POSTSCRIPT / August 18, 2009 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Why does Malacanang ignore MILF atrocities?

PALACE PET: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it ambushed government troops, killing 23 soldiers in the carnage, because they intruded into MILF territory as they rushed to reinforce their comrades fighting Abu Sayyaf bandits on Basilan.

What was the Strong Republic’s reaction to this arrogant explanation? The administration simply told its top military commander in the area to file a protest with a committee overseeing a supposed ceasefire with the MILF.

This is what happens when weak-kneed politicians interfere with combat field operations in progress.

The soldiers and their commanders knew what to do – they would have pursued their MILF attackers not only to get even but also to wipe them out for good.

But the troops were held back and told to concentrate instead on the Abu Sayyaf. While President Arroyo was screaming total annihilation against the Abu Sayyaf, she was unusually quiet about the MILF atrocities.

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TERRITORY: What the armed forces need is a Commander-in-Chief who is resolute and fiercely loyal to the men and to the Republic they are individually and collectively sworn to serve.

The MILF, which is avowedly secessionist and not truly representative of the peace-loving majority of Filipino Muslims, should not be allowed to claim, hold and control any square foot of territory.

The Philippine republic is one and indivisible. No other flag should fly over it in assertion of a separate sovereign power.

To allow a secessionist band or a liberation front to hold an area is to concede to it one vital element (territory) of a state as it moves to gain other elements on its way to becoming a separate state in the eyes of the world.

To allow the MILF its own defined territory within the Republic is treason, an impeachable high crime.

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LOST COMMAND: Last Wednesday’s ambush was not the first time the MILF had committed such treachery. (It was treacherous because the MILF was told in advance — a stupid thing to do! — that soldiers would be passing that way.)

Remember when MILF fighters under two commanders were sowing death and destruction among helpless villagers while their leaders were hypnotizing government negotiators about their alleged peaceful intentions?

The MILF excuse for the rampage then was that it could not rein in their field commanders who resented the non-signing of the Memorandum of Agreement giving them ancestral lands that would serve as core of their dream Bangsamoro.

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NO O.I.C. STATUS: If MILF leaders have no control over their men (although that is more likely a mere excuse), why does the government talk to them?

The real reason why MILF negotiators cannot control the people under them is because the self-styled leaders are not authentic representatives of the Muslim population. By what formal process were they selected and installed as spokesman?

In fact, the powerful Organization of Islamic Conference itself does not recognize the MILF. The OIC has accorded an observer’s status not to the MILF but to the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) founded by Nur Misuari.

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FOREIGN HAND: It is shocking that the government panel did not bother to ask the MILF agents negotiating on ancestral lands and related basic issues to present credentials proving they speak for the sector they claim to represent.

In an apparent case of perfidy, Malacanang simply took the word of the White House that the MILF is now the right party to deal with as far as Muslim issues in Mindanao are concerned.

Now we do not know who is running this country, or who is plotting the fate of the oil-rich Minsupala area in the South that has suddenly gained strategic value in the eyes of Uncle Sam.

Sorry, folks, this is what happens when a foreign power has the goods on a nation’s leaders, including those hiding illicit wealth abroad.

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WHY NO CASE?: What ever happened to our oversight institutions and our eagle-eyed constitutionalists. How come no case has been filed against Executive officials who were caught poised to sign an agreement giving away part of our patrimony?

Many people have gone to jail for lesser crimes.

Are we slow to punish this apparent, or call it attempted, treason because we know in the back of our minds that the officials pushing a sellout might have been goaded by foreign pressure that was just too much to resist?

Is succumbing to foreign pressure mitigating or aggravating?

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STAYING POWER: After Postscript assailed the two-month old traffic standstill at the Sta. Ines-MacArthur Hiway junction that was torn-up near the market in Mabalacat, Pampanga, work gangs and traffic teams descended on the project site.

Mayor Boking Morales assured this itinerant cabalen that work on that vital link to the North Luzon Expressway would be completed by the end of the month and the market junction reopened to traffic first week of September.

He said quick-drying cement was now being used, and more workers and traffic officers thrown into the area that NLEx motorists have been avoiding like an Abu Sayyaf ambush site. (But be careful with that quick-dry cement — I have seen some roads using it later developing cracks.)

Btw, Boking should be in the Guinness book for his staying power. The limit for local officials is three consecutive terms (nine years), but he has been mayor for four consecutive terms and is good for two more terms. Guess who his lawyer is.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 18, 2009)

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