During his TV show with Apollo Quiboloy on the SMNI channel, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte uttered his first words on the burning issue of U.S. EDCA military bases in the Philippines. Finally! The country had been waiting for the former president to break his polite silence on this burning issue that has already divided the Marcos siblings with BBM endorsing the bases while sister Imee has lambasted them in forceful support to the rejection of local officials to the U.S. bases.
President Duterte’s voice on the matter has broken the political impasse that had going on a while. Because of his input, it has now become a full blown anti-EDCA political rebellion – though still subtle and simmering – that the U.S. and its puppet president Bongbong Marcos, Jr. now face. Inside the AFP, the evulsion has begun to bubble up against the brazen imposition of these bases where the US has continued to renege on its commitments for their development, having completed only 20% of the existing bases to this day.
Duterte spoke both harsh and soothing words about the planned expansion of the U.S. EDCA bases in the Philippines and the horns of the dilemma that BBM is in. In the SMNI interview with Pasto Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte said, “America is using us as a pawn actually. Pinupusta nila tayo diyan sa mga bases na iyan… China would become our enemy if you (U.S.) decide to go to war because of Taiwan. So, China will bomb us because you (U.S.) are here.”
The Duterte quote echoes what Duterte loyalist senator Bato de la Rosa said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing chaired by sister Imee, “Sabihan niyo ang Amerika, halata masyado na user kayo. Maisip niyo lang kami kapag may looming threat sa Taiwan.” And we all know that there’s no looming threat to Taiwan from China. The only threat is from America itself who is using Taiwan to egg on China to defend it from U. S.-instigated provocations.
Senator Imee Marcos was even more direct, “… if you look at the stated or intended sites—two in Cagayan, the others in Isabela, the others in Zambales and so on. It clearly indicates that this is the first line in the Taiwan attacks that are projected…” and “Gentlemen, what is our fight with Taiwan. What’s our fight with Taiwan? I don’t understand?… Why are we doing all the military exercises in Luzon a stone’s throw …away from Taiwan?”
The Department of National Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez, who has been tasked by BBM and the U.S. State Department to defend the U.S. base installations, was speechless in the face of Sen. Imee’s blunt queries. “We might change the location depending on the agreement we might be having with the security sector,” he said in a shifty tone. Whose security sector? Now you can see how the defense establishment representing the AFP is really kowtowing to the U.S.
The Americans and BBM are being gored by the horns of the dilemma they created in trying to impose the full-blown return of the U.S. bases to the Philippines that so many political leaders have worked so hard to eject over the decades. This rejection started with the earlier President Ferdinand E. Marcos who cut short the stay of U.S. military bases from 99 years to 25 years, and went all the way to the Magnificent 12 senators who voted their refusal to extend them on September 16, 1991.
President Duterte had described BBM as a “weakling” and an “incompetent” during the presidential campaign of 2022.His insight has now been clearly confirmed by the reality of the BBM feet of clay on each and every issue he has faced in the past nine month as president – from inflation control and economics, to peace and order and to foreign relations. The country is breaking apart and people are already saying that they can’t live with this for five more years.
But Duterte was also kind to BBM today. Of the dilemma with the U.S. EDCA bases, Duterte said “I would not question the executive function given to the president to allow America to enter the country and establish additional bases… If that is what you (BBM) think the best interest of the country will be served, fine. Pero ganito iyan: ‘pag maraming base, and in case of war na talagang puputok ito, multiple targets na tayo.” In the end, his conclusion is still the same: inevitably, BBM has put us in harm’s way.
BBM is now facing a political crisis that is being stoked by the return of direct U.S. colonialism in the country. Direct U.S. colonialism because of the barefaced imposition of these additional U.S. EDCA bases and in its most blatant form, the fact that the U.S. is now speaking directly for the Philippine government, as did Gregory Poling of the CSIS who announced in Rappler on February 1, 2023 of the U.S. missile installation in Cagayan province, or the US State Department’s announcement on the same date about the agreement on EDCA bases even before the Philippine government could make its official word.
I see this fight over the U.S. EDCA bases as the resurgence of the final struggle against an impudent U.S. colonialism that is attempting its comeback in the Philippines by using its control of the top brass of the AFP, The obvious instrument of the U.S. in the Philippine political landscape, is the AFP top brass that is now using the threat of an AFP “putsch” against the duly constituted government, a threat they carried out against President Estrada who was recalcitrant in obeying U.S. diktats. There can be no denying that the AFP top brass is following U.S. diktats while the seeming president is allowing all of the U.S. impositions to happen with nary a squeak.
This Fil-AM War II is still political, politics being war without arms, but it could turn physical as the Filipino nation wakes up to the ultimate consequence of the country being converted by the U.S. and Asian NATO (with Japan and Australia) into the new Ukraine together with Taiwan in 2025 as they launch. the war against China aimed at crushing the rise not only of China but also of Asia as a whole. Only those stupid or are collaborators of the Americans refuse to see this. The opposition to the U.S. EDCA bases is the continuation of our Unfinished Revolution against Western and U.S. colonialism whose cruelties come to mind as we honor the recent anniversary of the return of Apolinario Mabini to the Philippines on February 26, 1903 after he had been exiled by the Americans to Guam until his last dying months.