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whole-of-nation approach

“My Soldiers”, the Duterte regime’s backbone

in Countercurrent

Here is an initial list of ex-military and police officials in the civilian bureaucracy—from the Cabinet to the major attached agencies, and in government-owned corporations—proof that indeed Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has militarized the civilian bureaucracy.

Duterte’s penchant for favouring the military and police has nothing to do with the soldiers’ so-called obedience and efficiency, as he claimed. Terribly scared to get ousted, Duterte had to accord the armed forces with power, status, and resources to secure their loyalty. More importantly, the militarization of the bureaucracy is part of the regime’s counterinsurgency program, the whole-of-nation approach (WONA), a concept that has failed in the previous regimes but, which the Duterte regime is trying hard to bring back to life by posting ex-military and police officials in key government positions.

“To serve as an “efficient mechanism and structure” for implementing the WONA, the National Task Force (NTF) was created, headed by President Duterte as chair, with his national security adviser (Hermogenes Esperon Jr.) as vice-chair. NTF members are ranking officials of the following departments: Internal and Local Government, Justice, National Defense, Public Works, Budget, Finance, Agrarian Reform, Social Welfare, Education, Economic Development, Intelligence, TESDA, Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process; plus the presidential assistant for indigenous peoples concerns, NCIP chair, AFP chief, PNP chief, PCOO secretary and two private sector representatives.”

To date, there are seven department secretaries, six officials with Cabinet-level rank, 28 department undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, and 25 officials of attached agencies who were officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Also, notable in this list are the “recycled” presidential appointees who were transferred from one agency to another even as they were involved in scandals, mainly corruption cases. Pres. Duterte can’t seem to let go of them. Among his obvious favourites were Isidro Lapeña, Allen Capuyan, and Nicanor Faeldon—who currently does not hold any government position, not yet.

There are also a number of appointees who came from Davao or those assigned in Davao City while Duterte was mayor. And, there are the Gloria Arroyo men—seven AFP and police officers associated with Gloria Arroyo are also in the Duterte administration: Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Eduardo Año, Roy Cimatu, Allen Capuyan (all four remain highly influential and dominant in the Duterte regime), Rodolfo “Garic” J. Garcia, Roberto Lastimoso, and Reynaldo Berroya (all three are in a government-owned corporation).

Also included in this list, although unnumbered, are some of the names of previous appointees who resigned or were reassigned. The list could go over a hundred names more if those in the regional offices and positions lower than those in this list are included; and those who were earlier appointed but were replaced but information on their subsequent assignments is not available.

Department Secretaries (7)

1. Roy Cimatu, Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). A former Philippine Army general who became Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Gloria Arroyo. When he retired from the military, Arroyo appointed him as Special Envoy to the Middle East during the Iraq War. Cimatu is also head of the Task Force Covid-19 for Visayas.

2. Gringo Honasan, Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Retired Army officer who became senator, Honasan was appointed DICT chief, despite questions on his qualifications that failed to meet the requirements of the Law which created the Department.

· Eliseo Rio Jr., Undersecretary, OIC, DICT. Retired BGen Rio was Undersecretary for Operations of the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology and once headed the department from 2017 to 2019 as Officer-in-charge. He resigned in 2020 after questioning Honasan’s cash advance from confidential funds worth Php 300 million.

3. Eduardo Año, Interior and Local Government (DILG). A retired Philippine Army general who served as AFP Chief of Staff (2016 to 2017). Aside from the Philippine Military Academy, he also studied in the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School and in the Israel Counter Terrorism Center. He was appointed Martial Law Administrator in Mindanao during the Marawi siege. Año figured in in numerous cases of human rights violations, notably during the Arroyo regime.

4. Delfin Lorenzana, National Defense (DND). Former Army general and defense attaché to the United States, Lorenzana also served as commander of the Special Operations Command, and the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion in Malagos, Davao City. He was assigned to the Presidential Security Group as commander of the Light Armored Brigade for Presidents Cory Aquino, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Arroyo. His work included the laying down of foundation for the establishment of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU).

5. Rolando Bautista, Social Work and Development (DSWD). Immediately before his retirement, he led the Presidential Security Group, then the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army under the Duterte regime. He was overall ground commander of the Joint Task Force during the Marawi siege and was later promoted Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

6. Eduardo del Rosario, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD). A veteran of the Philippine Army, he was commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command and of the 2nd Infantry Division. He was also commander of Task Force Davao which revived Alsa Lumad, a counter-insurgency program in the 1990s that mobilised the Lumad indigenous communities against the New People’s Army.

7. John Rualo Castriciones. Castriciones is a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1994. As a cadet during Martial law, he was accused in the hazing death of a fellow cadet and sentenced to five years imprisonment by a military court.

Officials with Cabinet-level rank (6)

8. Hermogenes Esperon Jr, National Security Adviser. He was the Chief of Staff of the (2006-2008) and Commanding General of the Philippine Army (2005 to 2006) under the Arroyo regime. He was also Arroyo’s Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and later, head of the Presidential Management Staff.

9. Catalino Cuy, Chairman, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). He was acting interior secretary of the DILG. A retired police director, he was reappointed to the DDB when General Año assumed post at the DILG.

10. Danilo Lim, chairperson of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). He was Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. He was jailed from 2006 to 2010 for rebellion charges and attempted coup d’état. In 2007, he was again involved in a standoff at the Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati, where he called for Arroyo’s ouster. He was Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs under the Aquino III regime.

11. Ricardo Jalad, Executive Director, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). He served the Philippines Army for 32 years and retired with a rank of Brigadier General. He was commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command and of the 2nd Infantry Division.

12. Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Peace Adviser, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) was retired general who was AFP Chief-of-Staff under Duterte government. He led the AFP Western Mindanao Command during the Marawi siege. In 1989, he was among the officers involved in a failed coup attempt against President Corazon Aquino.

13. Isidro Lapeña, director general, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). A retired police general, Tesda is Lapena’s third government position under the Duterte regime. He was first appointed Director General of PDEA and was later transferred to the Bureau of Customs as commissioner. It was under his term that the controversial smuggling of P11 billion worth of shabu slipped past the Bureau. In 2019, Lapeña faced two counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, dereliction of duty and grave misconduct over the two incidents of shabu shipments. He was the Deputy Director for Administration of the PNP Special Action Force Command and Davao City Director of Police Office. This is Lapena’s third appointment under the Duterte regime. He was first assigned to PDEA and then as Customs commissioner.

Department Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries (28)

14.Dickson Hermoso, chief of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). He was army colonel of the 6th Infantry Division that fought against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). He was first appointed by Duterte as assistant secretary for peace and security affairs at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

15. Eduardo Gongona, National Director, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Undersecretary for Fisheries-Department of Agriculture. Gongona is a retired Commodore of the Philippine Coast Guard.

16. Rodolfo Cadiz Garcia, Undersecretary, DENR. The former Armed Forces vice chief of staff military general Garcia was a PMA classmate of present DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. He is both DENR’s Undersecretary for Attached agencies and chief of staff. He was undersecretary of the OPAPP and was part of the peace panel which negotiated with the MILF during the Arroyo regime.

17. Nestor Quinsay, Assistant Secretary, DILG. The former Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Director now oversees the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). Quinsay was also PNP’s Acting Director for Directorate for Intelligence and Director for Police Community Relations Group. Also in 2017, his wife Evelyn Quinsay was appointed member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

18. Ricardo David, Undersecrerary for Defense Policy, Department of National Defense (DND). He was Chief of staff of the Philippine Armed Forces under the Aquino III regime.

19. Cardozo Luna, Undersecretary, DND. A retired three-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the AFP. Cardozo Luna also served as the commander of two unified commands, Eastern Mindanao Command and Central Command. As chief of the Central Command he vowed to destroy the CPP-NPA to “inconsequential level through simultaneous in-depth operations”, among them through strengthening of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit battalions. Later, Luna was appointed Gloria Arroyo as Philippine Ambassador to Netherlands.

20. Reynaldo Mapagu, Undersectary for Civil, Veterans and retiree Affairs, DND. He was AFP vice chief of staff. Prior to this, Pres. Arroyo appointed Mapagu Army chief during her term. He was chief of the First Scout Ranger Regiment from 2006 to 2008 before he was assigned to lead the Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Davao and then the National Capital Region Command.

21. Raymundo Elefante, Undersecretary for Finance and Materiel, DND. Elefante was commander of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

22. Cesar Yano, Undersecretary for Defense Operations, DND. Retired Brig. Gen. Cesar B. Yano was in military service for 34 years. He was assistant chief of staff for civil military operations and spokesman of the 4th Infantry Division Mindanao. He was also chief of staff of the 7th Infantry Division and the Northern Luzon Command. He is the younger brother of Alexander Yano, Arroyo’s former AFP chief of staff who was later appointed ambassador to Brunei.

23. Daniel Casabar, Director, Government Arsenal, DND. He was commander of the Army’s elite units. Retired Maj. Gen. Daniel Casabar headed the Special Operations Command.

24. Arnel Duco, Undersecretary for special concerns (legislative matters), DND. He was AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. In 2016, BGen. Arnel M Duco was senior military aide to the defense secretary Lorenzana.

25. Ricardo Jalad, Undersecreatary, Administrator of Office of Civil Defense, Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)-DND. Retired BGen. Jalad served the Philippine Army for 32 years. He was Assistant Division Commander of the 5th ID-PA, among his other assignments. He also served as Brigade Commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Chief of the Unified Command Staff of the Southern Luzon Command, among others.

26. Josue S. Garveza Jr, Assistant Secretary for Financial Management, DND. He was commanding officer of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army during the Aquino III regime. He was later forced to retire under the attrition law.

27. Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III, Assistant Secretary for Assessments and International Affairs, DND. The Brigadier General was military adviser at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) when he presided over the court martial proceedings in the trial of four army officers in a botched Basilan operation that killed 19 soldiers.

28. Antonio Bautista, Assistant Secretary for Human Resource, DND. He was AFP deputy chief of staff for reservists and retirees affairs during the Arroyo regime.

29. Manuel Felino V. Ramos, Assistant Secretary for Installations and Self-Reliant Defense Posture, DND. He was a Colonel of the Philippine Army.

30. Angelito M. De Leon, Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs, DND. He was commander of the7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Fort Magsaysay. He was also AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (J3) and Chief of the AFP Command Center.

31. James A. Layug, Director at the Office of Assistant Secretary for Installations and Self-Reliant Defense Posture, DND. He was first appointed Director of Port Operations Service, AOCG and Chief of the Anti-Smuggling Unit of the Office of the Commissioner at the Bureau of Customs. He was a Lieutenant Senior Grade in the Philippine Navy AFP.

32.Jesus Rey Avilla, Assistant Secretary for Logistics and Acquisitions, DND. He was Deputy Inspector General of the AFP.

33. Ernesto Carolina, Undersecretary, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affair Office (PVAO)-DND. Lt. Gen. Carolina held, among others, the following posts in the AFP: Commander, 78th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (PA); Chief, AFP Liaison Office for Legislative Affairs; Chief of Staff, 4th Infantry Division, PA; Commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade, PA; Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, PA; Commander, Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM); Commander, Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), AFP in Mindanao; and The Deputy Chief of Staff, AFP.

34. Raul Z. Caballes, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO)-DND. MGen. Caballes was AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Communication, Electronics, and Information Systems (2005- 2007).

35. Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo, Alternate Chairperson of the Civil Aviation of the Philippines (CAAP) Board; Undersecretaty for Aviation & Airports, Department of Transporation (DOTR). He was Chief of Intelligence President Security Group (1988) and Deputy Chief Intelligence of the (1986) when he was also Presidential Escort to President Corazon C. Aquino to the USA.

36. Manuel S. Gonzales, Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns, DOTR. From 2013-2014, BGen. Gonzales was commander of the AFP Joint Task Force in the National Capital Region assigned to combat “terrorism” in Metro Manila.

37. Fidel Igmedio T. Cruz, Jr. Assistant Secretary for Railways, DOTR. BGen. Cruz served as Deputy Commander of the 355th Aviation Engineering Wind of the Philippine Air Force (PAF). In 2013, he led an all-PAF Philippine contingent to Liberia to assist in the “maintenance of law and order.

38. Edgar Galvante, Assistant Secretary, Chief of Land Transportation Office (LTO)-DOTR.
Galvante is a retired police director-general who was deputy chief for operations and director for the NCR Police Office. Galvante is a permanent member of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

39. Rene Glen Paje, Undersecretary, Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD). The retired major general led the First Scout Ranger Regiment during the Marawi siege. The current DSWD secretary Rolando Bautista was Paje’s Army commander.

40. Emmanuel Bautista, Undersecretary and Executive Director of the Security, Justice and Peace Cluster-Office of the President (OP). He was AFP chief of staff before his appointment as Undersecretary at the Office of the President. He headed the National Task Force on the Whole of Nation Initiative and was also the executive Director of the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

41. Arthur Tabaquero, Undersecretary, Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs, OP. He served as commander of the AFP East Mindanao Command. He was also commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Leyte and a short stint in the National Capital Region Command. Tabaquero is from PMA Class of 1978, the adopted class of Gloria Arroyo.

Officials of Attached Agencies (25)

42. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Commissioner, Bureau of Customs (BOC). The retired Army general was AFP Chief of Staff. He was also commander of the Task Force Davao. He was previously appointed administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) from April to October 2018. He is the third BOC commissioner under the Duterte regime. Previous BOC chief were former AFP officers Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña were involved in a drug smuggling controversy at the Bureau. After BOC, Faeldon was transferred to the Office of Civil Defense-DND and later to the Bureau of Corrections. Currently, he no longer holds any government post. Yet.

43. Raniel Ramiro, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence, (BOC). Former BGen Ramiro was already acting head of the Customs’ Intelligence Group before his formal appointment in 2019. He was AFP-Peace Process Office Chief who, in 2018, initiated the formation of the Peace and Development Forces (PDF) to members of the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, former rebels who surrendered and have long been part of the government’s paramilitary group.

44. Donato San Juan, Deputy Commissioner for Internal Administration Group (IAG) BOC. San Juan was the 57th superintendent of PMA and served in different command positions in the AFP.

45. Jessie Cardona, Director III, BOC. The former PNP senior superintendent was officer-in-charge of the Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Office. He was also part of the Anti-Terrorism Council Program Management Center as the new head of the Bureau accreditation office (AMO).

46. Gerald Bantag, Bureau of Corrections-Department of Justice (DOJ). Bantag was an enlisted man of the Philippine Marines Corps. He was the director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in MIMAROPA. He is the 3rd BuCor chief under the Duterte regime. Army official Nicanor Faeldon and PNP chief Ronald Bato de la Rosa previously held the post.

47. Jaime Morente, CEO VI, Commissioner, Bureau of Immigration-DOJ. A member of the PMA “Dimalupig” Class of 1981, Commissioner Morente handled various positions in the Philippine National Police and in the Philippine Constabulary. He was Duterte’s police chief in Davao City.

48. Allan Iral, Chief, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-DILG. Iral is a member of the Philippine National Police Academy Sandigan Class of 1994. Iral worked as Davao City Jail chief (2004-2006) and jail chief of Davao Region (2014-2015), the same period that Duterte was City mayor. He became BJMP’s director for operations, for personnel and human resource, and for logistics and was once head of the BJMP Central Visayas.

49. Gerardo Gambala, Director IV Transport Security Oversight and Compliance Service OTS-DOTR. A former Army captain Gambala was among the 20 Magdalo officers brought in to the Burueau of Customs when Faeldon was appointed chief. Gambala was deputy commissioner who was linked to the controversial P6.4-billion shabu smuggled from China. He, and Milo Maestrecampo, also an army official, were reappointed to DOTR when they resigned from the Bureau of Customs.

50. Milo Maestrecampo, Assistant Director, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-DOTR. The former military officer of the Magdalo group was reappointed to the DOTR despite allegations of corruption on the release of a P6.4-billion illegal drug shipment from China. He was Import Assessment Services (IAS) director at Bureau of Customs.

51. Cedrick Train, Security Director IV, Office for Transportation Security-DOTR. Appointed by Duterte in March 2019, Train was police regional director in General Santos City. Train is said to be close to Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

52.Robert Empedrad, Administrator, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)-DOTR. Vice Admiral Empedrad was flag officer in command of the Philippine Navy. He was also Chief of Staff of Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao; Director, Naval Operations Center; He was Chairman of Defense Acquisition System Assessment Team (DASAT), in charge of the updates on Navy Ships, including the controversial Frigate Acquisition Project. Empedrad replaced Ronald Joseph Mercado who was involved in the Frigate controversy.

53. Ricardo Banayat, Deputy Director General for Operation, CAAP-DOTR. He was Air Force brigadier general and former Commander of the PAF’s 1st Air Division.

54. Antonio Gardiola Jr. LTFB, member, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). A retired police chief superintendent, Gardiola was Bicol police regional director in 2017. In 2016, he headed both the PNP Highway Patrol Group and the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic. He is from PMA Class 1986.

55. Archimedes Viaje, Director IV, President, National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP)-DND. BGen Viaje was a commission officer in the Philippine Navy. He was part of the Corps of Professors and headed the Command Guidance and Counselling Office of the PMA and later as head of the Department of Social Sciences of the Academic Group. He served as chief of the Military Affairs Division and Chief of Staff of the President of the NDCP.

· Prior to Viaje’s appointment, another retired military officer Roberto Estioko was president of the NDCP. Estioko was AFP vice commander of the Philippine Navy.

· Former AFP-Civil Relations Service chief BGen. Rolando Jungco was previously listed as Executive Vice President of the NDCP although the position is now declared vacant.

56. Casiano Monilla, Assistant Secretary, Civil Defense Deputy Administrator for Operations, OCD-DND. Retired BGen Monilla was Assistant Division Commander, 10th ID-PA.

57. Henry Anthony M. Torres, Director Region 8, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-DND. Col. Torres was among the Oakwood mutineers who brought in to the Bureau of Customs in 2017 when Gerardo Gambala became Deputy Commission of BOC’s Management Information System and Technology Group.

58. Allen Capuyan, Executive Director, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-DSWD. Ret. Col. Capuyan was chief for operations at the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) under the Arroyo administration. This is Capuyan’s 4th post under the Duterte regime. He was first assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the Manila International Airport Authority. Implicated in the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling, he was reappointed undersecretary as Presidential Adviser on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns. In 2019, he was appointed executive director of the National Secretariat of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

59. Alex Monteagudo, Director General, National Intelligence Coordination Agency (NICA)-Office of the President (OP). Monteagudo was police director of the PNP. Among others, he was assigned as Provincial Director of Cotabato, PNP Regional 12 Director, and director of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management and later for Operations.

60. Rufino Lopez, Deputy Director General, National Security Council (NSC)-Office of the President (OP). Retired Rear Admiral Rufino Lopez was AFP inspector general. He was chair of the Ad Hoc Committee which was created to investigate a supposed coup against Gloria Arroyo on Feb. 24 and the stand-off at the Marine Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio two days later. Among those investigated were Brig.Gen Danilo Lim, chief of the First Scout Rangers Regiment, Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, commander of the Philippine Marines, Col. Ariel Querubin, head of the Marines in Lanao province.

61. Vicente M. Agdamag, Deputy Director General, NSC-OP. Retired Rear Admiral Agdamag was commander of the Naval Education and Training Command of the AFP. As director of the NSC, Agdamag is also a member of the NTF-ELCAC.

62. Damian Carlos, Deputy Director General, NSC-OP. Ret. Admiral Carlos was appointed by Gloria Arryo Coast Guard commandant in 2006. Immediately before this appointment he was Coast Guard deputy commandant for administration. His other previous assignments were Coast Guard district commander in Palawan and in the NCR. He also became commander of Coast Guard Operating Forces.

63. Bruce Concepcion, Special Envoy on Transnational Crime, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC)-OP. Lt. Colonel Bruce Concepcion became public information officer of the Philippine Air Force. He served the military for 26 years and was awarded, among others, The Outstanding Pilipino Soldier (TOPS) Award. Prior to his current position, he was PCTC chief consultant for the Visayas and Mindanao. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).

64. Allan Guisihan, Executive Director, PCTC-OP. In 2010, Guisihan was director of the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) who was under investigation for his alleged involvement in illegal mining activities in Iloilo when he was promoted officer-in-charge of the Region 6 Police Office. He became part of its directorial staff, the fourth highest position in PNP-Western Visayas.

65. Wilkins Villanueva, Director General, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Duterte appointed Villanueva in May 2020 to replace Aaron Aquino who was reassigned as president and CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp. (Ciac). Villanueva was among those who crafted the anti-drug programs of the PDEA and the PNP, including “Oplan Tokhang.” He headed PDEA’s Northern Mindanao office prior to this appointment. Villanueva is the third PDEA director general under the Duterte regime. The first two were Isidro Lapeña and Aaron Aquino. Aquino is now president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Clark International Airport Corp.

66. Gregorio Pimentel, Deputy Director General, PDEA. Pimentel was head of the Directorate for Intelligence of the PNP. He replaced Jesus Fajardo who joined former PDEA director general Isidro Lapeña at the Bureau of Customs in 2018. He was also head of the PNP Highway Patrol Group in the Davao region.

· Retired Major General Jesus Fajardo was chief of the 2nd Air Division of the Philippine Air Force. He is a member of the PMA Class 1978. From BOC, MGen. Fajardo was later transferred to TESDA as Region 3 Director when Lapeña was reassigned to TESDA.

Officers in Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (22)

67. Ferdinand Golez, Director, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). Retired Vice Admiral Golez has been with the BCDA since 2011. He was appointed by Gloria Arroyo Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy from 2008-2010. Golez was also commander of the Naval Education and Training Command based in Zambales. Golez is from PMA Class 1976, a batchmate of AFP Chief of Staff Alexander Yano and Army Chief Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado. He is the brother of Roilo Golez.

68. Glorioso Miranda, Director, BCDA. Lt. Gen. Miranda was commanding general of the Philippine Army. He served both as acting chief of staff and vice chief of staff of the AFP. He became chief of the Northern Luzon Command and the 7th Infantry Division-PA, among other commands.
69. Benjamin Defensor, Director, Clark Development Corporation (CDC). General Defensor was the 26th Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force and the 30th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

70. Aaron Aquino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC). Retired Police chief superintendent was reassigned by Duterte to CIAC on May 2020 leaving his post as PDEA director general. This is Aquino’s second post under the Duterte regime. Aquino was in the Presidential Security Group (PSG) during the presidency of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos. He was chief of the Police Regional 3 Office. He was part of “Oplan Double Barrel”—Duterte’s so-called war on drugs.

71. Eduardo Davalan, Director, John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC). Retired BGen. Davalan was regiment commander of the First Scout Ranger Regiment-Philippine Army. Among his previous military assignments were: 7th and 10th ID-PA; Commander in Northern Luzon, Scout Ranger Training School; Security Officer Chief JUSMAG; Head Department of Ground Warfare at the Philippine Military Academy.

72. Miguel dela Cruz Abaya, Director, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Abaya was Regional Commander of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP). He represents the military and police institutions in the DBP Board. DBP provides finance facilities for the AFP-PNP modernization programs.

73. Alan Luga, Trustee, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Lt. Gen. Luga was Vice Chief of Staff of the AFP. He served as Commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command. He previously headed the 802nd and 1001st Infantry Brigade and the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. He was a member of the GRP Peace Panel for the GRP-MILF Peace Talks as the Chairman of the ADHOC Joint Action Group, OPAPP. Currently, he also heads the AFP General Insurance Corporation.

74. Reynaldo Berroya, Administrator, Light Rail Transit Administration (LRTA). Retired police general Berroya was appointed by Gloria Arroyo PNP intelligence chief and later regional director of the Central Luzon police then as director of the PNP Civil Security Group based in Camp Crame. He was a friend of then Vice President Joseph Estrada who brought Berroya into the anti-kidnapping group headed by Estrada. Berroyo was found guilty and sentenced to jail in 1995 for his involvement in the May 11, 1993 kidnapping of Taiwanese national Jack Chou.

· Former general Danilo Lim also sits as Board Member of LRTA in his capacity as chairperson of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

75. Rodolfo “Garic” Jasminez Garcia, General Manager, MRT3 DOTR. Garcia, a retired police general, was chief of PNP Intelligence Group during the presidency of Fidel Ramos. Pres. Arroyo appointed him chief of PNP Region 12 and later as MRT Director for Operations, the same time Arroyo appointed Reynaldo Berroya general manager of MRT 3. Garcia and Berroya were classmates at the PMA.

76. Ricardo Visaya, Administrator, National Irrigation Administration (NIA). He was AFP chief of staff. He was assistant division commander of 6th Infantry Division and former commander of the 4th Infantry Division before he headed the Southern Luzon Command.

77. Abraham Bagasin, Senior Deputy Administrator, NIA. BGen. Bagasin was AFP chief of staff. He became commander of the 11th Infantry Battalion in Negros Island and of the First Scout Ranger Regiment. Prior to his appointment to NIA, Duterte appointed him director of the John Hay Management Corporation.

78. Romeo Gan, Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance Sector (NIA). MGen. Gan was Commander of the 2ID “Jungle Fighter” Division of the Philippine Army. He became Assistant Division Commander of the 6th ID based in Maguindanao before he was appointed civil relations chief. Generals Gan, Visaya, and Bagasin belong to the same PMA class 1983.

79. Anselmo Simeon Pinili, Chairperson, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Retired police general Anselmo Pinili replaced former PCSO Chair Jose Jorge Corpuz who resigned for “health reasons” in 2018. Pinili was Special Envoy on Transnational Crime until 2018; and Deputy Regional Director for Administration at the Police Region 11 office. Pinili batted for a localized “peace talks” between the government and the revolutionary forces in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley. In May 2019, graft complaints were filed at the Ombudsman against Pinili and other PCSO officials.

· Jose Jorge Corpuz, a retired chief superintendent was appointed in 2017 chair of the PCSO. He was the director for Integrated Police Operations for Southern Luzon. He resigned in 2018.
80. Royina Garma, Vice Chairperson and General Manager, PCSO. Garma was Cebu City police chief who was appointed by Duterte in 2019 to replace ex-Marine general Alexander Balutan. Garma, prior to her appointment as Cebu City police chief, was administrative officer and then head of the Davao City’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk. She was also chief of Sasa and Sta. Ana police precincts in Davao City.

· Gen. Balutan was appointed in PCSO in 2016 but he was dismissed because of overspending for the PCSO’s Christmas party and for favoring a certain company for small town lottery operations.

81. Roberto Lastimoso, Chairperson, Philippine National Railways (PNR). Lastimoso was already in various government agencies after his stint as PNP director general. He was general manager of MRT 3 and chief of Land Transportation Office during the Arroyo regime. He was also Vice-Chairman of GRP peace panel with MNLF, Senior Police Assistant of DILG.

82. Michael Mellijor Tulen, Director, PNR. Appointed in November 2016, retired Police Superintendent Tulen is from Tagum City. He headed the Investigation Detective Management Section (IDMS) of the Provincial Police Office in Davao del Norte.

83. Marlene Romero Padua, Director, Health Care Providers Sector Representative, PhilHealth. Retired BGen. Padua served as chief nurse of the 4th Infantry Division-PA, Philippine Navy, and the AFP. Aside from sitting in the Philhealth Board of Directors, she is also currently Chair of the PNP Health Service Advisory Council, PNP Health Service PATROL Plan, Dean of College of Nursing of the Arellano University-Pasig.

· Dante A. Gierran was recently appointed PhilHealth President and CEO after retired Army general Ricardo Morales resigned “for health reasons” amid a string of corruption charges rocked Philhealth. Gierran, technically do not belong the “ex-military and police officials category” as he was Director of the NBI, an attached agency of the Justice Department. He was also acting Region XI director of the NBI in Davao City.

· Ricardo Morales, a retired Army general, was appointed by Duterte in 2019 President and CEO of PhilHealth, a few days after he was placed as member of the MWSS board of trustee. Morales was aide de camp of former first lady Imelda Marcos but at the same time a member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), who served as the rebel soldiers’ informant in Malacanang. In the succeeding years, he became executive officer at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of Plans and then director of the Army Modernization and Strategic Studies Office.

84. Reuben Lista, President and Chief Executive Officer, Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC). Retired Admiral Lista was Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). He held various positions in the Philippine Navy, AFP, and the Philippine Coast Guard. He was commander of Marine Environmental Protection Command, of the 1st Coast Guard District, and the 8th Coast Guard District (Davao), among others. He was also part of the Presidential Security Command (PSC), National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA) and the Office of the President (OP).

85. Romeo de Vera Poquiz, Director, PNOC. A retired Major General, Poquiz was Commander of the 2nd Air Division, Air Force in the Visayas; Air Force Inspector General; Deputy Commander, 1st Air Division; and Wing Commander, 710th Special Operations Wing, among others. Prior to his appointment to the PNOC, he was director of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, and the Bonifacio Transport Corporation.

86. Adolf Borje, Director, PNOC. Retired Rear Admiral Borje was Commander of Naval Forces South. He became chief of Naval staff and chief of Naval Operations of the Philippine Navy. After retirement he was consultant of Davao City for Public Safety and Welfare. He was also security consultant to various companies such as Apex Mining Corporation, Dole/Stanfilco, Sumifru Philippines Corporation, and Banana Growers and Exporters Association, all based in Davao.

· Current Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was appointed by Duterte in January 2018 to the PNOC Board of Directors. He was deputy chief for operations of the PNP when he retired. He was chief PNP in the Cordillera region and member of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM). He was head of the Special Operations Battalion of the Special Action Force. He was also assigned to the PDEA, CIDC and he chaired the PNP Board of Inquiry on the Mamasapano botched military operation.

87. Rozzano Dosado Briguez, President and Chief Executive Officer, PNOC-Exploration Corporation. Retired Lt. Gen. Briguez was Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. He was also commander of the AFP Western Command. Other positions he held were: commander of Tactical Operations Group 11 of the Tactical Operations Command in Davao, Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Operations, A-3, 250th Presidential Airlift Wing (Deputy Wing Commander).

88. Oscar Rabena, Director, PNOC-Exploration Corporation. He was Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. Prior to his designation as Air Force Chief, he was Chief Strategic Planner of the AFP as Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs and Philippine Air Force Inspector General. He became Special Assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs and Commander of 18 Assault Squadron.

Diplomatic Mission (1)

89. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan Jr, Ambassador to Myanmar-DFA. Air Force colonel Kapunan was one of the founders of Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) who was implicated in the murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia and companion Leonor Alay-ay.

In between Duterte’s late night show, who’s on the stage?

in Countercurrent

A series of tragicomedy—and deadly—policies and actions by the Duterte regime have plagued the country and the Filipino people alongside the Corona virus pandemic. On the surface, the regime’s response to the pandemic looked absurd and obviously plucked out from an alternate reality. People call it mema—me-magawa or me-masabi (a popular slang term meaning to look like one is doing or saying something meaningful or relevant). But the mema is actually a consequence of the government’s lack of direction and plan on how to deal with the pandemic and its impact on the country’s already neglected health system and a failing economy. Apparently, the Philippines has become Southeast Asia’s Covid-19 hotspot while the economy has now plunged into recession, the worst in eight decades. Both demonstrate how the regime has gone to rack and ruin. More than six months into the lockdown, the people are more convinced that the criminally negligent regime is deadlier than the COVID-19.

At the onset, health measures such as mass testing, contact tracing, isolation and treatment, and the overall strengthening of the healthcare system (weighed down by the yearly budget cuts even before the pandemic) were sidelined in the battle against COVID-19. With former generals Delfin Lorenzana, Eduardo Año, and Carlito Galvez calling the shots, military and police deployment, lockdown and quarantine, and orders to arrest, jail, and kill the “quarantine violators” were top priority. The measures were largely punitive rather than facilitative, especially in delivering the much-needed services and assistance to the homeless and jobless.

The fascist measures taken by the regime reflect the military’s dominance in the Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 (IATF Covid-19); and the absence of health experts and scientists. Since Day 1 the regime has stubbornly stuck to a failed and irrelevant militarist approach despite the continuous rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, slow recovery rate, and the many deaths among health practitioners and those who were infected by the virus. The people, sick with the mishandling of the pandemic embraced and popularized the slogan/hashtag #SolusyongMedikalHindiMilitar. Recently, the slogan has ceased to be just a social media hashtag as calls for the resignation of health secretary Duque and the revamp of the military-dominated task force mounted.

The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19: A militarized response to the pandemic

The actual operations of the IATF Covid-19 follows the command operation of a military organization with the big three generals—Delfin Lorenzana, Eduardo Año and Carlito Galvez—at the top. National defense chief Lorenzana heads the IATF Covid-19 command center, which oversees the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) of the “Bayanihan We Heal as One” Law; while DILG secretary Año sits as vice-chairperson. Third in command is presidential peace adviser Galvez Jr, the “chief implementer” of the NAP. He heads the National Incident Command (NIC) for its daily operations. Later, when Covid-19 cases rose to dangerous level in Cebu City, Duterte chose former AFP chief of staff and environment secretary Roy Cimatu as deputy chief implementer for the Visayas. Cimatu immediately deployed soldiers and tanks to Cebu, a move that was heavily ridiculed by the people.

The IATF dished out policies, oftentimes problematic and in conflict with those in the local government units and the health sector and other frontline workers, and to the detriment of the working class.

How the IATF Covid-19 works with the existing Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (a body created during the term of Pres. Aquino III), the several Czars appointed for quick fix, and the several other task groups is a tangled web. It has neither a beginning nor an end. What is obvious from the public’s view is that the retired generals and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are obviously running the show. DOH’s Duque who was visible in the first few weeks of the pandemic slowly faded from the scene only to reappear later when public demanded for a clear health solution to the pandemic rather than a militarist one. This however did not pacify the people as Duque is largely perceived as corrupt and equally inefficient in handling the pandemic.

Expectedly, the embattled regime shielded its militarist approach and criminal negligence by red-tagging its critics and propagating the pasaway (stubborn, disobedient) narrative against the people, especially the poor. Propped up by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), thousands of trolls, and aided by a number of reporters in the corporate media, the regime blamed anyone and everyone in an effort to get away from its accountability. Only a month after the lockdown, the PNP recorded in April 2020 some 93,000 people accosted for “quarantine violations” while about 24,000 were arrested and slapped with charges. They are mostly workers and urban poor dwellers who were forced to earn a living in the absence, or lack, of government assistance.

In an interview, Prof. Jose Maria Sison aptly described the IATF Covid-19 a “coordinate of the NTF-ELCAC” (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) as both task forces are controlled by the same ex-military generals. The IATF Covid-19, Prof. Sison said is, “practically (NTF-ELCAC’s) replication.”

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC): A militarized response to social injustice and poverty

Joining Lorenzana, Año, and Galvez at the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is national security adviser Hermones Esperon, also a retired general. Esperon is the president’s vice-chair in this task force of 20 cabinet members and two unnamed sectoral representatives.

Created through Executive Order no. 70 in 2018, the NTF-ELCAC embodies Duterte’s rehashed version of the “whole-of-nation” approach started by the Noynoy Aquino regime. It aims to mobilize the whole civilian bureaucracy to end the more than 50 year-old revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP). Essentially, the NTF-ELCAC has militarised the government and establish a fascist state. Lorenzana, Año, Galvez, and Esperon are among the more than 80 ex-military officers and men who dominate the civilian bureaucracy of the Duterte regime. According to Prof. Sison, the NTF-ELCAC fully created Duterte’s military junta.

The NTF-ELCAC, with the regime’s disinformation/misinformation arm and fake news mill, the PCOO and regional headquarters of the AFP and PNP have been notorious in using public funds to spread lies in the country and in the international community. These are specifically directed against the revolutionary movement, the open and legal people’s organizations, leaders of people’s organizations, human rights institutions, and the regime’s critics. Although oftentimes ridiculous and beyond belief, red tagging has already become a death sentence to many activists. During the lockdown, at least five known leaders—including NDFP Peace consultant Randy Echanis and human rights activist Zara Alvares—and hundreds of activists who were red tagged, vilified as terrorists were murdered.

The NTF is also engaged in a big-time racket through fake surrender of “rebels”—most often civilians who were lured or coerced and later presented as rebel surrenderers. Each “surrenderer” is supposedly given at least Php 65,000 cash assistance. In 2018, at least Php 520 million up to Php 715 million were supposedly spent by the government for this program, mostly ending up in the pockets of military officers and their minions since there has never been many real surrenderees.

Dubbed as the generals’ pork, the 2021 NTF-ELCAC proposed budget of Php 16.44 billion through National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr is almost 3000 percent bigger from the 2020 budget. Año justified the budget saying the fund will be used for the construction of farm-to-market roads, barangay health centers, school buildings, obviously a duplication of the functions and budget of existing agencies. The proposed Php 16.44 billion budget excludes the budget in support of the anti-communist campaign spread in various government agencies e.g., the AFP and PNP. The NTF-ELCAC’s budget is three times higher than the budget allocation to combat Covid-19 like purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 interventions.

Through the IATF-Covid-19, the NTF-ELCAC “has gained more power and resources as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.” Both task forces are used by Duterte “to undertake a de facto martial law regime in the name of fighting the corona virus and to prepare the way for the formal declaration of martial law and the full imposition of a Marcos-type fascist dictatorship.”

While the country was in lockdown, helicopters were used to drop not relief goods but “counterinsurgency” flyers on the remote villages of Sagada and Besao in Mountain Province and in Surigao in Mindanao. Ang Bayan, the official publication of the CPP reported “extensive combat operations” and 14 indiscriminate bombing, strafing, and artillery shelling incidents in Lumad villages in the borders of Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, and Davao del Norte from March 24 to April 1. Further, Ang Bayan recorded military attacks in at least 625 barangays of 247 towns in 54 provinces while the country was battling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The highest number of cases of human rights violations was recorded in 149 barangays in Southern Tagalog, 106 in Eastern Visayas, and 101 in Bicol. Meanwhile, 26 incidents of aerial surveillance were also recorded.

The regime’s intense ‘counterinsurgency’ operations happened at the time when CPP-NPA-NDFP’s unilateral ceasefire was in effect from March 26 to April 15. The CPP ceasefire was extended to April 30 when Pres. Duterte lengthened the lockdown; but, the military operations continued. The CPP declaration of a ceasefire was a response to the call of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire during the pandemic.

Simultaneously, in urban and rural centers, humanitarian missions and community kitchens were red-tagged, blocked, and prevented from delivering relief goods to many communities neglected by the government. Worse, those who participated, including a former house representative of the Anakpawis partylist, were arrested, jailed, and charged with made-up charges.

The whole bureaucracy has enabled the NTF-ELCAC to pursue its nefarious activities, aided by the majority of the members of the legislative and judiciary branches of government, which have become Malacanang’s rubberstamps since the beginning of his term. They have enabled the junta to gain traction by providing legal shield to its criminal acts against the people and the revolutionary movement.

It came as no surprise that just as the people fought hard for their lives, livelihood, and their rights amid the regime’s messed up response to Covid-19, measures to suppress further the shrinking “democratic” space such as the ABS-CBN shutdown and the approval of the Terror Law took effect.

The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) of Duterte’s terror law: State terrorism against the fight for freedom and democracy

Dubbed as the generals’ pet bill, the terror law was approved hastily by the Lower House and signed into law by the president on July 3, ahead of any concrete plan to protect the people from the impact of the pandemic.

In a statement the CPP said Duterte’s Terror Law “tears away whatever is left of the ruling state’s trappings of democracy. With a rubberstamp Congress, a compliant Supreme Court, a puppet Comelec/Smartmatic, and now with extraordinary power, Duterte has now placed the entire reactionary government under his virtually unquestioned authority and limitless power.”

To date, there are now almost 40 petitions filed at the Supreme Court against Duterte’s terror law representing the views and arguments of various groups and sectors basically because Duterte’s terror law violates even its own reactionary Constitution. One of the extremely treacherous provisions of the terror law is the creation of an Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), tasked determine who are terrorists and who are not. Dangerously, the ATC it has the powers of both the executive and the judiciary that can issue orders of surveillance, arrest, and detention.

Aside from determining who the “terrorists” are, authorize state forces to arrest people without warrants of arrest, detain without charges for up to 24 days, these presidential appointees act as the sole arbiter under the ATA. The immense power and broad function of the ATC obviously poses risk to people’s rights.

Prof. Sison described the ATC as a “compact board of inquisition and state terrorism.”

The law defined the ATC’s composition as follows: the president’s executive secretary, national security adviser, department secretaries of defense, interior and local government, justice, finance, information and communications technology, foreign affairs, and the executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) secretariat. The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) acts as the council’s secretariat.

Concretely, under the Duterte regime, those in the ATC are: ES Salvador Medialdea (Chairperson), security adviser Esperon (Vice Chairperson), and heads of departments Lorenzana (defense), Año (local government) Medardo Guevarra (justice), Carlos Dominguez (finance), Gregorio Honasan (information and communications technology), Teddy Locsin (foreign affairs), and Mel Georgie Racela (AMLC).

Again, the same anti-communist fascist generals who dominate the NTF Covid-19 and the NTF-ELCAC are in the ATC, namely Esperon, Lorenzana, and Año,

As soon as the president signed the bill into a law, Esperon fired the signal shot by saying they’re making a list of “terrorist” that would, expectedly, include the open, legal, and unarmed people’s organizations and progressive groups constantly tagged by the regime as front organizations of the CPP and supporters of the NPA. After the signal fire, Esperon immediately sniped at the critics of the terror law saying they must be supporters of “terrorists”.

Pres. Duterte often referred to the military and the police as “my soldiers” and the “backbone of (my) administration”. Under the Duterte regime, it has not only become the norm to rely on the military for civilian functions but also to mollycoddle the officers, active or retired, and use them to threaten the people and his critics of a military junta.

A military junta has been among Duterte’s options to remain in power beyond his term in 2022—aside from ensuring reliable successor preferably from his own family. “The current political value for Duterte in having a military junta in prospect is to flatter the military and whet its loyalty to him and at the same time threaten the opposition and the people with the prospect of military junta ruling the country in case of his death or total disability at any time or the failure of his dynastic successor to take over his position,” said Prof. Sison.

The dominance of the military in the Duterte regime means an escalation of its offensives against the revolutionary movement led by the CPP, the NPA, and the NDFP and all the democratic forces in the society even as he face the wrath of the Filipino people and widespread condemnation even in the international community. At the end of the day, he will face the people who will hold him accountable for all his crimes against humanity, for treason, murder, and plunder. ###

FAILING OPLANS: from Marcos to Duterte

in Editorial

Since 1981, when the Marcos dictatorship initiated Operational Plan (Oplan) Katatagan purportedly “to defend the state” (the besieged fascist regime) from the fast-growing New People’s Army (NPA), each succeeding administration has followed suit. This is understandable, since the planner-implementor of every Oplan has been the same military establishment habituated to martial-rule repressive action.The Oplans have had varying names. Yet all have been aimed at deterring the growth of or strategically defeating the NPA, to preserve the existing rotten ruling system.These were: Corazon C. Aquino’s Oplan Mamamayan and Oplan Lambat-Bitag I and II; Fidel Ramos’ Lambat-Bitag III and IV, and Oplans Makabayan and Balangay (which transitted into Joseph Estrada’s truncated presidency); Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II; Benigno Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan; and Rodrigo Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Kapanatagan.While each succeeding administration adopted its predecessor’s operational concepts, it added new ones. But all such operational concepts were, invariably, copied from the counterinsurgency guide of the US Army. Although these may have worked for some time in America’s wars of aggression and intervention in different parts of the world, over the long run they have failed to achieve their prime objective: decisive military victory.Instead, these American wars—practically wars against the peoples of the countries they invaded, starting with the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century—have left behind countless deaths mostly of civilians, including children; pervasive human rights violations; displacements en masse of the population; and massive destruction of socio-economic resources requiring decades to recover.Similarly, albeit in smaller scale, these have been the dire impacts of the successive counterinsurgency Oplans on our people—since Marcos’ time to the present—in the undefined arenas of war across the archipelago, mostly in the countrysides and hinterlands.The current Oplan Kapanatagan started as Oplan Kapayapaan in January 2017. The latter was also dubbed as the AFP Development Support and Security Plan 2017-2022, which the Armed Forces off the Philippines (AFP) described as an advance from Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan. It adopted the latter’s “whole-of-nation” or “people-centered” approach. Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP bragged, resulted in getting 71 of the 76 (out of 86) provinces deemed to be “insurgency affected” declared as “insurgency free” and “peaceful and ready for further development.”The change to Kapanatagan stemmed from the AFP’s assessment that Oplan Kapayapaan was failing to achieve its targeted goal to defeat the NPA midway of Duterte’s six-year term of office.When first announced by AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal before the May 2019 midterm elections, it was billed as the AFP-PNP Joint Campaign Plan “Kapanatagan” 2018-2022. Madrigal described it as a “medium-term broad plan that shall guide the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) in providing guidelines and delineation of authority while performing their mandated tasks to promote peace, ensure security, and support the overall development initiatives of the government towards inclusive growth.” It is anchored, he added, on the national strategic guidance defined in the National Vision, National Security Policy, Philippine Development Plan, National Peace and Development Agenda, and the 2018 Department of National Defence (DND) Guidance and Policy Thrusts.“The respective strategic thrusts of the AFP and PNP were thus harmonized in this Joint Campaign Plan “Kapanatagan” 2018-2022,” Madrigal said. He called it “a dynamic process to establish greater inter-operability in our continuing operations to address security concerns within our respective areas of concern, including all other productive endeavors wherein we join hands in support of national government initiatives as envisioned by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”Specifically, Madrigal cited two “salient features” of Campaign Plan Kapanatagan: 1) The PNP shall support the AFP in combat operations involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security; and 2) The PNP shall take the lead role in law-enforcement operations against criminal syndicates and private armed groups, with the active support of the AFP.”It was in the Cordillera region where the AFP and PNP first “rolled out” Oplan Kapanatagan, after the May midterm elections. Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat then said: “Because of the effort of the AFP and PNP in preventing violence and any actions of the local terrorist groups in the Cordillera region, we assure that the AFP and PNP will continue to work together through Joint Kapanatagan Cordillera.”He emphasized that the AFP-PNP would carry out “joint actions and plans to ensure a more collaborative effort to address the peace and security concerns, especially in those geographic isolated areas” (the guerrilla zones) in Cordillera. He expressed hope that the local government units and other “partner agencies” would collaborate to ensure implementation of Executive Order 70 and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) it created, headed by Duterte.Gen. Salamat disclosed that at a “national convergence” meeting in Malacañang, all those working under NTF-ELCAC had put all efforts “to come up with a cluster of responses” on the different issues, including “issues that have been exploited by the local terrorist groups” so that the government can respond to them.And how has the government responded through NTF-ELCAC and Oplan Kapanatagan?Recently, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) issued a primer on this two-in-one counterinsurgency plan, titled “Disturbance and Plunder by the State Against the People.” Among others, it points out the following:R(egional)TF-ELCAC Cordillera was formed in July 2019, followed by P(rovincial)TF-ELCAC Mt. Province in September. In the last three months of the year municipal-and barangay-level TFs are targeted to be formed.In September, Nolcom launched military operations in various parts of the Cordillera and Ilocos regions, side-by-side with these joint campaigns by the AFP and PNP: disinfomation, surveillance, psychological war (disseminating false information that the NPA had planted land mines in the mountain areas of Bauko, Tadian, and Sagada towns in Mt. Province); forcible entry into civilian homes purportedly to “collect” firearms kept for the NPA in the communities of Besao town; threat and pressure used on residents summoned to pulong masa to sign up on a memorandum of agreement with the AFP-PNP and a declaration of the CPP-NPA as “persona non grata”; holding seminars and symposia on Duterte’s “war on drugs”; and delivery of “services”, “relief and rehabilitation”, among others.The AFP-PNP also set up detachments within three communities of Besao and one in Sagada, in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). (In the National Capital Region, through Implan/Oplan Kalasag, the NCR version of Oplan Katatagan, the AFP-PNP tandem has also set up detachments in some communities in Caloocan City. Uniformed armed teams engage in red-tagging, harassment, intimidation, while others offer “livelihood programs” to identified leaders and members of progressive organizations).CPDF also says the implementation of Oplan Katatagan and NTF-ELCAC in the region aims to facilitate the entry of energy and mining projects by foreign-local joint ventures that threaten the ecology, and violate the Cordillera people’s right to their ancestral lands. It named the following: Bimaka Renewable Energy Devt. Corp., Hydroelectric Dev’t Corp., Chico River Pump Irrigation Project by China’s CAMC Engineering, Aragorn Power Energy Corp., and Cordillera Exploration Co. Inc.-Nickel Asia of Japan.In sum, CPDF denounces the two-in-one campaign as designed to “pacify and press the people to obey the dictates of the reactionary state.” It calls on the Cordillera people to assert their rights, oppose the campaign through various means, and expose the true intent of the campaign: to crush the just struggle of the oppressed masses.It’s useful to note that, in 1981 the Marcos dictatorship already employed thru Oplan Katatagan the full force of the AFP, the police and paramilitary forces, its “development agencies”, and some civilian organizations. Duterte’s Oplan Kapanatagan and NTF-ELCAC—backed up by extended martial law in Mindanao and state of national emergency in other areas of the country—can be correctly described as an “Enhanced Oplan Katatagan.” Note further: the Oplan failed—in 1986 the people ousted Marcos.#FightTyranny
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DUTERTE REGIME: A propaganda war with dire consequences

in Countercurrent
by Erika Hernandez

Neophyte Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, the controversial Philippine National Police chief of the Duterte government, recently led a public inquiry in the Senate and instantly spurred controversy and criticisms. He attempted to link progressive youth organizations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

He presented two witnesses who claimed they were “students by day and NPA by night”—a giveaway phrase as to where it came from: the military. That he sought to turn a public inquiry, purportedly in aid of legislation, into a witch hunt immediately became obvious.

The frontman in President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” also presented parents of youth activists, who apparently had been goaded to vilify leaders of Anakbayan and Kabataan Partylist as “kidnappers who brainwash their members.” Bato’s witch hunt came with memes on social media showing NPA martyrs from the youth sector and victims of state-perpetrated enforced disappearances with a theme, “Sayang ang buhay ng kabataan (Youth lives just wasted).”

Military officers, who had been invited as resource persons, called for a review of an agreement between a youth leader and then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, prohibiting the presence of state security forces in the universities and colleges. They gave lame excuses, such as to prevent “front organizations” from recruiting students to join the NPA; avert the proliferation of drugs in schools; and give the military an equal opportunity to explain government programs.

Following the Senate inquiry, members of the PNP attempted to conduct “mandatory” drug testing on students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Courageous PUP scholars who knew their rights valiantly resisted, driving away the cops from the university premises.

Bato couldn’t wait to use the Senate as platform for pushing the propaganda line against the CPP-NPA of the Duterte regime in its bid to defeat the revolutionary movement before the end of its term.

By striving to directly link the progressive youth organizations with the CPP-NPA and the armed struggle against the reactionary state, the fascist regime aims to justify its red-tagging, harassment, abductions, and killings of youth leaders and activists. The regime blurs—if not totally removes—the distinction between the armed revolutionary movement and the legal, above-ground democratic mass movement fighting for the people’s legitimate demands. It regards the open democratic mass movement as the propaganda component of the armed revolutionary movement.

Thus in the following weeks, the Duterte regime’s red-tagging spree, branding almost all legal organizations as “fronts” of the CPP-NPA, was raised a notch higher. Duterte’s rabid pro-US defense chief urged the illegalization of these organizations by reviving the Anti-Subversion Act of 1957 (the cold war-era legislation that illegalized the CPP; it was repealed under the Ramos government in 1992 as it entered into peace negotiations with the NDFP).

Myth-making through red tags and incessant lies

Red tagging and vilification of people’s organizations is a key facet of the “strategic communication” thrust under the “whole of nation approach (WNA)” of the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. Under this overarching WNA concept—applied unsuccessfully by the US in its unending wars of intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 and 2002—the regime seeks to “create a movement of and crusade against communist ideology starting with the youth.” It also aims to “assess and conduct counter measures on the current tri-media and social media being infiltrated and targeted by the “CNN [CPP-NPA-NDFP)” through inter-agency collaboration to counter and contain the spread of extremism and revolution.”

What the regime is trying to portray is a supposed state inter-agency collaboration with civil society collaboration against the Left revolutionary movement. While Bato exploits the Senate as platform, Congress is poised to enact repressive measures such as the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law, amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 (the anti-terrorism law), mandatory military training in schools, among others. The Anti-Subversion Law and Human Security Act amendments portray critics and activists as “terrorists,” to justify unrelenting unarmed and armed attacks against them.

Red-tagging and vilification have preceded many cases of extrajudicial killing, torture, arrest and detention and other human rights abuses against farmers, workers, environmentalists, Church people, lawyers, human rights defenders and other sectors.

The Duterte regime’s propaganda machinery involves both the military and civilian bureaucracy, with the former taking the lead role. The composition of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), formed through Executive Order No. 70 and headed by President Duterte, shows how civilian agencies are being mobilized for counterinsurgency operations.

The NTF has been busy in its efforts to red tag and vilify the legal and progressive mass organizations critical of the Duterte regime and its continuing subservience to US imperialism and obeisance to China as the rising imperialist power.

One of the most glaring incidents of red-tagging happened during the May 2019 elections. PNP men and women in uniform were caught on camera in the act of distributing a PNP newsletter linking Makabayan Coalition-affiliated partylist groups to the underground revolutionary movement.

In other areas such as Panay, Negros, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, leaflets containing a list of persons alleged to be communists were distributed by state agents. In the list are human rights activists, lawyers, members of the religious, journalists, and academics.

Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, is one of the most vociferous in publicly labeling human rights organizations and sectoral groups as “CPP-NPA fronts” and in peddling the lie that these organizations are involved in “terroristic” activities.

The regime also takes advantage of social media to vilify its the most vocal critics. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) makes use of fake photos, fake statements, and incredible claims against leaders of the people’s organizations.

The regime has spent tremendous amounts of taxpayers’ money in disseminating its propaganda against the progressive movement to the international community. The NTF-ELCAC went as far as dispatching a team that visited officials of European Union (EU) member states to red-tag Karapatan, Ibon International, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Gabriela, among others. The task force urged these EU countries to cut funding for organizations serving the most neglected rural communities in the Philippines.

The NTF-ELCAC sent a delegation to the United Nations Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances in Bosnia-Herzegovina and egregiously urged that body to delist 625 cases of enforced disappearances in the Philippines, mostly attributed to state security forces. NTF members also furiously lobbied against the passage of a resolution filed by Iceland in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), urging the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to look into the spate of extrajudicial killings and make a written comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines. Their lobbying failed; the UNHRC adopted the resolution.

Even the academe, hospitals and other civilian agencies are not spared from the witch hunt. Policemen did rounds in schools, government hospitals and other offices, profiling the members and officers of employees’ unions.

The AFP and PNP have been spreading outright lies. They claim to have succeeded in ending the “insurgency” in some provinces—claims that have repeatedly been belied since the Ramos government first declared, in 1994, that it had strategically defeated the NPA (which it admitted to be untrue several months later). They present to the media fake surrenderers, mostly farmers they either coerced, deceived, or bribed—through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)—into admitting they were NPA members. They churn out these falsehoods to conjure the illusion that they are winning against the revolutionaries.

But when their most heinous crimes are exposed, they readily put the blame on the CPP- NPA. This has been shown in the case of the extrajudicial killings in Negros Oriental. Braving threats and the pain of repeatedly recalling the tragic massacres, families of the victims have testified how their loved ones were killed in cold blood during the joint AFP-PNP’s Oplan Sauron operations.

When members and other paid elements of the AFP and the PNP get killed in legitimate armed encounters, they try hide their defeats, or worse, misrepresent these incidents as violations by the NPA of international humanitarian law.

Criminalizing dissent: the biggest lie

Through the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), the AFP and the PNP jointly try to use the judiciary as a weapon against critics of Duterte and his corrupt and bungling regime. The following are just some examples showing how this administration is criminalizing dissent: the perjury charges filed by Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the president’s national security adviser, against Karapatan, the RMP, and Gabriela; the sedition and cyberlibel cases filed against Vice President Leni Robredo, political opposition candidates in the May senatorial elections, and some Catholic bishops; and, the kidnapping charges against youth leaders and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

A similar ridiculous and malicious kidnapping and child abuse charges were earlier filed against Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo and Representative France Castro of Act-Teachers partylist in late 2018, when they helped rescue Lumad students who had been forced out of their school that was shut down by the military.

A number of activists, service providers of progressive NGOs and organizers or campaigners of legal progressive organizations, have also been arrested based on patently made-up accusations including illegal possession of firearms and explosives. In most cases the arresting teams have planted the “evidence” in the activists’ bags they seized, in vehicles or residences as in the case of labor organizer Maoj Maga, long-time peace advocate and NDFP peace consultant Rey Claro Casambre, and NDFP peace consultants Vicente Ladlad, Adel Silva, and recently Esterlita Suaybaguio.

Professional “witnesses” or “surrenderers” dragooned as witnesses are used from one case to another to churn out false testimonies, almost always bordering on the ridiculous. The use of arrest warrants against “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” have become the norm to justify the illegal arrests of any targeted person.

The “multiple murder” case involving, as supposedly prime evidence, “travelling skeletons”—first allegedly dug up from a mass grave in Baybay, Leyte then years later supposedly dugged up again in Inopacan, Leyte—has been discredited and should have been laid to rest long ago.

But, no! The biggest legal fiction of Gloria Arroyo’s Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG)—the filing of trumped-up murder charges in 2007 against Ocampo (then Bayan Muna congressman) and several others was questioned before the Supreme Court, which granted Ocampo bail. However, the case awaited action by the highest tribunal for seven years. Only in 2014 did the SC, mostly with new justices sitting, referred the case for trial to a regional trial court. Then after hearings held over about five years, the prosecutors recently asked the court to issue warrants of arrest against 38 of the co-accused, including NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison. The court issued the warrants.

In another case, the Court of Appeals recently junked both the petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and a similar petition filed by Karapatan, RMP and Gabriela (the NUPL is the groups’ legal counsel). The parallel rulings indicate the sway of military influence on the judiciary. The rulings, issued by different CA divisions, practically denied the human rights defenders the legal remedies sought for their protection against political persecution and threats to their personal security and their lives.

Silencing the media

As part of its “strategic communication” strategy, the Duterte regime has been discrediting the journalism profession in an apparent bid to drown out the truth in media reporting and spread more lies. By calling journalists as bayaran, “press-titute”, and other derogatory labels, Duterte wants the Filipino people to doubt and reject the media’s role as watchdogs in society.

  1. The Duterte regime is trying to intimidate the more critical journalists using some of these methods: Producing fabricated matrices that link to a conjured ouster plot against Duterte the media organizations—the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Vera Files, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)—and individual journalists such as Inday Espina-Varona and Danilo Arao.
  2. Threatening non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, a virtual Damocles sword on the broadcasting giant.
  3. Filing a string of charges against online news site Rappler and twice trying to detain its CEO.
  4. Conducting “background checks” on journalists. Members of the Philippine National Police Press Corps have reported police visits and interrogations.
  5. Visiting media outfits in the pretext of “getting fair stories” regarding the bloody war on drugs, such as in the case of two media outfits in the Visayas. Some journalists have been included in the drug watch list even though there is no evidence on the alleged use or trade in illegal drugs.
  6. Red-tagging of the NUJP, the largest organization of journalists in the country, for being vocal in its defense of press freedom. Individual members of the NUJP have also been red-tagged.
  7. Utilizing trolls to harass critical journalists. Some of these include, among others, death threats and threats of raping women journalists.
  8. Launching systematic cyber attacks against alternative media websites Bulatlat, Kodao, Altermidya, Pinoy Weekly and NUJP. The cyber attacks have also targeted the websites of Bayan, Karapatan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Ibon and scores of other organizations, including the CPP’s Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC). Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation’s forensic report on the cyber attacks revealed that the attacks were launched on websites which are based in the Philippines.

The escalation of cyber attacks and vilification of media outfits, critical think tanks, progressive service-oriented NGOs and people’s organizations are also part of the Duterte regime’s “strategic communication” plan. The AFP first announced its creation of a cyber workforce in 2017. Since then until 2019, the AFP, the PNP and the Philippine Coast Guard have yearly held a Cybersecurity Summit.

Early this year, the Duterte regime launched a national cybersecurity plan. It created a cybersecurity management system “to monitor cyber threats,” headed by the Integrated Computer Systems (ICS) and the Israeli surveillance company Verint, with an initial licensing period of three years. Verint is a billion-dollar company with a global interception and surveillance empires.

The Duterte regime’s dirty propaganda tactics are coupled with heightening repression.

Labeling activists interchangeably as “terrorists,” “suspected drug addicts,” “kidnappers,” and the like aims to demonize and criminalize dissent and justify their killing and other human rights violations against them.

All these latest misuse of new technology to spread lies, combined with the age-old armed repression, are like carpetbombs seeking to harm not only the armed revolutionaries. Mostly targeted are citizens critical of the regime, the activists, the Church, the media and any other supporter of human rights and the struggle for genuine democracy.

The intended victims of this campaign are unarmed, visible and easy targets. The Duterte regime is fighting a truly dirty war. But the more it lies and kills even non-combatants, the more it reveals the bankruptcy of any promised good inuring to the people that it trots out to justify this dirty and costly war.

As such, the Duterte regime and its dirty war will not likely last long. With every attack it reveals its true face, the face of a rotting government that is puppet to foreign interests and seeking to maintain a crumbling status quo. It only highlights the correctness of waging and advancing the now 50-year national democratic revolution.

To break the cycle of lies and killings being perpetrated by this fascist regime, the people here and abroad should harness the courage and will power to expose and denounce its lies, and call for ever-broadening people’s resistance.###


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