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Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison on the Challenges to the Arroyo Regime

by Angel L. Tesorero
Pinoy Weekly (Filipino Weekly)
January 25, 2006

1) In our last interview, you said that "If GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) were to last until 2006, ousting her would be bloody. Some anti-GMA factions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) share your view. Recently, Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor said that the Arroyo administration would confront fire with fire the armed threat (from rebel soldiers) against the government. What do you think of this?

JMS: The violence will come from GMA and her top subalterns in the chain of command of the AFP and PNP. Those at the top are her collaborators in electoral cheating, corruption, puppetry to the US imperialists and violating human rights. The anti-GMA officers and members of the military and police seek to accomplish a withdrawal of support from the GMA regime. But GMA, Mike Defensor and those in the top command proclaim a "fire against fire" policy against them. This leaves the anti-GMA officers and members of the military and police with no choice but to seek the swift arrest of GMA and her rabid collaborators.

The Reformed the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) had the same objective against Marcos in Edsa 1. When the RAM failed on its coup attempt, the people's uprising came to its rescue.

2) The people's disgust with the present government is intensifying, even among the ranks of the military. Rumors about them launching a coup d'etat are increasingly buzzing. Are the progressives and the revolutionary forces open to an alliance with the military? If yes, in what way? If not, why not?

JMS: Today, the AFP and the PNP are divided into several factions. There is the pro-GMA and pro-US faction. There is also the anti-GMA and pro-US, especially among the senior officers. But an anti-GMA and patriotic group exists, especially among junior officers who are the most determined to oust GMA. With the current ferment in the AFP and PNP, an increasing number of them are inspired by the examples of revolutionary and patriotic military officers like Crispin Tagamolila of the Philippines, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Jacobo Arbenz de Guzman of Guatemala, Chu Teh of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and Nasser of Egypt.

A coup d'etat of the pro-US and anti-GMA military against the pro-US and pro-GMA military would be bad for the people. But it would be good if the patriotic and progressive officers and members of the AFP and PNP would come into mutual understanding, cooperation and mutual support with the patriotic and progressive forces of the people . We should recognize that most personnel of the AFP and PNP come from the working class and the peasantry and that they could be led by the patriotic and progressive officers when the bad chain of command is removed.

If GMA were ousted and the patriotic officials of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) could prevail against the worst officials headed by GMA, the progress of the peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP would be accelerated. But if the pro-US forces would prevail and merely change the top dog in the GRP, there would be no progress in the peace negotiations. The rotten system would remain and continue to worsen until it is brought down by the people's revolution.

3) In a related issue, the National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez continue to stress that there is an alliance between the military and the New People's Army (NPA). Could you please make a statement about this?

JMS: I don't know whether they have any factual basis. Often they make wild guesses because of their great fear of losing their high position. Nevertheless, the people are aware of the deep and widespread discontent among the military and police. The new development is the increasing number of patriots and progressives in the military against the rotten regime and the rotten system.

4) The successive tactical offensives of the NPA in the countryside, which further lowered the already low morale of the military, come into contrast with protest actions in the urban areas which seem not to have progressed. What do you think is the reason?

JMS: The determination and decisiveness of the armed revolutionaries are obviously firm. In the legal broad united front in the cities, the bourgeois opposition parties are sluggish when it comes to street protests. They are not yet mobilizing their followers as best as they ought to do.

The progressive forces of BAYAN are the most active in launching mass protests. There has to be more cooperation in increasing mass participation in street protest actions so that the military and police would be further inspired to reject the GMA regime.

5) On the basis of timing, the two Edsa uprisings happened during the first quarter of the year. Is it possible that one will occur during the first quarter of this year? Do you believe that the ousting of Mrs. Arroyo will be bloodier?

JMS: It is possible to oust GMA in the first quarter. "Fire with fire" may be avoided or its intensity lessened if the anti-GMA forces in the military and police would be able to arrest GMA and her top loyalist military and police officers in a swift manner. Thus the pro-GMA chain of command would be broken.

6) On another issue, what is your opinion on the "disagreement" between Mrs. Arroyo and former president Fidel Ramos (FVR)?

JMS: There is the aspect that FVR would like to put GMA in his pocket via the chacha (charter change). There is also the aspect that GMA would like to put FVR in her pocket through the same thing. At any rate, GMA is able to take advantage of the chacha more than anyone else.

Chacha is bad as it is being used to counter the oust GMA movement, give more powers to GMA, removes restraints on the proclamation of martial law and human rights violations, delete the Filipino nationality restrictions on foreign investments, open up to the foreign monopoly firms the land, natural resources, public ultilities and ll types of businesses and allow foreign military bases, foreign troops, nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in Philippine territory.

GMA, FVR and De Venecia are all fooling the people in their pushing of chacha even as they fool one another.

7) What can you say about the threat of YOUng (Young Officers Union of the New Generation) that they will punish 200 officials of the Arroyo government?

JMS: YOUng is reflecting the indignation of the junior officers and ordinary soldiers over the oppression and exploitation that they suffer from the brutal and corrupt officers who are the favorites of the regime. YOUng is also trying to reflect the outrage of the people over the treasonous, plundering, repressive and deceptive character of the regime. I presume that YOUng and similar patriotic groups intend to arrest the 200 officials of the regime and submit to trial.

The threats of the regime to use "fire against fire" make the broad masses of the people and the anti-GMA military and police personnel more determined to oust the regime and to render justice. The growing public clamor is to take strong action against the regime and against the entire semi-colonial and anti-feudal ruling system.###

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