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Martial Law no more in Maguindanáo

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“In view of the accomplishments of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the habeas corpus under Proclamation 1959, the Cabinet has recommended the lifting of martial law and which the President has approved,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced earlier today.

Martial Law in Maguindanáo.

Finally, they’ve come to their senses: Martial Law has been lifted in non-rebellious Maguindanáo. It’s about time. There is really no state of rebellion in the province. Plain and simple. Martial Law may have been justified, say, if it was directed against MILF aggression. But the group has been quiet for a long time. So why place the province under military rule?

When an alleged coup d’état against the Arroyo Administration last 2006 was discovered by the military, the country was placed only under a state of emergency. But Arroyo could’ve easily placed the country –or at least Metro Manila where “much of the action” was planned out– under Martial Law no matter what her critics say about it. But she didn’t. On the other hand, Arroyo could’ve just placed Maguindanáo under a state of emergency instead of declaring Martial Law. But again, she didn’t. Which makes her political behavior more confusing and suspect.

Theories have been put forward about the Maguindanáo Martial Law debacle. Many legal experts say that if the province is placed under Martial Law, then the murder raps filed against the Maguindanáo Massacre suspects, the Ampatuan clan (particularly Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr.), will be relegated to rebellion. And it is said that punishment for rebellion is surprisingly lighter compared to murder. It is likely that it was the real motive. After all, the Ampatuan clan is an Arroyo ally. Arroyo has a debt of gratitude to the embattled Muslim clan. It’s not really doubtful that they collabarated against FPJ’s electoral downfall in ARMM, particularly in Maguindanáo, during the 2004 Philippine National Elections.

Even the manner the mayor of Datu Unsay was taken in by authorities from his posh mansion in Maguindanáo to the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila was tainted with “royal preference”. If the massacre was headed by an ordinary person, the “arrest” would have been different. It could’ve been nasty. Punches and curses could’ve been thrown here and there. There could’ve even been blood. But no, that wasn’t the way it happened with the mayor. And it only reveals how unequal justice is in this country.

Afterwards, the arresting party claimed that the chopper they used to bring the primary suspect to Luzón was attacked “from the ground” by gunfire from unknown assailants. They said that Mayor Ampatuan was shocked. It was hilarious, really; nobody up to now took their claim seriously. That incident even died as soon as it was revealed to the media. And I could be the only person writing about.

Based on the foregoing, it appears that there is an obvious attempt to exonerate Mayor Ampatuan to the public by making him appear to be the victim, the downtrodden, the oppressed. But they only made him more ridiculous and hated and laughable. Nobody bought the chopper shooting incident.

You see, folks, the majority of Filipinos may have been wallowing in poverty for decades. But that doesn’t mean that the Filipino people are stupid. They have been through a lot of hell, and much of that hell was from the original Martial Law of Marcos. We’ve learned our lesson in blood.

The Filipino people are not stupid like what Arroyo and her lackeys think they are.

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