Repression Plain and Simple

There could be no greater contradiction than experiencing or witnessing in our midst the militarization of an exercise that is supposed to reflect the sovereign will of the people.

Posted by Bulatlat

MALAYBALAY CITY – There could be no greater contradiction than experiencing or witnessing in our midst the militarization of an exercise that is supposed to reflect the sovereign will of the people. And it is happening to the extent of making a mockery of the judicial system in addition to the stupid justifications of government and military officials who are behind the move to subvert the outcome of the May 14 elections.

Consider the continued killings of activists, the heightened counterinsurgency operations in rural areas, the conspicuous deployment of soldiers in Manila’s slums, the appearance of hooded ‘witnesses’ seeking the disqualification of Leftist part-list groups, and the order to arrest Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo on dubious grounds. The motives and timing of the military’s newfound role as peace officers and of the issuance of the arrest warrant for Ocampo can be anything than incidental.

Reports that the soldiers are coercing residents into not supporting the militant groups reveal the real purpose of the military’s presence in the slums. This is plain and simple violation of the rule that the armed forces should remain neutral in elections. Yet here they are, strongly campaigning against specific groups whose members have fallen victims to extra-judicial executions carried out by agents of the state.

In more ideal times, their superiors would have apologized and bowed their heads in sheer embarrassment. That has ceased to be the case. Their superiors have admitted that the militarization of Manila’s slums is part of counterinsurgency operations. They also claimed they are there to explain (most likely at gunpoint) to the people that the government is doing something about their plight. As jaded observers would put it, tell that to the Marines.

These are not a mere knee-jerk response to the political fallout caused by the visit to the country of Philip Alston, a United Nations rapporteur who probed the systematic executions of activists and concluded that security forces were behind those crimes. These are conscious efforts of the Arroyo administration to throw the monkey wrench into the campaign of Left-wing party-list groups, a scenario that fits into the overall scheme of eliminating the Left from the political equation.

At no time since the Marcos dictatorship has the country seen such state of brazenness whose central driving force is one person’s – or family’s – political survival. Just imagine the tangle of lies and inconsistencies that Palace and military officials have to spin to justify the presence of troops in Manila’s urban poor communities where the Left expects
to get an avalanche of votes.

Imagine too the improbable ignorance of that judge in Leyte who issued the warrant for Ocampo. The crimes alleged against the congressman et al happened more than 20 years ago, which means that the prescription period has lapsed. Moreover, he and co-accused Jose Maria Sison were still in prison at the time. Ocampo escaped in May 1985 after voting in a National Press Club election, while Sison was only released after the 1986 Edsa Revolt that toppled Marcos. Did the judge merely experience sudden fits of amnesia? If not, the Supreme Court should send him back to law school.

Forget about the prosecutor who handled the investigation of the case. He and his superior, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, deserve each other. His feigned ignorance will at least please another Gonzales (Norberto), that snotty National Security Adviser who is yet to come to terms with the fact that his own PDSP has no chances of winning a seat in Congress despite or because of his ties to Malacañang and the military. MindaNews(

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno received in 1987 the Jose W. Diokno Award for winning in a national editorial writing contest sponsored by Ang Pahayagang Malaya and the family of the late senator.)

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