Martial law or revolutionary govt?

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

CONTRARY to what appeared on this page in my last piece, “Thou shall not kill” is the Fifth Commandment rather than the Sixth, according to the Roman Catholic (Augustinian) rendering of the Ten Commandments. It is the Sixth, according the Talmudic version of the same, as used by Hellenistic Jews, Greek Orthodox and Protestants except Lutherans. For this Catholic layman, therefore, it was a blooper pure and simple. My sincerest apologies.

But perhaps some unseen power was trying to tell us something. The degradation of human sexuality, which is the subject of the Sixth Commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”), has become endemic to what Pope Francis calls our throwaway culture. It is now globally asserted, beginning in Donald Trump’s US Christian constituency, that the destruction of the family and marriage is potentially more costly than the massive loss of lives in wars, terrorist attacks and insurgencies. This deserves a separate discussion though.

Quarreling with the press
For now, my concern is the intensity of self-inflicted problems that keep piling up against the seven-month-old Duterte regime. In the US, Donald Trump’s latest fight appears to be with the “dishonest media” which he accuses of not telling the public the truth about his accomplishments. Here, Malacañang seems determined to replicate Trump’s attack on the media with accusations of its own. On Monday, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar accused members of the Senate media of receiving a $1,000 payoff, apiece, to cover the press conference of SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, the latest self-confessed hitman after one Edgar Matobato to accuse President Rodrigo Duterte of having been involved in the killings and bombing of mosques in 1993 when he was still mayor of Davao City.

The implication is that the press conference was a criminal activity that did not deserve to see the light of day, and the Senate media had to be bribed to cover it. The Senate media group has denounced the accusation as completely baseless and slanderous, and Andanar has offered no “smoking gun” to support his charges. The Lascañas accusations are one thing, the conflict with the Senate media is another. Whatever the truth or untruth of the accusations, Andanar’s unsubstantiated accusation puts DU30 in deep sh***t with the press or at least part of the press. This is most unfortunate. Even in the worst adversarial situation between the government and the media, charges like this should be avoided. Mutual respect should be preserved.


With the summary drug killings, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s charges of hidden ill-gotten wealth against the President and his family, the move to railroad in Congress the death penalty, lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old, and limit the number of children per family to the outrage of the public, and questions about DU30’s state of health all piling up on Malacañang’s plate, it is easy to understand why Andanar would rather suppress any further accusations against the President.

But suppressing the news is not the best way of dealing with the problem. The best way to deal with it is to have a convincing response to every accusation hurled by one’s accusers or critics. It is a simple case of making sure one’s narrative is more believable than the accusations and is in fact believed. Since Congress cannot investigate a sitting President, unless and until he has been impeached, what matters is the public believes what the President says.

On the part of Andanar and his colleagues, all that is needed is for them not to try to talk the way DU30 talks, but to try to win the press to their side. If anything, they should try to persuade the President to moderate himself and be more open to his critics. He could learn a few tricks from some of his predecessors, like former President Fidel V. Ramos.

FVR’s critique
Earlier on Monday, Ramos, in an interview at the Samahang Plaridel at the Manila Hotel, gave a running commentary on DU30’s tepid performance on many fronts—his inability to initiate meaningful reform after seven months in office, his inability to sufficiently honor the memory of EDSA 1986, his inability to sustain the peace initiative with the CPP/NPA/NDF, his questionable handling of the nation’s historic ties with old allies in the name of new alliances, his unexplained prolonged disappearances from public view which have provoked speculations about his state of health.

Ramos is a known supporter whom DU30 publicly thanked during his inaugural address for “making him President.” He also served briefly as “special envoy” who facilitated DU30’s diplomatic contacts with China, preparatory to his state visit to Beijing, where he threatened to separate militarily and economically from the US and align himself with China and Russia “against the world.” He has tried to be moderate and gentle in his critique, but being an ally, his gentlest criticism has an impact on the President.

In his interview, Ramos was critical of the reported Malacañang decision to keep the 31st EDSA anniversary celebration (from February 22 to 25) subdued, giving no special recognition to the role of its defenders, both living and dead. For Ramos, who with then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile led the military mutiny against President Ferdinand Marcos, EDSA was one of the watershed moments in the Philippines’ struggle as a sovereign and self-respecting state, comparable to the first cry of revolution at Pugad Lawin in 1896 and the defense of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942, which halted the Japanese invasion of Australia and the islands of the South Pacific. For him it is unforgivable that the full meaning of EDSA should be withheld from the present and future generations of Filipinos—for reasons known only to those in charge at this point.

A lot of loose talk
Indeed, it is difficult to understand why while Malacañang is trying to discourage large crowds from the EDSA celebration, Cabinet Secretary and NDF Vice Chairman Leoncio Evasco Jr.’s “Kilusang Pagbabago”, the communist structure meant to become the principal organ of DU30’s bureaucracy, is said to be mobilizing a mammoth assembly to “Occupy Rizal Park” on February 25.

Some are inclined to speculate that DU30 fears certain elements could make use of the EDSA anniversary as an excuse to mount a massive destabilization effort against him. Some in fact go so far as suggest that a “coup” against DU30 could be attempted.

I view all this as irresponsible talk. The anti-DU30 voices (forces, if you like) are certainly increasing, but I think it is quite foolish to imagine that even if they succeed in forcing DU30 out of office, they have a ready and credible alternative whom the people would welcome and support. Certainly not a military successor, or a Vice President Leni Robredo, whose legitimacy is being questioned before the Supreme Court. I would like to believe that most anti-DU30 critics would like to see DU30 reform and ultimately succeed as a democratic President. But the greater danger, to my mind, is the hidden agenda of Secretary Jun Evasco and his Kilusang Pagbabago and Masa Masid. If their plan is to “Occupy Rizal Park,” while some “yellow groupings” march on EDSA against DU30, what are the chances that at some point the two forces would clash?

And what happens if and when that happens? Shall we have martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or a revolutionary government? Can DU30 afford it?

fstatad@gmail.com

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17 Comments

  1. Thanks to the good senator, the people have been made aware of the sinister plot of Sec. Evasco.

  2. Thirty-one years ago today, then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Deputy Chief of Staff Lt./Gen. Fidel Ramos and the Reform the AFP Movement withdrew their allegiance to the martial law regime. That show of defiance on February 22, 1986, won the support of Jaime Cardinal Sin and the sleeping anti-Marcos sentiment, leading to the end of martial law.

    How could a Fidel Ramos and Enrile escaped the tirades and only blame everything to F. Marcos and to his family in regard to human rights violation? If we remember, Enrile was the Defense Minister and Ramos was the chief of Staff and headed the PC. Enrile and Ramos were on the ground executing the Martial Law proclaimed by F. Marcos.

    If we would like to define Martial Law, anyway, we could find the meaning on Wikipedia.

    Anyhow, Enrile and Ramos were the only few people that could explain, elaborate, what really happened on the ground in regard with the human rights violations.

  3. I don’t think EDSA revolution is comparable to Cry of Pugad Lawin or the defense of Bataan and Corregidor. EDSA was no revolution at all. So long as we have people wanting to celebrate EDSA revolution, so long as Catholic church leaders meddle in state affairs, so long as oligarchs manipulate the economy, so long as there are people who will do everything possible to remove a duly elected President simply because they do not like anything about him, Philippines will everlastingly be in chaos.

  4. “I would like to believe that most anti-DU30 critics would like to see DU30 reform and ultimately succeed as a democratic President.”

    As my fav columnist constantly and irritatingly thumping bibles i find that hard to believe. You actually wish the best for a serial killer of your own people??

  5. Ramos is past his time and can no longer influence events. Forget him!! Mr. Tatad seems intent on leading the pack of naysayers who do not wish to see this government’s reform program succeed at all. After all, Mr. Tatad was not too long ago aspiring to lead the so-called Transition Council that had ambitions of extra-constitutionally supplanting the Aquino government. They never figured out that a popularly-backed Duterte would come along and upset their plans with his electoral win that not even the HOCUS PCOS of the Yellows could overcome.

    I would rather see Duterte launch a revolutionary government which will have massive popular support. Martial Law under the reactionary Cory Constitution will not work nor will it be enough. The system has to be reformed without the burden of the post-EDSA 1 politics that is beholden to the exploitative oligarchy. We overthrew Marcos only to be shackled to a series of administrations that were only democratic in name and largely benefited the upper crust of society. The last thirty years have proven that we are not better off as a country. About time that we consider radical change that will benefit ALL Filipinos.

  6. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

    Ramos had his place in history, not as a hero but a villain. He could not be where he is now without Cory and their partnership in spoiling the career of Mitra. The treachery and back stabbing of the two gave rise to what we are in now, highest cost of electricity, mothballed BNPP, IPPs whcih are sitting pretty with their no sweat income, etc. God bless our country.

    • Agree 100%. While I was blinded too by the US propped-up people power revolution, subsequent political development made me realised that it was purely a power grab and the personal and political survival of the main actors, more specifically Ramos and Enrile. Cory, thru the able legal assistance of the late Joker and the indefatigable Rene, still fumbled her way by re-establishing the old oligarchy and appointing equally corrupt officials, such, Binays, Alcalas, Abalos to name a few. There was change for the worse and hypocrisy at his highest (mothballing of BNPP, masagana 99, etc) primarily because It was Marcos idea. Now, with this dispensation, we have this rare opportunity to really reform our political system towards uplifting the plight of the marginalised sector of our society and striving to make a truly strong middle class. We need to grab this one!!!!!!

  7. They have lot to learn from the LP moguls (mongols?) who have mastered the art of lying using “unknown sources” kuno to emphasize their allegations even if they are mere concocted accusations just to keep their emesis off balance. They can be forgiven because they are still raw, unlike the veteran liars whose tails were roped tightly around their posts for several years or decades.

  8. EDSA is bullshit.. even me I regret staying day & night participating this Yellow clan. (which I thought good for the Filipino) Its wrong!

    THEY DESTROY MARCOS… & Ramos though he is Marcos cousin or relative he turn his back and cling to Cory Aquino (US back-up Aquino) to take a pie on Peoples Power (Juan De la Cruz)

    Stop it.. EDSA is a hoax…

  9. the Feb 25 occupy Luneta is nothing to do with the NDF. it is the volunteer supporters assembly that will happen and everyone is welcome to see the support of the masses for the President. unlike the EDSA assembly organize by the oligarchs to fool the people on their intentions.

  10. Anent to this last observation, Manalo is honored and revered by INC hardliners at the same level as god, his words being more weighty than the Gospel teachings. I wonder why INC has been silent all these times. Wala pa sigurong na-EJK sa mga fanatical members? Anyway, no elections in the air yet, that’s why?

  11. if this present admin is even considering to proclaim martial law then it only tells us one thing they don’t have total control of the whole present situation. meaning this govt. is a weakling

  12. I can understand having a more festive celebration of the EDSA affair last year as it was a milestone year as it was the 30th anniversary.

    Seemingly demanding the same this year appears like a brat threatening a tantrum.

  13. EDSA was not a shining moment in our history. Unlike the French Revolution which overthrew a ruling family, that had everything and the people had nothing. The French beheaded all of the ruling family and established a democracy. EDSA took the power away from Marcos and gave it to another group. Then we had EDSA 2, that took power away from Estrada and gave the power to another group. In neither EDSA was a revolution the cause. Both were just power grabs. Let’s never again be used by unseen powers to gain control of more power. Our power is in the ballot box and then we can see what we are voting for.

    • Antonio villanueva on

      VG,
      I think that your view of EDSA REVOLUTION is very simplistic if not very shallow. Marcos was an entrenched dictator in the position to establish his own royalty. EDSA 1 twarted Marcos’ plan and establish a democracy, that is why we have elections today. There is a constant change of leaders. Imperfect as it is but at least we know that what ever happens to us, it is our choice. And if we want to make it better the choice is ours.

  14. Can you explain why the Catholic Church version of the Ten Commandments is different from the original version? Isn’t this similar to a dagdag-bawas operation, with this one aimed unbelievably against the Author of the Commandments Himself who wrote these supreme laws for mortals like you and me and the friars? If these medieval satanists can do this to God, its no wonder they can also refuse to respect the outcome of a democratic election if the winning candidate is not of their choice, so that every time they say “Vox Populi Vox Dei” they are merely demonstrating what kind of unrepentant hypocrites they really are. The Church, the martial law “victims”, big business, the yellow politicians and the international community (read the West) have banded together again to try and oust another genuine leader of the Filipino masses. If on the outside chance they succeed again, this time the country will burn, but Im sure the hypocrites would rather see that than see Duterte finish his term ( and, Heaven forbid, pass on the baton to Bongbong). If you want to know how much of this nonsense the people can endure, bring it on then, bring it on!

    • You don’t need a repeat of the first 3 commandments ( one God, respect His name, respect His day) and the 4th to the 10th referring to our neighbor (with the 9th referring to the wife of one’s neighbor separated from the 10th referring to the properties of one’s neighbor; catholic thought is sensitive to the old thinking of lumping one’s wife with the properties as if the wife is a merely a property).

      What is more crucial in your case as INC is the 1st commandment: Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Why did Felix Manalo follow the belief of the 7th Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witness that you become gods and be one with the “Universal Creator”? Multiplication of strange gods?