By Raïssa Robles
Hours after the Davao blast, a Malacañang official by the name of Peter Tiu Lavina posted this on Facebook for everyone to see.
He accused, without presenting any evidence whatsoever, the “political opposition (of) providing the brains and hecklers” in “collusion” or conspiracy with the Abu Sayyaf in bombing a night market in Davao City which killed 14 and injured 67.
Read Peter Tiu Lavina’s Facebook post below:
Such a post would not have mattered if it had come from an ordinary citizen.
But this came from an official right inside Malacañang Palace, an official who can influence policy and direction and action. Peter Tiu Lavina was also the head of Rodrigo Duterte’s social media team during the presidential campaign.
For me, this kind of FB post is deeply worrying because it talks of a dark conspiracy.
Peter Tiu Lavina does not define what he means by “political opposition” but he claims that this “political opposition” is the one “providing the brains and hecklers”.
So the “hecklers” are part of the “conspiracy” in Peter Tiu Lavina’s own assessment.
Do these “hecklers” include those posting critical comments about Duterte on Facebook and Twitter?
Peter Tiu Lavina does not even explain how the Abu Sayyaf and the political opposition can be in collusion.
The danger here – and one that I had seen during the 2016 presidential campaign – is that for many supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, what Peter Tiu Lavina says is true, a fact, the reality – and not propaganda or a spin.
As I said, hecklers abound on Facebook and Twitter.
Is a senior government official accusing them of colluding with the “political opposition” and the Abu Sayyaf”? Set this against President Duterte’s declaration of a “state of lawlessness” and you can start thinking about government reprisals against its opponents. We’ve been down this road before.
Peter Tiu Lavina has to clarify this as well as the following:
- Since a “state of lawless violence” has been declared for the entire country, does this mean rallies are banned?
- And if anti-Marcos groups stage protests in connection with the planned burial of Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani, will the Duterte government order a crackdown?
- If there is a crackdown in a rally and this results in violence, can the government call it “lawless violence”?
- At what point does “lawless violence” ripen into a “rebellion” so much so that the President, using his Commander-in-Chief powers, can suspend the writ of habeas corpus (which means anyone can be arrested and detained), or proclaim Martial Law, or both?
These are questions that need to be clarified or it could result in unnecessary panic among the general population.