Did everyone pull back from the brink?
1. The crowds were enormous but nowhere near the gigantic numbers predicted. Part of it was surely due to the early morning Mass, and the darkness that engulfed the first hour or so of the funeral procession.
2. The leaders, if they wanted to incite anything, had no opportunity to do so during the funeral march and afterward.
3. Presuming Estrada could have made a call to arms, it needed a spark. Rhetoric wasn’t enough. If, for example, he’d insisted on attending the funeral itself, it could have led to a dodgy situation. Instead, he was whisked back to Tanay, Rizal, which only emphasizes his being under the custody of the government, and reinforces the suspicion he’s more interested in a deal to allow him to get away.
4. Susan Roces issued a warning, but didn’t follow through. There were no spectacular eye witnesses or media coverage of buses being prevented from reaching Manila. If Susan Roces had denounced -or confirmed- earlier suspicions of government interference, then it would have set off an ugly mood. She did nothing of the sort, and so tempers cooled and gave way to grief.
5. The police and military were low key and did nothing to provoke anyone.
6. The Communists and the PMAP had no spark to set off protests, and their bellowing was (I think carefully) drowned out by the chatter of radio and tv commentators, who were quick to emphasize the need to “depoliticize” things. The silly followers of Ely Pamatong also perhaps just got in the way of any large-scale coordination of the more serious groups.
7. Bro. Eddie Villanueva was conspicuously absent, or if there, amazingly low key.
8. Finally, the government came out with its proclamation of a state of conspiracy, basically, which put everyone on guard.