Another Coup Attempt

Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the leaders of the 2003 Oakwood mutiny for which he and the other members of his Magdalo group are facing criminal charges, just couldn’t resist joining, even fronting, for groups using extralegal means to oust President Arroyo, this despite his having been elected senator in May this year.

Trillanes and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, another Armed Forces official facing charges forpolice moving into peninsular hotel launching a coup attempt, this time last year, led a motley group that took over the Peninsula hotel in Makati City last Nov. 29 and demanded the resignation of President Arroyo. They also called for the formation of a caretaker government.

Like the other coup attempts against President Arroyo, this one failed to get popular support and looked more like a caricature of the Oakwood mutiny. In that incident, heavily armed junior officers of the Armed Forces, calling themselves Magdalo, took over Oakwood hotel, ringed it with explosives and demanded for President Arroyo’s resignation. They ended up surrendering without a fight.

The Peninsula hotel standoff, on the other hand, featured soldiers that didn’t have much firepower to speak of. Worse, only personalities like the aging former vice president Teofisto Guingona and 81-year-old retired bishop Julio Labayen openly supported Trillanes and Lim. I was not surprised, therefore, that when government troops moved in (see photo) and lobbed tear gas canisters at the hotel lobby, Trillanes and company gave up.

It was a pathetic undertaking all in all, which only shows that the feet of whoever planned it were not planted on the ground. They thought that holing up in a hotel would have a chunk of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police rushing to their succor. They thought that big-name leaders of the political opposition will be at their side, and that a crowd would gather for another people power display.

No units of the military and the police broke away from the chain of command. Former president Joseph Estrada and even Rambotito himself, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay was silent. The other opposition leaders either made sure the effort will succeed before coming out or they frowned on the endeavor. The so-called civil society and cause-oriented groups? They could not escape the reality that the number of people participating even in ordinary rallies have dwindled.

I say people power is not something one can conjure in a snap of a finger. People power is a confluence of many factors, including people’s hatred of the incumbent president coupled by their belief in the leaders who will take over the reins of government once the existing one is toppled. The latter factor, it has been pointed out time and again, is one of the main reasons why efforts to whip up another people power won’t fly.

Bong Wenceslao, Dec. 1, 2007 


5 Responses to Another Coup Attempt

  1. Nonoy says:

    — > Expel Tonyo Trillanes From The Senate Online Petition at

  2. […] advises the rebel soldiers that “people power is not something one can conjure in a snap of a finger.” […]

  3. […] more on why it was bound to fail from Sun.Star Daily editor Bong Wenceslao: It was a pathetic undertaking all in all, which only shows that the feet of whoever planned it […]

  4. powershift says:

    People don’t trust Trillanes. That’s the main factor why he never succeed in his adventures. Indeed, the Philippine political culture is vulnerable to “adventurism”. Political exploitation for personal and institutional advantages, disorientation of national issues and concern, selective nationalism and ignorance, and misplaced trust makes our political culture especially vulnerable.

  5. john says:

    actually any senator or opposition that is claiming that gloria arroyo is NOT DOING her job well and that they want a PRESIDENT go down AGAIN is not a new issue , we’ve been hearing these since the marcos term.

    most of the time these words are being USED again and again . NEW GOVERNMENT – NEW PHILIPPINES – for the POOR PEOPLE .

    let me as — how many times we want to bring down the PRESIDENTS ?

    how many times we were successful to bring down and how many times we were not able to bring them down ?

    Is bringing down a CURRENT PRESIDENT will help the POOR People ?

    What is our main target –

    1. solve the POOR PEOPLe’s Problem ? or

    2. to ALWAYS bring down the CURRENT PRESIDENT when we learn that in our own judgment the presidents is not doing well and corrupt ?

    Do you believe that a GOOD man when elected as PRESIDENT will still be able to be good , not corrupt , and WILL be able to GET AWAY from our ever-power JUDGEmENT ?

    A man that wants to target or use the words for the POOR PEOPLE – should not only be able to rally – rally is simple – you criticize the CURRENT mistakes of the President and bring a mic or have the media stick their mic on your mouth.

    Rally – is too simple – UP students or any one who reads news can do that ..

    HOW POWERFUL is EDSA , Rally , coup de etat to TARGET and solve the problems of POOR peoPLE ?

    How Powerful is EDSA , rally , cop de etat to TARGET and bring down the Current PRESIDENT ?

    What is needed or ingredients of EDSA , RALLY , Coup and etc ?
    A leader who watch closely the issues and a number of poor people who doesn’t even know why they are there or are they paying or giving contributions to our government ?

    What is needed or ingredients of SOLVING the problem of the POOR PEOPLE ?
    Is it a new leader , a new election , a new President that we will again be calling corrupt and irresponsible ? a new rally ? a new coup ? a new EDSA ?

    With so many EdSA and Rally and coup – lets just assume that who ever will seat down as new President will be rallied , EDSA , and be called useless and corrupt and will face mass of people that will speak loud the word again – FOR THE POOR PEOPLE ..

    and so – FOR THE POOR PEOPLE is the main problem , and for years of bringing down the president doesn’t and sure it will not solve the PROBLEMS of the POOR PEOPLE that you always try to target ..

    IF you are a senator dont tell the people that the current government is illegitimate cause it will include you – if you know that you are part of the what you call government .

    if you want to TARGET the problems of THE POOR PEOPLE – then i suggest that :

    1. you invent a new car that will bring down the market of toyota and bmw – so that we will be able to export new car from philippines to the world market and we will get a lot of money to share to our government and to the POOR PEOPLE you always try to target

    2. you program an operating system that is better than windows wp or vista and apple Os X leopard . so that we will be able to get on top of that OS market and we will be able to solve the problem of our POOR PEOPLE financially

    3. try to invent a replacement of gasoline and implement it in the Philippine market , that way business men will be able to give higher salaries to the workers and again to the POOR PEOPLE that you always use as a reason for EDSA Or Rally

    4. Invent our own machine that will make smaller machines , machines that will dig fuels underneath ocean and lands .

    If you are not capable of doing these things – which surely solve the Problems of the POOR PEOPLE – then shut up and go back to work .

    anybody can do rally , speak English and complain and then let the media hit your face on put you on national TV . but again what you do is just words .. mouth jobs .. that will not produce money but just ways to explain and teach people how many should be used in the government ..

    we heard much of these for the past 20 or 30 years .. students can do what you can .. its a mouth job and we already know what kind of complain is that and there is nothing knew ever since ..

    Do something new – not just mouth job – but real works and inventions that will turn into MONEY – works and concepts that will be able to compete internationally ..

    you are trying to hit locally with your mouth wide open – what is mouth and words – can do to hungry mouths anyway ?

    create a competitive inventions – if you want us to appreciate you – create useful things , things that will turn people to work and get salary out of it .

    you are doing mouth job – and camera and national exposure , there is nothing new about that and we POOR PEOPLE get nothing about that but listen again and again ..

    i guess big news or television company should talk about or show movies more often about topics – on HOW TO ..

    MEDIA company please stay away from mouth jobs that will not turn into money or salary for the PEOPLE .. if you media thinks that the PEOPLE deserves the right to KNOW ?

    Then show news about HOW TO – there are many things on YOUTUBE on how to , or , educate the people with how they can make business of online or website things.

    MEDIA company try to focus on things that will give more knowledge to the POEPLE , talk about GOOGLE adsense . SEO ( search engine optimization and marketing ).
    focus on these things please – ABS CBN and GMA .

    we dont need more DRAMA movies , we dont NEED to know how and when those – we dont know how people died or how they were raped – focus on things that will make alive people go on living than talking about how easy people might die ..

    Media company you should focus on how to make 3d movies and great TV advertisement – educate our POOR people on how to earn money online ..

    MEDIA company – you are the medium of communication make us learn many important and useful things from you .

    and please people stop bringing our Curent and future presidents down .. always remember that our target it THE POOR PEOPLE – so invent – get into science and technology – learn SEO , web design , GOOGLE ads ..

    think and think better .. merry christmas ..

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