TURNING POINT: Tightening the Grips

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 16 January) — The destabilization scare was mongered around for some time, but was becoming more intense in the advent of the P6.4B shabu conundrum that implicates some members of the family of the tenant of the Palace. Then the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao was extended because the ISIS- inspired terrorism was not extinguished in the  ruinous five-month Marawi war but has instead, accordingly, been kept alive and strengthened by other foreign terror organizations and has insidiously spread into  the countryside and other urban areas in Mindanao. Then the communists with their New People’s Army were declared as a terror group, putting the entire archipelago under the blanket threat of terrorism. The PNP and the AFP were put under constant alert as a result.

To put the men in uniform on their toes and secure their grateful loyalty, the salaries of the rank and file were doubled while those on top were increased more than 100 percent. No other president even the wily Marcos has executed such brilliant tactical move to tighten his grip of the security forces of the State and assured his stay in power.

Meanwhile, while Marcos had to abolish congress in declaring Martial Law to extend his rule, Duterte declared and extended Martial Law in Mindanao with the full and overwhelming support of Congress. The imposition of Martial Law nationwide is simply for his asking from the grateful lawmakers whose graft-ridden pork barrel, which was abolished in the twilight year of P-noy administration, was immediately restored and even increased upon assumption to power of the self-declared graft crusader from Davao. Even the proposal for the incumbent president to establish a revolutionary government, to accelerate the realization of the change he promised  in the May 2016 elections, has the apparent nod of Congress. It has also the backing of local government officials from the provincial government down to the barangay, and  by Bangsamoro leaders being assured of more power and resources under federalism.

Weakened by its own intramurals and its chief now being clandestinely nudged to the cliff, the Supreme Court, the ultimate equalizer and  arbiter of the land, is also falling apart and now about ready for the picking.

The political opposition, on the other hand, having been decimated and caponed by disloyalty  and abandonment can hardly squeak a protest to what is going on.

Finally, the Press, the traditional icon of democracy, is being challenged in its role as a government watcher and critic by fake news and dark propaganda peddled by adoring or paid supporters of the regime. The Press might yet also crumble from the forces of the ramrodding President.

What can stop the triumph and revival of dictatorship in the country? Are we going to have two dark ages in our history as a nation? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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