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.