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Warlords

Warlords

Ronald Roy

As 2010 unfolds, we wonder if the Maguindanao carnage is but a symbol of a much larger setting of around 15 warlords gearing to defend or seize fiefdoms. While they now prepare for the general elections this coming May, the country has become a virtual tinderbox with much of the Armed Forces’ arsenal having illicitly found its way to their private armies. The cached phosphorous items—in a word, explosives—have only to be triggered to create anarchy of such a magnitude as may bring martial law upon us.
The spectre of Gloria Arroyo’s extended rule looms over the horizon, where it may hang until our truculence wears down. The only way to read this liar is to take her word as a deceptive veneer over her diabolic intentions. No, she’ll never go despite her words to the contrary.

I no longer wonder if the bogus President and Commander-in-chief is aware she is responsible for this sorry state of affairs. I am now convinced that not even a self-claimed psychological disorder will absolve her from accountability. Expect her to hang in there via a martial regime, or the Speakership and ultimately the Prime Ministership in a parliamentary setup. This grand scheme is feasible, given her ironclad control of greedy legislators known to cater to her whims in exchange for eight-digit checks and stuffed brown paper bags.

Gloria Arroyo has cleverly calculated the various methods of securing her perch, but it remains to be seen whether we will allow her further impunity with which she can continue making patsies out of us, our democracy and its institutions. Let it then be our reminder that we get what we deserve in the fateful scheme of Karma. Verily, there is no way cowards can later claim a reward for sitting on the fence.

The political situation has become so volatile we need a little levity here to calm some frazzled nerves. On this note, even if Arroyo and her warlords remain lurking about, let us wish ourselves a prosperous and non-phosphorous New Year, preposterous though the wish may be.

* * *

I still recoil at the notion that such depravity as ascribed by media to the Ampatuans could be possible, neither among the tailed and horned demons from hell, nor among the fanged and voracious beasts of our jungles, but right here in our human midst, clothed in barong tagalog and decorous as Gloria’s special guests dining and toasting in Malacañang. They walk and talk like us, and they courteously bow and smile like us. Alas, they are human beings like us, and therefore have human rights like us!

What’s the beef with lawyers who find it obligatory under the Lawyer’s Oath to defend the legal rights of their clients? These courtroom gladiators should be commended for doing so within the walls of our justice system, for the oath itself demands nothing less of their best efforts. They should be admired in fact for risking life and limb in the perilous environs of the lynching mob and, much worse perhaps, for courting the loss of cherished friendships and kinships. Such is the lonely world of a lawyer who is so true to this oath as to consider his livelihood to be secondary to his advocacy.

But it was not easy for a lawyer to safeguard the rights of the warlords from Maguindanao—guilty as they first seemed to be by media accounts. Eventually, Sigfried Fortun solved this dilemma when he told his parents, “Mom, dad, please don’t worry. You know I don’t really need this case to survive. But they’ve asked for my help, and I just want to be a good lawyer.” Carry on with God’s blessings, Mr. Fortun.

At this point, let’s stand on the sidelines and watch the process play out its course. Some Ampatuans may prove they were not “principals by direct participation” because they were not at the site of the carnage. But I think the defense counsel will have a nearly impossible task of overturning the state’s formidable evidence that their clients were “principals by inducement” (such as where payments were given to the triggermen), or “principals by indispensable cooperation” (such as where the weapons were furnished for the execution of the massacre). Incidentally, in a conspiracy the act of one is the act of all.

At any rate, the bête noires from Maguindanao are friends of Gloria Arroyo. Her problem now is how to dodge a stinging rebuke, like: “Hey, Gloria, tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you what you are! Are you now happy your pals are being treated like VIPs in their cells? By the way, how come your reported plan to dismantle the lairs of warlords does not include some of the feared goons notoriously identified as your intimate political allies—such as those from the Ilocos and Mindoro?”

(Email: arnydolor@yahoo.com, cell # 09186449517, landline # (02)7106701)

Ms. Ninez Cacho-Olivarez

Publisher and editor-in-chief

Dear Ninez,

For your consideration, please.

Yours,

Ronnie (Roy)

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