A short list of Glorietta 2 suspects
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-10-23
It was whodunit time in Metro Manila last Friday shortly after news broke about the explosion incident in Glorietta 2. Theories quickly circulated through text messages that either added to the confusion or were intended to add to the confusion.

Assuming the explosion was deliberate, to arrive at a good theory on "whodunit" — one must look into motive along with other key factors, such as opportunity and the inclination to employ the method. Going by these yardsticks we short listed the following suspects:

1. The Arroyo regime theory tops the list as the favorite suspect. This theory presupposes that Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) ordered or authorized it or, at the very least, knew about it.

2. If not the Arroyo regime itself, one cannot discount the possibility that a splinter group of the Arroyo regime could have done it without GMA's knowing it and authorizing it.

3. A desperate faction of the Opposition cannot be discounted. The Joseph Estrada camp comes to mind. There is a conviction hanging over Estrada's head and by his own admission, he does not consider a Sandiganbayan reversal of his conviction will happen. Along with the Opposition as suspect, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Estrada enforcer with a military and police background, will be in the short list.

4. The favorite terrorists have of course to be looked into, notably the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah groups.

5. Then too, there is the theory of the bombing being the work of a crime syndicate extorting protection money. There was even mention of a Chinese crime syndicate that preyed on Chinese establishments like Luk Yuen where the bomb detonated.

6. Oh, but of course, the CPP-NPA has to be in the short list. They have a good motive — to stir the pot and sow confusion.

7. And as I mentioned in my Sunday column — we cannot rule out a superpower like the US as the player behind the bombing. Of course, if ever, they will be too smart to do it themselves.

8. Last of our possible suspects are the rebel officers of the military, as added pressure on the regime or a preparatory move.

The Arroyo regime as prime suspect

The Arroyo regime is besieged, its coalition is cracking, and the ZTE scandal and the bribery cases that followed the explosive Senate ZTE hearings established a good motive to do the bombing — either to divert public attention or to stage the basis for declaring a State of Emergency, the euphemism for martial law.

If we are to go by the stories of bribery attempts as exposed by Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rufus Rodriguez and Governor Fr. Ed Panlilio, we can also consider this as but another one of those desperate moves.

GMA has shown that she will not stop at anything so as not to be evicted from Malacañang. Her regime has been linked to the murder of over 800 unarmed political activists. It is easy to believe that they are capable of resorting to this.

A faction of the regime

This could well be the high ranking members of the Arroyo regime who have been former police and military generals. If one of these two groups did it on their own, this could mean that they are already looking at preserving their power base in a post-GMA era.

In this scenario, the US could be a player. US tentacles in our officers’ corps run deep. Most of our top officers trained in US forts and military schools like West Point and Annapolis.

Regardless if it is the regime or a group therein behind it, what is likely to follow is a sequence of events. The bombing is a precursor and not the objective by itself. If it is the regime, we'll likely see subsequent efforts to justify a declaration of an emergency rule and a wide application of the anti-terror act. If it is a group within the regime, expect a coup to follow.

The other suspects

The other suspects that we listed do not rate as probable culprits as the Arroyo regime for the following reasons:

1. Save for the Muslim extremists and CPP-NPA, the others like the political Opposition and the rebel military do not seem to have the established inclination for using the tactic and may not have the opportunity or capability to do it.

2. The Opposition and the rebel faction of the military will be concerned with public support and will be foolish to use this as their first step in a power takeover bid.

3. If the Opposition or the rebel faction of the military is to do it, they would likely opt for a "pyrotechnic" type of bombing — to simply create a big blast but not to kill. The strength of the blast shows a desperate attempt to usher a subsequent move.

What happens next will reveal the hand of the one who did it.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

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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