The prevailing attitude among Filipinos, especially the elite, ensures that atrocities like the Maguindanao executions will continue unless we become serious about our liberal democratic inheritance and enforce its principles even with the barrel of a gun.
Amid all the weeping and gnashing of teeth, I noted only 3 cool and level-headed observers who put their fingers on the crucial issue: Conrado de Quiros of Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), a dispatch from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in its letter to the PDI publisher. Differing only in its scale of atrocities, the Maguindanao massacre is another example of a direct assault on liberal democracy. It does not differ in kind to the attitude and actuations of characters like Rafael Lacson of Negros, Vicente Valera of Abra, Chavit Singson of Ilocos Sur, Antonio Sanchez of Calauan Laguna, and others with similar criminal inclinations. The feudal attitude of many Filipinos is expressed non-verbally but with the force of law: I reject any competition to my political power. I respect no law or constitution that authorizes political competition in my turf. I will physically destroy anyone who dares provide legal competition to my power.
Now, if you find such characters sharing the dinner table of the incumbent Malacanang occupant, you know a sense of impunity is being encouraged in the hearts of the feudal lords, especially those with electoral printing presses in their backyards. The military and police take their cue from Malacanang’s body language and act accordingly. That explains the military and police’s contempt for the Mangudadatus’ request for armed escort in a legal exercise like filing a certificate of candidacy as mandated by the constitution and covering law. The military and police share the Ampatuans’ contempt for the constitution and point fingers after the murder like ordinary moral faggots.
So what do we do now? The dead cannot be unkilled and the raped cannot be unraped.
Practicing and sustaining democracy is a full-time job for everyone. No one can be exempted from its demands. Those who try to exempt themselves soon find blood on their hands, like the Ampatuans. Organization and alliances with other people in the country to put pressure 24/7 on elected officials can help turn things around long-term. Constant liaison with media to keep issues and principles burning is also crucial.
Exposing to sunlight the contributing causes of social deterioration should not prevent us from looking at the big picture. What complicates internal disunity among Filipinos like clan feuds is the interference of foreigners like the Americans pitting the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) against the government, and the communist Filipinos against collaborationist American Macabebe Scouts of the government. Let us always remember that the American government rejects political and economic competition from anyone in its drive for world dominance. The local feudal lords take their cue also from international assholes.