Malacanang today announced the appointment of former military chief Hermogenes Esperon as presidential adviser on the peace process. How the Muslim separatists, rebel soldiers and communists will be a sight to behold. Imagine one of the leaders of iron-fisted militarist measures and defender of death squads advising Arroyo on how to advance the cause of peace?
I actually find this good, insofar as exposing Esperon’s record and anti-democratic impulses. He will now have to contend fully with civilian means of threshing out issues as complex and deeply-rooted as the Moro and communist movements. It also shows that:
1. Arroyo is so beholden to corrupt and questionable military officials, so much so that she cannot wait a month or two after his retirement before Esperon is given such an important task that involves considerable appropriations and, more importantly, essential prerogatives. For Arroyo, the OPAPP is just one tool to carry on the stinking, corrupt and archaic patronage politics.
2. Arroyo does not care about Esperon’s immediate past and continuing hatred against communists, and his refusal to recognize the important differences between the armed guerillas and legal activists. Never mind if Oplan Bantay Laya resulted in a stop to peace talks. Never mind if Esperon remained in a state of denial.
3. Arroyo has to continue protecting Esperon from possible criminal and civil suits from his role in extrajudicial killings (904 so far) and in the massive fraud of the 2004 elections. As full member of the cabinet, executive privilege would most likely be used to carry on cover ups.
4. Ultimately, we now get a confirmation of Arroyo’s sense of the word “peace”. Its plain silence, absence and murder of dissenting voices, blind obedience and the like.
May Divine Providence guide our people and inspire us to act appropriately.