BANGKOK – The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, accused on Friday his country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, who is a former student of his, of preparing the grounds for fascist dictatorship in the country.
Sison, 78, said Duterte was the worst kind of president not only for wanting to control the Supreme Court and undermining human rights but also for glorifying the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.
“I would say that Duterte is very well on the way to proclaiming a fascist dictatorship. He’s preparing for martial law and to impose a fascist dictatorship in the Philippines,” Sison told ANC channel from the Netherlands, where he is in exile.
Thanks to Duterte, the remains of Marcos were buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery in Manila on Nov. 18, 2016.
Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965-86, during which time he imposed nine years of martial law (1972-81).
Sison’s criticism came in stark contrast to opinions he expressed in February 2016, months before Duterte won the presidential election.
Sison had then said that his former Lyceum University student was the best president the Philippines could ever have.
The rapport between the teacher and student brought hopes of a solution to the Communist armed rebellion in the country, especially following the resumption of talks and the ensuing ceasefire.
However, things went downhill when the ceasefire ended in February and fresh peace talks stalled.
Last week, Duterte threatened to declare martial law in the Philippines if the Communist insurgents brought violence to the streets.
“Do not commit the mistake. I am not trying to scare you. Do not commit the mistake of staging a rebellion, where there is fighting in the streets. I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody,” Duterte had said.
The conflict between the state forces and the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the country’s Communist Party – which according to estimates has 6,000 regular fighters – has gone on for nearly half a century and caused at least 30,000 deaths.