By Herman Tiu Laurel
From March 28 throughout April and finally this last week of May, we witnessed an extraordinary series of events that seemed to shake the cabinet of President Rodrigo R. Duterte like never before in his five years in power:
(a) the National Task Force-WPS (NTF-WPS) launched a scare campaign with a skewed report of “220 Chinese militia boats”,
(b) using flimsy cause, our defense secretary slurred China’s ambassador, and our Foreign Affairs secretary used the “F” word on China.
President Duterte went into swift action. First, he crushed the anti-Duterte, anti-China machinegun-mouth of Justice Antonio Carpio with a deft bait-and-switch debate dare that had Carpio shrinking from a debate with spokesman Harry Roque.
Then, he slapped DFA secretary Locsin and the rest– including the TF-WPS – with a gag order and named spokesman Roque as the sole voice on the South China Sea issue. And finally, he capping the narrative with the Enrile “fireside chat” that lambast U.S. pledges and aid as a history of perfidy.
With the double-faced cabinet subversives gagged, the anti-Duterte, anti-China operators turned to call in their chips from retired military and police officers who had been nurtured at stateside U.S. or Aussie military bases, making them issue statements to the Inquirer, CNN-Philippines, et. Al, who then had a field day with such top-story and front-page headlines as: “Retired soldiers, police urge Duterte to defend West PH Sea” or “Retired military, police execs call for unity vs China aggression.”
Unfortunately for them, the retired Filipino officers chose as their mascot, Retired General Rodolfo Biazon whose words to media, “We are confused…” made cranky tin soldier noise.
How on earth can these men be confused? As National Security Adviser Esperon said, “Time and again, the President had spoken that “China is not an enemy…”
And defense chief Lorenzana reiterated, “What the president said last night regarding the PCA (being a mere piece of paper) is correct.”
Jose Custodio, self-proclaimed war historian, had been singing the coup song since February. His latest coup song, which was again heard in an interview with The Chiefs on One News, was reported by no less than renowned foreign-funded and ABS-CBN “presstitute” Inday Espina-Varona who enthused, in her FB post, that she of on FB “Finally got to listen to Jose Costudio (hello, hello!) talk about the possibility of a coup – not overnight, mind you– if the Philippine government doesn’t quickly fill the vacuum that could result from the loss of the VFA.”
This is the post:
You can feel the excitement of the former president of red-tagged NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) as she talked about the brewing coup being related by Custodio on the Channel 5 The Chief’s show to Albert del Rosario, Salim gofer and 2012 Scarborough standoff-er.
Custodio once retorted to my censures that it worries him the least as he “enjoys coffee in Washington’s plushest hotels anyway.”
I wrote about and discussed this interview in my SovereignPH.com and GNN (Golden Nation Network, which are seen on G-Sat and free-to-air TV channels 45 and 46. It didn’t take long for Custodio’s instigation of the coup rumor to rear its ugly head.
On March 21, news reports emerged that the “Chinese ‘maritime militia’ swarms WPS reef” (referring to Julian Felipe area that is later exposed by spokesman Roque as “outside of PHL Exclusive Economic Zone”), and the scare-story is spun and spun until Duterte clamps down.
In savaging Duterte and China –the “Chinese maritime militia” and the “… need for Duterte to defend PHL sovereignty” – the Americans called in all the Amboy assets of the US State department in Philippine political, academic and civil society to howl and howl for almost three months. It even led Asia Times’ Mark Valencia to write “Is US engineering regime change in Philippines?”
But all this is to no avail. No coup, and Duterte consolidates power even more while the masses embrace him even more – an impossible situation for the U.S. destabilizers and their minions.
Zero prospects for successful coup
Coup projects thrive on the promise of ultimate success of the scheme. In the two successful Philippine coups- that of EDSA-I in February 1986 and EDSA-II in January 2001 –ultimate success was guaranteed by the US hand behind the projects. The other two coups failed because the US hand was absent in both, that is, the Honasan coup against Cory Aquino where the U.S. flew its Phantom jets to scare the coup plotters and Estrada’s EDSA-III that only had mass support and thus floundered.
The current coup plotters and wishers believe the U.S. is behind them. And it seems clear the U.S. is actively working with and coordinating elements to at least build up to the possibility of a coup.
The U.S. is supporting the build-up of the coup with funds to media (e.g., the Zambrano “chase” hoax reported by Pinoy Exposé on April 21, 2021 through the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, KAF, etc.), satellite photos (see Simul[L1] arity, satellite monitoring), and “media swarming” (unremitting headlines and spin by Inquirer, Star, ABS-CBN, Google, etc.).
But the U.S. can no longer guarantee the jackpot win in any coup project. It was just defeated in Afghanistan; it has been diplomatically outflanked by China and Russia on all fronts; it is reeling back in Asia as China seals RCEP, Belt and Road etc.; the QUAD faltering as New Zealand and India temporize; it is down a third trading partner of the Philippines; and it has a strong Duterte facing them.. No active-duty officer would gamble future and pension without a guaranteed payout.
As for the anti-China project, we have seen in many other countries how anti-China political oppositions rage against the incumbents and China only to cuddle up to China when they win power.
No ASEAN and Asian nation, and in fact, no country in the world, can do without China. The U.S., Biden and Blinken may delay the inevitable by pressuring and browbeating the E.U. and New Zealand to retreat momentarily from China but no long-term reversals are in sight.
Duterte regime on to second term
Of course, it’s not going to be President Rodrigo R Duterte running for a second term- it will be Sara Duterte. And this is not because of political butterfly Joey Salceda’s announcement that Sara is 100% going to run for the presidency. Rather, it is the observation of Duterte partisan Peter Tiu Laviña during our interview on last Sunday’s RP1? show where he said, “Sara is not stopping the multitude of ‘Sara for President movements.”
Over and above Sara Duterte’s personal preference is the political imperative for the completion of the Duterte legacy. As it has always been said, six years is too short for a presidency to complete anything. And that is the intention of the U.S. model of government for the Philippines.
No incumbent should have the political authority to map out the long-term national plan; this is a task reserved only for the oligarchy. But Duterte is not the kind of man to leave loose ends hanging, though it may take various combinations to achieve this.
It is a fact that the military and police have never had it as good as they have it now under President Duterte. Apart from the wage increases of the soldiers and police and the prestige and respect they have received from their commander-in-chief, President Duterte has given the military and police all the support they need to end with finality the insurgencies and destabilizations of our society.
In the next election, President Duterte and his candidate will get a landslide victory from the military and police.
It is impossible for President Duterte to have missed any of the signs that the U.S. had been plotting a coup, given the significant noise from within his own cabinet and the AFP against his independent foreign policy and engagement with China. On hindsight, his actions were not based on “good cop, bad cop” scenario but rather a flushing out of the agents and a final warning. This seems to be the likely reason for the several stays of execution of the VFA.
To End the U.S. destabilization
The two successful coups in the past have shown how destructive the U.S. and its minions can be for the country’s development. The first ended Marcos’ quests for the country, such as, energy independence, economic emancipation, a strong military and the recovery of Sabah. The second forced an elected president out of office and installed in power an insurgent Muslim secessionist partnership with Western Powers who is now biding its time for renewed separatist actions.
There is clear evidence of the sabotaging of President Duterte by American agents. Recall that video-conferencing speech of President Duterte at the UN General Assembly in September 2020 where he declared that “The (arbitration) award is now part of international law…”
This clearly was planted and compromised the President in front of the whole world as it is simply not true. And then, there is the fake news of the NTF-WPS and the hoax “chase” of ABS-CBN and Zambrano.
The insidious U.S. agents in the political system, the oligarchy, the extensive mainstream media, civil society and even the Catholic hierarchy have become the leading phalanxes against Duterte and his independent foreign policy.
We have seen the devastating effects of such threatened and actual coup projects. Decisive action has been launched against destabilizers of the Left, it time now to take similar action against destabilizers of the Americans.
The American agents of influence and sabotage have been operating with impunity. And they will continue to do so even though they cannot even poll more than 0.2% support from the people for Carpio, their presidential candidate. While Duterte’s gag order has only punished these agents to a limited extent, more drastic sanctions must be carried out in the future to end their influence once-and-for-all. Hopefully, this will come in the second term of the Duterte dispensation.