The Mindanao martial law brouhaha – Part II

 

Senators Drilon, Pangilinan, Hontiveros and Aquino.

I need to have a sequel of the subject as it continues to boggle my mind why the idea of extending martial law for another year in Mindanao bothers some senators, the likes of Franklin Drilon, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV.

Though I did not mention their names as critics when I wrote Part I, for the simple reason that nothing much was said yet, I find it necessary to name them in Part II as I find their argument against the extension shallow, if not melodramatic.

Practically all of them were justifying their objection based on the legalistic side of the issue, like there must be and actual rebellion and not just a mere threat to overthrow the government, before effecting a longer extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Above all there was this collective fear that because the CPP-NPA has been declared by President Duterte as terrorist group, that martial law could expand beyond Mindanao and swamp over the whole country since the rebels are all over.

“If we were to believe that the government is intent on ending the war against the NPA, which operates not only in Mindanao but all over the country, then it is entirely possible that their operations would have to be extended beyond Mindanao to meet that objective,” Drilon said.

What I find equally exaggerated is the statement coming from a group of human rights lawyers, saying, that “extending martial law in Mindanao for another year seems to be part of a grand design or intent to eventually place the entire country under virtual military rule and completely transform the nation into a police state.”

In the same manner that, in the first part, I called baloney the CHR and the political critics of President Duterte who said that the one year extension asked is a prelude to a “strongman rule”, I am also calling the same the opinion of the human rights lawyers.

What I am just saying here is that after what we saw happened to Marawi City, do we still have to doubt the motives behind the Islamic extremists causing havoc in the country and trying to occupy a territory to be called their own, especially if foreign funds are being funneled for them?

Can we not just be realistic and pragmatic, like the approach taken by the Duterte administration, that what happened in Marawi could happen again because killing leaders does not necessarily mean that the hard-core organization they are espousing will cease operating.

Why should they be allowed to grow roots and influence others to join them and become larger and formidable before going against them?

The spirit of martial law is to fight lawlessness before wide conflagration of terror could exist and because President Duterte, a no-nonsense leader, knows what he wants for the country, I don’t think the rule of martial law will be abused either by the military or the police, the way it was abused during the regime of the dictator Marcos.

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Our future calls for a revolutionary government

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

By the word itself, revolutionary tends to connote a fearful meaning and consequence. It does because it refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.

But haven’t we Filipinos been participants of revolutions against oppression and despotism in the past that made us who we are today and led us to where we are now?

The People Power uprising in 1986 or what is better known as the EDSA Revolution ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Corazon Aquino to the leadership of the country.

As soon as Aquino assumed the presidency she figured out the only way she could quell pockets of resistance/defiance from Marcos supporters and be able to govern peacefully and effectively  was to establish a revolutionary government.

To effect radical change she used her revolutionary powers to sacked all elected officials, abolished Congress and tore up the 1973 constitution in favor of a provisional charter.

She handpicked a commission to write a new constitution, which was ratified by plebiscite in 1987 and paved the way for elections.

Thus Aquino was revered and highly acclaimed by many Filipinos as a heroine of democracy.

While democracy continues to be vibrant in this country, our progress as a nation, however, has been stymied by poor and ineffective leadership that followed Aquino, from Ramos to Estrada to Arroyo and another Aquino.

Seeing the same traditional politicians at the helm doing the same traditional governance, the Filipino people finally made a revolutionary decision to elect in 2016 an unconventional, an out-of-the-box- politician who made a name as a stern, no-nonsense politician and mayor of Davao City by making an unsafe, corrupt and problematic place into an admirable and highly livable one.

The result was an overwhelming victory prized him by the Filipino people to do what he is capable of doing just so the country could move forward and the lives of the people uplifted.  His election was a revolution in itself. Who would have thought that in our present political and electoral system a candidate without an organization and money could triumphed over those having funds and a well oiled political machinery?

Sociologist Randy David, a professor at the University of the Philippines, could never have been more right when, reflecting on the results of the 2016 elections, he said: “When candidate Duterte declared in the presidential debates that he represented the nation’s last card (huling baraha), he instantly resonated with them. They did not have to ask what the game was for which he was their last card. It was enough that he offered them something to which they could cling for hope.”

Thus, despite the negative review Duterte has been getting from the political opposition, the Catholic Church and human rights advocates on his war on drugs and the alleged extrajudicial killings resulting from it, the satisfaction and trust ratings of the president remains high. It only shows the encouragement and the confidence the people has on the president upon showing the political will not seen in other presidents before him in effecting the changes he promised the people during the campaign.

Senator Antonio Trillanes

It is not helping Duterte run the country that, while understanding the enormity of the problem the country is facing relative to drugs, corruption, criminality and narco-politics on one hand , and resolving the much dreaded Marawi crisis from spilling over in other parts of Mindanao on the other hand, still there are people the likes of Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk who wants nothing but attention by spewing diatribes at Duterte and his family simply because their own political agenda cannot prosper under Duterte’s presidency.

From the very beginning Duterte has not been coy in his intention and willingness to establish a revolutionary government if he sees that there are groups of people, especially those led by politicians, opposed to his rule and who do not want him to succeed. This was a warning he wanted all and sundry to take seriously especially if their motivation was to destabilize his government.

Yet Trillanes has the stupidity and shortsightedness in saying: : “I firmly believe that Duterte’s latest threat … is not only meant to intimidate those opposing his administration, but also to divert the attention from the various controversies in which his family is involved. It is also his only way to escape accountability for his crimes by perpetuating himself in power.”

A revolutionary government is not about Duterte perpetuating himself in power. Clearly it is an assurance that with Duterte remaining in power, the country and the Filipino people will have the changes promised them for a better future ahead as he is seen to be the only one capable of making it happen.

 

Trillanes’ show of idiocy

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes

I find it truly nothing but a show of idiocy Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s absence at the Independence Day rites at Luneta park.

Trillanes described Duterte as ‘tactless’ for skipping the celebration just because the latter lacked sleep, he said, and uttering further the following statement: “You will see in this instance that he does not care, that he does not give any value to this very important event in our country’s history. What’s to lose by waking up early?”

There is nothing to lose actually, Sen. Trillanes, if Duterte’s body clock is similar to yours.

And when I talk about body clock I am not referring simply to the most basic daily rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle.

Perhaps you are not aware, but research has been finding that the body’s clock is responsible for more than just sleep and wakefulness. Other systems, like hunger, mental alertness, and mood, stress, heart function, and immunity also operate on a daily rhythm.

This is where the stark difference lies between you and Duterte because circumstances surrounding your daily lives at this very instant are distinct and divergent.

What I am simply saying is that you, Mr. Senator, is not burdened by the awesome responsibility that President Duterte is carrying on his shoulder in the light of the Marawi City siege by the Maute-led militant group who have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, including dozens from neighboring countries and the Middle East, which was the reason why martial law was declared in Mindanao.

It is not the siege alone per se, but it is the onerous responsibility of facing the consequences of lives lost defending and liberating the beleaguered city from the clutches of evil, not to mention the onus of rebuilding the displaced lives and infrastructure of the city when it is all over.

While you, Mr. Senator, is still harping the lawfulness of the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, the fact is that you are living an easy life and very well far from the predicament that President Duterte is in today.

Thus, I find it absurd and appalling that Trillanes continues to have the temerity to publicly say that he is frustrated and disappointed that he is the nation’s president.

Thank goodness you belong to the trivial few who dislike Duterte because the vital many in this country also think and believe that your presumptuous and arrogant attitude is a big disservice to the country and the Filipino people.

That is the long and short of it.

Government forces alone should liberate Marawi City

 

President Rodrigo Duterte, while on official visit to Russia, imposed martial law for 60 days on the island of Mindanao on May 23 following the Maute attack in Marawi City.

As we already know the declaration of martial law is a constitutional power that the president has when he sees the country or a part of it being subjugated with impunity by extremists or terrorists, the likes of what was seen and reported in Marawi.

The imposition of martial law is said to be premised upon the principle that “the state has a right to defend itself” and rests on the proposition that “every state possesses the power of self-preservation.”

Martial law has been characterized as “the public right of self-defense against a danger to the order or the existence of the state.”

Lest I be misunderstood, I am not arguing whether or not Duterte is right in declaring martial law in Mindanao. What he is and where he is, there is no doubt that he knows better than most of us especially when he says that the militant Maute group’s incursion in Marawi City is fueled by drug money.

Whether it is drug money or funds coming from the foreign terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the fact alone that the ISIS inspired Maute group was able to terrorize Marawi causing the residents to fled hastily to Iligan city and elsewhere only means that they have the wherewithal to establish their own caliphate or Islamic State in the area.

That being the case, it becomes even more justifiable that martial has been declared so that government forces can wage war against them as mandated and, with God’s help, will be able to liberate Marawi from the evil doings of this group.

You will probably notice that I invoked the intervention of the Divine Providence.

I did for the simple reason that it is what gives our government forces the fortitude to fight for what is right, just and lawful, and what is best for the Filipino people in addition to what they know about fighting skills.

Thus, I am averse to the idea that President Duterte made a clarion call to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the CPP’s New People’s Army (NPA) to join the government in fighting the militant Maute group in Marawi City.

It is bad enough that all of them are thorns on the side of government, which to this day continue to be problematic as when they started rebelling and worshiping their own respective ideology.

Making these dissident groups part and parcel of our loyal government forces, who have pledged allegiance to the Filipino flag, for the sake of patriotism, is not only precarious but a very unsound military strategy.

Truly, it will only complicate matters.

At best it will put government at a disadvantaged, at worst the country will lose face.

 

Duterte and martial law

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people are resorting to evil machinations against President Rodrigo Duterte purporting that, because of what is going on relative to the latter’s continuing bloody war on drugs, bomb threats from extremists and the recent military offensive undertaken by the government against the Maute group in Lanao del Sur, who are trying to impress the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by terrorizing residents and flying  its most recognizable black and white flag adorned with Arabic lettering, he will declare martial law.

I presume the opposition, the opportunists and the unscrupulous simply does not want Duterte to succeed.

Why would Duterte do it when everything is under control and he gets things done accordingly and the way he sees fit with the support not only of majority of Filipinos , but most specifically by the business sector and by the  members of Congress?

By support I mean that most Filipinos trust him and his courage and political will simply stands out for he is seen to be doing the things he wants done because it is for the good of every Filipino, regardless of belief and ideology, and for the interest of the country.

Actually one cannot separate Duterte from martial law or to distinguish Duterte apart from martial law for what he is doing in this country today, imposing his will, is a moderate or a measured martial law.

The iron-fist rule and the no-nonsense governance Duterte was practicing in Davao, that turned the big city into a safe and livable place, is simply being replicated in a much bigger scale now and if he is succeeding, where no other past presidents achieved in less than a year of his assumption to office, one can only give credit to the person for who he is and his conviction of what and how a president should serve the Filipino people.

The good thing is that Duterte knows his law and the prohibitions and consequences of declaring martial law, though I seriously believed that he erred in his indifference and not giving a damn to the feelings and sentiments of the martial law victims still crying for justice to this day when he granted the Marcoses permission to have the dictator buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

Thus, Duterte was right when he chided the scaremongers, saying, he did not need martial law despite ongoing security threats in Mindanao.

“Martial law for what? Killing people? I would rather empower every mayor,” said Duterte, adding that it would work as long as local executives didn’t abuse their power.

That is leadership and his faith in the Filipino people that things can be done lawfully when everyone is incorruptible.

 

Miriam blames Enrile on Zamboanga siege

 

Political enemies Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Political enemies, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” –Abraham Lincoln

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has always been an enigma to me.

Ever since Enrile, as Defense Chief, staged that fake ambush attack that paved the way for the declaration of Martial Law by his benefactor, the strongman, Ferdinand Marcos, only to turn his back at him when his life was seemingly in danger for plotting a coup and joined the People Power crowd of Cory Aquino, who later prized him with the coveted position of Secretary of National Defense, only to abandon the head of state again, made me wonder who Enrile really is.

It has always been a feeling of distrust and admiration – now you like him, then, you don’t.

One of the last admirable deeds he performed was leading the senate, as an impeachment court, in ousting former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. I wrote highly of him and mentioned his handling of the court as his crowning glory (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/enriles-fitting-career-ending/).

But ever since he has been having a verbal tussle with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago my positive perception of him gradually diminished negatively.

It kept me thinking again on whether or not the real Enrile was a good, but misunderstood person, or Machiavellian and without scruples even to this day when he is nearing 90 years old.

The very controversial PDAF or pork barrel scam, said to be masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles, where Enrile, together with Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr, is facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman for allegedly conniving with Napoles in siphoning billions of pesos of taxpayers money to private pockets, including his, has convinced me now that Enrile is skillful and competent, but also a corrupt person.

I am not saying that Santiago is herself an exemplar of good virtues, but she is known for being outspoken in describing black as black, white as white and no shades of grays in between.

Now, what seems to confirm further Enrile’s alleged wickedness is the latest fulmination of Miriam against Enrile accusing the latter of being behind the armed conflict launched by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of Nur Misuari in Zamboanga City.

It was reported that in an interview over the radio, Miriam said intelligence reports from her “own circle of sources” showed that around P40 million was spent to finance the rebel group’s attacks in Zamboanga.

She said she is certain that the supposed money came from the pockets of Enrile himself, who is being linked to the multi-billion pork barrel scam.

She claimed that Enrile did this to divert the attention of the public from his involvement in the anomaly.

What bothers me about all these is that Enrile has remained silent, which can be considered also as being out of his character since he normally answers back serious accusation like this, and especially if it has something to do with his integrity.

Enrile’s silence does not augur well with the people’s apprehensions in wanting to know more about the scandalous PDAF scam as well as wanting to ensure that Nur Misuari and his MNLF faction, or what remains of it, are apprehended for the atrocities they have wantonly committed in Zamboanga and for their rebellious acts against the government.

Does his silence means a show of his guilt or has it made him more of a coward in his ripe age?

 

The price of being famous or infamous

General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

It has been reported that an Egyptian farmer in Qena province has been arrested for putting the name of the country’s military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and an army cap on his donkey, while he rode it through town.

The farmer, Omar Abul-Magd, must have known better that there is a long standing taboo against criticizing the military and parading the donkey as al-Sisi just worsened the farmer’s case as he was clearly humiliating not only Egypt’s highest ranking military officer, but also one considered to be the most powerful man in the country today.

General Sisi ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 3 and now acts as vice prime minister and defense minister as well as army chief.

He is popular among the large segment of Egyptian society that called for Mursi’s ouster and his portrait is displayed in shop windows, in cars and on walls in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The reason why I am writing about this is because, like many Filipinos, the Egyptian farmer could have just named his donkey al-Sisi or General or Abdel, without necessarily parading the animal, and still have the satisfaction and pleasure of getting back at him by cussing or uttering profanities at the hard-headed animal, like, goddamn you General!, or fuck you Abdel!, or “putang ina mo al-Sisi ka!”

Naming pets, whatever they are, after personalities, famous or infamous, are always a silly, funny and joyful matching occasion. Somehow you expect your pets to be similar in nature or temperament with whoever your ‘idol’ is in mind at any given event.

Once, we had a dog named Gringo that grew up together with my kids in Zamboanga. It reminded me of the intrepid Gringo Honasan in his younger days. He always emerged the alpha dog even when we brought him to Cebu.

We had a monkey we christened Meldy, after Imelda Marcos. Boy, was she just like the image she was acting – showy and gibberish – especially that she was being pampered.

Lately, we had a parrot, Miriam, who started to be noisy already, mimicking all kinds of sounds. I was hoping I would finally say I found my own Santiago, but unfortunately, she flew away.

I have come across dogs that were given the names Marcos, Fabian, bin Laden, Gloria and other old notorious figures in the past.

There was even a pet pig that possessed a well formed hind legs (hams), looking from behind, that the owner called her J.Lo!

With the PDAF scam haunting us for a long time, I will not be surprised if some pets will soon be having names, like, Janet or Napoles, or Lorna, or Benhur, or Tanda, or Pogi, or Sexy, or Bong, or Jinggoy, or Johnny!

After the Zamboanga siege, I have no doubts that the name Nur, or Misuari, or Habier, or Malik will also be popular among pets.

That is the price of being famous or infamous.