Never Again
Volume 20 Number 3
Saturday, 30 September 2006 00:00
vol20no3The rampant human rights violation under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government and her penchant for issuing policies that have curtailed the freedom of speech and assembly have been likened to the tyranny that reigned over our country during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Although one cannot deny that Arroyo’s government is treading the path towards tyranny and authoritarian rule, she differs from Marcos in that at least the late strongman openly acknowledged his tyranny by placing the country under a dictatorship by virtue of his declaration of martial law.

Herein lies the major difference between Arroyo and Marcos. Marcos was a dictator whose power does not emanate from the peoples’ sovereign will but from a proclamation giving all the powers of the state to himself, while Arroyo, on the other hand, is plunging the country towards tyranny while maintaining that she is doing it to protect sovereignty and democracy.

The hypocrisy or double standard of democracy under Arroyo can be clearly illustrated in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) saying that extra-judicial killings have no place under a democracy while lauding Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan - the man credited by human rights groups as the main perpetrator of the killings, and whose pronouncements in media shows an utter disregard for human rights - for his efforts in the war against the communist insurgency.

This hypocrisy can be seen in Arroyo’s insistence that she represents the people’s sovereign will when in fact her legitimacy has been in question ever since the Garci tapes; and instead of heeding calls for her to step down from power she has done everything in her power to silence opposition and dissent.

Department of Justice Sec. Raul Gonzales and Arroyo’s minions in Malacanang have even defended her actions by asserting that the president’s policies like the Executive Order 464, the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response policy, and Presidential Proclamation 1017 were issued to defend the state and democracy from the attacks of “subversive” elements; a statement that the Supreme Court would not agree with as seen in its decision declaring such policies unconstitutional.

If by subversion we mean an act that undermines the rule of law and the duly constituted state or civilian authority, then it is Arroyo and her minions who are guilty of this act by continuing to subvert democratic processes and curtailing constitutionally guaranteed liberties. If by terrorism we mean acts that endangers the people’s security and threatens political stability, then it is Arroyo and her favorite, Maj. Gen. Palparan who are guilty of terrorism by perpetrating a rule of terror in the countryside that further sows the seeds of political unrest and instability.

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