November 30, 2007
I am off-topic again. Former soldier and now Philippine senator Antonio Trillanes IV (who I went to elementary school with. His two brothers were in my batch.) again challenged Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency. He led some of the Magdalo soldiers in a walkout from the courthouse where they were on trial for their 2003 Oakwood coup attempt. They marched to the Manila Peninsula Hotel and demanded that GMA resign. The government responded with teargas and 3 armored personnel carriers. Journalists were arrested (the Philippines is the 2nd most dangerous place for journalists after all) and a martial law-like curfew is now in place. The standoff ended 6 hours later after the soldiers surrendered. Since the 1986 military revolt that unseated Marcos, some factions of the military are of the mindset that only they can provide good governance. While I admire their conviction and share the outrage that Mrs. President doesn't have the integrity to resign amid allegations of fraud and corruption, I am all for the Philippines remaining a democracy. It is unfortunate that our brand of democracy remains a fledgling enterprise. The opposition has been unable to impeach her nor provide an alternative candidate. We can't keep having people power revolutions to topple unpopular leaders. We have an indifferent or perhaps merely jaded populace. But then again, if you don't know where your next meal is coming from, how could you care who's the sitting president and what the discontented military or middle class is up to?