Terrorist or revolutionary?

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo (The Philippine Star) - June 15, 2021 - 12:00am

Does the government consider the New People’s Army (NPA) a terrorist group or a revolutionary one?

The question should be asked, after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has demanded that the NPA turn over its members who planted the landmine on a road in Masbate that killed a university football player and his cousin.

By demanding the surrender of the erring NPA rebels, the government is, in effect, treating the communist group as on par with it.

That means a state of belligerency exists between the government and the NPA.

Instead of being terrorists, the NPA is now considered a revolutionary group.

Año, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, should have consulted with the legal minds in the Cabinet – Menardo Guevarra, Harry Roque and Salvador Panelo – before issuing the demand to the NPA.

What Año could have done was to order the entire might of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be brought to bear on the rebel group.

The PNP is one of the agencies attached to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The rebels who planted the landmine should be identified, arrested and tried before the courts.

*      *      *

The NPA will soon find itself losing its appeal among the youth, with the deaths of Far Eastern University (FEU) football player Keith Absalon and cousin Nolven Absalon.

The Absalons were in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the landmine was probably meant for government troops.

Although the NPA has apologized for the deaths of two innocent civilians, the public cries for justice; the very same public whose sympathy and support the NPA is trying to win.

It’s doubtful the NPA will turn over those in their ranks who planted the landmine that killed the Absalons.

The NPAs don’t subscribe to the judicial system of the government against which they are rebelling.

The rebel group has its own judicial system that will probably try the erring members.

And since there was no intent to kill the Absalons, the rebels who planted the landmine may just get a reprimand.

The families of Keith and Nolven will just have to charge their deaths to bitter experience.

*      *      *

Those were very strong words President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte delivered to Sen. Manny Pacquiao on the West Philippine Sea and other disputes with China: Mag-aral ka muna (Study well, first).

It was like telling Pacquiao, “You have to go back to school first before crossing swords with me.”

It reminds us of an urban legend about President Joseph “Erap” Estrada telling a pesky Cabinet member, “Mag-presidente ka muna bago mo ako payuhan (Become president first before giving me advice).”

Manny, the boxer-turned-senator, is a high school dropout while the Digong is a lawyer.

Since he is now a billionaire, Pacquiao should have hired experts to tutor him before criticizing the President on his foreign policy stance.

“Apparently, this guy has a very shallow knowledge of (foreign policy and diplomacy),” Digong said of Pacquiao.

The boxer-politician should take heed of Alexander Pope’s famous line: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not, the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

Alexander Pope’s poem, entitled “An Essay of Criticism,” was required reading in some high schools.

*      *      *

Senators who have had little education are best advised not to cross swords with their intellectual colleagues on the floor.

In this age of social media, the clumsy arguments of unschooled senators are magnified vis-à-vis their brilliant and eloquent colleagues like Franklin Drilon.

Nagmumukhang silang kawawa (They look pathetic) before the gallery that is the social media audience.

The words of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago resonate in today’s Senate: “Yung iba sa Senado, ‘yung iba walang alam kung ‘di nagbabasa sa tinuro ng assistant. Dapat assistant na lang nila tumakbo (Some people in the Senate know nothing unless they read what their assistants have prepared. Their assistants should have been senators)!”

*      *      *

A politician and his wife, also a politician, don’t live together.

They each have separate condominium units in the same town where they were elected.

The man is said to be gay.

Rumors in the community have it that the wife was once the girlfriend of the husband’s father.

Sinalo lang ni lalake si babae dahil sa pagmamahal kay tatay (The man married the woman because of his loyalty to his father), a town gossip said.

*      *      *

Energy Secretary Al Cusi is barking up the wrong tree when he blames the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for the recent power outages in Luzon.

Cusi says the NGCP failed to have sufficient power reserves, the reason for the brownouts in many parts of Luzon.

But the NGCP is just the vehicle that carries electricity from the power plants to the consumers.

Some power plants, the sources of electricity the NGCP delivers to households and business establishments, don’t work well anymore due to old age, causing the brownouts.

It’s like the waiter getting the rap for the late arrival of food to a customer’s table because it took some time for the cook to prepare the dish in the kitchen.

The blame should be on the cook, not on the waiter, for the late serving of the food to the customer.

In the same way, why blame the NGCP for the brownouts, when the power plants were remiss in their jobs?

The problem lies in the inefficiency of the power plants, not in how the NGCP handles the distribution of electricity to the consumers.

The next column will expound on the brownout issue.

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