EDITORIAL: Using for Propaganda Intelligence Reports
The most recent controversy that has rocked the intelligence community and even led to the relief of a high ranking military official is reminiscent of the situation immediately prior to the effectivity of martial law pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081.
In an article posted by Bicol Bloc Online last September 21, 2020, it cited a news item written by the late Atty. Luis General, Jr. editor in chief of the now defunct Naga Times thus—the intelligence report for the provincial command of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), as gathered by the local paper, revealed that high ranking commanders of the NPA held a meeting on September 7, 1972, in the “hacienda of Antonio Amaranto” to finalize an intended ambush.
The supposed ambush did not take place and had presumably been shelved off.
The Naga Times issue was supposed to be off the press on September 24, 1972 but it turned out to be the last issue, because martial law took effect a few days prior thereto.
General was among the media practitioners rounded up by PC soldiers sometime in September 25 and 26, 1972 allegedly for protective custody, whatever that means. The truth about it has never been revealed. Note however that several victims of the dictatorship had been recognized and even compensated.
But obviously the intelligence report used as basis in grounding up the media people was a product of sloppy intelligence operations. Otherwise most of those placed under detention would not have been locked up or even put under protective custody.
In fact even the mention of a certain Antonio Amaranto as owner of the hacienda where the alleged meeting of NPA commanders took place, is seriously doubted. Until now no Antonio Amaranto has ever surfaced as a hacienda owner in Tinawagan, Tigaon. Most of the vast tracts of land in that area are owned by a big landed political family, that mortgaged huge parcels of land and left them unredeemed. Until now many of them are subject of agrarian disputes.
A closer look of the situation obtaining then in 1972 shows a close resemblance of the circumstances surrounding intelligence works in the current mess, that dragged the names of several prominent persons tagged as communists . Some, classified as dead already, surfaced to dispute the claim.
What an embarrassment. And lives have been placed in great peril.
Obviously in both situations, the still raw information have been released for propaganda purposes.
That is where the trouble begins. Intelligence information still being raw should have been kept under wraps. Exposed prematurely especially for propaganda purposes, causes more harm than good. This is the exact predicament the intelligence community is situated.
As it is, some people are not fit for intelligence work—one that needs brains for intelligence purposes. Using raw intelligence reports as propaganda and psychological war material further destabilizes an already unstable society.