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Usual Sufferers, Usual Suspects

I was in the middle of my class one morning when yelling broke through from the street to my room. It was remarkably intense. I felt the authentic anger reverberating across the motorway. Now, this is militant attitude at its rawest; far from the local marchers who would half-heartedly yell chants on marches just because it’s May 1 or June 12. I could honestly feel the rage rumbling down the road. That was truly reminiscent of days in Diliman when all of a sudden, some unfamiliar collegian would stand in the middle of the campus road, with megaphone in hand, blasting calls for participation in some confrontational cause; or when a band of probably his comrades would run through the Palma Hall corridors with yells against imperialism or some abuse from the national government or that long held allegation of US intervention. I have to give them credit for not running out of creative ways of crying out against corruption. I never had the chance to thank them for causing class suspensions which I appreciated with much delight as I would saunter back to the boarding house or to SM City North.

The cause of the ruckus was the shooting of former Bayan Muna regional coordinator Neptali Morada while riding his motorcycle in San Isidro, Naga City Monday last week, by gunmen in a white van, according to reports. (You know, we got to take a serious crackdown on these white vans. They seem to bring out diverse selection of troubles; from child kidnappers, pedophiles, random shooters, and now militant marauders. What’s with these people? Do they really have this weird penchant for white wide spaced vehicles or are they all members of an organization of white van drivers? Maybe, they’re all part of this syndicate in which the pass for membership is owning a white van?)

What’s got all the guy’s comrades crying madness is that apparently Morada has become the third militant leader to be the victim of shootings. The first two ones had recently faced a similar fate in Sorsogon. Unsurprisingly, militant groups are directing their blaming pointing fingers to the Duterte administration. Hold up, wait; let’s not be too quick to judge now. How can they say that? There wasn’t a sign that said “Office of the President” on the reported white van. It didn’t bear a plate number with DDS on it. But seriously, shouldn’t we just let the wheels of justice take their course? I suppose for now, there isn’t yet any probable cause to line up a gallery of suspects. Reports describe the victim as a “former” coordinator, so how does he stand as a threat, if the murder is related to his involvement in militant action? I wouldn’t want to sound like I’m discrediting the person, but could it be possible that shooters are actually other than those that we suspect.

Well, I’m afraid they have reason to be suspicious of the nation’s incumbent chief executive. He has been blatantly open in threatening to run after the so-called legal fronts of the communists (apparently along with druglords, pushers and addicts). What’s the President so mad about? Well, they’re “legal”; aren’t they? So, what’s the deal? From his statements, he’s already uttering presumption of guilt prior to the establishment of a commission of any crime. Lest we fail to notice, because I’m afraid that we may have been desensitized to such throwing of threats. Leadership or membership to any militant group is not a crime that deserves hunting from the President’s men. When the President makes a declaration like that against drug peddlers. Alright, we understand. We may not agree with the execution, but we sure agree that they really are social ills that need to be dealt with. I mean, when anyone says, “drug pushers”, we’ll all say, ”yes, that’s wrong”. But when someone says, “Bayan Muna”, we’ll probably react neutrally and say, “well, it’s not really that bad”. Because it’s not a crime. How can the head of the state run after non-criminals?

Before his assumption of the Presidency and in initial months at the position, there was this breeze of hope for the final solution to the communist “problem”. President Duterte wanted to talk to Joma Sison whom he was inviting to come home. The President was on a press release that this administration will once and for all put an end to the government’s clash with the CPP-NPA. After all, to his credit, no other president has dared to make the moves that he did. For a while, it seemed to go smoothly, then something ticked, I guess on both sides. Then, the President is all green like Hulk and his claws are out like Wolverine against Communists and their comrades. Now, along with the drug killings, we’re like a discreet Latin American banana republic.

“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Matthew 15:18

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