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March 30, 2005

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: We have known each other Jay since 1996. We have been exchanging emails since then. But this one is the longest that you have ever written.
       As I have written to Mr. Regor Aguilar in Talsik, if the military wants to take over, they can do that, especially if America will approve and of course, support and outright grab of power. After all, as MTT said, power grows out of the barrel of the gun.
      So, there is no point in selling walis tingting for the disabled in Tahanan Walang Hagdanan? Or begging the Filipino cyberspace community for donations to the "Marlene Garcia-Esperat Fund"?
       I wonder what Bobby Reyes and Perry Diaz will do and the NAFFA leadership especially with the troubling news in San Jose?
       This scenario is so grim.
                                                                                  Cesar Torres


In a message dated 3/29/05 8:29:10 PM, [email protected] writes:

Dear Cesar, Jr., Nat, Mon, Mang Senyong, Johnny, Ernie, and Botomistas:

In response to your posts about Gen. Fortunato Abat's recent announced proposal for an authoritarian revolutionary government  to take power in the Philippines, this is old news. Some of my AFP/PNP contacts there were discussing this plan even while I was there in Feb/March, and Oct/ Nov. last year.

What you have been witness to in the US and Philippine media during the last year or so is part and parcel of this overall effort, I suspect. The various crises the country has been facing are not fabricated, artificial, nor staged, as the CPP/NDF/NPA claim. They are real socio-economic-political problems that need immediate redress, and for which neither the Left nor the Right have the monopoly of ideas or solutions. The country is constantly in deadlock in the Senate Congress, and the CPP and Muslim insurgents are stalling economic progress by stirring labor unrest, and bleeding the national Treasury dry.

The conditions are probably ripe for the final takeover of the government by the military/PNP. That is why Abat finally spoke out. In fact, you have been witness to the slow takeover of the reins for the last few months.

Sources say that FVR had been interested in holding on to power since the end of his term, but was simply wary of his historic legacy and did not wish to do it under a Charter Change scenario. Despite what people may think, it was this reason, more than Cardinal Sin, or Cory that prevented the Cha-Cha. Realistically and pragmatically speaking, it was not "the people", or "civil Society" which toppled Erap- it was simply the withdrawal of the AFP/PNP of its support for him. And that is what is about to occur very soon, now that the final Act of this Grand Opera Filipina has been opened by Fortunato Abat. (that's "Moro-Moro" to some of you.)

The Mango is ripe- and the smoking of the tree has accelerated the ripening process. Just when and who will pluck it remains to be seen.  Jr., prepare the Lambanog and Bagoong. Unfortunately Ka Roger may not be able to join us under the tree- he will be very busy fighting the war of the flea.

Is it now crystallizing, all the negative US and Filipino press regarding the PGMA, and general national situation? Or the increase in US military activities in the country? Or why the CPP, NDF/NPA are aggressively escalating their military, politico-propaganda attacks to increase the psywar effect? The time has run out for the "strategic political stalemate"- the NDF was unable to expand its grassroots politicization of the mass base as they had the military side. The only race left is for the final pre-emptive strike for the actual takeover. Ladies and gentleman, place your bets. Sa Pula, o sa Puti.

On the assassinations, all I can say is that people will decry the murders and tortures of others on general principles. But for political partisans, the hue and cry will depend on which political side one is on. And who  did the killing, or who was killed.

As human beings, torture and murder should be naturally anathema to us. But quite frankly, I suspect that if one of our family members were kidnapped, tortured, or murdered, we would not just leave it up to the law, or to God. Jr. Lira knows- back in our little hometown, it's a matter of "ubusan ng Piso, o ubusan ng bala", when family vendettas happen. It gets very personal there. And if the ones who commit those crimes against your family is either a member of the AFP/PNP, or the NPA, it does not matter. They have families that can get the same retaliatory treatment their relative/s committed. Life is that simple and base back in the provinces. Boy, that's a real Republican way of thinking about things, huh? So much for our lofty talk about Liberal Democracy. Makes me wonder why I am a Democrat here sometimes.

Perhaps people back home who want progress and peace, but who are against authoritarianism, whether benign, or repressive, should start preparing their bags, stock ammo, and clean their guns. My bet, however is that the middle class, "Civil Society", and various major Church leaders will support the takeover, as will the business leadership. Just like they supported Marcos early during Martial Law. These leaders have been mysteriously silent the last year...The examples of China, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and until lately, Thailand and Indonesia, much more economically progressive nations than ours were under, or are still under totalitarian regimes as police States. Is that the price the Filipinos need to pay for progress?

"Sa ikauunlad ng Bansa, disciplina ang kailangan". "Isang Bansa, isang Diwa". "A, B, or C? (Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, or Crame, anyone?) Déjà vu, 1972?

Botomistas, you're already mostly abroad. You don't need to file for political asylum here. But what can you do, realistically, even if this takeover occurs? Just become another "Steak commando"? or go home and join the NPA?

Let us pray and call upon the present-day Philippine military minds to be absolutely careful to learn the lessons of Marcos. Abuse of power, and greed will turn the people against you faster than a Typhoon. Do what you have to do, kill and imprison the criminals, clean up the government and country, dismantle the hundreds of little private armies and political fiefdoms. Wala na dapat na siga sa Pilipinas. But do not commit the abuses and mistakes Marcos committed. Learn the lessons of history. If you are gambling with the future of the nation, make sure you institute economic reforms that will bring about austerity, progress and prosperity. Otherwise the game was only to get you into power, and not to truly save the nation, or help the people. And the people will very soon turn against you and support the CPP/NDF/NPA in the millions. Remember, the Dictatorships of China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and others in Asia only succeeded because they brought back discipline and progress. Without prosperity and progress, the people will have fought bitterly against the dictatorships, and these would not have lasted as long as they did.

I am resigned to see whatever happens, happen. Nothing I can do or say can change matters. Only that I  hope the military leaders  will see that in their quest for power, they should guard against self-corruption, and the corruption and abuse of power by their subordinates. If they do as what Fortunato Abat claims they will, then okay; but it is very difficult to remain incorruptible when holding absolute power. And those who remain so even in the face of such power truly deserve to be part of the Guardian Class. The other danger I see is that the lower ranks will want to take power for themselves, once they get a little taste of the power. Those who wear the Suns will want to wear the Stars; or take the Stars away-

If only Cory Aquino did what she needed to do back in 1986- when we all had that golden opportunity to reform society and truly clean up the act through constitutional means. Alas, she and her minions just blew that opportunity.

The Philippines and history are not "winner take all games", folks. As a people and culture, we have yet to learn that there has to be compromise between the parties and the stakeholders. We all have something at stake there, in the ultimate analysis. Whether you are for the Right, or the Left, they want absolute power, and will not listen to us, I fear.

Ahhh, the price of prosperity, progress, and peace for the Philippines.

Jose "Jay" G. Caedo III
Filipino-American Democratic Empowerment Council
(415) 585-0234

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