Curt and concise as always, Amando Doronilla sums up Erap’s attempts to abort his own plunder trial and foment polarization and unrest:
Estrada and his lawyers are sore losers. Because the courts have thrashed all their delaying tactics that have made a mockery of the notion of speedy trial, the lawyers are now saying that Estrada cannot expect a fair trial and that he is being rushed into being convicted. By attacking the integrity of the judicial system and throwing the cases to the howling mob for judgment, his innocence or guilt of the charges will remain unresolved.”
The test now is this: How efficacious have Pres. Gloria’s public relations propaganda been at swaying the thronging masses to her side — or at least away from Erap’s? Will they consider her social and economic reforms promising enough that they are willing to wait for the outcome of the plunder trial? Or will they swallow Erap’s bid to paint himself as an underdog, and blindly mass behind their beloved movie star once more?
Teddy Benigno certainly doesn’t think so. Even more boldly, he states:
Mr. Estrada, understand this. You do have our supporters among the masa, even in the Senate and the House, and it’s just possible their heart throbs for you. But they will never die for you or expose themselves to shoot and shell for you. Theirs is probably pity, Christian compassion, that emotional surge for the underdog. But take to arms, rise in revolt, they won’t.
The jig is up, sir. Admit that everything you are doing now, with the connivance of your decrepit lawyers, while pretending to rise up to the stature of a freedom fighter, betrays desperation. There’s that saying: If you have the law, pound on the law. If you have the facts, pound on the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts, pound on the table. And that’s what you are doing now, pounding on the table, struggling mightily to look like d’Artagnan but succeeding only in looking like, yes, General Marciano Ilagan.
You blundered, Mr. Estrada. Now you’re going for broke. You signed your death warrant when you admitted you indeed forged the signature Jose Velarde.
What catharsis to read Benigno’s columns! But whether he is correct — that Estrada’s lower-class supporters are not so ardent that they will die for their silverscreen idol — remains to be seen. I’m not as certain as he is that the Filipino urban poor cannot be incited to another bloody uprising as they attempted last May.
(And ARGH, General Ilagan’s utter prissiness is enough to make any of us slap our foreheads in shame.)