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The Ampatuans And The Balance of Terror In Muslim Mindanao

November 26, 2009

Four days since that carnage in Maguindanao that snuffed out the lives of innocent journalists, women, and supporters of the Mangudadatu clan( 57 and counting), government is finally trying it match its hollow words of assurance with some glimmer of positive action.

Malacanang says that before that day is out, the man fingered as possibly the ‘architect’ of the outrage, Andal Ampatuan Jr., will surrender himself to authorities.

Police and troops have “taken over” the capitol grounds of Maguindanao while looking for the back hoe operator, the one who buried both the 57 known massacre victims, along with their vehicles on the morning of Monday, November 23, 2009.

Last night the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD political combine did officially “expel” the Ampatuans but this does not necessarily mean their ‘command-and-control’ of how elections in Maguindanao and a wide swath of Muslim Mindanao has vanished overnight.

Up and until the wheels of the criminal justice system really move, what we may witness is simply a cooling-off period but not any dramatic shift in what Mindanao watchers call the ‘balance of terror’ so long as private armies freely roam, moving at their warlord masters’ beck and call.

We’ve simply been told that two Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) believed under the Ampatuans’ control “are being disbanded.”

But glaringly, no firearms have been seized and ordered subjected to ballistics tests and no CAFGU trooper restricted to barracks!

What I think really will happen is that the political deal-making in Maguindanao will continue with the Ampatuans’ lieutenants working for them still.

Pres. Arroyo’s political debts to those warlords date back to 2004.

Do the math.

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