On the one hand we have General Yano telling Ricky Carandang he doesn't think the MILF leadership actually controls Commanders Bravo and Ombra Cato and that as far as he can tell they are just acting on their own. He also reports not seeing "any major movement or action" from the other MILF "base commands" to support the units of the two hard-liners. How in the world they could verify a negative escapes me. If they can't even find Kato and Bravo (he admits the AFP has not even had a major engagement with Bravo's Lanao fighters) how do they know which MILF members, singly or in small and large groups are moving around from base to base helping each other.
On the other hand, the Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro stated that he could not understand why Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim and the MILF "leadership" did not condemn the atrocities committed by these two units (murder, arson, hostage-taking, property destruction and population displacement and illegal occupations). He said however, that the military offensives would not stop until the two were captured or voluntarily turned over to the authorities. He characterized Al Hadj Murad's publicly order for the two commanders "to stand down" -- given over a week after atrocities started and were forcibly ended by Philippine troops--as a belated gesture and "way below the level required of them" to show good faith.
I agree with Teodoro. Such a belated statement made-for-TV by Murad, (who has already adopted the demeanor of a head of state) ought to be backed up by more convincing and positive acts that the leadership is truly committed to peace and eschews the act of its own closest men. Why for example, is it suddenly the job of the AFP alone to capture these two terrorist commanders? If indeed Yano believes they are mere rogues--another case of a lost command--then why doesn't he expect the other MILF commands to help shut down the atrocities? Granted he's the soldier of the pair, but precisely, why is he the one acting like a politician!?
All I can say is the good general better make good on his words and get the two bloodthirsty thugs soon. I hope I wasn't mistaken about him before, I hope that he is not part of the Dureza-Garcia duo of terrorist coddlers on the peace panel who are the true progenitors of the current state of affairs. People will recall that it was Jess Dureza and Rodolfo Garcia who saved the top MILF leadership from blame and arrest after those fourteen Marines looking for Giancarlo Bossi in Basilan (July 2007) were ambushed and beheaded by the MILF/ASG head choppers. I said way back then that they did that because they were trying to save some kind of big peace deal legacy thingy for their Boss, the Mistress of Capitulation and Surrender to Terrorists. Sure enough, in August 2007, I first heard Gloria Macapagal Arroyo utter the words, "Bangsamoro Juridical Entity". She was even suggesting the Palace might just "pilot" the project and establish this BJE even without plebiscites "if the Christian communities wouldn't mind it."
KRISTIE KENNEY: GO HOME! Lots of people, including this writer, were thoroughly nonplussed to discover that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was there in Petrajaya, waiting to witness with the Malaysian puppeteers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last August 5, the signing of that now infamous Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, (MOA-AD) whose patently unconstitutional, illegal and dangerous provisions have galvanized the vast majority of Filipinos in opposition to it. So strident is the ongoing condemnation of the MOA-AD that the Palace itself has variously proclaimed it will no longer sign the agreement--presumably in order to give its allies on the High Court enough reason to persuade the Court that the issues raised by the petitioners (that they be given copies of the document and to have the MOA annulled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional) are now moot and academic.
I think President Arroyo has been able to hornswaggle the naif US Ambassador Kristie Kenney into thinking that they had the Mindanao thing handled, a peace deal would be signed, and why doesn't the good ambassador (wearing a veil of course) go and have a nice visit and chit-chat over at Al Hadj Murad's pad (which she foolishly did last February!). Photos of their convivial lil tete-a-tete are circulating in the blogosphere.
It was really a big mistake for George W. Bush to have skipped the Philippines on his way to Beijing, and a continuing idiocy on the part of the Democratically controlled Congress to have funded those dimwits over at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) with all their crazy "peace technology" eck-eck. The Philippines having dropped off the American radar once more (due to its own inconsistency as an ally in the war on terror) this set of circumstances, let loose an increasingly delusional Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to clutch at desperate straws, agree to the most outrageous demands of the terrorist MILF to get her "peace legacy", try to force a charter change to make them good, and by the way to extend her term beyond 2010.
Now Mindanao is burning, bleeding and could soon blow up in all our faces.
Judicial Independence is a Moral Duty Not a Self-executing Right
AMADO "JAKE" MACASAET was Cheche Lazaro's special guest on ANC's Media In Focus episode recently. Last week, the Supreme Court, acting on its own behalf in a rare case, found the Malaya newspaper's editor and publisher, guilty of indirect contempt and fined him P20,000. The Majority Decision is here (by J. Ruben T. Reyes) which frames the matter thus:
FREEDOM of the press and judicial independence (kalayaan ng pamamahayag at kalayaang panghukuman) – two constitutional values which unfortunately clash in this case for indirect contempt of court – have to be weighed and balanced against each other.
The role of the press in relation to the judiciary needs to be regulated. This can be done through voluntary codes of conduct on the part of the press and through judicial policies, such as the rule on sub judice and contempt of court rulings. The absence of clear voluntary codes developed by the press, as its self-regulator, strengthens the need for the Court to use its power in the meantime to cite critics for contempt. This is necessary in cases where such criticism is obviously malicious or in violation of the sub judice rule, or where there is an evident attempt to influence the outcome of a case. Judges have the duty to defend and uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. They should sanction those who obstruct or impede the judicial processes. The effective administration of justice may only be realized with the strong faith and confidence of the public in the competence and integrity of the judiciary, free from political and popular pressure.
The integrity, and indeed the independence of the Supreme Court is today undergoing two severe tests in the case of the controverted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) and the Sabio Bribery Case involving the Court of Appeals.PREAMBLE
An honorable competent and independent judiciary exists to administer justice and thus promote the unity of the country, the stability of government, and the well-being of the people.CANON 1
A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY
RULE 1.01 - A judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence.
RULE 1.02 - A judge should administer justice impartially and without delay.
RULE 1.03. - A judge should be vigilant against any attempt to subvert the independence of the judiciary and should forthwith resist any pressure from whatever source intended to influence the performance of official functions.
It's really up to the Justices, to demonstrate by the wisdom and courage of their decisions, that indeed the Judiciary IS independent. Like everybody else they have the same protections against a possibly overzealous and rambunctious press: the libel laws!