Manang Gloria our neighbor is a very skillful business woman, she can sell almost anything without leaving her home. By just ringing the phone she could easily close a deal with any prospective costumer. Nobody could turn down her offer, she always have a way of getting yes from the customer which include things like (would you believe) doing a free laundry and cooking for you if you buy laundry and kitchen products from her. Aling Gloria has perfected this simple marketing strategy over the years.
Similarly another ate Glow has perfected a political marketing strategy also since the time she has set on her foot in Malacanang. After the “Hello Garci” scandal she was able to sell her innocence to the majority of Congressmen to avoid impeachment not only once. She always have special offers like pork barrel and as claimed by her critics pocket-money and free travel abroad including a dinner in the most expensive resturants in New York. Ate Glow evaded forced eviction from Malacanang and her family have been spared from criminal charges of corruption, thanks to her marketing skills.
And this time she is tasked again to sell a not-so-popular brand of presidentiable named as Gibo. Among the other product Gibo is tailing behind the popular “horses” in the race. But with the recent development in Maguindanao where some 57 people (mostly journalists) were massacred by a group of heavily armed men supposedly connected to the Ampatuans. Gibo’s popularity rating improved when he personally went into the rescue of the Mangudadatu clan and expelled the Ampatuans from the Palaka (Partidong Lakas-Kampi-CMD) which the clan protested as unacceptable after all the favor they have done to her excellency and making her and her candidates win a landslide during the previous elections in Maguindanao.
As the public outcry (particularly from the journalists) are mounting everyday calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators (specially those who masterminded) in the brutal killings of innocent people and journalists, the president declared martial law yesterday Maguindanao to avert rebellion and to restore peace in the area. Again ate Glows salesmen are busy pedling on the importance of declaring martial law in Maguindanao which she did not do when the MILF led by a certain commander Umbra Kato went on rampage killing innocent civilians due to the scrapping of the GRP-MILF MOA on Ancestral Domain.
But ate Glow is right away refused by FVR who said declaration of martial law in Maguindanao was an overreaction and a manifestation of government’s incompetence. University of the Philippines law professor and human rights lawyer Harry Roque does not buy it saying the declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Maguindanao is without clear basis which is also seconded in similar view by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo (under the Constitution, only in cases of invasion or rebellion can the president (Arroyo) declare martial law or suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Gabriela Party-list representative Liza Maza abhors the product (Martial Law in Maguindanao) as “gravely abusing her authority.” On the other hand Akbayan Party-list representative Risa Hontiveros said that declaration of Martial Law only proves that the National Government is powerless over warlordism. Both civil society groups and the left leaning groups believe that Martial Law will always lead to the abuses of the civilians by the military and police.
If the public does not buy the declaration of Martial Law, who will? Of course ate Glow is not running out of customers. There is the Congress led by Speaker Nograles who buy the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao. “As a Mindanaoan, my personal opinion is, for a limited period of 60 days, I will support it (martial law) so that the prosecution arm of the government can move freely and get the witnesses and gather evidence without fear,”Nograles said.
As embodied in the new constitution President Arroyo must submit a report to Congress on her declaration of martial law and on the situation in Maguindanao within 48 hours. Congress then will assess her report and decide whether to revoke or not the declaration. However House Speaker Nograles said that if a joint session in Congress shall take up martial law the “ball is in the court of the House” since they can outvote the Senate” 268 Congressmen against 23 senators. There you go, ate Glow’s martial law will always be supported/sustained by the Lower House.
Kuya Eddie Ermita said, in justification for the ate Glow proclamation of martial law, that “heavily armed groups in the province of Maguindanao have established positions to resist government troops, thereby depriving the executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety.” Many wonder, despite the large volume of arms and ammunition found and confiscated by the government, there are still heavily armed groups in the province trying to disrupt law and order (but not rebellion?) in Maguindanao.
It is unfortunate that this massacre in Maguindanao took place giving the reason for the president to proclaim martial law (to enforce law and order) not to a situation of rebellion but a plain police protection work and law enforcement function against warlordism in the area. But the president has another business to deal the dismantling of all private armies in the entire country. One can not help but think, if the president will be successful in getting rid of warlordism in Maguindanao by proclaiming martial law, nothing can prevent it from proclaiming it too to all the provinces with reported presence of private armies.
Under the pretext of law and order and the protection of State’s interest the president may just declare martial law to a large part of the country and justify it as trying to prevent rebellion by running after the politicians private armies, will the public buy it?
By the way who will probably profit most in the declaration of martial law to most of the provinces and cities in the country with large concentration of armed groups, if not Gibo Teodoro then who?