Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gloria does Mac Arthur and later, McCarthy

"I shall return."

So goes the promise of American General, Douglas Mac Arthur to the Filipinos during the second world war. And, living with the promise, Mac Arthur returned with the famous Leyte Landing.

As if Americans are a very good idols, the Philippine president with questionable legitimacy, Gloria Arroyo, also promised to return her wrath against her critics. Last Friday, she ordered the release of one billion pesos to fund intensified operations against the NPA's calling the money as “an investment that will yield peace dividends to the economy.”

For sometime now, Arroyo had been claiming that the economy cannot take off because of the political forces criticizing her administration. Hence, to accomplish her dream of economic reforms generally characterized by heavy borrowing and large budget deficits, she intended to crush her enemies.

And the NPAs are among these forces.

But the problem, she mistook the NPAs as the left and the left as NPAs. Along with her order to release the one billion fund are the words: The fight against the left remains the glue that binds.

Which reveals her McCarthyist attitude. As Randy David, in his June 18 column clearly put it:

Though the likes of Gen. Jovito Palparan pretend not to know it, there is a
huge difference between being Left and taking up arms against the
government. To be Left is to be constantly concerned with the basic issues
of justice and human freedom. It is to question the existing social order,
to assail its assumptions, and denounce its oppressive outcomes. To be a
leftist is to be committed to the long-term goal of structural change. In
contrast, to be a rightist is to find nothing fundamentally wrong with the
structure of society; it is to justify and defend its rules.

To take up arms in the pursuit of one’s political beliefs is an altogether
different matter. The armed option is employed not only by leftists and
rightists, but also by religious rebels and some millenarian cults. Not all
leftists advocate the violent overthrow of the State, and not all armed
groups are leftist. To be Left is to think and speak radically about social
problems; to be an armed rebel is to participate in the forcible overthrow
of government. Our Constitution outlaws armed rebellion, but it resolutely
protects freedom of thought and of speech.

But more than the idea of crushing her once-allies-now-turned enemies, spirits from Malacanang said that Arroyo's objective to quash the left is to renew the waning support of America and George Bush to her administration. It should be noted that the Arroyo government drew criticisms from the United States and other members of the Coalition of the Willing when she ordered the Philippine troops to withdrew from Iraq in exchange for the release of a Filipino worker, Angelo de la Cruz, who was kidnapped by Iraqui militants. And to add, Arroyo also drew flak from the Americans when New York Times published an editorial criticizing her administration for reviving bad memories of crony corruption, presidential vote-rigging and intimidation of critical journalists (see also: Let's take over NY Times, Toting!).

In simple terms, crushing her former allies is hitting two birds with one stone.


But local allies of Arroyo are now having second thoughts. According to some mayors I happened to talk with a few days ago, the sitting president does not seem to recognize loyalty and thus they fear of getting dumped this coming 2007 elections. It should be noted that the left are among the major forces that helped toppled Estrada and installed Arroyo in 2001; and, that there are also allies that Arroyo ditched at the height of the Gloriagate scandal.

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