Joma tight­ens his own noose

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

THE fate of Jose Ma. Si­son, bet­ter known as Joma, is vir­tu­ally in the hands of his pet peeve - Pres. Ro­drigo R. Duterte. Both the United States of Amer­ica and the Euro­pean Union had de­clared the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines and its armed el­e­ments, the New Peo­ple’s Army, (CPP/NPA) ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions. What ac­tu­ally saves Joma from land­ing in the cal­a­boose is the fact that he pack­aged him­self as a vic­tim of Mar­cos per­se­cu­tion and pros­e­cu­tion.

He got his ticket to free­dom cour­tesy of for­mer Pres. Cory Aquino and since it is the same mil­i­tary and po­lice forces that he will be deal­ing with he can­not risk go­ing about town and opted to hie away to his present asy­lum - the Nether­lands, which is part of EU that ab­hors ter­ror­ism like plague. In hind­sight is it not in­trigu­ing that de­spite the unique treat­ment and fa­vors ex­tended to him by Cory, the peace ne­go­ti­a­tion be­tween the CPP/NPA and her gov­ern­ment failed?

The an­swer is re­flected in Joma’s tirade against Duterte. He has this con­sum­ing dream of a coali­tion gov­ern­ment be­tween his 3,000 plus forces and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Aquino be­fore and Duterte now. Joma ac­cuses Duterte of reneg­ing in his prom­ise of a coali­tion. But, as Pres­i­dent Duterte stressed, how can he share the gov­ern­ment which he does not own?!

Con­trary to JMS ac­cu­sa­tions, it is Duterte in fact who fac­tu­ally demon­strated his sin­cer­ity in al­low­ing com­mu­nists to par­tic­i­pate in gov­er­nance by al­lo­cat­ing sen­si­tive cabi­net po­si­tions and ap­point­ing their nom­i­nees to these posts. The Pres­i­dent also went the mile to free in­car­cer­ated CPP/NPA lead­ers to par­tic­i­pate and pur­sue the peace talks to its ul­ti­mate goal of stable end. But in each round of talks a new agenda and de­mands are pre­sented while back home am­bus­cades, ex­tor­tion, ha­rass­ments and mur­ders are tak­ing place.

Duterte was JMS’ best bet in achiev­ing his ro­man­tic goals. The Pres­i­dent does not need to strug­gle to achieve what is utopian to Si­son. As City Mayor of Davao, he does not hide his sup­port for the le­gal po­lit­i­cal fronts that sought elec­tions in congress, he vis­its NPA camps and en­gages them to in­ti­mate talks. His po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­saries den­i­grate him for his avun­cu­lar re­gard for rebels. As Pres­i­dent, not a few doubted his mo­tives when he appointed com­mies in his cabi­net. Never in the an­nals of our po­lit­i­cal his­tory has a head of state built such de­gree of con­fi­dence build­ing with rebel groups. Rec­og­niz­ing the fact that ad­her­ing to com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy is no longer a crime in this coun­try, it was easy for Duterte to ac­com­mo­date them while work­ing for a stable and per­ma­nent peace. They can par­tic­i­pate in run­ning the gov­ern­ment but farm­ing out the gov­ern­ment author­ity and ter­ri­tory like a food fran­chise is the last thing in the mind of the Pres­i­dent.

For crit­ics to say that Pres­i­dent Duterte has in­co­her­ent poli­cies when it comes to peace build­ing are to­tally out of sync or obliv­i­ous to what and how the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive has bended too far back to win the rebels to the folds of the law.

Joma is wrong if he thinks his for­mer stu­dent can­not run this coun­try and re­turn its dig­nity to the com­mu­nity of na­tions. The Philip­pines is back as a ful­cra in the ASEAN com­mu­nity. Duterte has bro­ken the back­bone of crime and drug syn­di­cates and is fo­cused on curb­ing cor­rup­tion in the gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy. Next year, the coun­try will em­bark on an un­prece­dented build, build, build pro­gram Pro­fes­sor Joma can never imagine his stu­dent can do. He has stayed too long in the for­eign land he is hope­lessly ig­no­rant of what is go­ing on in his na­tive land. Sad.

De­spite the CPP/NPA ter­ror­ist tag, it bog­gles the mind why Joma en­joys the hos­pi­tal­ity of the Nether­lands. We can only ven­ture a guess. His host coun­try gives space to the gov­ern­ment and the CPP/NPA/NDF man­i­fes­ta­tion to end their con­flict via peace ne­go­ti­a­tion for which rea­son JMS and his com­rades in EU were given a cer­tain de­gree of move­ment.

The dec­la­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Duterte that ef­fec­tively ends peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF places JMS and his pals in a cat­e­gory which will now limit their move­ment. The for­mal an­nounce­ment of the Pres­i­dent brand­ing the tri­umvi­rate a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion will make their life mis­er­able.

If Joma con­tin­ues bad­mouthing the Pres­i­dent for the failed ne­go­ti­a­tion and if the NPA in­ten­si­fies its at­tacks on gov­ern­ment forces and civil­ians it is not far­fetched Duterte will ham­mer the ter­ror­ist tag on CPP/NPA/NDF. The EU will be forced to cut off not only Joma’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions line to the NPAs but also... his liv­ing al­lowance.

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