While congressmen Prospero Nograles and Robert Jaworksi, Jr. -- who claim to be assassination targets -- were dodging imaginary bullets, the real bullets felled another. Gunmen slew Abra representative Luis Bersamin and his bodyguard just as he was coming out of a wedding last Saturday.
I've done a cursory search of personal blogs for mention of the incident. I only came across a handful, half of them recollections from people related to Bersamin. All others were simply syndicated news items.
Predictably, deadlines for capture of the killers have been set. Whether this will amount to anything is another matter.
Should people be concerned? Of course! A life is a life, congressman or no. But the fact that not too many outside Abra aren't just points to the pattern of familiarity we have with political assassinations.
With election season just around the corner, expect more killings to follow, especially in the provincial areas.
It's the seemingly low profile rural areas which would have the greatest concentration of killings. It's almost ironic. Who, after all, would want to target a lowly congressman or governor from the province when you have much bigger fish like House Majority leaders and sons of basketball players?
But the fact is that the smaller provinces are always hotbeds for violence. Why? Because they're treated like local fiefdoms. Not everyone can aspire to be president or senator or speaker. Then again, why bother, when you can be king of your own little domain?
It's so much easier to off a local rival. They simply don't have the profile that sticks in national attention, and hence, there is none of the martyrdom that follows. Couple that with an incompetent or corrupt local police force, and you have the recipe for impunity.
Follow the local news in small districts, and there you'll see the pattern.
First, it's a rigodon of alliances. Congressmen, governors, mayors, councillors, barangay captains, and kagawads will come into agreement as to who will run for what, and who will support whom. Last-termers will exchange positions, congressman for governor, governor for mayor, and vice versa. Usually, they form around local political dynasties.
Understandably, some people will be unhappy with the arrangements. Hence, you have people bolting from their parties and pledging allegiance to another or running as independents.
Then you see the groups start to coalesce.
And then: the bullets start to fly. It's particularly prevalent in areas with a history of violence, but it can happen anywhere. Again, it's the smaller towns which are more susceptible, not the big cities.
Forget any notions of mafia-style car bombings. The way it's done is with bullets, pumped at close range. Bullets are simpler and more effective.
Blog posts on Bersamin:
Tag: philippine politics