Where the MILF confidence that ‘It’s a done deal’ comes from
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-08-07
The reaction of the MILF — “It’s a done deal” — to the Supreme Court TRO stopping the signing of the GRP-MILF Peace Pact (aka the BJE agreement) can be interpreted in several ways.

Some prefer to charge it to MILF naiveté or lack of appreciation of the legal processes involved. They say that the MILF may not have been aware that the agreement between the two panels is deemed finalized and binding only after securing legislative and plebiscite approvals.

Some say that the MILF is simply attempting to pressure the government to stick to the agreement that clearly favors the MILF objectives. They want to influence the people and the government by projecting that it’s now futile to belabor the matter.

Following my July 29 and August 5 columns on this raging issue (available on the archives of my website www.chairwrecker.com), I am inclined to interpret the MILF reaction as one that stems from a strong sense of confidence that it is indeed a done deal because of the following reasons:

1. There is a major superpower that brokered the BJE agreement — the US. If you know who the Godfather of this deal is, then it is easy to feel confident that it is a done deal.

2. They must have sensed that there is a trade off in the agreement that benefits Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) in a big way — such that a superpower like the US can easily provide.

Calling the “It’s a done deal” MILF reaction the result of naiveté or ignorance of the legal processes simply does not wash. So far, the MILF has been the smarter operator in this deal. They have gotten what they set out to attain.

Calling the MILF reaction as a mere reinforcing of its position is also shallow. If that is the case, then it makes the MILF look dense. But like I said — the history of the negotiations (and the resulting deal) proves MILF acumen in getting what they want.

The utter lack of transparency in arriving at this BJE agreement stirs the usual suspicions about the GMA regime. Why all the secrecy if GMA is not hiding anything?

If the GMA regime knows that this agreement requires legislative approval and the approval of the stakeholders via a plebiscite, then the more there is a need to be transparent so as to avoid the wrinkles that the deal is now encountering. An on-the-level and transparent deal would have demanded a pre-selling which is best served by a programmed release of information on what is shaping in the negotiations.

The fact that there has been no programmed release of information (and its concomitant pre-selling) underscores the hidden agendas that are playing in this deal. The very method it opted to take — a sort of blitzkrieg approach — suggests the presence of hidden elements that the Filipino people will not find acceptable.

Blitzkrieg was the term used to describe the German lightning attacks on its neighboring countries during the first few months of World War II. Before the governments of Poland and Belgium could effect a full mobilization of its armed forces, the German Swastika flag was already flying in their capitals’ main plazas.

Just like the Poles and the Belgians at the start of World War II, we Filipinos suddenly woke up to the fact that a BJE deal was about to be formally signed last Tuesday in Malaysia, witnessed no less by the US Ambassador.

The Malaysians were happy. The Americans were happy. The MILF were happy. Only us Filipinos were not happy.

It is natural for the Malaysians to be happy. They will now have an Islamic Independent State to serve as buffer between a Philippine government that has a historical claim to one of its prized territories — Sabah.

It is more than natural for the US to be happy. They are the protectors of the new Independent Islamic State in Mindanao which also happens to be the very area that will best serve US geo-political interests in the South China Sea.

The 1989 Vladivostok Accord compelled them to dismantle their bases here. Their BJE protectorate now allows them to re-establish bases that may not even be covered by our Constitution’s No Nuclear Arms provision.

Contrasting with Malaysian and American elation is Filipino confusion, surprise and deep sense of betrayal. Filipinos in Luzon and the Visayas felt that way. Filipinos in Mindanao felt even worse.

Those who will be integrated into the BJE do not know what fate awaits them under a new Islamic regime. Still others in Mindanao who are not affected by the integration are concerned that MILF desire for territory may not end with the BJE and that the BJE may just be a stepping stone for the acquisition of the whole of Mindanao which the Moros have been claiming since time immemorial.

We Filipinos felt screwed and for a very good reason — indeed we were screwed. We were screwed by the very people who were supposed to protect our national interest.

  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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