Sunday, February 26, 2006

Beware the Ides of March...

*image from here

It is no secret that parts of the country have been active over the weekend, commemorating the first EDSA rallies that eventually turned into protests against the now-infamous announcement by the president.

On Friday, February 24, GMA gravely announced that the nation was under a state of emergency after having 'crushed' a coup attempt by the military and had the freedom to arrest without issuing any warrants (the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus; scroll down). Sassy probes the proclamation announcement here and here; Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison likened (scroll down again) the emergency powers to "tyranny".

It wasn't long before the people took to the streets in protest against the proclamation, and in the midst of all the mess came the reports (bottom stories) that Randy David, a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Argee Guevarra, a lawyer, were arrested while participating in an anti-Arroyo march on EDSA. Media clampdowns (second to the last story) came in the form of the Daily Tribune newspaper, where police seized mock copies early Saturday morning and secured the entire office.

All these events happened within hours of each other during Friday and Saturday, and it is obvious that Arroyo's critics still do not agree with her recent 'tactics'; some have called her an improved version of Ferdinand Marcos. So why does March 15 feel somewhat ominous?

Julius Caesar was assassinated that day, the Ides of March, by a group of patrician Senators who feared that he would pronounce himself as king over Rome and not, as you may think, over his becoming a dictator for life. What's even more meaningful is that his assasinators wanted to restore the Republic and in doing so tangibly altered the course of Roman history.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should take note, and quickly. I suddenly feel chills.


Turns out I was misinformed about the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. There is none, although the country is still under a state of emergency.