By the time I arrived home at last night, GMA 7 was announcing that the standoff at the Marine Headquarters was over. The channel was showing marine BGen Nelson Allaga talking beside Col Querubin who earlier called for the citizens to rally behind him. This time the rebellious colonel appeared tamed. They supposedly had a "gentlemen’s agreement" for the troops to go back to the barracks. Certainly, many government haters were disappointed; they thought the night’s event was the tipping point, especially after the yellow queen, former president Corazon Aquino, announced she was going to the marine headquarters. But it was not meant to be.
I guess it was never meant to be. The night’s event only proves my thesis once more that Filipino soldiers really don’t have the necessary cold calculation and ruthlessness to launch a “successful” coup.
A coup d’etat is a violent seizure of power where you see heavy armor punching through the gates of the presidential palace following a violent clash between the coup plotters and the loyal military faction. The drama usually ends with either the massacre or arrest of the palace occupants followed by the classic TV scene of a young swaggering military leader flanked by uniformed officers announcing the formation of a "new social order.” That scenario will never happen in the
The Pinoy, no matter what his training and educational backgrounds are, is a rural folk. He interacts with his fellowmen or colleagues in a very personal way. In an urban setting, people’s behavior is supposedly governed by impersonal laws, regulations, norms, and ordinances. But the Pinoy, being a hillbilly that he is, only values the opinion of his relatives and friends, or the substitutes of those relatives—his buddies, his officers, his military academy classmates [mistah].
Those marines are typical of that behavior. They are supposed to be following the institutional “chain of command” but, based on TV interviews with several marine officers, it was clear that they were marines first (their family), Armed Forces of the Philippines second. That explains their plea to the people and media to leave them alone. “Please leave the camp. Allow us to settle this problem internally.” Problemang pamilya ‘to, huwag kayong makialam. And indeed, it was settled internally. Just like that. And being a family affair, don’t expect Colonel Querubin to suffer disciplinary sanctions. A slap in the wrest maybe or a few push-ups, just like what General Fidel V. Ramos did to rebel soldiers in the late 80s when Corazon Aquino was president. It’s a family thing, you know.