To fully comprehend the significance of the House coup mounted yesterday by Gloria Arroyo, it is important to take stock of the political context. In its July 21 editorial, Ang Bayan pointed out:Under Duterte’s reign, the ruling system’s political crisis has exacerbated. The fissures among the ranks of the ruling class have deepened because of his repeated attempts to establish a fascist dictatorship and consolidate state power.In the coming weeks and months, the contradictions between Duterte and the anti-Duterte united front are set to intensify. Factional strife among ranks of reactionary forces will surely worsen. And the people’s movement will undoubtedly strengthen and gain ground. These contradictions and struggles will further weaken Duterte’s already weak control over the state. While his power weakens, it is certain that his attacks against various classes, sectors and groups that are hindering his fascist ambition will escalate.
At the outset of his reign, Duterte, opportunist extraordinaire, sought to consolidate the widest possible political alliance. One of his key gambits was forging ties with Arroyo. Less than a month after Duterte took oath, the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court dismissed the plunder cases against Arroyo and had her released after four years of detention. To further secure her support, Duterte soon ran after Leila de Lima, who as Justice Secretary under the Aquino regime, prevented Arroyo from leaving the country, and ordered her arrest and detention to face plunder charges.
Arroyo has played a key role in the consolidation of the Duterte regime. Besides having her cronies support Duterte’s agenda in congress, the large Arroyo bloc in the Supreme Court has repeatedly voted to favor Duterte–on the legality of the Mindanao martial law, on the quo warranto case against Sereno, and others.Of course, in the process of supporting Duterte, Arroyo has succeeded in expanding her political power and influence. Arroyo’s hand extends to the very inner sanctum of Malacañang. Her henchmen, including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, have been appointed to key positions in the Duterte regime. Under Duterte, courts have been most lenient to them. Last May, Arroyo’s husband Mike was allowed to leave for abroad in what many believe was aimed at securing the loot they have stashed in offshore accounts.
Arroyo yesterday mounted a blitzkrieg coup to grab the leadership of the House of Representatives. She was fully supported by the Marcoses (Imee, Imelda and their loyalists, Floirendo et. al.). She gathered 184 votes or 67% of the 271 representatives in attendance. The supermajority in congress is no longer “super,” nor is it exclusively Duterte’s. Arroyo’s House coup was a consolidation of her power. While allied with Duterte, she remains her own power.
Under Arroyo’s baton, Duterte’s charter change scheme will probably gain more headway, perhaps more than under the shabby leadership of Duterte’s minion erstwhile Speaker Alvarez. But Duterte will have to do a little more political wheeling and dealing to succeed in advancing his tyrannical aims. Duterte spoke before congress yesterday a little bit uninspired, perhaps aware of the political war clouds ahead, with the threatening “you’re next” ringing in his ears.
The Duterte-Arroyo alliance, or more exactly, the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, is an uneasy one. It is a clear indication of the deepening political crisis and worsening state of the ruling system. The ruling regime now represents the starkest icons of fascism, corruption and puppetry. It further boosts the anti-Duterte united front.The need to unite against charter change, nationwide martial law, all-out political repression in the name of anti-terrorism and other Duterte schemes has become even more urgent.
With the rise of Arroyo in congress, the ruling Duterte regime becomes even more isolated from the Filipino people. Aware of the grave crimes of corruption, plunder, extrajudicial killings, political repression and rampant military and police abuses committed by the Marcos dictatorship, Arroyo and Duterte regimes, the broad masses of the Filipino people are now even more determined to carry out mass struggles and revolutionary resistance.
Under the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, worse liberalization policies will be further bulldozed to open the economy in order to attract more loans and investments, as ruling class politicians seek greater bureaucrat capitalist booty to share among themselves. The Filipino people are set to suffer worse socio-economic conditions as the reactionary regime seeks more loans, impose more taxes, provide incentives to big capitalists and further cut on social spending for the people.
The demand to end martial law in Mindanao and end the military siege against rural communities reverberates even more. The demand for wage increases and an immediate end to contractualization is uniting even more workers and rousing them to carry out ever more militant protests and strikes. The demand for genuine land reform is mobilizing ever greater number of peasants to resist land grabbing by big landlords and big capitalists.
The rise of the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance further incites the Filipino people to wage people’s democratic revolution to put an end to the class dictatorship of big landlords and big bourgeois compradors. It inspires more and more people to join the New People’s Army to wage armed struggle and build a truly democratic government that genuinely represents and serves the interests of the people.