How to trigger massive violence in Mindanao? Simple. If anything bad happens to mass murderer Andal Ampatuan Jr. who is now detained at the NBI office in Manila, that would surely trigger rido in Maguindanao and the entire Mindanao.
And if the Opposition thinks that they can force the Ampatuan clan to divulge juicy details of Hello Garci, think again. The Government, by arresting and detaining Andal Ampatuan, committed one single act of assuring that these "secret Hello Garci documents" remain locked, stocked and barrelled.
Mrs. Arroyo now has the younger Andal Ampatuan under government custody. The younger Ampatuan is now Mrs. Arroyo's most precious commodity, err, her most important asset, a surety if you will, against possible "spillage" of info relating to Hello Garci.
In fact, if you look at it, the younger Andal is now a hostage. Threats against his life are being floated about austensibly for the senior Andal's personal consumption---Arroyo and her hawks want Andal Ampatuan to forever keep his mouth shut or something bad will happen to the 40-year old mass murderer.
Government assets are like vultures flying above the head of the younger Ampatuan. If the Patriarch balks and sends feelers to the Opposition that he's now ready to talk, then, for sure, the younger Andal will either die immediately or spend his entire life in chains.
Such is the life of those who think they are gods.
The younger Andal knows all the secrets of that Maguindanao Hello Garci operation. The Ampatuans know all the dirty things politicians did. The clan knows that they had the upper hand--they can go to the other side and sell the information in exchange for freedom.
I don't know if the elder Ampatuan already realize this---they don't have an ace anymore when they surrendered junior to Jesus Dureza. In fact, Arroyo now has the upper hand.
The detention of Andal also has a very serious security implication---if someone kills him, that would trigger violence not just in Mindanao but also in Metro Manila---justifying the imposition of a state of emergency even in NCR.
And we all know that the NBI is not the best place to keep a mass murderer. I remember months prior to the coup that ousted Erap, several NBI agents were killed there.
This Maguindanao massacre has tragedy written all over it.
Question really is---is Ampatuan ready to be betrayed by his principal? Mrs. Arroyo has a history of sacrificing her Knights for self-preservation. And mind you, in this one, the Ampatuans also incurred enemies from the military and the police who now occupy high positions in the state security establishment. It is to their best interests for the Ampatuans to keep their mouths shut.