Last month, Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI, a highly respected peace advocate and honest broker trusted by all sides in Mindanao and also president of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City charged after the MOA-AD signing was TRO’d that the Philippine government was negotiating in bad faith since it knows it cannot deliver on its promises. He said, “So why sign if you cannot deliver? There may be another motive, and that motive could be charter change.” Fr. Mercado was involved off and on in the peace talks in both personal and official capacity so he probably knows more than the ordinary layman.
It has been said that Malacanang under the watch of Gloria is simply a confluence of different contending factions, each with its own agenda and its own turf. Maybe for Gloria and politicians of her ilk clinging on to power beyond 2010 was the agenda for the MOA-AD charade. Maybe they were betting they can ride through an MOA-AD referendum enough Charter change that will assure their hold of Malacanang after 2010, thus ensuring they will be free from suits and jail.
And, of course, any diversion from the constant barrage of criticism against her regime is good for her. And also good for her husband and his group of businessmen who are always under suspicion and accusation of machinations in government contracts.
For the generals and powerful ex-generals maybe the agenda was to sucker the MILF into war, a war where they will have additional technical advantage compared to the 2000 “all-out” war of Erap, courtesy of the US. This will probably include the combination of satellite imagery, sigint and GPS reckoning. And it is obvious they have more confidence of “winning” this war than that of 2000. Their advance is comprehensive, attacking all the MILF camps in all the provinces it is present.
For the US, who always feel they are “stakeholders” in the Philippines, any agreement that will result in the recognition of autonomous Muslim territories which can be the refuge of “Muslim terrorists” is simply a no-no. I will not be surprised if they are the ones who primarily sabotaged the peace process thru the likes of Ermita and Esperon. In this they might be using the AFP as surrogates. No wonder the US troops never left Zamboanga since 2002 and instead it increased three-fold. And everybody thought they were simply “visiting.”
Come to think of it, isn’t the presence of Ambassador Kenney in Kuala Lumpur an anomaly? The US has never been part of the peace process in the South unlike the OIC, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Christian body politic cannot be charged with sabotage. After all they might have been left in the dark during the negotiations. Was this deliberate so that they will react with fury once they got wind of the terms of agreement? They can be manipulated by interested quarters especially if their perceived “rightful claims” are threatened. Are there people fanning the flames by pushing the resurgence of paramilitary groups?
To be fair to the Christians in Mindanao they do not want war either. It disrupts the economy, security becomes uncertain and they can become victims of bombings.
The peace process under the watch of Gloria is dead. It will be war from now but it does not mean that Gloria and her generals and the US are averse to it. They stand to gain from the war and weaken their “enemies” at the same time. In the end it will be the true stakeholders in Mindanao who are bound to lose.