Malacanang and Congress seem to be singing off the same hymn book now that they’ve succeeded in re-framing the issue of Antonio Trillanes, Danilo Lim, and their band of bandits into a debate that fits the famously small minds that inhabit our sad island nation. Resident legal eagle of the Philippine Media, the venerable “Father” Joaquin Bernas SJ summarises the current state of the Incredible Shrinking Case for Keeping Trillianes et al in Jail in the following words:
They [the alleged mutineers] went through elaborate ceremonies which were meant to be symbolic of their noble goal. They seem to have considered their deed a patriotic feather in their cap and they will willingly assert that, yes, we did, even if we now regret having done it.
The above seems to be in response to the small handful of points that describe the sad shriveled state of our regard for the crime of rebellion that Trillanes and Lim are accused of leading:
(1) That this was a rebellion against the government of former President Gloria Arroyo;
(2) That the accused acted under the premise that no alternative courses of action were available to them given the “nobility” of their “cause”; and,
(3) That guilt, in this instance, is premised on whether said rebellion was justified given popular or propagated perceptions around the legitimacy of Arroyo’s mandate to govern.
Notice how an important element of this crime had since dropped off the radar that guides the wisdom of Filipinos’ “representatives” in the Executive and Legislative branches of their government:
The well-being and safety of civilian lives.
The important point that is intentionally being missed is how civilian lives were endangered and private property had been damaged by the reckless adventurism and misguided notions of righteousness of Trillanes, Lim, and the band of thugs they led into Manila’s streets.
Indeed, if I am right in the way I have defined the above three as the key conceptual pillars that prop up this now perverted approach to evaluating these rebels’ right to “amnesty”, then the whole question around whether they should be set free is being debated on top of a mountain of typically-Filipino vacuity.
Firstly, there is no basis underpinning the notion that the government of Arroyo is one deserving to be overthrown. In the six years that Arroyo was in power, there were lots of accusations, speculations, and hear-say reporting being made about its “evil” but no convincing and categorical resolutions or closure demonstrated to settle any of these.
Second, that Trillanes now stands proud as a “Senator” of our sad nation is testament to the existence of an alternative to rebellion. By successfully winning a seat in the Senate, Trillanes had proven that his rebellion amounted to no more than the kiddie adventure of a misguided mind.
And third, admission and denial of guilt indeed, as Bernas himself observes, offers a perplexing if not silly choice to us by-standers. That this is so is, in itself, a clear indication of how idiotic this “debate” has become, consistent of course with the droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant National “Debate” — a debate renowned for seeing the wrong arguments win in more cases than one.
Either way, it highlights what an epic fail of the SO WHAT TEST all this has become as far as the average Filipino schmoe is concerned. After all:
Isn’t the primacy of the well-being of civilian lives the whole point of the existence of a democratic government and its supremacy over its armed forces?
Framed by the above question, the case has lost the plot in favour of our renowned penchant for flawed thinking.