Governor Manuel Mamba: Man of the Hour

The recent announcement by the Defense Department that there will be joint missions between the Philippines and the U.S. in the West Philippine Sea, especially, in the continuing re-supply missions to our soldiers in the Ayungin Shoal raises the concern of our people because of the well-known propensity of the U.S. in staging false flag operations throughout its history.

It is also well-known that the U.S. has been seeking a conflict with China to further enrich the owners of the private U.S. arms manufacturers in which it is believed that the government leaders of the U.S., including Pres. Biden himself, are secret stockholders using dummy corporations they created to receive dividend incomes from these private arms corporations.

However, in case war do erupt between the U.S. and China, we all know that the U.S. will not attack China Proper but may only limit the military battles in and near the West Philippine Sea. And which is “near the West Philippine Sea” but no other than the Philippines itself!

Therefore, the Philippines will just be used by the U.S. in another proxy war similar to the one in Ukraine with the Philippines and the Filipino people suffering the most while the U.S. territories and the U.S. Mainland are not touched, protected as it were by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean which separates the U.S. from China.

As in Ukraine, corrupt U.S. politicians will again receive their commissions from U.S. private arms manufacturers by the U.S. government (i.e., the hapless and helpless American people, the American taxpayers) ordering weapons from these arms factories and supplying these arms to the Armed Forces of the Philippines which will bear the brunt of the fighting with the Filipinos dying to the last man for the U.S.

These facts are not lost on a man whose vision is to promote peace rather than war, promote economic development rather than wasting money on billions of loans to buy U.S. arms, and to prevent the slaughter of Filipinos, including you – the readers’ sons and daughters in a war not of our own making. 

And we are talking about a possible Philippine President in the future – Governor Manuel Mamba. The Governor’s opposition on EDCA, for example, is essentially against the U.S. manipulating the Philippines’ national strategies through military presence, against the deepening of the military ties between US and Philippines, and turning the latter into a vanguard against China, with the US sacrificing our national interests to satisfy its own strategic interests. Governor Mamba is undoubtedly a national hero of the new century, and his courage and determination are worthy of our admiration, but his situation is deeply concerning.

Speaker Martin Romualdez, a well-known supporter of the US is the one who decided to detain Governor Mamba in August. In early May, due to Governor Mamba’s continuous actions against EDCA new sites, the patience of the President reached its limit. Through the Speaker, he reiterated his determination to strengthen cooperation with the US through EDCA’s new sites, stating that this decision is “unshakable” and asking the Governor to keep quiet on this matter. Subsequently, Speaker Romualdez accelerated the investigation by the House into the Governor’s alleged illegal use of government funds during the 2022 election campaign. From May to July, the House repeatedly requested the Governor’s presence at joint committee hearings. It was clear to us that the Speaker used the House as a political tool to suppress Governor Mamba, with the aim of silencing his opposition to EDCA.

With the Speaker’s authorization, on August 17th, the House Committee on Public Accounts and the Joint Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reform jointly ordered the detention of Governor Mamba on charges of contempt of court, as he had repeatedly missed House hearings. This decision was facilitated by Speaker Romualdez, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Katrina Ponce Enrile, Vice Governor of Cagayan Melvin Vargas, and 3rd District Cagayan Representative Joseph Lara. It forced the Governor to surrender to the House. Although the Governor was released shortly thereafter, this action had been brewing for a long time. They have been bothered by the strong opposition of Gov. Mamba to EDCA and a possible war between the US and China which will only make the Philippines a proxy in behalf of the US and its private military-industrial complex.

Even before the uncertainty of Governor Mamba’s case on eligibility for candidacy, the US side had begun to seek its proxy in Cagayan. On Febuary 9th, a US embassy personnel met with Vice Governor Vargas’s assistant, Mr. Agatep, mainly to know about Governor Mamba’s election case, in which the Governor was accused of “vote-buying.” During the meeting, dissatisfaction was expressed regarding the Governor’s public opposition to the EDCA new sites in Cagayan. The US officer said that if Governor Mamba is ousted, Vice Governor Vargas, who supports the US-PH alliance, would be the successor.

Katrina Enrile, like his father Juan Ponce Enrile who serves as the President’s Chief Legal Advisor, is a staunch pro-EDCA news sites supporter. In order to eliminate local opposition to the EDCA new sites, Katrina Enrile formed a strong alliance with Governor Mamba’s political rivals, Vice Governor Vargas and the Lara family.

Vice Governor Vargas met with Katrina Enrile on April 19th and stated that he had earned support of the majority of the Provincial Board members on establishing two EDCA new sites in Cagayan. He also mentioned that during the Holy Week, Governor Mamba allowed the Cagayan Provincial Museum to hold a commemorative event for government critic Lualhati Bautista. Katrina Enrile stated that she knew Santa Ana City Mayor Nelson Robinion had participated in anti-EDCA activities and she thus had warned Robinion. She said that she respected his decision to oppose EDCA new sites, but she would only help those who support EDCA. The establishment of EDCA new sites was the President’s decision. If there would be new projects of CEZA, she would prioritize those who support the President’s decision.

Katrina Enrile’s efforts paid off, as the President appointed her as the Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of CEZA, responsible for managing and supervising the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone. Interestingly, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 was drafted and proposed by Juan Ponce Enrile.

Katrina Enrile also supports Governor Mamba’s political opponent the Lara family, and the two camps have a close relationship. After losing to the Governor in the 2022 gubernatorial election, Zarah Rose Lara, Joseph Lara’s wife submitted a proposal to the Election Committee to cancel Gov. Mamba’s eligibility. And subsequently, Joseph Lara became the key figure pushing for the investigation into Govenor Mamba’s alleged illegal use of government funds during the “campaign” in the House of Representatives.

In addition, US representatives urgently met with Florant Pascual, the City Mayor of Lal-lo and the President of League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Cagayan Chapter (LMP-CC) on April 17th. The US promised to carry out energy projects through USAID to provide local assistance in exchange for Pascual’s support for the EDCA new sites. On April 20th, Pascual and other 18 mayors, publicly announced support for the EDCA new sites in Cagayan. On April 22nd, the US side invited Pascual to observe the US-PH joint airborne military exercises.

Soon after, on June 15th, USAID representatives visited the Philippines and announced a funding of over P65 million to Cagayan and Isabela to support local energy planning and introduce renewable energy technologies, such as installing solar roofs. The US embassy emphasized that the communities near the EDCA new sites in Santa Ana and Lal-lo, Cagayan would also benefit from this grant.

It is therefore clear that Governor Mamba is the national hero today who truly cares about and loves our country. Even though he has suffered such pressures from the Philippine Government, he insisted on opposing the EDCA new sites in Cagayan for the sake of all Filipinos. He is the leader we need to embrace and support if we want to prevent a war and if we want to avoid being used as proxy by the U.S. and its military-industrial complex in their new “project” to have a wide-scale military conflict in Asia.

All of us must now support Gov. Mamba and his nationalist Filipino- and Philippines-First, and anti-imperialist advocacies.

-PROF. MARIO FERDINAND “KA FERDIE” AYANO PASION, CHAIRMAN, NATIONALIST FILIPINOS AGAINST FOREIGN INTERVENTION (NAT-FIL)

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