Since I haven’t been assigned to anything major right now except monitoring and my occasionally injecting counter-ideas into the public debate on the Lozada issue, all I’ve been doing is skipping to news and info sites about the general mood.
To be sure, the latest Pulse Asia survey is interpretable in many ways. There is a point that, when considered in real terms, 16% of Metro Manileños saying they will join an anti-GMA rally might be small, percentage-wise. But assuming Metro Manila has a population of, say, 15 million souls (based on the 2000 Census of about 9.9 million and an annual growth rate of 1.06%), that would be approximately 2.4 million people, certainly nothing to sneeze at or pooh-pooh away as the workings of a small cabal of powergrabbers.
Still, Friday’s “Interfaith Rally” could only muster somewhere between 10,000 – 80,000 people. Certainly not small, especially if you properly spin it, but nowhere near the mark statistically estimated by the surveys.
Amado Doronilla in his latest piece said that it should be bigger if the Philippine National Police had not blocked people off. But how many are we talking about here? Could those detained or delayed by the police number at least the 20,000 to make it reach the 100,000 the opposition boasted they would come up with as a show of force vs. the Little Girl? That’s a lot of jeepneys, you know. Hell, its a lot of buses, and we’re talking about the 50++ seaters, not the small, wooden-cover-on-windows ones.
Fascinating, too, that the Survey showed a high 69% of people supportive of the protest actions. It’s fascinating in the sense that 10.35 million Filipinos give their imprimatur to the actions, but only about a fourth pf that will transform Opinion into Action.
If you want a more humorous take on it, the Professional Heckler’s posts are always a wonderful salve if you’re beginning to feel the fatigue from all the politics. Click here for his commentary on the Interfaith Rally.
Of course, there will be dissenters. One columnist in PDI’s business section gave a “View from Below” of the rally. I can imagine what the Rabid Anti-Gloria Crowd will say to his writeup. Poor guy. I wonder if he’s ready to be called such vile names just because he’s exercising his right as a citizen of a democratic state to freely express his opinion?
But you have to admit that there’s a point, too, in what he said. Denials would probably fly, particularly from his assessment that, out of his estimate of 20,000, half of that number would be of the “hakot” variety. But it can’t be denied that, admittedly large as it was, it wasn’t large enough.
How large is large? We needed 1 million on the EDSA Shrine’s immediate vicinity before we convinced the AFP to abandon Erap in 2001. Considering that Erap was elected to the Presidency with a much, much higher number than that, it was quite a surprise the supposedly-uber-loyal AFP would “cut and cut clean.”
There’s a brewing war among Cabinet officials past and present, as Justice Secretary Gonzales calls on the National Bureau of Investigation to “follow the movements” of the La Salle How Many Are They Now following their “ultimatum” to the President to institute a certain number of “reforms” within a week, or… well… they’ll do something they did before? Like, in the case of the Hyatt 10, set up a person who trusted them and backstab her? Mmmm… interesting, as the Gnomes in World of Warcraft would say.
On that note, former Civil Service Commission Chairperson Karina David and former Social Welfare and presidential confidant Dinky Soliman claim that there are members of the Cabinet, and “sub-Cabinet” level officials, who are considering resigning. As a former intelligence officer, and as a PR professional, I’ve learned to take “news” like this with a measure of concern but without giving it the honor of being called “true” information. I mean, it could be true. Certainly, for those who were never there the first time around in 8 July 2005, the “pedigree” of the two should be enough verification.
But it could also be a pressure piece. I don’t know how the Palace is handling things regarding the loyalties of its officials, but, seriously, they would come out now? I’d like to think that the 8 July 2005 escalation was far more conducive to turncoatism; I mean, ten fully-fledged Cabinet Member did set their boss up to fall, after all. And the pedigrees of the ten should have triggered a “destructive cascade”, the shwerpunkt (to borrow and bastardize a military term) of that first serious attempt to topple Gloria.
And EO 464 has been scrapped. Mmm… interesting. Very interesting.
I still don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about all these young people coming out. Nevermind that they’re treating Lozada like a rockstar (it disgusts me, but that’s me, and I’m privy to information you aren’t, dear reader, so pardon me if I have trouble keeping my lunch or dinner down when I see him) . What I’d like to know is (a) have these children, particularly my own schoolmates, exercised discernment, and (b) in case they get what they want, would they remain for the Rebuilding, or go back to their safe, secure , comfortable lives?
It’s easy to get angry, after all. I think if I ever encounter any of them, I’d ask first where they got the basis for their decision. If one didn’t know better, it’s so easy to be angry at Government and to immediately call for GMA’s resignation or ouster. In my view, there is no deeper reflection and analysis of the messenger, the situation and the players involved, and there is no thorough discussion of the “endgame” scenarios. Especially the endgame Scenarios.
These kids will deny it, of course, but they probably think that political reform, the excision of corruption in our public sphere, will come about simply by removing the perceived head that is Gloria. Notice the demands: it’s all Gloria Resign, now na.
Suppose she does step down, what then? Will these kids support and protect her constitutional successor, which is the Vice President, nevermind that the office is occupied by Noli de Castro right now? But that would be idealistic, IMHO, because corruption is as systematic and cultural in this country as it is personalistic. There are more than 200 members of the House of Representatives, about two dozen Senators, and how many hundreds of Local Chief Executives, thousands of Councilors, and God knows how many useless Barangay officials.
Removing Gloria would not slay the demons of our politics like some magic bullet. Yet, their calls are specifically for Gloria’s removal, only. Ok, perhaps you can include the sons, the daughter, in-laws, and appointees. But if nature abhors a vacuum, Philippine politics revels in it because it simply means other people will fill it.
And, again, who will you replace her with? Gloria has commanded a level of power I have not seen even with Ramos. At the risk of jumping into the bandwagon, it’s almost… Marcosian in scope. Noli de Castro does not have that level of power. He will be so lame duck he probably won’t last a fortnight in Malacañang.
Which is probably what these RAGC people want. They’ve expressed their dislike for Noli. They probably won’t let the other constitutional successors take over, which is too bad for the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. It has to be a junta under their control, no less, and more is better.
What, kids, you weren’t aware of this? All those smart would-be-lawyers from all those law schools, and you aren’t even considering this scenario? Are the moderate activists of today so… irresponsible as to not look forward at the consequences of their actions?
I hope they know what they’re doing. I really do. It’s nice to see that the young somehow still cares, but I hope, amidst the rhetoric and idealism, they have taken the time to think and think hard. Rail and rage against it as they wish, they are like little lambs amidst wolves, neophytes in the presence of hardened veterans of political battles from before any of them were born.
And when it all hits the fan, how many of them can either return to the safety of their enclaves, or go abroad?
Too bad for the ordinary pinoy then.
Revolutions have their costs. And oftentimes, its not the instigators who pay the heaviest price, but those left behind after all the noise has died down.