Erap’s comeback dream will be our national nightmare
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-06-24
Taking his cue from a factotum in the Manila Archdiocese, Fr. Sid Marinay, Joseph “Erap” Estrada went to town as if he obtained absolution of his public sins directly from God Himself.

Talking as if the priest’s statement erased his plunder conviction, as if that made up for the shameful way he defiled the presidency during his regrettable incumbency — Estrada projected the image of a victim of injustice.

“I commend the CBCP in displaying humility and admitting their error in supporting my ouster. At least now people are beginning to admit the truth that EDSA Dos was a conspiracy, a power grab. Former Chief Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma was right when she said that EDSA Dos was an instance when the rule of law was thrown out and the rule of force prevailed,” Estrada was quoted.

No sooner had Estrada quoted the Manila Archdiocese Vice Chancellor, CBCP President Bishop Angel Lagdameo quickly denied that the CBCP made an apology for EDSA Dos. EDSA Dos was another Jaime Cardinal Sin production, done in his personal capacity, and did not involve the CBCP.

Estrada was further quoted by his spokesman: “It is not my vindication that is important, what is important is that we come together now to help solve the various crises that are plaguing our nation. With this realization, perhaps the forces behind EDSA 1, 2 and 3 can come together to find a solution to help the people, especially the poor, overcome the different crises that our nation faces today.”

It becomes apparent that Estrada was riding on Fr. Marinay’s statement (which does not even reflect a consensus in the CBCP) to rally the poor around his political standard. Estrada must be dreaming of becoming the rallying figure in a popular uprising that will topple Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

Even the uneducated knows that GMA traverses what can be considered very thin ice these days, ice that can break under her feet at the slightest flashpoint. She has been doing very poorly in performance and satisfaction ratings. Over 20 million Filipinos are hungry and angry.

Her regime is notorious for all sorts of scandals that can heighten people’s anger. They associate their misery with the tales of billions being stolen from the country.

Historical events show that it takes very little to instigate a rebellion against such an unpopular ruler, especially a ruler that is largely perceived as illegitimate. Sans any real attempt to topple it — the center can easily collapse.

In France, a hungry, angry mob decided to storm the Bastille. No longer protected by a strong garrison, the Bastille easily fell and that triggered the French Revolution. The heads of the French king and queen rolled down the guillotine followed by the heads of many aristocrats.

In Russia, hungry, angry people started storming the bread shops and food stores to steal what they could to feed their families. At first, the Tsar’s troops tried to quell the food riots. Then the troops stopped harassing the poor folks. Their families too suffered from the same hunger. After that, the army openly revolted. Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family eventually became the victims of the Russian Revolution.

I can see all of us reaching a boiling point and removing another unpopular regime. We’ve done that twice already. But I cannot see thinking Filipinos uniting behind a convicted plunderer like Joseph Estrada and installing him as replacement ruler.

With so many better options available, would you limit your choice to only the demon and the devil?

No sooner after he claimed vindication from the CBCP, Estrada attempted to pick up pogi points over the recent abduction in Sulu of ABS-CBN Senior Correspondent Ces Drilon and her two cameramen.

I caught Estrada bragging on TV Patrol of ABS-CBN that the abduction could have been avoided if he was not replaced as president. Estrada was boasting that his all-out war in Mindanao had already scuttled the Muslim rebels, insinuating that if they allowed him to stay on — there would have been no more MILF, MNLF and Abu Sayyaf in the country to worry about.

That is another Erap movie make-believe. Neither Estrada nor GMA, after him, could have won an all-out war in Mindanao. Imperial powers Spain and the US could not quell the Muslim rebellions. How does a divided, ill-equipped, badly-led, demoralized AFP go about winning such an all-out war?

Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Fidel Ramos enjoyed more prosperous economies during their time. And yet, they wisely realized that a Mindanao war was counter productive and could not be won. They both sued for peace.

How does Estrada substantiate his boast that he could have won a Mindanao war with an economy that was reeling then from the effects of the Asian Currency Crisis. Either he is an imbecile or he must think that all Filipinos are.

We have too many problems already. Let’s not compound our burdens by giving any more media and public attention to Joseph Estrada.

Joseph Estrada has the right to dream. But his dream should not cause a national nightmare.

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All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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