Phantom PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 March 2017 12:04




It is said that the first rebel was Spartacus. Crassus, a Roman, crushed the rebel movement and crucified Spartacus and his valiant gladiators.

In the hinterlands of Basilan and the jungles of Sulu are marauders, cold-blooded killers and kidnappers calling themselves Abu Sayyaf. They appear in the dead of the night like carnivorous mammals to snatch their prey, spiteful of their evil deeds and difficult to confront by the military unless the rules of engagement are changed. Yes, civilian lives will be lost in bloody skirmishes, but that’s the high price to pay if this band of cutthroats is to be erased from the face of Mindanao.

As things stand, the Abus are no match for the strength of our armed forces and the police. Finding them is difficult because they change postures – civilians by day, terrorists by night. Come to think of it, military intelligence doesn’t know their exact strength and who command them. They attack and retreat and evade the military force. But wherever they are, whichever place they hide, they will be found, eventually. Reading the newspapers, the military is systematically weakening the Abus. What will probably stall the charge is if the Abus use their 31 hostages of mixed nationalities as human shield.

From the ‘50s onward, terrorist movements have become fiercer and barbaric. It used to be the Black September Movement, kidnappers of Latin America and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Now it’s ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. The Abus know the local conditions as against the operational knowledge of the military’s field officers and combat troops. The pre-condition, therefore, is to apply the Red doctrine — win the hearts and minds of the civilians so that they can point where the enemy is, without which no effective military operation can be achieved.

El Presidente’s mission, before he can attain peace for all, is to prevent the terrorists from dictating the destiny of Mindanao. The bold reality of Mindanao in terms of achieving peace is the obliteration of the rebels and terrorists. The Abus have no historic or cultural aim, but they are driving Mindanao with intimidation. This phantom must come to an end.

El Presidente is fighting three fronts: illegal drugs, terrorism and corruption. He is bitterly attacked by human rights activists and the catholic church for allegedly allowing extrajudicial killings. He is loudly accused by politicians not belonging to his adopted party, the PDP-Laban, of persecuting those openly and boldly opposed to him and his towering regime. That’s why Leila de Lima is in jail. The other day, he fired one of his good friends, Peter Tiu Laviña, as head of the National Irrigation Administration for alleged corruption. Many more will follow de Lima to prison. El Presidente’s fans accuse his detractors as having no right to jeer at one of the greatest men ever catapulted to the presidency. At the rate his men are running his communications and information office, heads will roll at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, a columnist in one of the national periodicals, should take hid of Florentino Dauz, writing about Nick Joaquin, aka Quijano de Manila. Dauz commented on Joaquin’s short stories, the characters that he created and his failure to communicate: “Why do we fault this man of authentic merits? We fault him not because he betrayed our cause or expanded our fears, but because he failed to communicate the sentiments of this country. He is a vorticist and an escapist. Whenever we are confronted with actual historic rupture, he never fails to point to us the past, the walls of Intramuros, the glory of the Inquisition of Sevilla and the plains of Spain.”

To Andanar: “Everyday we could have different stories, different issues. More important is we keep our friends and we move forward. Tomorrow is going to be another issue.” And may I add — another friend in trouble.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 March 2017 12:06