THE SOLUTION OF ANGELO REYES:
I have already told the story of General Angelo Reyes' actions on 19 January 2001, in When Last the Military Withdrew Support, where one is forced to conclude that a military rebellion-cum-mutiny against the chain-of-command, led by the AFP Chief of Staff himself, is the very foundation of the present dispensation in Edsa II. Much earlier, I wrote The Paradox of People Power on both Edsa I and Edsa II. Today I want to make the connection between those seminal events in Philippine military-political history with current events involving alleged coup plots and destabilitzation moves against the government that precipitated Proclamation 1017. From what we already know about last week, what the government was seeking to foil, was not some dastardly assassination plot followed by some military junta run by a tactical sargeant, but an almost exact repeat of Edsa II. The most interesting development is in fact that almost equivalence, because what might've been Edsa 2006 represents a philosophical improvement over Edsa 2001, and may be the most principled solution to the Citizen-Soldier's Moral Dilemma.
I believe this dilemma is what is at the heart of the current crisis. It has to do with the following problem. Suppose you are in active military service and consider yourself both a loyal soldier and a loyal citizen of the Republic, meaning to say you want to uphold the Constitution in all your actions. Suppose further that you discover that the orders and systematic practices of the legitimate Chain of Command to which you belong, and which it is your sworn duty to respect and obey, appear to be unfair, unjust, corrupt, or patently illegal. Suppose further that you discover that the problem goes all the way to the top, to the Commander-in-chief and the Presidency itself. What are your moral obligations to the Constitution and the people, whom you have sworn to uphold and defend? You are caught on the horns of the Citizen-Soldier's Dilemma.
This moral dilemma was faced by Gen. Angelo Reyes during the term of President Joseph Estrada, who was indeed a plundering, womanizing, insane drunkard, of a Chief Executive and a Commander in Chief, who had driven Philippine society to the nadir of self-respect during his term. Yet Joseph Estrada was unquestionably elected to office by a decisive victory over his opponent in the 1998 elections, the current House Speaker and chacha demiurge, Jose de Venecia. His electoral win is the only one in living memory NOT questioned as having been won by cheating or revolution. But by 18 January, 2001, Erap had been impeached though not convicted, and the civilian forces of Edsa II had been rallying 24/7 for three straight days at the Edsa Shrine to force him to resign, after it became obvious on 16 January, 2001 that his allies in the Senate would eventually acquit him. The impeachment trial would've continued however, and who knows what the verdit would actually have been.
But that outcome of Erap's impeachment trial would become moot and academic because of what Gen. Angelo Reyes, Chief of Staff of the AFP was about to do. On 19 Jan 2001, General Angelo Reyes solved his personal Citizen-Soldier's Dilemma in this case by WITHDRAWING SUPPORT FOR THE PRESIDENCY in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, famously taking the entire AFP General Staff with him (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines) in a mass defection to the Edsa II People Power forces then conducting a continuous 3 day rally (Jan 16-19) in front of theEdsa Shrine calling for Erap to resign. His quotation in an address to the General Staff just before he defected to the anti-Erap forces was, "Gentlemen, I hope you know what we are about to do is Mutiny." The rest is history. Gloria was sworn in as President by then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. on the very next day, 20 January 2001, an event I have characterized as a Judicial Coup d'etat by the Supreme Court, whose story is also told at Philippine Commentary in The Real Coup d'etat.
Angelo Reyes solution to the Soldier-Citizen Moral Dilemma was thus very simply --MUTINY-- break the Chain of Command and abandon the Commander-in-chief by "withdrawing support" for the Presidency, a phrase that was in the headlines again last week and in Proclamation 1017 itself, and in exactly the same context, if not resutl. Gen Reyes had convinced the entire General Staff to withdraw support for Erap with him, then they abjured their soldier's oath of fealty to the Commander-in-chief and chain of command. Then they defected to the forces seeking his ouster and together with those forces OVERTHREW the duly elected democratic President.
No one since Marcos has so fullsomely deserved to be mutinied against than Joseph Estrada. But was Reyes' solution to the Citizen-Soldier's Dilemma right? Suppose that one of the service commanders under Angelo Reyes, say the Marine Commandant, did not actually agree with his proposal they "withdraw" support for the Commander-in-chief and unbeknownst to Reyes after their meeting, had mobilized his own troops for an assault on the Edsa Rally because he had come to the conclusion that Mutiny is not the correct solution to the dilemma, since in fact the 12 million citizens who had voted Erap into office in the only election of recent memory in which the victory of the winner was not contested. Pperhaps Edsa II might not have ended in the way that it did.
DANILO LIM-ARIEL QUERUBIN SOLUTION: Today, the Citizen-Soldier Moral Dilemma engulfs the Philippine Military again. This time, it is the beneficiary of Edsa II President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, that is the Commander in Chief, whose legitimacy in office has been in serious doubt since the discovery of the Garci Wiretapped Conversations. Indeed, whether or not she is guilty of VOTERIGGING the 2004 elections, there is little doubt she is guilty of WIRETAPPING herself and an Elections Commissioner she did not trust and just had to monitor using the services of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) No one has done more to expose and prove the existence of a massive wiretapping operation involving Isafp that Senate Defense Committee Chairman Senator Rodolfo "Pong" Biazon, a former Marine Commandant himself. See Senate Is Really Digging Into Wiretapping Controversy.
In both sets of alleged crimes, the voterigging of the 2004 elections and the wiretapping of the President and Commissioner Garcillano, there is one common element: the prostitution of the military to partisan political purposes. For example just yesterday, Senator Rodolfo Biazon revealed that accused coup plotter General Danilo Lim of the elite Scout Rangers, was one of those who had approached the Senate demanding an investigation of military participation in the election in Mindanao. And in the tense hours before the Fort Bonifacio standoff, Col. Ariel Querubin, in making his frantic calls for civilians to come and protect them, was shouting to reporters that "All we wanted was clean election!" -- in apparent reference to the participation of his unit in the cheating operations exposed by General Gudani in Mindanao. PCIJ has coverage of Gudani's Senate testimony here. The other important personality is General Nelson Allaga, who last Sunday figured in the Fort Bonifacio incident and is now the new Marine Commandant replacing General Renato Miranda. Ellen Tordesillas has the story of his participation in the Sulu elections operations. Manuel L. Quezon III has coverage of the many reactions to Proclamation 1017, and his own good thoughts on this matter.
Let us accept as as true the claim of the Palace that General Danilo Lim of the elite Scout Rangers Batallion of the Philippine Army, had asked his immediate superior General Generoso Senga to withdraw support for the Presidency with him, and that Colonel Ariel Querubin had done the same with General Renato Miranda, and a similar defection from the PNP Special Action Force by a General Franco. It has been further revealed their plan was to march out of their camps last Friday, without guns and uniforms if Col. Querubin is to be believed (and the fairy tales of the Daily Tribune's new editor and publisher, Chief of Police Lomibao, disbelieved), to join the Makati rally led by Cory Aquino. (I believe Querubin because it seems impossible that they planned to bring an armed force to the peaceful rally).
The picture that emerges is that of a stunning new solution to the Citizen-Soldiers Dilemma: RESIGN YOUR COMMISSION, BECOME INSTANTLY A CITIZEN AGAIN, THEN WITHDRAW SUPPORT FOR THE PRESIDENT. In this way, you have "preserved" the chain of command, as you have not acted in the role of Soldier, but of Citizen. In this way they found a brilliant solution to the dilemma which does not require them to break any oaths or abjure the Constitution. The solution of General Lim and Colonel Querubin would have been a vast philosophical improvement over that of General Angelo Reyes. Once, when I was still working for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I asked then AFP Chief of Staff Narciso Abaya whether he himself would've done what General Angelo Reyes did on 19 January 2001. He asked me to turn off the tape recorder, but did not elicit a promise from me never to reveal his answer which I do today for the first time, ever: General Abaya said, he would NOT, that he was a "Constitutional Soldier" and that he would first resign then join the Edsa forces.
The inexorable conclusion is that if we are to accept Pres. Arroyo's claim that she was trying to FOIL A COUP D'ETAT last Friday, then she has just portrayed her own ascension to power in January 2001 as the result of the exact same thing. And if they are now arresting people, on rebellion and coup d'etat charges from years and even decades before, then General Angelo Reyes should also be so charged and arrested for his Mutiny and Rebellion on 19 January 2001.
This is the essential absurdity of Proclamation 1017 under the political mob rule of Mrs. Arroyo. The "clear and present danger" is primarily from her own illegitimate and reckless rule.