After the Cascade

And it was a cascade for me in more ways than one…

For the benefit of people asking me about my take on recent events, especially in the light of yesterday’s massive (relatively speaking) rally at Makati, I’m posting that part of my email to the Piraeus Group on the latest developments of Gloriagate.

Another thing, before I paste the excerpt: there is a trick in making a rally look bigger on cam. Remember those aerial photos of the rally? It looks like a lot of people were there, right? Although admittedly 30k is a lot of people, it looks bigger shot that way because the “pinpricks” and “dots” that represent the heads of people blend in a mish-mash kind of way with the gray ferrocrete of the street. So it looks jam-packed.

Also, a camera, even one with a wide-angle lens, can only capture so much of a scene. If you take a shot of the central activity area – say, near the Aquino monument – at a certain angle, then it really looks big even with that ground-level shot. But if you pan the cam around, you’ll see that the crowds don’t go farther than a few hundred meters from the center of the activity.

Now, for the excerpt:

To those of you asking what will happen to the country… my initial read is that, because of what happened in “The Longest Friday” (or “Presscon Friday”, as I call it), GMA stands to stay in power at least until the SONA. If we go the impeachment route – which seems highly probable right now – then… 2 months? If she’ll get kicked out, it’ll probably be early next year or late this year. If this reaches December, then the Oust-GMA movement will be dead at least until the middle of January 2006, and by then many of the politicians would be thinking of May 2007.

Ah. Oh. Oh shit. That’s right…

God help me and for once I wish I can be wrong with this… but I think the Oust-GMA groups will try at least one more escalation and cascade situation like with TLF. They have to. Oh my God…

1. If this reaches September, how can you mob any students from the moderate schools? Finals is near.

2. If this reaches December, or even November, the natural calming effect of yuletide on Filipinos will most likely dampen enthusiasm for the protests as much as it did – or even more so – when we did the RIO back in 2000. C’mon, people, we were there, remember? We all know what December did to the RIO.

3. If somehow GMA reaches January 2006… all I see there is either (a) lack of interest as many politicians begin gearing up for the 2007 elections, or (b) fatigue will set in. Revolts and protests on the magnitude of a near-EDSA cannot be sustained overtime in the same way you can’t stay angry for a truly long period of time.

So I think the opposition will once again escalate the situation to cascade it like with the TLF. But… that’s a dangerous gambit because they’ve thrown so much against GMA and she’s still there! Like someone I admire a lot said last night, this whole “Gloriagate” thing will make a fascinating thesis. I mean, a very unpopular president has managed to hold on to power despite (at least!) three very major cascade situations… amazing… And the last one was throwing everything (and everyone) including the kitchen sink and all the stinky bits at the bottom of the drain. Yet the little lady is still there… how fascinating…

I don’t know what the Oust-GMA side will do for another escalation-cascade manuever. Many of the key ingredients were used up last July 8 with little effect except to further damage the economy and give the pro-GMA people a means to circle the wagons and dig in. In military strategy, the one on defense always has the advantage in a war of attrition, even if outgunned and outnumbered. And right now it’s fast becoming a war of attrition, with advantage back to Gloria – who’s on defense – after TLF fizzled and the CBCP gave out its statement.

But they (the anti-Gloria forces) have to. Because time isn’t with them. Aside from the socio-cultural and political angle, there’s also the economic. Eventually, the protests will take a toll on the economy that those people asking her to step down will begin looking like economic saboteurs. I’m not kidding: let’s say you see that the forex rate is, say, 60:1, then you see the rallyists at Makati / Mendiola / Wherever, what would you think? Especially if you keep hearing the news as, “the political instability is bringing the economy down…” All GMA has to spin it is by saying, hey, I’m trying to do my job here but these (censored) want to be in power and they’re doing all these rallies and down-with-gov’t acts for that and making the economy go down. She doesn’t even have to refute any statements from thereon. When the economy goes really down and people are still shouting “Gloria out” without more solid proof than what’s come out now… the protest is dead.

So expect an escalation once again in the next few days

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