Peace talks with the communists ended with both sides accusing the other of ceasefire violations.
In the first place it was a ceasefire wrongly defined. On RAM’s advice Cory declared “a ceasefire in place,” so you knew which side violated it by crossing to the other side of the territorial divide. Never mind, the RAM said, if this wording bolstered the communist claim to possess liberated zones.
The government today explains the failure of the peace talks by saying that the people it was talking to had no command and control of the militants on the ground. Indeed, decades in prison had cut off any influence they exercised. But that is the essence of the communist cell structure. Once arrested, you are cut off. If Lenin was in prison, the Bolshevik revolution would not have happened if he talked peace with the czar and made the undertaking to bring along his comrades still at large. He would be able to talk only for himself.
In one of the enlightening talks held weekly by an exclusive club of Museum Volunteers, the lecturer explained that the communist leadership stayed inclined, even after the defeat of Japan, to keep up the United Front with the United States and the Commonwealth government. The US army’s first order of business after the liberation of our country was the mass killing of communist militants—the only effective resistance to the Japanese. Still the communist leadership insisted on keeping up the front.
It was the militants on the ground that finally went to war with the U.S. and its Philippine puppet government. But while the bottom defied the top the surrender—some say defection / of the communist leadership–nonetheless ended the first communist insurgency under Magsaysay. By the way, the CIA role there is overrated.
When a movement loses its public face it becomes faceless. Government can dismiss and destroy it as a nuisance, no longer a political force and just a criminal element.
The big mistake in the recent talks was the failure to free all political prisoners unconditionally at the start. Otherwise you are holding peace talks with hostages, and that is shabby from the start.
Government knew it would be talking to people whose long detention had lost them command and control on the ground.
Cory’s first act was to release all political prisoners. Ramos’s first act: to legalize the Communist Party. No conditions. After that, whatever the results of the talks, the government already achieved moral ascendancy over the other side.
The aim of peace talks is peace. But over and above that it is to establish which side is in the right. And that is the side that walked the extra mile.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.