BY JOVE!: WISH: is the place to begin the day, by finding out what was going on in the Palace while the rest of the country slept (his blog is making history, together with that of the PCIJ as the first real-time journalists’ accounts of a Philippine crisis -except perhaps for the secret blog I kept during Edsa II and III). Paul the Unlawyer fills in the gap from Jove’s coverage to this morning’s news, which is that Susan Roces has made her first move.
Let’s begin with an email I received from a reader, who doesn’t want to be identified, reacting to my post on those organizing today’s “day of mourning” and their motivations. Says my reader,
Read your Crisis Mode entry on the “Pilgrims for Peace” group. One of the
convenors is a “Rey Casambre”. I can’t say this publicly but that guy is one of
the more steadfast Reaffirmists (RA) in the NDF! “Radicalized protestants”, my
ass. Joma’s people have actually fielded a big gun for an open campaign!
We’re talking a low-key but senior NDF personality here…
Casambre was a major enforcer for the Joma camp, trying to convince…
skeptics… to “Reaffirm”. I’m really surprised and alarmed that
they’ve trotted him out for this project.
Look at what they’re calling for: the resumption of peace talks between the GRP
and the NDF. As if that was the main issue in this political crisis. I have
nothing against peace talks, I do believe there are fundamental social causes
to the insurgency. However, the NDF have not shown any indication that they
seriiously want to seek a compromise and solutions to those problems. They’re
Maoists; the objective is always to seize state power. The peace talks are a
I have no love for GMA either, I think she brought this down on her head. But if
it’s rabid communists and dodgy ex-police officers mobilizing against her, I’m
not too hopeful of any meaningful change, even if they’re successful.
My reaction is, Amen! One of the cleverer of the public persona of the steadfastly loyal to Joma Sison camp, the well-known and respected Prof. Luis Teodoro, analyzes the present situation and concludes People Power ouster of Arroyo not likely. He suggest,
The irony is that Ms Arroyo, the beneficiary of People Power II, is now also the unintended beneficiary of widespread disappointment with People Power. Not only the failure of the groups and forces now against her to agree on the succession question is to her benefit. So is their disagreement over how to remove her.
I’d put it differently. There is still no critical mass, or as one columnist of Businessworld put it, the “tipping point” (borrowing an idea from the book by Malcolm Gladwell) hasn’t been reached. The critical mass hasn’t been reached because of yes, people power fatigue, and yes, the lack of a generally-acceptable alternative to the president, but also most basically, a profound distrust of both the organized Left (Jose Maria Sison flavor), the more radical clergy, and the usual suspects in the mainstream opposition. The heirarchy of the Catholic Church has yet to achive a consensus (one columnist says the church in Cebu has stated resignation for the President is not the proper course). You can check out the blog of Bishop Oscar Cruz of course, but the CBCP blog is the place to look for any possible statements from the heirarchy, speaking as a whole.
Interesting question: Pope Benedict XVI is strenuously anti-Communist and anti anything remotely approaching Liberation Theology. What would he say about today’s protests?
Everything depends on today’s protests: will it just be the Communists (NDF, and its affiliates), and the Estrada loyalists (who are, remember, recycled Marcos loyalists), or will Senator Lacson join the fray, together with Eddie Villanueva, both of whom are slighly more respectable to the public at large? And will the government react with brute force or a more surgical subtlety? Will Susan Roces once more skillfully allow people to let off steam, but refrain from actually summoning the faithful to the barricades? And will the President both actually keep her cool, and maintain the appearance of being firmly in charge? A big plus, after all, is that the Vice Governor-General says the Great White Father gives the little brown sister his continued (if grudging) blessing.