Conrad DeQuiros’ column in the Inquirer, Monday, August 27, 2007. Direct, truthful, and provocatively eloquent. Emphasis added.
THERE’S THE RUB
MANILA, Philippines – GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) bids the “Titans of Hate” stop their “politics of destruction.” The titans of hate are Panfilo Lacson, Vidal Doble, and others who proffer proof she stole the vote in 2004 and the politics of destruction is their effort to reopen the “Hello Garci” scandal. She bids the Senate to not give in but to concentrate instead on priority bills.
She will in any case invoke EO 464 if Doble tries to appear in a Senate investigation. EO 464, which was slapped on Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan a couple of years ago, prevents any official, civilian or military, from appearing in public without the express consent of the President, even if it is to call attention to the fact that this country has no President, only one pretending to be so.
GMA fumes: “I have a country to run. I have terrorists to fight. I have a peace to win.”
Nope. Not if you were never voted into power. If you were never voted into power, you do not have a country to run, you do not have terrorists to fight, you do not have a peace to win. You only have justice to face, you only have a crime to pay for, you only have a jail term to serve. Even now we should be saying: We have a country to save, we have a tyrant to stop, we have a life to revive.
There are no statutes of limitations on rape and murder. You do not stop being culpable for them till the day you die and long afterward. Any time is the right time to pay for those crimes. You can’t get a worse case of rape and murder than the theft of the vote. It rapes democracy, the sovereign will being the thing that beats at the heart of it, and it murders freedom, the power to choose being the life-force that animates it.
There and then you see the idiocy of the equation that the positive or constructive or responsible lies in “moving on” and the negative or destructive or hateful lies in criticizing and protesting. We heard GMA’s statements before when Ferdinand Marcos called Cory Aquino and the people fighting him “nattering nabobs of negativity,” stealing the phrase from Spiro Agnew who stole it from William Safire. In fact, Cory and company’s “negativity” was positive in the extreme. Far from being nattering nabobs of negativity, they were portentous prophets of positivity when they fought Marcos’s iron-fisted—and completely illegitimate—rule.
I personally would be flattered to be called a “titan of hate” if by that is meant that I titanic-ally hate it when our leaders lie to us, cheat winners of elections their due, and steal everything that is not nailed down to the floor. I personally would be flattered to be called a purveyor of the “politics of destruction” if by that is meant that I want to help destroy the sway of opportunist and malevolent politics, the rule of an unelected leader, and the reign of murder and mayhem.
While at this, haven’t they heard Art Panganiban’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down EO 464 as unconstitutional? Or didn’t they hear that common sense thunderously struck it down as tyrannical?
The Senate has no higher priority than hearing Doble’s testimony once and for all. Far from grinding government in gridlock, it will pull it out—and the country with it—from the mud and muck it has been stuck in for the last few years and allow it to truly, really, and finally move on.
At the very least we owe it to the troops fighting in Mindanao in whose name GMA would like us to forget she spoke to Garci. “I have a peace to win,” she says. Well, she will neither win war nor peace without competent field officers and commanders there, men who have been tried and tested on the front lines and whose valor has not been found wanting. The reason they are not there is that they are in jail. They are in jail because they are protesting the fact that their commander-in-chief is not really their commander-in-chief. You know there’s something deeply wrong when your only two living Medal of Valor recipients are in jail for that very reason.
You are led by people who have distinguished themselves in the field only by terrorizing public school teachers and manufacturing wrong election returns, you will be demoralized too. Is it a wonder the rank-and-file made Antonio Trillanes their number one choice as senator despite a direct order for them from the top to make him lose?
At the very most we owe it to ourselves. Did we mount a couple of Edsas just to throw ourselves back into deepest darkness? The people who keep warning us about the evils of coups and to be wary of people who contemplate them in whatever form are right. But they are wrong to think those plots are to be found only in the shadowy corners of the barracks or in the clandestine whispers of middle-level officers about withdrawals of support. They are to be found as well in well-lit corners of palaces and the very loud conversations between a President and Comelec commissioner about how best to screw the voter. The people who keep warning us to be vigilant to make sure coup plots do not succeed are right—except that one has and they can’t even see it.
If GMA did steal the vote in 2004—and a direct witness is prepared to attest to it—then what we have in fact is a coup regime. A coup regime no more and no less than the one RAM tried to mount in the past with tank and temerity, no more and no less than the one Marcos did mount in 1972. What is a coup d’etat but, as the very term indicates, a forcible seizure of the state? A forcible seizure of the state by the ballot is no different than the forcible seizure of the state by the bullet. The blood just comes a little later—as look at the flood of blood that has tumbled out of the bodies of journalists and political activists in “Hello Garci’s” wake.
“I have a peace to win?”
We have a plague to lose.