Missing the point about the Makati standoff
A contribution to MabuhayRadio.com
There are text messages and emails going around that are jokes about the Manila Pen standoff. I myself joked about it by texting a message that said a better slogan should have been “Mag-martsa sa Mendiola, hindi mag-check-in sa Manila Pen”.
But all these jokes, including mine, miss the important point about the Makati standoff, which is that there are festering issues that are left unresolved and continue to divide the nation further apart. If we were in a construction project, it would be similar to having several construction issues and major punchlists that are not attended to so construction is hampered and cannot proceed and would only result in a defective highrise building if construction is pushed without a satisfactory closure to the issues that come up.That is why you don’t hear the now popular phrase “Let’s move on” without a resolution of the major construction issues.”
The issues have been discussed extensively in the media by various groups. Brig. Gen. Danny Lim did a summary when he read them before local and international media during the standoff, as follows:
1. “Mrs Arroyo had occupied the presidency under a questionable mandate publicly disputed by a vast majority of Filipinos. She stole the presidency from President Estrada through unconstitutional and deceitful means and later manipulated the results of the 2004 elections to perpetuate herself in power.”
2. “The abuses of our government continue, the deliberate refusal or failure of the dubious leaders to castigate and prosecute the people responsible for:
a) the scandalous Hello, Garci electoral cheating, the Joc-joc Bolante multi million peso fertilizer scam, Impsa bribery, the Jose Pidal and Jueteng scandals involving billions of public funds, the North Rail Project, scandal, the Venable contract scandal, the NBN scandal,
b) the wholesale bribery of congressmen in Malacañang as well as
c) the unabated and unresolved extrajudicial killings of citizens particularly journalists and members of the judiciary and the use of military and police officers for some unlawful mission.”
3. “Among others, these are clear proof of her failure for good and decent governance. There are numerous illegal and immoral activities and transactions conducted by these government with impunity that betray the citizens and the state of their pristine right to exist as a people with decency, dignity and integrity.”
A political analyst has this to say of the Makati standoff and recent events:
“The Thursday protest action at the hotel did not succeed with its announced objective of inspiring the people to join it within a few hours and the military to openly withdraw its support in order to cause the downfall of the Arroyo regime and replace it with a new government.
“But it succeeded resoundingly through the national and global mass media in making a strong denunciation of the moral bankruptcy, corruption, mendacity and brutality of the regime and in manifesting the relentless struggle of patriotic officers and enlisted personnel against those in the pro-Arroyo chain of command.”
The day after the standoff, activists were out on the streets to commemorate Bonifacio Day. The political analyst and avid student of Philippine history noted:
“The organizers of the Friday street demonstrations were successful in accomplishing their announced limited objective of fielding some thousands of demonstrators in order to revive the mass movement for the ouster of the Arroyo regime. But the street demonstrations did not catch the attention of the national and global mass media as much as the Thursday protest action had done, even as the mass organizations were more cogent and sharper through their statements, streamers, placards and graphics in condemning the afflictions inflicted by the regime on the people and in demanding the ouster of the regime.”
And what to do:
“No doubt all concerned have still a lot of work to do in developing further the capability to launch gigantic mass actions and causing the military and police to withdraw support from the Arroyo regime as in the downfall of the Marcos and Estrada regimes in 1986 and 2001. The participants in mass actions in Manila must grow to the level of 50,000, then 100,000, further on 200,000 and still further. Only after the level of 100,000 is reached will the military and police begin on a wide scale to consider withdrawing support from the Arroyo regime.
“Successes in people’s uprising as in 1986 and 2001 may not be repeated mechanically because of differing circumstances. To cite one important current circumstance, Arroyo has repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to shed the blood of her opponents in order to keep herself in power. She has shown her callousness in causing the murder, abduction and torture of hundreds of unarmed legal activists opposed to her regime.
“She is known to boast that unlike Marcos and Estrada who ultimately abandoned power for fear of a bloodbath she will not hesitate to cause bloodshed in the name of “law and order”. She is also known to gloat over her repeated success in suppressing hotel takeovers which are in fact shows d’etat rather than coups d’etat. Thus, her adversaries within the military establishment are under challenge to prevent her from using the chain of command in controlling them and in attacking the people.”
One recalls that GMA could say “I am sorry” without batting an eyelash, and she could pledge on Rizal’s martyrdom anniversary that she would not run for reelection. Her recent promise is that she would be president only up to 2010 which is why some advise people not to oust her but allow her to finish her term.