By Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson Emeritus, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
June 5, 2022
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. consistently evaded presenting publicly his platform of government in the course of the campaign for the elections of 2022 in the Philippines. He simply repeated the vacuous line that he was for “unity” without spelling out any content at all.
But there are more than enough historical and current facts available to serve as sufficient basis for realistic and reasonable estimate of what to expect from his rule as fake president, even before he can take his oath of office at the end of June or deliver his state of the nation address in July.
1. Marcos Junior will remain true to his billing as the son of the fascist dictator Marcos. He knows how his father accumulated power and wealth from 1965 to 1986 far beyond the limits set by the 1935 constitution. The key was the control and use of the reactionary armed forces against the broad range of legal opposition forces in the name of preventing the “explosion of the social volcano” (before 1972) and then “suppressing rebellion and building a new society” (from 1972 martial law proclamation to 1986).
He may or may not declare martial law sooner or later because the so-called Anti-Terror Law is more than sufficient for the purposes of mass intimidation, red-tagging or anticommunist slander, abductions, indefinite detention, torture and extrajudicial killings. He glorifies his fascist father and is inspired by him and is currently urged by his fascist predecessor Duterte and the reactionary armed forces and police to continue the use of state terrorism in order to control the legal opposition, suppress the armed revolution and accumulate power and wealth.
2. As soon as he assumes his position as president of the reactionary state, he has the power to invalidate and render inoperative all the previous laws and mechanisms previously adopted to recover the wealth ill-gotten by his parents during their brutal and corrupt rule from 1965 to 1986. Only less than 20 per cent of this bureaucratic loot conservatively estimated at USD 10 to 15 billion has so far been recovered.
The outstanding tax debt of the Marcoses amounting to more than Php 203 billion will be nullified. And ironically, under Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN) and further tax laws, the longest-running No. 1 tax evader in the Philippines will be imposing a lot of taxes on the people, especially on all ordinary consumers and the overseas contract workers, while the billionaires and millionaires in the uppermost class will enjoy tax cuts.
Furthermore, new opportunities for plunder will be available to the Marcoses and their oligarchic allies despite the bankruptcy of the government and economy. So long as the reactionary state persists, there will be opportunities for stealing from the national treasury and budget, from the tax revenues extorted mainly from the working people, the remittances of overseas Filipinos, graft-laden contracts between the state and private corporations, the cheap sale of natural resources to foreign monopoly capitalists and the ever rising amounts of local public debt and foreign loans..
3. The glorification of the Marcos fascist dictatorship will continue and will be in concert with that of Marcos regime II. This time the Marcoses will not be spending their ill-gotten wealth to finance their own glorification by all means of disinformation.. They will be using the entire reactionary state, its agencies, personnel and resources to change the content of Philippine history and purge the schools, libraries and museums of personnel and study materials to suit the glorification of the fascist tyrants, Marcos and Duterte.
Sara Duterte’s appointment as secretary of education and culture is a bad sign. She is expected to align education and culture to the past and current brutal and corrupt conduct of the Marcos and Duterte regimes and to use the military for purging the schools, libraries and museums of textbooks, documents and other study materials which arbitrarily tagged as “communist and terrorist” and consigned to the bonfire as was done by the military in recent times and much earlier in the 1950s during the Cold War and McCarthyism in the Philippines.
4. Both the outgoing president Duterte and the incoming president Marcos have agreed to continue the escalation of the military campaigns of suppression against the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people in accordance with the dictates of US imperialism and the pressure of pro-US officers in the reactionary armed forces and Duterte’s own National Task Force-Elcac. Marcos may or may not make the motion of pretending to be for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations even for a short while. But the military campaigns and fake localized peace talks against the revolutionary movement will escalate without let-up.
Duterte and Marcos are also bound to the policy of US imperialism to counter the economic and political rise of China. Duterte has allowed China to violate the sovereign and maritime rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea since 2016 and has tried to borrow from China at onerous terms a total of USD 25 billion for infrastructure building. The loans made did not exceed USD 2 billion but China built artificial islands and militarized them on maritime features in the West Philippine Sea. Since a year ago, he has focused on kissing the ass of the US and begging for more military assistance for his campaign of military suppression against the revolutionary movement. Like Duterte, Marcos has yielded to the US dictat that they escalate the anti-communist campaign of suppression and align themselves with the US against China.
5. Marcos Junior’s neoliberal frame of mind in economics shows in the appointment of his economic and finance officials who are inherited from the Aquino II and Duterte regimes and who are notorious for covering up the corruption of bureaucrat capitalism and further underdevelopment of the economy by using neoliberal technocratic verbiage and submission to the foreign loan sharks. He will immediately fall into a trap which includes the unsustainable public debt of more than Php 13 trillion, extreme budgetary and trade deficits, military overspending, reduction of social services, high unemployment, low incomes, inflation, stagnation and mass poverty.
The economic, social and political crisis of the ruling system will worsen in an unprecedented way. Marcos Junior will not solve the problems within the confines of the ruling system and will find no substantial relief from the US and world capitalist system which are themselves in deep crisis. He will find himself in deeper economic trouble with such acts of Duterte as the Rice Tariffication Law and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Act and his amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), Foreign Investments Act (FIA), and Public Service Act (PSA) which violate the economic sovereignty of the Philippines.
From the very beginning, Marcos ought to be angry at Duterte for having made a trap in which he has more than doubled the public debt of Php 5.9 trillion, incurred in 120 years, to Php 13 trillion in the last 6 years. Duterte has also surpassed Marcos senior in mass murder and public debt in absolute terms and in the rate of more profligacy and plunder in a shorter period of time (six years of Duterte, compared to more than 21 years of Marcos as president).
6. In the next one to two years, Marcos will be wallowing in deep shit of the crisis-stricken system. Social unrest will certainly spread and intensify. And the conditions for the armed revolution will become more favorable. No amount of military violence and psywar tricks can stop this. At the same time, factional struggles will sharpen between the Marcos dynasty and all the other political dynasties over the economic, social and political issues and over the division of the dwindling spoils. The Marcos ruling clique will be isolated and targeted by a broad range of forces, including conservative parties and factions and the legal patriotic and democratic forces.
It is highly probable that the Marcos ruling clique will take the initiative of repressing its intra- systemic rivals and the national democratic movement. It is also likely that an opposition alliance of conservative forces will arise to fight back in the name of liberal democracy and human rights and seek the support of sympathizers in the US and disgruntled groups within the reactionary armed forces of the Philippines. The US can take its own initiative in picking a civilian political figure and a military group to a carry out a coup against the Marcos ruling clique.
7. Like his father, Marcos Junior might try to deflect for a while the attention of the people from the worsening crisis by undertaking charter change and referring to this as the hope for fundamental change. Federalism and parliamentarism will be hyped as the devices for fundamental change for the better. Certainly, Marcos will be interested in scrapping provisions of the 1987 constitution that restrict martial law and human rights violations, that limit the presidential term to six years, that restrain foreign ownership of enterprises and that ban foreign military bases and forces on Philippine territory.
But the people and the factions in rivalry with the Marcos ruling clique will ultimately denounce charter change as the pretext for enabling martial law without restrictions, for extending the rule of Marcos and for betraying his promise to make Sara his presidential successor. The use of charter change as a distraction from the worsening all-round round crisis of the ruing system might precisely be the trigger for a rightist military coup. It is also highly probable that a broad united front of legal and democratic forces and anti-fascist conservative forces can avert violent upheavals in the citadels of power.
8. It is in the selfish interest of the Marcos ruling clique to keep the automated election system as nontransparent and fraud-prone system that can be easily manipulated by the ruling clique as Duterte has done in the 2019 and 2022 elections. The kind of AES that Duterte has been able to rig is needed by the Marcos ruling clique to hold a charter plebiscite or referendum anytime and for any prospective elections. It is therefore to the interest of this ruling clique to distract public attention from the massive fraud in the 2022 and to prevent any system that requires instant and simultaneous vote count by an independent organization.
Duterte has also advised Marcos Junior to continue using the bogus war on illegal drugs and all- out war against the revolutionary movement as constant instruments for intimidating and controlling the people as well as in keeping the loyalty of the police and military, respectively, between elections. The bogus war on drugs and the all-out war of counter-revolution are meant to satisfy the police and military with high incomes, guarantee the political rule of the Marcos and Duterte dynasties and protect the nationwide drug syndicate of the Dutertes (Digong, Polong and Baste) and their collaborators, Bong Go, Charlie Ang, Peter Lim and others.
9. In the next few years, the most brutal and corrupt political dynasties are coalesced against the Filipino people and their patriotic and democratic forces. They are capable of unleashing the worst campaigns of state terrorism, such as mass arrests and massacres in urban areas. But they can be restrained or even deterred if a broad united front of anti-fascist, patriotic and democratic forces is effectively aroused, organized and mobilized. The millions of people that were mobilized by the opposition in the 2022 electoral campaign cannot be underestimated for still larger mass actions of protest.
At the same time, those activists who are most threatened by the death squads of the Marcos and Duterte dynasties must be ready to join the revolutionary underground and proceed to the countryside for revolutionary armed struggle. It is worthwhile always to remember that whenever the fascist dictator Marcos escalated the brutal suppression of the mass activists in the urban areas, many of them were systematically deployed for revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside.
10. While the basic problems of the Filipino people, such as imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism remain unsolved, the extreme conditions of oppression and exploitation will drive the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata to engage in all forms of democratic struggle and accelerate the advance of the people’s democratic evolution through protracted people’s war.
The tyrant Duterte and his military forces have failed to destroy the armed revolutionary movement of the people despite the ruthless brutality unleashed against it. This movement and its leadership have only gained more experience, skills and strength in using the strategy and tactics of extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base to frustrate and defeat the concentrated as well as the dispersed operations of the enemy.###