The gorilla in our midst

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It’s tempting to ascribe what the Arroyo government has done — forge a contentious MOA that’s likely to provoke more war rather than usher in peace — either to stupidity, a failure to fully appreciate the situation in Mindanao, or to plain clumsiness. But the temptation is tempered by the suspicion that it knew from the beginning what it was doing — and what its consequences were likely to be.

Among other epithets, the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between itself and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) it would have signed last Tuesday had not the Supreme Court intervened has been called treasonous, a betrayal, and unconstitutional. It in fact creates an entity — an autonomous state within an existing non-federal, centralized system — the present Constitution doesn’t sanction. To mean anything, it would require the restructuring of the entire Republic into a federation via the charter change of our worst nightmares.

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