Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lunch with the rebels

Damn, I should have gone to the Peninsula Manila earlier. The guys from Sony Ericsson had scheduled a small press lunch there to unveil their new Bluetooth-equipped line of watches (yes, you heard that right). It had rained all night, so I was up a bit early because I knew traffic would be bad going into Ayala Avenue, and our street floods every frigging time. Who knew it was gonna be Trillanes and company that'd be waiting for us at Peninsula?

No, I never got to the hotel. One cab driver after another refused to go near it, which by 11:30 a.m. had been barricaded on all sides. Roads leading to it had also been closed. Good thing the Sony Ericsson people decided to move the lunch to Tin Hau in nearby Mandarin Oriental. A cab took a chance on Kalayaan and Buendia, which was surprisingly free of gridlock, and that's how I got to within spitting distance of the rebels, who by now had ensconced themselves on the second floor of the Peninsula.

You must wonder at these firebrands. First Oakwood, now the Peninsula. They must love the amenities and free toiletries so much. Or the fact that, after all the hubbub is done and they're off to either the stockade again or--in the event that they did manage to oust The Woman--Malacanang Palace, nobody's gonna dare bill them for their stay in the place. Neat.

"The surprise events appeared to have been well orchestrated," said an Inquirer report. You bet. As an ABS-CBN reporter first noted, it was surprising that right when Trillanes, Guingona et al began marching from JP Rizal to Makati Avenue, the normally jampacked street was suddenly clear of vehicles. This was 11 a.m., a time of mayhem in these parts. But early footage shot from a helicopter showed the group marching under the rain on a wide stretch of car-free boulevard. Stirring image. Brave, principled souls defying the odds.

Whoever cooked up the scenario has an unerring eye for the photogenic and the cinematic. My guess: Somebody in City Hall had advance warning about the walkout, with enough time to clear Makati Avenue of clutter. It really wouldn't look nice on TV for the rebels to appear like ordinary pedestrians on a dreary, rain-soaked day, hemmed in by honking cars all around. Nothing iconic in that. But Trillanes and Guingona leading a lonely march while lashed by rain and an indifferent country--what could be more dramatic?

The first time Trillanes et al turned central Makati into a posh foxhole, Malacanang threatened to bomb them, and Oakwood with it, if they didn't surrender. Oakwood's a precious piece of real estate. Peninsula has that giant fountain. Bomb or no bomb, that kitschy sight deserves to be taken down. Anyway... Once again, the renegades have been slapped with a deadline for their latest caper, "although [NCR Police Director Geary Barias] did not say what would happen after the deadline has lapsed," noted the report. It's now 4:14; 3 p.m. was the deadline set by the police.

"Tapos, sasama na din sila?," quipped a colleague, referring to the police. Laughter. Not a far-fetched thing, that. Not in this country where the strangest of things can wind up coming true. "Mamaya, andyan na naman sina Jinggoy," said another. To which I replied, "Then good luck to them. Would you march for Jinggoy?"

We finished our lunch.

7 comments:

paetechie said...

i noticed that incident around 11:30 earlier plus the barricade of ayala and makati avenue. darn, i didn't bring my camera. i posted an entry about the makati standoff but can't take a better picture sans my camera. a crappy camphone is all i ahve

Anonymous said...

in honor of this days events i will share a quote from the great lady of cinema, azenith tobias.

"walang tubig, walang pagkain. eh 'di magsayaw na lang tayo."

-ryansumera

snglguy said...

Damn! I was hoping these guys would go out in a glorious blaze of gunfire but instead they came out teary-eyed and whimpering. Fight to the death kuno. Man, I'm really disappointed.

Noemi said...

You could have been teary eyed and all if you got caught in the tear gas attack. Hey, I noticed the very visible Mayor Binay was not around.

stevie said...

Troublemaker and intriguero, Trillanes is an elected Senator of the Philippines. How's our pinoy pride doing? Its been a while pa since we won the Miss Universe. Even Manny Paquiao is becoming a cliche. Lea Salong-you've got to win another Tony!

MONACO said...

early on during the takeover reporters kept asking its perpetrators (and themselves) if this was planned. of course they they denied it. hello? is the pope catholic? of course this was planned! they didn’t just look each other in the eye during court recess and decided to walk to makati! or decided to use the manila pen restrooms because the one in the courts was dirty! the timing was almost right. with gloria out of town, esperon in mindanao, they thought they could get away with it. wrong! and one more thing, if this was not planned how come they had a prepared statement for the media? I didn’t see them typing something while traversing makati avenue? these people think we’re stupid!

gibbs cadiz said...

PAETECHIE, thanks for the link! :)

RYAN, you mean azenith briones, right? :)

SNGLGUY, you're not the only one disappointed. :)

NOEMI, which is rather suspicious, right? i'm sure there's a story there. :)

STEVIE, haha, everything in this country repeats itself--first as tragedy, then as farce. :)

MONACO, hey, haha, astute observation! oo nga, san galing yung prepared statement na yon? :)

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