Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Martial law likely under Arroyo, says JDV

Former Arroyo ally, ex-Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. thinks that Mrs. Arroyo is planning to declare martial law.

He says that Arroyo's body language speaks for itself--the purported plan to isolate her defense secretary and replace him with a trusted general and former putschist and the worsening situation in Mindanao. De Venecia said, Mrs. Arroyo could use this to justify a declaration of martial rule. Now, if this fails, there is another opportunity--failure of the 2010 elections.

Earlier today, the palace denied talks of a Cabinet reshuffle, saying that there are no plans to replace Teodoro.

De Venecia is speculating that if these bombings hit sensitive areas or escalate, that would surely give Mrs. Arroyo enough reason to declare martial rule. Or, at the very least, declare a selective martial law, covering only Mindanao.

Rumours of martial law has been talked about in certain circles as early as January. The plan involves the escalation of violence in Mindanao. Military insiders say the plan is expected to hit paydirt in August 6. However, recent intelligence reports show that Mrs. Arroyo is planning to actualize the plan as early as the third week of July, even ahead of the State of the Nation address in July 27.

These talks are spreading fast and loud that even Washington took notice. This Sunday, CIA chief Leon Panetta will be visiting the Philippines. Panetta expects to have an audience with Mrs. Arroyo. The visit is reportedly a routine government to government matter, mostly a protocol to reiterate commitments in intelligence sharing. Some quarters however, insist that Panetta's mission is to discuss political developments with Mrs. Arroyo. Like US Defense secretary Robert Gates, Panetta's visit is Washington's way of telling Mrs. Arroyo to "come clean and toe the democratic line."