Nov. 29, 2007

writers in a dangerous time*

* with all due respect to the barenaked ladies.

the fact is, i woke this morning at quarter to ten. my girlfriend is sick, and i had forgotten to buy her cough meds. and so i got up, braved the flood spawned by the rains earlier in the morning, and queued up at the nearest mercury outlet at kingswood. i picked up pancakes at mcdo on the way back. i was bracing myself for a very sick, rainy thursday.

by the time i got back home, my phone was already ringing. it’s my dad. “asan ka na,” he’s asking. apparently, he’s somewhere in bohol. “anong balita diyan?” my father’s ‘what’s up’ calls have been more frequent lately, owing perhaps to the recent series of bombings at Glorietta and Batasan and the typhoons and everything else.

“anong anong balita?” i asked. “i just woke up.”

“there’s something with trillanes in makati,” my dad’s saying. “you’re not in the office yet?”

“no, i just woke up,” i repeated. “ang cute mo naman, nauunahan mo pa ako.”

we exchanged more pleasantries. i just called my father ‘cute’. trillanes? something? in makati? must be nothing, i just thought. after all, it *is* trillanes.

moments later, it’s jaycee on my phone. “what’s happening, julie’s all over the tv.”

“all over the tv, why?”

“all over the tv yeah, apparently trillanes is calling for a coup.”

oh no not again. coup = more news. coup = hectic day. coup = BAD. “oh christ.”

andrea looked up. “why?”

“trillanes is at it again.”

*

the moment i stepped in to the office, i heard ANC on tv.

ANC on tv = not good. ANC on tv at 1pm = definitely ominous.

“we’re recording,” one of my co-workers said.

boy, are we in for a long one.

apparently, around 11 am today, trillanes walked out of his hearing at a makati rtc with his escorts and former gen. danny lim. they were met along the way by supporters, they walked the streets of makati and caused traffic in what seemed to be a semblance of a rally or a mini-people power. they stopped at the manila peninsula hotel and holed themselves in there.

then there was a statement calling for the president’s resignation, the withdrawal of support by the military and the formation of a new government. hmm. where have i seen this before.

so to make a long story short, police stormed the place and trillanes et al were arrested after six or so hours.

so much for the initial scare. another failed coup, just another day in the office.

well, it was supposed to have been dismissed as another one of those botched attempts na nakakakaba lang sa simula. that is until they started rounding up members of the media in the area and herding them into buses bound for the ncrpo headquarters in bicutan.

what? they were arresting members of the media? for what? for unwittingly obstructing justice daw. by virtue of their presence in the premises daw while the thing was going on. say what again?

we told you, dilg head ronaldo puno would say later at a press conference, we told you you had to leave the area. we asked at 2:30, we asked at 3 p.m. and every five minutes after that. reminding you, your news desks to please vacate the area. but you didn’t.

and i was thinking about julie. who was there and all over the tv the whooole day. for whose safety i had constantly been thinking about. (matouch ka naman kapatid onti lang haha)

and i was thinking, had julie pulled out — well, the editors would have killed her anyway so might as well stay where the hot action was, right?

right.

now the good interior govt head is telling media, this is how you do your job. i bet maria ressa would be infuriated. (as a matter of fact, she is actually - she was there in 1989 and in 2003 and she says none of the journalists then were arrested even if they were inside the premises. hmm. curious.)

and now they have even imposed a 12mn-5am curfew. no gimmicks tonight, ladies and gents. unless you have an ID and are willing to brave checkpoints. but imho, checkpoint hassles just ain’t worth it, so we all better stay at home and pray this just lasts for a night as promised.

as promised. for the first time in this life, there’s actually a state-sanctioned curfew for all people (meaning not just minors) — in metro manila, in region 3 and calabarzon.

hmm. where have i seen this before.

so it’s 9 pm and my shift’s ending. but my eyes are staying wide open.