Iam amused by this exchange on Facebook between a former human rights lawyer -turned-Kilusang Pagbabago (KP) organizer in Cebu and militants on the death of Caloocan City minor Kian delos Santos. The former has obviously taken the cudgels for the Duterte administration while the latter are obviously critical of it. Yet they were one in supporting the candidacy of Rodrigo Duterte in last year’s polls.
Which reminded me of my beef against the Left in the presidential elections last year: one faction supported the candidacy of Grace Poe while another pushed for a Duterte win. I don’t know the dynamics inside the revolutionary movement now but the support for Duterte, especially by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison, that time seemed devoid of Marxist enlightenment.
Anyway, militants actually joined the only army of trolls flooding social media with praises of Duterte while demonizing his opponents, most notably Mar Roxas, the bet of the then president Benigno Aguino III. The product of that engagement were three Cabinet posts given to CPP nominees, namely Judy Taguiwalo for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Rafael Mariano for the Deparment of Agrarian Reform and Silvestre Bello III for the Department of Labor and Employment. The Commission on Appointment has rejected Taguiwalo’s appointment.
The Left forging ties with Duterte can be termed as a mere “tactical alliance.” I didn’t think the CPP had any illusion that an alliance with Duterte would be for keeps, even if the government had reopened talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF). Somewhere along the way, the Left had to disengage—at what time was the question. It seemed like it came a few weeks ago after the peace talks got scuttled and Taguiwalo exited the DSWD.
But here’s the problem with such tactic. While CPP cadres know what to expect from a “tactical alliance,” some of its national democratic (ND) forces and allies may not. When militants extolled Duterte’s virtues, a faction may have fallen for it. Meaning, they have become rabid Duterte supporters. When the Left began the disengagement process with its increasingly vociferous criticism of Duterte policies like its war on drugs, some of its elements chose to remain with the Duterte camp.
These “leftists” are not necessarily with the Duterte camp but with Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., a former militant who has taken the lead in forming the nationwide KP movement. Evasco has remained steadfast as an ally of the President, so too the movement he has created. Now militants who have remained with Duterte are “battling” their former colleagues who are now critical of him.
By the way, I read on Facebook a post that defended the Left’s support of Duterte in last year’s elections. The message of the whole article was for those critical of Duterte’s policies not to dredge up the past, meaning to no longer talk about that “tactical alliance” supposedly for the sake of unity. Unfortunately for the Left, there will always be those who will ask why it did what it did. That’s the price of helping install an administration it is now critical of.