OUR leaders—in government and politics, human development, business and commerce, and veritably every department of life (except religion)—have by and large become as sick as the leaders of Western society. They are leading the Filipino people to become obsessively pragmatic and utilitarian beings creating and merrily enjoying life unrestrained by moral strictures.
That is why we, too, despite the majority of our population being supposed-to-be Roman Catholic Christians, and despite the Catholic Church’s bishops addressing warnings in statements and pastoral letters against immorality and corruption are immersed in “the culture of death.”
The sight of about a thousand elite Filipinos and a hundred or so VIP foreign guests lustily applauding the speeches of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak—to a person in darkness about the truth of the Mindanao situation—was inspiring. Everyone was so sure that peace and prosperity were around the corner.
No one seemed to notice that MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim was steadfastly referring to himself and his fellow MILF leaders as mujahideen. A mujahid is, of course, a holy warrior engaged in a jihad (struggle or war) for the Will of Allah to reign in himself. It is also a term used to describe the actual fighters, like the rebel armies of the MILF, and the martyrs who strap themselves with belts of TNT to kill Jews in a restaurant in Tel Aviv or Moros who lob grenades into Catholic churches and public markets.
Everyone, principally, President Aquino, Sec. Deles, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer had pragmatically forgotten that citizens have three pending suits against the Aquino Administration for pushing ahead with the Framework Agreement and their annexes that are together now called the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in violation of existing laws and constitutional provisions.
The same illegal factors and unconstitutional violations that caused our Supreme Court to declare the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the MILF, which the Gloria Arroyo Administration tried to foist on the Filipino people, are present in the acts of President Aquino and his peace negotiators and in the provisions of the components of the Framework Agreements
The most bitter feelings against the GPH-MILF CAB are those of non-Maguindanaw Muslim Filipinos.
The ruling of the Supreme Court quashing the Arroyo administration’s MOA-AD with the MILF was written by President Aquino’s chosen Ombudsman, then SC associate justice Conchita Carpio Morales. Every word she wrote then is applicable to the Aquino Administration CAB.
It scares us that Chairman Murad’s speech, while full of praise for President Aquino and his team, was also fraught with hints that the President and the Philippine government should prove their sincerity by really making the CAB come true.
By making sure, in other words, that the autonomous Bangsamoro state comes to be, that the Moros become prosperous and really free to exercise self-determination. Now “self-determination” is a word, that like mujahid, has two meanings. One pertains to a human being’s internal personal and spiritual choice to be whatever he or she wants to be. The other pertains to a people’s choice of forming their own independent state, free from the dictates of a higher authority, like the Republic of the Philippines.
Chairman Murad in fact said that he and his co-mujahideen were counting on the Philippine government and President Aquino et al. to give back the self-determination that Moros enjoyed in the past.
He obviously meant the past when there were no imperial powers and, as some historians describe it, the Moros enjoyed a golden age of freedom. Of course, this was true only of the royals and aristocrats, who had both Muslim and tribal (Lumad) slaves.
Pragmatically, President Aquino and his peace-process aides have made the MILF people believe he would give all these to them. Of course, he can’t.
We pray the result is not the MILF’s feared eruption of violence, “chaos and anarchy” in Mindanao.