After embracing Alan Paguia, his backers suddenly find themselves ducking in a rock-throwing contest in a greenhouse. Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna has now appealed in the House for “obviously private” conversations not to be aired, because they cannot be excused as being in the public interest to hear. He says he doesn’t want a precedent established in which any and all videos and tapes of personalities with well known voices, could be played in a public forum.
Again, the issue returns to the folly of Paguia, who wanted his 15 minutes of fame, and in so doing, helped himself but harmed his cause. Joker Arroyo’s point, expressed privately to me (and which I can repeat since he’s issued a statement essentially along the same lines), that the opposition cannot expect to lead from the rear. They led from the rear during Edsa Tres, they are doing so now; Paguia, for example, faces detention if he doesn’t reveal his sources, and it remains to be seen if he can suffer for his principles, or reveal them as hollow (they’re hollow: he squealed, and his source, Kit Tatad, may be misconstrued, by those unfamiliar with Tatad’s long service in various positions and regimes, as the bitterest gourd in the opposition fruit basket). The story was apparently first leaked in a Time Magazine article.
It seems the Truth Commission option is wilting (if it hasn’t wilted completely by now) in the face of confidence on the part of the President that she can weather -and win- in an impeachment trial. It seems, too, this early on, that Paguia’s opportunism has harmed any case the traditional opposition can make, not least because so many in the opposition seem to have done what the President did. And also, the grilling of Paguia has helped erode confidence in Paguia’s motives, ethics, tactics -and by extension, that of the Estradas.
The Communists and their allies, the Estrada loyalists, have made the mistake of betting everything on one hand, which only proves how far removed they are from genuine public opinion. You can see this in the manner many people are still refraining from making up their mind, not necessarily concerning the President’s accountability, but rather, the means that accountability will be required.
At least things are a little clearer in that the exotic option of an Estrada restoration has proven an impractical and unpopular flop; and that a revolutionary or junta solution proven equally impractical. This means the only options left are precisely what the bishops defined: the status quo; resignation; or impeachment. The first is tied to the last, in that, the status quo could possibly endure after an impeachment trial; resignation is an option people like myself have called for, but there remains the option of impeachment, which at any time could trigger resignation. And so, the options, really, remain two: resignation or impeachment.
I have to confess to certain satisfaction in seeing how the Communists and the Estrada loyalists have royally effected their own neutralization. Like I said before: regardless of the actual tapes, the issue in terms of the President, has been her handling of the whole affair. Her handling, to my mind, remains the enduring reason for concluding she should resign.
And I must add: Rep. Paras’s exuberance and participation in the hearings is unfortunately provoking some to uncharitably proclaim him a virtual imbecile -certainly a comment often heard in politics.
Update: Chiz Escudero came out with a witty response to Garcellano: “Commissioner Garcellano has said he only talked to the following: the President, myself, Senators Roxas and Legarda. I don’t think I can be put in the same league as the President, who came first in the senatorial elections during her time, Senator Loren Legarda, who came first in the senatorial elections during her time, or Mar Roxas, who came first in the last senatorial elections.”
Mar Roxas emailed a statement from the United States:
It was reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, July 6, that Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano said that I was one of the candidates in the 2004 election that he talked with. At no time did I ever call Commissioner Garcillano. The only time I talked with Commissioner Garcillano was in March or early April 2004 when I bumped into him by chance in a restaurant as I was on my way to my lunch meeting. We were introduced and we briefly exchanged pleasantries. I hope this clarifies any misconception that may have been created by his statements.
Scuttlebutt Department: Meetings of Philippine Military Alumni on Tuesday indicates the following divisions. Class ’78, for GMA; Classes ’80, ’81, ’82, divided. Big gap between the generals, who are for the President, and junior officers, who apparently, are not.