Is the Duterte administration forcing the hand that feeds it? This government survives not on its own but thru the generosity of people who are born in these lands and are unfortunately or fortunately considered citizens. Citizens pay taxes and in exchange, are supposed to be protected by the state. The mandate expressed by the people thru the Constitution for its armed forces is very clear— The AFP is the protector of the people. And who are the people? The people are Filipino citizens who, rightly or wrongly, held personal beliefs that, under a democracy, are supposed to be exercised, again, rightly or wrongly, by matter of human rights. It is a matter of right for Filipinos to believe in whatever religious or philosophical or ideological belief systems. The sole duty of government, particularly of its armed forces, is to respect these beliefs. Toleration is the highest form of service to the People.
We created a government to protect our lives, liberties and property. That is what is enshrined in our liberal capitalist-inspired Constitution. This government is not the sole property of anyone. An administration, such as this one under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is not THE GOVERNMENT. This administration is definitely not the government. The Philippine government will outlast and outclass this administration whose mandate is just six years. Our government, on the other hand, has been in existence for over a hundred years. And this government, while pattered along the Greco-Romanic lines, is still an expression of the will of the people to create a just and humane society.
Last Sunday’s bloody raids against legitimate members of civil society by police and AFP elements were overkills. Overkills in the sense that activists are not combatants. They are civilians. Whether or not these civilians oppose this administration or even vow to bring down all government, it is still the mandate of the AFP and even by the Philippine National Police or PNP to protect them and their families.
And even combatants such as these rebels are accorded rights under the Geneva Convention. Is the AFP trying to tell us something, that the very institution itself of organized coercion is already not respecting the Geneva Convention any longer and wants a zero-sum war?
Such a war, if it happens, will bring everybody down, especially the economy. It will surely worsen the socio-economic conditions of this country as the AFP and its counterpart, the PNP wage a war against an intractable insurgency. What is so wrong about what the AFP and the PNP are doing is they are targeting helpless civilians who happen to be brave enough to go out of their shells and expose the wrong things happening all around us now.
The AFP and the PNP have sworn to protect the people, and by proxy, the government. As an institution of war, the AFP is supposed to exercise maximum tolerance. What’s happening now is that we are seeing the transformation of the AFP as an ideological foe of these rebels , and not as a professional fighting force dedicated to the defense of the people. The military is losing moral standing fast because it is now engaged in protecting the administration, and not the people and their government. Why do I say this?
Why is it that there is an active campaign against legitimate members of civil society? What demonic things did these people do?
Is it a threat to the military establishment that these people militate by going to the streets or writing stuff? Are we saying that the military is deathly threatened or afraid by the rants of these people? Are we saying that it is now justified to kill people who do not like what’s happening around them?
If these things are true, then, our military and defense forces are acting like an ideological army, not as a professional one. There is something wrong now with the doctrine of the AFP and the PNP. The AFP as an institution is supposed to support free speech, since this is one of the pillars of our democratic society.
Should these things continue, we are heading towards a violence-prone future, a future that threatens every single one, even the families of these soldiers and policemen. A civil war is a bane for every single Filipino. It will destroy decades of development that every single Filipino worked for, not just for himself, by for his family and nation. Such destructive behavior fuels violence that over time, matures into total catastrophe.
There is such as thing as a democratic revolution— a form of resistance predicated along the lines of protecting a government that is losing its grip on democratic ideals. With the AFP and the PNP leading these murderous assaults against civilians, under the principles of these democratic revolutions, the people now have the right to defend themselves from the very machinery of war that the people fund themselves.