Philippines: Failed mutiny draws mixed reactions

For a background of the failed mutiny last Thursday, check the initial blog roundup by Preetam Rai.

After a six-hour takeover of the luxury Peninsula Hotel, Senator Antonio Trillanes, Brigadier General Danilo Lim and about twenty other rebel soldiers surrendered to police authorities. The government is preparing to file additional charges against the mutineers and the civilian personalities who supported the aborted coup.

The website of the rebel soldiers identifies the issues which led to the group’s uprising:

“The deliberate refusal or failure of the dubious leaders to investigate and prosecute the people responsible for the scandalous “Hello Garci” electoral cheating, the Jocjoc Bolante multi million peso fertilizer scam, the IMPSA bribery scandal, the “Jose Pidal” and the jueteng scandals involving billions of public funds, the Northrail Project scandal, the Venable contract scandal, the NBN scandal, wholesale bribery of congressmen and governors in Malacanang, as well as the unabated and resolved extrajudicial killings of citizens, particularly journalists and members of the judiciary, and the use of military and police officers for some unlawful missions, among others, are clear proof her failure of good and decent governance.”

An OFW Living in Hong Kong on what the rebels failed to learn:

“Trillanes’ and Lim's group didn't learn any. They didn't learn that occupying a plushy building couldn’t force a sitting president to vacate the palace. It was also a case of miscalculation: they counted on people's support that never came. Maybe somebody or a group promised support but failed to do so.”

Bikoy believes Trillanes and company “had the right reasons, but the wrong methods.” He adds:

“However, I wouldn’t call Senator Trillanes and company crazy as many of our middle class netizens have said in their blogs and in comments. I’d rather call people who refuse to admit that something’s terribly wrong in this administration crazier. I don’t even know what to call people who know how rotten this administration is but would rather go on and live their comfortable lives because they can afford it.”

Challenge and Movements thinks the president deserves to be removed from power:

“There is no way out for the Philippines to renew itself but to oust Gloria. Senator Sonny Trillanes is right in marching to Makati. People want a young military leader like Sonny call for civil disobedience. Gloria’s cabal are planning now how to stick their buts in Malacañang.”

Mon Casiple dissects the coup incident:

“What the Manila Pen incident accomplished is to underscore the vulnerability of Malacañang and its unavoidable dependence on the support of the armed forces. Its initial reaction to the incident had been an ostensibly panicky one.”

Ricky Carandang explains why the failed coup will not be the last under the Arroyo administration:

“Trillanes may have failed again, but as the unresolved grievances against the Arroyo regime pile up, the potential for more people opting for extralegal action will not go away.”

The Anito Kid uploads commentaries from public officials and various institutions. He adds his opinion on the issue:

“We are all Filipinos. We are one nation. Why can't we act for the common good instead of destroying our country with every year that goes by? Why can't we remember that we conquered Martial Law peacefully once?”

Sassy Lawyer criticizes the civilian personalities who gave initial support to the coup plotters:

“Too many people without the balls to start their own little insurrections, but quick to join up when someone else takes the initiative and quicker still to disappear when the whole thing turns out to be folly.”

Gibbs Cadiz comments on the rebels’ fondness for luxury hotels:

“You must wonder at these firebrands. First Oakwood, now the Peninsula. They must love the amenities and free toiletries so much. Or the fact that, after all the hubbub is done and they're off to either the stockade again or–in the event that they did manage to oust The Woman–Malacañang Palace, nobody's gonna dare bill them for their stay in the place. Neat.”

Tales of the Fencesitter suggests a new subject for military schools:

“I do not know if there should be a need for military training schools to introduce some sort of a Coup d'etat 101 in their curriculum because really, these coup plotters seem to be very amateurish when it comes to overthrowing the powers that be. Perhaps we should take a page from Thailand where their coups are almost always successful. For a country that boasts of a lot of coup attempts, we are oh so pathetic when it comes to results. I'm not sure if our coup plotters have a problem with the coup execution or whether it's just poor preparation, but really they need to exert more effort to at least show the world that we do not suck at everything.”

Rebelmind advises the rebel soldiers that “people power is not something one can conjure in a snap of a finger.” He adds:

“People power is a confluence of many factors, including people’s hatred of the incumbent president coupled by their belief in the leaders who will take over the reigns of government once the existing one is toppled.”

Uniffors blogs about the relevance of the failed coup:

“I know the pundits will say it was a poorly conceived desperate act. Some would even call it stupid but if nobody is going to do something, anything, what will become of us? I thank Trillanes and Lim for being courageous enough to stand up and fight.”

“He did it again,” writes My Joys. Akomismo describes Trillanes the “spoiled brat of Philippine politics.” Fattybearyus insists the senator is both a moron and a coward

Filipino Librarian refers to the failed mutiny as a “laughable attempt at people power that did not draw the masses to revolt.” Pinoy Penman thinks it was an “impromptu press conference.” Ped Xing says it was a “coup d'etat by press con.” The blogger adds: The Filipino People will rally for freedom, never for a military junta.

Apples-pie believes the police was right to have implemented such “ruthlessness” against this group of soldiers. Prudence and Madness reflects on why the rebellion failed. A must read: Ellen Tordesillas has a first person account of the coup from the perspective of a journalist.

After the rebels surrendered, police forces began arresting journalists inside the hotel in order to prevent some rebels from escaping by pretending to be members of the press. Suddenly, the media persons who were covering the event became the news.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility has condemned the arrest:

“The arrest of the media people is not only unprecedented. It is also an outrage, and a telling indication of the authoritarian depths into which the Arroyo regime has fallen in its obsession with political dominance. This latest attack on the Philippine Press is an assault not only on its Constitutionally-protected freedom, but also on democracy itself.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also issued a protest statement. A Catholic bishop blogging through In and Out of Season is worried for Philippine democracy:

“Thank God, the curfew is over. Thank God, our hardworking media men have been released; were it not for them the nation would be in the dark as to what our country is undergoing at this point in time. Yesterday and last night, the people hold-in at Peninsula Manila had a “foretaste” of what Martial Law could be. God save us from the worse!”

Alleba Politics disagrees with the decision of the police to arrest journalists:

“While the media was in an overkill frenzy during the stand-off, the police has no right to harrass and treat them harshly as if suspects caught in the act of committing a crime. They were treated worse then Antonio Trillanes and his band of moronic mutineers.”


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