My memory cannot perfect a recollection of this story where government operatives arrested an alleged terrorist in General Santos City after one bloody bombing incident many years ago. Just recently, this story was again told in a gathering of student journalists.
That the government arrested a suspected terrorist--allegedly an operative of Al Qaeda--was not new at all for someone from Mindanao, with the government's left and right arrests.
What was surprising was that the suspect was gay.
Well, this is not to say that gays cannot possibly carry out a terror attack, just like any other individual regardless of sex and gender.Remember that film where a woman went up a stage and embraced a Middle Eastern official, detonating the contraption placed all over her body? She succeeded in killing the target and killing herself. Hers was an act of suicide that this man, in another film that introduced me to sisha, failed to do.
I think that gay in General Santos City was the first case of a wrongly accused gay terror suspect, aside from being the first gay terror suspect in the Philippines. His only crime was having a name that sounds almost exactly like that of one of the terror suspects in the government's long list of suspects. In a world overwhelmed by paranoia, despair and impunity, and everything in between, anyone can be a suspect that even officials of the government are not spared.
Concrete example of this is when a former Philippine Constabulary general accused the government of masterminding the deadly explosion in Glorieta 2 last week ( I heard this over ABS-CBN radio this morning). The father of one of the victims said the hand of the government is apparent in the explosion that killed more than a dozen and hurt scores of others. His loss allowed him to see and suspect the supposed desperation of the government to escape from the waves of scandals that refused to ebb from its shores as the reason for this.
The same suspicion was also aired by some quarters with the bombing of the Davao City International Airport and the wharf in Sasa in 2003, shortly after the government declared an all-out-war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Not everyone were convinced that the airport bombing was carried out by Montasser Sudang, a young father from a small village in Kabacan in North Cotabato--the town where I also came from. I remember interviewing some of his relatives after his name was pressed by authorities as the primary suspect in the bombing. He was supposedly excited. It was his first time to go to Davao.
An INQUIRER editorial entitled "An innocent man" stressed out the impossibility of Sudang being behind the explosion that killed almost 20 individuals, including himself: he just got himself a son, he went to the airport tagging almost the entire village with him, including very young children, to pick up a relative from Egypt, and that whether he was a member of the MILF, the former reasons will dilute any desire, if there was any, to become suicidal.
The INQUIRER editorial was blunt in saying: "Unlike the real suicide bombers in, say, Israel, his body parts are accounted for, and his face is still recognizable. It has the look of innocence, as if Montasser Sudang didn't know the end was near."
With that came suspicion that the government was actually behind the attack with traces of C4 allegedly all over the explosition site. As I was saying, anybody can become a suspect.
The gay terror suspect in General Santos City was released without any case filed against him, I was told.He spent (many cold) days inside the cell totally oblivious of the kind of people being linked to his name as much as how he was literally unaware his alleged crime.
But it was because of this that he was able to personally meet with his number one accuser, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself ( Note--Not sure if it was in the Palace or in his GenSan cell).
It was also because of this that he finally found someone to own as she would quickly tell his interrogators, those who insist that he knew people in the list of terrorists, as: "Asawa ko yan (That one is my husband)!"
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