the trillanes trip, the media mess

early on in the trillanes-lim stand-off at the manila pen, when i saw on anc how the pnp-swat forces were quickly surrounding the hotel, i knew for sure that trillanes and lim didn’t have a chance. there was no way people would come to show their support and shield them from bullets a la edsa one, simply because naunahan na sila ng pulis. it only worked for enrile and ramos in ’86 because marcos and ver refused to take the threat seriously that first night, thinking that the defectors could be talked out of it. if they had sicced the military on camp aguinaldo right after that saturday night presscon, when there were no real crowds yet to speak of, then there would have been no edsa one to speak of either (and no edsa dos and tres) because the rebels, who didn’t have the numbers, would have been wiped out.

as for the people, i have no doubt (even if the media do, forever asking why few people came to support trillanes et al, wittingly or unwittingly lending credence to government propaganda that people are bored and done with extraconstitutional edsa-like actions) that, given time and adequate information, trillanes et al would have been able to muster enough support from some of the 11 million who voted for him in the may 2007 elections.

information is critical. in ’86 the critical mass of people didn’t start marching out to edsa upon hearing of the enrile-ramos defection. first they sat down and listened closely to the replays of the presscon on radio, made sure that enrile really said that cory was cheated of some 300,000 or so votes in cagayan and that they were prepared to support cory if that was the will of the people. then they listened to justice cecilia munoz palma on radio veritas declaring support for the rebels; then they listened to butz aquino calling for people to march to edsa, promising non-violent action a la cory’s civil disobedience campaign; then to cardinal sin telling them it was all right to support the rebels, they are our friends, they have no food. then they sat through marcos’s televised midnight presscons, when he accused the duo of plotting a coup with military reformists to topple him and replace him with a junta. and then the people slept on it. the next day, first thing sunday morning, they marched to edsa, hopeful of winning for cory the support of the rebel military.

but as in the oakwood caper in 2003, trillanes neither had the time nor the inclination to be transparent/informative, expecting people to take him on his word (and maybe face value). sorry, no dice. if there’s anything that thinking people have learned from edsa one and two, it is that we can’t trust in motherhood statements that can always, eventually, inevitably, be bent this way and that to preserve the status quo.

trillanes and his ilk simply have to get more creative. as creative as the arroyos and the generals were in building an impeachment case against erap in 2000. the impeachment strategy no longer works, as we all know, but neither does, and never has, the fivestar hotel strategy.

and so, watching that scene at the pen over late lunch, i was thinking that the only way trillanes and lim and the magdalo could come out of it winners was if they were prepared this time to fight to the death. they should have shooed away the media people who were only there for a scoop (such as ces drilon? pinky webb?) and allowed only people who were prepared to die with them (like bibeth orteza, maybe dodong nemenzo, teofisto guingona?). only their deaths at the hands of gma’s loyalists could have truly rocked the boat, raised a stink,
challenged the status quo, upset gma’s applecart, and shown her up for the pseudo-democratic tyrant that she really is.

when ninoy came home in ’83, prepared for the worst, he was moved by, and armed only with, ghandi’s wisdom: that

“…of all the responses of God and man to oppression, nothing is more effective than the sacrifice of the innocent.”


  1. You still have a full month left to finish up your 2007 New Year’s Resolutions. Stop slacking.

    Some suggested ones:

    Gloria Pidal: “I will not only be cute and short.I will be honest”

    Sergio Apostol(presidential legal counsel): I will believe,really believe that “No man (OR woman) is above the LAW!”

    Lady Miriam: “I will not insult again the 1.3 billion Chinese.(My mother -in-law is also Chinese!)”

    Iggy Arroyo(Pidal Junior): “I will stick to my domestic problems first before I open my mouth and talk nonsensically about the latest political headlines.”

    Mike (PIDAL Senior) :”I will buck off from government deals!”

    Ronnie Puno:I will memorize this “Oh Mortal Man, is there nothing you cannot be made to believe?Josef Goebbel, Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda

    Senator Trillanes: “I will accept the purification process.I will be patient as a young leader(Mandela
    stayed in prison for 26 years!). ”

    Any other suggestions?

  2. Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda

    * Puno said they even tried to call the act something else as curfew might not have traumatic effect on the people, who could associate it to the curfew imposed during the Martial Law era.

    * “Iyong sinabi niyo nga na pag sinabing curfew maaalala martial law talaga. So nag-iisip kami, pwede bang gumamit ng ibang salita? Para hindi naman magkaroon ng traumatic effect sa ating mga kababayan. Eh wala naman talagang maisip. So sabi namin tutal iilang oras iyan… (We could not think of any other name to call it so we decide to stick on curfew anyway it’s only for a few hours).”

    * “Technically that is not an arrest(i.e.,mass arrests and handcuffing of journalists covering the Trillanes story). That is a processing,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno said.

    “Oh Mortal Man, is there nothing you cannot be made to believe?Josef Goebbel, Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda

  3. Early in the day, Gen Lim said,”Scout Ranger units are coming”.

    Just like the Oakwood Mutiny, Trillanes and others never included popular uprising as the main ingredient in their plans. The Oakwood strategy was to wage a military coup. The 2nd plan was to get rangers to guard them while waiting for people to rise and stage another EDSA. The rangers are later supposed to attack the enemies.

    Calling for people power was just what was left after they were effectively checked.

    Oakwood and Peninsula is what you get when a captain who hasn’t commanded even a few hundred men and dealt with people of real influence gets when he tries to think of himself as the savior of 80 million people.

    He should learn how to manage a battalion first. If the two attempts ended in bloodshed, Trillanes would just have led a lot of poor soldiers to their deaths.

  4. Nice analysis of what transpired. I was disappointed in a way but I suppose Trillanes was addressing a different audience. One thing that Filipinos must learn is that you cannot rely on others to fight your fights. Time will come that you will have to do the fighting for yourself. After all, its all our futures that’s at stake.