Thursday, June 12, 2008

The unthinkable

A quick check over at Manolo Quezon's blog on the Ces Drilon abduction showed the general pulse of the blogging public: a combination of shock and worry over the kidnapping, some outrage at ABS-CBN's response, and a touch of schaudenfraude here and there. In sum, the normal exchange of ideas and innuendo in the Philippines' most active political blogs.

But there's one thing that's missing: any real uncertainty that Ces Drilon will make it out of this adventure alive. It's as if it were already a given that she would be released eventually.

I think that, more than the kidnapping, more than ABS-CBN's blackout, this blasé cavalier attitude is the most disturbing aspect of this event.

Why shouldn't Ces Drilon come out of this, not only unscathed, but with a killer scoop? Because she's one of the country's premier reporters and a very visible high-profile personality?

And that's precisely the trouble: apparently, we expect that the immunity we convey to the modern gods in our pantheon occurs not only in the judicial system but in the underworld as well. In doing so, we blind ourselves to real dangers that Abu Sayyaf poses; we treat this as another game. Thrilling, yes, but a game, nonetheless. Moreover, we give our tacit assent to the ongoing complicity of the government and the military with the local leaders of the Islamic insurgency.

"Of course Ces Drilon will make it out alive! (As to her crew -- what were their names again?) Even the Abu Sayyaf cannot risk the bad publicity it will bring? Besides, the management of ABS-CBN are already in negotiations, possibly for ransom though they keep on denying it. Neither can the military afford to lose such a personality."

Really? How can you be so sure? And by the fact that you're so sure, what does it mean?

And what if -- God forbid! -- your expectations are dashed? What if all they recover is Ces Drilon's bullet-ridden body? Does this mean that it is now time to get serious -- for real this time! -- with the Islamic insurgents? If so, why only now?