Even but the thought of that fateful 10 July which marked the date of the betrayal of those killed and desecrated soldiers in Basilan is already revolting enough. And to be further told that no less than certain public officials in effect authored the deception that led those soldiers to their death and desecration to the disgust people—and make their comrades-in-arms not only sick in the stomach but also very resentful and very tired of the present system as a whole.
The questions are many and the answers are still unknown to date. Why were the soldiers ordered to go to Basilan to look for Fr. Bossi when it was rather common knowledge that he was somewhere else? Why were the already dead soldiers still treated with barbaric acts to generate public anger and disgust? Why were “board and lodging fees” still paid to the kidnappers of Fr. Bossi after all the gross inhumanity done to the soldiers? These questions tests reason and logic.
The atrocity committed on 10 July has a more disgusting aftermath. An “all out war” was declared by Malacañang. More soldiers die. Thousands of men, women and children have fled from the war zone. Farms are left behind and means of livelihood are gone. Meantime, the collateral damage is still going on. This is not to mention the price tag appended to the “war” in the tune of 1 billion pesos a month—courtesy of people’s taxes. It is bad enough when countries are at war with another. It is hideous when a government declares war against its own people. And this is exactly the Mindanao big and hideous misfortune.
More than the issue of either stopping or going on with the “war”, the more fundamental question is why it that Mindanao by and large remains underdeveloped, continuous to be restless, manages to ward off Philippine governance? Must war and peace already be accepted Mindanao cycle? Is there no real, honest and lasting solution to the Mindanao predicament? If there still is, would the government led by someone who recently claimed the tenure of as much strength as wanted, deign to search for and find the needed solution?
That is why Senator Trillanes should be allowed to have his day in the Senate Hall. He claims to know who are the real traitors that caused the massacre and mutilation of the soldiers. The lamentable but predictable reaction of Malacañang to the Trillanes knowledge is the threat to invoke E.O. 464 whose title could well be “Thou shalt not tell the truth.” Where do the disturbed civilians and the lamenting soldiers go and do herefrom?
21 AUGUST 2007