Democracy cannot coexist alongside communism in the same country. This is why we had Martial Law and during that period”political prisoners” whose ideology if allowed free rein is like the innocent looking apple partaken by the first man and woman who thought, what’s the worst that could happen to us? Loss of innocence as it was- minds are awakened to possibilities other than what is the established good and to knowledge besides the truth.
Democracy has to be defended, and in order to do that citizens need to know and understand that free speech in the context of democracy doesn’t include the freedom to threaten democracy with seditious passions; that freedoms come with (great) responsibilities; that free speech is really responsible speech. Citizens need to discern between truly democratic movements and those that peddle democracy as something people can achieve just by holding placards, chanting and dancing on the streets, or hosting gigs for peace- one off far in between deals basically.
The truth is, democracy is hard to do. Dieting and maintaining a great bod come to mind- you have to commit and be committed to hit the gym (or, jog) everyday at 6 AM. You have to sweat it. You have to cook and eat healthy. It asks for a lifestyle change. An everyday commitment to routine, discipline, self motivation, getting up, to not giving up. Why go through all that hardship? Because it’s all worth it.
The images of communists, with their raised fists even after long years in prison, and the mileage that media continue to give them, allocating to them their front pages, dishonor the Republic. The Philippines is not a Communist country so why should it be happy to see these images? Moreover they say they are fighting for “the people”, but why do they say this? The people don’t recognize them.
After release of their top leaders it’s inevitable that they now demand release of all their comrades. But what will the country gain in exchange? A sincere stop to all killings done in the name of ideology? to extortion? to destabilization plots? to psychological hostaging of rural communities? a public apology to the Filipino nation? What if they defaulted? The Republic is right to set the terms and not the other way around ie. them demanding from the Republic. And the nation is entitled to know.
The case of Mandela’s South Africa is different from our struggle with communism. Apartheid is clearly oppression of the natives by foreign-imposed decisions based on outsider-perspectives of good and bad for that country. Mandela’s opposition to that dysfunctional established order is justified. In our case, and I reiterate, the Philippines is already a democracy, though far from ideal but still a democracy, and the State will defend democracy from those who want to establish an altogether different order.