Speaking of La Presidente, Philippine Commentary, it seems to me, has made his peace (grudgingly) with the President because he believes there’s bigger fish to fry and everyone should lend a hand in giving her a backbone:Made my peace with GMA? Or uncannily prescient? Though this is not a terrorist incident necessarily, but a fairly mundane hostage taking in the Philippine Archipelago (grenades and Uzis in a busload of 5 year old day care kids!) backbone is precisely what the government could have used all day today in the situation that suddenly arose this morning that is being called the Manila Hostage Crisis. Backbone, that is to control a situation that could easily have gone quite badly. Well okay, today was "smaller fish", but it's a big wide sea and I bet we shall now see dangerous copycat creativity from the protest movement and militant organizations. Imagine demanding free education for a couple of dozen day care kids whilst holding them hostage at gunpoint in a parked bus!President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is no Marcos because she doesn’t have the balls that Marcos had. She may have flirted with the idea of declaring martial law last year but apparently had enough sense to take the contrary advice of the former US Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte after he dropped by all of a sudden in November 2005 (as revealed by resigned Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz). As long as the Senate and Supreme Court are there to keep her excesses in check, it’s really her capitulationist tendencies and overeagerness to give ransom to terrorists from time to time that we really have to worry about."
If anything, GMA's capitulationist disease seems to be virulently infectious as several of her key allies and the police were falling all over themselves in giving in to hostage-taker Jun Ducat's demands. Senator Bong Revilla and Amable Aguiluz (of AMA Computer Schools) both offered to pay for the education of the hostages, numbering 26 and not 32 as earlier reported. But for how many years and what courses is not clear...PhD's in criminology maybe? A demand for title to a piece of land was also acceded to. As for the police, the Boy Scouts could've done a better job keeping the thing from becoming a Media Feeding Frenzy and a Politician's Circus, with Luis Chavit Singson leading the parade of clowns in and out of the Plaza Lawton.
It is also the second time Mr. Ducat has pulled this kind of stunt. In the late eighties, he held hostage two priests of the San Roque parish using two fake hand grenades (revealed by then Manila Mayor, now Senator, and maybe again Mayor of Manila, Alfredo Lim) .
I've had several occasions recently to make the salient points which bears upon ransom and hostages .
Paying Ransom Guarantees The Next Kidnapping
Shake Them Awake At The Panamao Hilton
But was today's crisis a TERRORIST incident as contemplated under the new Human Security Act of 2007?
Of course not! That law is automatically suspended 2 months before and one month after every election, including the one in May. Terrorism won't be a crime in the Philippines under that law until July, 2007, and thereafter, only part of each election year... a great big LOOPHOLE someone could drive a 6 by 6 terrorist truck bomb through, someday.
How nice! In future, we shall surely see a rash of criminal acts that feed the frenzies of Media just as the Politicians are at their most hypocritically obsequious whilst campaigning during every election season.