Monday, September 05, 2005

Siege Warfare

As i write this, former President Aquino is at the Batasan, sitting alongside Susan Roces. As one columnist said, the image of the Republic's two most famous widows is statement enough for the war that is Gloriagate.

This morning, Madame Cory also announced that she will lead a march to the Batasan tomorrow, Tuesday, to... encourage recalcitrant congressmen to side with the Truth. This is akin to a throwing down of the gauntlet from the foremost icon of democracy this country has. This only means that Pres. Aquino has taken up the challenge of leading the pro-impeachment forces, and has joined her still-significant clout and drawing power to that of Fernando Poe's widow.

Truly, this is a very powerful force to send against the walls of Gloria's Jericho.

I can hear the Catholic schools mobilizing; I may not be involved anymore with the operations of the Union, but I have guided its strategies and policies for so long, and trained so many of the current SC officers and operators, to not know how the UCSC member-schools will react. In this they are truly our heirs, as it was our generation that provided the numbers during PP2. Although it pains me to see our successors take to the streets once again against a sitting president not four years after we did - I genuinely thought PP2 was the last time we would do such a thing - it also makes me proud to know that the Union's leaders do not balk when the clarion calls.

Gloria should be afraid...

I just spent a whole day sifting through various columnists and news reports. As usual, Fr. Bernas was informative, and Randy David sets it straight (while de Quiros never fails to raise my ire one way or another; what a cheap jab at Ateneo, Ateneans and the Jesuits in his column today. Can't he praise the La Sallians without having to throw mud at Loyola Heights?). Meanwhile, Sec. Bobby Tiglao gives an interesting piece from the point of view of the Palace.

Again, Gloria is under siege. Once more the forces seeking her ouster bring their trumpets to sound around her walls hoping to see them fall like they did with Erap and Marcos. This time, it appears they are united under the leadership of Cory and Susan, and where few from the moderates joined the earlier actions, perhaps more will this time, if Sunday at DLSU-GH is any indication.

Will she fall this time?

This would be interesting to see. This would be, what, the fifth time she has been challenged? This would also be the first time she is assaulted without a solid backing from civil society, and there seems to be a tacit, if hush-hush, support from the Church, at least from the major religious orders. Remember that the orders run the Catholic Schools, which provided much of the manpower for the moderates during the RIO and PP2.

Will she fall?

In siege warfare, there are merits and demerits for the position of both defense and offense. For the former, there is the advantage of prepared positions, of strongpoints of defense and knowledge of the terrain. For the latter, there is that undisputable fact that the defense has no way of resupply or reinforcement. The defense would either (a) try to sortie and break the invader's ranks to lift the siege, or (b) tough it out until substantial relief forces come to break the siege. The offense, meanwhile, assuming their own lines of supply and reinforcement are secure (isn't Napoleon a genius, when he emphasized that a crucial factor in warfare is the state of one's supply?), has all the time in the world to whittle down the defense through attrition and demoralization.

Gloria's ability to repel this latest assault depends on just how well her own forces are at this juncture. As Prof. David said, she has been waging a multi-front campaign but few if any deal substantially with the issues facing her. Instead, she has fallen back on politics - and the bad side of it, in fact - to save herself. Instead of "feinting" the opposition with a "breakthrough" in her "defences" from an impeachment in the House, she has decided to kill it instead, calling on her political allies and more to buttress her defenses. The opposition, meanwhile, has gotten so incensed over the admin's tactics that, to continue battlefield analogies, they've gone berserk over what happened and now lash out in anger seemingly without the benefit of strategy or tactics.

The way I see it... if Cory had not come out as strongly as she did the last two days, the opposition would have no chance left. Susan Roces alone would not have sufficed because of the people around her that alienates the grand majority of the middle class, the necessary ingredient to any successful mass action, and because of the presence of the Left. Cory's arrival unifies the forces ranged against Gloria, and gives the middle class that "excuse" they're looking for to join the protests. There are still issues that need to be threshed out among the different forces going against Gloria, but Cory provides all of them - the pro-Erap/Poe, the Left and the Moderates - with a leader who can bring them all along. The oust-Gloria movement has now found its Joan of Arc.

Will it be enough, then?

And I hear some of you asking: why will I not be there tomorrow?

I will answer that one when I am sure as to why. Right now, my reasons are my own, but I wish you all the luck in the world.

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