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July 30, 2006

For several days last June and this month, the Internet, the Philippine print and broadcast media in the Philippines and abroad, and perhaps the 8 million Filipinos around the world, and those trying to survive in the Philippines under extremely difficult conditions, were abuzz with an extraordinary news. What was this news?

Senator Jamby Madrigal

The news was that Philippine Senator Maria Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal, a member of one of the oldest and richest families in the Philippines, flew to Utrecht in the Netherlands, to hobnob with Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, the top brains and pillars of the Maoist-“Communist” revolution lead by the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and other groups. (My apologies to Ka Roger Rosal, and the 7,500 NPA guerillas and their numberless supporters who are ready to die for their beliefs and who are likewise ready to make others die for the same beliefs and who are being hunted by the Filipino soldiers in the mountain fastnesses of the Philippines.)

Broadly, we can surmise that the agenda of the meeting, which was held in the Netherlands from June 26 to 27 according to some reports, was probably to stop the demonic killings now going on in the Philippines and to end the 38-year rebellion of these Filipino idealists, whom some say are “misguided” and already out of touch with international political, economic, and religious realities, and are listed as “terrorists” by the United States, the European Union, and of course the Philippine Government.

According to Reuters, the Maoist rebellion in the Philippines is the longest communist rebellion in Asia – and perhaps the world. More than 40,000 people have been killed as of June 2005, according to “Project Ploughshares”, a peace group based in Canada. Of course, more people have died since June last year and more will be dying this year. And if it will not cease, the funeral parlor owners and their capitalists will become richer and richer.

Who is Senator Jamby Madrigal? At the moment, Senator Madrigal, a member of the Philippine ruling class and its elite families, is not a friend of another sector of the Philippine ruling class, lead by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her old-rich husband, Mike Arroyo, and their handlers, perhaps a section of the Philippine military and their handlers and supporters all over the world. Hence, Senator Jamby Madrigal is supposed to be “opposing” President Arroyo and her group.

For those familiar with the dizzying and nauseating alliances and coalitions and struggle for power of Philippine politicians, reformers, revolutionaries, and crackpots, Senator Madrigal’s chat with the so-called leaders of the “communist” revolutionaries who are so far-removed from their foot soldiers who are being killed by their enemies in the Philippines, should be a welcome news. In the ensuing rhetorics, she was pilloried by those close to President Arroyo. And of course, she was defended by her barkada, Senators Franklin Drilon, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., and Rodolfo Biazon.

In the communiqué, Senator Madrigal agreed with Jose Maria Sison: “that the Arroyo administration was responsible for the urgent problems in the country; that there was a need to unite the Filipino people and solve the armed conflicts; that formal talks between the government and the NDF must resume; that the all-out-war policy of the administration was wrong; and that the issue of the terror tag on Sison and the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army, must be addressed by the communist group and the opposition.” Of course, only the simple-minded and the naïve will lay the blame on President Gloria Arroyo and her group, all the ails of Philippine society which have accumulated through the centuries. But this is beside the point.

What is important is that there is an increasing realization and clamor that the killings in the Philippines should stop. The tragedy is compounded when a great number of the Filipinos have to subsist on garbage to survive and they are disrespected in many parts of the world as “just Filipinos”. In large part, this misery of a once very proud people in the entire world is traceable to the never-ending killings in this supposedly only Christian country in Asia and the kind of political and government leaders they have.

The communiqué agreed to by Senator Madrigal on one hand, and the leaders of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Jomaist revolutionaries might be construed by militarist, ultra-rightist groups, and those who glory in killing people as “treasonous” on the part of Senator Madrigal. Even Rodel Rodis, a very popular lawyer and leader of the Filipinos in America, could not check his anxiety about the developments associated with Senator Jamby Madrigal and other “old rich” families in the Philippines who were reported as hobnobbing with “communist” revolutionaries. Perhaps, remembering the “class war” in the failed “communist” revolutions in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, and Cambodia, Atty. Rodis mused: “But in the game of Philippine politics, certain members of the Philippine elite are playing the red card in a very deadly game, where they may be the ones ultimately expelled, by the very players they supported.”

Atty. Rodis’ recollection of history cannot be faulted. Historian Jorge Santayana’s ghost should be very proud of him. However, that was then. This is now. Unless the “Maoist” revolutionaries lead by Jose Maria Sison have fossilized mindsets, I don’t think that humanity and the future generations of Filipinos will forgive them if they will provide an excuse to the unprincipled, brutal and merciless military to wipe out all those who cannot endure the pain of poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance, oppression, and a hopeless future like what Suharto and the Indonesian military did to the Partai Komunis Indonesia members in 1965 when a high estimate of 3 million Indonesians were killed by the Indonesian military, some being hacked by machetes by their former friends and neighbors, some being thrown to the emaciated and malnourished Indonesian crocodiles.

Massive political, economic, and social changes are being effected in Latin America starting with Uruguay when the deadly socialist urban guerillas, the Tupamaros, laid down their Kalashnikovs, Uzis, Fals, M16s, RPGs, and grenades to participate in the electoral process in Uruguay. Now their movement, the “Frente Amplio”, is in control of Uruguay which is considered the most politically stable political system in all of Latin America. In addition, it seems that the Uruguayan political innovation is making waves all over Latin America, especially in countries wracked by Marxist and Maoist revolutions before. The Latinos might still be waving their flags and crying “Socialismo o Muerte!” But this time, they are doing this without the guns and the killings. It is through the very democratic and not bloody process of organization, education, and elections.

The 90 million Filipinos and their descendants will be grateful to Senator Jamby Madrigal, the old rich in the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison and his fellow revolutionaries who still “consult” him (pun intended), other so-called progressive groups such as Akbayan, Bayan Muna, Laban ng Masa, the reformed members of the Philippine military, the religious groups in the Philippines and their links all over the world such as the Vatican, the Evangelicals, kind hearted philanthropists such as Angelina Jolie, Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet, Atty. Rodel Rodis and Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis of the world-famous National Federation of Filipino American Associations, Migrante International, Atikha, Inafi, Audax WWNetwork Corporation, OFW-MBC, Global Filipinos, Nanay Pilipinas, and the rest of the 8 million Filipinos in Diaspora if for once in the history of the Philippines, we can convert swords into ploughshares, guns and bullets into “bagoong” (shrimp paste) and “bilanghoy” (a root crop, also known as “kamoteng kahoy”, favorite of the peasants in the Philippines) to assuage the hunger of our malnourished people, instead of subsisting on garbage.

[*Originally published in the Filipino Insider, a monthly magazine supplement of The San Francisco Chronicle, one of the major periodicals in America. The author was a former faculty member of the University of the Philippines Department of Political Science. He can be reached at Cesar1185@aol.com.]

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