President Duterte’s cancelled visit to the wake of the Sagay 9 victims. Apparently, it was the NPA who was behind the massacre to put blame on government as part of the reported ouster plot. It is a convoluted and fantastic design that disrespect the dead and make them victims twice over.
But it makes sense now after the gunning down of Atty. Ben Ramos. The line provides the justification and pretext for this new pivot against the declared enemies of the state. Duterte’s dire warning against those who engage in land cultivation actions out of survival that they would be shot if they pursue this course of action just as he warned urban poor group Kadamay merely confirms this on-going crackdown.
That an officer of the court is the target of this crackdown sends a chilling message to everyone who has staked their professions to side with the oppressed including teachers, media personnel, and doctors. It only proves that this administration has no respect for the rule of law and the principles of checks and balances whose democratic practices are supposed to reign in the excesses of the executive including its police and military.
For these to happen in the island of Negros is also revelatory. The landlords who are also politicians have been lording over the vast plains of sugarcane and plantations in the island for centuries. Here, they are lords, their property of thousands of hectares theirs and their families’ alone. When brave peasant workers challenge the order of things by occupying unused farmland so they can plant something for their sustenance while there are no jobs in the fields, the landlord will have none of that. When lawyers side with the small and the lowly, so they can protect themselves against the powerful and abusive by using the law, these upstarts must be taught a hard brutal lesson about who is lord in these parts.
For the president and the whole state apparatus looking on approvingly to this centuriesold system of injustice and even orchestrating a violent but cowardly pivot against unarmed activists, lawyers, and peasant workers who are resisting it, tells you which side he and his military are on. Atty. Ben Ramos took a side and he was felled, just like the Sagay 9 victims, because of their convictions.