We reap benefits from conflicts
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2013-01-24
Normally, we’d want to reduce to a minimum the conflicts in our lives, community and society. Even warriors like General Douglas MacArthur acknowledged that the soldier’s objective is to attain a lasting peace that’ll end conflicts.

Did you know that there are big benefits that we reap from conflicts?

The most common public benefits that conflicts deliver are consumer benefits. Because of competition (conflict), we’re sold products at the least possible price and made under the best possible standards. Because of conflict in political exercises like elections and government processes like legislation, we are able to choose the better candidate to elect and influence the crafting of better laws. For so long as conflict is managed under clear rules, it could be beneficial.

The January Atimonan shooting incident inadvertently delivered tremendous public benefits. Said to be a conflict between two jueteng groups, the Atimonan incident could expose the extent and depth of jueteng corruption and how it has allegedly co-opted the very people — cops — who are supposed to protect us. The Atimonan incident revived what had been asserted before that jueteng lords — and drug lords for that matter — should be treated as serious national security threats.

They’ve become national security threats not just because of the effects of the big time, untaxed illegal numbers game and the many social problems that are rooted to drug abuse — but because they now influence, if not control, public officials and law enforcers. Reading between the lines from what had so far been announced regarding the Atimonan shooting incident — the logical conclusion is that the whole thing was a jueteng lord versus another jueteng lord conflict.

The theory has been raised that the Atimonan incident is linked to the November 12 killing of 6 alleged guns-for-hire in Laguna and the January 16 arrest and killing of Fernando Morales of Batangas, the latter reported to be an important operator of the Vic Siman jueteng group. Vic Siman was reported to be the main target of the Atimonan operation. The police identified the Laguna and Atimonan fatalities as guns-for-hire. How could efficient cops lose sight of the association of Vic Siman with jueteng? Is the charge of being guns-for-hire a cover up for jueteng as the underlying factor behind these killings?

When you factor the amount of money that’s made from jueteng and illegal drugs, these jueteng lords and drug lords could easily fund their own local as well as national candidates. Taking it a step further, they also have the means to buy corrupt journalists as well as to finance the demolition of good public servants who are curtailing their sinister activities. In one probe in aid of legislation, a prominent suspected jueteng lord was questioned. Few of the legislators present grilled the jueteng lord.

This presents the biggest challenge for Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, under whose office is the PNP (Philippine National Police). This is also a great opportunity for Mar to make his big imprint on the national psyche, something that he could use if he’s to run for president in 2016. Ramon Magsaysay’s success in containing the communist Huk rebellion of the early 1950s catapulted him to the presidency.

Mar might need though to be complemented by other agencies like the Justice Department and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) — especially considering that the PNP is under suspicion of being extensively under the influence of jueteng and drug lords. Mar shouldn’t be awed by the challenge because in this endeavor, he has the entire country behind him.

Another incidence of conflict that has resulted in public benefit is the recent word war between Senator Miriam Santiago and Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE). Triggered by JPE’s uneven distribution of so-called Christmas bonuses, Santiago and Enrile have attacked each other with their respective secrets from the past.

In a DZBB interview, Santiago had questioned JPE’s role as martial law enforcer, how JPE got to be so rich and his conflicting assertions about the ambush that President Ferdinand Marcos used as the last straw for declaring martial law. JPE retorted by asking Santiago to explain her role in working for the brother of Imelda Marcos, Benjamin Romualdez, a silent but major power broker in those days. JPE’s retort was untypically mild.

JPE seems to have met his match in Santiago. JPE was relatively shy in engaging Santiago compared to how he sued STAR’s Yoly V. Ong for libel. Yoly expressed her opinion over matters that have been reported previously and are considered public knowledge. Is JPE trying to scare other writers and commentators from rekindling discussions about controversies involving his son Jacky? Don’t even think about it, Juan Ponce-Enrile. We’re no longer under martial law and some questions just have to be asked.

Jacky Ponce-Enrile is a public figure and a candidate for a senate seat. Every Filipino has the right to ask him about these issues hounding him. Jacky mustn’t forget that by dodging these issues, he will be convicted in the court of public opinion and could lose the election.

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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.” 

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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