by Carlos Garchitorena
Ring the bells. Martial law has once again sounded throughout the land.
In unprecedented violence, disregard for human dignity, and the peace of mind that only comes with impunity, the unearthing of the Maguindanao Massacre is the latest open secret of this administration.
Fifty-seven bodies and the tangled steel of their cars were lifted from the ground—televised evidence that, in this land, brute force still prevails. Might is right. Power begets power.
Unsurprisingly, Mrs Arroyo has replied in similar fashion; brute force; the iron fist; extraordinary means to contain an extraordinary embarrassment. The Maguindanao Massacre and the resulting Proclamation 1959 is the clearest indictment of Mrs Arroyo and her fictitious Matatag na Republika.
The illusion of a nation-state accountable for its citizens has been undermined for the last time. It has been undermined by toothless laws and propagandist decrees; by the intellectual dishonesty of some, and the brazen ignorance of others, and the political impotence of the rest. The nation-state has been weakened by the constant coddling of criminals inside and outside the moth-eaten blanket of presidential authority.
Nobody is held accountable for our country’s ineffectiveness anymore. Senate and congressional inquiries are snubbed and suppressed; motions for impeachment are designed specifically to fail; and everyone who plays along gets a goody bag at the end of the day.
Evasion and suppression, complicity and coercion, intimidation and murder, and now unconstitutional military rule; the Maguindanao massacre and the raised threat of rebellion and sedition goes to show just how limited the vocabulary of Mrs Arroyo’s government is.
But there it is, like a broken record; a history of graft, corruption, and abuse of power that repeats itself louder each time.
It was in the language used by Mrs Arroyo in the Hello Garci tapes, and in the empty apology that let her get away with it.
It was written into Mrs Arroyo’s SONA, and the secret deal with Venable LLP to move Charter Change along.
It was in the conversation of double-crosses and backstabbings by Abalos, de Venecia III, Lozada, and Mr Arroyo as they squabbled like petty thieves over the NBN ZTE broadband deal.
It was in the beso by Mrs Arroyo and Nani Perez at the height of the $2M power plant deal. It was in the body language of congressmen and governors who received millions in bribe money in October 2007. It is in the protected Arroyo moneys in Germany, and in the frozen assets of General Garcia. It is all over the dotted line in Jose Pidal’s bank documents.
You can read it in the contracts concerning NAIA-3, the Northrail Project, Macapagal Boulevard, Poll Automation, as well as in the misuse of Road User’s Tax that has towns knee deep in floodwater to this day.
It is in the government’s silence over the extra judicial killings, which has silenced the press and the opposition for the last time.
Back full circle to the 57 dead, and martial law which is her response. The perfectly characteristic iteration of Mrs Arroyo’s legacy: brute force prevails. Might is right. Power begets power.