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US ARMMs in Mindanao DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/10/2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

US ARMMs in Mindanao

Herman Tiu Laurel
Most people believe the Senate was arm-twisted by Malacañang into approving the resolution postponing the forthcoming elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Malacañang clearly sent out its gofers to crawl into the Senate to undercut the prevalent sentiment opposed to it — prevalent because of how unpopular the suspiciously arbitrary Palace action is with the people of ARMM and the entire nation.

A majority of senators are aware of how iffy the issue’s legality is if brought before the Supreme Court (SC). Yet, the alluring promises of Malacañang proved too hard to resist, especially for those up for reelection in the 2013 midterm polls. If the SC throws it out eventually, and there’s a very high chance that it will, those pro-postponement senators would have simply gotten the good will of the Palace (for whatever reason) before getting off the hook — sort of like having their cake and eating it, too.

My personal expectation of an anti-postponement Senate stand, contrary to the vote that came out, is shared by many other people. One Senate Web site, quoting a major newspaper’s report, in fact, narrated that “a local leader in Maguindanao has warned that those opposed to holding the ARMM elections on Aug. 8 might resort to ‘desperate measures,’ as he welcomed the intensified police and military efforts at keeping the peace in the region… (adding that) ‘With many senators opposing the two bills proposing the postponement of the ARMM election, there may be a sinister effort to paint a picture of lawlessness in the ARMM to force the postponement on imagined security concerns.’”

It seems that “sinister effort” wasn’t even needed as the senators already had a change of heart owing to the added promises and pressures from Malacañang.

Proponents of the ARMM polls postponement have failed miserably in making their case. Two reasons often cited are the “failure” of the ARMM experiment and the need to reform it. To wit, they cite as precedents two previous ARMM poll postponements, which former Comelec Commissioner Mehol Sadain nonetheless debunked in a position paper citing the need for the ARMM electorate to first ratify any act of deferment.

From both the practical and the socio-economic perspectives, there is absolutely no doubt that the ARMM electorate will not approve of this. One doesn’t even have to engage in a debate as elections are one of the most cherished and meaningful (read: profitable) public events for Filipinos, equal to or even more significant than local fiestas — more so in the ARMM. The insistence of Malacañang to have this very unpopular move of holding the ARMM polls in abeyance is hurting instead of endearing it to the public. So why?

Former Quezon City Mayor Jun Simon has a deeper view of this drama. Currently busy in the region’s electoral campaign, he says this is all a US operation, with BS Aquino III obliging as the point man. The US’ reason for this, Simon explains, is that elected ARMM leaders pose a problem for the approval of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD).

It is well known that the current ARMM politicians are rivals to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for leadership of the Muslim communities in Mindanao. Aside from elected ARMM leaders having both the political mandate and ascendancy to assert their independence in defending their turf as participants in the sovereign Republic of the Philippines, the US knows that with appointed ARMM officials beholden to the appointing powers sitting as governors of the region, it, through the BSA III government, will wield tremendous power and leverage.

Past attempts at railroading the US-backed MoA-AD, such as the aborted 2008 signing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, proved futile as elected officials of the ARMM as well as of other areas in Mindanao set to be covered by the US-MILF plan were instrumental in leading timely objections and exposés. When they brought it up to the high court, for instance, they were successful in having the MoA-AD declared “contrary to law and the Constitution.”

There is no doubt that in the high court magistrates’ many critical decisions, they have considered political implications aside from the strictly legal issues. But no matter how decrepit some of their past decisions were, in this particular instance, the SC took the patriotic road in upholding the nation’s territorial integrity. Let’s hope that it will keep this spirit alive if and when it has to decide on the issue at hand.

In the end, all of BSA III’s perceived “political capital” gambled into this postponement game may just be wiped out entirely.

BSA III has been doing everything according to the US Embassy and the Foreign Chambers of Commerce’s globalist and neoliberal agenda — from the PPP (public-private partnership) projects to the recent step-up of his anti-China rhetoric over the South China Sea disputes. His role in this extant charade is one that is cut out for him by US Ambassador Harry Thomas ever since the latter took the haughty undiplomatic step of congratulating him for his “victory” in 2010 way before Congress declared the official winner.

The MILF, too, pines to become the ARMM of the US, as evinced by a 2003 Hashim Salamat letter to George W. Bush. Its leaders are perhaps styling themselves to become future royal families, like those in the Emirates, to get a chunk of the vast economic riches of the country’s Southern borders — all at the expense of the vast majority of Filipinos who stand to lose much of their historically and politically-mandated prime territories and vast resources to these schemers and their imperialistic puppet masters.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110610com6.html


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