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Opinion

Of terrorism and red-tagging

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

It seems former undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy has stirred a hornet’s nest when she practically called a Manila judge a terrorist. The judge had ruled that the communist New People’s Army (NPA) is not a terrorist group.

Colleagues of Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar closed ranks, branding Badoy, once a spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC – an acronym for one of the government’s anti-communist groups – as either a “red-baiter” or “red-tagger.”

Badoy and her ilk’s red-tagging campaign is reminiscent of US Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch-hunt in the 1950s.

The rabidly anti-communist “iron lady” got the goat of Malagar’s fellow magistrates, due to her vitriol about the Manila magistrate’s decision.

“So, if I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the (Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front) must be killed because there is no difference in my mind between a member of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their friends, then please be lenient with me.”

Badoy’s rant was in reaction to Malagar’s ruling that the CPP, NPA and NDF are not terrorist groups, rebellion being a political offense. And because they’re not terrorists, the government should adopt a “lenient attitude towards them,” the judge said.

Badoy’s rant was not without any basis as the United States and European Union countries consider the NPA a terrorist organization.

And going by the latest revelation that Jose Ma. Sison, CPP-NPA chieftain, had a hand in the bombing of a political rally in Plaza Miranda in 1971, where scores of people were killed or wounded, the CPP-NPA is indeed a terrorist organization.

The destruction of equipment in mining areas or burning of buses by NPA rebels in their areas of influence can be considered terrorism. These companies failed to pay “revolutionary taxes” to the communist guerrillas.

Ambushes by NPA forces of soldiers or policemen sent on missions to help disaster victims is a form of terrorism. The soldiers or cops who were killed were on humanitarian missions and should not have been touched.

I know that this column article may not sit well with the NPA, which has allowed my group to conduct medical and mercy missions in areas where they hold sway; but I’m just pointing out that inhuman acts have been committed.

In our past medical missions, some mayors and governors, in grateful appreciation for what my group was doing, insisted that we be escorted by policemen or soldiers despite our refusal. We were never touched.

So, what’s the difference between our civilian medical or mercy missions and those of military or police groups doing the same humanitarian work?

I remember that years ago, a father and his son were apprehended by policemen somewhere in Tarlac or Zambales for hunting, because they didn’t coordinate with the police in the area. In those days, authorities tolerated the hunting of deer, wild boar and wild ducks, as most hunters were either prominent law-abiding citizens or public officials. That’s no longer the case now.

Anyway, the father and his son were killed when NPA guerrillas fired at the police van carrying them and their captors. The father and his son, both familiar faces in the hunting community, were innocent civilians. They were known for their kindness towards the poor. The NPAs could have let the van pass.

*      *      *

The new executive secretary, retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, would make an excellent primus inter pares (first among equals) in the Marcos Cabinet.

So, he was the “Luke” whom a Malacañang insider told me would replace Victor Rodriguez.

Bersamin will be able to give President Ferdinand “BBM” Marcos sage advice, because of his age and judicial experience.

BBM also chose wisely about who would be his chief presidential legal adviser: Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the two personalities – the other being Fidel V. Ramos – who led the civilian-military coup that ousted Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

In appointing Enrile to his Cabinet, the young Marcos showed the public that his family doesn’t hold any grudges. If such a gesture is not magnanimous, I don’t know what is.

*      *      *

The huge piles of garbage in Manila Bay, especially the ones that washed ashore on the “dolomite beach” on Roxas Boulevard after Typhoon Karding, shows the Filipino’s complete lack of concern for his neighbors and the environment.

Filipinos don’t care whether their neighbors or the generations after them will suffer because of their folly.

(If you’re not one of them, then don’t react!)

A Filipino throws his garbage in the sea, canals, esteros, rivers, creeks and brooks. Filipinos indiscriminately cut down trees in the forests because it’s their neighbors’ problem if a flood takes place due to the act.

“Basta hindi ako o kamag-anak ko ang apektado, OK lang (As long as I or my relatives are not affected, it’s OK),” a Pinoy will say. In this sense, Pinoys are selfish.

The Filipino doesn’t care about the future. What he cares about is how much he benefits in the present because of his irresponsible acts. In this sense, Filipinos are idiots.

Problems outside his family or extended family are not a part of his concerns. Filipinos just pay lip service to the vaunted bayanihan or community spirit. In this sense, the Filipino is a darn hypocrite.

The very bad habit common among Pinoys is their mishandling of things that are entrusted to them. “Di naman sa akin ito (It’s not mine anyway),” a typical Pinoy would reason out when he’s asked why he seems oblivious to the care he should give to an item loaned to him.

Because of this, one should be careful in lending or entrusting an expensive item to a Pinoy.

An essay about the Filipino having a “damaged culture,” which was written by an American journalist, is on target.

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