- Rafael Liwanag
Has JOMAs gambit paid off? The Parojinog death revals even more
Recent moves by the new peoples army, such as the daring ambush of the PSG convoy in Bukidnon, and the Negros attack, all reveal one thing- the protracted peoples war strategy of the “national democratic revolution has unraveled.
Once able to encircle cities like Legazpi, Lucena, Davao and Bacolod from the countryside in a “strategic stalemate” that is the third decisive stage of the ‘protracted people’s war” that could capture these cities, this capacity is now gone. All the former strongholds are now subdivisions with malls and inland resorts.
Armed sporadic uprisings reveal a weakness worse than expected
News reports all tell an uncomfortable truth, that they are now engaging in sporadic armed uprisings that they once frowned upon in the glory days of 1978, when proposing such a strategy led to the banishment of “revisionist” Metro Manila-Rizal cadres such as the late Romeo Candazo and Popoy Lagman.
Falling back on this puts them on the defensive, and reveals the grand setback that the last ten years have brought them. This shows how scattered, scuttled, and weakened they have become.
The scattered uprisings show that they have resorted to fighting in small bands, rather than brigade level movements worthy of front maneouvers. Are there still real fronts, or are we assuming that the fronts still exist in their proper number? The rebel movements say otherwise: friends in the hinterlands note that once large groups have gotten smaller. Small hits show a diminished army contrary to their once feared reputation of being able to hold vast areas.
In addition, reports from former comrades reveal that the once gushing 5,000 peso allowance given to new NPA recruits during the Aquino regime has fallen short, and a show of force is needed to shore up new collections of revolutionary taxes meant to finance the armed uprisings- like buying fake military uniforms similar to stunt pulled by Juana Change.
Worse, the release by the NPA of PO1 Alfredo Basabica Jr. in Davao Oriental last July 30 further confirms these suspicions that while the orders from Utrecht are to “intensify attacks,” some units decide not to, and release captives. You’d think that they wouldn’t do so in light of the instruction. But they did.
These uprisings also send a message to their former mass base and members of legal left organizations that they, and not Duterte, deserve their allegiance. It can be recalled that many of them secretly admire the Philippine President behind the backs of their established mass leaders. The rabid bad mouthing of leaders like the big-eyed Vencer Crisostomo after Duterte spoke at their SONA rally was meant to “redirect” attention and allegiance. It seems that they fear “Tatay Digong” more than we all thought.
Nonetheless, there are two schools of thought on these.
One, communists were too smug to think that Duterte would have their back regardless of their many “transgressions” during the ceasefires called for them, given that 4 of their leading intellectuals and poet-activists have joined government and enjoy some “protection.”
The other involves the thought that Joma Sison in the Netherlands has no more control over the New Peoples Army and its allied underground sectoral organizations forming the National Democratic Front.
To understand the second possibility, these are the basics: The three ingredients for a successful revolution include the Party (CPP), the Army (NPA) and the United Font (NDF), which are essentially led by strategically placed CPP members anyway. The question begging to be ased is: Where have these elements gone?
In the same dinners, the links of some NPA bands with criminal elements and illegal activities are also hot topics: their involvement in illegal mining in Diwalwal, Panganason in Pantukan, and Masara in Compostela Valley, and the rumored “alliance” with recently slain Kuratong Baleleng leader Aldo Parojinog are damning enough.
Then death of Parojinog leads many to wonder whether all those years of criminal activity like alleged kidnapping, drugs, illegal logging by the Kuratong Baleleng were “allowed” by the NPA in their strongholds over the last two decades? If so, were the in exchange for “revolutionary taxes’ as well?
It is common knowledge that like the Red Scorpion group, many KB elements were once NPA regulars and Sparrow unit operatives. To suspect that there was a tacit alliance between the Parojinog and the NPA is not far-fetched.
With this, the reality is all too clear: Joma’s remote control leadership has led many to fall away from him, either to join the mainstream or do independent “rebel work” outside of his authority.
Messy Jousting by Joma reveals several weaknesses: a big ego, and frail health
Jousting with Duterte from afar is never good strategy, when the Philippine president commands the attention of the world through traditional and social media, Joma can only interviewed through Skype and post on Facebook.
This muddles his message and makes it difficult to engage. Where are his spokesmen? Are the NDF ranks too decimated or have they abandoned the leaders in Utrecht? Leaving him to speak for himself makes him, and the NDF and the CPP look really weak.
Secondly, it makes him look more like the egotist he actually is. Just take a look at his website and you see a bloated ego who fashions himself as a leading intellectual and poet worthy of a National artist award, receipt of which he stated as a "compelling reason" for his possible return home. (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/606476/ndf-significant-dev-t-in-talks-national-artist-award-may-prompt-joma-sison-s-2017-homecoming/story/)
Joma’s dangerous Gambit spells doom for his movement
By jousting directly with the Philippine president, he is revealing himself too early like the proverbial queen, showing many weaknesses, and now becomes the target of attacks from various sides, unraveling many sad facts about him and his movement, and losing critical support from other essential allies needed to rebuild the strong front with which to engage the government.
Unfortunately for him, Duterte has the upper hand and moved decisively, catching him unaware and at a bad time with his army unprepared and scuttled, capturing all his pawns, leaving him weak, and scattered. It shows.
Contributor Rafael Liwanag was once a cadre in "the movement", as he says. He left, and often has occasional dinners with other former cadres. His analysis of recent events is interesting. (The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resurgent.ph)