EDSA 20: Withdrawal of support

It seems we continue to learn the wrong lessons from Edsa. The overemphasis on the military’s role in the four-day miracle, in the flood of reminiscences occasioned by the revolution’s 20th anniversary, may have helped steel the resolve of those in the military who feel the time has come for them to march into the public square.

Very disturbing news indeed: the AFP Chief of Staff and the commanding general of the Army were approached last night by two highly respected combat officers and asked to join their plan to "withdraw support" from the Arroyo administration. As of 8 am, the most comprehensive lowdown available (and how!) is by PCIJ’s peerless Sheila Coronel.

What makes the latest news troubling is the identity of one of the "plotters:" Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, who commands the Scout Rangers, may be the one general coup plotters will follow to the bitter end. PCIJ reprints a Malaya column on Lim, who led the siege of Makati during the most destructive coup attempt of all, in December 1989.

Other news available on the Net:

From ABS-CBN Interactive: "This was not an attempted coup, but an attempted withdrawal of support" to Arroyo, Senga said.

From Inq7.net: Lim and [Marine Col. Ariel] Querubin were relieved at 10 p.m. on Thursday, the statement said.

And also from Inq7.net, a report with a curious and soon-to-be-famous turn of phrase: ARMY chief Lieutenant General Hermogenes Esperon earlier said "misguided elements" of the Armed Forces had plotted to stage a coup d’etat Friday morning but were prevented with "preemptive force and dialogue."

"Preemptive force and dialogue." Is that like reasoning with someone after you place a gun on the negotiating table and post sentries outside the door?

At any rate, the plan seems to have been lifted from the Edsa script: For Danny Lim et al to join today’s pro-Edsa, anti-GMA rally on Ayala Avenue in Makati City, which will be led by Cory Aquino (the president Lim tried to oust from power in 1989). Let’s think about that for a moment: If a faction of armed soldiers did march in the rally,  the crowd of civilians would have masked the essential nature of their "withdrawal of support": a suddenly and painfully factionalized military, with no real prospect of healing, of Edsa-like redemption, through Edsa-like People Power.

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Filed under Readings in Media, Readings in Politics, Readings in Religion

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