Political dynasties and the Maguindanao massacre

Posted at 11/24/2012 1:11 AM

Just my opinion

Assassinations seem to be an accepted part of our political culture. Every election season brings a body count, sometimes high, sometimes low. But always, ALWAYS, someone dies during election season.

Three years ago, 58 people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao including 33  journalists, died. Today, the massacre case is hardly moving.

A soldier guards the massacre site. My thanks to Jason Phillip Gutierrez of AFP for allowing me to share his photo, taken in November 2010.

The fact that the nation’s two biggest political parties have now adopted candidates from the Ampatuan family partly shows the reason why. For the nation’s politicians, the massacre is just part of the political game they play. Please recall that the accused murderers and many of the slain victims came from two political dynasties which were both allied to the political party in power then. The refusal of one dynasty to give way to the other was the root cause of the carnage.

And the slain  media men and women? Pawns and victims of that conflict.

Our elections are littered with the bodies of dead political rivals. And why not? Accused assassins are rewarded with political power. Remember that the young Ferdinand Marcos was accused of killing his father’s political rival and the nation’s top judge was so impressed with Marcos’ brilliant defense that he had him acquitted.

The political killing, Marcos’ arrest and acquittal catapulted him to national prominence and to the presidency. Ironically, another assassination of  a political rival – Benigno Aquino Jr.  - brought Marcos down 43 years later.

As I said, our post-war political history continues to be marked with killings. We’ve had no election season where no one died. It’s unheard of.