Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - BONG O. WENCESLAO khan­wens@gmail.com

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.

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