Monday, May 11, 2009

Road to Omnipotence (Philippines)

This is from the Tribune (Manila)

It seems that Palparan doesn't worry about his reputation or perhaps it is that he wants to reinforce his reputation! This type of law is quite unpopular with most in the Philippines but of course there is also a constituency that supports it and it would be very useful for Gloria as a weapon against opponents.

Road to omnipotence
Former Army general and now Rep. Jovito Palparan Jr., notorious for his being a cold-blooded enemy of the communist movement and Gloria’s chief enforcer in her countryside campaign against the New People’s Army (NPA), immediately found a place in the House of Representatives in doing the dirty work for Gloria that her allies, who are careful not to worsen their already sorry images, would rather not touch.
The “Butcher,” as he is called, lived up to his reputation in the House by indicating plans to file a bill to revive the Anti-Subversion Law that was an all-purpose weapon during the martial law years to silence all those who opposed former President Ferdinand Marcos. The most famous victim of that law was former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
Palparan unveiled the sinister plan right after Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was censured by the United Nations (UN) during an assessment of the world body on the members’ compliance with human rights commitments.
Ermita tried to convince the UN that Gloria is serious about protecting human rights but to no avail since her administration cannot comply with even the most basic function of reporting progress on rights protection.
UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who is the monitor assigned to the Philippines, even confronted Ermita, who is a former military general, with an assessment that the elements of the Armed Forces have been using the order of Gloria to neutralize the NPA as justification to commit abuses in the countryside.
Alston was particular in mentioning Palparan as among the chief architect of human rights abuses in the country.
Palparan’s plan to resurrect evil through the Anti-Subversion Law obviously had the imprimatur of Gloria who has been busy with political perpetuation that is evident in not only the Charter change overdrive in the House but also the apparent crackdown against those opposing Gloria’s ambitions.
She cannot, however, effectively move against her critics without courting legal backfire such as the perjury case filed on National Broadband Network (NBN) scam whistle-blower Jun Lozada which is turning out more of a headache than a solution for Gloria.
Manila Judge Emmanuel Lorredo indicated plans to summon Gloria and Big Mike along with chief cabal members Benjamin Abalos and Romulo Neri as witnesses in the perjury case, of course along with the supposed aggrieved party, Michael Defensor, completing the cast of the kickback consortium in the $329-million NBN-ZTE scam.
Legal experts said Gloria and her cabal cannot invoke executive privilege this time around when the court summons them. This was already in the works for then US President Nixon, where he could not invoke executive privilege, precisely, because the case was deemed criminal in nature.
Similar backlashes are expected until the Anti-Subversion Law of Palparan is in place.
Palparan was heaven sent for Gloria since no politician conscious of his image with his constituents would dare touch the dreaded martial law tool with a 10-foot pole.
The road to power without end would be fraught with hurdles for Gloria but the presence of Palparan and other like-minded zealots would be an assurance that an earnest battle would be waged for her come hell or high water.
The numerous atrocities cited by the UN in its assessment of the country was mostly inflicted on the various critics of Gloria.
The UN’s frustration on the human rights situation in the country is similar to the overall disappointment of Filipinos on Gloria’s style of governance, if it can be described as having a style at all.
Abuse, ambition and failure to govern are natural combinations.
And Gloria Arroyo has all three in her.

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