The superhero of the opposition


In recent months a motley of discontents have walked up to the batting plate variously claiming either renewed and vigorous opposition to the current administration or have unilaterally draped upon themselves the mantle of leadership against the duly elected and still substantially popular presidency of Rodrigo R. Duterte.

These are acts of defiance. But not against Duterte as they might want us to believe. Where the approval numbers of credible polling agencies remain in favor of Duterte, their defiance tactfully places them against both the President and the general public.

Note the profound nature of their opposition. None has declared critical collaboration with the administration as decent statesmen might do. None has specifically mentioned checks and balances or the critical role of a minority as might a mature democratic constituency declare.

Instead, they were clear in their message — a fight was in the offing, lines have been drawn and they choose to stand defiantly opposite the people.

Their timing is suspect however. One was being confronted by the growing diminution of her gossamer-thin lead versus a more experienced pedigreed candidate in the 2016 polls who might have won had not massive cheating denied him the vice presidency.

Not only would she stand to lose her seat but also, charges of electoral fraud would be validated and fall upon her and her political party — the ruling party in 2016.

The other is an ousted Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The opposition had briefly rallied to her plight. Until perhaps there was this creeping realization that she was so uninspiring it was better to seek other people could rally around.

To the misfortune of the opposition, its bench remains short and populated by either old time traditional politicos long tarnished by their complicity in impeaching a former Chief Justice where bribes were involved, or they had undistinguished records in both the legislature and as government factotums.

Given the foregoing, by design Antonio Trillanes walks into the circus ring and positions himself under the klieg lights. The opposition has been a comedy of errors since. One verging on complete absurdity.

Scot-free on the basis of a bogus grant of amnesty by a mere factotum going solo and rogue on his assumption of “delegated” authority where the alter ego paradigm is inapplicable, here is how Trillanes defends himself.

In a video broadcasted on 5 January 2011, Trillanes is shown saying: “Ang nakalagay kasi sa application form is a general admission of guilt, ano, na may labag na kahit anong batas, whether sa Armed Forces or sa Revised Penal Code and kuwan po iyan, ever since hindi po naman kami nagpanggap na yung ginawa po namin na pagpunta sa Oakwood and sa Manila Pen na natural na ginagawa ng sundalo, uhm, we are man enough to admit we have broken rules in the pursuit of our ah, moral cause, and uhm, we faced it like men, nakulong po kami and the others were separated from the service, so it’s very easy for us to admit to that… Wala po tayong regret dun sa ginawa po natin, nangyari na po iyan, yan po ang iginuhit ng tadhana so to speak, kaya tinanggap po natin iyan.”

Translating and paraphrasing for clarity, “…the application form (for amnesty) refers to a general admission of guilt for any offense whether covered under the Armed Forces or the Revised Penal Code. We make no pretense, what we did in Oakwood or the Manila Pen are natural acts of a soldier…we were detained (for it)…We have no regrets for what we did. It happened and that is whatever fate had written…so we accept it.”

The absurdity is where Trillanes, totally unrepentant, justifies armed violence in a working democracy, invokes a moral cause and then simply admits to “breaking rules” and not the charge of armed rebellion. The difference is critical. More so had his deadly betrayal succeeded in overthrowing the government and installing a junta in its stead.

If these characters are what comprise the opposition’s heroes, it is no wonder they’re in the doghouse.