Monday, October 22, 2007

Criminal blast, collective shock, political block

Last Friday, I was watching the TV in my hotel room in Ortigas when the show was suddenly interrupted by a breaking news: a major explosion killed several shoppers, hurt more unsuspecting people, and damaged the Glorietta mall in Makati City. Initially thought to be an lpg gas explosion, it was later announced that the blast is caused by explosive material.

Whatever is the nature of and motive for the explosion, the fact is that it killed and maimed innocent people. That is criminal. And the consequence is that of collective shock. In a society wherein the people are hanging on to the established notion of security and justice, the blast is a terrific blow.

At the same time, speculations are immediate. The bombing(?) is politically-motivated. Allegedly, it is prelude to a coup. Others alleged that it is a diversionary tactic.

It is this latter claim that got my attention, if only for the relevance and proximity of circumstances. In the past few days, public attention has focused again on alleged scandals in the government such as the broadband deal and the alleged distribution of money in Malacanang. It is now alleged that the blast and its investigation will surely diminish the prominence of these scandals. Others speculate that it may even be used as the basis for more drastic measures by the government. I remember the scenario created by then President Marcos as political staging point for martial law.

At this stage, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the bombing/explosion is not a political act. The use of violence as a political instrument is anathema in any democracy. When people resort to such acts to make political statements, it simply point out the reality that democracy is diminished or trampled upon.

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