Sa nakaraang buwang lumipas, may ilang linggo ring nataranta't nahintakutan si Ate Glo at mga galamay nito sa palasyo. Kung baga sa nabilaukan, sa wakas nabunutan rin ng tinik. Kaya lang, mukhang hindi pa tapos ang labanan at hindi pa siya naksisiguro. Hanggat hindi nareresolba ang linlangan, ang isyu ng legitimacy, magpapatuloy ang ligalig, political uncertainty, polarity at masidhing krisis pulitikal sa country.
Kaya lang, mukhang lumalala ang sitwasyon, papakumplika, mapanganib at mas nagdidilikading ang katatagan at istabilidad, kung kumpara sa mga naunang windang nito sa politika. Siya na mismo ang nagsasabing “nananatiling may residual threats sa kanyang trono't sa palasyo.” Kung sa bagay, nasanay na, namanhid na sa kaka- depensa ng mahigit limang (5) taong “residual threat.” Kung susumahin, pansamantalang nakaligtas si Ate Glo, lumakas ng kanyang posisyon politikal at naitabla ang kanyang mga kalaban. Dahil dito, bigay todo naman ang kontra- opensiba ni Ate Glo sa kanyang mga kalaban sa politika.
Gamit ang buong makinarya't arsenal ng palasyo, buong bangis na iwinasiwas ang palakol ng panunupil sa kalayaan sibil, sa pamahayag at pag-aasembleya. Naging epektibo ang pinagsamang psy-ops at labanang propaganda ng Malakanayang, kung ikukumpara sa nagnanais magpabagsak ng kanyang trono. Unang tinarget ang lumalaking simpatya ng country sa adbenturistang militar at kilusang masang. Gamit ang classic na carrot and sticks, nagawa nitong ihiwalay ang de-color sa color, ibukod ang pinagsama at malamyang YOUng at RAM (Reform the Armed Forces movt) sa mas hardline, makabayan at patriotikong Magdalo.
Upang ganap na madisiplina't tumalima sa "chain of command" ang kalakhang pamunuan ng AFP, ang jurrasic na “red scare tactic at witchhunting ” ang siyang ginamit na pamamaraan. May bonus pang panakot sa hanay ng panggitnang pwersa at ilang gegewang-gewang na alyado. Pinalabas nitong in “control pa rin ang sitwasyon,” “may strong ang unified chain of command, solido at propesyunalismo ang hanay ng AFP lalo na sa anti-insureksyon at anti-terorismo.”
Muling binuhay ang Batas Pambansa 880 ng diktadurang Marcos. Iprinoklama ang “emergency power” 1017, General Order no. 5 at ang impaktong de facto Martial Law. Isang ala-Hitler na batas na buong bangis na ipinatupad ng kanyang asong si Querol, Lumibao at CIDG. Pumatungkol ang batas sa illegal public assembly, no permit-no rally at halos kambal-tuko ng Calibrated Pre-emptive Response (CPR). Habang garaplang nilalabag ang karapatang mamahayag at mag-asembliya, pakunwari't pakunswelong ni-lift nito ang 1017. Nailagay sa depensibang lagay ang kanyang kalaban at nalimita't naikahon pa ito sa labanan pagdedebate't larangang teknikalidad.
Unang inasinta ang Daily Tribune. Tinakot ang pahayagang Abante at iba pang broadcast-media na nagbabandila ng katotohanan. Kaliwa't kanan ang crackdown sa mga peaceful assemblies, pananakot sa malayang pamamahayag at pang-aaresto sa mga kilalang personheng tulad ni Prof Randy David and company, Rep Riza Hontiveros, Cong Ka Bel , Batasan Five (5), Jinggoy Alcuaz, at ang dating Sec Dinky Soliman. Prinoproseso rin ang kasong sedition at rebelyon sa kilala at walang bahid kurakot na si Gen Danilo Lim at may mahigit isang daan (100) mga astig at mga piling yunit (Marines, Scout Ranger at Special Forces) na pwersa ng AFP-PNP.
Hindi nakaligtas sa pagtugis at diumano'y pasimuno ng mga aklasang militar sa country si Sen Gringo Honasan. Limang milyong pisong bounty (P5.0 milyon) ang inilaan sa kanyang ulo. Trinatong “enemy of the state” ang ilang maiingay na oposisyon (Sen Nene Pimentel) sa senado't kongreso. Nagpagawa rin si Ate Glo ng mala-Alcatras na kulungan para iacomodate ang daan-daang nakibahi't lumabag sa “chain of command” noong ika 24 ng February, Pipol power anniversary.
Tinatantyang may mahigit isang libo (1,000) ang nasa long list at dalawang daan (200) ang nasa short list na personaheng aktibista ang sa ngayo'y handang ipa-aresto at minamanmanan. Kasabay ring minomonitor ang ilang opisina ng NGOs, civil society organization at mga militanteng organisasyon.
Hindi na natuto sa kasaysayn si Ate Glo. Anumang hagupit ng panunupil ang igawad niya sa country, mas lalo lamang titindi, tatapang, adrenalin at lalo lamang mag-iibayo ang pakikibaka ng kanyang kalaban. Hindi sinyales ng isang malakas ang pagpapakita ng isang matinding panunupil at paggamit ng kamay na bakal sa country , bagkus kabalintunaan ito ng isang nanlulumo at naghihingalong gubyerno. Napatunayan ito nuong panahon ng Diktadurang Marcos, cover-up ng “hello Garci” tapes at impeachment complaint, CPR at EO 464 hanggang proklamasyon ng 1017.
Totoong nakatabla si Ate Glo sa labanang pulitikal at totoo ring nananatili ang banta ng destabilization. Kung 'di maisusustini ang nahamig na tagumpay, maaring biglang mawala't maagaw ito ng kanyang kaaway. Dapat niyang malamang na “pansamantala't isang artificial” lamang ang istabilidad. Dahil sa political stalemate, magpapatuloy ang extra-constitutional na pakikibaka lalo na ang mga grupong may armas (Patriots) ang siyang walang dudang mangunguna at magdodomina ng laban. Maaring may ilang variables na magbago-bago, mag-iba ang direksyon ng hangin, bumaligtad anumang oras ang ilang malalapit, inaasahang mga galamay at ipagkanulo't traydurin ang may bahay sa palasyo.
Lumalabas na ang militar na lamang ang pwede niyang asahan at pagkatiwalaan. Hindi pa kuntento, parang ang gawaing paggugubyerno ay buong-buo niyang iientrega sa Militar. Sa katunayan, pagdating sa hustisya, mukhang todo-todo niyang ipahahawak ang prosekusyon sa Militar. Binabalak ring itayo ang “Military Tribunal” na siyang ginamit ni Marcos noong kapanahunn ng Martial Law.
Dahil sa paglaki ng papel ng Military sa labanan, lalong nanghina ang katatayuan ng presidency. Sa tulong ng Kano, mabilis na umuugung ang panawagang "snap election" ng elite oposisyon at paggitnang pwersa. Mukhang nanganganib ngayon na maipagulong ang planong Charter Change sa taong kasalukuyan. Ipilit man ito ni Ate Glo, walang dudang isa na namang panibagong round ng (military adventurism, sa pananaw ni Ate Glo) pag-aaklas ang kanyang susuungin. Nakatabla nga si Ate Glo pero Sino ang Nakinabang?
-Doy Cinco / IPD staff
High Ground : When brave soldiers cry
First posted 03:10am (Mla time) Mar 06, 2006
By William Esposo
TURNING points in history are almost always distinguished by human markers of courage and sacrifice. These poignant moments that have touched and inspired people to action are etched in the collective minds of generations to come. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi's march to the sea, Vietnamese Buddhist monks setting themselves ablaze in protest of the Ngo Ding Diem regime—are examples of defining moments that changed the course of history.
The crucifixion at Golgotha launched Christianity. Gandhi's march to the sea to protest the British salt monopoly lent a more dramatic yet non-violent expression for India's clamor for independence from Great Britain. The riveting images of Buddhist monks burning themselves dealt a serious blow to the Ngo Ding Diem regime, eventually resulting in the CIA-backed coup that ended the life of Diem and his regime.
The disquieting events that came in the wake of that failed 'non-coup' of February 24 provide images that threaten to further seed the clouds that will stir the political storms that hound the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime. I call it a 'non-coup' because even Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Generoso Senga categorically stated that there was no coup plot. Instead, there was only a plan by officers and soldiers to join an EDSA I Commemoration rally and there to manifest their withdrawal of support from Madame Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
There is the image of the besieged Arroyo regime sending home Malacanang employees and barricading all access to the Palace with container vans on February 24. Then there is the sight of the regime's shock troops in big numbers and in full riot gear dispersing the EDSA I rallyists and protest marchers.
While both acts were clearly intended to protect and preserve the Arroyo regime, the net effect may be to the contrary. These so-called precautions were seen as overreactions and served only to create and/or reinforce a mental picture of an insecure ruler.
I've always said in my column that Madame Arroyo appears to have a very poor sense of history. In this instance, she forgot that EDSA I was all about the battle of mental positions between the dictator at the Palace and the rebels in Camp Crame. EDSA I was a psychological battle, not a physical conflict. Barricading herself in Malacanang and dispersing peaceful rallyists merely solidified images of:
1. An embattled regime
2. An insecure and unpopular ruler
3. A police state
The Arroyo government's claims that it enjoys the support of the "silent majority" had been invalidated by these images on television. Madame Arroyo's persistent claim to have been a democratically-elected president in 2004 was smashed by these images that painted a regime that could only rule through police enforcers.
Marcos may have lost the psychological battle of EDSA I but this is no reason for Madame Arroyo to conclude that some of the tactics that Marcos employed had been ineffective. Marcos did two things that were right during the EDSA I psychological fight:
1. Marcos brought in people to Malacanang to try to project popular support. Madame Arroyo emptied the Malacanang grounds.
2. Marcos considered dispersing the EDSA crowd but reconsidered that option. Madame Arroyo dispersed the EDSA rallyists and protest marchers.
There are those who aver that had Marcos decided to disperse the EDSA crowd, there would have been no EDSA People Power Revolt. Marcos may have been an SOB as one Washington official had described him, but he was no fool and he knew his history lessons well. An attack on the EDSA crowd would have spelt worse repercussions on Marcos and his family.
Marcos lost not because he failed to empty the Malacanang grounds of people or that he had failed to disperse the EDSA crowd. Marcos lost because he had long lost all moral grounds to continue to rule. He knew that not even state terrorism would serve him well at that point. The final blow came when Marcos' own American friends, through US Senator Paul Laxalt, asked him to "cut and cut clean."
Interestingly, the US has called upon Madame Arroyo to lift Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1017 immediately. Even more interesting is that Vice President Noli de Castro—who has been very supportive of Madame Arroyo—echoed the US line to remove PP 1017 a day after the US made its stand. The US has always expressed preference for following the constitutional process in resolving national crisis. Can this be the process that is now at work?
The worst and most disturbing of these recent images involved the standoff at the Philippine Marines Headquarters at Fort Bonifacio last February 26 that culminated in the relief of Marine Col. Ariel Querubin. The spontaneity and sincerity of his tearful parting remarks to his troops last Wednesday at Fort Ranao provided stark contrast to all the lies, deceit and hypocrisy of the political environment he is duty-bound to defend.
It is a fact of life that extra-constitutional upheavals here are complemented by military support which had been the case in the first two EDSA People Power events. It has now similarly emerged in the current political scenario, the clamor for Madame Arroyo's ouster. Up to February 24, the Arroyo regime has managed to create the impression that it still enjoys the support of the majority of the AFP, suggesting that only a few disgruntled junior officers were involved in agitating for disruption in the chain of command.
The events of February 24 debunked all that. While most people perceive PP 1017 as an overreaction, it is actually a confirmation that a resolute military mutiny is the sum of Gloria M. Arroyo's greatest fears. Col. Ariel Querubin's emotional and tearful farewell at Camp Ranao gave a face to that scenario.
A bemedaled war hero in the fighting in Mindanao and a well respected and recognized leader of the country's elite fighting unit—Col. Querubin took a stand, knowing fully well that he was sacrificing a forthcoming promotion to the rank of general. As he poured out his heart and tears to his beloved comrades, TV cameras panned on the unmistakable melancholy and emotion on the faces of once hardy, fighting men in uniform. The contrasting image of hard and sturdy men in a highly charged emotional moment must have stirred TV audiences, especially soldiers and officers.
It is believed that many in the AFP were in solidarity with Brig. Gen. Danny Lim and Col. Querubin, the two alleged leaders of the failed 'non-coup' of February 24. Retired officers have been issuing warnings that over 70% of the AFP are also bothered by the legitimacy issue hounding Madame Arroyo, something that two respected senators, Ramong "Jun" Magsaysay and Rodolfo "Pong" Biazon, have also been saying.
For Brig. Gen. Danny Lim to have been very open with AFP chief Gen. Senga and invite Gen. Senga to join their planned rally and withdrawal of support—indicates supreme confidence on Lim's part that they enjoy popular support in the military. Imagine how those who are in solidarity with Brig. Gen. Lim and Col. Querubin must have felt when they saw that emotional scene in Fort Ranao.
Col. Querubin's relief comes at the heels of the earlier relief of Marine Commandant Maj. General Renato Miranda who is a father figure to his men. Miranda's relief is largely seen as another act of insecurity and injustice of the regime. The irony of it all is that per news reports it was Gen. Miranda who convinced Col. Querubin to forego the plan to join the EDSA rally.
The drama intensifies when the chosen successor of Gen. Miranda, Brig. Gen. Nelson Allaga, happens to be one of the military officers who were implicated in the Garci tapes controversy that spawned this national crisis. So here we have the images of two officers—Gen. Miranda and Col. Querubin—who are looked up to by their men and have lost their posts now contrasting with the image of an alleged member of the 2004 cheating operation who is benefiting from it all.
Go figure how all that will impact on the hearts and minds of all the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
You may email William M. Esposo at: firstname.lastname@example.org