In short order, alleged Abu Sayyaf gunmen carried out attacks in Basilan, Malacañang announced a possible spill-over of the violence to Metro Manila, and a bomb attack was done against a Manila judge. there are also troop movements to Basilan, Masbate, and elsewhere where various areas are considered election hotspots.
These events are happening against the backdrop of dramatic events in the presidential electoral contest. Two authoritative surveys (actually three, if we add the last Zamora-commissioned SWS survey) during the third week of March indicated, one, the continued strengthening of Noynoy Aquino’s leading position; two, the dramatic downshift of second-placer Manny Villar’s ratings; three, Erap Estrada’s rating upsurge; and four, Gibo Teodoro’s continuing dismal single-digit placing.
Teodoro resigned as Lakas-Kampi chairman, followed by his president and secretary-general (although Manglapus later rerturned as president), the defection to LP of Lakas-Kampi stalwarts such as congressman Neptali Gonzales and Albay governor Joey Salceda, and threats of others to likewise defect to LP and NP.
The terrorist incidents are suspicious in their role in possible no-election or election-cheating scenarios. They justify military control of specific places that are not only considered hotspots but also as possible areas for election manipulation.
We have now entered the cusp of the electoral campaign–a transition point where dreams are realized, fortunes are made, and the strategies are proven correct or wrong. The administration party is clearly the loser entering the transition, facing the loss of more members, dismal ratings for its candidate, and carrying the heavy load of its leader’s unprecedented unpopularity.
The Arroyos particularly face the nightmare of having no viable friendly candidate, including even the rumored “Villarroyo” card. Extra-constitutional or supra-electoral moves become a tempting, desperate option. It is within this context that the resurgent terror-counterterror activities must be viewed. BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE.