President Rodrigo Roa Duterte once more made a threat to impose martial law, not in a nation-wide scale, only in Mindanao. He admits that would really shock the Filipino people. And he's right.
His predecessor and political ally, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former president Joseph Estrada, if I remember correctly, did exactly that and what happened? Endless destabilizations. Even Estrada got his broadside kicked by the people several months after declaring total war against the New People's Army (NPA) and of course, the Bangsamoro People. In the case of Arroyo, the former economic professor failed in raising the bar of economic development because she was so busy putting out politico-military fires left and right.
What groups benefitted from these endless destabilisations? Crooks in government, in the military and even in the business community. While former president Arroyo spends her time working on the problems of the country, her close associates help themselves with the public coffers.
Who do you think would benefit now that Duterte is so busy chasing drug personalities, ideological rebels and terrorist groups? Obviously, his own men whose minds are so fixated in getting hefty commissions from trillion peso government projects.
These people want Duterte's attention at fighting rebels, terrorists and drug lords while the economy slowly goes down, and corruption in government rises. Duterte must re-think what he's doing otherwise, I think, this administration will be the shortest one in Philippine history.
I think Mr. Duterte is being ill-advised by several hawks in his cabinet. Honestly---who among us is shocked by news of ambuscades between the rebels and the military? None. Are these clashes new? No. How about the terror being promoted by the Abu Sayyaf? Every one knows that this terror group is already a "fixture" in that island called Jolo. For as long as there is an absence of economic activity in these areas, expect both criminal and rebel activities there. Ask any military official and he'll say that these things are "business as usual."
Not to our president. In Duterte's mind, these are "extraordinary" incidents which need strong responses. I remember during the time of former president Fidel V. Ramos, these incidents also occurred sporadically but he never entertained the imposition of martial law. No, because he knows the moment you did that, you are dragging the entire country in a war which would not even resolve the problem anyway. Interacine conflicts are useless. It is just a useless use of public funds.
During the time of Estrada, such wars even cost him the presidency. It divided his cabinet. It caused the military several lives which caused demoralisationa among the ranks. Eventually, Estrada was abandoned by his own men.
As I wrote several blogs before, Duterte will fall by his own sword. His reputation is slowly eroding. People are laughing behind his back. In the international community, peoples are beginning to think of him as the source of destabilization that his preachers, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Presidential Communications secretary Martin Andanar attribute to others.
Did that Luneta "show of force" a determinant of wide support? No. I expected a million or even 5 million people there, but it did not happen. Only 250,000. Is that a comforting number? No.
During the time of Estrada, the former president's administration cave in with him enjoying 40% popularity rating. Will we see the same thing here?