Digging one’s grave

A few days ago I wrote about possible tactical openings, which the political opposition could exploit to put the Arroyo administration on the defensive, or perhaps even in the (impeachment) dock. A few more have surfaced since then; here is one of them.

But I must hasten to repeat what I had written earlier: These are not necessarily cracks in the administration’s wall. Some of them are visible proof that politicians are only doing what comes naturally: raising one’s value before a vote. In other words, some politicians are positioning themselves for the next phase in the impeachment wars.

Of course, some of the disagreements are genuine, or rooted in less malleable reality. Consider National Security Adviser Bert Gonzales’ irresponsible claim that mass graves — ostensibly proof of an ongoing purge within the Communist Party — had been found in Bukidnon. Mindanao bigwig Joe Zubiri was apoplectic.

Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri yesterday belied claims by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales that the military had unearthed two mass graves in the province containing the skeletal remains of 18 communist rebels and sympathizers who had been killed by their comrades.

“He (Gonzales) made it appear that Bukidnon is a massacre field. That’s a lie,” Zubiri, chair of the Northern Mindanao Peace and Order Council, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Citing a military report, Gonzales earlier said the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, carried out 11 killings in San Fernando town and another seven in Quezon town.

During his stint in the Regional Peace and Order Council the past five years, Zubiri said he never received reports of mass graves in the province. The military, according to the governor, had recovered only two bodies in Bukidnon — one in 2001 and the other in

“I don’t know his agenda but definitely we won’t allow him to use Bukidnon for whatever agenda he has,” said Zubiri whose son, Juan Miguel, is the representative of the third congressional district of Bukidnon.

It seems Gonzales is reading from a script on which the Zubiris, close friends of the President, were inexplicably unconsulted, and could not possibly approve.


Filed under Readings in Politics

3 responses to “Digging one’s grave

  1. manuelbuencamino

    I don’t think Gonzalez is on a different page.

    This is an old trick. Someone is sent out to make preposterous charges that the rest of the team disowns. The point of the exercise is to push the limits of credibility.

    Someone throws wild accusations. Media picks it up. It becomes news.

    When it’s time for the principals, who stayed above the mudslinging and the lies but didn’t exactly and totally rebuke the mudslingers, to say their thing – like there’s a communist purge – the remarks of people like Gonzalez makes the government allegation look less preposterous.

    To put it another way. You could look crazy to some people but. let’s say, you stood beside Miriam you would look like the sanest person in the world.

    That to me is the script Gonzalez is reading.

    The other Gonzalez does the same thing and he makes everybody else look better.

  2. You’re right. This makes eminent sense.

  3. manuelbuencamino


    check this statement by AFP spokesman Tristan Kison. I found it in today’s Tribune –

    Kison said the four others were also arrested since they were caught in the company of Dionisio.

    “What is definite is that there are reports of some Cabinet officials being targeted for assassination,” he said. The AFP chief of staff earlier denied that there were intelligence reports of a slay plot against the President and Cabinet members.

    Our theory had been validated.

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