To: Detroit Workers' Voice mailing list
May 18, 2016
RE: About the election of Duterte in Philippines

  1. Filipino Friends: Watch Out! by Frank Arango, Seattle Communist Study Group
  2. Will the Maoist CPP get seats in Duterte's cabinet?, by Frank, SCSG
  3. About the right-left coalition behind Duterte, excerpt from an article by Sonny Melencio

Filipino friends: Watch Out!

On May 9, Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines with some 39 percent of the vote. Like Donald Trump in the United States, Duterte is a right-wing populist demagogue. But he's worse than Trump. Duterte has long been turning his fascistic war cries into deeds.

As mayor of Davao, Duterte unleashed police death-squads to extra-judicially murder untold numbers of "criminals" and boasted about it. When running for president he repeatedly pledged to launch a similar campaign to kill alleged criminals throughout the country, and said he would dump 100,000 corpses in Manila Bay. Now he says he will bring back capital punishment and public hangings, even saying at his recent press conference: "After the first hanging, there will be another ceremony for the second time until the head is completely severed from the body..."--LA Times

Anyone who believes this "anti-criminal," "anti-drug dealer" campaign is not going to be directed against the masses is either a fool or extremely naive. In fact, Duterte warned who it will be directed against when he threatened the leaders of the KMU this way:

"Then you KMU people, stop the labor unions. I myself am pleading with you. We are one in ideology. [But] do not do that because you will destroy my administration. If you do that, I will kill you all. What would happen is, the solution would be killing. ….I’d ask you to have a discussion and you wouldn’t bring yourselves to the table....So do not do that -- an active labor front. Because if you do, companies will pull out. Do not do it." -- Manila Times May 17 .

Indeed, Duterte is a neoliberal whom Bloomberg gushes over in a May 12 article (, and the Philippine stock market shot upward when he was elected. And in foreign policy he wants to continue the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that allows for the return of U.S. bases, which is part of his maneuvering with China.

Making matters worse, the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) long had an alliance with Duterte in Davao and then prettified and supported him during the election. In return, Duterte is offering them four cabinet posts in his reactionary government, with the CPP's Jose Ma. Sison responding: "I am very proud of him. He promises to be the first left president of the Philippines. I will be satisfied if he can remain patriotic and progressive."--CNN

This has a history: in the name of nationalism and patriotism the CPP has long worked to tie the Filipino masses to their oppressors. But now the utterly rotten nature of treachery has been revealed to the entire world.

Duterte has offered the CPP the departments of Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, Labor, and Social Welfare and Development. And it should be clear he wants the CPP and its mass organizations to play the role of stamping down the struggles of the workers, peasants and fisher folk from those Cabinet positions.

Despite all the present blowing of kisses, the scheme may blow up sooner rather than later, however. AND THIS I WARN MY FRIENDS: In the old days the pro-Soviet revisionists had alliances with Ba'athist governments in the Middle East, the Derg in Ethiopia, and the early Khomeini regime in Iran -- reactionaries all. But each time the sham communists paid the price with their own blood, and the blood of the masses they had misled, when the reactionaries turned on them. Maoist revisionism may meet the same fate in the Philippines. If it doesn't, then it will only further disgrace itself. -- Frank, Seattle Communist Study Group

Will the Maoist CPP get seats in Duterte's cabinet?

Like Trump, Duterte is a wildcard who speaks out of both sides of his mouth. And I suspect the CPP won't get the cabinet posts because the State Department has said it will work with him, and one of its demands will probably be "no CPP Cabinet posts." But I don't know that. In any event, the treachery of the CPP again shows why revisionism must be opposed all over the world.

About the right-left coalition behind Duterte

The excerpt below is from an article by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses in the Philippines. It was written prior to the election of May 9. We are not familiar with Melencio and the PLM, and we are not endorsing all their views, but the article has a good deal of useful information about the political situation in the Philippines and why Duterte had support. The excerpt below deals with the prospects of coalitions of the far right and the left.

.From The Duterte phenomenon and our attitude towards it by Sonny Melencio (the full article can be found at

1. One of the characteristics of the Duterte phenomenon is the coalition of the Right and Left forces supporting him. The Right forces include the ultra-rightist groups whose main agenda is the restoration of the Marcoses and the reimposition of martial law to "wipe out criminals and discipline the people.” They are clamoring for Bongbong Marcos to be the vice-president, and ultimately, to become the president.

2. The CPP-NPA-NDF has long been in a coalition with Duterte, as he himself has admitted to in various statements. In today's election, Duterte is supported by organizations, party list and forces associated with the CPP. It is also true that under Duterte’s long reign in Davao, he supported the NPAs and the NPAs backed him up in many issues. This arrangement is not unlike the coalition that politicians in other provinces built with the NPAs (for instance, the Dys of Isabela, the Yaps of Escalante, etc.) to maintain themselves in power.

3. This Left and Right coalition in support of an individual politician reminds one of a former president of Argentina who served three terms after the Second World War until 1973. It was Juan Peron, who became a popular president, a strongman, who gathered the support of the middle classes and the workers, the Left and the Right forces, during his reign in Argentina.


8. We are not equating Duterte with Peron because they exist under different circumstances and historical contexts. We are looking into the phenomenon of the coalition of the Right and Left forces, which is also a phenomenon we can see in the Duterte coalition.

9. But even Peron, who started with a program that was clearly pro-worker and pro-Left forces, reverted back to his class character and position after few years of rule. He resorted to fascist and Rightist rule after the failure of his administration to resolve the crisis and stem the tide of mass struggles in Argentina.

10. So the danger awaiting the masses if Duterte becomes the president is already looming in the horizon. The danger also comes from Duterte’s character: like a classic provincial warlord, he is his own king, and whether he turns Right or Left is a matter of his own choosing. <>

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Posted on June 8, 2016