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REBELS WITH A CAUSE
(Time to take a Stand)

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"DISSENT WITHOUT ACTION IS CONSENT" (Brig.Gen.Danilo Lim)

A day before Andres Bonifacio's birthday, November 29, 2007,Thursday, Sen.Antonio Trillanes IV and Brig.Gen.Danilo Lim took their daring stand against the government in the Peninsula Hotel..In their statements, they made it clear that what they were doing was a POLITICAL ACT against the Arroyo Administration and NOT an act against the court.It would be recalled that both men were in the Makati Regional Trial Court attending the hearing of their case on the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.From there, they were escorted by other Magdalo men and their own guards (who changed colors and joined their cause) outside the court and into their march going to the Peninsula Hotel. With Trillanes and Lim were a host of civilians including former Vice Pres.Tito Guingona, Bishop Labayan, Father Robert Reyes and actress Bibeth Orteza.

Both men and their civilian companions holed themselves up at the Rizal Conference Room of the hotel and the media people swarmed them (from the courtroom ,to their march all the way into the hotel).Naturally they were merely doing their duties and covering up a sensational story for their respective stations and papers. Sen.Trillanes and Brig.Gen.Lim declared they wont surrender, that they want Arroyo to step down ,that the country needs to undergo changes in order to survive. They also claimed that there will be supporters following (the mob and some military back up), but this never came to be.

The military took the opportunity to show their might and force- hundreds of men, several tanks, tear gas,guns and bullets. The leaders were confident and arrogant, giving deadlines....showing determined and angry faces and voices.

The incident came to an end when the military peppered the hotel with tear gas and then rammed a tank at the front entrance of the hotel.Thereafter, several military men stormed the premises.At this point, Trillanes and Lim decided to surrender because they felt that there's no way the government will spare lives .The main objective was to get them at all costs .Having civilians, old men, priest and a host of media people around,Trillanes and Lim faced the consequences and stood down to give way for their capture and avoid bloodshed. They were rudely taken away in the most humiliating way possible-handcuffs, shoving, pushing...How many people were inside the hotel ?How many were armed? Not a single shot was fired by any Magdalo soldier .Not a single person was taken hostage.The gunfires all emanated from outside, on the government's side.Isn't this really a gross case of overkill? It reminds me of the airport tower incident of 2003 when Capt.Panfilo Villaruel took over it and was mercilessly gunned down (even though he was already surrendering),his face getting blown off in the process..There were only 2 men in the tower and not a shot was fired by them either!Newsman Arnold Clavio captured the last dying breath of Capt.Villaruel on radio.

But surprise of all surprises,THE MEDIA PEOPLE became victims too..They were brought in for questioning, handcuffed, expensive equipments confiscated.Why? They were not only brought in for interrogation or briefing..They were now suspects as well. Later Sec. Puno would claim that actually media people obstructed justice. What justice? Whose justice? They were just doing the jobs that they are being paid for, for God's sake!A working person can appreciate that ,I m sure and even they ,in the military were also doing their jobs (so they also said) when they destroyed the hotel's front entrance with a tank, sprayed the hotel with bullets and threw tear gases at Trillanes and company.Never in my 52 years have I seen media people handcuffed and herded like cattle in a bus to go to a camp, and as suspects no less.Never have I heard that media people can instigate obstruction of justice in the performance of their duties.Each and everyone of us has a place in this world and we all have our own corresponding duties.Without media, what would it be like? Ordinary citizens will have no news.It's just like walking around with a blindfold..you'll never know where you're going or what's going on around you. So why target the media? Why embarass media people? Why intimidate them?In the deepest war zones you see media people side by side with the military, covering the story, taking pictures....etc.Media is neutral...They're just there to cover the story, for truth to be told. One of the signs of Martial law was a media take over, remember? So without a free and healthy media, there can never be true democracy.

It's all over but the shouting, so they say. The incident started at 10 am and ended at a few minutes past 7 pm. It would seem that Trillanes and Lim lost the battle..but have they lost the fight? Is it really all over? We,Filipinos are a shy lot. We are very patient and slow .We need a catalyst to speed things up for us.We need an inspiration. And Trillanes is giving us that reason ,that very good reason to take a stand for what we believe it.He is showing us the way. 11 million Filipinos did vote for him so he is not really alone. There is still that silent majority in us.

What I am most happy about is that there are still people around with enough guts, daring and audacity to do their duties and be damned with the consequences. I admire, particularly former VP Tito Guingona. His calm demeanor and smiling face inspite of getting arrested and jailed simply show he's not afraid.He's been there ,done that- he said.I was not a particular fan of this man before, but now I am .There's  hope for us after all, it seems.God is still watching us.

As long as there are men and women like Sen.Trillanes, Brig.Gen.Lim, former VP Tito Guingona,Bishop Labayan, UP Pres Nemensio Yabut, father Robert Reyes and Bibeth Orteza, we are on the right track..and sooner or later...what must happen will happen.This country will be set straight..We must see to it that it does.We owe it to our children and our grandchildren.


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