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Tony Abaya writes also on the "NO-EL" (N PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Bobby Reyes   
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 05:56
Tony Abaya writes also on the "NO-EL" (No Elections) Strategy of the Arroyo Administration: Why Martial Law? By Antonio C. Abaya Written on Dec. 07, 2009 For the Standard Today, December 08 issue (Snipped) . . . Martial law seems to be the joint idea of President Arroyo and Acting Defense Secretary Gonzales. Which rings alarm bells all over the place. It was Gonzales, as National Security Adviser, who proposed on at least two public occasions in the past eight months the formation of a "transition revolutionary government" that will take over the reins of government, with the knowledge and consent of key sectors of society, including the Churches, the military and police, the business community, civil society, etc, with the active presence and participation of President Arroyo. With such a transition revolutionary government in place, President Arroyo would remain in power beyond her presidential term, which ends on June 30, 2010. In other words, No-El, or no elections in 2010. Gonzales also envisaged that under this transition revolutionary government, Congress would push through Charter Change to shift to parliamentary, thus paving the way for Gloria Arroyo to become Prime Minister for Life. Gloria Forever! Would this devilish plot succeed? That remains to be seen.. Under the 1987 Constitution, the president can impose martial law in case of invasion or rebellion, but for only 60 days, and it has to be approved by a joint session of Congress. While the PaLaKa coalition controls the political prostitutes in the Lower House, the Senate, which includes several presidential and vice-presidential contenders, would vigorously object to it. (Snipped . . .) To read the column of Mr. Abaya in its entirety, please continue ... Why Martial Law? By Antonio C. Abaya Written on Dec. 07, 2009 Malacanang's reaction to the Nov. 23 massacre in Maguindanao was at first slow and non-confrontational towards members of the Ampatuan political dynasty, who seem to have been the principal suspects for the grisly crime. Presidential spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo's statement that "I don't think the President's friendship with the Ampatuans will be severed…Just because they are in this situation doesn't mean we will turn our backs on them…" (Nov. 27, Inquirer) sounded like she was assuring the Ampatuan political clan of President Arroyo's undying loyalty to them, whatever their guilt or innocence may be in this multiple murder (57 dead) incident. But public outrage, both here and abroad, has compelled Malacanang to change its softly-softly approach to the Ampatuans. Gilbert Teodoro, presidential candidate and chairman of the PaLaKa ruling coalition, expelled the most high-ranking Ampatuans from the party, although it can be argued that PaLaKa needs the Ampatuans more than the Ampatuans need PaLaKa. President Arroyo gave Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, whose office has jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police (PNP), authority to exercise administrative control over the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), with powers to suspend or replace local government officials, as well as military and police officers, found implicated in the massacre. (Nov. 28, Inquirer). Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales told the Inquirer (Dec. 1) that martial law need not be imposed in Maguindanao as government efforts to maintain the peace in the province were sufficient. "As of now, I think that whatever the government is doing is really effective….let' s see how the situation develops…" But in the Manila Standard Today of the same date, Gonzales seems to be talking from another corner of his mouth: "We are open to all options, including martial law, for as long as these are within the ambit of the 1987 Constitution. We really need to take more drastic steps to really get the perpetrators of the massacre behind bars….I know some people have a negative perception of martial law, , but it will be more horrible if the masterminds of the massacre are able to get away because they are using our democratic processes and we did not do anything when our Constitution provides for an option…." Armed with testimonies from witnesses, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP, asked the Department of Justice to file multiple murder cases (25, so far) against Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and four other members of his clan, as well as other officials of the local government. (Dec. 02, Inquirer). While Ampatuan Jr is thrown into a detention cell of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila, the clan patriarch, Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., and seven other members of his clan are indicted for their participation in the massacre, while 1,092 members of local police units are put under investigation. (Dec. 03, Inquirer). A huge cache of arms is unearthed in an empty lot a few hundred meters from the Ampatuan mansion in Sharif Aguak town, capital of Maguindanao Province. Some of the weapons are said to bear the markings "Department of National Defense Arsenal", which means they are government-issue weapons. (Dec. 05, Inquirer). Fully armed troops and police have also descended on the various mansions of the Ampatuans in search of more weapons and other incriminating evidence. Assuming these arms were not planted as evidence against the Ampatuans, it can only mean that whoever possessed (and buried) these weapons had acquired them illegally. This is not surprising. About three or four years ago, a European journalist who had the temerity to snoop around these dangerous places told me that one of his findings was that Philippine military personnel were selling their weapons to outlaws and private armies At about the same time that these weapons caches were discovered, President Arroyo imposed martial law on Maguindanao Province, apparently without informing her point man in the field, DILG Secretary Puno, for the stated purpose of "arresting the Ampatuans.". "I don't know about that, unless they have done something that I don't know," said Puno, referring to the declaration of martial law. (Dec 05, Inquirer). But as the above sequence of events shows, the government, acting through DILG Sec. Puno, has already done much of that. The suspected mastermind, Andal Ampatuan Jr. has been held in the NBI detention cell in Manila since Dec 01, together with four of his relatives. They have been, or are about to be, charged with 25 (so far) counts of murder. Without recourse to martial law. The clan patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr., governor of the province, and seven other clan members have been indicted for complicity in the massacre, and 1,092 members of the local police are under investigation for possible involvement in the multiple murders. Without recourse to martial law. And all this was accomplished by Puno under his authority as civilian administrator of the province under emergency rule, without recourse to martial law. So why martial law at all? Martial law seems to be the joint idea of President Arroyo and Acting Defense Secretary Gonzales. Which rings alarm bells all over the place. It was Gonzales, as National Security Adviser, who proposed on at least two public occasions in the past eight months the formation of a "transition revolutionary government" that will take over the reins of government, with the knowledge and consent of key sectors of society, including the Churches, the military and police, the business community, civil society, etc, with the active presence and participation of President Arroyo. With such a transition revolutionary government in place, President Arroyo would remain in power beyond her presidential term, which ends on June 30, 2010. In other words, No-El, or no elections in 2010. Gonzales also envisaged that under this transition revolutionary government, Congress would push through Charter Change to shift to parliamentary, thus paving the way for Gloria Arroyo to become Prime Minister for Life. Gloria Forever! Would this devilish plot succeed? That remains to be seen.. Under the 1987 Constitution, the president can impose martial law in case of invasion or rebellion, but for only 60 days, and it has to be approved by a joint session of Congress. While the PaLaKa coalition controls the political prostitutes in the Lower House, the Senate, which includes several presidential and vice-presidential contenders, would vigorously object to it. But, of course, any president who declares martial law is not likely to pay any attention to these constitutional niceties. He or she would go for broke and assume dictatorial powers, and to hell with the Senate and all who object to martial law. Except that the Great Black Father in Washington DC would likely squash the Gonzales Plan right from the start. It is significant that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney has issued a statement the other day that the US government would closely monitor martial law in Maguindanao and that the 2010 elections should take place as scheduled. The last time the US government issued a stern warning about these elections was last July when CIA Director Leon Panetta made a sudden flying visit to Manila to put his foot down on Oplan August Moon, under which PMA Class of 1978 was supposedly going to stage a military coup on August 06, to keep President Arroyo – an honorary member of Class '78 - in power beyond June 30, 2010. President Arroyo's visit to the White House, originally scheduled to take place "end of 2009" was suddenly moved up to end of July, almost certainly also to warn her not to proceed with Oplan August Moon. There is no reason to believe that official Washington has become more benign towards her since. So why martial law at this time and under these constraints, when there is clearly no rebellion and no invasion? Senator Rodolfo Biazon suspects that martial law is a way out for the Ampatuans. By charging them with rebellion, the Arroyo government gives them – her former political allies - wiggle room to wiggle out of multiple murders, which is legally absorbed by the higher crime of rebellion. They can thus be acquitted of rebellion, which clearly does not and did not exist. Proof: the Ampatuans never raised the flag of rebellion, did not attack any offices of the provincial or national government, did not declare an independent state, did not foment street demos against the government in Manila. They are merely feudal warlords out to protect their turf against interlopers like the Mangudadatus. Senator Nene Pimentel raised the possibility that martial was declared to enable the Arroyos to retrieve incriminating ballot boxes, possibly hidden in the Ampatuan mansions, from the 2004 and 2007 elections, which would prove massive cheating for her and her party in Maguindanao by the Ampatuans who have acquired notoriety as vote wholesalers. Maybe they will find Lintang Bedol's head in one of the ballot boxes. Whatever the real reason for its declaration, the case for martial law is inherently weak. The Supreme Court will likely rule against it. By now President Arroyo must be wishing she had not imposed it. ***** Reactions to tonyabaya@gmail. com or tony_abaya@yahoo. com. Other articles in www.tapatt.net and in acabaya.blogspot. com.
 

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