Ex-Army Official Sees Military Smear Drive, Violence vs Leftists in Coalition Gov’t

“If the democratic coalition government that is the version of the Left becomes imminent, the AFP and PNP would move to save democracy,” the police official said.

“I do not see as a danger for democracy if the Left is part of a coalition government,” Jarque said when asked if he considers the possibility of Left representation in a transition council as a threat to democracy. “I see it more as a danger to the generals and the present irresponsible and corrupt ruling elite. Rather, I think it will enhance democracy that other political elements are allowed to participate. Isn’t that what democracy is all about? And what have the ‘non-Left’ done to make this country and our people’s lives better? Perhaps, in the failure of government as we see today, it is time to look at alternative models of governance, including those involving the progressive elements of the military and the Left.”

Possible military/police maneuvers

But according to Jarque, those in the military and police top brass do not usually think this way, and he sees the possibility that they would undertake actions to prevent the Left from becoming part of any government even before it could gain a foothold in a coalition government.

“The generals may be corrupt but they are not stupid. They are aware of the risks and dangers to them if the Left is in government,” he pointed out. “Military/police intelligence and psy-ops operators may carry out actions to discredit and undermine the Left in the coalition government. In unyielding cases, threats, salvaging and neutralization activities can be resorted to.”

Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and also a former professor of social sciences, sees a similar possibility. In an e-mailed reply to questions sent by Bulatlat, Sison said that a new regime “may be stupid and cruel enough” to unleash violence against the legal forces of the Left and further inflame the armed revolution of the people for national liberation and democracy, even as he also sees that it may be “intelligent enough to accommodate the legal forces of the Left and pave the way for more fruitful GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines)-NDFP peace negotiations.”

Jarque meanwhile said that the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are run by generals who were brought up in the martial law period when the Left movements were considered as “enemies of the State.”

“It is not easy to get out of that mindset especially if they fear that a left-leaning government will lead to investigations of human rights abuses and corruption,” Jarque explained. “The status quo is in the generals’ best interest. The generals know that they have skeletons in the closet for which they will be held accountable if a reform-minded government is in power.”

U.S. influence

Jarque also said that it is possible that the U.S. is influencing the thoughts of the country’s military leaders. “Certainly, a government that is pro-U.S. is what the U.S. government wants, especially with the global war on terror,” he said. “It is not inconceivable that a military coup can be staged, a la (Salvador) Allende in Chile, if that will be in their interest.”

Allende was a pro-socialist leader who won the Chilean presidency through elections, and was ousted by a U.S.-backed military coup in 1973. He was killed in the violence that ensued and his family was forced to flee Chile.

Both Jarque and Sison, however, acknowledge the presence of progressive elements within the military and the police. According to Sison, there are “reasonable military and police officers who can be attracted to a patriotic and democratic program of government and to the broad united front against the Arroyo regime and who can be encouraged to uphold civilian supremacy and respect the sovereign will and democratic rights of the Filipino people.”

Jarque said that the younger officers and enlisted men may be more open to a reform-minded government that advocates military reform and good governance. Bulatlat

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