Martial Law: a culmination of GMA’s long grasp on power

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.

You can smell it in the election funds of 2004 that came from the Swine Scam, as well as from the Fertilizer Scam, right alongside the name “Joc Joc Bolante.”

It is in the winning combination of Juetengate, Election Commissioner Bedol and of the election of Zubiri in Maguindanao in 2007.

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.

12 Responses so far

  1. 1

    let’s ask ninoys opinion on this. what will his stand be? will he do the same or what? i’d love to hear ninoy’s approach on solving the maguindanao crisis.

    i don’t want to hear or see pointing fingers. I want you guys to shut your mouth and do what’s necessary, and let your actions do the talking.

    • 2

      Gabriela Silang said,

      A) Ninoy’s dead

      B) if you mean Noynoy, magbasa ka nga, explore mo ung blog, ang daming nakasulat. I want you to shut your mouth and let your actions do the talking. ie, read.

      Bastusan pa talaga e. “shut your mouth” MY GOD. How can you expect anyone to take you seriously? Reklamo reklamo hindi pala nagreresearch.

  2. 3

    GMA declared martial law in Maguindanao to prove to everyone that whatever she wishes she can make them all come true. It was just a feeler that very soon the whole nation will be under the military rule and that she can hold on to her ‘bought’ powers as long as her corrupt officials are still salivating on her monetary support . She wants us to know that no matter what we say or do her term will NOTend next year as dictated by law.

    But the Filipino people are no longer afraid. They are ready to fight if need be and they will not stop from seeking out justice for all the plunderings/corruptions she got involved with during her term. It is high time for us to tell her that we, the people, is the real POWER!

  3. 4

    andres said,

    during Cory’s presidency, there were 9 coups involving rebel soldiers where soldiers and civilians were killed, despite clear and present danger to the gov’t, her family particulary NOYNOY who was also wounded, Cory did not declare martial law and survived all 9 coups

    constitution allows declaration of martial law on 2 grounds, invasion or rebellion, maguindanao massacre was a political conflict between 2 clans, obviously it was not an invasion or rebellion, therefore declaration of martial law by gma was without basis and completely illegal

    this is another ploy to deviate public’s attention from gma’s running for congress, the highly unfair SC ruling allowing appointed officials to run and to find ways to exonerate mass murderers

    FVR is correct in asking GMA to resign . Erap, Senators, church, civil societies, and majority of the people were one in saying that martial law declaration was without basis and illegal

    • 5

      clifford carrera said,

      i’m not surprised by this latest move of the gma administration. this is part of the ampatuan massacre cover-up. This is the latest scheme of the devil. to hide the truth, it is necessary for them to invent make-believe scenarios. Remember, dureza? with a smile, he showed a bullet casing “when the helicopter they were aboard was fired at,” hahaha. They are just afraid to bring the ampatuans to prison, and we know the reasons, right? Cheating in 2004, cheating in 2007!!!

      • 6

        sychitpin said,

        gma’s goons were fast in putting handcuffs on innocent and weaponless rallyist, but so scared to handcuff ampatuan jr who is a mass murderer.the ampatuans were monsters created by gma, therefore gma should also be responsible for the maguindanao massacre

  4. 7

    sychitpin said,

    martial law was declared illegally by gma for her own selfish political interest, plain and simple……

    in effect, she puts Democracy and Human Rights in harms way ……

    martial law must be the option of the last resort, when all other options have been exhausted,

    and not something that could be exercised for any wrong excuses and deceitful reasons…. like what was happening now

  5. 8

    urbangov said,

    my worst fear is that, the maguindanao martial law is just a prelude…one big “operation” in metro manila will pin Martial Law for the whole country.No to Gloria forever.

    • 9

      sychitpin said,

      gma is just digging her own grave deeper with recent developments, all evil things will end, the sooner the better…..

  6. 10

    undecided said,

    i agree with all of you but have you ever heard anyone from the opposition praised the positive side of Gloria like the BPO investments in the Philippines? They should also consider the good points of a person.

  7. 11

    … if gma has done something good for the country, i don’t know because of so much irregularities… she was able to buy congress, the military, and the justices of the supreme court… she is the president for 9 years and yet, the people has never been so restless and unsure of the future as now… what is the real reason why she declared martial law when there was no invasion and/or rebellion that occured in maguindanao… what she wants is to create a scenario of restlessness/dissentment so that she can justify what she did and declare martial rule on the entire nation which to me is an obvious excuse to remain in power.

  8. 12

    nopyiako said,

    The Maguindanao massacre, while perhaps politically motivated, was not a political crime. Rather, it was brutal mass murder per se of a family against another family. There was no crime against the state. Martial law is warranted only when there is invasion or rebellion – and clearly there was none.


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