Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 28 August 17 - 23, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
Democracy in the NPA And Lack of It in AFP
Jose Maria Sison
complain against the corruption of their superiors, including the overpricing of
equipment, the privatized use of military planes and land vehicles and cheating
the soldiers of their supplies. They also complain against the use of terrorist
bombings to demonize the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,
to lay the ground for increased US military intervention and logistical
assistance and to justify the declaration of martial law.
and Lack of Democracy in AFP
take seriously the grievances of the Magdalo group.
I am not at all confounded by the fear being whipped up by the Macapagal-Arroyo
regime and some quarters in the mass media that the Magdalo group could have
made a successful military coup at the incalculable expense of the people, were
it not for the vigilance, cleverness and strength of those in power.
of Sunday, July 27 at Oakwood, the so-called “power grabbers”, “putschists”,
“mutineers” and “military adventurists” were already limited to nothing
more than a protest action. They had been rendered desperate by a series of
preemptive and provocative actions taken against them since Thursday, July 24 by
a regime that takes more pride in proclaiming itself a beneficiary of a military
coup than in crediting the mass movement for the overthrow of Estrada in 2001.
should be more threatening to the current regime and the prospective one is the
rampancy of corruption, the practice of state terrorism and mendicancy to the US
among the highest officers of the AFP. All
of these conditions incite the lower officers and enlisted men to rebel in the
light of any modicum amount of patriotism and concern for public interest. I would not be surprised if in the near future a real coup
attempt would be launched, with the directness of a flying wedge.
from the Magdalo group, there are several active clandestine groups of aggrieved
officers and enlisted personnel within the AFP. There are those that know no
better than to make a military coup in order to make a banana republic attached
to the US. There are also those that attach themselves to reactionary
politicians and expect reforms or concessions from them.
Still there are others that have become convinced to coordinate
themselves with the national democratic movement.
military establishment tends to rot faster than the whole ruling system. The
highest officials of the defense department and the highest officers of the AFP
take bribes in the procurement of domestic and foreign supplies as well as
operate criminal syndicates involved in smuggling, illegal logging, drugs,
gambling and prostitution and the like. They
flaunt their ill-gotten wealth by building or acquiring mansions that, are far
beyond their official earning capacity..
outrageous crookedness of their superiors had driven the aggrieved officers and
enlisted personnel to undertake the dramatic protest action of July 27.
The lack of democracy in the AFP has allowed the most corrupt and brutal
officers to intimidate their subordinates and prevent them speaking up.
But the anger of the oppressed and exploited is collected and eventually
democracy in substantive terms can exist in the AFP because it is the coercive
apparatus of the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. It is also
a tool of a foreign power, US imperialism. It is violently opposed to the
national and democratic rights and interests of the people. Even only in terms
of method, the current grievance mechanism within the AFP permits no democracy..
Obedience to the US and local exploiting classes is easily translated into an
obedience to the corrupt and brutal officers.
in the NPA
thrives within the New People’s Army (NPA), despite the limited resources that
it has and the tremendous odds it faces from the enemy. In the first place, it
is fighting for the revolutionary cause of the people.
It is the instrument for the armed revolution to attain national
liberation and democracy. The Red commanders and fighters are self-sacrificing
in the service of the people.
policy for political work in the NPA is fully to arouse the masses of soldiers,
the commanders and all working personnel in order to achieve, through a
democratic movement under centralized leadership, three major objectives,
namely, a high degree of political unity, an improvement in living conditions
and a higher level of military technique and tactics.
regard to political democracy, the NPA officers and enlisted personnel have the
right to freely discuss the principles, policies and line of the new democratic
revolution. The lower officers and enlisted personnel have the right to
criticize higher officers and cadres in study and work meetings in order to
rectify errors and misdeeds and improve work and style of work.
regard to economic democracy, the representatives elected by the soldiers have
the duty to assist the unit leadership in managing the supplies and mess and the
right to go over the accounts upon the inquiry or complaint of any soldier.
There is no way for the officers of the NPA to cheat on the supplies.
regard to military democracy, in periods of training there is mutual instruction
between officers and soldiers and among the soldiers themselves; and in periods
of fighting, the units at the front must hold meetings of various kinds. Under
the direction of the unit leadership, the masses of soldiers are roused to
discuss how to attack and capture enemy positions and how to fulfil other combat
Movement in the AFP?
cadres who wish to do revolutionary work within the reactionary armed forces can
be guided by the democratic standards of the NPA.
They can promote a kind of democratic movement that is reasonable and
acceptable among military cadets, among reserve officers and among the active
officers and enlisted men. Such a democratic movement can be aimed at exposing
the pro-imperialist and reactionary character of the armed forces, causing their
disintegration and facilitating the rise of a new and just social order.
cadres can promote political democracy by undertaking various forms of education
in the new democratic revolution against the US and exploiting classes. They can form patriotic and progressive associations with
legal objectives among the cadets and among the active officers and enlisted
personnel. In the face of a
possible crackdown, they can form discreet groups.
can promote economic democracy by electing soldiers’ committees to oversee
procurement and management of supplies and mess and to look into accounts and
inventories upon the inquiry or complaint of any soldier.
They can demand the right to form unions of soldiers in order to look
after their economic and social rights and interests and to prevent or
discourage corruption and theft of the retirement, separation and death benefits
can promote compliance with the international law on human rights and
humanitarian conduct in war and with the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on
Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
While they are still in the reactionary army, the enemy officers and
enlisted personnel are still obliged by their masters to fight the NPA and the
people. But the revolutionary
cadres within the reactionary army can dissuade them from committing acts of
state terrorism and encourage them to shift to the people’s side.
is not idle and futile for cadres of the national democratic movement to do
revolutionary work within the reactionary army.
The soldiers here are mostly recruited from the toiling masses of workers
and peasants. Thus, they can
respond positively to the call for the new democratic revolution.
Even the officers who come mainly from the petty bourgeoisie can at
crucial moments be persuaded to join the revolutionary side of the people.
This is well demonstrated in the history of the Philippines and other
NDFP holds the view that its peace negotiations with the GRP can be a way for
the Filipino people in their millions and even for the bureaucratic and military
personnel of the GRP to learn quickly the content of the program for the
people’s democratic revolution and to consider how a just and lasting peace
can be achieved.
the likes of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Angelo Reyes have scuttled the GRP-NDFP
peace negotiations because they think that, by waging an all-out war against the
revolutionary forces and the people and by staging bomb attacks against
civilians, they pave the way for increased US military intervention, US military
and financial assistance under the pretext of anti-terrorism. They calculate
that these would enable them to stay in power longer and to enrich themselves
further through corruption.
the process, Arroyo and Reyes overspend on graft-ridden military equipment and
other supplies and widen the budgetary deficit. They overstretch and overstrain
their armed forces and subject the field officers and enlisted personnel to more
and more miserable and lethal conditions. Consequently, more and more military
officers and enlisted personnel become disgruntled and rise up in resistance
socio-economic, political and moral bankruptcy of the semicolonial and
semifeudal ruling system has gone so far that the reactionary state cannot
oppress and exploit the broad masses of the people without sharpening the
oppression and exploitation of the very personnel of the coercive apparatuses.
The crisis of the ruling system is daily worsening and is pressing the
decomposition of the state. The
subjective forces of the revolution are growing in strength in the present