When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went live on TV issuing Proclamation 1017, I was agitated. Will she declare Martial Law next? Would the police and army close newspapers and TV channels? A week after, however, it appears Arroyo is not really bent on something big. It seems Arroyo simply had the proclamation as a big stick that she waves but never intends to use.
The police raided the Daily Tribune, but the paper is still running and is fiery as an anti-government as ever. The cops arrested two leftist legislators but I guess government will eventually release them. The other four party-list legislators who were suspected to be part of the “coup” were supposed to be arrested yesterday, but until now they are still free and are enjoying their new celebrity status. Notice how they theatrically raise their clinched fist each time someone trains a camera on them.
The proclamation was supposedly made to enable the government to go after the "enemies of the state." The reality now is that Proclamation 1017 has only put Arroyo and her cabinet on the defensive. It is clear that it has not made a “chilling effect” on media. Rather, it has made a chilling effect on all government bureaucrats. Every where they go, government officials are hounded by media persons who are criticizing them on the proclamation’s undemocratic character. Every time government spokespersons appear on TV, they always have to defend themselves.
Many in the middle class who use to sit on the fence for their dislike of both Arroyo and the Opposition have now abandoned their neutrality and trained their guns on Arroyo. People are not afraid to conduct rallies at all. Every body seems to dislike her now; and those who use to openly support her are silent.
Arroyo saw ghosts and issued Proclamation 1017. Now she is even seeing more ghosts. If this is indeed a state of emergency, it’s really just Arroyo’s state of emergency.