I had just finished reading for the nth time one of the Op-Center series books by Tom Clancy. The title is Op-Center: Balance of Power. Take note that this is a fictional work, and that this is not a book review.
To give a brief background, the Op-Center, or National Crisis Management Center (NCMC), is a team created by the US President to resolve conflicts in potential trouble hotspots, both domestic and international.
Spanish officials have intelligence regarding increasing civil unrest among their different ethnical groups, thus they have quietly requested the assistance of the United States. On the way to a high level diplomatic meeting with Spanish contacts, an Op-Center representative is assassinated. The fears are confirmed: there are forces at work that want another Spanish Civil war, and to seize control of the government all for themselves.
Where am I going with this? I mentioned this book because, to a certain extent, I see parallels between certain parts of the plot, and the reality that is unfolding here in Philippine politics.
The book highlights a fictional unrest situation between the different ethnic groups in Spain. Those mentioned are the Castilians, the Catalonians, the Andalusians, the Basques, and the Galicians. At first it seemed that a group of Catalonians and Basques was the villain. They had plotted the assassination of the Op-Center representative, in order to keep the US out of their affairs. Their ultimate plan was to cause a financial meltdown wherein they could present themselves as the only solution. Thus, the rest of the Spanish people would be indefinitely reliant on them.
In our current situation, we have the different interest groups whose differing agendas always put them at odds with each other. We have the Oligarchs, the Filipino People, the Aquino Administration, the Armed Forces, the Legislative branch, the Supreme Court, the NPA, and the MILF. The Oligarchs and the Aquino Administration have been working hand in hand for some time, in order to assure that everyone else stays obedient or friendly to the administration, and reliant on the mediocre products and services offered by the Oligarchs’ big business.
Let’s talk more about the main antagonist in the book. General Rafael Amadori of the Spanish Army was associated with Francisco Franco, the former Generalissimo of Spain. He is of Castilian descent, and an authority on El Cid. He believes in benevolent militarism (a fancy name for a police state), and militarism without conflict. His ultimate goal is to crush all opposition within Spain and to make Castile the political and military hub of the entire kingdom, with him being the head. In short, he is a megalomaniac.
President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) on the other hand, is the son of the late Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino Jr. His parents are most famous for bringing an end to the Marcos regime through the well-remembered EDSA People Power revolution. He believes that his way is the straight path, and that God is on his side. I would not be surprised if he has a Messiah complex, nor if he believes in benevolent dictatorship (same as benevolent militarism above, except that Aquino is not an Army officer). His ultimate goal, as it stands, is to subjugate all branches of government to him, and to remove all personnel who criticize him, do not share his point of view, or are simply associated with his enemies. In short, he is a megalomaniac too.
In the book, the premise is that the Castilians, Amadori’s ethnic group, have always believed that only they deserve to be Spain and all the other ethnic groups are just squatters. PNoy’s clan, the Cojuangcos, on the other hand, have refused to give up any of their Hacienda Luisita land to the farmers since the second half of the 20th century.
General Amadori allowed his enemies to continue their own plans to create instability, and then neutralized them at the right time. By doing this, he moved troops and influenced events while appearing to stop a counter-revolution. PNoy, on the other hand, has publicly been humiliating and vilifying his perceived enemies in public forums. By doing this, he is mobilizing his yellow horde and influencing events while appearing to purge his government of “corrupt officials”.
Is this a case of reality resembling fiction? It sounds a bit creepy.
Although General Amadori surfaced as the real antagonist in the book, one difference between it and the Philippine situation is this: is PNoy the real antagonist in this plot, or is there someone else behind the scenes, yet to show up, who is waiting for the right time to influence events in his/her favor?
I must mention here that General Amadori met his end by being killed in a shoot-out. The military arm of Op-Center, Striker, had breached the General’s headquarters. With some inside help, and assistance from parts of the Spanish Army not under the General’s command, he and his forces were put down.
In the current scenario, we are at the point where PNoy is eliminating his opposition. Even while the Chief Justice Corona’s trial is not yet over, this sends a message to all his political enemies. If you cross him, you’ll meet a similar fate: a slow and painful death.
Now comes the hypothetical part:
1. Will the Filipinos ever see through PNoy’s facade of “anti-corruption” for what it really is?
2. Will Filipinos eventually come to think that stepping down is the only option for PNoy?
3. If it comes to the point that the Filipino people will no longer put up with PNoy’s mistakes and vindictiveness, are they or any members of the Philippine Army going to storm Malacanang?
4. For Aquino to let go of his post, is foreign intervention going to be necessary?
5. Will Aquino resort to assassination of foreign officials, as a message for them to stay out of local affairs?
6. If Aquino will not go willingly, is neutralization (i.e. assassination) the only course of action that is left?
7. Will the momentum of the course of events engineered by Aquino and his team last even after he is not President anymore?
The Philippine state of affairs is definitely worthy as a plot for a suspense thriller, or a comedy of errors. Take your pick.
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