Despite his perceived lingering ties with the underground New People’s Army (NPA), Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco has little influence over President Rodrigo Duterte on the long drawn out peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines.
This was the assessment of Magdalo Party List Representative Gary Alejano during a press conference with the Bohol Media on August 18, 2018, at the Chriscentville Pension House.
When asked if the former rebel and political detainee and close ally of Duterte can exert his influence to sway the President into giving in to some demands of the rebel group, the former Oakwood mutineer said: “this time it is a different ballgame.”
According to Alejano, the peace in Davao is “superficial” in the sense that Evasco parlayed his position as the secretary general of an NPA wing in Mindanao before his arrest by reaching out to areas significantly influenced by the NPA.
Mayor Duterte and Evasco played both fields – appeasing the military and coddling known NPA leaders and their followers achieving a tenuous peace that was marred by a bombing and several killings when both Duterte and Evasco went to Malacanang.
Even now, according to Alejano, Duterte has to rely heavily on the military to ensure his hold on the presidency even as he has not burned his bridges with the left.
We should fear more communist fronts masquerading as political parties rather than the NPA since these people carry more clout in the socio-political life in the country, according to Alejano.
Whatever is left of the ties of Evasco with the leftist movement will not matter in the relationship equation of Duterte with the NPA as long as the military will rally behind the President, according to Alejano.
Alejano who is gunning for senator in the next elections was in Bohol to renew his ties with the Magdalo party especially in Calape where its chapter was recognized as the best Magdalo chapter in Bohol. (Chito M. Visarra)