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Friday, February 27, 2015

The Ides of March circa 20-15 in the Philippines---will we see change happen?

Unknown to many, the ancient Romans celebrated the first month in March, not in January. Usually, the first year begins at March 15, a day which went in infamy as the day when Julius Caesar was assassinated and it was likewise, the month which saw Rome transition from a Republic into an empire.

In the Philippines, we talk about March as the beginning of summer. IN other parts of the world, March signifies the month when the priests of Jupiter lead the sheep in procession along the Via sacra, where it was sacrificed.

The question really is---will March mark an historical milestone for us, Filipinos? Will all these mass actions lead to an eventual conclusion, that is, regime change?

Who will be the escape goat? In Roman tradition, whenever March approaches, there is an old man who is depicted as the "escape goat" being beaten up.

Will it be a new year to all of us, beginning in March? Let's see.


Pnoy resign! a seditious thing?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is threatening people that they will file sedition charges against people who will ask for the President's resignation.

Question---is asking the President to resign, an incendiary or seditious thing? The definition of sedition, as stated in Section 139 of the Revised Penal Code is:

Art. 139. Sedition; How committed. — The crime of sedition is committed by persons who rise publicly and tumultuously in order to attain by force, intimidation, or by other means outside of legal methods, any of the following objects:
1. To prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or the holding of any popular election;
2. To prevent the National Government, or any provincial or municipal government or any public officer thereof from freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order;
3. To inflict any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee;
4. To commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class; and
5. To despoil, for any political or social end, any person, municipality or province, or the National Government (or the Government of the United States), of all its property or any part thereof.

Is asking the President to resign an act that "inflicts" hate or revenge upon the person of the President? No. Is asking him to politely consider leaving office an act of hate or revenge? No.

I thought Pnoy and the Aquinos were the ones who "brought back democracy" in the Philippines. We are not under martial law. And I believe that Justice secretary De Lima used to be Human Rights Commission chairman under Arroyo. Then, why this?

When Pnoy was elected and he gave his first speech, he told us, the Filipino People, that we are his boss and that he was just "forced" to accept the position of president. Pony said he was a "reluctant president."

Okey, since you are just being forced to act as President, then, let us unburden you, Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino.

Resign now. Resign and allow more competent people to manage the affairs of the state before you commit another major mistake which could put everyone at risk.

I say---Pnoy is a danger to himself and to society. He should not be forced to do what he is reluctant to do, which is ACT as President.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nakalimutan na ba talaga natin ang EDSA?

Ano ba talaga ang EDSA "people power revolution"? At bakit sinasabing tila yata nakalimutan na natin ang diwa ng EDSA? Totoo bang nakalimot na tayo o baka yung iba, lalo na yaong mga namumuno sa ating gobyerno?

Kung sasabihin nating laban sa diktadurya ang EDSA revolt, naganap at natapos ito nang mapatalsik ang Pangulong Marcos. Sa dalawamput siyam na ulit mula 1986, ginugunita natin ang makasaysayang araw na ito. Pinutol natin ang diktadurya at nanumbalik ang kalayaan. Ngunit, pansinin nating maigi ang pahayag na ito---ang panunumbalik ng kalayaan.

Anong kalayaan ang naibalik? Una, ang kalayaan ng pamamahayag. Limitado noong batas militar dahil sa naturalesa o natural na kalagayan noon--siyembre batas militar ang umiiral, natural na limitado ang pamamahayag batay lamang sa gusto o nais ng nakatataas o yaong nasasa kapangyarihan.

Pansinin---nanauli nga ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag ngunit ito ay pinalitan ng pagsisikil naman sa karapatan ng mga mamamahayag. Noon bang panahon ng batas militar, ilan ang naging biktima at binusalan ang bibig? Ikumpara ito mula sa 1986 hanggang sa kasalukuyang panahon na kung kailan hindi lamang bibig ang binubusalan kundi maski buhay ay kinukuha sa atin.

Ilang libong mamamahayag na ang nagbuwis ng buhay mapanatili ang kalayaang ito. Ano ngayon ang naging pagkakaiba noong batas militar at sa kasalukuyang panahon kung ating kikilalanin na patuloy pa rin ang pagpatay at pagsikil sa pamamahayag? May nagbago ba?

Isa sa kalayaang nanumbalik ay yaong tinatawag na kalayaang pang-ekonomiya na kung saan, malayang nakapagnenegosyo ang mga tao. Tama yan sa isang kapitalistang sistema na ang basehan ng yaman ay ang kalayaan ng kapital.

Nabuksan nga natin ang ekonomiya mula sa pagsikil ng iisang grupo tungo naman sa isang kalagayang kontrolado pa rin ng iilang pamilya. Mayroong positibo at negatibong epekto ang pananauli ng kalayaan sa pagnenegosyo.

Isang malaking negatibo ay ang pag-aaportion ng ekonomiya sa mga elitistang pamilya. Pansinin--noong panahon ni Marcos, mayroong matatatag na industriya ang Pilipinas. Ngayon, anong industriya ang nasasa pagmamay-ari ng mamamayan? wala. Lahat na halos ng industriya ay ibinigay sa mga dambuhalang kumpanya o mga elitistang pamilya. Tanong--ito ba ang sinasabi nating pagbabago--ang ilagay sa balag ng alanganin ang kinabukasan ng mga mamamayan kapalit ng dominasyon sa ekonomiya ng iilang naghaharing pamilyang elitista?

Binabalik-balikan natin ang EDSA people power revolution at sa dalawamput siyam na beses, pinapaalalala sa atin ang mapait na katotohanang walang naging pagbabago kundi ang pananauli ng mga sakit at suliraning naging dahilan nga bakit lumala ang sitwasyong panlipunan na naging sanhi ng deklarasyon ng batas militar.

Nakalimutan na ba natin ang EDSA?
Dinurog na ba ng panahon ang ating pag-asa?
Ginawa na bang manhid ang ating mga mata
Napagod na ba ang ating mga paa
sa katatakbo sa
lubak-lubak na kalsada.

Nakalimutan na ba natin ang EDSA?
Isang kabanata kung saan
pinatalsik ang isang pamilya
at ipinalit ay isa ring pamilya
ngunit katanggap tanggap sa elitista.

Nakalimutan na nga ba natin ang EDSA?
nang tayo'y nagkaisa, itinaas ang mga idolo't
ideolohiya at
ipinakita ang tibay ng madla
laban sa mga tangke't sundalong
may dalang baril at batuta

Walang kulay ang linyang kita sa Roxas boulevard
kinain na ng dilim ang mga dilaw


Peace is symbiotic. Peace entails sacrifices

President Aquino, in his speech, tries to say that those who oppose the passage of the BBL into law are enemies of peace. In the mind of the president, there are only two kinds of people---those who support the BBL in its entirety and those who oppose it in its entirety.

Excuse me, Mr. President, but please recognise that there is another group of people out there--those who love peace and want a more improved and more acceptable Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Like I said in my previous entries, the BBL is being pictured as the panacea to end the Bangsamoro Question. My take is--it is not. First off, the proposed BBL is not in synchronicity with the present system of governance being implemented in the Philippines and thus, is expected to clash with it in the future. And secondly, like the ARMM, political forces with interests in Mindanao, will surely destabilize it.

The best solution to the Bangsamoro Question is its inclusion as a state in a federated Philippine governmental system. If we want it to succeed, the Bangsamoro Republic must never be considered as such, as a semi-state, but a full state under a federated system. In that way, the full resources of the federation will be utilised to help it succeed.

Under a Federal system, the National Government still holds political power and control yet recognises the unique processes of the state. There is a symbiosis between the majority and the minority states based on equal treatment.

In the present unitary government, fragmentation thru autonomy is not the way towards penultimate peace in Mindanao. There must be a whole-sale acceptance of the Bangsamoro as a unique Nation, a nation distinct from the majority, yet has the potentialities of benefiting even the national government.

If this Republic would give up something, our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters must likewise give us something in exchange.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

29 Lessons on the EDSA 1986 Revolution (a continuation to my earlier entry, " Twenty Five Lessons at EDSA")

26. Destabilize Mindanao and you prolong your stay in power.

27. When generals are being fed right, the rich allowed to oppress the poor, priests allowed to preach and journalists allowed to say what they want to say, everything is alright and is democratic.

28. Want to stay in power? Sell government assets to Big Business.

29. Blame your friend for the misjudgment you yourself did and don't express any emotions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Mamasapano Massacre Update: Pnoy knew about the clashes early morning of January 25

On the Mamasapano clash probe before the Senate, former PNP chief Alan Purisima revealed that as early as 5 plus in the morning, President Aquino already knew about the clash and possibly, and I say, possibly, Aquino was fed with wrong information.

Again, let me reiterate what the core of this issue is all about---this is about LEADERSHIP, which many people think President Aquino was unable to do during the time those SAF troopers were being gunned down by members of the MILF.

Now, what administration allies at the Senate wanted to state is that how can Aquino dispense leadership when he was fed wrong information?

Let me be straight---this Senate probe is being used to shield the President from direct responsibility. The question remained--did the President exercised leadership during those critical moments?

No.

Even if the President was fed wrong information, as alleged by administration ally Senator Chiz Escudero, he should have used his enormous powers to know the real score. What was important was he knew that a clash was already on-going and the proper judgment was exert all efforts to extricate those SAF troopers from the battlefield. Never mind if there was a ceasefire since the President himself, when he agreed on this operation and when those troopers were sent already violated it by his very action.

This is what the people wanted the President to admit and stop defending the MILF. The MILF can defend for themselves.

Monday, February 23, 2015

On the purported "coup" against Pnoy--Another Cojuangco for a Cojuangco?

Coup plotters are getting some flak not just from allies of the Aquino administration but from legitimate groups who really want to correct what is happening so far in government.

Peping Cojuangco and his wife, Tingting, are at it again, organising and letting one of their men, Pastor Boy Saycon do the rounds of military camps and liaising with other groups, some of them, well-meaning ones, to organise what they call " people power"

This "people power" is predicated on the belief that the people will rise up and demand for the ouster of President Aquino over the obvious flaw committed on the Mamasapano operation.

Peping and Tingting wants people power--to oust their nephew, Benign Simeon Cojuangco Aquino from power.

Obviously, Mr. Peping and his wife Tingting have personal reasons for doing so. Remember how their nephew marginalised them shortly after the 2010 presidential elections? And remember how Aquino reportedly dressed Pastor Boy Saycon down over the reported large-scale smuggling of sugar off Subic a few months unto the Aquino administration?

These personalities have been marginalized and I have to agree with Senator Trillanes IV that what these people want are another jab at power.

How would you trust someone who actually caused more harm than good when he was appointed head of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)? During Peping's reign, graft and corruption at the PSC flourished. National Sports Associations (NSA) were asked to give to the PSC their ad sponsorships and do you know that Peping and some of his men ask for "commissions"?

Pony may have bungled Mamasapano and is possibly liable both criminally and otherwise, but the thought of him being replaced by his uncle who now stands accused of graft and corruption is something despicable to say the least.

It's totally different in the case of Norberto Gonzales. Gonzales is what you call an ideologue, someone who is motivated to act based on his principles. Gonzales is your typical destabilizer, someone likes a fundamentalist who will do everything in his power just to realise his ideal for the country.

For all the flak he's been getting from Trillanes, I treat Gonzales differently because he is pursuing an ideological agenda which for me, is admirable. During his term as defense secretary and NICA chief, there is no report of him wasting the people's monies or him getting himself involved in graft and corruption. As I described him during Arroyo's time, he is your typical Rasputin who is motivated not by the pursuit of power nor riches, but of honour.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Post-Aquino scenarios: Five Possible Outcomes

These are possible post-Aquino scenarios being floated about by certain groups:

1. President Aquino succumbs to pressure and decides to unilaterally suspend peace talks and the BBL. He assumes or admits responsibility and subjects himself to a truth commission. This commission will investigate and provide their results months from now by which, it will all be election period. Aquino survives 2015 but largely and politically marginalised.

2. Aquino admits responsibility and tenders his resignation. Upon operation of law, Vice president Jejomar Binay assumes power. Groups inside Malacanan do their own manoeverings to preserve their powers or at least sustain their power bases. Binay's group influences election and VP wins election in 2016. Continuity is assured, with Binay in power for 7.5 years, similar to what happened to Arroyo.

3. People power breaks out and Aquino is pressured to resign. A transition council led by his uncle, Peping Cojuangco assumes power. Power transitions from a Cojuangco to another Cojuangco. Differing groups opposed to Peping moves to re-install power thru another transition council, mostly led by pro-"Tuwid na daan" groups or groups once closely aligned with Aquino. Aquino retires, council manages affairs of the state to prepare for 2016 elections.

4. People power breaks out and Aquino succumbs to public pressure and decides to suspend peace talks and assume responsibility over Mamasapano massacre. Truth commission established and Aquino submits. Preparations for 2016 elections are thus left to a transition council composed of different groups close to the Aquinos. Aquino is made to retire. 2016 elections elect new president.

5. People power breaks out and Aquino hardens his stand. Military component comes out to announce withdrawal of support. Aquino further hardens his stand and declares state of emergency. Situation worsens. Aquino declares martial rule and arrests perpetuators. Effect is Aquino clique retains power and does what they want to do, even dictate the pace of the 2016 elections. Aquino anointed LP candidate wins election on dictated terms. People militate against electoral fraud and armed component once more comes out. Clashes ensue.

These scenarios are likely to happen over the next week or at least two weeks. The window of opportunity is only two weeks. If nothing happens within these next two weeks, this issue will dissipate and will only become an electoral issue. When March or April comes, it will be all about the 2016 elections, as groups prepare for it. There will be no more time for popular yet unconstitutional actions because the people will no longer entertain such ideas. The only possible outbreak of such is May 2016 if and when the election turns violent and fraudulent. This is one option which will make us politically damaged under a state of perpetual destabilisation.

2015 IS EDSA 2-9 (TUNAY)

NEARLY THIRTY, BUT THE PROMISES OF EDSA REMAIN UNFULFILLED. The reason is simple--it was not anchored on the true pursuit of peace, justice and freedom.

For twenty nine years, this country passed from one political family to another, from tragedy to tragedy until now. From the tumultuous Aquino family, power shifted to a Ramos, who was a member of the family who preceded Aquino. After Ramos, an aberration which the group of Ramos corrected by installing a Macapagal-Arroyo. For nine long years, the country suffered under her tyranny. She was allowed to finish her term. After her, we elected another Aquino which we now see as unfit, a year and half unto his term.

For twenty nine years, government was dominated by personalities with strong personal and familial linkages. These families held us all in bondage. They all tried to perpetuate a system which promotes inequality in the distribution of wealth. For nearly three decades, wealth in this country was strictly concentrated only to a handful. The industries which the former dispensation established for the benefit of all, were partitioned among the elites of this country in the name of private-public partnerships and B-O-T. The consequences further enslaved the people to poverty.

Our eyes were made to approve everything yellow as the color of change only to find out that what we are appreciating is the color of a family's crest of honour.

It is time to break this nightmare. It is time to re-imagine our country based on the people's terms. Let the true EDSA blossom this time.

One caution though--let us not be tricked into believing that change is something at arm's length. Change does not follow if we allow another Cojuangco to replace an unfit one.

Let a true government grow from the sacrifices of the people.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On the Bangsamoro Question as tied with the political struggle of the Filipino People


The Constitution of the Philippines recognizes the distinct and unique cultural character of the Bangsamoro people yet it fell short of recognizing it in its entirety. Meaning, the 1987 Constitution tries to experiment its way out of the Bangsamoro Question by treating the problem as a “real estate” problem similar with how Israel is treating the Palestinian Question. No where in this charter where it says that the very governance system itself of the entire country is to be changed to accommodate the aspirations of the Bangsamoro People.

For peace to finally settle in the South, there has to be a recognition that the Bangsamoro Question is simply not just a territorial issue, but an adoption of an entirely different system of life. Islam, which is the core belief of about 8 million Muslims living in Mindanao, is by itself, a way of life, not just a religion.  To practice Islam is to live in a system entirely Islamic or recognizes Islamic principles and laws. Without this recognition, all efforts toward peace run the risks of being sidelined.

To resolve the Bangsamoro Question, there must be a change in the system of the Republic, which codex of laws must be a fusion of Islamic and non-Islamic principles.

What is happening right now is that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is trying to experiment whether the Islamic system being held by the Bangsamoro People can work within the republican, democratic system as adopted by the country from the United States. That since this is just a territorial problem, the GRP thinks that the “democratization” of institutions is the panacea for the Bangsamoro people.

This is okey if the concept of “democracy” jibes with the concept as held in Islam.

What peace advocates think of “democracy” runs dissimilar with the “democracy” of the Bangsamoro people. The “democracy” espoused by the GRP is based on civil rights—the recognition of these rights as enjoyed by peoples and individuals and based on many UN conventions.

Meaning, the GRP is content of giving and recognizing the “democracy” for the Bangsamoro in the form of respect of religious and civil rights, but not the full extent of democracy, as what the Bangsamoro wants.

For the Bangsamoro, when one talks about “democracy”, one does not just cover civil or cultural rights but political and economic rights as well. This is where the problem lies.

The GRP in sum, proposes a “limited political democracy” where Bangsamoros are free to vote and be voted upon but under the republican democratic system.  Unknown to the government, a republican system is not the proper and prescribed governance system in Islam. Islam proposes a totally different system, described as close and more consultative than the present Republican form as mandated by the 1987 Philippine constitution. That explains why an autonomous setup failed and will always fail in the Bangsamoro claimed territories because it does not satisfy even the minimum requirements of Islam.

Besides, given the minority status of Filipino Muslims in society (in terms of numbers), there is always the risks of substantive changes not implemented based on Islamic terms because really, the ideological belief conflicts with the majority belief. For example, will the government recognize a different code of labor in relation to Filipino Muslims? Will government recognize that five times in a day a Filipino Muslim laborer or worker is mandated by his religion to pray before Allah SWT? Will government mandate every factory and office to provide prayer rooms in their offices even though they only employ one Filipino Muslim?

How about the concept of “interests” in government finances? In Islam, it is prohibited. In the system currently being adopted by the Philippines, interests in loans and money transactions exist or are recognized. Will our system recognize non-liability or non-responsibility in defaults in loans?

In the United States, to avoid such complications, the government assumes or recognizes no dominant religion. In the Philippines, this is different. The very fact that the Preamble recognizes the existence of God and that the Supreme Court issues rulings in recognition of some religions meant that the republic, by itself, adopts a religious belief which the State assumes to be dominant or being believed at by majority of its peoples.

Right now, what this government and its peoples are ready to accept are mundane things in relation to Islam, most are about family relations. Filipinos generally accept polygamous relationships and ascribe these to Islamic beliefs.  There are many other Islamic practices and beliefs already being recognized but this acceptance comes short to political and governance issues.

This strong aversion to the terms “independence” and “political democracy” has its roots to the belief that Bangsamoros are themselves, Filipinos and hence, based on the concept of national unity, these peoples have no right to create or establish their own governance system.

This concept can be traced back to the simple interpretation of the term “unitary” in our Constitution. Being a unitary system, there is simply no room for another political entity and hence, any suggestion of a state within a state or a “sub-state” runs the risk of being struck down as unconstitutional.

Our present interpretation of the very nature of our State is Unitary, Republican and Democratic. If we are to truly resolve the Bangsamoro Question, we need to address these terms, change it to accommodate Islamic principles; otherwise, there is no room really for true and lasting peace, only perpetual destabilization in the South.

A Bangsamoro State

Is a Bangsamoro state possible? Yes it is, provided that the system being held as sacred by the Bangsamoro peoples are recognized in a new Constitution of the Philippines.

Malaysia and Indonesia are two examples of a state “unified” inspite of differing religious systems. Muslim Malaysia has a harmonious relationship with other religions because its system recognized and adopted such systems to its own. Hinduist, Buddhists and Christian beliefs are tolerated because Islam by itself, provided for such a system of acceptance.

In its history, clashes among several states happened in Malaysia, not to mention racial conflicts. These clashes are now a thing of the past because Malaysia opted for confederation and religious tolerance.

Secular Indonesia has learned to face the raging tides of change by recognising other religions as well, because Islam does not discriminate. Notice that in these two countries, they operate a Parliamentary form, something consistent with Islam. There is a strong national acceptance of the system. With acceptance comes strict adherence especially of the laws established.

Singapore, another Southeast Asian country, is likewise Parliamentary, yet entirely not federal because its obvious---it is just one small island.

Peace means Federal Parliamentary

It is time for the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to recognize the urgency of changing the present form of governance from republican democratic to a federal parliamentary form. This solves the Bangsamoro Question because this system does not run in conflict with Islam plus the fact that the very nature of this country, an archiepelago, with several power centers in place, puts the proposed system as suited to solve the fundamental problems in political and economic governace of this country.

Changes toward Federal Parliamentary is struggle, even war

Many young leaders of this country thinks that this system is most essential if we are to survive the next decade and if we are really serious in solving the fundamental problems of this country.

The only hindrance towards the attainment of this ideal is the traditional political and economic powers of this country, whose dominance over the lives of the Filipino people has been for generations.

The economic elites of this country favors permanent political destabilisation simply because it does not affect the economy and even provides stimulus for its growth. A change in the system which favors a more equitable distribution of the national wealth is unacceptable to these people.

Hence, there is no more option left for change seekers---struggle towards the complete overhaul of the entire system dominated by these selfish economic elites and create a new elite whose interests lie in deconstructing Philippine society.







Mamasapano Clash and Why President Aquino should step down: Placing the Peace Process at its most fragile state

The Mamasapano massacre is just one of many serious maljudgements President Benigno S. Aquino III and his cabinet did for the past five years. Aquino's actions in relation to the Mamasapano massacre which left 44 SAF dead and 18 MILF fighters seriously put the entire peace process in danger. Aquino's judgments are faulty and places the State in a perilous condition. He is a danger even to himself.

1. Aquino has put the peace process at its most weakened and its most perilous state since 1992.

First, Aquino opted to listen to the advice of his friend, ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman and some of his friends over at Akbayan led by Presidential political adviser Llamas to appoint Teresita Deles, a self-proclaimed anti-poverty expert, to lead the peace process. Deles does not have a background in conflict resolution and mitigation. Deles has not even taken any course in relation to diplomacy or international relations. She professes to know the Bangsamoro problem but never really dug deep to understand it.

Meaning, Deles should not have been appointed to the post. Deles is even detested by the Reaffirmists side of the Leftist movement for her close association with the deviants, the Rejectionist block of Akbayan.

Second, Aquino opted to deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) alone, which is, again, a very bad judgment. Yes, the MILF is the biggest armed rebel group, but it does not follow that it should be the main party counterpart of the Republic. For one, the GRP has already a standing agreement with its predecessor, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). But, since the MNLF is closely identified with the efforts of the Marcoses, Aquino probably thought it best to deal with its break-away group, leaving behind years of negotiations and peace efforts made by the government with the Bangsamoro people with the MNLF.

What was the cost of this very bad judgment---scores dead, several hundred injured and billions of pesos lost when the MNLF attacked Zamboanga City. Unknown to many, Zamboanga City is still a tent city because of the devastation wrought by war between government forces and the Moro rebels. 

By getting the advice of Hataman, Aquino gave the go-signal to negotiate with the MILF. What Aquino did not know or probably knew but just shrugged it off, those he is talking with on the side of the MILF are personalities who do not enjoy the full and complete support of the MILF fighters on the ground.

The MILF strongly adheres to Islam--a religious philosophical thought system. Salamat Hashim, the former MILF chief, is not just a political animal--he was a certified scholar, even considered an Aleem by many Bangsamoro fighters. Unlike Murad, Hashim's stature was more credible to most MILF commanders and fighters. Many MILF fighters already knew that by the time Murad assumes power, he will compromise the fight for independence of the group. That explains why notable commanders such as Commander Umbra Kato of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) refused to acknowledge Murad's leadership. One of the most striking difference is Murad's compromising stance, something which Salamat Hashim refused to do when he was still alive. Hashim knew that the Bangsamoro Question would only be resolved through the establishment of an Islamic state and being pragmatic, he saw that "Imperialist Manila" would not grant such without a brutal fight.

Besides, why favour talking with the MILF when this group does not enjoy belligerency status? The true partners for peace of the government was the MNLF but because former Professor Nur Misuari was considered an "enemy of the state" (because no effort was made to involve him in the peace talks, convinced of the belief that the MNLF is already a "broken organisation", with several groups claiming legitimacy over Misuari's leadership of the Council), the government decided to deal with the MILF.

Without really studying the true condition on the ground, the government led by Aquino began negotiating with the MILF leadership, even to a point of granting them "belligerency status" with Aquino even visiting MILF chairman Al Haj Murad in Tokyo, Japan.

What Aquino did not consider is the status of Murad in the organisation, something which former US ambassador Kristie Kenney recognised or described as "problematic." As early as 2008, Kenney already know that if the government continue negotiations with Murad, there is a big possibility of an MILF split, something which happened when Kato broke and organised the BIFF.

Kenney asked the most relevant question--if negotiations do arrive at a very favourable prospect, will Murad guarantee compliance of most, if not all, MILF fighters? This is now answered by what happened in Mamasapano which it took the MILF leadership close to 10 hours just to ask for a ceasefire among their fighters.

In Mamasapano, the most relevant question to the MILF is this--during those times, who assumed leadership? Was it the MILF 105th brigade commander or the BIFF commander? This is one question which Murad failed to provide an answer. We asked why it took so long for the committee on the cessation of hostilities to intervene when the SAF command post was just 10 kilometres away from the area of battle. Answer---the order to cease fire was not fully recognised or respected by MILF fighters, much more, the BIFF.

Fact is--the Mamasapano clash is most relevant for the Bangsamoro rebels in the area because for the first time ever, the MILF and the BIFF Bangsamoro fighters stood side-by-side against government forces. Yes, reports say the MILF and the BIFF once more "fought in the arena of battle" shortly after Mamasapano, yet, no reports of casualties--why? These so-called "battles" are described as "mock battles", just to show Peace adviser Teresita Deles that Murad and his group can still command several forces in the disputed areas.

The Mamasapano clash is indicative of a serious command and control problem which was not recognised or identified early on and which no mechanism can ever cure because it is beyond anything---it is a question of legitimate authority which only the MILF can resolve.

Now, with the BBL hanging in the balance, and the MILF issuing strong statements in the form of dictation to the GRP (" No to changes in the BBL"), the possibility of a more intense war in the South looms larger and more serious than years past. 

Why? 

A failure now will effect a unity among disparate forces in the Bangsamoro, which eventually will become a major stumbling block to peace efforts. MILF and BIFF forming one group? Consider the extreme--MILF-BIFF-MNLF and even the ASG as one. 

Mamasapano Massacre: Shouting match between President Aquino and some SAF44 relatives

Malacanang denied it happened but some media practitioners who were there swore it was true--a shouting match between President Aquino and some SAF44 relatives.

My thoughts is--who is that stupid idiot who advised the Head of State to once more show his face before these grieving relatives? My source says its DSWD secretary Dingky Soliman. Maybe Soliman wants more donations from the public?

A source says that the disagreement between Aquino and at least three women (I will not identify who among the 44 here for respect) came after the women asked Aquino the progress of the investigation about the deaths of their loved ones. Aquino reportedly told them that his administration was doing everything to dig to the bottom of the issue. One of the women asked the President straight if he was involved and Aquino did was show her his phone with the time when the information was relayed to him. The woman was not satisfied. Aquino reportedly flared up and said that he was doing his best to accommodate their benefits. At that instance, one of the women cried and had a brief exchange of words with Aquino.

Aquino and his cabinet are trying their darn best to de-escalate the issue. They still believe that this entire thing is a PR crisis problem. They are mistaken. It has already taken a life of its own, and people are really serious in asking for justice for the SAF 44.