Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Mindanao Massacre

The Maguindanao Massacre should unanimously be condemned by society, considering the brutality, ruthlessness and wanton disregard for human life that was displayed by the perpetrators. Killings brought about by political motivation is already despicable by itself, but to include innocent bystanders, especially journalists, is something that is beyond diabolical.

This act of violence, occurring at the beginning of the election season, may be a preview to the level of violence that may happen once the heat of the campaign period begins. With the culture of clan wars and blood debts prevailing in that part of the country, it is not unlikely that retaliatory attacks will occur between warring sides unless the government steps in to enforce the law and ensure peace and order.

At this early stage, the government should step in, with the imposition of localized emergency rule a feasible option. Now is the time for the PNP, assisted by the AFP, to implement its mandate of controlling the proliferation of illegal firearms and dismantle private armed groups. The PNP is now aggressively pursuing individuals with expired firearms licenses, but perhaps it is about time it flexes its muscles against the real threats to peace and order and political stability, the private armies.

As an additional measure, the government should show that there is justice in this country by actively pursuing the perpetrators and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law. The enforcement of laws against illegal firearms and private armed groups in response to this act of violence should also be accompanied with efforts to bring justice to the victims. It is one way to lessen the need for the side of the victims to take matters in their own hands and resort to street justice.

In light of the impact of this massacre in the political scenario in Maguindanao and probably even the entire ARMM, the government should now consider holding the elections in that part of the country earlier than the rest. It has been the experience in past elections that the national polls are effected by what goes on in that portion of Mindanao.

If elections were held there earlier, the PNP and AFP will be able to focus on what appears to be the hottest of the election hotspots during the elections. The level of violence at this early stage is almost sure to escalate. Early polls will also ensure that the conduct and result of the national elections will be insulated from whatever happens in that region.

Lastly, this election related event in Mindanao further boosts the basis for my proposal way back in April of this year that the term of Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Victor Ibrado be extended until the end of President Arroyo’s term. If General Ibrado’s term as AFP Chief of Staff is not extended, he will retire on March 10, 2010, which is right in the middle of the campaign period. With the tense situation in Mindanao, it might be best for the AFP not to change leaders midstream.


http:\\jcc34.wordpress.com said...

collectively condemned.. unanimously condemned is a contradiction.. the adjective ushers in a feeling of elation and approval on act that is despicable.

efren said...

Thank you congressman for sharing your thoughts about the massacre and its effects this coming elections.

Well, having spent a considerable time in that part of our country, i think the unwanton killings are bound to happen. It was a ticking bomb. The law and order in that particular area (Maguindanao and if may add: Lanao Del Sur, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat) is somewhat superficial. Private armies (some in the guise of CAFGU)are common to powerful families, loose firearms is widespread and there is that generation long Rido and MNLF/MNLF issue. Complicating the situation is that the police in the area is directly or indirectly related to the feuding families or to the rebel groups. The military more often than not stays away from the law enforcement issue except when it involves the MILF.

The incident should serve as a wakeup call for all those who are in the authorities and in congress to take a serious look at the situation. As the election period unfolds, more killings are bound to happen. A lot of cases has happened before but they were not sensationalized as reporting and filing of cases is not common in seeking justice in that area.

Ruffy Biazon said...


Thanks for your comment. Your suggestion to use "collectively" is acceptable.

I do wish to point out, however, that "unanimously" is also acceptable, considering the definition of unanimous:

(From Dictionary.com):
1. of one mind; in complete agreement; agreed.
2. characterized by or showing complete agreement: a unanimous vote.

(From Merriam-Webster)
1 : being of one mind : agreeing
2 : formed with or indicating unanimity : having the agreement and consent of all

From the above definitions, "unanimous" as applied in the article I wrote, simply means "everyone is in agreement that the massacre should be condemned".

Unanimous may refer to an approval or disapproval of a certain thing or issue, hence, during our voting in congress, there is such a thing as unanimous consent or unanimous dissent.

The feeling of unanimous being one of elation or approval is misplaced.