The four main events today were:
1. Mikey Arroyo files leave while his uncle says he’ll think about it.
2. The police and army send troops to San Carlos seminary
3. The strange story of Technical Sergeant Doble and his confession after a long delay in AFP custody.
4. Ong being kicked out of San Carlos and finding refuge elsewhere, which included a wild goose chase after rumors he’d surface at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati. There are reports the government will arrest him tomorrow.
What’s interesting is the scuttlebutt among individuals who claim to be in the know. These are unverified statements from people who say they have them second or third hand -from people they claim are even more in the know. Caveat emptor, but makes for interesting reading since after all, future events will validate them or not.
The first is that one person says he was told a showdown of sorts took place in the Palace between civilian members of the Cabinet and retired officers in the Cabinet together with the top brass of the armed forces. The discussion was over whether or not to arrest Ong. The civilians said it would boomerang and would be bad politics. The military and their allies in the Cabinet vehemently disagreed. At one point, Defense Secretary Nonong Cruz was supposed to have said, “Madam President, I have also been your legal counsel for many years, and please, this is the wrong move, don’t arrest him.” A statement supposedly seconded by Sec. Mike Defensor. The military, on the other hand, allegedly insisted on Ong’s arrest and that they would have everything under control.
The second is that a civil society matron says they will begin protesting and won’t stop until both representatives Arroyo resign.
The third is that Cory Aquino is being urged to lead a delegation of high-profile people to inform the President that she has to do something dramatic in the next couple of days, because it is getting more and more difficult for people to continue supporting her. Civil Society demands might include a long list of to-do’s: get the Arroyo representatives to resign; recall the President’s Comelec nominations; remove the head of Pagcor and all appointees linked to the influence of the President’s husband; dismiss the Secretary of Justice; establish an independent commission to investigate all allegations; send the tape for analysis abroad.
The fourth is a combination of media scuttlebutt, not necessarily based on hard information but on gut feel. One view is that the United States has a 60 Day gameplan (when the clock started ticking, though, no one knows), and that nothing major will happen before then. Another, rather wild, idea is that a Palace coup has already taken place and that the President is held hostage by the AFP.
As for tomorrow, a colleague makes the following fearless forecasts:
1. Ong is arrested and the government decides whether to unleash a media crackdown or the Secretary of Justice starts being nice to media;
2. The President makes a grand gesture to defuse the situation (or doesn’t).
Consensus among the well-connected to official circles: the President has 2-3 days to make the grand gesture that seems to be necessary to regain the upper hand, or things will get uglier.