Voltaire Gazmin sounds like a politicianBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s reply to Ramon Farolan’s Reveille column in the June 25 issue of the Inquirer was amusing as it was disheartening.
Amusing, because Gazmin talks like a traditional politician.
Disheartening, because for a former military officer, he seems to side with the Moro rebels who ambushed Army soldiers and Marines in Al Barka, Basilan province on different occasions, tortured those still alive and mutilated the dead.
Read excerpts of the honorable defense secretary’s letter to Farolan and then weep:
“The Al-Barka, Basilan massacre of 19 Army troopers in October of last year was an unfortunate incident. Admittedly, that has affected the implementation of the peace process with our Muslim brothers. We have grieved so much on the loss of the precious lives of our soldiers. This is the reason why the Armed Forces has been ascertaining the real causes that led to that tragedy and pinpoint those who are truly responsible, including our very own officers.
“We have not cast hasty judgment on who was at fault. We placed our court martial procedures in order, as we avoided the normal retaliatory actions to similarly incur casualties on the enemy. We discarded the thought of vengeance as we vigorously pursue the peace process to achieve our aspiration of lasting peace in Mindanao.”
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Gazmin got it all wrong.
Families and comrades of the soldiers who were killed in Al Barka don’t want vengeance.
They want justice.
The soldiers were in search of Moro crime suspects whom their fellow Moros were hiding.
The soldiers in both instances (the Army soldiers last year and the Marines in 2007) were killed in hot pursuit of crime suspects.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is hiding behind the cloak of the peace process to justify their act.
And the government appears to accommodate them for the sake of peace.
How many more soldiers must be sacrificed on the altar of peace and reconciliation for the government to wake up from its stupor in dealing with those who do not want peace?
Must there be another Gringo Honasan for this government to be jolted out of its stupor?
Honasan and his cohorts in the military thought that the Cory Aquino government was consorting with the communists and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) at that time and so undertook several coup attempts.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV of the infamous “Oakwood rebellion” says that there is no grumbling within the military establishment.
How can Trillanes be so sure, given the Aquino administration’s perceived accommodating attitude towards the MILF?
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Sen. Edgardo Angara is the first Asian and non-Spanish speaking member of the Real Academia Hispano Americana de Ciencias, Artes Y Letras (Royal Academy of Science, Arts and Letters).
The Spaniards held us in perpetual bondage for 300 years.
Only the ilustrados or the very rich and the mestizos were allowed to study during the Spanish era.
And now the prestigious Spanish academy has accepted an indio as one of its members.
Other discerning Filipinos would have rejected the membership.
Well, a politician would accept anything that would give him publicity to boost his popularity among the electorate in this precampaign period.
More from this Column:
- It pays to be corrupt
- Chinese trader corners banknotes manufacturer
- An incompetent airport manager
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner