MINERS, since ancient times, have carried small birds like canaries with them into the deepest mine shafts of their dangerous profession, as a warning of low oxygen conditions. (If your bird dies, it means you are in deadly peril yourself.) For Filipino political bloggers and many main stream professionals, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism's website and its associated weblog have become our Canaries in the Mine Shaft of Online Journalism in the Philippines primarily because the Garci Tapes have been available from PCIJ virtually since G-Day (Garci Day) June 6, 2005 when President Spokesman Ignacio Bunye revealed the existence of certain recordings that launched the devastating political crisis called Gloriagate. The Garci Recordings are currently the subject of a Supreme Court case, just one of many on the High Court's groaning plate, as well as that of a libel case in Quezon City Regional Trial Court. Last year's coverage of PCIJ's troubles with Mike Defensor (the acting-nonchalant but true unseen hand in this) and Special Agent Jonathan Tiongco last year is here: Will Bloggers Get Clobbered in the Philippines? Their more recent troubles with Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez are discussed in this week's Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial, Subversion, which describes how Malacanang Palace is turning the nonsubmissive portions of the Mass Media into "Enemies of the State" Columnist Ma. Ceres P. Doyo has more in the PCIJ Under Siege. But those who've been wringing their hands over a so-called CHILLING EFFECT from Proclamation 1017 ought to check their political thermometers. All over the Archipelago the word is going out -- the Good Fight has begun anew -- and quite the opposite effect is being observed -- a THERMODYNAMIC EFFECT where those who had been apathetic are awakening to the real possibilities of a new repressive order, what Amando Doronila calls a Police State. Orwellian Newspeak--in modern multimedia format-- is castigated by PDI Columnist NEIL CRUZ as libelous -- here is Paglaban sa Kataksilan the official Philippine Government video that purports to justify Proclamation 1017, being shown this week at all government owned television and radio networks. And special kudos this morning to Music Impressario (and long-time PDI column writer of "There's the Rub") CONRADO DE QUIROS for CRY FREEDOM -- the wildly successfu music concert held last night at the U.P. Sunken Gardens. Never any doubt what side you would be on, Choy!
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has been beating his chest, muttering, " Inciting to Sedition!" and picking his teeth with an icepick of threats lately. But he may have picked a fight with quite the wrong species of canary birds. I'm betting on the Velociraptors in the Mine Shaft to eat him alive. I'm just glad someone is awake in the Night and keeping Watch. So the rest of us can afford to be apathetic or even blasé about things...
Mind you, not everyone in the Main or Blog Stream Media agrees with the rather militant attitude in the defense of Civil Liberties in the Philippine Press, especially of free speech and expression, as John Nery of the Newsstand and Manuel L. Quezon III noted recently in posts on the defense of Press Freedom in the environment of Proclamation 1017.
I guess the studiously, eloquently apathetic are the true canaries in the mine shaft. The free availability of a luxury and a comfortable consolation such as well-defended apathy, is proof positive that the velociraptors are still doing their jobs! Let the sheep be silent, but let the wolves beware!
YE OLDE PHILIPPINE COMMENTARY has an unusually long post (for such an olde codger of a Blogger "Original, Non-anomyous Writing from the Boondocks of the Philippine Archipelago") on That Fort Bonifacio Standoff.
From the Ashbrook Center, an interesting essay by Priscilla Tacujan, "Self-determination did not work in the Philippines--Lessons for Iraq" (The Democrats did it!) (via our regular correspondent from San Antonio Texas, William "Dave" Hanley.
(UPDATE 1900) BREAKING NEWS:Resigned Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman has just been arrested along with Vicente "E-Mandirigma" Romano by elements of the Manila Police while conducting a so called "Black Friday" protest action of the Black & White Movement, a form of peaceful protest action patterned on "flash mobs" in the United States. It is a sign that the Palace will not tolerate ANY kind of protest actions just yet, perhaps because the admiistration is feeling a lil bit unstable still. Ms. Soliman, who has been outspoken in calling for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo, is a member of the Hyatt Ten Cabinet Secretaries who resigned en masse last July, 2005 after the Hello Garci scandal broke. Mr. Romano is a Lead Convenor of the Black & White Movement, which has been accused by the Palace of participating in the Leftist Rightist Coup Plot to unseat Mrs. Arroyo.