'DISTURBING' DISPERSAL

TO borrow the words of outgoing United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg, the violent dispersal of protesters (mostly brainwashed indigenous people groups) in front of the US Embassy, was “disturbing” as it puts a face to President Duterte’s desire for complete emancipation from the country’s longest ally, US of A.

Disturbing in that it happened at a time when Duterte was in China, sweet talking it to the side of the Philippines (and conveniently tossing away the country’s hard-earned right over the Scarborough Shoal which China encroached in and built a man-made island to house its defense facility), conveniently extricating him from any possible influence over this violent episode.

And disturbing as it reminds the nation of the overpowering presence and might of America in creating an atmosphere to destabilize a country and oust leaders not attuned to its interests and policies.

 

CIA Involvement?

In the past, there have been proofs of the CIA’s involvement in creating a climate of fear and hatred among Filipinos—enough for them to oust their leaders using People Power—by showing their profligacies and excesses (economically, morally and politically/militarily).

This same trend is now showing itself to the nation although people are not yet looking at this angle as they are busy feeling hatred towards the aggressor, the anti- riot police whose sworn duty is to uphold democracy with maximum tolerance, but turned violent instead to the hundreds of demonstrators infront of the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard.

The outgoing ambassador, with guarded tongue, thanked the police for protecting the embassy from the protesters but refused to comment on whether the police had gone overboard in its dispersal. 

"It's a matter for the Philippine National Police to sort out what happened and what measure to take," he said.

The violent dispersal led to the administrative relief and suspension of over 60 policemen by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) last Thursday. NCRPO director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde said nine officials of the Manila Police District were relieved from office, including Senior Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo (who denied ordering the violent dispersal) whom the witnesses heard to be directing the anti-riot group. 

The dispersal drowned whatever political and economic friendships Duterte may have made in Beijing as local and foreign news networks played the dispersal repeatedly via TV, radio and social media.

From Beijing, Duterte said he was saddened by the violence and asked for a thorough assessment of the situation from his ES (Medialdea, the OIC in his absence) insisting that the rallyists should have sought his permission (which he would give wholeheartedly) so that such episodes could have been avoided. He said his order for “maximum tolerance” by police stands.

 

Emboldened Cops

The violent disposition of the police at that instance is a dire premonition of things to come with an emboldened police and military force using violence against their own people at some preconceived or imagined threats towards them. This is even worse than the Martial Law days of the late President Marcos.

They have been emboldened by the continuous assurances by Duterte that if they kill drug addicts, pushers or drug lords fighting or attacking them, he would stake his position to defend them. Perhaps they are using this same assurance as a shield against any wrongdoing they may inflict on anything and anyone that gets into their way or agenda.

That the incident involved IPs (who have long been fighting for their political, economic and education rights over their lands and children) and some left-leaning students and elements show how deeply-entrenched the message of Duterte’s abandonment of the US and European nations and his pivoting towards China and Russia have gone into their psyche.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo (a social activist who helped organize MAKIBAKA) has called on the MPD to immediately release the arrested protesters. 

At least 29 members of indigenous peoples groups, including two Lumad minors, two girls aged 15 and 14, were arrested during the rally outside the US Embassy in Manila.

"The Manila Police should respect the rights of the members of national minorities they arrested during the rally at the US embassy," Taguiwalo said in her Twitter account.

The social media has become a disorderly and noisy reflection of the psychological and moral unrest that is now seeping through the nation. 

Some are openly defending severing ties with the western allies (who they said only used and ignored the Philippines all these years of friendship) and others remind people of the benefits derived from such friendship and the welfare of Filipinos living in the west who might suffer from such severance.

 

Collateral Damage

The chaos caused by Duterte’s steadfast shift to China and Russia at the expense of western allies is just emboldening further China’s aggressive stance towards the Philippines by offering billions of dollars in loans, aids and investments on the one hand and disguising its encroachment over Philippine territorial waters by “allowing Filipino fishermen to fish in Scarborough Shoal” which the UN arbitral body has decided rightfully belongs to the Philippines.

China (which continues to be haunted by its own atrocities towards its people in Tiananmen Square) ultimately would engulf the Philippine market and subsume the Filipino psyche to communism, its long-cherished goal and use the US-trained soldiers for its own dream of political domination of the world.

The US would naturally never allow this to happen which is why this early it must utilize its own intelligence network to dismantle the moral suasion enjoyed by Duterte on his people and prevent China’s complete dominion in Philippine political, economic and cultural aspects.

The collateral damage from this violent dispersal, however, is the peace talks with the leftist rebels, with the Communist Party of the Philippines now loudly condemning this incident.

The CPP (which both chambers of congress echoed) called for an in-depth investigation on the way the police dispersed the protesters at the US embassy, condemning it as the dispersal used a mobile vehicle to ram through the crowds, causing injuries to over 50 people. The rallyists fired back with stones, paint bullets and other stuffs.

 

CPP Statement

In a statement the CPP said it holds the leadership of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and officials of the Duterte government responsible for the violent affront against the people’s democratic rights to demonstrate and seek redress. 

This reaction could lead to mistrust for the government and mar the ongoing peace process.

Another collateral damage, a natural result of this incident is the popularity of both Duterte and PNP Chief Gen. Bato de la Rosa, who were separately described as “rock stars” by media.

But the biggest collateral damage is the deepening of the division of the population between supporters and those against the sitting president, which any foreign power could capitalize on for whatever tactics and agendas they may employ in the future.

 

 

 

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