, candidates and parties are also provided the opportunity to discuss their programs of government. Areas of possible meeting of minds, cooperation and coordination are discussed.
The revolutionary forces reserve the right to prevent the entry of candidates who have been guilty of serious crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement , including incorrigbly corrupt government officials who have plundered the people's money, drug lords, kidnap-for-ransom bosses as well as those who actively collaborate with the fascist state forces and who use their "campaign" in the service of offensive military maneuvers, intelligence gathering and psywar operations. Parties and individuals who have committed grave transgressions against the people are considered persona non grata and thus are prohibited entry to areas under revolutionary jurisdiction. They cannot be allowed to hide behind the cloak of their so-called democratic rights only to trample on the rights of the people.
In the past years, these policies have effectively eliminated election-related violent incidents in areas under revolutionary jurisdiction, except of course those initiated and pushed by the fascist state forces and diehard reactionary warlords.
As a nascent political power, the emergent people's democratic state continues to strive to improve its methods of leadership by continually educating and directly involving the people, and by learning from its experiences and correcting mistakes.
We continue to keep an open mind and express willingness to exchange views with interested parties. Through our representatives in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the revolutionary forces in the Philippines are willing to discuss more thoroughly the matter with representatives of the CHR. We are willing to hear their inputs in the hope that these will enhance the capability of the revolutionary authorities in exercising their political authority and democratic governance.