Wednesday, October 12, 2005
It's been seven days since I was last online and the world was so much different then. I took a 5-day leave from work in preparation for our religious congregation's 2-day National Thanksgiving Celebrations in Apalit, Pampanga and to help out my wife in reviewing the kids for their major exams at school. Seven days ago people were talking that Martial Law was about to be declared. Now they say Martial Law is here, albeit in disguise. Now they are saying a dictator is born, albeit with presidential pretensions. Now they are saying the situation is just plain bullsh-t.

De Quiros is echoing the persistent rumor that Gloria is about to declare Martial Law, by whatever name, by the end of the month, taking advantage of the long holiday afforded by the Halloween, the Catholics' All Saint's Day and the Muslim Ramadan. And maybe, when all pinoy bloggers suddenly became mute after that time, it would be a sign to the the whole world that a dictator indeed is born. It would then be followed by a barrage of government propaganda preaching to the tune of "happy days are here again!. . . "

Back at home our PLDT landline was dead so I could not go online. Our TV was also conveniently non-functioning except for a few channels including UNTV37. It was only around Thursday that I checked the newspapers in the local palengke that I got to gleam the news to be astounded by that week's latest trial baloon- the Terror Bill, which was every inch terrifying.

On my way to Apalit, it was the taxi driver that kept reminding me of the political turmoils in the country. Talkative taxi drivers are really the masters in street-level journalism gathering and dishing out news by word-of-mouth. When Martial Law or its equivalent is declared, I would only have to ride the Taxis to know the latest news. They have no political agenda to advance, no business interests to protect and they operate in the privacy of a moving vehicle. Anyway, the driver and I were in agreement that Marcos was far more humanitarian than Gloria is if only for the fact that Marcos was conscious enough of history to adopt the policy of "Maximum Tolerance". That Erap, despite supposed involvement in jueteng and womanizing, suddenly looks saintly when compared to Gloria. Now even people in the military who happened to hop into his Taxi are saying that something "big and nasty" is likely to happen soon. So, despite the bravado Tabako's statement don't sound convincing to me. Remember that Civil War was the worst case scenario Ramos pictured, not Martial Law nor a Coup. Hmmm... that Taxi cab was indeed one hot newsmobile! On that note, let me just say thet I miss Jove blogging from inside the Palace. I suppose we can petition Ed Lingao to send him back from the US!

During the long trip, I noticed too how news really gets less "filtered" on live radio than on TV News having been able to compare the live news coverage of DZBB (of GMA7 ) and TV Patrol (of Abs-Cbn2) when I hopped to my 2nd Taxi that Friday night.In DZBB, I got the impression that the general situation was "tense" while in TV Patrol it was relatively peaceful, I wonder why oh why. . . This reminds me of the same "tempered" editorial policy of ABS-CBN in its coverage of anti-Erap demonstrations--no wonder their only show with a "decent" rating nowadays is Pinoy Big Brothel. That at a time when news is most sellable. Go figure.

In the TV program PUBLIC FORUM on UHF channel UNTV37 there was this phone caller (a medical doctor) who made a relevant observation saying he noticed that all TV News & Public affairs programs, it would seem, were parroting the official administration line except those in UNTV37.He noticed too that the signal of UHF channel 37 suddenly became verry choppy when Public Forum begins to air.

For those who don't know yet, PUBLIC FORUM is a simple, low-budgeted public affairs show where the hosts accept live impromptu calls from the general public to allow anyone with anything to say on the day's issues be heard by everyone else. The doctor also said he was watching via his SkyCable connection. Connect the dots.

UNTV37 management have been receiving similar complaints. Reportedly they were experiencing garbled signals of UNTV37 via their SkyCable and HomeCable connections. My, my. Good thing they can still watch UHF by simply unplugging their cable connection (and if I were them, I will keep it unplugged for good). And so it would seem that the main reason for the need to "takeover vital public installations" in case of a declaration of National Emergency was to silence the few remaining avenues of dissent in society like the Senate, the PCIJ and UNTV37.

Dictatorship cannot thrive if there be no party conspiring in it. And who would conspire except those who stand to benefit? Bravo to UNTV37 for living up to its name of being an intelligent alternative, for being decidedly untelevision.

And when the government do declare that blogging is illegal that would be the day I'll try taxi driving.