On the friend-and-foe relationship of Duterte and the legal national democratic forces in 2016-2017

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
March 6, 2021

This longish abstract of the paper, “Friends and Foes: Human Rights, the Philippine Left and Duterte, 2016-2017” by Jayson Lamchek and Emerson Sanchez describes accurately and adequately, in general and in the main, the “friend-and-foe” relationship (dual tactics) between  Duterte and the legal national democratic forces (BAYAN and the Makabayan Bloc).  It is far superior to the rubbish output of the so-called soc-dems and Trotskyites obsessed with misrepresenting the relationship of Duterte and the CPP in 2016-2017 and holding the CPP responsible for Duterte.

BAYAN as a “friend” to Duterte was such only insofar as it made friendly gestures to encourage him to adopt its people’s agenda and to engage in peace negotiations with the NDFP, without giving up its condemnation of Duterte’s neoliberal economic policy and violations of human rights. There  was never a formal alliance between BAYAN and Duterte. The abstract correctly states that BAYAN made its first mass protest against Duterte on the issue of burying Marcos as a hero as early as November 25, 2016 and big street protests on December 10, 2016 against human rights violations.

There was an alliance between the MAKABAYAN Bloc with the pro-Duterte supermajority in the Lower House of Congress. And the abstract correctly points out that said bloc bolted out of the supermajority as early as September 15, 2017 and denounced the Duterte regime as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people government.

In 2016 Duterte wanted to appoint three cabinet members as CPP representatives but the CPP and NDFP told him to appoint them on their own individual merits as legal personalities and not to prejudice the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations by appointing cabinet members as CPP representatives. The abstract falls short of explicitly noticing how the CPP and NDFP frustrated the attempt of Duterte to compromise them with the cabinet appointments.

The abstract abundantly presents the legal and political integrity and autonomy of the legal national democratic forces but sometimes lets the term ”Left” cover both the armed people’s democratic revolution led by the CPP and the legal democratic forces and at no instance does it state categorically that the CPP, NPA and NDFP never had an alliance with the Duterte regime. The civil war never stopped despite the temporary reciprocal unilateral ceasefires and the glowing remarks and gestures of the NDFP, the legal democratic forces and the peace advocates to encourage Duterte to engage in peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The best evidence that there was never an alliance between the Duterte regime and the armed revolutionary movement is that that there had to be peace negotiations between two parties contending in a civil war, that these negotiations  had rough sailing from the beginning because of Duterte’s failure to fulfill his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners and that Duterte eventually terminated the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and went further by designating the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations on December 5, 2017.