Garci and Circuses, to borrow the Roman saying. Cobble the papers and the columns and blogs together and what do you get? Pieces of a puzzle that’s beginning to reveal a picture.
There’s this Inquirer story: “Garcillano out next week'”: Pichay to seek custody of ex-election official. And one from Inq7.net: Palace: Opposition not interested in truth. The Manila Times focuses on Senator Panfilo Lacson’s reaction: Ping: Garci return scripted by Palace. Malaya, which is frankly pro-Lacson, thunders, Ping: Garci lining up “friendly” witnesses. The Daily Tribune, fanatically pro-Estrada, mutters, Garci smuggled in by BI, lands in Zamboanga. To round things off, the Philippine Star confidently coos, Palace braces for “Garci” circus, hopes for closure (this is better than the Manila Standard-Today, which is trying to pretend, apparently, that nothing concerning Garci is taking place). That’s as far as the papers spell things out. Add columnist Lito Banayo, who has a bracing summary of Garci’s hegira, indicating the information some in the opposition possess, and the speculation by Uniffors (that mysterious association of Department of Foreign Affairs people) that the party line will be Garci never left the country, as well as Philippine Commentary’s analysis, and you have what? A great gamble by the Palace.
The gamble, if you cobble the above together, is to write finis to the Garci story before the Catholic Bishop’s Conference can revisit its past prudence. There have been ripples of interest but no really big splash, and the Palace wants to keep it that way. The President can look forward to several things helping to distract the general population:
1. Christmas, bonuses, shopping, traffic, family reunions and gatherings of friends.
2. The South East Asian Games.
3. The more troublesome in Congress have been deprived of their bully pulpits as committee chairmen in the House.
4.Congress will go on vacation soon enough, and besides, because of 1, nothing really happens in the country in December.
5. Garci, his script, his possible willingness to spill the beans on at least some major figures in the opposition, and enough time to have practiced and gotten his alibis and stories straight.
Clearing the decks now will allow the President to attend to the fights to come next year: over charter change; with the Catholic bishops; and the possible combination of cabinet members deciding to resign (having served her through the most challenging of times, but without the stomach to do so indefinitely), and a purge being mounted to kick non-loyalists upstairs just in case a confrontation with Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker de Venecia becomes unavoidable. It’s a breathtaking gamble. And she could just pull it off.
The rape case in Subic: RG Cruz covers the first meeting of the lawyers. And lawyer Edwin Lacierda thinks the prosecution got its butt whipped. Philippine Politics links to speculation the victim may recant.
Jove Francisco says the Palace Press Corps has gotten wind of a plan to move them to the New Executive Building.
On Andres Bonifacio: The Supremo’s End is my column for today. Filipino Librarian links to Bonifacio Papers, quite a good website. And La Vida Lawyer concludes his series on Bonifacio with a legal analysis of the Supremo’s trial.
Philippine Commentary tackles People Power in a fascinating post but ignores several crucial things:
1. Joseph Estrada should have resigned, but refused to (in a sense, the President today learned her lesson from him). Even if you take into consideration the things other people did, his refusal to do so, on the advice of Edgardo Angara, constituted a great disservice to the country. Estrada’s new lease on political life came at the behest of Civil Society, which wanted him arrested and humiliated. But in January, 2001, he was as finished as Ferdinand Marcos was: though both men could have unleashed an orgy of bloodletting, as DJB points out.
2. Edsa III was People Power until it was stoked to the point the people decided to march on the Palace: at which point, the leaders melted away. If People Power is peaceful, it is also led by the leaders at the front, not the rear. People Power is more a strategy, a political technique, to get a grip on a situation. That is what keeps it peaceful.
3. People Power, as noted above, must be stoked, there must be something to focus the public’s attention and graphically remind them of what they’re up against. After 1983, there was Ninoy’s murder and in 1985-86, there was the clumsy manner with which the Marcos campaign cheated to win. In 2001 there was the Impeachment Trial which fascinated then infuriated, the nation. In 2005, the President made sure to prevent a trial at all costs, and learned from 2001 by preventing any gathering of any significant duration to take place.
A Hundred Years Hence has heartening news: the effort to organize buses has helped make routes more profitable. So now the government will try to organize jeepneys -and the jeepney unions are actually OK with it.