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.

Advertisements

The Mindanao martial law brouhaha

 

It simply boggles my mind why critics of the administration, specifically the Commission on Human rights (CHR), are making a big brouhaha of the one year martial law extension in Mindanao being asked by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Note that Duterte, on May 23, placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law after the ISIS-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.

The initial declaration was supposed to end after 60 days, but Congress, in joint session, approved Duterte’s request to extend it until December 31.

In October, Duterte declared Marawi City free from terrorists following the killings of terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon, Omar Maute and a bunch of other Mautes and their followers.

But, does this mean that the same rebellion will not happen again, or that can it be safely said that we have seen the last of it – an ISIS-inspired insurgency that has practically left Marawi City in ruins?

Lest we forget, we are talking about Mindanao, the second largest island in the country, where it also has the largest concentration of ethnic minorities in the Philippines. Although Muslims are no longer a majority, still the Islamic culture is very evident with the presence of many mosques.

Thus, the elusive peace that government has been trying to establish with the radical Muslims in some parts of Mindanao continues to beacon Islamic extremists that want a land of their own or a caliphate, as they wanted to establish in Marawi City.

If Duterte critics have only the information or intelligence reports that the president has in his hand relative to peace and order and security matters of the nation, I don’t think they will be making a lot of noise about the one year extension of martial law the president is asking Congress to approve.

After Marawi, other places in Mindanao is still vulnerable to extremist attacks as the killing of leaders does not necessarily extinguish the life of their fanatical organization that wants nothing but to dismember a country searching for lasting peace in Mindanao.

Besides this is not an independent decision made by the Duterte alone. The latter had to act on the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The AFP had information about an ongoing recruitment by terror groups and an increasing violence from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), which has been tagged as a terror organization.

The PNP’s recommendation, meanwhile, is based on two factors: the need to address continuing threats from terrorist groups and to facilitate the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

Thus, for CHR and other political critics of President Duterte to say, therefore, that the one year extension asked is a prelude to a “strongman rule” nationwide is baloney.

Unlike the dictator Marcos, Duterte has selfless, and not selfish, interest for the country.

Trillanes and Tatad on Duterte

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes (l) and former Sen. Francisco Tatad.

I am talking of course about an incumbent senator in the person of Antonio Trillanes and a former senator represented by Francisco Tatad.

While Tatad is a bona fide ‘has been’ politician, his attitude and glaring antipathy towards President Rodrigo Duterte is no different than those of the pompous and boastful Trillanes.

Indeed both Trillanes and Tatad are peas in a pod and what makes them even more alike is the way they are perceived to be lacking in attention.

Obviously and fortunately the Filipino people are noticing the similarity of the two and I am pretty sure that Trillanes will follow the way Tatad has gone.

To this day Tatad continues to exhibit his attention deficit disorder by slamming Duterte with unsubstantiated facts like claiming for instance that the president was absent in the public eye last week because he suffered a mild stroke.

In fact Tatad even went farther, saying, that an emergency Cabinet meeting was held last week to discuss Duterte’s health.

Do you think Duterte would have surfaced just like that and travel and make speeches had he suffered a stroke, even mild at that?

If you will remember this is the same Tatad who wrote in his Manila Times column some time ago saying that Duterte had to fly to China to have his cancer affliction secretly treated.

No wonder Malacañang has chided Tatad for creating nothing but fantasies.

No matter how much noise Tatad makes, the true fact is that he could never resurrect whatever is left of his political ambitions.

As far as Trillanes is concern his own political ambition is on a nose-dive too and this is for the good of the country.

Trillanes’ latest setback is when the renowned BBC, during an interview, debunked his claims that Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, extrajudicial killings and declaration of martial law in Mindanao is ruining the country.

BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ host Stephen Sakur took exception at Trillanes’ rantings against Duterte’s handling of power when in fact Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating among Filipinos.

I could never imagine where this country could have gone had the other presidential aspirant supported by Trillanes and his ilk won instead of Duterte.

Duterte’s administration may have its shortcomings, as Trillanes claim, but the direction and boon the people are expecting in the future far outweighs the bad fortune we had been having in the past.

Like Tatad, I don’t think Trillanes will ever become a political figure again once his term of office as senator is over.

Along with his attention deficit disorder, Trillanes will self-destruct as he is starting to now.