(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2017 - 12:00am
If he will have his way, President Rodrigo Duterte would like “to destroy” the government as the only way to stamp out completely the systemic corruption at the Bureau of Customs, and the entire bureaucracy for that matter. As far as President Duterte sees it best, only a “revolutionary government” can crush the crimes and corruption crippling the Philippines all this time.
A Palace birdie quoted President Duterte exclaiming anew that a “revolutionary government” is perhaps what the Philippines badly needed now, especially to best address the pernicious problems of corruption in the bureaucracy. The President wisecracked this during the meeting he called at Malacanang Palace with the leaders of the rebel soldiers group called the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).
The President expressed his frustration in particular over the latest smuggling case of tons of shabu that slipped through the Bureau of Customs headed by commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. What especially riled the President the most was the failure of Faeldon, supposedly assisted at the Customs Bureau by his former fellow Magdalo mutineers, to put a lid on corruption at one of the most graft-prone agency of government.
Despite being directly linked by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to alleged pay-offs at the Customs Bureau, President Duterte apparently gives more credence to the innocence of his embattled Customs chief who once joined the mutiny to fight corruption in the past government. In apparent pique over this shabu smuggling case, the President named retired Police Gen. Isidro Lapeña, who is currently the head of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), to replace Faeldon as Customs chief.
While President Duterte has been openly advocating for “revolutionary government,” a shadowy group has finally come out in the open with such threat to establish one in our country.
Hence, the “loyalty check” at Malacanang starting with the RAM leaders’ meeting two weeks ago although President Duterte keeps repeating he is more than willing to step down and give way to a “junta” government run by the military.
PADEM, in a statement issued last Monday, condemned President Duterte and held him accountable for betrayal of public trust and violation of national sovereignty and democratic rights of the Filipino people. In their statement, the group said it is now working for the withdrawal of military and police support from the 14-month old administration of President Duterte who won the majority votes in last year’s presidential election.
PADEM lashed at President Duterte for allegedly allowing China to occupy land features in the West Philippine Sea. They also accused him for allegedly mis-using the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and turned them into his private armies in carrying out extrajudicial killings as part of his administration’s anti-drug campaign.
The group likewise scored President Duterte, as the Commander-in-chief, for what appears to them as a bungled handling of the anti-terror operations in Marawi City while the city lies in ruins and hundreds of civilians as well as government troopers either get killed or wounded.
However, the leaderships of both the AFP and the PNP were quick to douse cold waters over PADEM’s propaganda and their alleged plot to forcibly remove President Duterte from office.
“The AFP categorically denies the recent statement issued by a group that pretends to be representative of the men and women of the AFP and the PNP and called themselves the Patriotic and Democratic Movement,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, declared in a statement he read before the press last week.
The 130,000-strong AFP, headed by Chief of Staff Eduardo Año, reiterated that the country’s military establishment stands by the constitutionally mandated government and unequivocal in their support to President Duterte as their incumbent Commander-in-chief.
For its part, the PNP headed by Director General Ronald dela Rosa committed the full might of the 190,000-strong police organization to stand in the way against any attempt to destabilize government and challenge their earnest resolve to protect the State and its institutions.
“We call on these shadowy groups with sinister motives to please spare the PNP from their delusion of getting any form of support from our ranks. We will never allow the PNP to be used in any move to betray the Constitution and grab power,” read the PNP statement as released to the media also last week by PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos.
Per their own investigations and sleuthing, the AFP traced the links to PADEM to a certain Jon Bustamante of Pinoy Abrod, an Amsterdam-based publication of overseas Filipino workers. Military cyber security experts found out Bustamante is closely identified with Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who is also based in The Netherlands.
Shortly after Bustamante uploaded the PADEM statement, Sison and his fellow communist leader Fidel Agcaoili shared on their respective social media accounts Bustamante’s post.
The CPP, along with its military arm New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front have conducted off-and-on peace talks with the Duterte administration here and abroad. However, President Duterte indefinitely suspended the peace talks amid continuing NPA attacks against government forces and extortion activities in various parts of the country.
While peace talks are suspended, the President and Sison are currently engaged in ongoing word war. The President’s browbeating of Sison escalated when he claimed the latter is “dying” already of cancer. Sison, in turn, vowed to continue waging their war to establish their own “revolutionary government” in the Philippines.
While President Duterte definitely subscribes to a “revolutionary government” in the Philippines, it is not, however, under the same concept that the CPP-NPA-NDF wanted to rule.