WAS the fuss over the ruling by the Supreme Court accepting the legitimacy of the presidential candidacy of Senator Grace Poe just a distraction from an even bigger scandal?
Last Wednesday, cadets at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio were visited by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) frontman Mohagher Iqbal and the government’s chief MILF advocate Miriam Coronel-Ferrer in a meeting organized by MindaNews. The objective of the meeting was evidently to promote the failed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), with Ferrer reportedly even going so far as to distribute copies of the proposed legislation to the audience of young officer candidates.
Had this meeting occurred on another day, it may have been regarded by the public as the appalling, scandalous act of treason on the part of the Administration, but since it took place the day after the equally execrable ruling on the Poe case by the Supreme Court, it escaped attention; most news reports about it did not appear until a day or two later, if at all.
Whoever permitted such a meeting to take place should be immediately charged with treason, and since we cannot imagine that a decision to allow a sworn enemy of the Republic (Iqbal did, after all, state for the record in a Senate hearing that he does not observe loyalty to the Philippines) to address the cadets at the PMA could be made without the endorsement of the Commander-in-Chief, we are laying the blame for it squarely at the feet of the President. If Aquino did not specifically authorize the meeting then at the very least he was grossly negligent in his sworn duty to defend and protect the nation.
Keep in mind that even though both sides are exerting efforts to interact peacefully, a legal agreement formally establishing peace and putting an end to the MILF’s rebellion does not actually exist; the “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” not yet having been ratified by the Senate – as required by the Constitution, since Aquino unilaterally decided to elevate the MILF to the status of a sovereign power – is nothing but a piece of paper, as is its enabling law, the BBL, which in the wake of last year’s Mamasapano massacre has been pointedly rejected by even Aquino’s most pliant disciples in the Legislature.
Allowing Iqbal and Ferrer to take their lonely, pathetic campaign to breathe new life into the stiffened corpse of the BBL to the PMA is a shockingly brazen act of politicizing the military – something the top command of the armed forces, as well as the President himself, following long-established and entirely proper tradition, routinely cautions against in rather strong terms.
The fight for peace in Mindanao now lies in the halls of Congress and is a struggle to create a law that is both constitutionally sound and serves the best interests of those affected by the long, tragic conflict. The only role of the military, and of the impressionable young minds at the PMA once they take their places as active members of the armed forces, is to defend that eventual law. Iqbal and Ferrer were, in effect, making an argument to the cadets that they should support the interests of the narrow elite who stand to benefit from the BBL and the dismemberment of the country it would lead to, rather than the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.
That is treason, which no civilized government would allow, or allow to go unpunished.