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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Appalling

The grisly election-related massacre in Maguindanao province should signal the end of Gloria and Lakas-Kampi, once and for all. By coddling warlords that gave her the critical votes during the last Presidential elections against FPJ- where FPJ got an unbelievable zero in three Maguindanao towns!- the cost of doing this has exploded right at her face: 57 bodies as of the latest count. According to Vice Mayor Mangudadatu: “My wife’s private parts were slashed four times, after which they fired a bullet into it. They speared both of her eyes, shot both her breasts, cut off her feet, fired into her mouth. I could not begin to describe the manner by which they treated her." Gloria, gumalaw ka naman. The perpetrators are savage beasts, there's just no excuse for it. Incredibly, through her spokesperson Loreli Fajardo, she said that the conflict is between the warring families and that the Palace cannot be bothered by it, and that even if the Ampatuans were proven to have committed the crime, there was no reason for Gloria to sever its friendship with them. Grabe! (And then Gloria says something totally different from her official spokesperson, grrrrrr).

Sure, the Ampatuans have lorded it over the Cotabato provinces (four provinces were carved out of Cotabato: Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, North Cotabato and South Cotabato) since time immemorial, they probably think that the province is theirs by birthright. Ergo, anybody who stands in the way ought to be eliminated. And probably because of the impending danger, and his request for security escort turned down by both the police and military- all of whom are in cahoots with the warlord- Mangudadatu had to send a convoy consisting mostly of women led by his wife, sisters, human rights lawyers and journalists to file his candidacy for governorship, thinking that they wouldn't be harmed this way. He was bloody mistaken. Ampaturan Jr led the carnage himself, as witnesses would recount, not sparing even motorists who simply happened to be passing the area. The fact that a government-owned backhoe was used to supposedly bury everybody, including the vehicles used in the convoy is strong evidence that the powers-that-be are behind this crime.

It was really during Gloria's term when para-military groups, civilian auxiliaries, or simply militias, were activated, supposedly to aid in the fight against the MILF separatist rebels. Unfortunately, this only allowed the Ampatuans to utilize them as their own private army, equipped and fully funded by the government! This explains why the Ampatuans themselves are at war with the MILF- they stand to gain nothing from supporting the MILF and everything by standing behind Gloria: budget allocations from the national government and their own private army!

I'm not saying of course, that it's Gloria's fault. After all, political dynasties and warring clans are not new to Muslim Mindanao. The Dimaporos of Lanao were the warlords du jour in the 70's and 80's and the Pendatuns decades before that. It's just that in her quest for power, she has allowed warlords like the Ampatuans to flourish and rule with impunity, as long as they deliver the votes. What's worse is that these people live like kings- this warlord reportedly has a P150million mansion in Davao City. Since Maguindanao is among the poorest provinces in the Philippines, there's virtually zero investments in the area because people are just too scared to do business, residents simply rely on small trade and subsistence farming to survive. The P569 million annual budget allocation from the National Government obviously goes straight to the Amapatuans, and perhaps for the maintenance of their 400+-strong private army. Maguindanao and other hot spots are always ground zero for dagdag-bawas activities of the administration. She just didn't expect them to be bloody murderous. It has now come back to haunt her.

Notice how quick Gibo Teodoro "expelled" the Ampatuans from Lakas Kampi. His latest survey ratings have not gone above 2%, the last thing he needs right now is being seen as an ally of the murderous warlords. And in a really revolting move, Gibo accompanied Mangudadatu in filing his certificate for candidacy. Grabeh, gusto pang magpa pogi out of this tragedy!

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