Book on the history of the socialist movement in the Philippines launches

By April Burcer

A book on the history of the socialist movement originally written as a graduate thesis by then Philippine Army Captain Dante Simbulan was launched Saturday, June 16, at the University of the Philippines (UP).

“Excellent work, captivating narrative,” was how Jose Ma. Sison, founding chair of the re-established Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), described the book written by Dr. Dante Simbulan “When The Rains Come, Will Not The Grass Grow Again? (The Socialist Movement in the Philippines: 1920-1960).”

“It is necessary to read this book, if only to know and understand the highly significant history of the Socialist Party of the Philippines (SPP), as the legal alternative to the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in the 1930s in Central Luzon, as well as the history of the merger party of the SPP and CPP in 1938 that became the leading party of the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon from 1942 onwards and subsequently the Hukbong Mapagpalayang Bayan from 1948 onwards,” Sison said in his message sent from the The Netherlands.

Simbulan, a Class of 1952 honors graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, was assigned to undergo graduate studies at the UP in the 1960s where he chose to study his former enemies, the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap) and the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB or Huk), which became the book after nearly half a century.

Simbulan was then fresh off his first field assignment as a Philippine Army Lieutenant assigned in Bulacan and Pampanga under the command of then Captain Rafael Ileto who became Army General and Defense Secretary under former President Corazon Aquino.

The book cover.

“The book is about the origins and roots of the socialist movement in our country, where the dispossessed poor and oppressed organize themselves into a Marxist political party for workers and peasants,” Prof. Roland Simbulan, the author’s son, said.

“His conclusion in the study predicted that even after the military success of the AFP’s counter-insurgency campaign, as long as the socio-economic roots of the Huk rebellion are not seriously addressed, the social unrest will go on” the younger Simbulan said.

“True enough, there was a resurgence of armed rebellion, this time led by a new generation that reestablished the Marx- Leninist revolution, more sophisticated, resilient and national and scope,” he added.

“This will be a great help in spreading awareness among Filipino soldiers, especially the young officers, towards their love for the country, as well as true service to the Filipino people,” retired Philippine Marines General Januario Caringal in his message said.

Former UP President Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, making a rare public appearance, said that Simbulan’s thesis should have been published soon after it was written to see what reactions it would elicit.

“They probably expected a military officer then in active service to write a propaganda piece, but, instead, we have a scholarly work that is sympathetic to the enemy,” Nemenzo said.

The author was later assigned to teach at the PMA until his early retirement due to his growing disillusionment with the military under Ferdinand Marcos.

He was later jailed for three years from 1974, prompting him to seek asylum in the United States after his release.

Simbulan also authored two earlier books, “The Modern Principilia: The Historical Evolution of the Philippine Ruling Oligarchy” in 2005 and his memoirs “Whose Side Are We On? Memoirs of a PMAer” in 2016.

He is in the United States and could not travel home for the book launch due to health reasons, however, and was represented by his son, Roland, himself a distinguished academic and book author.

The book, co-published by Pantas Publishing, is available at the Popular Bookstore in Tomas Morato, Quezon City. #

AFP-PNP group calls for Duterte’s ouster

A group claiming to be officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) called for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte for “betrayal of public trust.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM) said they condemn and hold Duterte accountable for alleged gross crimes that violate national sovereignty and democratic rights of the people.

“We pledge to work for the withdrawal of military and police support for Duterte and his administration in conjunction with mass mobilization of the Filipino people in millions to manifest their demand for the resignation or ouster of Duterte and his administration,” the group’s spokesperson Antonio Bonifacio said.

PADEM said Duterte and his administration committed the following crimes:

  1. Treating the AFP and the PNP as these were his private armies and practising favoritism and violating professional and service standards in the promotion and assignment of officers;
  2. Corrupting the PNP and the AFP with a system of monetary awards for the extrajudicial killing of alleged illegal drug users and of NPA suspects;
  3. Condoning and protecting top-level illegal drug lords (including Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte) and protectors (at the level of governors and generals);
  4. Emboldening /Inciting police officers to engage in extrajudicial killings of poor suspected illegal drug users and pushers by publicly telling officers to plant evidence and by guaranteeing their pardon and promotion in case of conviction;
  5. Aggravating corruption in government and criminality through the collusion of Duterte trustees and crime syndicates;
  6. Allowing China to occupy maritime features in the West Philippine Sea and to violate Philipine sovereign rights upheld by decision of the Arbitral Tribunal in accordance with the UN Convention on he Law of the Sea;
  7. Bungling the operations in Marawi City and indiscrinately destroying lives and property through aerial bombings, artillery and mortar;
  8. Favoring certain Chinese businessmen and Duterte relatives and cronies in the award of projected infrastructure projects using loans from China;
  9. Betraying the sovereign rights of the Filipino people by making the Philippines a debt vassal of China and offering to China the oil and gas resources under the West Philippine Sea as collateral for Chinese loans; and
  10. Seeking to replace the partnership with the United States in matters of national security with an even more lopsided relationship with China and Russia.

“Upon the change of administration, we pledge to follow the principle of civilian supremacy and support a new civilian administration, in accordance with the 1987 Constitution and the rule of law,” Bonifacio said.

PADEM is the first group of disgruntled AFP and PNP personnel to form and call for Duterte’s ouster.

Unfounded and uncalled for

The AFP quickly downplayed the group and declared its full support to Duterte.

“The AFP categorically denies the recent statement issued by a group that pretends to be representative of the men and women of the AFP and the PNP that calls itself the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM),” AFP spokesperson BGen. Restituto Padilla Jr., said.

“Such issues are clearly politically motivated and a matter that the AFP does not and will not subscribe to,” he said.

Padilla warned the military will act against forces that undermine the Duterte government, especially through unconstitutional means.

“Current developments and issues that this group wishes to take advantage of is now being addressed by the Department of Justice and parties to a possible crime are now under detention. Let us respect these processes and not allow ourselves to be used by individuals or groups with vested interests,” he said.

“The AFP appeals to the public and the various political groups to respect the apolitical stance of the AFP and help bring unity and healing instead of fomenting divisiveness and collapse,” he added.

The AFP and the Philippine Constabulary-PNP, however, has contributed to the ouster of Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada by their withdrawal of support in 1986 and 2001, respectively.

Corrupt and cruel regime

PADEM, however, immediately earned the support of a former officer and Philippine Military Academy (PMA) professor.

“Fellow PMAers, let us join the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM),” Professor Dante Simbulan said on his Facebook account.

A member of PMA Class of 1952, Simbulan returned to his alma mater in 1965 after active field duty in the AFP.

But Simbulan left the PMA in 1967 due to “more disillusionment,” saying the PMA only produces soldiers for the status quo.

He was credited for influencing Lts. Crispin Tagamolila and Victor Corpuz who both defected to the New People’s Army and inviting Jose Maria Sison to lecture at the academy.

Strongman Ferdinand Marcos detained Simbulan for three years from 1974 without charges. In 2016, he published the book “Whose Side Are We On?”

“It is time to put an end to this (Duterte’s) corrupt and cruel regime!” Simbulan said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)