In November 2017, a Partido Demokratiko Pilipino or PDP delegation headed by then Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III went to Beijing to meet with their Communist Party of China (CPC) counterpart led by Li Kequiang, a member of the party’s Politburo. There was not much detail on what was agreed during the meeting, but it did look like the mouse entered the lion’s lair. The PDP was the mouse to the CPC’s lion.
It is not often that delegates of a state’s ruling party, which the PDP was at that time, would meet with China’s ruling party. In our personality-based political system, a party does not rule. In China, the CPC does, with an iron hand. That party-to-party meeting was therefore more symbolic on our part. It showed how deep the influence of China was and still is in the administration of President Duterte.
That influence has allowed China and its ruling party to exert control on parts of the West Philippine Sea and for President Duterte to come up with a defeatist stance on the matter. The PDP is now headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who could not talk about asserting our sovereign rites over the West Philippine Sea without being bashed by pro-Duterte paid trolls.
Even Pimentel has chosen to be silent on the matter, not heeding his late father’s advice to be wary of China’s intentions. He apparently wants the party to stand solidly behind Duterte, especially now that the 2022 elections near. Can the PDP still be pro-China without getting some backlash from voters?
I don’t know what has happened to the PDP’s relation with the CPC. In our political setup, the party merely follows the direction set by the President. In China, Xi Jinping follows the dictates of the CPC or he would be kicked out. If told to jump from a building, his only response would be, “from what floor?”
By the way, the return of the pro-Duterte this early is not surprising. Because the failings of the Duterte administration are many, they are now resurrecting the “dilawan” vs. DDS (diehard Duterte supporters) divide that characterized the 2016 presidential elections. Fake news is back. And the harsh vocabulary is back.
New social media influencers have surfaced replacing the old ones. But the style has remained the same.
And it’s not only the Duterte camp that is acting up. The forces of the family of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos are also making noise in social media. Not far behind are the supporters of the political opposition. The exchange has, of course, started to heat up. I just hope that we all have learned from the lessons of 2016 and could now differentiate the fake from the real.
The forces of evil are merely repeating what worked for them in 2016. It is not difficult to discern by those with greater awareness. Like we often say, the people could not be fooled all of the time. Consider what happened in the US where the forces of evil were not given another mandate by the voters. The balance, sort of, has been restored.