Take advantage of the conflicts within the ruling classes

Editorial
Ang Bayan
December 21, 2011

The ruling system is currently being shaken by a political crisis wrought by a series of attacks and counter-attacks launched againt each other by rival reactionary cliques. The people and the revolutionary forces must take advantage of such disarray.

The latest maneuverings concern the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona by allies of Benigno Aquino III in Congress. Corona is a lackey of Gloria Arroyo who she appointed as Supreme Court chief justice just days before the end of her term as president. This was to ensure that she would have a defender within the highest court should she be prosecuted for her grave crimes against the people.

The people and the progressive parties in Congress supported Corona's impeachment because it was one of the necessary steps that had to be taken to do away with obstacles to Arroyo's indictment, trial and punishment. Aquino's allies had the same avowed objective in pushing for Corona's impeachment. Nonetheless, the people are aware that the Aquino ruling clique has other objectives as well in its efforts to oust Corona as Supreme Court chief justice.

Corona's ouster forms part of the landlord president's counter-punch to the Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution of the lands within Hacienda Luisita. More important, Aquino wants to bring the entire Supreme Court to its knees and ensure its acquiescence to his regime's actions in the future.

The conflicts between the Aquino and Arroyo cliques reflect the difficulty of maintaining peaceful accommodation between the two rival factions. The Arroyo and Aquino camps had arrived at a US-brokered arrangement even before the 2010 elections where the Arroyo camp would allow an orderly transition of power in exchange for Aquino's leniency with respect to Arroyo.

But it has become quite untenable for Aquino to keep his end of the bargain in the face of the people's continuing demand to attain justice for Arroyo's crimes while she was president. By filing charges against Arroyo and detaining her, Aquino has been able to keep up appearances about his seriousness in prosecuting the Arroyos.

Of Arroyo's many grave crimes, however, the Aquino regime chose to charge her for the relatively less serious crime of “sabotaging” the 2007 elections. It was a move calculated to make room for possible accommodations in the future between the two cliques. However, the Arroyo camp's retaliatory blow—the Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita—has gravely affected and piqued Aquino.

The Aquino clique's impeachment move against Corona has worsened the political crisis of the ruling system. Contrary to Aquino's desire to force Corona into resigning, the latter has declared his readiness to lock horns with Aquino and confront the charges that have been filed against him. He has begun recruiting allies, especially among judges and lawyers. In attacking Aquino, Corona hopes to win the support of people disenchanted with the ruling regime.

Some elements of the ruling Liberal Party have been booted out for defying Aquino's orders to impeach Corona with dispatch. The fallout may even affect other branches of government such as the Senate as Aquino wants assurance that the person at the helm of the Upper House will be completely loyal to him, as it is the Senate which will serve as an impeachment court to try Corona,.

These maneuvers and countermaneuvers by the rival cliques have deepened the fissures among the reactionaries—a positive development for, and a matter that should be taken advantage of by, the people's revolutionary movement.

To benefit from all these troubles wrought by Corona's impeachment on the ruling system, we must use united front tactics to form alliances in order to isolate the ruling Aquino clique and make Arroyo pay for her crimes against the people.

The people's democratic and progressive forces must persevere in launching the broad movement to indict and punish Arroyo. They must pursue the filing of cases against her for electoral fraud in the 2004 polls, violations of human rights and humanitarian law and grave cases of corruption and bribe-taking. We must seize all opportunities to reach out to various groups and personalities, including those supportive of the Aquino regime but are not necessarily its rabid apologists. There must be concerted effort to be vigilant against possible accommodations between Aquino and Arroyo in the future.

We must also take advantage of the growing disappointment with Aquino of people who are not necessarily pro-Arroyo but who have been repelled by the high-handed and brutal attacks against Corona. If Corona truly wants to win the people's support, he must distance himself from Arroyo and lead the Supreme Court in siding with the people's interests on so many cases and reverse its previous decisions.

The people must challenge the Supreme Court to abrogate policies and laws that are oppressive to the people such as the practice of labor-only contracting, budget cuts on social services, demolitions of urban poor communities, the Oil Deregulation Law, the Mining Act of 1995, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CATPER) and the Foreign Investments Incentives Act, among others,

In order for the people to effectively use united front tactics, they must strengthen their ranks and broaden their mass struggles for their basic interests.

They must not relent in struggling against CARPER and for genuine land reform. They must persevere in strugglung for patriotic economic policies that give premium to creating local employment, granting living wages and reducing the prices of petroleum products and other basic commodities. They must further strengthen and expand their struggles against budget cuts for health care, education and other social services and expose and oppose the regime's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme as a counterinsurgency tool and a bogus poverty alleviation program.

The people's revolutionary movement is sure to benefit from the political crisis of the ruling system. The deepening rifts among rival factions of the ruling class will definitely spill over to the AFP and PNP. Based on previous experience, disenchanted junior officers and the rank and file within the military and police will seek out the revolutionary forces.

The New People's Army must consciously plan for this eventuality and touch base with these officers and elements in order to be able to conduct political education among them and win them over to the side of revolution. Simultaneously, the NPA must launch more frequent and bigger tactical offensives to weaken the armed machinery of the state, defeat the campaign of suppression against the people, strengthen the people's army and advance to the next higher stage of people's war.