I was holding editorial meetings the whole day so I didn't notice my mother's text message until late in the afternoon (in the middle of yet another meeting).
"There's a coup?" I blurted out.
Everyone else in the table looked up from gloomily pondering GFDL vs. Philippine copyright law. "RLY?"
(It should be staff policy for people to check their cellphones more often, not to mention actual news websites. XD; The writers are busy preparing for a special feature on the Filipino Christmas so books and almanacs have lately been obscuring computer screens. But more on that later).
Anyway -- I gather from reading blogs and message boards that the predominant reaction to this latest attempt to save the Philippines is a collective eyeroll. These d00dz should also read more Shounen Jump or something. They've got the messianic complex down pat but need to work on, you know, the logic thing, since they don't have genius ghosts from the Heian era hovering around giving them advice, shinigami dads, or demonic alter egos to scare the shit out of people in lieu of making them see reason. Giant mechs could probably do the trick but they don't have those too, DO THEY.
In other words: Major, major fail.
Watching the coup coverage was pretty embarrassing. I think I sort of get Antonio Trillanes' predilection for choosing ritzy hotels as his headquarters from which he and his cohorts can launch their ineptly written and thoroughly uninspiring missives to the Filipino people. The reports did mention that Trillanes explained his choice of the Manila Peninsula as a matter of convenience. Apparently, the plan was to go to Ninoy Aquino's monument after he walked out from his very own treason trial (while the security gaped stupidly--I would have shot him or done some kung-fu. These police people should watch more cable), but because it was RAINING, he and and his entourage decided to swing by the Manila Pen for some coffee and French pastries in between exhorting their fellow Filipinos to change the world.
Can they be any more ridiculous, I ask you? Yeah, thought so. It boggled the mind the first time he pulled off a stunt like this, back in 2003, when he also masterminded a coup in Oakwood (as if you could eject the president of the country by holding a 5-star hotel hostage). Friends think that he would have been more effectively heard if he had chosen a more er public pulpit, but I suspect that Trillanes takes a perverse delight in declaring a mass revolution in the bosom of high-society Manila. A slap in the face of privilege, one might say. The problem with this reasoning is that he and his supporters are not exactly being subtle about wallowing in their burgis pretensions. Or else Trillanes is all too (sadly) conscious of his own delusions, since to his mind, he is already savior, president, Great Leader of the country. Nakakahiya talaga.
After government troops rammed a freaking tank into the glass doors of the Manila Pen lobby (see video taken by a SOLDIER, link c/o kytha -- how did he manage to find the time to play with his digicam while he was supposedly in the middle of disarming insurgents?), Trillanes agreed to surrender because he did not want Teh People to suffer bloodshed. Er, what? They were aiming the guns at your insufferably smug face, you nitwit. Furthermore, I don't see how he could have expected a different outcome. Did he seriously think that once he took over a hotel the government would crawl on its knees and beg him for forgiveness or something? "Oh, we're so sorry we accused you of treason. Also, we hope that you will understand that the reason why we did not immediately allow you to assume your senatorial office (haha! yes) was because you said that the first thing you would do once elected is to bring the government down. And you have proven us right! We are humbled."
Thankfully Filipinos seem to be genetically wired with some sort of, well, whatever mechanism it is that prevents us from collective immolation. We have messianic cults liek whoa but we're just too ridiculous for the actual apocalypse. There is definitely a missing link in this equation. You have people who want to save the world, the only problem is badly driven tanks, congested traffic, corny politicians, and rain get in the way. Revolutions end up with merienda in a hotel lobby.