Banging your head against a brick wall while smoking marijuana, which is most certainly not the most popular narcotic in the land, will never amount to anything good. I’m not saying that Senator Antonio Trillanes is guilty of doing both, but judging from his responses to the flak he received after he was interviewed on BBC last week, you could be forgiven if you believed he did just that.
Because this week, Trillanes declared in a statement that his grilling by Stephen Sackur, the BBC HARDtalk presenter, was “one of the proudest moments of my public life.” (Suddenly, I hate to ask the senator what the proudest moments of his private life are.)
Of course, I am familiar with the damage-control strategy that Trillanes seems hell-bent on employing here, after he was adjudged as having exposed himself as a nincompoop before an international TV audience. It is the same one employed by his former boss, Noynoy Aquino, when the latter announced that the non-moving traffic jams on Edsa were actually a good thing, because they were a sign of a surging economy.
The playbook, such as it is, calls for denying any mistake or crime and turning garbage into gold, despite all evidence and universal agreement to the contrary. That’s how Aquino, whose only real infrastructure achievement was to build a fearsome, well-funded, three-secretary propaganda juggernaut, was able to get away with all the crazy stuff he did over six years: He never admitted any wrongdoing and he claimed victory even in abject defeat.
The 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal between a lone Philippine Navy warship and a part of the Chinese fleet is one of the most embarrassing of examples, internationally, of the operation of this Yellow strategy. When Aquino realized that the US Seventh Fleet would not back up his ship in its foolhardy mission, he declared that it had to turn back “for refueling”; no harm, no foul.
If we assume that Trillanes is merely engaged in some following some belated, consuelo de bobo rearguard PR action, then I have a good idea of what the other proud moments of his public life are. They must be named Oakwood and Manila Peninsula, hotels where he led military uprisings that ended in crushing defeat within a day, as Sackur pointedly told the senator.
Unfortunately, only someone who has really jarred his brain by using it as a battering ram against bricks in his jail cell will believe that. Or, as the BBC presenter said politely, someone totally “out of tune” with reality.
But I have to assume that Trillanes has not completely gone batty during his long incarceration as a twice-failed putschist. Otherwise, I must conclude that, from being out of tune, he is now out of his mind.
My only consolation is that in a couple of years, Trillanes will also be out of a job as a senator. Then, he will be able to trade stories of epic stonewalling with the man who, among his many other sins to the nation, allowed Trillanes to leave jail and inflict his strange brand of craziness on an entire country.
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If you want fake news, perhaps you should ask the propaganda-savvy left-wing groups to give you some. If they can come up with specific cases of crimes committed by the military in Marawi City, all the better.
There is no question that the continuing war in Marawi has made heroes of soldiers in the eyes of the Filipino people. And that is something that the Philippine Left, which has denounced the military for committing all manner of abuses and “crimes against the people” for so many decades, will certainly never allow.
It’s saddening that the leftists, who are fighting to stay relevant at a time when they are no longer even in the national conversation, should be making unfounded (because there have been no specific incident reports) of rape, looting and other crimes committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Marawi. I can only conclude, because of the lack of a single recorded incident, that the leftists are up to their old propaganda tricks.
It’s safe to say that while the war against the IS-inspired Maute terrorist group in Marawi has not yet ended more than a month after it began last May 23, the AFP and PNP units involved in the fighting have already won over the hearts of their countrymen. The outpouring of support for our troops from all over the country, including the Muslims and even the displaced Maranaos of Marawi itself, who despise the terrorists with a passion, must have made the leftists extremely jealous.
After all, the goodwill enjoyed by the troops goes against the old leftist narrative that security forces since the Marcos years have preyed on the citizenry in the guise of putting down various rebellions. This probably prompted the militant women’s group Gabriela to make the claim that Muslim women from Marawi fled to evacuation centers in nearby Iligan City and elsewhere to escape the “threat” of rape from the soldiers fighting the Maute.
This is an unsubstantiated claim that must be exposed for what it is: A brazen attempt by the Left to discredit the military, which finds itself in the new and unfamiliar role of being true defenders of the people.
But the Left, as a result of its own depredations on the population, its bloody and divisive internal power struggles and its insistence on espousing a discredited ideology, has already become irrelevant. It will not profit in any way from its efforts to accuse our soldiers of crimes they did not commit.