Who are the real 'mad bombers' in Metro Manila?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-07-07

Bombs exploding in Muslim Mindanao do not surprise us that much. There is a separatist war being fought in Muslim Mindanao and bombings are part and parcel of the conflict.

Other than the Muslim separatists, it has also happened time and again that plain bandits have been identified as the culprits behind some of the bombings in Mindanao. Their bombings have to do with extortion — soften the resistance of a business establishment that would not pay and scare the other business establishments that bombs could also explode on them.

But when bombs start to be discovered or start exploding in the Metro Manila area, we naturally become alarmed. We become concerned with the thought that the Muslim separatists could already be expanding their theatre of war and have resorted to bombing the capital region. This terrorist activity is similar to what some Muslim political movements undertake in other parts of the world.

In the case of Muslim separatist bombings in the capital region, there is a great likelihood that they will claim the act. This is because the ultimate objective is to coerce the government to surrender their desired homeland.

They will want the government to know that this is their activity and what needs to be done to put a stop to the terrorism.
Elements of our other war — the long festering Communist insurgency — could also be considered as suspects in these Metro Manila bombings. Their objective would be to destabilize the government.

However, unlike the Muslim separatists, it is doubtful that the Communist insurgents will own up to bombing activities in the Metro Manila area. Bombing a military camp is quite different from bombing a civilian area.

Our Communists are propaganda conscious and will not undertake an activity that will alienate them from the public they are trying to attract. In fact, they are always on the lookout for opportunities to demonstrate to the public that they can be relied upon to deliver justice the state fails to provide.

Bombing the Metro Manila area will be counterproductive for the Communist insurgents because it will antagonize the people. They could undertake Metro Manila bombings but that would be if somebody else can be blamed for it.

Former Senator Jovy Salonga said that the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombings which almost claimed his life was the handiwork of Communist insurgents under Jose Maria Sison. Sison never admitted that and many folks then were quick to suspect that Ferdinand Marcos was behind it — that it could be preparatory to declaring martial law which was imposed a year after.

The third most likely suspected ‘mad bomber’ is the government itself, especially in the light of our experience with Marcos when a series of Metro Manila bombings set the stage for the imposition of martial law. Thus, when a bomb was recently detonated in the Office of the Ombudsman and another was found in the Department of Agriculture (DA) — many were quick to react and say: “Uh-oh! Here we go again playing dangerous games.”

Faced with term expiration like Marcos in 1972, Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is easily perceived as equally desperate to cling to power. Just as Marcos convened the 1971 Constitutional Convention, GMA is now seen as pushing for Charter change in order to reinvent herself as Prime Minister once we shift to a parliamentary form of government.

Untypical of National Security Adviser (NSA) Norberto Gonzales who is forever seeing Red, he was quick to rule out the political Opposition and the Communist insurgents as the parties behind the bombs planted in the Ombudsman and the DA.

It’s easy to rule out the political opposition. They can’t even manage to unite against the formidable administration political machinery that they’ll be facing in 2010. Instead, they are busy attempting to demolish each other.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. had the most incredible explanation. Brawner was quick to link the Metro bombs to the same group behind the Oplan August Moon (supposed premature relief of the current Chief of Staff with a GMA Praetorian preparatory to imposing martial law) supposed rumors.

It is doubted if many believed Brawner’s explanation. Somehow, Oplan August Moon and the Metro bombs sounded like a logical consequence of the events now happening in the country which point to a plot to keep GMA in power after 2010.

If indeed GMA is considering the martial law option (or emergency rule, as it is now called), among the first to advise her to desist from attempting to impose it is Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, a pillar of the 1972 martial law.

Speaking in Pilipino on radio station DZXL, Enrile said: “It’s not that easy to declare Martial Law. There are so many factors to consider. If somebody would propose such a move to the president, I think she is not stupid to give in to it. If she would I’ll tell her: ‘You are stupid’ because it’s not that easy to declare Martial Law.”

Enrile cited the need to be popular and to have total control of the military to be able to impose martial law. GMA clearly doesn’t have both. What Enrile did not mention was that GMA will need US support to impose martial law.

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