Having criticized the Star’s editorial the other day, I feel bound to point out that today’s editorial is, or may be, an attempt to pull back from the brink.
The issue highlighted by last Friday’s violent dispersal is now framed as a "test of wills," a contest between two less-than-perfect positions.
A government giddy over the junking of an impeachment complaint decides to coin a silly phrase to describe its decision to start bringing a semblance of order in the streets. Anti-government forces naturally respond to the virtual dare by staging rallies where they are not supposed to, because if they confine themselves to designated areas, where’s the fun in that?
The essential role that dissent and the freedoms of speech and assembly play in the democratic polity is given its due.
Pray in churches, light candles in shrines, camp out at the people power monument, shout slogans and stage plays in plazas and parks. Demand anyone’s resignation, expose anomalies and play incriminating tapes. There are enough soap boxes in this country for everyone. In the information age, nothing can be suppressed. But there has to be some compromise, some modus vivendi on the conduct of peaceful protest. That compromise must be reached soon.
Interestingly, publisher Max Soliven’s column today (written from Madrid) is a candid admission of editorial misjudgement.
What totally embarrass[ed] me is what I learned later. I discovered our newspaper The Philippine STAR had completely missed running the story of that tumultuous event – including the violent put-down by the PNP and its water-cannon of the group. I’ve called our Editors for an explanation. Who was asleep at the switch or whatever. The following day, a day too late, was a follow-up headline: "GUINGONA III: RALLY DISPERSAL FORM OF TYRANNY, OPPRESSION."