The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) circus that erupted (then fizzled out) on EDSA is a sign of things to come. Granted that it was an outcome of an internal INC agenda that could, if we are to follow the logic of the INC mob, only be resolved by inflicting damage upon a public already broken by the relentless wretchedness of Manila’s traffic gridlock. But the times make the Philippines a veritable tinderbox for these sorts of “activist” firestorms. It’s election campaign season and just about anything that could be used to cause a stir — and rake in media mileage for everyone who has a stake in this quaint democratic exercise — is fair game for those who could spin the outcomes to their advantage.
Indeed, as a commentor in one of our online assets quipped recently: It’s 2005 all over again!
2005 is the epicentre of a period marked by idiotic street antics organised by one or the other “activist” group to make so-called “statements” on their position on the latest indignation fad making headline news of the moment. Back then, street ocho-ocho “revolutions” were the Filipino’s political opium. It was a perverted interpretation of the notion that the “voice of the people” is what legitimises political power. Sure. Of course it is. Democracy poetry tells us so. But do think that through again, this time with a more modern mind.
In the same way nuclear energy can be both destructive (if unleashed in an uncontrolled manner by detonating an atomic bomb) or productive (if harnessed through a controlled process housed within a nuclear power plant), normal healthy democracies need democratic “power plants” to harness people power to productive ends. Those power plants are called democratic institutions. Democratic institutions housed in grand bricks-and-mortar edifices channel that so-called “voice” in an orderly manner — via referenda, elections, and representation in the state legislature. Release that “power of the people” outside those institutions in an uncontrolled explosion (like the way the INC did in recent days), and you reap nothing more than death and destruction.
As many motorists and ordinary folk looking forward to a long weekend rest last week will attest to, plans were destroyed, moods were ruined, money was lost, and even lives possibly put at risk thanks to the people power bomb detonated by the INC in the middle of one of Metro Manila’s busiest arteries and most densely-populated areas. Both the motivation and the targetting was borderline terrorist in flavour — fuelled by religious righteousness and aimed at where maximum damage could be inflicted.
But unlike George W Bush’s albeit-misguided “War on Terror” in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s levelling of New York City’s World Trade Center twin towers in 2001, the President of the Philippines, rather than hold to account those responsible for the destruction wrought, got in bed with the bomb detonators. Indeed, President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III seemingly struck an under-the-table deal with the terrorists. Again.
Rather than continue to pursue the intel that clearly pointed to the possibility of a heinous crime committed under the transparent glow of due process, the discussion between parties was masked under a veil of dark secrecy.
So, ganun na lang.
It is likely that Filipinos will never know what exactly was agreed between Malacanang and the INC.
What else could the ordinary Filipino schmoe do at this point other than seek the wisdom of her favourite Media behemoth:
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
[Photo courtesy Philippine Star.]
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