The fear mongers’ choir

Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror October 24, 2007 edition, p. A10.

The first thing Gloria Arroyo said after the Glorietta 2 explosion last Friday was, “I warn those who seek to destabilize our government not to exploit this incident for their selfish political motives.”

To Norberto Gonzales, the palace security adviser, those words were marching orders to exploit the tragedy for the government’s selfish political motives.

He went on Vice-President Noli de Castro’s Saturday morning radio show, “Para Sa Iyo, Bayan,” to scare nation out of its shorts.

He speculated, even before an investigation could establish cause, that the Glorietta 2 blast was “part of fund-raising by terrorists to show it is capable of doing it to get outside funds.”  He added that the blast may have been just a sample and a bigger one is on the way.

Hermogenes Esperon, the palace security guard, was not far behind. He claimed, also without the benefit of a thorough investigation, “It is a terrorist attack. Whoever is the perpetrator, they are terrorizing the people, but we have not identified them yet.”  And probably never will, if I may add.

Joining the two fear mongers was Agnes Devanadera, standing in for Raul Gonzalez, the palace inquisitor. She used the tragedy as an occasion to wail about the impotence of the Anti-Terror Law (HSA).

She said terrorists probably chose to act at this time in order to take advantage of the suspension of the anti-terror law during election period. She added, “Even if the HSA is not suspended, we still cannot charge them for violation of such law” because an element of the law – demand – was missing.

So on and on they went over the weekend, bringing up the specter of terrorism to distract the public from holding Gloria accountable for a series of scandals that only her paid loyalists still have the stomach to defend.

By Monday, police investigators were reconsidering the theory that the blast was intentional. They said the traces of RDX found at the blast site was not conclusive proof of a C4 bombing because RDX is also an ingredient of toothpastes and shampoos.

In other words, you are not necessarily in danger of blowing up your head when you brush your teeth or wash your hair.

Nevertheless, the fear mongers may need C4 to blast their feet out of their mouths if it turns out that an accidental methane gas or a diesel fuel leak in the mall’s basement caused the Glorietta 2 explosion.

Of course, the fear mongers can always blame the explosion on a terrorist conspiracy between microbes in a septic tank, molecules in a diesel fuel tank, and a wayward spark.

And, frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they did because only people who have lost all sense of decency would use the Glorietta 2 tragedy for their own selfish political motives.

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