Sunday, March 04, 2012

Takeover Talk – Here And There

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai sees a vast right-wing conspiracy to reverse the Nepali people’s hard-won gains and is exhibiting ever greater anxiety by the day. Yet, some people in the Philippines, acknowledging our Maoists as out-and-out victors, are warning of a Nepal-like communist takeover in their archipelago nation.
Pastor Alcover, a legislator representing the Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, has urged his country’s military to “wake up because what happened in Nepal might happen in this country.”
That fear centers on the intentions of Jose Mari Sison, the exiled founder of the Philippines’ Maoists. President Benigno Aquino III confirmed the other day that Sison would be returning home, but only after a formal and comprehensive peace agreement is signed between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), a coalition of far-left groups including the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Both the government and the NDF are playing down the prospects of an imminent breakthrough. Still, there has been persistent speculation that Sison, who has been in a self-imposed exile in Utrecht, Netherlands, since 1988, may have already entered the country. Sison and the Philippine military both have denied the report, describing it as part of a disinformation campaign.
Alcover, however, believes that not only is Sison already in the country but that he and his allies in the legislative branches and key positions in government are already consolidating power.
In April 2008, congratulating our Maoists on their electoral victory, Sison expressed hope that the CPN (Maoist) and the people of Nepal “would play a crucial role in promoting the advance of movements for national liberation, democracy, social justice, development and peace against imperialism and reaction.”
Following the inauguration of President Aquino in June 2010, Sison’s NDF made an optimistic start to peace talks. Mercifully, our Maoists did not take credit for having nudged their cousins along the peace path. (Nor could they. The Nepali Maoists were already being denounced by their more radical brethren for having betrayed the cause.)
The Philippine talks soon hit a roadblock and remain stalled over demands by the NDF that the government reinstate certain peace negotiators representing the rebel panel and grant them immunity from arrest.
President Aquino is said to have offered Sison a senior position in the cabinet in an effort to end the country’s long-running communist insurgency. According to Alcover, however, a Nepal-style takeover is already being plotted, which could lead to the ouster of President Aquino.
“Nepal’s parliament has been taken over by Maoist communists that ordered the integration of the rebels into that country’s armed forces and the army chief was kicked out,” Alcover said. “So, [in our case] the military should wake up, wake up, wake up.”
Some sources suggest the Philippine armed forces are split between supporters of Aquino and those of his predecessor Gloria Arroyo, advocates and opponents respectively of peace talks with the communists. Adding to the confusion are reports that Sison himself may have lost control of the NDF and the communists’ armed wing, the New People’s Army.
Our Maoists probably aren’t too eager to point out the holes in Alcover’s narration of events. But a Nepal-style takeover in the Philippines? Just take one measure of the integration mess our ex-rebels are in.
Comrade C.P. Gajurel, who seems to be quite familiar with Sison from the picture above, intimated to us just the other day that had Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal still retained his military position, he would have merited little more than a major’s post in the national army.