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article imageWave of Bombings Will Test Government’s Mettle in Handling Crisis

By Ronel Pelovello     Jul 7, 2009 in Politics
The deadly wave of bombing attacks in Mindanao, which claimed several lives and injured numerous others will test the Philippine government’s credibility in handling the crisis, an opposition lawmaker said Wednesday.
Four separate bombs exploded Tuesday in different places in Mindanao killing two people and wounding around 50 others. Two of the bomb blasts occurred in Lanao Del Norte, one in Iligan City and another in Jolo, Sulu.
“The first test is whether or not the intelligence services, with all the resources allocated for Intelligence was able to get a sense of this bombing offensive,” Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon in an official statement e-mailed to the media.
Biazon is Vice-chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security.
Biazon noted that Congress has allocated 600 Million Pesos under the Office of the President, 270 Million Pesos in the PNP (Philippine National Police) and 118 Million Pesos under the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as their respective intelligence funds.
With such resources, Biazon said “it is highly questionable why the series of attacks seem to go on without the authorities unable to give a clear picture of who is responsible.”
“The second test is whether our law enforcement agencies is able to investigate the bombings effectively and conduct arrests of the suspected bombers,” Biazon said.
He noted that bombings are crimes that leave evidence behind and thus, competent investigations will lead to at least an indication of the profile of the bombers.
Police and military authorities suspect the wave of bombing attacks in Mindanao on Tuesday were perpetrated by Al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Special Operations Group, the Jemaah Islamiyah, and the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Biazon said the third test will show “the authorities’ ability to prevent further attacks,”
The lawmaker said that while the bombers had the initial advantage of surprise, the authorities now have the luxury of expectation.
By this time, authorities should have already anticipated that the series will continue and put in place measures to enhance security and deter further attacks, the lawmaker stressed.
“The fourth test is the government’s credibility in convincing the people that this is not part of a sinister grand plan to impose emergency rule,” Biazon said.
The moves in the House of Representatives to amend the present constitution sparked indignation not only from the opposition but also from many of the people who suspected that the move was meant only to extend the term of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Mrs. Arroyo will complete her term as President in 2010. Under the 1987 Constitution a President serves a 6-year term with no re-election.
“With all the talk about the administration doing its best to extend its tenure with scenarios ranging from amending the Constitution to sowing disorder as a basis for emergency rule, the people cannot be blamed for even considering that the bombings are the handiwork of operatives with a political objective,” Biazon said.
“How the government will convince the people that this is not part of a grand political plan will depend on whether they pass or fail the first three tests,” he added.
Malacanang has repeatedly said that it has nothing to do with moves in Congress to amend the constitution, even if most of the proponents of charter change are identified as allies of the administration.
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