Saturday, February 25, 2006

Philippine crisis: the third day

The political crisis in the Philippines has taken an interesting turn. Former President Fidel Ramos, himself an ex-armed forces chief of staff, has said anyone taken into custody under what he described as the "pre-cooked" declaration of emergency worthy of the former dictator President Marcos would be regarded by posterity with honor.

"I am just saying [that] it's Marcosian because of the warrantless arrest and the proclamation itself," Ramos said. ... "The process of not giving it to the Cabinet for review means that that whole thing was pre-cooked," Ramos said. ...

With regard to the warrantless arrests, Ramos said it would be an honor to be arrested "under these circumstances." Ramos was informed of the arrest of retired police general Ramon Montaño by the general's wife. "I told her to tell Mon [that] it's a badge of honor to be arrested under these circumstances," he said, adding that he gave his assurance to Montaño's wife that he would help in the release of the police officer whom he described as one of his most able generals.

Ramos added that he was invited to Malacañang Friday but declined. "I said I am sorry. Wag na lang [No more]."

Commentary

A BBC survey of Manila newspaper headlines indicates opinion is still on the cusp. There is a reluctance to topple President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through extralegal street demonstrations but there is also widespread suspicion of her motives. Fidel Ramos' moderate verbal opposition to the declaration of emergency still leaves the door open for a rapproachment betwen the two powers. It's a shot across Arroyo's bow with the unstated suggestion that the next volley may be fire for effect.

Still no KO by either side and the audience awaits the start of the next round.

6 Comments:

Blogger orlandoslug said...

Ramos must feel secure in his position; he doesn't seem like the type to get out front without backing or a backdoor out...

2/25/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger rasqual said...

As we attempt to learn from history, we must seek clues by making sobering inquiry: does the president's spouse by chance have a shoe collection?

2/25/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...

Hmmm.

I wonder if the people of the Phillipines regret independence.

2/25/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

This is troubling. I did not know that mud slides were considered national emergencies.

Is this just another attempt at a power grab?

If so, could you give us some back ground on the Ramos faction and if it's got a legitimate cause. And, what type of backing does Ramos have?

2/26/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger boinky said...

GMA is arresting POLITICAL opponants and stopping peaceful demonstrations...
On Friday, ABS CBN news was up in arms about it but now they are running a movie...
A lot of locals went down to demonstrateSaturday, but I haven't heard much since then... unlike Friday, the news is not showing much, and when they show police beating up demonstrators, it's not clear if it is Friday or Saturday...and they blandly say that the police overreacted due to lack of training...
Sounds like the tv networks are scared...
A lot of people are waiting for the congress to react when it comes into session next week. By law, GMA has to justify her actions before Congress...

2/26/2006 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

ledger,

I know very little about Ramos beyond having seen him a couple of times in person. From rep he is not too bad a pol, which means that he has some scruples but none too clean. Nobody was clean in the top rank of Philippine politics with the possible exception of Aquino.

My guess is that old Fidel Ramos has a sphere of influence which he wants to keep and that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is treading on and the old General/President kinda resents that on general principles. So he's put on his old cunt hat (I've seen the stills) and fired a shot across Gloria's bow.

Now Gloria's gotta place her bets. Is the old guy past it now? Or can he still bite?

My own personal feeling is that Gloria has more than enough legal power to crush the coup without this State of Emergency stuff. Consequently all the players are wondering whether she's level when she says she's just after the coup plotters and the commies. So everyone's extra vigilant about the margins of their individual empires and Gloria is stomping into places that are threatening people.

What will happen? I don't know. But my guess is that it all depends on whether Gloria knows when far is too far.

2/26/2006 01:13:00 AM  

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