Thursday, April 12, 2007

Right Idea, Wrong Target

Even before the report of the probe about the political killings comes out, its findings will be anything but new information that the people do not know already. As always, it will be inconclusive, unable to determine the person or persons responsible. At most, the report will imply that the killings might be the work of some rogue members of the military and the usual convenient suspects, the NPA, communists. Of the two suspects, the military is the more plausible perpetrator because they have the means. But if the military is involved, it is not because they were rogue or acting on their own. Someone gave them the order to kill those people in cold-blood. On the other hand, the so-called ‘leftists’ as the perpetrators, though possible, is highly unlikely. They can barely collect their so-called ‘revolutionary tax’ from the common people. The last thing they want to do is become the enemy of the masses by openly killing fellow communists as their way of ‘cleansing their ranks of traitors’ as one senator suggested. This would be a very bad scenario for them. But regardless of who are being accused, the report will not determine the people responsible. The bottom line is the report will be a total sham. Palabas lang. The report will be done just for the Philippines to show that they are taking actions to stop the killings. It is also a way to pacify the UN inspectors or the other international human rights groups especially those that are involved in providing aid. They can challenge the validity of the report but they cannot enforce any kind of action to actually stop the killings. Therefore at the end, nothing will change. The killings will continue.

The obvious people responsible for the killings regardless of the motives are the politicians because they have the power and the means. They are the only ones that will benefit if the opposition, regardless of what they are, is eliminated. The opposition can be communists, as claimed by many politicians, or just members of other political parties. But the most important thing for the politicians in power is for the opposition to be eliminated.

The obvious perpetrators of these heinous crimes are members of the military. They definitely have the freedom and can move unobtrusively anywhere to commit these cold-blooded murders. But as a few politicians hinted in the media (what a surprise!), they are not rogue, operating on their own to get rid the country of ‘communists’. Surprisingly, this old tactic from the Marcos playbook that he often used to manipulate the US to give him more money to stop the ‘red tide’ or the ‘domino effect’ is still being used. They were ordered.

First of all, most Filipinos do not have initiative (as evident in the government), walang kusa na loob and will not do anything without anything in return (bayanihan is a myth – walang utang na loob is evoked if not there is no immediate reciprocation such as abot, lagay, bigay, o pa-inom as yelled by Manny Pacquiao after beating Morales, “Magpapa-inom ako!”). In other words, they cannot formulate to act on their own and if they do, it is in return for something. Nothing is free especially because of the current conditions. Therefore, it is highly unlikely for the military to act on its own without getting ordered and also getting some kind of incentive. For the politicians to suggest that the killings are perpetrated by ‘leftists’ against other ‘leftists’ as a way of cleansing their ranks of traitors is totally absurd. The systematic nature of the way the ‘oppositions’ are being eliminated strongly suggests a collusion between politicians and members of the military. Again, this is not something new. This is an old tactic from the Marcos era, before and during martial law. Naging mga bata at tuta na naman ng mga trapo ang military.

If the military is the actual triggerman, then the politicians are the ones calling the shots. They have tasted the power, and they like it. They want things to remain the same, status quo, for them. They would like to remain in that advantageous position and having access to the national treasury. Also, it would not be surprising if they have a hand on every crooked and corrupt dealings imaginable ranging from jueteng kickbacks or payoffs and other illegal forms of gambling, drug production and supply, land-grabbing, illegal logging and mining, prostitution, money-laundering, etc. If they are not directly involved, they have family members and close friends that they allow to conduct all the illegal activities. Anyone who tries to break the system is either bought off (there is certainly more than enough money to throw around) or killed as in the case of all the so-called leftists and leftist-sympathizers (they think that labeling those people they want killed as ‘leftist’ make the murders justifiable). Illegal and immoral activities continue as the politicians and their cronies efficiently plunder the country under the guise of a democratic state. No one will stop them as they extend the corruption to others that can be bought. And those with no price are killed. Sandiganbayan is a joke. It will never find anyone guilty for graft or corruption, let alone, give a life-in-prison or death sentence (capital punishment should be an option) if they ever find someone guilty. It is another useless bureaucratic institution. Palabas lang.

Because the tactics used are similar to that during the Marcos regime, it appears that the perpetrators are those that had ties with Marcos or least had come from that era. After all the years that had passed, they have managed to remain are in power or have a hand in government. They are the main reason why the Philippines cannot improve. They are the most corrupt, the most ruthless, and the most opportunistic parasites that are sucking the life out of the country. They will be defiant of any proposed changes and they will be strongly opposed to external intervention, sounding nationalistic as if they truly care about the country when all they care about is holding on to power. They might even sound like alarmist, already blaming the international community for the possibility that the conditions in the Philippines will worsen if an external organization like the UN or Amnesty International meddles with the affairs of the Philippines. It is already worse for most of the country. What they mean when they say that conditions will ‘worsen’ is theirs, not the country’s. The only condition they are concerned is theirs not the people of the Philippines or the country. They want to preserve their access to the riches of the country as they live a sheltered life of luxury in their haciendas and gated communities. The high walls and fences and their personal armies and bodyguards keep the suffering and struggling masses outside.

There is an old adage, “If you do what you have always done, then you will get what you have always gotten”. This seems to be the best way to describe the continuing vicious cycle of corruption that is perpetuating the suffering of the Philippines. With the upcoming senatorial election, the people will elect or will be forced to elect incompetent candidates that will not accomplish anything for the country but rob the national treasury instead. At the end, the politicians will always come out winners with fat pockets and the whole country and its people are the losers. But this cycle does not have to continue, and the people of the Philippines have all the ingredients to prevent such cycle from occurring.

Before the Philippines became a colony, apos and datus as heads of families and clans settled disputes with other clans with violent, bloody wars until peace is reached. Offenses within their own clans were settled quickly and even-handedly. Those found guilty of committing truly heinous crimes were beheaded. There was justice. Unlike today, known criminals get to enjoy the loot that they stole from the country as they await trial. They continue to live the life of luxury in the comforts of their multi-million houses. House arrest is a joke! This is another level of injustice. But there is a quick solution to this, a Filipino practice called salvaging. This particular practice unique to the Filipinos should not be limited as a form of reprisal. It should also be used as a form of punishment especially for the known and suspected corrupt government officials for their crimes against the country and its citizens. The Philippines will be better off with one less corrupt politician. The sooner they are eliminated, the sooner the country will get better from that cancer.

Drastic conditions require drastic measures. But the drastic measures that the Filipinos have taken were directed against the wrong targets or not the right course of action. At this point, the initial measures would have to be conducted simultaneously by the military, the leftists (NPAs and/or rebels), and the common citizens. First, the military needs to cleanse their ranks especially the high ranking officials that have become tuta at bata of the trapos. They need to bring back the honor and respect in the military. Most graduates of the PMA did not become officers and pledge allegiance to the Philippines so they can be mga tuta at bata to do all the dirty jobs for the politicians. They need to remember that their role is to defend the country and the Constitution from foreign and domestic enemies including fellow soldiers that have become the instrument of the trapos. Bribery and payoffs have become so common that they have undermined the military chain of command, stripping them of honor and prestige. Money is now ruling the military. But individual military personnel can take actions to stop this. Known and suspected officials must be eliminated quickly and simultaneously. This is the only way. Dissension in the ranks and demanding for change as tried by RAM do not work. It is open for betrayal especially when money rules the military. Many will change sides (as seen with the politicians now) betraying those that are true to the cause. This is exactly what happened with RAM. And at the end nothing happened. But if the corrupt high ranking officers are eliminated simultaneously, there will be immediate fear within the ranks and those remaining high ranking officers will think twice of trying to follow the footsteps of those eliminated. This is the most effective way of cleansing the ranks, from top to bottom. There will be bribes and money offered. Take the money and bribes but eliminate those that offer the bribe. First of all, the act of offering bribes shows that that person is corrupt. Therefore, by eliminating the person that offered the bribe, that corrupt person is eliminated, the person offered the bribe does not have to follow whatever the order that he is being bribed for, and other people that are considering offering bribes will be dissuaded. This will make bribery ineffective and will eventually end the practice.

While the military is cleansing their ranks, the rebels need to eliminate the trapos and the oppressive privileged elite. First of all, if the rebels are asking the common citizens, ang masa, for revolutionary tax, they need to stop that practice. The common citizens are poor. The rebels should be taking from the hacienderos and the extremely wealthy families that do not pay any tax at all. They should be the ones targeted. Second, if the rebels are targeting the local government officials, they need to stop that practice also because they are the wrong targets. Eliminating a barangay captain does not do anything for the Philippines. It has no impact. They need to aim for bigger targets, high-profile. Since the rebels will be blamed by the politicians for every killing anyway, the rebels need to start eliminating those politicians, their accusers. The rebels need to start eliminating all the mayors of big cities, governors, and all congressmen because they serve no purpose. Mga magnanakaw lang lahat sila. Again once the politicians have become not untouchables anymore, fear should spread quickly in the upper echelon of the government. Also, those that will replace them will be forced to do the right thing and be that righteous and honest civil servant for the Philippines. This is the only way to uproot and remove the corruption that is growing and thriving in the government.

The people of the Philippines need to show their elected leaders that there are job-related hazards and consequences for being incompetent and for failing to do their job as a civil servant. It might take some time for surviving government officials to start doing the right things for the country because of the deeply rooted corruption in the culture. But as long as the masses keep eliminating those that are corrupt and incompetent, competent and righteous (by nature or from the fear of getting eliminated) leaders will eventually replace them. They should be made an example for those aspiring to become a government official to dissuade the ones that are incompetent and immoral.

Yes, a revolution will be bloody and gruesome, but only for the privileged elite and/or the corrupt politicians. Do not wait for the other (pretending to care about the people) elected government officials to police their ranks and root out the corruption. The common people of the Philippines must take it upon themselves to root them out and get justice. The politicians and the military have started killing to preserve their corrupt ways. The common people need to start killing those corrupt individuals to kill corruption. The time in now and the place is anywhere.

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