ELLEN TORDESILLAS: MUTINY JUSTIFIABLE

MANILA, OCTOBER 2, 2003 (MALAYA) I'M not at all surprised by the result of the Pulse Asia survey which showed that majority of the Filipinos feel that the July 27 mutiny was "justifiable" in the sense that the military officers had "sufficient reason" for doing it.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents said that in a survey conducted a month after the Oakwood mutiny.

One of the reasons cited by the Magdalo group was corruption in the military. They cited as an example the selling of arms and ammunitions by unscrupulous members of the military to Muslim and communist insurgents.

The people believed them when they said, "Ginagawa nila ito upang ang giyerang walang katapusan ay maging gatasan ng mga sakim at traydor na mga opisyal ng gobyerno at ng AFP." (They are doing this because this never-ending war is the milking cow of the greedy and duplicitous officials of the government and the AFP.)

Felipe B. Miranda, research director of Pulse Asia, said despite the majority of the Filipinos sympathizing with the grievances of the rebel soldierss, 39 percent of the Filipinos think what the Oakwood mutineers did was wrong while 22 percent thought otherwise.

Twenty-two percent of the Filipinos not comdemning the use of force is already significant to me but what should be a cause of concern is that 36 percent are "undecided". That means, despite the government's all-out propaganda, while denying the Magdalo group access to media, many still are not ready to condemn the mutineers.

Last month, when the Magdalo soldiers appeared in the Senate hearing on the mutiny, Navy Lt. (s.g.) Antonio Trillanes III, by way of answering Sen. Joker Arroyo's inquiry about violating the Constitution, asked what was the difference between what they did and EDSA Dos.

Sen. Arroyo arrogantly replied, "We won, you lost." He added that the Magdalo lost because the people did not support them.

Trillanes hurled a challenge: "Magpa -referendum nga tayo para malaman natin kung sino ang gusto bitayin ng tao." (Let's have a referendum to find out whom the people want to hang.)

Taking up Trillanes' suggestion, I asked readers of the widely circulated "Abante", where I write Tuesdays, Thursday, Sundays, and the answers were overwhelmingly for the Magdalo. Out of the more than a hundred letters I received, about five only sided with President Arroyo and Sen. Joker Arroyo.

One of those who did not agree with Magdalo was Frank Panlaqui. He said, "Marami sa mga OFW dito sa Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia ang gusto mabigyan ng leksiyon ang mga Magdalo Group dahil sa ginawa nilang katarantaduhan na pabagsakin ang gobyerno. Bakit hindi na lang nila idinaan sa mapayapang paraan? Para sa akin, bitay ang dapat na igawad sa mga ito para hindi pamarisan ng iba." (Many of the OFWs here in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia want the Magdalo group to be taught a lesson because of their silly attempt to bring down the government. Why didn't they do it through peaceful means? To me, they should be hanged so others won't emulate them.)

Most of the letter writers echoed the same sentiments by these two overseas Filipinos: From Rules Rituals in the United States: "Gloria Arroyo should be the one in jail for being a participant in the coup d'etat against the duly-elected presidet, Joseph Estrada. The Magdalo soldiers did exactly what GMA and her group did in Edsa Dos. I say to these soldiers, go ahead, kick her out. She is nothing but a power grabber."

Bong A in Riyadh said :"Akala natin gaganda ang buhay nating nung inagaw ni Arroyo ang Malacaņang. Nagkamali tayo. Lalo pang lumubog ang bansa natin. Sa nangyaring aborted coup de etat (daw), lumilitaw ngayon ang mga bulok na pamamalakad ng ambisyosa at mapagsamantalang Gloria Arroyo . Dapat sana natuloy ang pag-aaklas ng mga magigiting nating mga sundalo para sa ganun, mapalayas ang mga buwaya sa gobyerno." (We thought life would be better when Arroyo grabbed Malacanang. We were wrong. The more that the country deteriorated. The supposed coup exposed the rotten governance of the ambitious and opportunistic Gloria Arroyo. I would have liked the mutiny to have succeeded to get rid of the crocodiles in government.)

Jose Roy Navato, a retired soldier, is one of the 55 percent who believe the July 27 mutiny was justified: "Dati akong sundalo kaya alam ko kung ano ang nararanasan ng mga kapwa ko sundalo. 'Yung sinasabi ni Trillanes at ng mga kasamahan nya, totoo yun. Nararamdaman ko yun. Ewan ko ba sa mga kababayan natin nagbubulag bulagan lang." (I was a soldier so I know what my fellow soldiers are going through. What Trillanes and company said were all true. I don't know why many of our countrymen are playing blind.)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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