“Konserbatibo na si Bong,” goes the text message of reader D. Ferrolino. “Last week nabasa nako nga supak ka sa lain nga Edsa kay mahimo unyang dugoon kay loyal ang AFP ug PNP kang GMA. Asa na man ang militante ug walhong lider-estudyante kaniadto? Naunsa na ang ideyolohiya human ni maglanog-lanog sa kadalanan kaniadto?”
Good question and one I expected some people would eventually ask. But first, I say Mr. Ferrolino wrongly read what I wrote. The column was based on the analysis of Sen. Gregorio Honasan, a former coup plotter. It did not say I was against another Edsa-like uprising. What I am against is a military adventurism without the people’s support.
Efforts to oust President Arroyo have not brought to the streets the expected big crowds for various reasons. Some anti-Arroyo groups have therefore become impatient, either prodding the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to lead the protests or urging military and police elements to split from the chain of command and join rallies.
My argument is that without pressure from a good number of people, elements of the police and military can’t be expected to go wholesale against the President. If soldiers and cops largely remain loyal to Malacañang, then expect a bloody duel in a power grab. That would have happened in Manila Pen had not Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV surrendered.
The key there is people supporting moves to oust Arroyo. My view, and I have written about this for months already, is that the failure of anti-Arroyo groups to gain the sympathy of the people stems from the character of the united front they are forming. Leaders of oust Arroyo groups are full of suspicious characters people can’t identify with.
Whether I have become conservative or not is not my concern. But I just cannot swallow the line of even militants, whom I respect a lot, that aligning with, say, corrupt politicians, is a lesser evil than fighting Arroyo. I am an advocate of a real Third Force, one led by people with unquestioned integrity, to wage a separate anti-Arroyo struggle.
Mine is a matter of principle. I spent the best years of my youth fighting a tyrant and I just could not imagine myself denouncing the tyranny and corruption of the Arroyo reign while glossing over the sins committed by, say, minions of the ousted governments of Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada. I would betray my past if I do that at this stage.
Another example. Each time I watch the Senate inquiry on the national broadband network deal, I get this urge to puke because the senators doing it are themselves unclean. If corruption is the issue, why are we forgetting the fact that millions of pesos from so-called pork barrels have ended up in the pockets of many lawmakers through the years?
Admittedly, the fire in my belly has already been doused by a maturity that is the by-product of going old. But that does not mean I am no longer willing to fight the good fight. I willingly sacrificed myself for the fights in my younger years because I believed in their causes. But with the way the current struggle is waged, I still have to believe.
(I wrote this for my March 14, 2008 Candid Thoughts column in Sun.Star Cebu)