Instead of settling for another “political solution,” President Arroyo must now go hammer and tongs against the perpetrators of Monday’s gruesome massacre in Maguindanao province – and shoot the perpetrators if necessary.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson issued this challenge Tuesday to Mrs. Arroyo, saying this is one test that her administration cannot afford to flunk.
“This is one test that I insist the Arroyo administration must pass for a change. The entire Filipino nation must act as one in challenging Mrs. Arroyo and all our law enforcement agencies to lose no time in arresting the perpetrators of this abominable act and if necessary shoot to immobilize them,” he said.
“The Arroyo administration must be cautioned this early that a political solution of any form is not acceptable as it is unconscionable,” he added.
Members of the Ampatuan clan – credited for Mrs. Arroyo’s poll “victory” in Maguindanao in 2004 and those of her senatorial bets in 2007 – were linked to the gruesome killing of at least 36 people, including journalists.
Authorities believe the incident was related to the 2010 elections.
Lacson said that while cheating in elections is forgettable though not necessarily forgiveable, killing political opponents and incurring “collateral damage” is a different matter.
Such senseless killing and violence must be dealt with firmly just to show the rule of law can still prevail in a part of the country where the Ampatuans act like “gods,” he said.
“Cheating in every election in Maguindanao by the Ampatuans to deliver the votes to Mrs. Arroyo in 2004 and her senatorial candidates in 2007 – in which I was one of the victims, having gotten zero vote in the province – may be forgettable, but not necessarily forgivable,” he said.
“But killing political opponents, including those who had nothing to do with the forthcoming May elections is another matter altogether, and must therefore be treated differently if only to show that the rule of law can still reign in that part of the country,” he added.