Thursday, February 23, 2006

State of Emergency declared in the Philippines

The Philippine President has just declared a State of Emergency as Proclamation 1017 and says she'll crack down on any opposition. Unnamed persons are being arrested. A specific warning has gone out to former President Cory Aquino not to proceed with a rally in the Makati Business district which already has a permit. For updates see:

Pajamas Media


Philippine Commentary

Gloria Arroyo is apparently accusing a brigadier general in the "special action force", a man connected with the Philippine Scout Rangers and possibly a  USMA graduate named Danilo Lim of being the mastermind. Danilo Lim is under some kind of nebulous arrest as of this writing, in the personal custody (whatever that means) of Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Generoso Senga. There are rumors that another coup leader is still at large, an unnamed officer in the Philippine Marines.

The Scout Rangers and the Philippine Marines represent the elite of the Philippine military.

There are several political groups which oppose Philippine President Arroyo but who do not particularly like each other. They had scheduled separate mass demonstrations today, on the occasion of the anniversary of the People's Power revolution of 1986. One group, led by the leftists were scheduled to assemble in Quezon City while the other, a group led by businessmen and associated with former President Aquino, were slated to meet in the business capital of Makati.

Macapagal vowed to prevent the demonstration in Makati which was to have been attended by former President Aquino and possibly former President Fidel Ramos. At this writing the Makati demonstrations, while not large, were proceeding in despite of pressure to disperse. The leftist rally in Quezon City apparently became a running street battle, but no firearms appear to have been involved, simply rocks, gas bombs and instruments of that nature.


The situation has revealed some of the weaknesses on both sides. A source suggested to me that the absence of any arrests of plotters other than Danilo Lim, who is described as being in the 'personal custody' of the Chief of Staff indicates that the Philippine Army is hesitatant to move decisively; that it is still sitting on the fence. On the other hand, Corazon Aquino's rally in Makati was not  massively attended yet pushed on in the face of a direct prohibition by the sitting President. No kayo yet to either side.

The declaration of a state of emergency is said to have thrown the several groups opposing Arroyo into a coalition of convenience because it may be perceived as leading to a kind of martial law if not actually constituting martial law. The police have been given the power to effect warrantless arrests and restrictions are said to be forthcoming on the press but their implementation has not yet been forthcoming as of this writing, possibly because the police and army are afraid to cross some kind of Rubicon. The next few days will indicate which way the symmetry will break.

As it happens, the USS Essex amphibious group is currently tied up providing rescue and relief to the victims of the massive landslide in Leyte. This will be awkward should the amphibious group be needed to cover the remote, but nevertheless conceivable scenario of securing US citizens in Manila.

The crisis has caught a lot of parties with a foot in the air. The next few days should clarify the situation.


Blogger Final Historian said...

Is this purely a domestic political problem, or are their connections to Islamist violence in the southern parts fo the Philippines? I am afraid I haven't been keeping track of it as I should have.

2/23/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Ooops. Maybe I'd better start watching what I say around here? Big Brudah may be watching!

2/23/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

One type of state supporter of terrorism, possibly the worst, is the so-called "passive sponsor", AKA a failed state. The US interest in the Philippines is that if the whole thing sinks, which is unlikely for now, it will be a playground for all kinds of nasties.

This is an interesting issue to follow because the challenge to Macapagal's authority is immediate. There's a rally scheduled in a couple of hours featuring two Philippine ex-Presidents, Aquino and Ramos. Macapagal has vowed to jail em all. Be interesting to see if she can pull it off. My guess is that Macapagal will have a hard time suppressing two ex-Presidents.

The crisis will come in hours.

2/23/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I saw that Cartoon you posted Phil, don't try to build an alibi here!

2/23/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

It did occur to me many years ago at some of my political science classes at CU that some of the foreign cats staring impassively at the professor would someday see it as a natural career move to shoot their way into the palace of their home country.

2/23/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I have seen no sign that indicates to me that Ramos is going to join the opposition. I know his support of PGMA has been lessening but given the recent declarations of PGMA's administration Ramos may change his mind soon. What will the man from Alabang do. Hehehe, I drove by Fidel's house and his place in Tagaytay early last January.

Hmmm, a month ago I would have been in REAL good position to give some first hand reporting. Sayang.

As far as connections to Islmaist violence I agree it is all passive. That is, ineffectiveness in stamping out the corruption that exists in the Government and in the Armed Forces makes it tempting for PFC and low level military people to not see certain things while on guard duty.

I recall reading Abu Sayyaf taunting Malacanang that they [Abu Sayyf] obtain a fair amount of weaponry from the military. However that was before the Baliktan exercises.

2/24/2006 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

I have seen no sign that indicates to me that Ramos is going to join the opposition.

maybe not. but this is funny.

Arroyo: I'm the best person to lead.

Fidel Ramos: F-ck you.

2/25/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

In the first place, in the Philippine Constitution there is no such thing as the power to declare a State of Emergency in order to acquire martial law powers. What happened was Gloria Arroyo staged a Palace Coup d’tat to claim these powers. There was no coup from the left, right, middle nor a combination thereof that was nipped in the bud! This was just an excuse for the Palace Coup.

In the Philippines no coup d’tat led by the military will succeed. Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo learned her lessons well from the Marcos and Erap experiences and so far she has preempted all the ways and means that toppled the two gentleman. These ways and means are too obvious and therefore can be anticipated. And she did. She is really one hell of a lady

If GMA is to be toppled, it will be by someone she does expect, by a means she does not anticipate, and at a time when she believe that she has already succeeded. It will not be by the people who were with her when she “stole the Presidency, not once, but twice”, but who now want her to resign and who also want to impose who will replace her. The Pilipino can see through all of them and will not go out in the streets for them nor follow their choice.

What the people want actually is the RIGHT and the PRIVILEGE TO ELECT THEIR LEADER, THEIR PRESIDENT no matter who he is or what he is and for the ELITE and Civil Society to respect their choice. The latter are too high and mighty and nose down upon the choice of the Pilipino masses but has so far chosen 3 LEMON Presidents.

But someone will one day make the call and the people will recognize him and will come out because he will be putting his life on the line for them. A dream after all is the only thing that the Pilipino people can hold on to right now.

2/25/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Adam! said...

i've tried posting relevant links all throughout yesterday here -->

and i recommend you also go here -->

and most especially here -->

for more info and commentary on what's really happening.

2/25/2006 01:30:00 PM  

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