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Nationhood 3
Ronald Roy — 2012 November 08
The scariest thing is the idea of a virtual “done deal”, as optimistically (naïvely?) propagandized by Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s chief negotiators, UP Law Professor Marvic Leonen and Sec. Teresita Deles, in reference to the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (BFA), which envisages permanent peace and prosperity for our poverty-ravaged and war-weary Muslim brethren in Mindanao.
The highly trumpeted BFA has drawn much accolade around the world, showcasing as it does our third largest island as a potential haven for investments that are expected to come predominantly from America, the European Union, Malaysia, Australia and Japan, not to mention the equally important leverages those countries would derive in terms of security against terrorism in general, and China in particular, the second strongest economy on the globe.
Propaganda, the tool likewise used by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim, has recklessly pushed expectations so high that any misconstruction or interpretation in the complicated BFA mesh of ambiguous provisions of dubious constitutionality could trigger an internecine war of catastrophic proportions never before seen between Moslem secessionist combatants and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This dire prognosis comes from seven out of nine anonymous texters from Mindanao, with one of them going so far as to predict a third world war, should for any reason the “tenuous” peace accord fail.
Parenthetically, 80% of the population in Mindanao are Christians. The rest are Muslim nomads who are seldom home, preferring to wander out to trade instead of staying put to develop their lands or otherwise undertake and tend livelihood projects. Thus, you see them in faraway places like Baguio, Quiapo, New Manila, and San Juan City selling whatnots endemic to their region and culture, like corals, pearls and batik clothing materials and ready-made apparel, and of course pirated DVDs.
Three fourths of the Muslim population are generally peaceful. The remaining one fourth (or 5% of Mindanaoans) are bellicose saber-rattlers who stand ready to wage war at the slightest provocation. Minuscule in number as they are, these jingoistic Moros appear to have the upper hand at the present stage of the process being encouraged, if not directed, by the P-Noy-led central government—a dubious experiment at the center of which P-Noy should stand singularly accountable.
My personal take on the BFA is that it is a premature document, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as provided for in the Constitution, furnishes sufficient basis for renegotiation and fine-tuning between P-Noy on the one hand, and Murad on the other. Shhh… the US State Department of course keeps tabs and/or is consulted along the way!
The trouble is that there usually is nothing promising, exciting or dramatic about renegotiations. Something new is always refreshing. And for someone like P-Noy, who is in search of a legacy (like all egotistical presidents are), what will immortalize him as the greatest Filipino president ever would be something like being hailed as a Nobel laureate, in recognition for his stellar role in forging the BFA-based peace pact!
I have no doubt in my mind, Samuel (Ortiz), that the BFA is the object of P-Noy’s ambitious cravings and initiatives, despite his prevailing reticence. And proof of this cannot be more eloquent than (soon-to-be Supreme Court Associate Justice) Leonen’s recent statement that all his BFA-related acts have been cleared with, if not directed by, President Aquino. Another proof is Murad’s alleged receipt of “billions in advance” from Malaysia and other countries—prospective stakeholders which would not have made the offers without the Palace occupant’s knowledge and consent.
Neither is there a doubt in my mind that P-Noy is confident that the entire BFA scheme is a win-win enterprise for him, for, even if it resulted in war, he could always declare martial law “to save the Philippine Republic”, thereby even extending his term beyond 2016.
Aside from the fact that P-Noy is by nature an impulsive and irascible shooter from the hips (figuratively speaking), his confidence is buoyed up by his consistently high approval and trust ratings, and he knows he can maintain his popularity by not letting up on his hammer-and-tongs crusade against corruption.
In a real way, therefore, P-Noy can thank his lucky stars for having been preceded in office by the deeply reviled Gloria Macapagal Arroyo against whom, by contrast, he is seen as immaculate. Don’t be surprised to see soon the wheels of justice turning against the likes of some of GMA’s past allies like erstwhile Justice Secretary Hernando Perez and former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc Joc Bolante.
I hear P-Noy has lined up at least four more big fish for prosecution—enough to sustain the people’s belief in him as a graft-buster who has himself remained clean, and enough to beguile the people into seeing him as a leader with a vision for a strong and undivided republic.
However, I think that P-Noy’s good judgment has so succumbed to his self-interest that nationhood means nothing to him anymore. The general welfare must now yield to his “right” to be recognized as the greatest Filipino president of all time, and as a deserving claimant to an extended presidential term.
Very telltale of P-Noy’s passion for self-promotion is his implacable preference for certain groups and individuals whom he can count on for support. The largest beneficiary of his favor, Akbayan, a leftist party-list organization that boasts of two seats in the Lower House, received campaign funds totaling ₱110 million, ₱17 million of which came from his three sisters. Other donors were his Lopa cousins (₱2 million), and Cory die-hard PCSO Chair Marge Juico (₱1 million). The rest of the largess came from an assortment of “sipsip” business groups, tycoons and allegedly fake donors.
The glaring flaw in P-Noy’s leadership is his inability to govern with fairness, his bias often impeding what is best for the country. Another glaring flaw is his inability to be a “good father of a family”, a norm of required under our laws.
A good father of a family never washes his family’s dirty linen in public. He is the principal guardian of the same. In like fashion, as the father of our nation, P-Noy is the principal guardian of our country’s dirty linen. However, he has been grossly wanting in discretion by occasionally announcing abroad that former Pres. Gloria Arroyo and former CJ Renato Corona would soon be together in jail, thanks to his efforts in stemming corruption.
By doing so, P-Noy exhibits immaturity and conceit. Worse, he shows a dictatorial disrespect for the system of checks and balances among our three branches of government. The two former officials are yet to be tried and found guilty, but already P-Noy has preempted the courts with his mindless statements.
Worst of all is this highly improbable scenario. Decades ago, Sen. Ninoy Aquino prevented Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos from recovering from Malaysia what was truly ours: Sabah. Today, the trickily worded BFA does not appear to bar the integration of the envisioned Bangsamoro “substate” into Malaysia’s confederation of states!
I hate to say this, but let me say it anyway: Dismembering the Republic of the Philippines is Noynoy’s idea of nationhood.
Addendum: The American electorate rewarded reelectionist Barack Obama with a win, largely for having disposed of Osama Bin Laden. Now, America feels much safer. My cousin, Loida Nicolas Lewis, must be smiling from ear to ear. Her elation should be shared by cultural minorities around the world, including Filipinos.
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