WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL. Clueless. By Gail Ilagan

He wanted his presscon so bad, but he did not want to hold it in the Makati Trial Court restroom where the reporters ganged up on him. The man has pretensions at class. It was the Manila Peninsula down the road or bust.

The most expensive press con in recent history was another case of command and signal blurred under stress. Trillanes did not want to wait for the party because the gatecrashers were in place to ruin it. So he called the party on a day early to confuse the gatecrashers. He jumped the gun hoping to catch the AFP flatfooted as it was overstretched dealing with the aftermath of Minda, Lando and the giant waves on the eastern seaboard. So maybe he thought that while the soldiers were busy securing the people who really needed help, he could get away with a party at the Pen.

Bad judgment. Looks like he only succeeded in confusing the crowd he expected to show. There they were caught somewhere else and preening in front of the camera to show, "Look, Ma, my hands are clean. (Whew! Thank God I'm not there.)"

Something was going down. It looked pretty obvious. Someone with Trillanes' half a brain could work it out: Magdalo. Bonifacio Day coming up. Though why Trillanes thought this country needed his particular brand of heroism on Bonifacio Day is beyond me. He's not even making the grade as a senator, what makes him think he can make the grade as president? And on what basis does he think he can identify with the Great Proletariat? Ka Andres must be turning in his grave, wherever that is.

If this was about recreating EDSA 1, he and James Layug should have timed it when people were already on the verge of mass hysteria for one reason or another. Revolutionary fervor gets dissipated when the revolutionaries have yet to stir up hysteria before they can do their thing. In the Philippines, you pull something like that and it only gets the lemmings confused. You have to stop and explain. And fervor-wise, the best response you can get from that is, "Ah, ganu'n pala yun." That doesn't sound like someone willing to lie on the road to stop tanks from rolling, does it?

You'd think people would be on the brink of hysteria just because it's Bonifacio Day? The Magdalo boys (Trillanes faction) were. They thought the rest of us were just as similarly stirred by revolutionary fervor on the day of the Great Proletariat. Gee, sorry, most of us are just looking forward to the holiday to pay our sleep debt or go Christmas shopping. Trillanes and his boys are just so not here with us on that one.
 
That something was going down was pretty obvious. Heck, Magdalo delivered the warning some weeks back. If we can remember, Magdalo lawyer Roel Pulido was at the Batasan on November 13. He said, Gloria should step down. (And then, as if for emphasis, there was a big bang.)

Trillanes obviously agrees that Gloria should step down. Her government is not the kind to tolerate the circus of expensive press conferences. See her government come down hard on all those who make it happen. See what media people get for going to the restroom.

Okay, okay- we get the message. The Magdalo (Trillanes faction) is saying Gloria should step down.

They made former commanding general of the First Scout Ranger Regiment Danny Lim say it on air, too. Lim finally got to air the view live instead of merely taping it like what they say he did last time. But wait – it does not look like Lim wrote that statement. He had difficulty reading it. Anybody saw who gave Lim that paper on which that statement was written? You wanna bet it was a member of the Magdalo (Trillanes faction)?

Anyhow, at noon that day, I texted Lim's successor at the FSRR, BGen. Reynaldo B. Mapagu how remarkable it was that I had just published on the Tambara University Journal Milo Maestrecampo's inside view on Oakwood and here was another event that would probably keep me at work trying to understand military interventions in the Philippines. Both busy, Gen. Mapagu and I had been playing tag earlier this week trying to find a common time when we could go for coffee and talk about things in the offing- like maybe what to expect this coming Bonifacio Day.
 
Cool as cucumber, the good general texted me back a noncommittal "Looks like it nga. Haha" He wasn't bothered at all. The FSRR recently had a glorious anniversary celebration when rangers from all over came home to Camp Tecson to renew their ties of solidarity over sardines and Skyflakes. You think they'd all abandon their post and rush to the Pen just because larger-than-life Danny Lim was there?

As one of the best military tacticians who admittedly is known to have this thing about staging coup attempts in the Makati financial district, it defies logic how Danny Lim allowed himself to willingly step into the Pen when it was pretty obvious that it would be merely a matter of time before the hotel got surrounded and they all had to surrender. (Well, like, remember what happened in Oakwood? I guess whoever chose the Pen – and I bet it wasn't Lim – had only half a brain that found it hard to buck its compulsion for patterns to decision making under stress.)

I can well understand former Vice President Teofisto Guingona and former UP President Dodong Nemenzo wanting to come in from the rain. When you're retired you got to take care of your health. But for Lim to willingly walk into a building where he could be tear-gassed and cornered –which is exactly what happened, there's something here that does not add up. It brings to mind Milo Maestrecampo's term for Oakwood: uncontrollable battlefield. That's what the Magdalo soldiers found themselves confronted with when decisions were being made by Trillanes and Layug in 2003.

There was no escape for Lim. How could there be when the unforgiving cameras trailed him even to the restroom? So maybe Trillanes should rethink the notion that the best place to hide is in front of the camera. That act only endangers the camera man who does not know any better.
 
Catching Lim by surprise and turning him into the sacrificial lamb was not enough, obviously. From the comforts of the Manila Pen, Trillanes issued an invitation for more people to join him.

The people stayed away. I guess that meant no.

I suspect Trillanes would never understand the word.

Heck, he's no hero material when he's not even ready to die for what he desperately believes in. Not in Oakwood, and not in the Pen. He blinks! The paawa-awa effect was nauseating. Push came to shove so many times for the eleventh senator and still is he clueless about what separates men from boys.

(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] "Send at the risk of a reply," she says).

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