Senators have crossed party lines to condemn, rightly, Sec. Mike Defensor’s It-will-be-bloody-if-they-try-a-coup comment. ButI did not hear the reason which, in my view, justifies the condemnation most.
As usual, Sen. Ralph Recto had the catchiest phrase:
"Fighting fire with fire will only burn the house down," Recto said. "This reminder also goes to those who plan to bring this government down violently. Our overheated politics needs to cool down."
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the young Defensor’s tough talk would only sharpen opposition against the President:
"That is a statement of a war freak and it does not calm down tensions. On the contrary, it stokes the fires of resentment among the people," Pimentel said.
Sen. Mar Roxas came closest to what I thought should have been said:
"The use of force by a state presupposes that there is a moral basis to resort to such violence. Malacanang must exercise extreme caution as it contemplates the use of such force. With waning public support, it may find itself in a situation it may be unable to control, which in turn may result in its collapse," Roxas said.
All true, of course. Roxas may have been skating on thin ice when he hinted at the administration’s lack of moral basis to use violence; I suppose he was referring to the use of force against mass demonstrations, which cannot be supported; but an armed response to any attempt at an armed takeover of government? Surely that is both an act of necessity and reason.
The reason why Defensor’s we’ll-fight-fire-with-fire declaration is all wet is more fundamental: The very threat of violence puts more pressure on the military (and the police); they bear the state’s instruments of sanctioned violence. But the resolution of the still-simmering political crisis must take place within the public square — with the armed services watching from the sidelines. The "bloodbath" strategy is an unwitting invitation for those we entrust with our guns to come marching in, and ultimately make our decisions for us.