Friday, November 30, 2007

It's a holiday in Manila Peninsula

    Apologies to the Dead Kennedys.

    So, yesterday was quite eventful.

    Sen. Trillanes and company, the so-called Magdalo group famous for the ill-fated "Oakwood mutiny", a failed power grab against the Arroyo administration, walked out on a Makati trial court and went all the way to Manila Peninsula to once again call on Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to resign. He was joined by several other groups, notably former Vice President Teofisto Guingona and Fr. Robert Reyes, who called on Pres. Arroyo to step down, having "lost the moral ascendancy to govern."

    This is getting old.

    First off; Sen. Trillanes. Yes, senator. While it boggles the mind how a detained rebel officer still manages to get elected to such a high position of power, it addles one even more as one tries to comprehend how he has managed to stage two failed coups. Not once, but twice (with apologies to Susan Roces)! Is he trying to chase Gregorio Honasan's record? Is anyone keeping track (knowing our current society's propensity for making statistics of ANYTHING, I wouldn't be surprised if a Honasan-Trillanes coup tally chart springs out) of all the miserable coup attempts our country is going through right now? What saddens this writer even more is that these attempts at mutiny do nothing but numb the masses even more to the plight of this country. While the zeal of the officers may be commendable, their methods are questionable, if not downright insane. The dangers plaguing the Philippines right now do not involve the Americans or the Muslim terrorists allegedly holing up in all corners of our once-illustrious country; it is the dissenting opinions of eighty million Filipinos that threaten to cripple us to the point of instability. The greatest enemy is within us; it does not sit alone in the middle of Malacanang Palace on her high chair laughing like a manic dictator, it also resides in the chambers of the senators and congressmen who proclaim their love for country and democracy with endless grandstanding but no physical manifestations.

    "But these Magdalo soldiers are doing something! You ask for action, here it is!"

    Wrong. The country does not need grandiose actions. Coup attempts such as these are nothing more than even more grandiose grandstanding done by seasoned politicans. Who the hell cares about taking a hotel hostage? It's not even a vital military base, nor an economic hub. I must congratulate Sen. Trillanes though; if you're doing a rebellion, at least make sure you do it in posh interiors. Imagine, his last two mutinies were done not at important political areas or installations, but in classy hotels with well-lighted hallways and comfy rooms. They even have a website now; what a waste of bandwidth. I mean, really. This man needs a girl; maybe someone who'll give him the attention he obviously craves for. The administration is corrupt; so what? Other countries have been labelled corrupt, even more so than the Philippines (thought as of now, I doubt anyone is more corrupt than us) but they have risen above that to progress forward economically, leaving us in the dust. So many people are advocating for change, saying all the right things yet doing all the wrong ones.

    Case in point: the media personnel arrested by the police are crying foul over their incarceration by the military. RIGHT. So let me see, the military says civilians vacate the area will you please, things might get ugly, and when they refuse to budge, they cry "freedom of the press" when they get keelhauled off to the nearest police station to be interrogated. We should have a new policy for those troops fighting in Mindanao that ought to satiate the thirst of these media men and women for news; use the cameramen and reporters as meat shields for advancing Abu Sayaff troops. They want to see the action, to report facts they purport to be suppressed by the government, then fine, let them eat lead. Yelling "this is obstruction of justice" conveniently glosses over the fact that their presence there is nothing more than a big liability that the military will get screwed for. If there's gunfire, there's no point in staying there to fight unless you're Bruce Willis and this is the next installment of Die Hard. To report the facts for the Filipino people to see is not a valid reason either; besides, most television stations are sunk so deep into their own political ideologies and factions that any hope of getting the facts straight will be as hopeless as asking Estrada to mull over the latest trends in post-colonial literature. Truth right now is so overrated, what with so many dissenting opinions proclaiming their truth all over the place, their heads stuck up in the clouds as they believe what they are doing or saying is right without paying heed to the majority.

    I'm not asking for the suppression of freedom. Freedom is important to us, a country that has shaken off almost four hundred years of foreign occupation (well, technically we still are, but that's besides the point), but people should realize that freedom is not a one-dimensional virtue. Freedom is not a right alone, it is also a responsibility. We must constantly shuffle our own needs and wants with that of the majority; that's the price of democracy. We Filipinos are so knee-deep in our own freedom that we cannot decide what to do with it. Every Juan dela Cruz advocates for change and screams at the top of his lungs for the president to step down, but what will happen if she does? Let her stay there, try to do the best she can, then three years after put someone else in office for you to yell at.

    What's dangerous about stuff like this is the indifference. People were walking, just wanting to get home and isolate themselves from the situation. They want to sit down on their couches and turn on their TV sets to watch it unfold in real-time from the safety of their homes. The individualism rampant through today's society greatly hurts our nationalistic pride and unity to the point where we would be too afraid to stand up for our beliefs. It's sad that these situations that are supposed to awaken us as a nation and try to force us to work together and strive for a better country are the very forces that threaten to keep us drawing inward, keeping ourselves at a distance for fear of getting hurt.

    Therein lies the dichotomy; we should stand for what is right, but we should do it in a manner that befits the situation. I may be speaking out of line, another dissenting opinion in the masses, but truth to tell, these are truths that every Filipino knows in his or her heart. We fear the loss of our democracy yet we also yearn for a less inept government. How can a government function properly if its constituents do not leave it alone? The lack of a harmonious relationship between the government and its people is an insurrection that will topple down even the world's most powerful political power. Trust is key; if we trust no one but ourselves, and view ourselves as the moral high ground, then this double standard will only weaken us. Such a sad hyperreality that Sen. Trillanes and company lives in.