Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Little Things To do Before You Hit 60: End it with an Amen

Why sixty? Well, according to science, this is the time when aging really hits home. You start to feel human, and alive. Well, here are ten things you need to do before you hit 60.

1. Discover God and His laws. Nothing wrong with acknowledging that a superior Force do exists out there somewhere who created everything you see. Do research. Nothing harmful for discovering His laws.

2. Eat wisely. Yes, turmeric tastes awful. But its great for inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells within your body. Consider adding more herbs to your diet. Of course, not to mention drinking those juices, packed with vegetables and fruits.

3. Stop eating pork. Yep, do your research online and you'll find out that pork do harm your body. The more you eat of it, the more it harms your body. Yes, they are delicious, but what would be a better choice--add extra 15 years to your life or die before you turn 70? It's really your choice.

4. Do frequent visits to the mountains. Go hiking. Go camping. Go swimming in streams and rivers. If you can do it twice a week, best.

5. Write your thoughts. Go get and buy a journal, and a pen or pencil. Write your thoughts. I know there's a laptop, but writing and exercising those fingers are still the best ways to add more time to your life.

6. Do good. Don't mind what others do--mine yours. Eventually, when you meet your Maker, it is between him and you. As much as you can, do good things. It reaps benefits.

7. Exercise or get a massage every month. What is that extra 300 pesos spent for a 1-hour shiatsu or swedish or Thai massage if it can add more years to your life?

8. Expel negative thoughts. Encourage only happy ones.

9. Every thing you do, do it with excellence and mindful that it has an effect on others. Realising that, make every effort and act count for the benefit not just for yourself but for others. Do not be brash. Don't rush. There is time for everything. And for every act you decide to do, do it for the long-term not just to solve a momentary thing.

10. Pray. It works. There are lots of literature out there which tell the extreme benefits of prayer in one's life. Do it and do it now. When you pray, please consider this structure:

1. Recognize God and God's power. Praise him.
2. Humble yourself and admit that you sin.
3. Ask for his mercy and forgiveness.
4. Ask that God protect you from the Satans of this world.
5. Ask that the spirit of Wisdom be upon you so that you can discern what is the right thing to do always.
6. Ask whatever you want.
7. Punctuate it with invoking the name of Christ.
8. End it with an amen.

Time matters

I just realized how important Time really is. We live such short lives on this earth. Realizing that, one treasures every single second you let pass.

Realizing this, my world suddenly turns brighter. My purpose is revitalized. Make that 100 cell divisions matter. :-)

Do you know that the cells within us divide themselves between 40 to the maximum of 100 before it enters into what scientists call senescence. (The so-called Hayflick limit says 70-100) This division is necessary for our bodies to cope up with environmental factors that affect our existence. Scientists also know as far back as the sixties that ageing begins when our telomeres, that coating that protects vital information contained in our chromosomes slowly shortens. Geneticists explain that, when our cells divide, this telomores also loses in length because when cells divide, it eats energy which the telomeres produces. The more we eat, the more free radicals are released within our cell structures, causing destruction in our telomeres.

When we came into this world, we have about 15,000-8,000 long pairs of telomeres in our blood. As we reach 35 years old, this length shortens by about 3,000 and whatever we do in our bodies, it slowly shortens that by 65, its average length is expected to only measure abiut 1,500 pairs in our blood, making us age and weaken. Stress, obesity, pollution, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise are contributory factors for our shortening of telomeres.

There is a solution though--telomerase theraphy. If we add telomerase in, we actually repair and bring back some of the length of our telomeres. The fact is--scientists had discovered T-65, a telomerase activator. It is derived from the plant astragalus, a food plant which is traditionally used by the Chinese as a booster of qi.

Of course, this is about our ageing. I'm not even talking about how you lived your life, which is philosophical.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Killing more people makes the Mindanao war rage even more

Many people are asking me why the hell is the Philippine military sweating profusely fighting a handful of ex-OFWs and ordinary citizens cum Islamic preachers? Equipped with the most sophisticated military equipment, our military is supposed to be at the upper hand but as things stand right now, our AFP is still working very hard trying to get the city back to civilian hands.

The AFP spokesperson said these terrorists have the upper hand due to their knowledge of the terrain. Crap. Bull.

Don't tell me you don't have ultra modern surveillance drones and sophisticated maps? The US is helping our military deal with the situation. That means, access maybe to armed drones which had combat experience dealing with the Talibans and the ISIS at those sandy battlefields out there in the Middle East. We are talking about a very small area where our military said the rebels are still holed up. About a month had past and surely, these terrorists are as weak as Palito for lack of provisions. The President is even asking and probably wondering what the hell is going on? Battalions being beaten by a handful of inexperienced terrorists?

There is a problem, somewhere. And the end of this war depends on that very day when our military and civilian leaders admit their mistakes and re-assess their situation and re-focus their minds. Let's help them.

1. An insurgent can only be defeated by another insurgent. You cannot fight speed with might. That's the advantage of an insurgent--their mobility. Conventional military analysts would definitely say that  the best thing is to limit their mobility by outflanking the enemy. How would you outflank an enemy which does not occupy a territory? You first give them space then you hit them there.

You defeat speed by becoming a faster, more mobile force. That's why, special forces teams are most effective against insurgents in the first place because you are not dealing with a conventional force.

2. Don't set a deadline. There is simply no set date for an insurgency to end. It ends when the Cause of its existence is extinguished in the minds of its supporters and sympathizers. Some believe that if you kill the leaders, you practically kill the insurgency. Wrong.  Doing so weakens the terrorists but it does not mean the war is near its end. Due to its impermanence, insurgent groups continue waging wars until its strategic objective is met.

3. What's so wrong with shifting into a communication-led or based one rather than mortal combat? This president is so blood thirsty. Better to set up a platform for debates rather than go to the battlefield where both combatants and innocents are affected. Opening the lines of communication is better than spending bullets killing people. The more people killed, the more an insurgent war rages. When you unleash hell, it comes back at you. Unleashing the dogs of war will result to you eventually being bitten by more ferocious canines by your enemy.

Remember---dead people are like fodders of wars. The more people killed in conflicts, the longer the war goes. And this is precisely why many people don't want to trigger a war in that part of the Philippines because such a war might outlive those who sparked it.

Duterte is happy. He goes down in history as the second man in Philippine history to spark a long-term war in Mindanao by ordering those carpet bombings. Of course, Duterte knows what he is doing. Yet, I fear that the war he dipped his hands into, will probably outlive him like what had happened to his idol and predecessor.

Mayor--are you happy now?

Duterte military giving us false hopes

One of the most effective counter measures against extremism and terrorism is for our authorities to duly inform our public of what really is happening on ground level so that we, ordinary folks, would know and act accordingly.

Today is the end of the Ramadhan. The AFP says there is a truce yet bursts of gunfire were still heard by lots of Maranaos celebrating this day of sacrifice.

Let's admit the facts.

1. Our president had unduly stirred a veritable hornet's nest. This Marawi clash is not the end of it. For years, we never saw a conflict this big ever, because our authorities are very quick to act and talk with insurgents. Our peace advisers know what's happening at ground level and that is why they are very careful in handling peace negotiations.

With a very flabboyant hawk manning our fort, he wittingly or unwittingly opened a veritable Pandora's box which re-opened old wounds and created new ones.

Right now, we are facing just a start of a possible protracted war that could literally sever Mindanao from the Republic and cause a terrible security nightmare for our neighbours.

The AFP says they are close to ending the Marawi seige but by the looks of it, the participation of other bigger, larger armed groups is already a certainty and is causing nervousness amongs analysts and observers of this conflict. It is most certain that this fight had spilled over other areas independent of the influence of the Mautes and Hapilons.

The BIFF attacked a town in North Cotabato. Several other towns and cities are a-flame. Insurgents have vowed to even attack Davao next, which this president and his minions had declared as "second Malacanan". Imagine how would we look if Davao is attacked.

Government is not telling us that those carpet bombings ordered by our own Nero had bruised the feelings of most Maranaos. Those bombings, termed "surgical" was as surgical as 1950's bombs because from the looks of it, those destroyed countless homes and buildings just to flush a handful of suspected snipers. The World is still clueless as to the real extent of this war and if our government is hoping that the people will never ever know the real score, think again. Truth had this uncanny ability of showing itself before people at the wrong time. What is so logical about destroying houses and commercial establishments for just five to 10 snipers?

Anyway, that is an executive's prerogative, someone told me. Yes, it is. And surely, in time, someone will pay for all these mess.

2. This early, government is now seeing the real costs of conventional war. The military is counting success by the number of deaths and the re-claiming of seized territory. The insurgents had other things in mind.

Our AFP probably forgot that they are dealing with insurgents who are not interested on territory and is not interested on a few deaths. They are there for propaganda purposes. They are there just to spark a brutal long-term war in that place called Mindanao. Marawi is symbolic. These insurgents are not there for the long haul. Every one who read Sun Tzu would know that a city seige is neither for rebels nor government.

Insurgents are highly mobile. They don't move like those professional soldiers. They are not thinking of camps. They have the whole world as their camp. One of the most unique advantages of an insurgent is its impermanence. Insurgents are highly adaptive. Conventional warfare is slow. An insurgency does not count victories by days---it counts victories by years.

A person who knows his science knows already that the longer this conflict goes, the more advantageous it gets for these terrorists. I am sorry Mr. President, but this war is not about how many bullets or ammunition your enemy have or how much sacks of rice or water these insurgents carry with them. In a modern insurgency war, this is but a small matter.

3. Government and even most of the adulating public already know that martial rule did not change the outcome of this war. Martial law or no martial law, Mindanaoans especially the Bangsamoro will wage their struggle come what may. Like any other insurgency, this will last until these insurgents get what they want---weaken the military force of the state to pressure negotiations. And these times surely do not favor the Philippine state.

Like all human conflicts, when you invite violence, it bites you back.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Kalayaan, mayroon ba?

Halos 120 taon na tayong Republika. Sa panahong yaon, ganap nga ba tayong naging malaya?

Ikinutiltil ng mga namumuno sa atin na ang ating pamahalaan ay isang demokratikong sistema--na mayroong isang gobyernong pinamumunuan ng mga halal na pinunong nangangalaga para sa ating mga kapakanan.

At sa panahong ginugol natin sa sistemang ito, dalawa pang mga dambuhalang dagok ang dumating bago pa natin tunay na nasabing may laya na tayong gawin ang ating mga mithiin. Mula pagtatapos ng 1946 hanggang sa kasalukuyan, pinamunuan na tayo ng mga halal na Pilipinong sa tingin natin ay mga nagsusulong ng ating mga karapatan at kagalingan.

May mga napala ba tayo sa sinasabing demokrasya? Mayroon bang kabutihang naidulot sa atin ang demokrasya?

Sa pagsulong ng panahon, unti-unti nating pinagtulungang buuin ang ating Republika. Sa ngayon, nagawa na ng ating pamahalaang impluwensyahan maski ang ilang kasuluk-sulukang bahagi ng ating kapuluan. Mahirap mang suungin ang mga isla't kabundukan, ngunit sa mga lugar na yaong mayroong Pilipinong naninirahan, naroon na ang pamahalaan.

Sa tantya ng ilang mga eksperto, mas mainam para sa atin ang isang sistemang nagdudugtong sa iba't-ibang mga isla upang ganap na ang pagunlad sa mga lugar na ito. Sadyang nabuo ang Republika sa ganitong layunin. Magkakaiba man ang kalinangan sa mga lugar na ito, pero, nagawa ng ating pamahalaang pandayin ang isang Bansa mula sa iba't-ibang mga bayan sa pamamagitan ng isang layunin ng pagunlad.

Ngunit, natitiyak natin ngayon na nadiskaril ang pagunlad ng mga bayang ito hindi marahil sa wala tayong mga batas na nagtataguyod at nagpapakilala ng ating mga karapatan sa ilalim ng diumano'y demokrasya. Kundi, mayroong mga inihalal tayong mga pinunong ang tanging nasasa utak ay ang kanilang kagalingan, at hindi ang pambansang kapakanan.

Mga inutil na sadyang nagsusulong ng mga pang-ekonomikong interes ng kanilang mga tagapagtaguyod pampinansyal. Sa pananaw ng oligarkiya, mga Pilipinong mula sa mga bastardong lahi ng mga dayuhang mananakop kasama na ang mga Pilipinong nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan, kanila ang kapuluang ito. Maaari nilang baluktutin ang mga batas, paghati-hatian ang kapuluan at palabasing mas mainam ito kaysa sa kasalukuyan at balintunain ang lipunan upang matiyak ang patuloy na pagka-alipin ng mga Pilipino sa kamalian.

At sa mga panahong nakalipas, saksing buhay tayo kung papaano ginamit ng mga taong ito ang sistema upang malusutan ang mga batas ng pagkakapantay-pantay, nakawin ang kaban ng bayan para sa pansariling kagalingan at baluktutin ang hustisya o katarungan upang paboran ang interes ng iilang gahaman hindi lamang sa yaman kundi sa kapangyarihan.

Imbes na maging instrumento ng katarungan ang mga sangay ng pamahalaan, wala ni isa man sa sangay ng ehekatura, lehislatura at maging ang hudikatura ang naging kasangkapan ng mga mamamayan tungo sa tunay na pagpapairal ng demokrasya. Saksi tayo sa mga kaganapang nakita natin mismo kung papaano baluktutin ng mga Oligarkiya ang ating mga batas upang manatili tayo sa ating kaawa-awang mga katayuan.

Ngayon, mas tumitindi ang mga banta sa ating mga kagalingan dahil sa napupuna na ng mga Oligarkiya ang lumalakas na hanay at kilusin ng mga Pilipino laban sa pagmamalabis nila sa kapangyarihan. Marami na ang may malay sa mga nagaganap sa ating bansa, at marami na rin ang naghahangad ng tunay na kalayaan mula sa walang katarungang lagay natin sa kasalukuyan.

Sa nagdaang pitong taon, lumakas ang hanay ng nasyunalismo sa ating bansa. Nabuo ang pagmamahal natin sa ating Inang Bayan at kaugnay nito, ang pagusbong ng kilusin tungo sa tunay na pagbabago. Ngunit, nakita rin natin ang kakulangan sa mga panahong yaon---ang tila bagang tuod na pamamahala ng nagdaang administrasyon. Kaya naman, marami sa atin ang napahinuhod na ihalal ang sa pananaw natin, isang lideratong may tibay at malakas na ipapagsanggalang tayo sa mga kalabisan sa pamunuan.

At siya ngang naganap. Ngunit ano ngayon ang ating napala?

Ano ngayon ang lagay ng ating bayan? Isang salita--kaguluhan. Mayroong pagtatangka ng pagbabaha-bahagi sa ating bansa. Mayroong isang kilusing ihiwalay ang Mindanao mula sa Republika. Tuloy-tuloy ang pamamahala ng mga sindikatong kriminal sa ating bansa sa kabila ng diumano'y malakas na kampanya laban sa kriminalidad. At walang kamuwalang muwang ang taumbayan sa patuloy na pagpasok ng dayuhang Tsino sa ating pampulitikal at pang ekonomikong sistema.

Kalayaan, mayroon nga ba?

Sa ngayon, alipin tayo ng isang pang ekonomikong sistema na umiiral. Ito'y isang sistemang nagtataguyod ng Kapital bilang malakas na puwersa nang pagbabago. Mayroon tayong layang pulitikal ngunit kulang tayo sa layang pang ekonomiko. Imbes na ang pagtuunan natin ay ang unti-unting pagbabago sa sistemang pang ekonomiko, tinutuunan natin ng pansin ang sistemang pampulitiko na sa ganang akin, ay maituturing na alipin lamang ng Kapital. Karamihan sa ating mga suliranin ay mapagtutuunan ng karampatang kasagutan kung pagtutuunan natin ang paglago at pagpapatatag ng ating ekonomiya. Sa gayon, magagawa nating makapagbago ng ating mga kalagayan.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Marawi battle will worsen in the coming weeks

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has set a deadline for the cessation of hostilities between them and the Maute-AKP-ASG group. The military estimates that it would only take them two weeks to finish the job. However, a news item today in the Inquirer points to the possibility of a protracted war which could severely affect the Philippines in so many ways.

A long-drawn insurgent war will definitely affect the Philippines in so many ways. First, war devastates the public coffers. How much do we spend every single day just to neutralise 200 or so armed men in Marawi? With so many other problems besetting our country for the past years, war will surely make things worse. President Duterte remains mum. He is always complaining about the deaths and probably fails to express concerns about the rising weight this war is making upon public funds. We don't know how Mr. Duterte now spends his intelligence funds which run to the billions. We are also clueless as to the costs of human suffering brought by this senseless war.

Frankly, Mr. Duterte spent so much political capital when he declared martial law in Mindanao. Inspite of a survey showing 78% of Filipinos are against martial rule, Mr. Duterte went ahead, thinking that this is a sufficient response to the imminent threat posed by these extremist local terror group. Like any other militarist, Mr. Duterte believes that government should strike first before these extremists make good its threat of occupying an inch off Marawi.

Two weeks past, and we still are waiting for the intended effect of martial rule in the Marawi conflict, which is the arrest of major players in this on-going war. Martial rule is supposed to lead to the arrest of known narco-politicians which the President accused of staging and financing this war. Two weeks went by and no one, not even a shadow of at least one major personality involved in this dangerous caper is behind bars. Or, six feet under ground. Inspite of Mr. Duterte's bravado, urging soldiers to kill, and maim, and destroy lives, the conflict has not changed for the better. The terrorists are readying for an expected major battle for the commercial district of Marawi and even if these terrorists fail in defending their positions against government attacks, the shift from conventional urban warfare to unconventional jungle fighting will ultimately decide which one between these two combatant groups will win in the end. And if one looks at history, more government soldiers die in jungle warfare than these terrorists who are admittedly more knowledgeable about the terrain compared to the battle-scarred government soldiers.

As history has shown us, a protracted war is not at all beneficial for the national government. Aside from its heavy toll on public coffers, a long-drawn war also weakens the state politically and socially. Honestly, this country is simply not prepared for another war, especially one that assumes an international or regional character. In the end, something has to give, and based on history, when the state and interests of Big Business are affected, the state always extricate itself from its rut by political transition.

What is so dangerous now of the situation is the possibility of raising the Mindanao conflict to a higher, and more, international level. With the national government itself making a big fuss about ISIS and giving more prominence to a handful of armed civilians rather than electing to just quietly resolve this thru special force operations, the group got the necessary attention it craves for legitimisation. Right now, the ISIS is exploiting what is happening in the Philippines for its propaganda. Even that incident at Resorts World Manila was claimed by ISIS as the handiwork of its "lone wolf", which Speaker Alvarez accepted hook, line and sinker.

Martial law proved to be a useless and pointless weapon against this spreading extremism.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

NDF should discontinue talking with dishonest Marcos, err, Duterte regime

Some people can't understand why NDF consultants are still pursuing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for the continuation of the talks. The GRP, through its highest leader, Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself has practically, and possibly unilaterally, terminated the talks, even threatened NDF consultants of arrest should they come back to the Philippines. This is a different Duterte now, a stark contrast to the reconciliatory Duterte a year back who even urged NDF chief consultant Jose Maria Sison of a "hero's welcome" should the former professor decides to come home. Duterte alleges that Sison is gravely ill. He even told Sison, who happens to be his former professor, of spending for his medical expenses if the former CPP leader decides to spend his retirement days here in his country.

In response to Duterte's threat, NDF consultants are consulting with their respective lawyers while still opening back channel talks with the GRP panel.

Duterte's action probably came from a validation that NDF consultants which the Dureza-led GRP panel are in consultation with do not fully represent the CPP-NPA-NDF. For one, ground sources say the Party has elected a new set of leaders during a plenum last March and these leaders are somewhat wary about Duterte whom they suspect of laying the foundations for a dictatorship. Many within the Party believe that it is practically useless to ally themselves with this administration since it is now showing its reactionary colors.

This explains why the CPP leadership issued an order directing NPA units to continue offensive operations against the AFP. The fact is--that order came as a consequence of direct and continuous AFP offensives against NPA units in different territories or claimed NPA-influenced areas. And that order shows the disparity between what is happening at ground level and what is being discussed and talked about at the negotiating table.

The problem now with these consultants is that they do not assert influence over younger cadres and leaders. They have problems internally and I think those can be solved within the year. Duterte, according to some kasamas, is like a monkey wrench thrown at the Left. That is why it is highly important to do an analysis of Duterte to serve as a guide on how to handle him.

Anyway, I think our friends are forgetting one thing about negotiations--one has to negotiate in a position of strength. Based on news reports, the panel is being pictured as mendicants. Inspite of highly public pronouncements from the GRP that they are disengaging from the talks, NDF consultants still insist on continuing the talks inspite of the overt acts of the President not liking what is happening with it.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is it Islamic to kill disbelievers of the Faith?

For believers, the time of Ramadhan is not just about fasting--the total concept is the cleansing of one's body, mind and soul from the yearly filth the Believer gets from living in this world. Aside from abstaining one's self from food, the Muslim also abstains from negative thoughts and ideally, fills his mind with spiritual knowledge by going back to his roots and reading the Noble Qu'ran. Actually, the reading of the Qu'ran is obligatory and is part of salah, or the Muslim prayer. To those who have read and have mastered the Qu'ran, these Pious ones can very well use quotes from the Sura and include them in their prayers. For ordinary Muslims, remembering a few verses from any Sura is not just a part of daily life, but is a note worthy deed which merits a reward in the Day of Judgement.

Anyway, I strive to myself to read what the Noble Qu'ran said about disbelief in Islam. The Qu'ran had given us so many forms of disbelief, which, in later posts, I will list down.

What is important in today's post is for us to resolve this one question---what does the Noble Qu'ran say about disbelief? What is the duty of a Pious Muslim when he encounters a disbeliever? Is it a duty for him to kill a disbeliever?

How does Allah deal with disbelievers

In Surah 1:7, we find that the path which a Muslim takes is a straight one. And the basis for which we determine what is straight and what is not, lies with the Noble Qu’ran. Surah 2:2, says:

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah –
 
The Noble Qu’ran was sent as a healing and mercy for the believers; but it does not increase the number of disbelievers.

Sura 17:82: And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.
 
Noble Qu’ran speaks of the truth about the straight path to one’s salvation.

Sura 17:107: Say, "Believe in it or do not believe. Indeed, those who were given knowledge before it - when it is recited to them, they fall upon their faces in prostration,
 
Why is it that the path is a straight one for those whom Allah SWT wants to believe and be saved from the destruction on the Day of Judgment?

Sura 18:2: [He has made it] straight, to warn of severe punishment from Him and to give good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a good reward

Allah alone guides whom He wishes to guide to the straight path

Sura 5:16: By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.

Whoever Allah guides he is rightfully guided.

Sura 17:97: And whoever Allah guides - he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray - you will never find for them protectors besides Him, and We will gather them on the Day of Resurrection [fallen] on their faces - blind, dumb and deaf. Their refuge is Hell; every time it subsides We increase them in blazing fire.
 Sura 18:17: And [had you been present], you would see the sun when it rose, inclining away from their cave on the right, and when it set, passing away from them on the left, while they were [laying] within an open space thereof. That was from the signs of Allah . He whom Allah guides is the [rightly] guided, but he whom He leaves astray - never will you find for him a protecting guide.
 Sura18:24: Except [when adding], "If Allah wills." And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, "Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct."
 
Prophet Muhammad (SWS) was sent as a warner and a bringer of good tidings.

Sura 17:105: And with the truth We have sent the Qur'an down, and with the truth it has descended. And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a bringer of good tidings and a warner.

Allah already knows who will believe and those who will not believe.

Sura 16:36: And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid Taghut." And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. So proceed through the earth and observe how was the end of the deniers.

Allah knows that there will be those who will go on the straight path and those who will deviate.

Sura 16:9: And upon Allah is the direction of the [right] way, and among the various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all.
 
Allah knows what is happening in the universe.

Sura 17: 55: And your Lord is most knowing of whoever is in the heavens and the earth. And We have made some of the prophets exceed others [in various ways], and to David We gave the book [of Psalms].

In our life on earth, Allah has already willed that there will be discensions caused by Satan, according to what Allah Willed.

Sura 17:53: And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.
 
How? We find in Sura 17:41: And We have certainly diversified [the contents] in this Qur'an that mankind may be reminded, but it does not increase the disbelievers except in aversion.

In Sura 5:98, we need to “Know that Allah is severe in penalty and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”  Allah SWT alone guides whom He wishes to guide to the straight path.

Sura 5:16: By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.

It is thru Allah SWT alone that the people would get the answers to their questions, not solely from believers or the Pious ones.
 In Sura 5:102: A people asked such [questions] before you; then they became thereby disbelievers.
 
And since the dawn of time, Allah SWT already knows who will believe and who will not believe in Him. Hence, Allah has placed coverings in the hearts of the disbelievers.

Sura 17:46: And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn back in aversion.
 
Disbelievers will do comparisons and they will not discover the truth.

Sura 17:48: Look how they strike for you comparisons; but they have strayed, so they cannot [find] a way.

For disbelievers are blind, hence, they will surely not tread the straight path.

Sura 17:72: And whoever is blind in this [life] will be blind in the Hereafter and more astray in way.

Allah has sealed the hearts, ears and eyes of disbelievers.

Sura16:108: Those are the ones over whose hearts and hearing and vision Allah has sealed, and it is those who are the heedless.

However, there is still hope for those who want to be saved.

Sura 5:39: But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
 Sura 5:40: Do you not know that to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He wills and forgives whom He wills, and Allah is over all things competent.
 

What the Pious Ones are instructed to do with disbelievers

Sura 86:17 of the Noble Qu’ran is clear---leave them alone. There is time for addressing disbelief. Why is the instruction this clear? Allah expects some to still repent. However, hell is a certainty for those who disbelieve.

Sura 17:8: [Then Allah said], "It is expected, [if you repent], that your Lord will have mercy upon you. But if you return [to sin], We will return [to punishment]. And We have made Hell, for the disbelievers, a prison-bed."
 
What is the basis for one’s punishment? His deeds recorded.

Sura 17:13: And [for] every person We have imposed his fate upon his neck, and We will produce for him on the Day of Resurrection a record which he will encounter spread open.

Those whom Allah wills will be guided and the Pious Ones are not to be burdened by the sins or burdens of another

Sura 17:15: Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.
 
It is God Who punishes the unbelievers, not the believers. In Sura 17:16, we find this passage:

And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its affluent but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with [complete] destruction.
 
The Pious ones are expected to exercise patience.

Sura 16:1: The command of Allah is coming, so be not impatient for it. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.
 
Allah wants the Believers to be patient and rely on Him and Him alone.

Surah 16:42: They are] those who endured patiently and upon their Lord relied.

Allah alone guides whom He wishes to guide to the straight path.

Sura 5:16: By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.

Justice from God has an appointed time.

Sura 18:58: And your Lord is the Forgiving, full of mercy. If He were to impose blame upon them for what they earned, He would have hastened for them the punishment. Rather, for them is an appointment from which they will never find an escape.

And the time is fast coming, and the reign of disbelievers is ending.

Sura 16:117: [It is but] a brief enjoyment, and they will have a painful punishment. 
Who destroys cities whose people are continually sinning? In Sura 18:59: And those cities - We destroyed them when they wronged, and We made for their destruction an appointed time.

Is it the intention of Allah SWT to punish those who continue on sinning before their appointed time?

Surah 16:33: Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And Allah wronged them not, but they had been wronging themselves.

There is no city to be destroyed before the Day of Judgment

Sura 17:58: And there is no city but that We will destroy it before the Day of Resurrection or punish it with a severe punishment. That has ever been in the Register inscribed.

Is it the duty of the Pious to correct the injustices of this world? No.

Sura 16:41: And those who emigrated for [the cause of] Allah after they had been wronged - We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know.
Sura 16:119: Then, indeed your Lord, to those who have done wrong out of ignorance and then repent after that and correct themselves - indeed, your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful.
 Sura 16:126: And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient - it is better for those who are patient. 
Why? The strivings of a Believer is not to live in this world, but the Hereafter

Sura 16: 30: And it will be said to those who feared Allah, "What did your Lord send down?" They will say, "[That which is] good." For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous –
Sura 16:31. Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish. Thus does Allah reward the righteous – 
The things of this earth are but an adornment to test those who believe

Sura 18:7: Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth adornment for it that We may test them [as to] which of them is best in deed.
The responsibility of a Pious believer is to himself.

Sura 5:105: O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is your return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do.
 
And when he encounters disbelief, the Pious invites the disbeliever to the Way without arguing about religion.

Sura 16:125: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.
 
The Pious is instructed not to do harmful things, even kill disbelievers for fear of Allah’s wrath

Sura 5:18: If you should raise your hand against me to kill me - I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.
 
Killing someone is like killing the entire human race.

Sura 5:32: Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

Allah knows that there will be those who will go on the straight path and those who will deviate.

Sura 16:9: And upon Allah is the direction of the [right] way, and among the various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all.

There will never be one religion—because Allah wills it.

Sura 16:93: And if Allah had willed, He could have made you [of] one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.
 
In due time, Allah will present the punishment for the disbelievers.

Sura 18:100: And We will present Hell that Day to the Disbelievers, on display –

Punishment for disbelief is reserve in the Hereafter: there is no punishment here on earth for those who do corruption

Sura 5:33: Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment, 
There is no ransom to be allowed for the redemption of the disbelievers
 Sura5:36: Indeed, those who disbelieve - if they should have all that is in the earth and the like of it with it by which to ransom themselves from the punishment of the Day of Resurrection, it will not be accepted from them, and for them is a painful punishment
 
What is therefore Allah’s instruction to the Pious?

  • ·      Stand firm. Sura 5:8: O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
  • ·      Be doers of good. Sura 5:13: So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
  • ·      Be patient thru prayer. Sura 18:28: And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.
  • ·      Believe in Allah’s will. Sura 18:29: And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.
  • ·      Hold true to Allah’s promise. Sura 18:31: Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place.
  • ·      Be not distracted of the things of this world, but strive for good deeds. Sura 18:46: Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope.
  • ·      Hold fast to the completion of the Day of Judgment. Sura 18:48: And they will be presented before your Lord in rows, [and He will say], "You have certainly come to Us just as We created you the first time. But you claimed that We would never make for you an appointment."
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Implications of martial law in the fight against terror in the Philippines

What foreign and local analysts have feared---an international terror group like ISIS using what is happening in Marawi as propaganda fodder.

Sources from within the Muslim Community told me that the Maute Group began as a small group. Now, it has become bigger courtesy of government, when it suddenly used all its state resources and even decided to use its Martial law card, thereby, attracting local and international attention to what is happening in Lanao del Sur.

This can be solved quietly, like a special military or police operations. Of course, right now, is water under the bridge.

On the report that the Mautes wanted to burn Marawi off the map, well, it's mere government propaganda. There is no plan to do just that because it is forbidden. Marawi is a declared Islamic City. Had these Mautes did just that, they would have incurred the collective anger of the people, which they are very careful not to stoke.

Sources say what the Mautes intended really is to position themselves as a strong alternative force from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Mautes are MILF sympathizers and are very close to former MILF chairman Hashim Salamat.

They belong to the group who criticize the present MILF leadership of "abandoning the Bangsamoro struggle" by entering into a peace deal with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

To accomplish their mission of becoming the main alternative and revolutionary force, the Mautes had to merge with other smaller groups sharing the same mindset about the Bangsamoro struggle. And they did just that. What made them even larger in the eyes of the Bangsamoros was when they allied themselves with the ASG which, since 2014, had expressed and probably established a connexion with the ISIS.

Now, on allegations that they are using or are selling shabu to finance their struggle, it is entirely possible given that even foreign terrorist organisations have assisted drug syndicates in selling illicit drugs just to shore up funds. There is now what analysts call "narco terrorism" which is basically a deliberate scheme to create terrorist acts to disguise the selling and distribution of drugs.  Islamist groups enter into an unholy alliance with these syndicates by taking part in the selling and distribution of drugs. Islamist groups also take part in gun smuggling, racketeering and smuggling activities to generate funds.

Question--are these acts prohibited under Islam? Yes. However, there is a sura in the Noble Qu'ran which absolves those who sin while fighting for the cause of Islam. I believe these local terror groups engaged in that, believing that it would be the quickest way to get funding for the supply of arms, ammunition, tactical gear and all other activities.

There are also information from the ground which suggest that the Mautes served as security for defeated politicians in Marawi and Lanao del Sur. Elders of the Maute clan are not just businessmen but are engaged in political skirmishes with the existing Marawi local government leadership.

What would change the complexion of this fight is after Ramadhan. It is tradition and is actually an edict to all Muslims to give zakat as a form of ablution or an act which purifies the soul of a believer. Abu Bakr during the Ridda wars prescribed the giving of zakat to those who undertake the Cause of Islam.

It is tradition that monies collected by a Muslim which resulted to an illicit or forbidden act, says interests from bank savings, are to be given for the construction of toilets or purchase of ammunition. The giving of zakat in the Philippines is unregulated. It depends on the giver. In other countries, the giving of zakat is institutionalized, with the state collecting it. In the Philippines, zakat can be given to an imam or to the community.

Now, what would prohibit a believer to give his zakat to these fighters? None. It is perfectly legal, since it is not just a cultural custom but a religious one.

Can government prevent the giving of zakat to these groups? No, not even the imposition of martial rule. Why? Because according to several authorities, even the Ombudsman said that the bill of rights continue in operation, and some of these rights enshrined in our Constitution, recognizes religious rights. Since zakat is one of the pillars of Islam, the giving of which to anyone cannot be considered as a crime or a violation of the law since there is no provision in the Revised Penal Code (RPC) that prohibits or makes that act a crime, and likewise the act itself of giving zakat is a religious obligation and therefore, protected as a right by the Philippine state.

And what would prevent even Muslims from abroad giving zakat to these groups? None.

Again, what was the main goal of these local terror groups? To position themselves as an alternative revolutionary organisation separate from the MILF. How then will they do this? By proving themselves as highly capable and a lethal force. How? By attracting government attention to them. Did the Mautes accomplish that? Yes, and worse--they even attracted the attention of the ISIS which now use the battles in Marawi as a propaganda fodder.

It will now be just a matter of time before we see the entire Mindanao as a regional battlefield, attracting jihadists from throughout Asia, thanks to our dearly beloved president who panicked when he heard the initial military intelligence about the Maute movements.










Saturday, May 27, 2017

Calida's dreams: Calida must be a sympathizer of ISIS

I don't know what Solicitor General Calida's pre-law course is, but surely, it is not political science. Because if it is, then, Calida's Polsci professor must be a moron. And if it is not, then, I have to call the attention of his Constitutional 1 professor who erroneously taught him about the state.

The fact is---international analysts around the world must have been laughing hard and some probably even threw tomatoes at Calida's pimpled face. He is the only one around the world who actually gave legal importance on ISIS. Calida's view that the ISIS is a legitimate state is one of the dumbest and most stupid statements ever coming from a government official.

May I ask Attorney Calida where he got the idea that ISIS is a fully recognized state? Or probably Calida is a secret sympathizer of ISIS, alongside his boss, that's why he thinks that ISIS is a state, and most likely, another government similar to the Philippines. Because the last time that I heard, the allied forces together with the Arab coalition has since erased ISIS control over several true states, including Syria and Iraq.

Or probably, Calida might have gotten the idea from reading several ISIS propaganda materials, which claims that ISIS is indeed exercising full sovereign control over certain territories of the known world. And Calida is fully convinced that indeed, ISIS is a rogue state.

For those who don't know, a state is a concept. For a territory to be considered a state it must have: first, a constituency, a group of people who recognize and are willingly subservient to or have since given their loyalty to the ones claiming to have a state. Calida must have thought that since ISIS is capable of waging a protracted war against the state, there must be millions of ISIS sympathizers out there who also consider themselves citizens of ISIS.

Two, a state must have a territory which it exercises full control over. Yes, ISIS did occupied several towns and areas which were previously towns and cities of Iraq and Syria. And Calida might have considered these areas as legitimate territories under ISIS.

Third, Government. Ah, yes, ISIS has a government of its own because right now, those occupied territories are since been using ISIS flags as symbol of their state.

Fourth, sovereignty. The ISIS has a government which fully asserts its sovereignty over occupied territories. The thing is, this so-called government is now unable to fully exercise the use of Force into its claimed territories because the ISIS has since been nearly wiped out by the coalition forces.

At the very least, says the New York times, ISIL is transforming into a proto-state, still not a fully functioning state recognized internationally. This is the purview of the New York Times last 2015. Two years had past, and the ISIS is no longer asserting itself amongs the people living in those occupied territories.

The whole international community still considers ISIL as a terrorist organisation, not a state.

Implications of Calida's pronouncement

Remember that rebellion and invasion are political crimes. They are acts which the offender or perpetuator undertakes in pursuit of a political agenda. Under our laws, the punishment for rebellion or invasion is life imprisonment.

For rebellion to be proved, there must be an intent expressed publicly, to occupy government installations and see to it that the act disrupts governmental functions.

The Palace says, there is a willful intent to subvert the sovereignty of the Philippine Government when the Maute Group members occupied several buildings and raised the ISIS flag.

Calida says that what is happening in Marawi has "transmorgrified" from just rebellious acts of local terror groups into an "invasion."

His pieces of evidence? Corpses of foreigners killed, identified as Malaysians, Indonesians and a Singaporean. And of course, when the terror groups raised the ISIS flag in several portions of Marawi city.

Okey. For Calida, those are overt acts of invasion. Are these so-called "pieces of evidence" sufficient to qualify Maute's actions as "invasion"?

No.

First, there should be an investigation how these foreigners were killed. For one, the AFP knows that there are several hundreds of foreigners living in Marawi. Are they now considered Maute members just because their corpses were among the dead? How were they killed? Were they in possession of firearms and were fighting government troops?

And evenif they were foreign fighters, do they represent ISIS? What is the proof?

Let us then consider they really are ISIS members---again, we go back to our initial rebuke of Calida--is ISIS a government, even a state at all? No. The international community considers ISIS as an international terrorist organisation, not a state.

Then our imaginary DDS member would say, eh, they raised the ISIS flag.

Do you see the flag of Japan and the United States in several places in Malate? How about if I raise the flag of ISIS infront of my house, does that mean invasion or rebellion? No.

Such flimsy excuse that these terrorists have raised the ISIS flag and therefore, that is already a sign of an invasion is stupid.

Are there evidence that these terrorists have already supplanted local authorities in Marawi? None. The mayor remained and is still in control of Marawi, thereupon, belying the palace yarn that there is an attempt at supplanting the sovereignty of the Philippine Government over Marawi.

Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko. Masyadong kabado ang mga taga administrasyon. Former senator Rene Saguisag is right---this declaration just shows the weakness of Mr. Duterte.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Martial law in Mindanao--a test case?

Is Duterte trying to find out how big or how huge the opposition is on martial law, that's why he is implementing a calibrated martial rule? Why is it that Duterte is really itching to declare martial rule?

Some believe that martial rule is an effective diversion from the worsening state of living in the Philippines. Inspite of recent pronouncements made by the Finance secretary that the economy is still growing better than China, people are experiencing a different thing. There is still no indication whatsover that economic gains made by this economy are trickling down to the basic sectors of society.

Others say, martial rule foils public vigilance against corruption. Martial rule will serve as an effective muffle to hide the nefarious activities being undertaken by Duterte's close associates, particularly his fraternity brothers. We all knew what happened at the Bureau of Immigration. This is reportedly happening a hundred fold in different agencies of government right now. Duterte is trying to curb it but most of his appointees are simply too thick skinned, too brazen and too proud to heed their frat brother's appeal not to toy with public funds particularly infrastructure projects. These corrupt men are now salivating how to apportion the infra pie among themselves and this can't be done with a vigilant media and citizenry still doing their jobs under a democratic setup.

Those who still oppose martial rule are doing so because of assurances that martial rule right now is a totally different animal. Wrong presumption.

Under martial law, the government can still cause the closure of firms, companies and arrest individuals upon suspicion of involvement with anti-government forces. Meaning, everyone is fair game. 

Martial law can also be used by nefarious government elements to pressure individuals or firms to fork out monies or curry support. Close associates of the President can even use this to pressure their economic or business competitors to back down from a bidding or a deal, lest be included in the list of " persons of interest".

Why Mindanao?

And since the rest of the country is under relative stability and peace, Duterte can't justify the proclamation of martial law and it is but rational for him to do so in Mindanao where so-called terrorist groups exist.

The thing is--this proclamation is downright a joke because we are talking about a 100 or so armed men. Are we telling the world that our military and police forces are soooo weak, it needs for the national government to declare martial rule just to annihilate them and their network? Is good intelligence work not enough to defeat a group of rag-tag youngsters and Islamic scholars who mostly spend their time inside mosques?  Government is 100 times superior than this group, what with our professional soldiers who are well equipped and well trained to handle such malevolent elements.

It seems though that the real target is NOT just these "ISIS-inspired" terror groups. There are strong indications that the real target are existing CPP-NPA-NDF units scattered throughout the archiepelago. 

Of course, Duterte already made assurances that this is simply not so. Yet, his declaration that the scope of territories will expand to include the Visayas AND Luzon betrays his true intention. 

It is simply UNTHINKABLE at this point for us to consider the possibility that this Maute Group is a sophisticated organisation that the group has already widen its network to include adherents from other areas like Visayas and Luzon. 

Everyone knows within the AFP and the PNP that even though the Maute had now linked itself with the ASG, their strength is too weak, its scope too limited and their influence outside their own turf is practically very small. 

Don't tell me that the AFP right now is simply INCAPABLE of limiting the movements of these groups and that their intelligence capabilities are ineffective?

Anyway, I think Duterte made a big tactical blunder when he made this proclamation and even chose Mindanao as his laboratory. 

People who oppose martial rule is maintaining such a position because these people know that when government imposes military rule there, it would simply not work and it would even prod other non-Maute groups to assume defensive postures.

The fact is---Duterte's declaration actually coincides with the playbook of these terrorists--these terrorists want nothing more than create a destabilized environment to heighten recruitment efforts. 

We all know that most Muslim Filipinos based in Mindanao have maintained their traditional distrust with the military due to their bad experience with the military during the Marcos years. And some or even most military elements share the same mistrust with Muslims in Mindanao. With just one false move on the side of the military, that would spark a very serious action which would precipitate a bigger war.

Faced with two options: siding with the military or duly constituted authorities or going to their fellow Muslims fighting the military, most Muslim Filipinos would chose the latter. 

Will this martial law creep into Visayas and Luzon? Of course it will. While I'm writing this, the AFP has raised their alert status to Red particularly in the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions. This is already an indication that state security forces are now preparing to implement martial law even in these areas. The minute they enter CPP-NPA-NDF controlled territories, expect a series of firefights which will be used by Duterte to justify the imposition of martial law even in Luzon.




Why Duterte wants Martial Rule?

Why is President Duterte, described by Senator Antonio Trillanes as " itching" to declare martial law, so damned convinced on declaring martial law?

Sources close to the Chief Executive said that this idea has already occupied the Chief Executive's mind  after consulting with close friends a few days after being declared by COMELEC as winner of the 2016 presidential elections. One source says Mr. Duterte knows that his management style would surely not work inside Malacanan for one reason---Duterte is an action man. He's not a philosophical leader. He's a go-go man. For twenty three years, Duterte personally attended the needs of his constituency in Davao and he gets what he wants. Higher authorities have given him the resources to do what he wants in that city. No one dare question his authority since he keeps a secret armed group with him. Those unfamiliar with things are in this side of the world, keeping a private army is one of the prerequisites if you decide to jump into the political pond. No one wins or survives Mindanao politics without using or keeping arms.

Duterte is also a man of his word. He keeps his promises. During the 2016 elections, Duterte threw so many promises that the old man is worried that he will fail in most of what he promised in his first year. And yes, Duterte is surely bound to fail.

His anti-drug campaign is now compromised, thanks to high officials of the national police who earns millions from protecting Filipino, Chinese, Brazilian and Indian financiers of drug syndicates. A source told me that "it is business as usual." While the PNP undertakes an internal cleansing, drug syndicates continue manufacturing and supplying kilos upon kilos of shabu and distributing it to their local networks. The fact is--shabu prices have now "stabilized" and went back to their pre-2016 prices.

There is likewise, a breakdown of law and order as former drug addicts go into other less lucrative businesses. Kidnappings are on the rise. Pickpocketing and other small crimes rose.

Duterte vowed to annihilate the oligarchs yet not one is behind bars. No one from Duterte's allies filed charges against oligarchs identified by the President. The fact is, again basing on sources, the oligarchs do not fear Duterte. They have secured a stable line to the President courtesy of Mr. Bong Go and even Medialdea and Dominguez.

The fact is, Duterte has formed his own group of oligarchs, mainly business associates of his political backers from the South. As what has been feared by several groups since the beginning, Duterte is now being taken cared of by a small group of carpet baggers who are representing several business interests. These people are suggesting and are pushing for the declaration of martial rule for several reasons:

1. First, a country under martial law will neutralize members of civil society and those from the business community. Dissent will go down. Without dissent, these people will now freely do what they want since they will be answerable to Duterte only. And Duterte, being sick and his focus is on lessening the criminality rate, is not expected to do anything against these people for fear of getting booted out from office, similar to what happened with Erap in 2001.

2. Second, martial law should be declared prior to the SONA or the State of the Nation Address. Duterte will use the platform to ask Congress to extend further the declaration of martial law for about a year and to include Luzon and the Visayas.  Since his anti-drugs campaign failed, Duterte will trumpet his success in neutralizing the Maute Group which attacked Marawi City. Every single analyst in the AFP know that it is very easy to neutralize the group since this is being well taken cared of by a political clique composed of local politicians. These politicians intend to enter into a political concession with the Duterte administration. The minute these people get what they want, they will then kill all high-ranking members of the Maute Group, which includes several foreign ISIS fighters who were lured into it due to propaganda.

Why declare prior to SONA?

Duterte and his close advisers are on a state of paranoia--they believe their own yarn that a group is out to oust Mr. Duterte from power. Some close to Duterte believes that these destabilizers or coup plotters are out to get him before he delivers the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Others think that Duterte is now convinced that it is time to use extreme measures to effect the changes he wants done before he steps down from office. Duterte supporters have proposed the establishment of a Revolutionary Government, but since this is extra-constitutional, the idea was scuttled.

They are now experimenting with martial law. And I agree with what Joma said---Duterte is playing with fire.