THOSE senators opposed to the extension of martial law in Mindanao should ponder now on their “bright opinions” which simplistically state that there is absolutely no basis at all to justify its continued enforcement in the region.
Hardly had the resonance of the speeches of opposition legislators ebbed, the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered its armed partisans, the New Peoples Army, to launch a new offensive against the government forces. The shrewd Pres. Rodrigo Duterte baited the CPP/NPAs when he requested for the extension and he had them out of their lairs shouting their resolve to pursue their attempt to overthrow the government. And this is a Yuletide season.
If Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Frank Drilon, Chiz Escudero, Riza Hontiveros, Bam Aquino and Ralph Recto do not consider this a rebellion or armed uprising, I do not know what it is. Early this month, the communist legal political fronts were caught herding children of indigenous tribes in Talaingod, Davao del Norte for indoctrination. Ka Satur Ocampo was out there in the boondocks in what he claimed was a mission to save the lumad youths from military threats! When the children were finally safe in the hands of the Department of Social Welfare and Development personnel and government forces, they told a horrible story which reveals that armed uprising is far from over in Mindanao. The kids were taught how to handle guns -- from shooting to dismantling of various firearms. The communist party lists have come up with a new curriculum in Salugpungan schools and these senators simply stonewall this alarming development.
Kiko though is correct in saying that the issue of martial law extension in Mindanao will have some implications in the coming midterm elections. He must have figured out that nearly to the man governors and mayors overwhelmingly favor the extension of martial law. These Mindanao leaders will surely take umbrage against these senators who denounced their demand for the extension of military control which, to them, spells the difference between instability and peace.
The wrath of Mindanaons is what they will reap. I do not think that Kiko, Drilon, Escudero, Aquino, Hontiveros and Recto will be forgiven for their stand against the sentiments of the people of Mindanao. That’s the problem with these lawmakers. They only come to Mindanao during election time. They do not feel the pulse of the people and the threats that beset the region. And this is not an exaggeration.