MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos flock to the polls on May 9 to exercise their right to vote, the threat of civil war continues to loom over the country.
Supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte have expressed sentiments that they will revolt should “dayaan” or cheating in the elections happen.
One Duterte supporter posted the threat on his wall, and included an attachment of a video allegedly from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) voicing the same sentiment.
Many have construed this as a threat towards violence and disruption of the peace should Duterte lose in the elections: “It doesn’t matter if it they prove that cheating has taken place or not. If he loses, his supporters are already conditioning the people to think that cheating has taken place,” says one citizen who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s supporters are not the only ones who have issued a call to violence. In a video published on February 13, 2016 from the Inquirer’s YouTube channel, National Democratic Front political consultant Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison admitted that should Duterte assume the presidency, the armed wing of the NDF – the National People’s Army or the NPA, would have “one foot in Malacañang.”
“Sinabi niya ‘Pag ako [Duterte] naging presidente, isang paa ng NPA nasa Malacanang – ready for coalition,” Sison said in the interview. In a related video published on May 4 on the ABS-CBN Youtube channel, Sison likewise voiced the same threats should the mayor lose in the elections: “Magkaisa at kakalabanin ang mandaraya. Dahil hindi sila magtatagal sa kapangyarihan Hindi nila pwede lokohin ang masa.” (“Be united in fighting the cheaters. They will not stay long in power. They cannot fool the masses.”
In the same video, Duterte’s spokesperson Peter Lavina has admitted that there is a deep relationship between the founder of the Philippine Communist Party of the Philippines and Duterte. The latter was a student of Sison at Lyceum in the past.
A third video circulating the web shows Sison and Duterte in intimate talks over Skype, with the latter saying that he will follow the pattern of “the socialism form of government.” He further declared: “I am a socialist and I belong to the left.”