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An Exiting Regime’s Danger-laden Lameduck Pledge

January 4, 2010

The Arroyo administration is beginning its final 5 months in office with a tall tale: the “definite” dismantling of all private armies.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde :

Meron na kaming chairman, isa siyang retired justice ng Supreme Court pero nasa labas pa siya ng bansa at sinabi niya na mamaya na lang daw i-annnounce, pagka-uwi na niya sa Pilipinas, kaya nirespeto namin iyung request niya, (The chairman of the commission is a retired Supreme Court justice who is currently out of the country. The announcement will be made when he/she returns to the country in accordance to his/her request.) All private armies in the country would be dismantled on or before the May 10, elections.)

The commission, created through Administrative Order No. 275 that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued last Dec. 8, 2009, stemmed from the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province last Nov. 23.

The commission members, though respected in their own fields, are incredibly expected to do in a five months what the entire government failed to accomplish in the ten years it has held the reins of power.

Unconfirmed defense secretary Norberto Gonzales says  “there are some 132 private armies.”

These paramilitary units, many designated as anti-insurgency Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units [CAFGU], are mainly under the control of political warlords who are invariably allied with the Arroyo regime.

So are we to believe that the civilian commission will indeed wield the necessary plenary authority to dismantle and disarm the private armies.

We are  ‘assured that “ the commission may tap the Department of Justice, Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigations, and other government agencies including owned and controlled corporations if necessary to enable them to finish their work, which includes investigating, summoning witnesses, and taking testimonies and evidence that may be relevant to their probe.”

The truth is these private armies consist of a combination of the political warlords’ loyal bodyguards, ex policemen and discharged soldiers who’ve been re-armed and outfitted with combat uniforms that make them almost indistinguishable from regular government troops!!!

What’s more, apart from having been issued high-powered weapons from the military and police armories,  these private armies are equipped with weapons procured by their bosses from illegal arms dealers!

The campaign period for the May 10 polls starts in a month’s time.

Are we also to believe the political warlords will comply like docile sheep and give up their personal troopers that normally double as election shock troops against the warlord political rivals???

If these 132 private armies do not lay down their arms will they be tagged as rebels and rounded up through a martial law edict?

Proclamation 1959 2.0?

Anyone willing to take bets?

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