Thursday, November 29, 2007

THE MAKATI STANDOFF

I received a phone call from my boss around lunch telling me to inform my staff that management asked us to go home due to some trouble at The Peninsula Manila which is just a few meters away from our office. I immediately switched on my live streaming feed via 3G and learned that there's an ongoing coup d'etat or mutiny attempt led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and General Danilo Lim.

Here we go again.

As I write this Senator Trillanes (who's also a former military man) and his cohorts just agreed to surrender and leave the hotel premises after an afternoon filled with drama that includes a press conference, a call to People Power, a three o' clock warrant of arrest, evacuation of hotel guests, a teargas at the hotel and an armored personnel carrier (tank) that broke into the lobby.

Manila Pen Mutiny

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The siege and mutiny attempt calls for the immediate resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a call to the Filipino people of "Gloria o Pagbabago?". This is not entirely new to us because a somewhat similar incident happened in July 2003 at Oakwood Hotel with Trillanes also in the lead (Hmmm, Trillanes love Makati hotels, huh?). That mutiny led him to jail and court martial but it also got him elected as a national senator. Yeah, only in the Philippines.

Read all about the siege here.

The sad part about this is the immediate arrest of the NOT SO involved in the mutiny. Senator Trillanes and General Danilo Lim led the pack and together with them are some Magdalo soldiers, former Vice President Tito Guingona, a bishop, a priest and civil society leaders. It went from bad to worse when several members of the press were also arrested. What?!

I feel so sad for the media press who were arrested. What is happening? That is so LOW! They were merely covering the event but the police still arrested them to verify if they are part of the rebel group or not. They were even asked to surrender the films and footage that they took earlier. This is the first incident in recent memory where members of the media were arrested for questioning not only to serve as witnesses but also as possible suspects.

My parents who are martial law babies and who lived as teens and yuppies during that dark Marcos era fear for the worse. They said that freedom of the press was the first to be violated in those years. It was also announced that 12:00 am to 5:00 am curfews are to be implemented in several areas in the Philippines including Central Luzon, CALABARZON and Metro Manila until things are settled. I refuse to believe that the government can actually do this in the NOW. This is the Internet age where everybody knows everything. This is the vigilant age where everything is just a click away. A curfew? Absolutely no way! What the heck is happening? But in any case, always bring identification cards with you to be on the safe side.

Better safe than sorry.

Photo and news credits: Inquirer.net


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