Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A state of emergency like no other

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.


Dave Llorito said...

not all of "them," homer. believe me.

H.C. Tan said...

life of a politician is never easy

domingoarong said...

Gloria's PP 1017 reminds me of the fall guy named Norberto Gonzalez.

--An executive officer over whom the President "shall have control of" (or the Executive Power of "Control," as in EO 464)
--Ordered arrested by the Senate, the institution authorized merely to inquire "in aid of legislation" but acting as the constitutional "investigator," the Ombudsman, and, simultaneously, as the Court, exercising, in short, "concentrated power."
--Publicly maligned, insulted, humiliated
--Arrested "warrantless"
--Being under "Protective Custody" was not an option made available to him
--Detained indefinitely (for well over a month, or over 720 hours)
--Sneered at for seeking medical attention that incarceration without charges naturally magnifies
--Accusation proved his guilt, and his denial or refusal doubled it
--Deprived of his liberty without benefit of due process of law
--Punished before he is guilty for fear that he should be guilty
--A Filipino citizen, entitled (presumably) to the protection of the Republic.

During all this litany of horrors, the avowed champions of freedom and democracy among many in the media and the opposition simply looked the other way—Gonzalez was their perceived "enemy"--condoning the humiliation, the deprivation the fall guy endured.

So, why make a fuss over the "warrantless," the "arbitrary," the "dictatorial" repercussions under Gloria's PP1017 now?

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." --Thomas Paine

taoharu said...

I think she listened to someone with bad information. As Ramos commented, she over reacted... This is her biggest mistake. Nothing she can do anymore but correct the mistake and face the consequence.

Dave Llorito said...

hooiching: oh welcome back! how are you now? i guess you are doing great. as usual. i agree with you. a politician's life is never easy. but they are a different breed. yu know what i mean

Dave Llorito said...

domingo: i believe thomas paine. re pp1017, its really tragic and the losers are all of us who now suffer the bad image abroad. as one american blogger would put it, doing business in the philippines is like dating a crazy girl; you wouldnt know what to expect each day.

Dave Llorito said...

taoharu: yes, she must have listened to the wrong guy and overreacted. but i guess she really panicked and pushed the wrong button. that's what you get when you dont have good political antenna.

taoharu said...

"...that's what you get when you dont have good political antenna."

we all know how smart she is... and maybe that's the cause of her problems... when you're smarter than most you can't hear very well.

Dave Llorito said...

honestly, i really don't know if she is THAT smart. but pp1017 is really something that shames us all.

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