This is not a serious country, and perhaps we should be grateful for that. No slaughtered soldiers were brought out in body bags from the Pen yesterday, there was no dramatic end for Trillanes and his cohorts defending their right to room service in the Rizal ballroom.
In the warm light of another tropical day, yesterday’s events seem more like playground antics than a news event. All the most trivial and inconsequential elements of Philippine public life were on view:
-- the love of empty theatrics and uniforms,
-- the preference for bombast over coherent ideas (from General Lim’s statement, “The die is cast pursuant to our constitutional mandate as protector of the people and state”, see the whole windblown version here and Trillanes’s embarrassing attempt to explain what the hell he was doing),
-- the “Boy’s Own” language of the protagonists (“Barias then called up a “mistah” (military school classmate) on his cell phone and was heard saying in Filipino: ‘I’ve established a foothold’), and
-- and the national penchant for placing personal harmony above other considerations (lawyer Argee Guevarra on the atmosphere among the plotters -- “Everybody was in good spirits” -- gee that’s great Argee, so long as they are all having fun).
Yet, although I’m glad that Ayala didn’t run with blood yesterday, maybe the “hang ‘em high” mob at Carlos Celdran’s blog has a point. If life in the Philippines was more “serious”, if people faced real consequences for their actions, perhaps they might think twice before doing these things, and surely you wouldn’t have to think more than that to realize the how absurd and ridiculous yesterday’s events were.