Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the GanderIt's taken them almost three years, but it sounds like PDI Editorial is coming around to this analysis, though in "Goosing the Gander" they have mangled a perfectly good folk saying, and make the claim that Claro M. Recto invented the famous saying! However, today, it is Dean Raul Pangalangan (UP College of Law!!) who has the ball in The Ghosts of Edsa Revolts Past in which he concludes:
COUP D'ETAT is any attempt to gain state power by means not specified in the Constitution as part of our "democratic system"-which Corazon Aquino called on the Filipino last Saturday to protect and defend. As a general rule, only free elections should decide who becomes president and wields state power and authority in a representative democracy like ours. Except for the succession when a president dies, is permanently disabled, resigns or is convicted after impeachment, all other "regime changes" are outside the democratic system.
Realpolitik dictates that if a coup attempt fails, it will be called other things like mutiny, treason, tantrum, incident, putsch or power grab. But even if they were being used by Gringo, the young officers at Oakwood served a useful purpose by speeding up reform programs in the military that can only cleanse, strengthen and professionalize it. The resignations of Angelo Reyes (to save the military from politics and as karma for self-admitted mutiny in EDSA II) and Gen. Victor Corpus (for a general failure of strategic intelligence against terrorists and communists that has cost the lives of soldiers and civilians) surely also count as moral victories, up to a point.
(Now if an embarrassing scandal suddenly erupts around the First Gentleman, one can temporarily distract the media and the people with tales of coup plotters and Estrada loyalists consorting with communists, separatists, rumormongers, military dictator wannabes, sinkers of the economy and bank robbers! But they want to set up a military junta by launching a destabilizing text message attack on democracy? Puhleez!)
On the other hand, if a coup attempt succeeds, it gets to be called a "revolution" -- a more respectable term. And if a coup attempt succeeds because the Church (Jaime Cardinal Sin), the military (Angelo Reyes), civil society (Makati Business Club) and the Supreme Court (Hilario G. Davide, Jr.) participate in it with a large crowd (you and me), it gets to be called a "people power revolution" -- an even more respectable term for coup d'etat. This usually comes with a flat iron lady of idolatry as a permanent backdrop for official regime photography and expensive coffee- table books. But not to tell the story of that boulevard of broken dreams called EDSA.
Two out of the last four tenants of Malacañang Palace -- Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo -- got there at the head of two such successful "people power revolutions" -- EDSA I and EDSA II.
But there is a big difference. EDSA I has hurdled the test of a democratic election that could have reversed it -- the plebiscite that ratified the revolutionary Freedom Constitution of 1987 (warts and all), and restored the pre-Marcos democracy (the old oligarchy and a nouveau component in polyester tweeds). All of Gringo's military adventures in the '80s failed -- because the people had had enough of dictatorship. EDSA I means that never again shall dictatorship usurp the people's sovereignty.
But EDSA II still faces the people's judgment in 2004. Joseph Estrada was corrupt, but he was not a dictator, or an overt danger to the democratic system. At EDSA II, the Constitution was sacrificed by powerful people in order to get rid of him. It was not about democracy or morality in governance. The simple hope of the people for good, competent government was based on EDSA II's promise that never again would the presidency be the seat of plunder and massive graft and corruption. That is why the people acquiesced in what was, luckily, the bloodless, successful coup d'etat at EDSA II. But has that hope been dashed and that promise broken?
Consternation is growing among the President's political handlers as she continues to play the politics of coy. If Gloria overplays the protect democracy hand in order to draw attention away from the Jose Pidal scandal, she could win a battle for Mike Arroyo, but lose the war for Gloria II. Ping Lacson shrewdly uses the same tactics against Mike Arroyo as EDSA II forces used against Estrada, from the Senate speeches alleging wrongdoing through the details of fake identities, signatures and bank accounts, mistresses, witnesses, corrupt friends and relatives, money laundering. More grief's to come (former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez and IMPSA, Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, PIATCo, National Food Authority, etc). Lacson is telling the people that this administration is morally no better than the last. They are listening.
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. And we the goslings, we the public, insist that all the foul fowl fry in the merciless klieg lights of punishing public inquiry. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, feet of clay, incredibly green, can be seen on the gods of EDSA II. Lacson himself is Chavit Singson, Joker Arroyo and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo all rolled into one mean candidate for president. He has decided not to wait for the champion to even enter the race, before he throws down the gauntlet for a contest in the court of the people's sovereignty. He is forcing the moralists of EDSA II to swallow some of their own medicine, to look in the mirror of their own graft and corruption. He could win if the defenders of EDSA II aren't careful.
Free, periodic elections are really the autonomic heart and merciless genius of democracy. They embody and enforce the brilliant idea that no one stands above the law -- and that everything is accountable to the people, eventually. Vox populi, vox Dei!(Visit my personal web log at www.deanjorgebocobo.blogspot.com/)
What should control is not the test of success, but the test of legitimacy. Both Ramos and Reyes were on the winning side of history, but the Court now seems caught between ignoring technicalities altogether as it described Edsa I, and textual adherence to the law which it purported to see at Edsa II. We must await history’s verdict on whether Lim should clear his name by giving Malacañang a dose of its game of technicalities or, in the end, triumph by Apolinario Mabini’s advice to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, “Drown the Constitution but save its principles!”Formerly, he was Dean of the UP College of Law, (by way of Harvard University and a brilliant career of teaching), but I salute today, with great affection and admiration:
RAUL PANGALANGAN, the Writer!
UPDATE: During this morning's "presentation to media" of the six recaptured Magdalo escapees at Fort Bonifacio, outgoing Chief of Staff Generoso Senga was ably assisted by incoming PNP Chief Oscar Calderon and his heir-presumptive, General Hermogenes Esperon (presently Army chief). The most intriguing suggestion to come out was the suggestion that the Magdalo were fixing to do something bad on July 24 when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivers her state of the nation address (SONA) at the Philippine Congress Batasan Complex, which truly is jeek by jowl of Filinvest II subdivision, where the men were arrested after six months on the lam. The men were heavily armed and said to possess high explosives, some of the ordnance being on display on a table in front of the presenting officers (several M16s, a grenade or two and blueprints to the Batasan complex.) Whether any of this is true or just a fairy tale remains to be seen. But one thing for sure, all roads lead to this place (the Batasan Complex not the Payatas Waste Dump!) during this impeachment-chacha season. It all begins on SONA day in a few weeks. Those arrested include the following: Lieutenants Aldrin Baldonado, Angelbert Gay, Patricio Bumindang, Sonny Sarmiento, Nathaniel Rabonza and a certain Lieutenant Junior Grade Sadaba were arrested by police and military agents in their safehouse on Admiral Street, Filinvest II, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
I guess one puzzling thing is where the Magdalo escapees were arrested: a stone's throw from the Batasan Complex. The Filinvest II subdivision is directly due east of the Batasan.
Well folks, just south of where the two arrows above are pointing, am going to have dinner with Lady Philippine Commentary and later enjoy the Manhattan Transfer. Back later...
To the Comment Thread: Is the hideout's location believable?
(By the way GoogolMogul has all the links for mapping and earth googling.)