Have we seen the end of Trillanes?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-12-09
The media factors of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime lost no time in making sure that the November 29 standoff at The Peninsula would be the last menacing undertaking from their troublemaker — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

But did they succeed?

Your friendly neighborhood Chair Wrecker can only answer: "NOT BY A LONG SHOT!" Or better yet — "FAT CHANCE."

True, the Peninsula Standoff did not sway GMA adherents into becoming Trillanes converts. But this does not mean that those 11 million who had voted for Trillanes now condemn him. Instead, a lot of them may have been disappointed only because Trillanes had failed.

The Trillanes voters not only come from the Opposition — they also come from the military organization. It is the presence of these younger and more idealistic voters in the military that is eroding the internal fabric of the Armed Forces, causing dangerous internal problems.

The election of Trillanes took most people by surprise. Even those who voted for the renegade leader of the Oakwood Mutiny did not expect him to get 11 million votes. They voted as individuals declaring their silent support for what Trillanes had done and stood for — a fearless, solid challenge to the present regime's unconscionable depravity.

Ergo, the Peninsula Standoff is not expected to seriously erode the support base of Trillanes. On the contrary, Trillanes’ supporters fit the profile of that growing number of Filipinos that the recent Pulse Asia survey had identified as open to extreme remedies. His voters also knew from the very start what Trillanes staged in Oakwood and what he represented, and so it is unlikely that they will now want to junk him after his latest misadventure.

Trillanes' adventurism contrasts significantly with that of Gringo Honasan who had staged two bloody coups against a then popular president, Cory Aquino. Yet the people elected Honasan to the Senate.

On the other hand, no exchange of fire happened in the Oakwood Mutiny. No lives were lost in Oakwood and in the Peninsula Standoff. Trillanes' defiant actions had largely been harmless and symbolic and were directed towards someone extremely unpopular and disliked.

The Arroyo regime created the Trillanes who now represents the few remaining options for change, particularly for the majority of Filipinos who are convinced that GMA is not the duly elected president. Twice frustrated from constitutional recourse of impeachment, they now see this firebrand Senator as the unorthodox alternative.

The stronger you beat the drum, the louder it rolls. The more repressive and oppressive the regime becomes, the more it promotes leaders like Trillanes who are not afraid to take risks.

In the repressive days of the Marcos dictatorship, anti-Marcos Filipinos gravitated towards Ninoy Aquino. Having been the most persecuted public figure of that era, Ninoy became the center of mainstream opposition to the dictatorship.

Suppressing public anger and outrage from finding expression exacerbates public passion to such fury that it will want to resort to unconventional solutions. The most recent trigger of this was the popularly supported third impeachment case against GMA which was also unceremoniously junked by her allies in Congress.

Under normal circumstances, most Filipinos will likely discourage unconventional methods for attempting to effect change. But we don’t live under normal circumstances today. The abnormal political conditions were validated by the recent Pulse Asia survey. It showed that 25% of Filipinos are open to supporting extreme remedies in order to oust GMA.

The Peninsula standoff is a natural consequence of prevailing political conditions. If the Arroyo regime thinks that its ‘shock and awe' tactics will break further resistance, it only has to look back to history and the fate of unpopular repressive regimes.

If the regime's response to the press conference that was called to announce and encourage a withdrawal of support is tank assault and tear gas, they should also realize that protests and outrage can and will escalate commensurate to State action. They should be ready in case the next attempt would consist of tanks and air force planes attacking Malacañang, the classic rendition of a coup.

This is a vicious cycle that GMA has created for herself by placing people like Ronnie Puno, Raul Gonzalez, Norberto Gonzales and General Hermogenes Esperon in their present cabinet posts where they personify the tactics that are associated with Hitler's SS.

GMA talks about reconciliation. But instead of mending political fences, her Heinrich Himmler clones ram tanks through the picket fences of her opponents. Instead of clearing the air for amicable dialogue, they thicken it with tear gas.

GMA's media hacks have labeled Trillanes a thug and had thrown everything at him. But then, who really listens to them other than Donald Dee and Vivian Yuchengco?

To the majority who has long regarded GMA as undesirable and illegitimate, Trillanes is one adventurer who may just succeed and free them from their yoke.

The regime must have thought that transferring Trillanes to Muntinlupa will depict him as a convicted criminal. But to the majority whose aspirations Trillanes embodies, the transfer suggests regime vindictiveness and will only turn him more into a persecuted martyr.

The smart Marcos would never have thought of incarcerating Ninoy in Muntinlupa because this will only romanticize his circumstances. Whoever thought of this transfer acted with savage impulse. The reprisal instinct undoubtedly carries adverse consequences.

A lot may be said against GMA but she is a superb politician who knows what to dance at the appropriate time. She will do well to think this situation through very carefully and rely on her political instincts.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo