Monday, March 20, 2006

Moral force

After a week or so of drive-by blogging (commenting on the blogs of other people instead of writing them down here), I've decided to give it a rest for now. I was mostly commenting on Manuel L. Quezon III's blog and making the case against further use of People Power. My reasons are simple: 1) our country's already weak institutions cannot survive further undermining by going outside the system, and 2) People Power encourages military adventurism. The Newsbreak articles Failed Enterprise and Romancing the Military illustrate both. In fact, these articles report that civil society organizations have been actively seeking military inetrvention: coup d'etat. A recent Pulse Asia survey reports that only 6% or respondents favor a coup d'etat, which some people find heartening. It shows Pinoys havent completely lost their senses. But I wonder about the findings. Perhaps 'coup' to most people, mean a violent power-grab by the military; a full-on shootout. But a coup doesnt have to be violent. The military can stage a coup just by showing up. They did that in EDSA 2 when they issued their famous 'withdrawal of support'. That, ladies and germs, was a coup d'etat, an extra-constitutional means of transferring power. It took some legal gymnastics from the Supreme Court to legitimize the new administration, declaring Erap Estrada has resigned based on Senator Angara's diary entry. Erap maintains he hasnt resigned; that he was forced out of the Palace; that he still is the legitimate president. Boo-hoo for him. But even more boo-hoo for our democratic institutions. Dont get me wrong. Im not lamenting Erap's ouster. At that time, I believed we did the right thing. But in hindsight, I realize now that what we did then was a mistake. We turned off our constitution, in effect denying equal protection under the law to someone we didnt like. That isnt democracy. That's the rule of the mob. What we shouldve done then was kept up the pressure and pushed for impeachment or resignation. There was a distinct possibility that we wouldve lost the impeachment trial in the Senate, but those are the breaks. That's the law. We can't love the law only if we win. We have to love the law even if we lose. If it needs changing, there are ways of doing that, too. What we dont do is storm the streets and disrupt eveything just because we're convinced of the moral supremacy of our position.

Speaking of storming the streets, a middle class led 'People Power' (Im beginning to get really annoyed at how that term is abused) protest is a powerful force. It has what I'd like to call 'moral force.' This moral force can sway the military to act. The 'masa' dont have this moral force. A masa-led uprising will not cause the military to try to salvage the situation by taking over the government or withdrawing support to the legitimate government. The middle class can do that. They did that in EDSA 2. And having given the taste of that kind of power, of determining the outcome of a political conflict, the military have taken on a new role for themselves: the role of savior of the republic. Various civil society groups are now openly or covertly courting military support. They dont know what theyre doing. Using the military in this way is like handling nitroglycerin. It can blow up in their faces. In the Newsbreak articles, the coup plotters are already arrogating unto themselves the power to determine who gets to head the new government if they succeed in ousting Ate Glue. That's just what we need: a political party with guns whom every wheeling-dealing politician would court. That's what Ate Glue is doing. She owes her presidency to the military and she's endlessly courting their support, so much so that the military head has now swollen with pride, claiming that they are the ones who're holding the country together. (Which could be true. In which case, the damage has been done. It has been done since EDSA 2.)

1 comment:

Homer said...

i guess we are all tired of thesame people power thing. or maybe we just see that its the tool politicians wanna corrupt to get them their wishes. it just doesnt work. pinoys arent dumb, they werent then, and they arent now.