Rebels can’t oust Duterte, Sison tells military
LUCENA CITY — Forget Red October, Black November or White December.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison has admitted that rebels are incapable of unseating President Rodrigo Duterte in the face of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ obsession with conspiracy plots.
“What the revolutionary forces and the people are capable of is only to establish democratic government of workers and farmers in the countryside. These are the organs of democratic power,” Sison said in an online interview from Utrecht, the Netherlands, where he lives in exile.
Responding to Sison, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement: “Indeed the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) cannot attain their vile objectives militarily.”
The surrender of rebels and capture of high-ranking communist leaders have weakened the NPA, the CPP’s armed wing, Arevalo said.
But then again, Sison warned, the President could be toppled from power, like what happened to strongman Ferdinand Marcos and President Joseph Estrada, without the NPA deploying its fighters to the capital.
Marcos was toppled in a people-backed military revolt in 1986, while Estrada quit the presidency following a civilian-supported military withdrawal of support in 2001.
The AFP has claimed that the Red October plot to oust the President fizzled out after it came to light.
The military, however, said Red October was a “rolling plan” that would culminate in December, when the CPP marks its 50th anniversary.
Last month, the President said he had evidence of a “loose conspiracy” involving opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the Magdalo group, Liberal Party and the CPP-NPA to overthrow him. All parties have denied his claim.
The military decided to call the rebel plot “Oplan Talsik (Ouster),” which, it said, was aimed at summoning a critical mass for a broad united front to remove the sitting President. This is akin to the objective of Red October, according to Arevalo.
“What the CPP wants is to weaken [the] government prior to its takeover … They shall agitate people to rebel against [the] government by fomenting unrest, sow discord and highlight issues of alleged human rights abuses by government,” he said.
Under Oplan Talsik, the CPP-NPA intends to stir labor unrest through its “Oplan Aklasan (Revolution),” given that the workforce is the “most vulnerable due to increasing prices of commodities and inflation,” Arevalo said.
The rebels would move to discredit the government in the international community, he added.
The goal, Arevalo said, is to create a “backlash on the economy.”
“If the CPP-NPA succeeds in fomenting chaos and discord, and in successfully peddling conjectures of government abuses in the Philippines, foreign and local investors are seen to either withdraw or cancel their investments,” he said.
The planned end game, he pointed out, is to force Mr. Duterte’s hand into declaring martial law.
“The CPP will then claim before the international community that a despot rules in the Philippines,” Arevalo said.
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