Creeping militarization – better than RevGov

Creeping militarization – better than RevGov Featured

IN a statement that contradicted the newly appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a former general, and the pronouncements of his talking head, Salvador Panelo, the President unequivocally declared: “I will not sit as President and let you render me inutile as you continue with your corruption there in Customs right in front of me. You sons of bitches. Now you have a problem. They say its militarization of the government, correct,” he added. On Sunday (Oct. 28, 2018), he ordered the military to ‘take over the BoC’. (The Manila Times, Nov 3, 2018)

The cat is now out of the bag! While the President’s sycophants have been trying to muddle the issue with their double-speak, we have the Deegong on record on his actions and motivations — feeding his detractors with arguments to lay before the Supreme Court. The question of the constitutionality of his acts has been snatched from public discourse and now elevated to the 12 men and women of the highest court, four-fifths of whom are ingratiated and friendly to him. But the conversation on the ground is more interesting. What are the implications of the presidential declarations?

For one, the President has clearly shown that his civilian bureaucracy is not up to the job of running government efficiently. It’s quite clear now what the motives are behind his appointment of former military personnel to positions in his cabinet and sensitive bureaus and departments. This creeping militarization is nothing more than an acceptance that the President may have given up on the nuances of the republican principle of the pre-eminence of the civilian over the military. This could be presumably why martial law in Mindanao is being revisited and may be extended — perhaps indefinitely.

It is easy to speculate at this point that the Deegong is tired and has given up on the democratic ways of governance and is leaning towards a despotic pat, but this time in a slow dance macabre towards one-man rule. This could be a substitute for a declaration of a revolutionary government (revgov). Whereas the latter will involve “shock and awe,” which could be violent, the former is simply a soft “coup d’état by substitution”; in some way accomplishing what he has been signaling from the very start of his regime.

And since this takeover by the military is not accompanied by blood, perhaps most Filipinos will go for it.

So, why not also a “takeover” of the BIR? What the hell! It’s one of the corrupt agencies. And while we’re at it, why not lieutenants, captains and colonels for bureau chiefs, Asecs and Usecs of DoTC and DPWH. These are still headed by civilians and perceived to be graft-ridden and inept too.

And this could be the real “pagbabago” promised by DU30 and awaited by the long-suffering Filipinos. In the first two years of his term, DU30 never did have a chance to push his agenda successfully, except for some political crumbs allowed by the movers and shakers of this country that suit also their own interests. And these people have been at this long before the Deegong even thought of running for president. DU30 set out to eliminate the drug menace but after the death of thousands of minor souls and damage to our human rights record internationally, not one big fish was caught in his net.

He proposed a drastic change in the system of governance through political restructuring and development of a liberal economy by doing away with restrictive measures curtailing foreign direct investments. All these by revising the 1987 elitist-driven Constitution. He is failing here due to the recalcitrance and even direct opposition by the elected class, particularly the Senate; and the midterm election circus has come into play and distracts us all from the systemic restructuring. This election could result in the Deegong becoming a “lame-duck” president.

The discombobulated electoral process, the ultimate system that protects and sustains the perversion of democracy has always been the bastion of those who will not allow real change — pagbabago. The Deegong under the current democratic process must play this game. But will he? Not by the rules of those that have been calling the shots in this country for so long — the traditional politicians, the political dynasties in cahoots with the oligarchic class. This could be the reason why the President declared that he too is building his own political dynasty in Davao because as he said, “he is forced to” do it. We can only speculate what is in the mind of the Deegong.

He has always been a maverick and allowing cosmetic changes in the political environment may be his way of lulling the real enemies of the state — the oligarchy and their elected minions. Proceed with the elections as a referendum of his government and his persona; perhaps the reason why he is hell bent in projecting only one man as his avatar — Bong Go in the Senate.

He has his allies too, like the Marcoses, but this family is burdened by its own issues and an agenda of its own. In future, to regain the power behind their name, they may clash with the emerging progeny of the Deegong. Truly in politics there are only permanent interests.

These mid-term elections therefore are crucial to the country and the program of the President. If the Senate wins enough seats for those against Charter change and federalism, then all bets are off.

Despite this scenario, changes can still be achieved but at what cost now? The Deegong may not allow the sidelining of his election promises; the elimination of illegal drugs which has already produced thousands of collateral damage; the eradication of corruption in the bureaucracy which has forced him to reach out to the military; and the structural changes through Charter revisions. These are what propelled him to power and I’m afraid to pursue this to its rightful conclusion; he may have to start a war with the oligarchy and vested interest. He is counting on the 70 percent of the people behind him.

Looking from this perspective, it could explain why the president has been working along the lines he has pursued so far: putting in place former military personnel in key cabinet posts and sensitive bureaucracies, and now the takeover of the Bureau of Customs. The Deegong has always been unorthodox in his methods.

No uncouth application of a revgov, instead a more genteel use of a creeping militarization.000
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