"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'"
"Who's the bigger fool? The fool, or the one who follows him?" --Old saying
It all started sensationally. Sometime around 11:00AM, during their hearing recess, Sen. Antonio Trillanes and companions abruptly walked out of the courtroom. Everyone was stunned. No one attempted to stop them, not even the armed escorts who were supposed to make sure they behaved. On they walked to the streets of Makati, and into the Manila Peninsula. Another uprising in the making? Probably, probably.
Once more the nation waited with bated breath. But when all was said and done, it turned out to be another Big Nothing after all. No adoring crowds assembled, no cavalry swooped down to the rescue. Instead, surrender -- now with a bang, with a whimper -- a flawed mirror to Oakwood from five years ago.
(What is it with this fetish for posh, swanky hotels, anyway? But I digress.)
A tactician Trillanes is not, that much is clear now. In fact, the extent of his naivete is surprising. Here is a man who has won a moral victory in the last elections, and yet has been unable to consolidate it into any solid footing. Worse, he's gambled away significant good will by pulling this cheap stunt.
We wouldn't be so harsh on him if he had succeeded. It's not like the Filipino people love Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo so much that we would lay our lives down for her; quite the contrary, many would probably cheer her downfall.
"If." That's the point, isn't it? If he had succeeded, congressmen and senators and governors and mayors would be beating a path to his door. If he had pulled it off, the United States would be calling in with a message of congratulations. But he didn't, and that's a world of a difference.
At best, all he achieved was to show how paranoid and how not in control this administration has become. Those whom gods destroy and all that, yes, but that we already knew.
Perhaps it's symbolic that Trillanes should have attempted his latest beau geste on the eve of the day we honor Andres Bonificio. The Great Plebeian set into motion events which would ultimately lead to independence for the Philippines, but had it stolen from his hands by bourgeois opportunists. So reminiscent of recent history, isn't it?