by Alan Robles
What do you do with a stupid employee who's always drunk on the job, who steals wantonly, womanizes, gambles, refuses to work, bullies everybody, schemes with fellow crooks and bribes the other servants using your money?
Fire him, of course.
Joseph Estrada finally outlived his uselessness. His government dissolved from under him, melted in four days by the white hot rage of a people betrayed by traditional politicians.
It was Estrada's stubborn refusal to go which forced Filipinos to make history again. A pity it didn't coincide with the anniversary of the 1986 Edsa uprising, but nobody will blame the people for swiftly ejecting this gangsta government. And while it wasn't exactly Ferdinand Marcos 1986, more like Abdala Bucaram 1997, it was still very cleansing.
Showing an infinite capacity for self-delusion, Estrada's supporters and hired It is certainly heart warming to talk of the "healing process", but if the process papers over a deep sickness then the country will find itself saddled with another monster, perhaps one not as drunk and stupid as the last one help derided the crowds as "mobs." Among the deluded: 11 Senators who voted to block the presentation of evidence which would have shown Estrada owning more wealth than he could legally explain. We can now expect these eleven to spend the next few months singing self-piteous tunes. In fact if 1986 is anything to go by scores of Erap supporters should soon be emerging to swear on a stack of bibles that they were just acting according to their conscience or the law, or that they were coerced, or duped, or zapped with mind control lasers.
What else can we expect? Mealy mouthed platitudes about putting country above self. Speeches about patriotism and heroism. Before we descend into maudlin self-congratulation and sentimentality we should keep three things in mind.
First of all, while People Power II was an exhilarating, high-energy event (the confetti, the black shirts of mourning, the cheering crowds, the cars honking to the rhythm of "Erap Resign") -- its victory was decided by one thing alone. The appearance on the Edsa shrine of a group of men in uniform, wearing peaked caps (one even had dark glasses). The military, once again, are major players in politics.
Second, two evil words which came out of 1986 have reappeared. "National reconciliation." Under the banality of that expression, flocks of Marcos cronies, of human rights violators and plunderers got away unpunished. Though after Marcos fled there were wholesale revelations about how he and his cronies had looted and murdered, not one of them has done time for it.
Will it be the same with the Erap gang? Will Ali Bobo and his 40 thieves -- Atong Ang, Dante Tan, Bong Pineda, Mark Jimenez, the grasping concubines and bastards -- will they all sail off into comfortable exile with their pickings, there to rant about the wickedness of their foes? Estrada might be deposed, but according to Congress he's still a crook. What if he decides to participate in the next elections? It wouldn't be any more bizarre than the fact that we currently have a congressman who ran and won while in jail.
Finally, Filipinos should ask themselves: how many more numbers are we going to stick after the words "People Power"? Will we have a People Power XV? Are we going to be doing this again? It is certainly heart warming to talk of the "healing process", but if the process papers over a deep sickness then the country will find itself saddled with another monster, perhaps one not as drunk and stupid as the last one.
It was a nice party, but now we have to clean up the mess. And while we're at it, let's do something about the kind of politics expounded by the odious Tessie Aquino Oreta, a senator who voted to protect Erap and was caught on video capering gleefully about it. She later told an interviewer her idea of public service: "What is most important to me is my family."