February 24, 2017, 2:51 am
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From prisoners to vigilantes

PRESIDENT Duterte should stick to the vision of a country finally free of the insurgency problem that has pitted his own people against each other. 

The mayor from Mindanao should not be carried away often by his impulse that characterized his war on drugs and criminality. 

 Indeed if one like him focuses on the ultimate goal of the peace efforts, no obstacle is insurmountable even if it will cost him his life or honor which he has regularly declared he is ready to offer to his country.

Indeed, he should be prepared to break down barriers to a historical and enduring peace but, which he does not seem to realize, can only be possible through real reconciliation. Forty-seven years of conflict cannot be fixed overnight through mere presidential whims, threats and reprisals. The Philippine military intelligence and propaganda experts have been the first to stand in his way, and he knows it. Their strong but muted opposition to the release of 400 political prisoners has gone out with the almost apparent warning that Duterte stands to lose its support and loyalty if and when he frees them. It seemed irregular that because the issue of military deployment in hundreds of barangays was not settled yet on the negotiating table that the AFP would preempt it. He was misled into the familiar scenario of the military physically exercising authority over all parts of this country including the beleaguered areas. Duterte’s dilemma of a politically-unrestrained military was of his own making - pampering the AFP with abundant material needs without promoting the deeper and humane means to attain reconciliation from the top onto the ground level of both the AFP and the NPAs. 

The President has failed to appreciate the cultural roots of the fading ideological resistance that have now been reduced to the social and personal. He is playing into the hands of a disoriented military dedicated in carrying on an endless war by keeping their foes as hostile victims of criminal injustice to rot in jails. Defense officials were absolutely right when they expressed the dreaded prospect of political prisoners being released only to turn into overnight vigilantes targetting their former tormentors in the military and the police. And it was this “freedom” from a presidential amnesty in 1986 that triggered the almost daily bloodbath in the streets of Metro Manila and other cities. Cory Aquino then also failed to address the real concerns of a reactivated urban insurgency as she was tied up reversing the excesses of the Marcos rule. External and imperialist forces have also stood in the forefront against any significant peace agreement principally to thwart the leftists in government from turning the current government into a properous socialist regime. Cory then was forced to dismantle her leftist-dominated Cabinet after a series of military coups partly engineered by the CIA and the Pentagon.

The cost of losing three soldiers to brutal NPA cadres in Bukidnon should not be as costly as losing the pursuit for enduring peace. Duterte should learn a thing or two from then King Hussein of Jordan who brushed aside two assasination attempts by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to make peace with the vicious outlawed group. He also pulled back his forces from further offensives against Israel, Jordan’s archenemy, to make friends with them.


The reported bagman of Jack Lam who wanted to disappear for good from this country and put everything behind him is back in town. There was probably a deal with the government that did not work out, and now it seems Wally Sombero has assured himself that wherever he is coming from will provide ironclad immunity against his nemesis and accusers in this “ordeal” even if there was no way to believe he is gong to come clean at the Senate hearing. It seems pretty scandalous that he should portray himself as the “hero” in this bribery scandal. People like Wally Sombero had been utterly convinced that shelling out P100 million regularly to high government officials was commonplace in a country where corruption is so remarkably rampant that they knew they would not be found out or made accountable for their criminal act. Even if the “transaction” was concluded under the glare of CCTV! Denying he knew Jack Lam has put him on a non-hazardous course to protect Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. Until now,

Aguirre has not sufficiently explained his remarks, “bahala na kayo” to the two Immigration officials who took P50 million from Sombero and kept the money.
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