Teodoro does not want peace talks because the US wants eternal wars

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines

June 09, 2023

Let us call a spade a spade, newly appointed Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro said. Well, let us call him for what he essentially is. Teodoro is a US factotum who does not want to pursue peace negotiations with the revolutionary forces because his bosses in the US Pentagon want eternal wars to consume the surplus military hardware of the US. And because he, together with the Marcos bureaucrat capitalists and generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) get to keep their share of the fat contracts under the AFP’s so-called “modernization” program to achieve “interoperability” with the US military forces.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the recycled defense secretary declared that he has no plans of pursuing the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations. He is only interested in armed suppression and pacification of the revolutionary forces who represent the people’s profound aspirations for genuine social change. At any rate, it is the standing policy of the NDFP to always keep its doors open to peace negotiations. If if the GRP is not interested to talks, the NDFP is always ready to dialogue with all sectors or even foreign governments who are interested in the cause of a just and lasting peace.

Teodoro’s demand for the CPP and NPA to end the armed revolution and “join the legitimate political process” is grossly ironic coming from an appointee of an illegitimate president who owes his power to electronic manipulation of the 2022 elections. This statement aims to obscure two facts: one, that the ruling political system is not truly democratic because it is dominated by the ruling dynastic elite through their guns, goons and gold; and two, that bearing arms under a tyrannical regime is not only legitimate, but is a just and necessary course of action to attain genuine democracy and national freedom.

Teodoro represents the interest of big corporations, especially mining companies (recall that he chaired the notorious Sagittarius Mining Incorporated, and the Indophil Resources Corporation, the former equally notorious Glencore International). So, do we expect him to have any interest in listening to the grievances of peasants and minority people who are being displaced in their hundreds of thousands by the expansion of mining companies? No. Can the people expect him to have any interest in addressing the socioeconomic and political roots of the current civil war in the country? No.

With a mindset that is fundamentally congruent with those of militarists and fascists who came before him, we do not see the appointment of Teodoro as defense secretary altering the course of the current vicious campaign of state terrorism under Marcos.

Judging by his 2-year stint as defense secretary leading the brutal Oplan Bantay Laya II under Arroyo–in which the notorious butcher General Palparan served as one of his bosses’ role models–Teodoro won’t stop the current drive of the AFP and PNP to carry out extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture and enforced disappearances and other forms of state terrorism that violate human rights and international humanitarian law.

In less than a year under Marcos, at least 96 people, including four children, have been summarily killed by reactionary state forces. This means, Marcos’ soldiers and police have killed an average of one unarmed person every three days or so, in the course of their brutal counterinsurgency.

With Teodoro’s appointment, defenders of peace and human rights are compelled to strengthen their campaigns to defend the people, expose the crimes being committed by Marcos’ armed minions, and advance the cause of justice for all victims of the crimes of state terrorism.

In appointing Teodoro to head the defense department, Marcos clearly trusts that he will act in favor of the US strategy of strengthening its military foothold and hegemony in the country. With the Marcos regime dependent on US military support and financing, Teodoro will surely comply with all wishes of the US in line with its plan of using its military bases and facilities in the Philippines as part of its “first island chain” strategy of encircling China.

Teodoro’s bluster that “our territory is our territory” and demand that China “earn our trust” is false defense of Philippine sovereignty considering how the Marcos regime has opened wide the country to allow the US and other foreign military powers to gain a foothold on Philippine territorial land and waters.

All patriots and democrats must denounce and reject the appointment of Teodoro–proven fascist and imperialist puppet, now part of the corruption web of the Marcos ruling clique.

Let me just add two additional points:

1) Teodoro, a stooge of Gloria Arroyo, was appointed by Marcos amid the infighting within the ruling Marcos coalition. One way or another, this is a clear act of appeasement to Arroyo who was rebuffed by Marcos’ minions in her recent attempt to take over the leadership of the House of Representatives. Will this solve the infighting? For now, maybe, but not for long, considering the fact that the greed for wealth and power of bureaucrat capitalists knows no limits.

2) The appointment of Teodoro to the defense establishment comes at a time of a brewing crisis in the AFP with the push to end the use of the people’s money to fund the pension of all military and uniformed personnel, and require soldiers and police to pay monthly dues for their retirement pension, as do all other government and private employees. Marcos’ officials, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are gravely concerned over the fact that these pension funds continue to hemorrhage the country’s funds. At ₱128.65 billion, these pension funds is the second biggest item in the national budget (next only to the ₱582.32 billion that goes to debt payments).

However, what this brewing crisis in the AFP over pension funds actually underscores (but which Marcos does not want to touch on) is the fact that the Philippine military and police forces are over-bloated organizations, with the militarist obsession to end the armed revolution through sheer superiority in numbers. The AFP and PNP are so bloated that there are more military and police personnel than employed public nurses in the Philippines.

To win the loyalty of the AFP and PNP, Duterte favored soldiers and police with salary increases. Even bigger than the pension funds of military and uniformed personnel is their base salary that amounts to ₱183.33 billion in the 2023 budget, more than a third of which (35.98%) goes to the salaries of AFP soldiers and officers.