Militarizing local government

The Proclamation Order (No. 1959) issued by Malacanang to justify military takeover in Maguindanao ought to start to bastardize democracy as we know it. What compelling need is there if the appropriate legal remedies have already been resorted to with the arrest and detention of a member of the Ampatuan said to have a direct hand on this gruesome massacre or mass murder and the subsequent discovery of firearms and ammunitions in caches enough to sustain one brigade for war?

Apparently, the whole democratic process is being ‘short-circuited’ to remove all forms of possible legal impediments to the arrest of each and every suspected participant in the murder of the Mangudadatus and a significant number of members of the Fourth Estate (at least 27 journalists who were no canon fodder in the end) and some from non-government organizations. Thus, the military and the police are on a kind of ‘wild goose chase’ trying to arrest more individuals – on mere thought or suspicion – and to recover more firearms and ammunitions wherever they may be found. In the words, all legal niceties may have to be swept aside for the sake of seeming expediency.

Is there rebellion to quell? Signs are clear that there are none, truth to tell.

Mainstream media created so much hype to the extent that it projected the mass murder as an affront to press freedom or a direct assault to journalists or media practitioners that led observers to think that RP is not next or even worst that Iraq when the truth of the matter is that the journalists have just become a ‘collateral damage’ when the Ampatuans allegedly masterminded a crime against the Mangudadatus. In short, what began as perceptibly old rivalry between clashing political families or clans simply escalated into what is now known as the Maguindadano massacre.

The quick paradigm shift (courtesy of Thomas Kuhn) from a state of emergency to a state of martial law escapes comprehension.

Instead, the more discerning minds must inquire into the following:

1. Why are there firearms and ammunitions in those quantities found or alleged to have been found from the premised thought to belong or owned by the Ampatuans with markings that clearly show that they must have been supplied by the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Department of National Defense?
2. How can these caches of firearms, ammunitions and explosives to include in fact armored personnel carriers go into the hands of the Ampatuans allegedly if these were not actually permitted by higher authorities in the whole military hierarchy?
3. What could have been the money value of all those firearms, ordnance and explosives if they may have been otherwise stolen, smuggled out, or pirated from military stock or armories?
4. Are there officers in both the military and the police in cahoots with the Ampatuans and must be responsible for having constructed this myth that the political clan of the Ampatuans are a pack of ‘sacred cows’, ‘untouchables’ and the political warlords in the area?
5. How do the intelligence reports in the last few days before the day of unfortunate incident really read from all sources from the intelligence community since such incident could have been averted or prevented if such reports have been validated on the ground?

With martial law in Maguindanao for the next 60 days, where will that place a healthy democratic concept of public administration in local governance setting? How would that kind of proclamation order inflict upon the framework of local government in the Philippines? Is the local government now the military, now the police? Are they the duly elected representatives of the people in a democracy? Is the central government now Malacanang and the decentralized government now the combined AFP/PNP?

What means ‘this martial array if it’s purpose be not to lead us to submission’ (Patrick Henry)?

Come to think of it, this rather dubious if not evil thought pattern from the officialdom is highly dangerous. It rather illustrates the demonstrable incapacity of this present dispensation to run the affairs of state in the most democratic way possible. Fact is, by this proclamation, it sends ‘shark-attacks effect’ on our political beach. Which province should come next? Who will be next casualty in a rootedly political rivalries prevailed in any given area? More questions need be asked and we shall find grossly distorted answers which now constitute the official orthodoxy of the one in Malacanang.

Will anyone please tell me who are now the cabeza de barangay, alkalde, alkalde mayors, jefe de pueblo, gobernadorcillo? Better still, will someone please tell us what period in history are we presently in? Has local authority of local governments been now supplanted by the uniformed and armed service? How indeed will a situation work where the transfer of responsibility goes from the local government to the military? Ask me if this is not a work in madness.