As I write this, bombs had just been reported to have exploded in Jolo, Sulu, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. Earlier, Cotabato City and Datu Piang, Maguindanao were also hit by bombs. These followed a series of bomb incidents in Metro Manila–the office of the Ombudsman, Department of Agriculture and in Katipunan, Quezon City. The current series was preceded by a bombing in Sarangani Province.
The one common feature of these bombings is their random targeting of soft civilian targets. The patent objective of this type of bombing is to create an atmosphere of terror among the civilian populace. If these are politically-motivated, there are only a few scenarios that requires such a terrorist approach.
One scenario is the creation of a politically-polarized situation. Extreme groups–both on the Right and the Left–would benefit by forcing people to make political choices along simple black-white lines. They both will portray as the people’s saviour from the terror. Of course, they would blame the bombs on the current administration. The latter is particularly vulnerable because of its obvious unpopular agenda for charter change and widespread unpopularity.
A second scenario is that the administration or a faction within wants to intimidate or restrict the people from protesting its unpopular campaign for a constituent assembly. This is the most direct and plausible scenario within the context of a desperate regime wanting to go to any lengths to maintain itself in power.
The third scenario is to either provoke or to lay the ground or raison d’etre for a declaration of martial rule or some form of national emergency. Related to this scenario is the establishment of a transitional revolutionary government that sets aside the constitution and relies on the armed forces, in the short- or long term. Of course, this will eventually lead to a new constitution that will legitimize the power grab.
A twist to this scenario may be that the provoking of some form of emergency can translate into a people power resistance that will topple the present regime, especially with the support from the armed forces.
At any rate, the bombings pose a threat to the holding of the 2010 elections in its present configuration. From this vantage point, it is important to be vigilant and maintain the course towards the 2010 elections.