I hope those who marched for the ideals of EDSA Tres will similarly achieve their vindication. As DJB points out, the present Administration has provided many opportunities to do just that.
In the meantime, today's event has provided another occassion to showcase the cleavage between the two camps. Over at Ellen's, the commenters who are usually united (primarily by their opposition to Gloria) exhibited more than the usual divergence of opinion. In particular, when she posted the Black and White Movement's reaction to the verdict, commenter maarte had this to say...
"Both Black & White (Civil Society) and Bayan were among the participants in Edsa Two ousting Erap. Expectedly, they accepted the verdict. Why don’t they now conspire with other groups to oust Arroyo this time? Where’s Cory Aquino and the Catholic Church? Isang tambak kayong mga ipokrito ! Revolution na !"...which was seconded by commenter emrjay...
"Yeah! i agree with maarte. Just ignore whatever they (Black and White and Bayan)said. Hypocrites!!!!"and commenter Chi...
"Ako rin, same opinion here about Black and White Movement and Bayan. In fact, sila ang rason kung bakit ang Pinas ay nagkakaganito na niloloko lang ni Gloria.Gloria Arroyo, who is the proximate cause of such division, can very well exploit these resentments and mutual distrust to retain power. Just saying.
Personally, I don’t expect more from them. They installed Gloria, they deserve Gloria!
Tama na ang mga press releases ninyo. Don’t justify anything dahil malaki ang kasalanan ninyo sa bayan for subverting the Constitution!"
Update Sept-13-2007 1:16AM: At Uniffors, Manuel Buencamino reflects on the people's sense of justice (a blind spot for lawyers steeped in their profession), and mourns a lost opportunity.
Update Sept-15-2007 4:13PM: In his Inquirer column for today, Erap’s Conviction and the Rule of Law, Randy David explains the source of the cognitive dissonance that i referred to above:
"The legal system of any society is strengthened not so much when it succeeds in putting the high and mighty on trial, but when the law is applied consistently and predictably over time. We know there is rule of law when people have stable notions of what is legal and illegal, and know what to expect when laws are violated...In his blog, Arbet furnishes specific examples of what David describes above. However, David also does not spare the Opposition as he also says that:
...The independence of the judiciary and the professional integrity of those who serve in the various agencies of government, including those in the police and the armed forces, are the minimum conditions needed to make the rule of law work in a democracy. Alas, under Ms Arroyo’s watch, we have seen the most blatant undermining of these institutions by the executive. The assault on the autonomy of the investigative and prosecutorial offices of government, in particular, has been so brazen one wonders if those in charge are still in possession of their wits. Investigations, prosecutions, and preventive suspensions have been utterly selective. The pace and pattern in which they have been conducted manifest an astonishing partisanship often bordering on sheer malice and whim. The law has plainly been used as a weapon to threaten and punish political enemies...
The result of all this has been the consistent erosion of public trust in the country’s legal system."
"...If blame must be allocated, it has to be laid at the door of those who have done everything, directly and indirectly, to prevent the Court from focusing on the strictly legal merits of the case. I’m afraid they come from all sides of the political equation [emphasis mine]. If we keep subverting the autonomy of our judicial system, or promote a cynical view of our courts, how much justice can we expect when it is GMA’s or Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos’ turn to be tried?"A fair enough question.
Update Sept-16-2007 3:51PM: Over at Ellen's, commenter maarte quotes Ninez Cacho Olivares:
" Predictably, the so-called elites, along with the Catholic bishops and, of course, the leftists, hailed the Erap guilty verdict, praised the Sandiganbayan court for proving to one and all that “no one is above the law” when it convicted the ousted president.I agree that we're dreamy idiots if we think that Gloria Arroyo will be brought to justice by simply moving on. However, even the Tribune editorial for today says that:
They then issued statements to the effect that the Erap conviction sends a strong warning to all those in government not to engage in corruption and other criminal acts because the rule of law is being observed.
What dreamy idiots they can be, if they think that a guilty verdict on Estrada handed by a politicized judiciary can scare off these corrupt officials under the Gloria regime"
"Consider it divine justice, but the conviction on questionable grounds of ousted President Joseph Estrada served to highlight more the excesses of the Arroyo administration."I think it is in this sense that Erap's conviction can serve as a warning.
Update Oct-26-2007 2:11AM: Looks like Gloria Arroyo took the warning to heart.