Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Clas­si­fied -

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.

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