Popular front

Last Thursday, representatives of the Hyatt 10 went to the Inquirer to give their reactions to an editorial published by the paper. There was much that was said “off the record”, but which will be very useful background material in the future. It was good to be able to study them up close. Most impressive, to me, was former BIR Commissioner Parayno: perhaps his law enforcement background (as he calls it) makes him the most willing to undertake a real fight. I did find them all persuasive, and while I don’t agree with the reluctance of some of them to take on a leadership role, or to take on the role of heroes, I suppose time will prove to them that that is their calling in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Yesterday, I attended an inter-faith service at La Salle Green Hills. I saw Alecks Pabico there, and the PCIJ blogged a report of the event. Considering the short notice given, attendance was large, and media coverage, intensive. It was really a remarkable experience, not least because the presence of former president Aquino and Susan Roces finally brought the two widows together. Besides the political personalities that received media attention, there were those who simply attended because they fell enough is enough, and the time for bickering, recriminations, and mutual suspicions has got to end. The widow of former senator Jose Diokno was there; young students were there (explaining the who’s who to their younger siblings), some with their parents, were there; there were nuns, priests, Protestant pastors and Imams. (one curious detail: running into Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, he patted me on the back and said, “Oh, you get 15,000 hits a day!” Where he got that figure, I don’t know, but it indicates that blogging is indeed playing a role in the political crisis).

There was a meeting before the service, composed mainly of the members of the Hyatt 10 that attended, and heads of various groups that have often been at loggerheads. The unifying factor was the Christian Brothers, who spoke of bringing the two widows together last week, and with the help of various camps, have brought it off. After the service, there was a larger meeting, with the pro-impeachment congressmen, the representatives of the various groups, and informally presided over by former president Aquino and Bro. Armin of La Salle. Those present, as reported in the news, agreed that the name for the event, “Bukluran para sa Katotohanan” would be the name for a broad coalition of forces with the objective of achieving the 79 signatures and preventing any Palace ploys to frustrate the impeachment process.

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Image from Inq7.net
Quite a few present described this emerging coalition as a “popular” or “united” front. A Popular Front has a specific meaning, in politics, just like the idea of a United Front. Committees were formed; general unifying principles agreed upon; a plan of action mapped out. We will see in the coming days if this is, as Enteng Romano describes it, the “tipping point.” In his email, Enteng Romano vividly described what we witnessed that night. Writes Enteng,

Until last night, I must admit that I am a bit disheartened by the lukewarm reaction of people, especially among the middle forces, with the spontaneous walkout of the pro-impeachment congressmen and the lack of outrage in the manner by which the Justice Committee indecently quashed the impeachment complaint.

I don’t entirely blame them, especially when there is no clear alternative, or when they look at the alternative (who is Noli, if we stick by the constitutional succession) as far worse than GMA.

I have often said that this is a moral issue. If she cheated, she has to go. We need not prove that the alternative is better. We only need to show that the present one is bad, or even evil. It’s as clear as black and white.

I realize that a good number of people do not share my view. And some of those who do are not yet fired up enough to engage in passionate conversation, either on the Internet or in casual interactions.

That’s why, even if Congress junks the impeachment on Monday in the plenary session, I have serious misgivings that people will go to the streets. I don’t think they’re indignant enough.

Last night changed all that.

It must be the working of the Spirit. After all, it was an inter-faith prayer assembly. You could almost feel the wind of discontent rising and pervading the makeshift sanctuary.

First, there is the awakening of the church. This is, after all, a moral issue, and they should rightfully lead this crusade. True to form, the La Sallian Brothers, led by Bro. Armin, convened this assembly. And Bishop Tobias capped the Eucharistic service with fiery words: “Ituloy ang laban para sa katotohanan. Huwag matakot!” The Evangelicals and the Muslims similarly took a strong stand in letting the truth out.

Second, there were the two widows – Cory and Susan, whose husbands were both victims of cheating, coming together in public for the very first time. This can only mean that people are now rising above partisan interests and coming together to express their indignation at this continuing travesty in Congress.

There are two interesting things noticeable about Cory and Susan. This is the first time I saw Cory coming out in public not in her usual yellow attire… she was wearing our colors – black & white. And this, to me, shows that she is once again prepared to lead this fight against a looming injustice.

As for Susan, she firmly declined the offer for her to speak. I sincerely believe she is not interested in politics. This should allay the fears of some that she is being bandied by the opposition as the successor to GMA’s throne. It is just one of those scare tactics that Malacanang operatives have been peddling.

Thirdly, there was a gathering of all stakeholders in the anti-GMA front after the inter-faith services. I guess the Spirit was still working, for it did not take very long to arrive at a consensus on what to do next. And it gave birth to the mother of all coalitions… uniting all forces interested in seeking the truth – BUKLURAN PARA SA KATOTOHANAN.

Some of you say, we’re too fragmented to make an impact. I say, not anymore.

Some of you say, we can’t even agree on a post-GMA succession plan. I say, yes we have… and that is to follow the constitutional process of succession. Even Ronnie Zamora has said as much – if it’s Noli, we will accept.

Some of you say, we can’t gather enough forces on the streets to show our strength. I say, watch out in the coming days… the tide of indignation just tipped.

On radio this morning, I heard people calling in and saying “we’re ready to come out to the streets to help get the 79 signatures and participate in another people power, if need be” outnumbering, for the first time, those who kept saying, “let’s follow the rule of law – no need to go to the streets”.

We have reached a tipping point. And I am now convinced that people will come out to the streets to defend the truth.

I am almost tempted to dare the administration congressmen, “Go ahead – quash the impeachment. Make our day!”

The day they quash it will be day 1 of People Power III.

Why have people come together against the President? For the same reasons they came together against Ferdinand Marcos, and against Joseph Estrada. There is enough they have in common to bring them to the same table rather than allow themselves to be liquidated one by one by the sitting president.

An exchange in Miron’s blog made me think of Sec. Gabby Claudio singing something in the Session Hall of Congress:

How much is that tuta, Mr. Speaker (arf, arf)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that tuta, Mr. Speaker (arf, arf)
I do hope that tuta’s for sale

My boss must take a trip to New York City
And she’d like that impeachment gone
If she has a tuta she’d bring back bacon
And the tuta will have a big bone

How much is that tuta, Mr. Speaker (arf, arf)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that tuta, Mr. Speaker (arf, arf)
I do hope that tuta’s for sale

I read in the papers there are 73 signing (woof, woof)
The ones we can’t threaten or bribe
My boss needs a tuta to protect her
And lure them away with the pork that she’s got

I want Cha-Cha or a Moro-Moro
I do adore ta lutong macao
I don’t want a conscience from little tutas
We can’t take a conscience for a ride

How much is that tuta in the window (arf, arf)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that tuta in the window (arf, arf)
I do hope that tuta’s for sale

Manuel L. Quezon III.

28 thoughts on “Popular front

  1. sang-ayon ako kay enteng. dahil nandaya si gma, kinakailangan siyang tanggalin at kung kinakailangan gumamit ng rahas ay wala tayong magagawa.

    archibald macleish has been quoted time and time again: “how shall we defend democracy? with arms if it is threatened by arms”

  2. These political prayer services (an oxymoron) have become such a cliché. Political groups are using these self-righteous pseudo-religious gatherings as propaganda to advance their political interests. And the fact that it’s become easy to find churches to participate and host these services show how politicize the church is these days.

    The clear purpose of these prayer services is not to commune with God but to incite the people, yet again, to revolt against the current administration. I find this almost blasphemous.

    The fact is that people are tired of all these constant political bickerings. And despite all the difficulties of life (nothing new in our country) they probably feel that the impeachment of GMA essentially offers nothing to them, especially via these equally flawed opposition personalities. Many may also feel that there is a glimmer of opportunity and a semblance of progress in the current trends in the economy that makes them more willing to take a chance on seeing this administration through, rather than in the uncertainties of destroying it and starting anew.

    I must confess, though, that if there is one prayer service I’d welcome is one held outside any church. Where all political groups would join hands and promise the Filipino people that despite their differences that they would work together honestly and peaceably and not walk out from each other.

  3. I most certainly agree with the holyfather when he paraphrased Archibald MacLeish’s quote: How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies…

    Gloria is one big disappointment and she let us, the Filipino people down. Cynics tell me that every succesful Filipino politician cheats anyway but this does not excuse those corrupt calls to Garcillano. I thought we expected more from Gloria and I am bitterly disappointed in her.

  4. The critical question here is – how far is the popular front willing to go?
    Gloria will shed blood if she has to.

    To paraphrase a conversation between Manolo’s grandfather and a communist leader – the popular front may be willing to die for their beliefs but Gloria will kill for hers.

  5. For Mr M Buencamino- How far will I/we go?

    “Dead to the last person!” 🙂

    I’m not doubting GMA’s willingness to sell (perhaps, sold?) her soul to the devil just to keep her post. Likewise, I want her to know that I/we mean business too!

  6. God works in mysterious ways….indeed! LaSalle spearheaded something concrete. Bless them!

    My prayers are with you. I sincerely hope that everything [the farce and the deception of gloria and her desgracia-familia] come to an end ASAP.

  7. “garapal” – malaya

    “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more” – popeye the sailor man.

  8. Its a good thing something happened. its a bad thing when guns come blazing. Thats what we have here. Marcos,Erap are different for they respected the people gathering at edsa but this president will kill people to secure its place. remember that so called edsa 3? In order for this thing to succeed you need at least 8 generals with you. come of think of it. This might boil down to a game called chess. The pieces are in place. who will make the first wrong move?

    Im not scared to fight for the truth. im not scared to be a dead person in the street. but Im scared to be a recipient of a sinister woman’s anger and fear of losing power. but what the hell.Lets get it on!

  9. We have become a nation of cry babies. Those who had the means and the smarts left a long time ago. What’s left are the desperately poor and the old rich. The middle class has sunk to the ranks of the poor, make no mistake about this and this includes most of us seriously engaged in these blogs. Only the poor have the time to spend in these meaningless pursuits because do we really think GMA really cares about what we think? Does anybody in this blog really think our ranting and raving will make a difference? Have we become as presumptuous as those columnists who think they can start a movement that will allow truth to prevail? Come on everybody, wake up.

  10. To Ronnie,

    Yes we believe we can make a difference. Seeing the “creeping influence” of the blogs spreading gradually since the Gloriagate scandal started, I hold on to hope that our opinions would one day matter.

    Anyway, it’s much better than just sitting around doing nothing.

  11. I noticed that Ateneo and La Salle are very active and seem to be ready to lead the people. How about UP Diliman, PCC,UE, FEU and other Metro Manila universties which were active during the 70’s and 80’s? What is happening to the present generation of college students?Where are their leaders?

  12. Why are people afraid? Ni ayaw makisali ng iba lest they be targeted by the forces of the demolition team.

    Di ba sabi sa ating “LUPANG HINIRANG”
    …”sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil..”

    …and the last line says:…
    “Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo!”

    WE HAVE TO DEFEND THEM FROM THE “manlulupig[s]” …external or otherwise. Mas nakakatakot nga yung mismong nasa loob ang kaaway kesa sa taga-labas.

    Let’s stand united and be one against the forces of evil…

  13. hi manolo.

    count me in the statement we’re working in the blog effort.

    i have faith that bukluran can make a difference and hope the giant sweep will be seen on tuesday.

  14. This is elite gameplay. I am waiting to see if the elite that has given us Gloria, Ramos, Aquino and Marcos will be wiser this time. My bet is with the non-elite–they who have enormous and historically proven patience with bad leadership–the 98% of Filipinos who know that politicians lie, cheat and steal in public office so that they aren’t surprised by Gloria’s actions and, at the end of the day, find that little reason to kick her out of office. Meanwhile the quarrelling fatcats in the topmost 2% who make and use the written laws to their own advantage will just have wrangle on, never fully knowing their naked power-hunger is very apparent to the rest of the country.

  15. to tambuli,

    i think UP DIliman and PCC (now PUP) are doing their share of mobilizing forces. hindi lang maingay sa media, pero maraming activities sa mga universitiesna ito. ako, nagtuturo sa FEU, at naiinis ako kasi ayaw mag-take ng stand ng university namin. just like true blue capitalist businessmen who do not want to take “risks.” kainis.

  16. Maybe I’ve become too much of a pragmatist. But…when will this all end? We already have the democracy we wanted yet we choose alternative ways of taking a sitting president out. Everyone was calling for her to resign last June. No one paid attention to impeachment and look where that got us. What is the use of all the prayers and rallies without preparing for the next step to get GMA out? This is like the opposition walking out instead of trying to get those 79 votes needed for the impeachment.

    With all due respect, I have to ask the question. Wouldn’t it be more fruitful for us to start building up next year’s impeachment complaint so it won’t get so easily shot down like the Lozano complaint? Or why not trying to get those 79 votes? Cause frankly, I don’t think Gloria is going to develop a conscience overnight and offer to resign just like that because of a prayer rally….

  17. Gee, my last post sounds almost blasphemous to me now. But then again, I also pray and when I do, I’ve found that asking is almost arrogant of me and really not required. God knows what is best for us, and so I pray, “Thy will be done”.

  18. “With all due respect, I have to ask the question. Wouldn’t it be more fruitful for us to start building up next year’s impeachment complaint so it won’t get so easily shot down like the Lozano complaint? Or why not trying to get those 79 votes? Cause frankly, I don’t think Gloria is going to develop a conscience overnight and offer to resign just like that because of a prayer rally….”

    In response to this question, wouldn’t it be better that we search for a true, blue nationalistic leader who would put the philippine honor first rather than his own? this impeachment case and everything that followed is just a farce for us to sit back, watch, fight with each other on issues in which the truth is already known but by which these so called political leaders tries to twirl around their fingers, biding for time until they can laugh their asses out that their ploy work… and that’s the truth. everytime an issue arises, we, all of us, whether pro or anti or centrist tries to be opiniated, giving our reasons, pounding our right to be heard but in the end it boils down the drain cause the broth became too poisoned to be understood. Meaning, each of us tries to thrw in the hat, ride on the stage, but never reaching out to understand and respect or even honor each other’s words/reasons, etc….

    So, Why not try to find a Filipino leader who would put the nation’s honor first? now who would you recommend?….

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