Does Arroyo want to make Honasan a hero?
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo 2006-03-27
HUBRIS is defined by Wikipedia as a reckless disregard for the rights of another person resulting in some kind of social degradation for the victim. According to its popular modern definition, hubris is exaggerated pride and self-confidence—often resulting in fatal retribution. Hubris came from the ancient Greek tragedies, stories of arrogant people who engineered their own downfall.
Perhaps it is all part of hubris that Madame Gloria M. Arroyo has been making so many monumental blunders lately that could hasten her undoing. The issuance of EO 464, Calibrated Pre-emptive Response (CPR), PP 1017 followed by the repression of basic civil liberties and the attempted theft of the Liberal Party—all these are forming a confluence of events that point to a day of reckoning when the nation will eventually impose its will on the current Malacanang resident.

Madame Arroyo may be right when she said that God placed her in Malacanang. What she may not have realized is that she may have been placed there as part of hubris.

In fairness to God, I must clarify that the Good Lord does not encourage the stealing of an election or the repression civil liberties. The Good Lord may allow people to commit these acts as a result of the free will He gave us to write our entrance ticket to heaven or hell. Thus, having given man a free will, the Good Lord had to allow the emergence of despots like Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin.

I also believe that the Good Lord allows a nation to suffer the consequences of their collective immorality and insensitivity to the plight of the least of their brethren. When the people allow a tyrant to get away with high crimes and abuses, they also exercise their free will to reap the fruits of their failure to express righteous indignation and resist tyranny. Thus, the Germans eventually paid a high price, in terms of lives and property lost, by allowing Hitler to rise to power and drag them into World War II.

Madame Arroyo’s blunders have been so frequent over the last four weeks that just when you think she had done the worst, she manages to outdo herself with yet another. The latest of these is how she is now making a “hero” of the unlikeliest hero—former senator Gringo Honasan.

Under normal circumstances, hardly anyone will consider Gringo Honasan a hero. Our newly-restored democracy was doing double digit economic growth from 1986 until Gringo’s attempted coups of 1987 and 1989 derailed our economic momentum.

Gringo has such a reputation as a destabilizer and coup plotter that the Arroyo administration is making political capital out of it to taint and discredit the efforts of many others who are out to remove Gloria M. Arroyo via legal and non-violent means. Gringo has become the counterpart Rightist bogey to the Leftist bogey, convenient scapegoats of a regime who is so indefensible in its moral and fiscal bankruptcy.

During the Oakwood mutiny for instance, without any solid proof that Honasan engineered it, the Arroyo regime immediately tagged him as the mastermind. The obvious objective of the regime is to discredit the junior officers involved in the Oakwood mutiny who had raised valid issues pertaining to corruption in the military. By putting the “Gringo” tag on the Oakwood siege, the corruption issues have been side-tracked. Instead of misguided crusaders, the junior officers are made to look like salivating power grabbers.

And so the regime sticks to what they think is a working formula. The February 24 aborted soldiers march and withdrawal of support is again being linked to Gringo Honasan. It is obvious that the main player in the February 24 aborted event was Brigadier General Danny Lim and those of us in media who have been following that event have not gotten any indication that would tie it to Honasan.

Per my own sources, Honasan was likely involved in that Oplan Hackle that the government exposed three weeks before the February 24 planned soldiers march and withdrawal of support. And yet when the government exposed Oplan Hackle, there was no urgency to curtail civil liberties or clamp down on media. That proved that the government did not really feel threatened by Gringo. Maybe there was no Gringo coup plot at all. PP 1017 and all these current repressions were triggered by the February 24 aborted withdrawal of support which Generals Generoso Senga and Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. confirmed were not coup attempts.

But by overplaying the Gringo threat, the government is now making the mistake of unwittingly “glorifying” him. All these “public enemy # 1 hoopla” and offered P5 million bounty tend to make Honasan look romantic and sagacious to the over 60% who want Gloria M. Arroyo out of Malacanang.

Gloria M. Arroyo’s negative ratings have been the worst tracked public dissatisfaction with a Malacanang occupant. Over 80% of Filipinos believe that Gloria M. Arroyo stole the 2004 presidential elections and over 60% want her removed. Anyone who appears determined to accomplish the task of removing her could easily become their darling.

The impression is reinforced by making Honasan appear as an underdog due to the fact that the government has not presented a solid case against him. In fact, the case that they are slapping on Gringo is the charge that he masterminded the Oakwood mutiny three years ago. Thus far, all the charges against Gringo Honasan are based on unsubstantiated intelligence reports and the mere say so of a mistrusted Justice Secretary who represents a regime that is notorious for its capacity to mouth falsehoods and obfuscations.

This is sheer folly because if Oplan Hackle is indeed true, then Madame Arroyo is making a hero out of the man who is really plotting a coup, by textbook definition an armed overthrow of a government. The 1987 and 1989 coups where Gringo was involved were all classic renditions of attempted armed overthrows of the government.

Logic would dictate that if Madame Arroyo has to “glorify” her enemy, she serves her personal safety better by “glorifying” the one who plotted a mere withdrawal of support rather than the one who planned an armed overthrow of her regime. The potential net effect is like comparing the ouster of Joseph Estrada during EDSA II and the ouster of Vietnam’s Ngo Ding Diem in a CIA-backed coup.

Joseph Estrada walked away from the presidential palace. Ngo Ding Diem was delivered to his final resting place.

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