And so it came to pass that, less than two months after the Glorietta 2 bombing/gas explosion, Makatizens found themselves in the middle of yet another brouhaha earlier today as Sen. Antonio Trillanes, of Oakwood fame, commandeered yet another five-star hotel in an attempt to oust good ol’ President Gloria. According to reports, two people were injured during the incident, although whether it was a direct result of the actual violence, or of the massive amounts of twitters and SMS’s flying back and forth, cannot be determined as yet.
As I watched the twits fly by this afternoon, while walking around Legaspi Village looking for an open coffee shop (there weren’t any, past 4pm), it occurred to me that I had precious little sympathy for Trillanes and his ilk. The 2003 incident was messy and altogether rather amateur, but you had to at least admire the dude’s idealism. And now, 4 years later, he tries the same stunt again – only with less men this time – and you can’t help but feel a bit peeved. You already know he’s going to fold, and you wonder why he even bothers. You know this because it turns out that his idealism is of the comic-book-super-hero variety; he insists on keeping these things bloodless. The thing is, bro, you ain’t Gandhi. If you’re gonna forcibly take over a hotel with a bunch of armed soliders and call for the President (whose government you willfully joined) to step down, then you have to accept the fact that the strength of your convictions will be measured by how much blood you are willing to spill. And if you’re not comfortable with that, then perhaps fasting and spouting thoughtful soliloquy might be a less invasive way to draw attention.
During his exit interview, Trillanes is quoted as saying: “There’s no loss here. We just did what has to be done. It is tantamount to treason if I don’t do anything.” I have a couple of issues with this statement. The first is that there were, indeed, big losers from this incident, and these include the Manila Peninsula and all of the businesses in the CBD. Also, the Philippine peso made a rather strong dip back into the PhP43.20:US$1.00 range in the afternoon (although it seems to have normalized again; geez, even the forex doesn’t take this guy seriously anymore).
The second issue is, exactly what it was that they ended up accomplishing. Apart from sitting in a hotel lobby and sending frantic SMS’s calling for support all afternoon, I mean. If there’s anything that really bugs me, it’s when people commit to something that they’re not willing to go all the way with. In many ways, it’s that half-baked kind of planning and execution that’s left this country in such a poor position for so long now.
If Trillanes has made any kind of statement today, it’s the fact that he’s really got it in for Makati’s hospitality industry. I secretly hope that he visits Intercon next time around; that place really needs to get a facelift.