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Acting as drug war witnesses endangers journalists—NUJP

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) launched an online petition asking that journalists be spared from acting as witnesses in the government’s so-called anti-drug war.

In its petition on change.org, the NUJP called on law enforcement units to immediately end the practice of requiring journalists to sign as witnesses to the inventory of contraband and other items seized during anti-drug operations.

“Our opposition to this practice stems from the fact that it unnecessarily places journalists at risk of retaliation from crime syndicates, on the one hand, and also exposes them to prosecution for perjury and other offenses in the event of irregularities in the conduct of anti-drug operations,” the NUJP said.

Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, requires witnesses to these anti-drug operations from a representative of the Department of Justice, the media, and an elected public official.

The law was subsequently amended by Republic Act No. 10640, enacted in 2014, which made witnessing optional between a representative of the National Prosecution Service and the media.

NUJP however reported that law enforcement units continue requiring media workers to sign on as witnesses, often as a condition for being allowed to cover operations.

“Worse, there are reports that they are made to sign even if they did not actually witness the operation or the inventory of seized items. Those who decline can find their sources or the normal channels of information no longer accessible,” NUJP said.

The group urged Congress to further amend the law to completely free journalists from the practice.

NUJP said it is willing to dialogue with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Congress to discuss guidelines, ground rules and other procedural issues concerning coverage of their operations. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

STREETWISE: Electoral quick fix by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Streetwise
The rags-to-riches storyline never fails to hook people onto sappy movies and telenovelas; to dream of better times amidst everyday misery.  Similarly, the get-rich-quick mentality drives many to endure long queues to get into “easy-money” game shows where thousands of pesos are won through plain luck; and, oh yes, to spend their last peso on that lotto ticket.  Both also  never fail to reinforce the illusion that the system works; that there is a chance (yeah, maybe one-in-a-million but a chance nonetheless) for the impossible dream to become a reality.
Periodic electoral exercises carry the same inspirational cum delusional line in politics.  Let’s do a run down of the line that we are made to swallow hook-line-and-sinker. To wit:
Elections are proof of democracy at work; each person — young and old, rich or poor, educated and illiterate, hero or heel — gets the chance to choose the country’s next leaders.
Through elections, at minimum, the electorate gets the chance to bring about a new government, better than the outgoing, usually discredited, one. Maximally, we get the chance to bring about big changes in government, politics and society.
The results of the elections, no matter how flawed, bloody and fraudulent, is the expression of the sovereign will of the people.
In truth, bourgeois elections, whether in the Philippines or in touted “mature democracies” in Western Europe and North America, are nothing more than a quick fix. Elections in elite-dominated democracies are systematically designed and upgraded to serve that purpose and has little to do with reflecting the will of the people nor reforming government and society.
The Free Dictionary defines a quick fix as “an expedient temporary solution, especially one that merely postpones coping with an overall problem.”  The Urban Dictionary defines it as “a shabby attempt at correcting a problem, which usually leads to bigger problems that could have been easily avoided by doing the job right the first time.” Google pops up this answer: “an easy remedy or solution, especially a temporary one which fails to address underlying problems.“
Elections act as a quick fix by design and by default.  The repeated ritual of elections is supposed to be a democratic system’s way of renewing itself.  The country’s leaders get a new mandate from the people in the tradition of the touted “social contract” between the rulers and the ruled.
But the way election campaigning and its coverage goes, most everyone’s preoccupation is with the candidates’ character traits, personality quirks, and supposed “track record”. (The latter usually falls into the public relations trap; i.e. how well the candidate has been able to build his or her public image. In this regard, more credence is given to those who have won a previous election by hook or crook.)
The focus on the candidate’s so-called qualifications as a measure of competence also tends to give undue weight to academic and professional credentials that favor the well-heeled and/or fortunate.
The emphasis on character and personality is consistent with the notion that the problem to be fixed is the leader’s brand of leadership.  Honest vs dishonest.  Compassionate vs indifferent.  Decisive vs namby pamby.  Action man vs all talk.  Experienced versus newbie.  Competent vs unqualified.  Refined vs boorish.
In the end, the change of regime brought about amounts to a mere change in the style of leadership.  In other words, the manner of exploiting and oppressing the people offered by different factions of the elite, with political power continuing to be dominated and controlled by the same set of oligarchs.
When attention is given to issues and problems, there is the tendency to highlight the superficial or the obvious or the concerns of the urban population. Most often cited are obvious poverty, corruption, criminality, traffic, broken-down public infrastructure and lack of social services.
Problems that strike closer to underlying socio-economic and political-cultural maladies are often overlooked or set aside as too serious, incomprehensible and untranslatable to catchy sound bytes.  These include landlessness and rural poverty; the backward, preindustrial economy and chronic unemployment and underemployment; flawed economic policies and rising inequality; intractable armed conflicts and failed counterinsurgency programs; violations of the entire range of human rights by supposedly democratic regimes; and surrender of national and economic sovereignty amidst patriotic drumbeating.
Digging deeper into the root causes of long-standing social ills is still not the norm even during an election period when political discourse becomes a national pastime.
It follows that solutions offered are palliative and temporary rather than long-term: piece-meal rather than comprehensive; populist rather than substantive.  The electoral exercise is institutionalized not to provide real solutions; rather, these are designed to retain and maintain the unjust status quo while giving an appearance of being an avenue for change, for “fixing” things.
Elections also serve as a quick fix in the sense of providing a safety valve for a system straining under constant, in fact growing, pressure due to internal and external contradictions.
But no matter how noisy, how heated and polarizing; how bombastic and filled with exposés; how brimming with motherhood or feel-good rhetoric; or replete with curses, thinly-veiled or in-your-face — such are merely embellishments on an otherwise undemocratic exercise that portends more of the same.  Periodic elections cannot and have never been the source of wide-ranging and deep-going changes in Philippine society and governance.
In fact it is a pillar of elite rule.  All factions of the ruling elite of big landlords and big comprador capitalists and the myriad groupings of bureaucrat capitalists, whether elected or appointed, are one in upholding elections as sacrosanct democratic exercises that are the panacea to all of societal and government ills.  This is the magic potion that is sold by their slick propaganda machinery that is supposed to be the last recourse of a disgruntled citizenry in a democracy. (Even when liberal democratic principles and constitutions uphold the right of the people to rise up against unjust rule.)
Ergo the real work of the Commission on Elections under any administration is to ensure that every electoral exercise has a modicum or a semblance of “fairness, honesty and credibility” to preserve the status quo.  This, even as it facilitates and covers up the maneuvers of the different factions of the ruling classes vying to hold the reins of power (foremost of which are those of the ruling faction and the foreign interests behind it, especially the US).
Elections as quick fixes, no matter how ingrained the mantra of democracy, can only go so far in covering up the problems of a society in convulsive crisis and in pretending to provide the solutions — the “change” — that a people groaning under intolerable exploitative and oppressive conditions so desperately seek. #
Published in Business World
9 May 2016

STREETWISE: Elections — the ultimate con game by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Streetwise
Elections — the ultimate con game
Whoever figuratively likened Philippine elections to a circus decades ago could not have imagined how literally true the metaphor has become these days. Aside from the carnival atmosphere and blaring jingles, there are the candidates trying all sorts of tricks to dazzle and convince us of their worth, and the assortment of clowns and bizarre side shows.
The kind of fakery expected from candidates includes motherhood statements about concern for the poor and underprivileged and the willingness to serve no matter the personal sacrifice.  For incumbent officials or politicians poised for a comeback, there are the exaggerated claims of achievement such as thousands of scholars and grateful charity patients plus a train of downtrodden folk who supposedly benefited from the candidate’s kindheartedness and generosity.
Then there are the perennial promises: to wipe out corruption and criminality; to uplift the poor; to provide jobs and basic social services; to grow the economy; to make government transactions transparent and officials accountable; to lead by example; etc. ad nauseam.
Personal narratives intended to make the candidate appear to be a man or woman of the masses are part of the stratagem.  The five presidentiables exemplify this old ploy.
Jejomar Binay grew up poor and struggling, at some point allegedly having to feed slop to pigs. The dark color of his skin and modest height are used to underscore his humble beginnings.  Several terms as Makati City’s mayor supposedly seals his credentials as a more-than-able and pro-poor public official.  Nothing is said about how he became incredibly rich just by being a public servant.
Rodrigo Duterte is the macho, foul-mouthed, no-nonsense man-of-action.  His claim to fame is Davao City’s touted crime-free, peaceful and disciplined social environment.  He may not be virtuous, nor does he display the requisite good manners and right conduct for the presidency, but he is supposedly the decisive leader the country needs to create order from the chaotic mess we are in.  We are asked to disregard disturbing reports about extrajudicial killings sanctioned by Mayor Duterte and suspicions that his quick-fix solution to criminality is via authoritarian rule.
Grace Poe’s narrative as a foundling, despite her being adopted by a well-to-do showbiz celebrity couple, and her almost being disqualified from running on this score, has given her a patina of being an underdog.  She also capitalizes on her late father’s film persona as hero of the oppressed.  Poe complements this mystique by her simple and straightforward demeanor that makes her appear accessible to ordinary folk.  Still, questions about her qualifications and patriotism continue to dog her candidacy.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago capitalizes on her middle class background and her achievements as a seasoned lawyer, judge and legislator. Her witticisms, sharp tongue and legendary temper directed effectively against her political pet peeves goes hand-in-hand with her cultivated image as the nemesis of corrupt and incompetent officials.
Too bad for Mar Roxas, there can be no denying that his background reeks of wealth and privilege as scion of Negros sugar barons and the Roxas political dynasty.  His academic credentials as graduate of an exclusive American university; his work as an investment banker; his record as a bureaucrat then a legislator under several administrations; his campaign based on the tiresome “daang matuwid” catchphrase of the incumbent regime while taking advantage of government resources to fuel his campaign — all these reinforce the perception that Roxas knows little about the travails of the common tao, much less does he empathize with their plight. So much for his narrative.
As to be expected, whatever platforms these candidates stand for are reduced to platitudes, pie-in-the-sky promises, or bombastic demagoguery that have nothing to do with finding genuine solutions to the fundamental problems of Philippine society.
As the elections day draws near, the mudslinging becomes even more frenzied. Every candidate’s gaffe or deepest, darkest secret is pounced upon by his or her opponents to try to pull that candidate down or gain an advantage before the next round of election surveys. The side shows keep the public preoccupied, distracted, entertained or disgusted as the case may be.
In the midst of all this, the technical operators of the grand electoral carnival do their thing, their presence and service accepted as a necessity, their competence and efficiency assumed and taken for granted.  As in a real carnival, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in this case is responsible for seeing to it that all the rides, all the tricks and special effects, are safe and secure with all necessary safeguards in place. A single flaw, a single missing bolt or defective electrical circuitry could result in fatal disaster.
The COMELEC has always had a spotty if not downright suspect record, but controversies and charges of anomalies are invariably brushed aside as mere “sour graping” by losers. Two elections have been held using the automated election system (AES) with COMELEC allowing a US-based multinational corporation, SMARTMATIC, to do the electronic count and canvass without the safeguards provided for by law, akin to allowing the ferris wheel and roller coaster rides to operate without checking the integrity of the mechanical and electrical components.
The hacking of COMELEC’s vast database dubbed “COMELEAK” has compromised security of voters’ data and makes voters vulnerable to all sorts of heists via identity theft.  This only shows what kind of work ethic the COMELEC works under —  gross negligence instead of due diligence in performing its crucial task of safeguarding the sanctity of the ballot;  irresponsibility rather than responsibility.
COMELEC continues to promote the myth that speed in counting the ballots and transmitting results using the AES can substitute for accuracy and dependability in reflecting the will of the electorate.  Moreover, in the era of pre-election and post-election exit surveys, the credibility of the polls seems to hinge on whether the outcomes hew closely to the foregoing survey results no matter an abundance of election anomalies.
The illusion of elections as a democratic exercise is maintained by the noise and the hoopla of the electoral circus.  To place our hope for real change in such periodic spectacle is to allow ourselves to be conned as well as screwed again and again. #
Published in Business World
25 April 2016

Statement on the CDO presidential debate coverage

Statement
15 February 2016

nujp-logo

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) shares the concern of our colleagues in Cagayan de Oro over the way limits appear to have been placed on coverage of the first presidential debate on
Feb. 21.
We acknowledge that space limitations inevitably require that admission to the venue of the debate will need to be regulated.

However, we also believe the organizers and hosts of the event should provide a large enough venue where the largest number possible of journalists, both community and Manila-based, may watch and cover the debate through monitors.

We agree with the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) that the process of choosing who next to lead the country is so important that every opportunity available to journalists to be able to inform the broadest segment of the public must be optimized.

We hope the organizers of the Cagayan de Oro presidential debate and the local media community would be open to more dialogues to iron out the process of selection and accreditation of journalists who will cover the debate.

We do hope it is not too late for the organizers of the Cagayan de Oro presidential debate to address these issues even as we urge the organizers of the subsequent debates to be held in the Visayas and Luzon to ensure early on that such problems are avoided.

Reference:
Ryan Rosauro
Chairperson, NUJP

STREETWISE: Illusion of democratic elections (or PH elections as farce) by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Streetwise
There are two things that the common tao considers as indicators, if not necessary proof, that our political system is a democracy.  The first is national elections.  The second is the Philippine Congress.

When Ferdinand E. Marcos decided to suspend both in 1972, there was no doubt in the ordinary Filipino’s mind that a full blown dictatorship was upon us.  When he was overthrown in 1986 and both elections and the Congress were restored, the common tao rejoiced in the end of the dictatorship and the “restoration of democracy” in our country.

Thirty years later, we now have a clearer picture of what kind of political system was really restored or what it had become.

The definitive arrival of the election season is heralded by the hoopla, gimmickry, horse trading, political intrigue and disinformation thrown in with the grotesque as well as hilarious line-up of candidates from serious to not-so, from relative to absolute cuckoos.

We are being gulled into thinking that 130 instead of a handful of presidential candidates to choose from would make the process or our choice more democratic.  The real irony is that while it is very likely that one or two of them are better qualified and more deserving of the presidency than any of the established frontrunners, there is absolutely no chance or hope in their getting elected.

Is the key question making the right choice? What choices are available in the first place?  Is it really a level-playing field or is the system skewed in favor of those with the advantages of the backing of a political dynasty and the economic elite; the incumbent’s “pork barrel”; name recall, media exposure and popularity; and last but not the least, the good housekeeping seal of the mighty US of A.

Clearly what candidates stand for – not just in terms of pronouncements and promises but track record — is of least importance.  It is more the image that is created and built up that is why advertising tricks do make a whale of a difference.  One’s political party and its ideology, politics, and even affiliations have all gone down the drain.  Running as a supposed “independent” suddenly makes sense as the candidate can distance himself from the opprobrium of traditional parties even as he can be “adopted” as a guest candidate by the same parties or coalition of parties.

Everything is reducible to winnability — who has the resources, the image and the machinery to win.

Resources are the key to mounting an effective campaign.  Dominant mass media visibility means hundreds of millions if not billions for political ads and media “padulas”.  Actual campaigning through sorties is still important for creating illusion of accessibility; one’s mobility, entourage and campaign rallies depend on how much money you are willing and able to spend.  As to political machinery – the layers of campaigners, vote-getters and vote-buyers down the line from the provincial to the barrio level — it has been proven that this truly has no loyalties. It goes to the highest bidder and proof of this is that party switching is at its peak as the electoral exercise nears.

What of the leftist Makabayan Coalition (currently composed of six progressive parties) that has invariably ended up as parliamentary opposition no matter the regime in power?  It is clear that electoral politics for them is not the be-all and end-all.  The struggle to overhaul the exploitative and oppressive socio-economic and political system to one that is truly of, for and by the people does not hinge on participation in elections as such.  Arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people, most especially the masses, is still the mantra of these parties. Elections are maximized as an occasion to highlight their nationalist and democratic program, gain adherents and allies, as well as elect their top caliber leaders into office.  The latter is an uphill climb but given the proven validity and viability of the Left’s platform, and the accumulated strength of the progressive movement through the decades, it has been proven possible.

And now the question of the electoral exercise itself.  Convincing the voters to vote for a candidate is one thing; getting them to actually do so is something else.  Massive vote buying/selling continues to this day and will be around so long as people are kept destitute and look to elections as a means to tide them over another day.  Getting the vote counted correctly is another matter.  This used to require an army of poll watchers and a bevy of election lawyers. In time electoral fraud grew into a sophisticated, high-stakes operation run by a well-entrenched mafia in the Commission on Elections.  By means of wholesale “dagdag-bawas”, a presidential candidate could win by “convincing” margins and senatorial wannabees could make it to the magic 12 of winning candidates or even top the race.

So the real clincher is the question of who actually controls the electoral process in a really insidious but critical way that could spell who wins and who doesn’t.  Automating the elections was supposed to significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate, manipulation and fraud.  But because automation is known to have inherent dangers and pitfalls the law mandating automated elections put in place necessary safeguards.

Thus the 2010 and 2013 elections were automated, but with COMELEC and SMARTMATIC, the US-based company commissioned to conduct the elections, ignoring the required safeguards. The poor performance of the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines in the 2010 and 2013 national elections and the dedicated effort of the IT experts and anti-fraud groups under AES Watch to expose the flawed system have taken away much of the gleam of automation.

It is perhaps a measure of how blatantly foreign interests can intervene in our supposedly “independent” electoral process and spoil the “sanctity” of our ballots that a foreign businessman and “political strategist”, British Lord Mark Malloch Brown, could publicly boast that he had played a key role in securing the electoral victory of Cory Aquino against Marcos in the 1986 elections. This, when the Omnibus Election Code barring foreigners from participating in the electoral process and aiding any candidate in any way was then barely three months old.

This revelation is even more appalling and alarming now that this person – certainly not by chance – is the Board Chairman of SGO, the parent company of SMARTMATIC, and has no qualms in saying that the coming elections is very important for the future of the Philippines’ business relations with the US, Britain and other centers of foreign capital.

It would be the height of political naiveté, and falling into the trap laid by our elite politicians and their foreign patrons, to fall for the repeated lie that elections are the litmus test of a democracy.  The democratic character of elections in a particular society is always shaped by the democratic or non-democratic character of that society.

The elite classes continue to rule by violence and deception.  Periodic elections are part of the deception. The different factions of the elite make it their business to master the electoral game to their advantage.  The democratic classes wishing to change the rules of the game — not just to have a fighting chance to win under its rules — cannot rely on reactionary elections.  Only by actually strengthening the independent, organized power of the people can they have a real chance to change the ruling system. #

Published in Business World
19 October 2015

Streetwise: Electoral circus comes to town by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

The election season is definitely upon us even with national polls still nine months away and filing of candidacies for national positions set two months from now. Already we can see the portent of things to come: the lack of genuine choice for the electorate; a farcical party system; election outcomes skewed towards the candidates backed by elite and foreign vested interests; an electoral system upgraded from manual to electronic manipulation and cheating.

The jockeying and wheeling dealing over who will run, who will be whose running mate, and which party and patron will back up which candidate has shifted to high gear and is already hogging the news and rumor mills. Political advertisements of “presidentiables”, “vice-presidentiables” and “senatoriables” have begun airing to the public’s bemusement or consternation as the case may be.

Candidates as well as the dominant political parties are indistinguishable in so far as platforms of governance are concerned. There are no serious contending political philosophies, analyses of what has ailed and continues to ail the country and ergo what are the candidates’ and parties’ proposed immediate and long-term solutions.

Candidates are one in playing to the gallery; that is, what they think the teeming masses of the poor, unschooled, and politically immature voters are looking for. Thus the image-building centers on the candidates’ bleeding heart for the poor and underprivileged and their promise of salvation from want and misery through all sorts of dole-outs and assurances of jobs and livelihood opportunities.

The anti-graft-and-corruption banner is still waving high up in the air. It is a race among the supposedly clean and untainted because they come from the class of “old rich” exploiters who did not make their pile from being politicians; the dyed-in-the-wool as well as upstart politicians who grew their wealth along with their flourishing political careers; and the relative newbies whose slates are still clean because they haven’t been around that long. All present themselves as ready, willing and able to clean up the Augean stables of government.

Anti-crime or the “peace and order” tack is also a favorite with the usual whipping boys – drug lords, criminal syndicates and police and judges on the take –and the usual neofascist solutions – bring back the death penalty, cut corners in law enforcement and due process and instill “discipline” among the people.

The big questions remain unasked and unanswered. Why does the country remain backward in terms of economic development despite (or rather because of) supposedly “sound fundamentals”: entrenched policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization to attract foreign investments; entrenched policies on labor export, low wages and contractualization; entrenched policies on the wanton exploitation of natural resources; and an overextended land reform program. Why is income inequality growing even more scandalously despite high GNP rates? Little to nothing is said about rooting out the causes of armed conflicts, of patronage politics, of political dynasties, of undemocratic institutions and processes including elections that always end up reinforcing the dominance of the elite and their foreign principals.

So what really counts? It is who among the known political kingmakers are backing whom. Where there is no functioning party system based on a clear, well-articulated and consistently-pursued platform of government, leaders are not up for public office based on track record nor established stand on issues but on sentimental affiliations of kinship, political connections, foreign backing, personality traits, and even accidental twists of so-called fate.

The endorsement by the incumbent regime is not about who will continue such a self-proclaimed stellar performance as that of President B. S. Aquino III but who will have the marked advantage of having the resources of the government at his disposal in the run-up to and the actual electoral campaign. We are talking about billions of lump-sum discretionary funds lodged in the executive department easily waylaid for patronage politics, for unofficial campaign sorties disguised as official business, for last ditch quid pro quos with a variety of vested interests. Paramount here are the narrow interests of the ruling Aquino clique with its main backers, the ruling Liberal Party and coalition partners who haven’t jumped ship.

What the opinion surveys say as to who are front runners and tail enders is easily translatable to financial and political backing since everyone wants to place their bets on the “winnable” candidates. Perhaps the only democratic aspect of the sway of the surveys is that while these reflect the interests paying for the surveys and are effectively influenced by the dominant mass media as well as sophisticated public relations campaigns, somehow candidates’ naturaleza still breaks through and are picked up by the public pulse.

The advent of another electoral circus come to town need not trigger resignation nor cynicism. Those fighting for more systemic, meaningful and long-lasting reforms in the socio-economic and political system of the country must be unrelenting and creative in their efforts to arouse, mobilize and organize the people based on their true interests and aspirations for a prosperous, egalitarian, independent and peaceful nation. Only in this way can they go against the reactionary tide of populism, trivialization of the national agenda, the dumbing down of the public discourse and the refurbishment and perpetuation of a patently undemocratic system.

During the electoral period, there must be a constant critique of the prevailing unjust and oppressive system. Any and all candidates must be challenged to measure up to the people’s standards of what constitute a truly patriotic and democratic platform of governance. The most reactionary of candidates must be exposed and rejected while liberal to progressive candidates must be supported up to being voted into office. Lastly but most critically, the looming likelihood of another foreign-designed and controlled automated electoral system that can and will be used to engineer the fraudulent victory of the favored national candidates must be exposed and opposed by an aroused and militated citizenry. #

Published in Business World
24 August 2015

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Peace Talks, 2016 National Elections and ISIS (PART 2/3)


PART 2/3

ITANONG MO KAY PROF
AUGUST 7, 2015

Panayam ng Kodao Productions sa pamamagitan ni Prof. Sarah Raymundo ng CONTEND-UP kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Tagapagnulo ng International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) hinggil sa peace talks, presidential elections at Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On 2016 Presidential Elections

1. Nasa moda na po ng election para sa 2016 ang mga pulitiko sa bansa. Sa tingin po ba ninyo may pag-asang ibibigay sa mamamayang Pilipino ang susunod na presidente mula kina Binay, Mar Roxas, Poe at Duterte? Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa mga kakandidatong ito sa pagkapangulo kung sakali?

JMS: Lahat ng kandidatong binanggit mo ay hindi pa naglalahad ng masaklaw at malaman na programa para itaguyod ang pambansang kasarinlan, demokratikong kapangyarihan ng mga anakpawis, hustisya sosyal, kaunlaran sa pamamagitan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisayon at makabayan at progresibong kultura. Kung gayon, hindi pa sila nagbibigay ng malinaw na patutunguhan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino.

2. Meron po ba kayong susuportahang kandidato para sa pagkapangulo? Ano po ang mga criteria na dapat taglayin ng susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas?

JMS: Wala pang malinaw na batayan ninumang makabayan at progresibo para suportahan ang alinman sa mga kandidato. Dapat isaalang-alang at tupdin ng kandidato bilang kriterya ang mga puntong nabanggit ko na dapat taglayin ng isang programang makabayan at progresibo. Si Duterte pa lamang ang naghuhudyat sa publiko na nais niyang magbuo ng coalition government na kabibilangan ng mga makabayan at progresibo at isasagawa niya ang mabilis at seryosong peace negotiations sa NDFP.

3. Ano po ang mensahe ninyo sa sambayanang Pilipino sa darating na eleksyon sa 2016?

JMS: Ang payo ko sa mga botante: Piliin ang kandidatong pinaka-makabayan at pinaka-progresibo. Kung ang kandidatong ganito ay hindi mananalo o kung mananalo man subalit balusabas pala, dapat handa ang mamamayang Pilipino na labanan ito kapag nasa poder na. Tama lamang na may mga pwersang rebolusyonaryo ng bayan. Magkakaroon sila ng dahilan na ipagpatuloy at isulong ang armadong rebolusyon.