The uniqueness of commercial bail bonds

An article in today’s NYT on the uniqueness of the United States commercial bail bond system includes this very interesting tidbit.

Commercial bail bond companies dominate the pretrial release systems of only two nations, the United States and the Philippines.

Although the article does not actually say, I think it is safe to assume that this is a direct result of the fact that the Philippine legal system was constructed during the period of US colonial rule. Those non-American readers who may be unfamiliar with the commercial bail bond system may with to read the explanation in the NYT article to fully appreciate the global oddity of the system. From my brief perusal of some Philippine web pages, it certainly looks like both countries share the institution. For example, look at this page from a Manila metro area attorney’s office:

Paying Bail

 

You can pay the full amount of the bail in Cash. If you are acquitted, you can withdraw the Bail that you posted. You can also buy a surety bind or post your property to pay for your bail.

 

Bail bond is like a check held in reserve: it represents the person’s promise that he or she will appear in court when required to. The bail bond is purchased by payment of a  non-refundable premium (usually about 15% – 35% of the face amount of the bond).

 

A bail bond may sound like a good deal, but buying a surety bond may cost more in the long run. This is so because you have to renew the surety bond upon its expiration otherwise, upon motion of the prosecution, a warrant of arrest will be issued for failure to renew the surety bond. If the full amount of the bail is paid, it will be refunded (less a small administrative fee) when the case is over and all required appearances have been made. On the other hand, the 15%-35 premium is nonrefundable. In addition, the bond seller may require “collateral.” This means that the person who pays for the bail bond must also give the bond seller a financial interest in some of the person’s valuable property. The bond seller can cash in on this interest if the suspect fails to appear in court.

 The curious may also want to see the amounts of bail set for various crimes under Republic of the Philippines law.

First mention of comfort women in the English press?

The discussion over the proposed presumably well meant but ultimately pointless US congressional resolution condemning Japan’s wartime system of “comfort women” made me wonder, when was this first reported in the US? Since I have easy online access to the New York Times archive I thought I would check there. It seems highly unlikely that the NYT would have passed over mentioning the issue if some other paper had reported it first, so this is most likely as least an approximate date.

***

January 14, 1992

Japan Admits Army Forced Koreans to Work in Brothels

Three days before Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa takes his first official trip to South Korea, the Government admitted today that the Japanese Army forced tens of thousands of Korean women to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II, and hinted that women who are still alive might receive some kind of compensation.

Until today, Japan’s official position has long been that the “comfort girls” were recruited by private entrepreneurs, not the military.

But many historians have attacked that position as a convenient rewriting of history, and over the weekend Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, reported that army documents found in the library of Japan’s Self-Defense Agency indicated that the military had played a large role in operating what were euphemistically called “comfort stations.”

Mr. Miyazawa is widely expected to address the issue on his visit to Seoul and to offer a fairly specific apology. The vast majority of the women were forcibly taken to Japanese-occupied China and Southeast Asia from Korea, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 until Japan’s defeat in 1945.. ‘Abominable Episodes’

Over the weekend Japan’s Foreign Minister, Michio Watanabe, said “I cannot help acknowledging” that the Japanese military was involved in forcing the women to have sex with the troops. “I am troubled that the abominable episodes have been unraveled, and they give me heartache,” he said.

Today Japan’s chief Government spokesman, Koichi Kato, offered a more specific apology, saying, “We would like to express our heartfelt apology and soul-searching to those women who had a bitter hardship beyond description.”

But he said that because Japan settled issues of wartime compensation for Korea in 1965, when the countries resumed full diplomatic ties, there would be no official compensation for the victims. For weeks the Government has been talking about finding private sources of money that would settle claims by surviving “comfort women,” without setting the precedent of reopening reparations claims.

In December, around the time of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, three Korean women filed suit in Tokyo, demanding compensation for forced prostitution in China. Occasional Protests in Seoul

Though the Government said that officially all compensation issues have been settled, officials acknowledged that they could not openly contest the suit without roiling relations with South Korea. Periodically there have been small demonstrations in Seoul denouncing the Japanese for their failure to face the issue.

The question of Japan’s refusal to acknowledge official involvement in the forced prostitution has been a continual irritant in Japanese relations with South Korea and, to a lesser degree, with China. Many of the women were killed or brutally beaten. While historians disagree about how many women were forced to have sex with the troops, estimates run from 60,000 to more than 200,000.

The documents reported in Asahi Shimbun were found by Yoshiaki Yoshida, a history professor, who reviewed them at the Defense Agency. They have been in Japan since 1958, when they were returned by United States troops, and it is not clear why they have stayed out of view for so long.

The “comfort women” debate has been but one of the continuing tensions between Tokyo and Seoul in recent years. South Korean leaders have long complained that they have yet to receive an adequate apology from Japan for wartime atrocities. Last week, at a dinner for President Bush, President Roh Tae Woo of South Korea reportedly expressed concern that Japan has yet to apologize fully for the war.

***

January 18, 1992

JAPAN APOLOGIZES ON KOREA SEX ISSUE

Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa of Japan made a formal public apology here today for Japan’s actions in forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.

In a speech to South Korea’s National Assembly, Mr. Miyazawa said: “Recently, the issue of ‘comfort women’ in the service of the Imperial Japanese Army has come into light. I cannot help feeling acutely distressed over this, and I express my sincerest apology.”

Mr. Miyazawa’s visit to Seoul has been preceded and accompanied by vociferous campaigning in the South Korean press for an apology from the Prime Minister, and for compensation from Japan for the surviving women.

This call has been echoed by protesters in South Korean cities.. Estimates Up to 200,000

Korean historians estimate that 100,000 to 200,000 Korean women were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers before 1945, when Japanese colonial rule ended in Korea. It is not known how many survive.

Japanese and South Korean officials said Mr. Miyazawa had also offered an apology in his second round of talks today with President Roh Tae Woo.

Mr. Miyazawa said at a joint news conference afterward that Japan would sincerely investigate the issue.

But there was no mention in their talks of compensation for the surviving women, the officials said.

The question of compensation for 35 years of colonial rule in Korea was settled when the countries established diplomatic relations in 1965. Compensation Suit Filed

But last month three Korean women who say they were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers filed a compensation suit in a Japanese court, which may set a precedent for other cases.

The issue overshadowed other topics discussed by Mr. Roh and Mr. Miyazawa, particularly South Korea’s growing trade deficit with Japan.

The two leaders agreed to set up a committee to work out by June a plan of action for closing the trade gap and increasing the transfer of Japanese technology to South Korea.

South Korea was $8.8 billion in the red in trade with Japan last year, accounting for nine-tenths of South Korea’s overall trade deficit.

U.S.-NORTH KOREA TALKS SET

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Reuters) — High-ranking United States officials will meet North Korean leaders in New York on Wednesday to discuss the country’s nuclear program and other American concerns, the State Department said today. The United States Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Arnold L. Kanter, will meet a delegation headed by the Secretary of the governing Workers Party, Kim Young Sun, a State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, said.

[The North Korea bit was on the same page. Not relevant to comfort women but still amusing to see it was in the news at the time.]

Today’s trivia – 2007.2.19

Joseph Conrad’s famous novel Heart of Darkness was based on the author’s experiences in the Belgian Congo. King Leopold II of Belgium had originally wanted to establish his colony in the Philippines, but Spain refused to sell the islands to him. When the film Apocalypse Now, set in Vietnam and based on the novel Heart of Darkness, was made they filmed it in the Philippines.

Globalized Donuts

Regular readers of the blog will remember Adamu’s saliva-speckled posts on Krispy Kreme donuts. Well, I’ve just found out via Michael Turton’s blog that Dunkin Donuts recently announced plans to expand into Taiwan, and then eventually through them into China. As far as I know, this will make Taiwan the second country after the Philippines to have both a Dunkin Donuts and a Mister Donut franchise, a condition that if you know the history of both companies suggests an incongruity of much the same character as the fact that light is both a wave and a particle.

Before coming to Japan I had never heard of Mr Donut, and was a bit incredulous when I was first told that it was originally an American company. Noticing that their advertising makes notes of the fact that it was started in San Francisco Chinatown (some locations have Chinese-y menu items like dumplings or noodles to play off of this), I assumed that it was just one of those American chains which, despite being fairly big regionally, had just never made it from one coast to the other. Except for wishing, whenever I passed a Mr Donut in Japan, that it was a Dunkin’ Donuts instead, I never thought of them again until I moved to Taiwan to study Chinese in 2004.

I arrived in Taipei in May, apparently no more than a couple of months after the introduction of Mr Donut to Taiwan. Unlike in Japan, where it was nothing but a common vendor of sweet and sometimes sticky pastries, Mr Donuts in Taiwan was a phenomenon, with desperate young consumers waiting on lines so snakishly long that they were later to be my frame of reference when my rarely present nominal flatmate Dmitri described to me the experience of waiting in line to get into that first Pushkin Square McDonalds to open in Russia after perestroika.

Having been impressed by the utter ordinariness of Mr Donuts product in Japan, I was rather shocked by the amount of enthusiasm there was for the product here, until I noticed the promotion campaign. To see what the centerpiece of that campaign is, just visit out the Mr Donut Taiwan web site and check out the title:

Mister Donut Japan No.1 Donut Shop

While in Japan the brand image of Mr Donut is based around its American-ness, with a minor strain of Chinese-ness from the San Francisco heritage, Mister Donut Taiwan is being promoted entirely on the basis of its popularity in Japan. While Taiwan certainly has nothing against American products or fast food, the Japanese link has a much stronger association with the high class. For one illustrative example of how the Japanese image is helpful for marketing in Taiwan, notice how dry cleaning stores are always labeled as “Japanese style dry cleaning,” despite (to my knowledge at least) there being any particular historic link between Japan and dry cleaning. We can also see an interesting choice in the removal of any marketing or products associated with Chinatown. After all, why would the idea of third-rate Japanified Americanized Dim-sum be remotely appealing in a city where you can find the same type of thing at lower prices and higher quality in almost any direction you turn?

If you look at the order and location in which stores were opened in Taipei, you can see a clear attempt by the planners of Mr Donut Taiwan to instill establish Mr Donut as a high class brand.
(1) Tianmu – a high class neighborhood with many expensive stores.
(2) Breeze Center – A department store. I don’t know if it’s Japanese owned, but it has a strongly Japanese style to it, and even contains the Taipei branch of Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya.
(3) New York, New York – High end shopping center located at the base of Taipei 101, currently the tallest skyscraper in the world.
(4) Taipei Station – Not actual in the station, but in the underground shopping center, right by the door connecting it with the neighboring Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store.
After this they began branching out into somewhat less stylish areas, and now have a total of 17 stores including one in Xinzhu and three in Gaoxiong, but by associating the early stores both with high class shopping districts and Japan, the company did an excellent job of beginning to establish their brand as something more more at the level of Starbucks than McDonalds.

By now you may be thinking, but didn’t this start with Dunkin’ Donuts, not Mr Donuts? Well, let’s look briefly of the history of these two brands.

Mister Donut was founded by Harry Winokur in 1956 and had locations across most of North America.

Mister Donut was the largest competitor to Dunkin’ Donuts, which was founded by Harry Winokur’s brother-in-law William Rosenberg in 1950, prior to being acquired by Dunkin’ Donuts’ parent company, Allied-Lyons, in February 1990.

After the acquisition of Mister Donut by Allied-Lyons, all Mister Donut locations within North America were offered the chance to change their name to Dunkin’ Donuts. Now only a scattered few locations still hold the name Mister Donut.

In 1983, Duskin Co. Ltd of Japan acquired the rights to franchise Mister Donut throughout Japan and Asia. Mister Donut is the largest donut chain operating in Japan.

[From Wikipedia]
For some reason there remain sixteen Mr Dont locations in the United States that have not transitioned to the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, but for all intents and purposes they are now a Japanese company, under the aegis of Duskin Co. Ltd., and the Mr Donut brand has spread to the Philippines, and now Taiwan, as an offshoot of the Japanese company. There was a Dunkin Donuts operation in Japan for a time, run as a joint venture with D&C, the holding company of the internationally famous Yoshinoya brand, but currently the only East Asian country with Dunkin Donuts is South Korea, although it is quite common in Thailand, and in the Philippines one can even find Dunkin Donuts right next door to Mr Donut. Will we ever see such a site in Taiwan? Will Dunkin’ Donuts take hold? Will we ever see Krispy Kreme opening in a vacated Mr Donuts shop next to Taipei 101?

For a good taste of Taiwan’s Mr Donut hysteria, circa February 2005, check out this Taipei Times article. For a taste of how they may fare in the future, check out this man on the street interview from the very same article.

“It’s the best donut you can get in Taiwan, but it’s not as good as Dunkin Donuts,” Fu told the Taipei Times. “If someone bought some for me, I’d eat it,” he said, but indicated that he would not buy the doughnut again for himself.

What might have been?

Speaking of the Philippines and historical predictions, there is a great discussion going on over at the blog Coming Anarchy over the past, present and future status of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines were all transferred from Spanish to United States control together, with the 1898 December 10 signing of the Treaty of Paris that concluded the Spanish-American War (as well as a payment of $20 million from the US to Spain.) Both Puerto Rico and Guam remain unincorporated territories of the United States of America, but the US and the Philippines parted company long ago. Reading this discussion gives you a pretty good idea of why the Philippines was spun off into an independent country instead of being either incorporated into the union or kept in colonial status. Today Americans are concerned about being demographically overwhelmed by Hispanics, but true annexation of the Philippines would have been a massive and sudden demographic shock that would have profoundly changed the subsequent development of both. For the people who think the Puerto Rico situation is complicated, try and imagine what might have happened if the Philippines, with a population twenty times that of Puerto Rico, and speaking a polyglot of languages, had all become US citizens overnight.

If only they had known…

You know that feeling you get watching a suspenseful scene in a movie, where you know for example that the vampire snake is on the other side of a door, a hapless character says something like “gosh, I’m glad that vampire snake went back to Las Vegas,” puts his hand on the door and you just want to yell out STOP to the screen before certain doom commences?

For the non-English majors out there, I’m talking about dramatic irony, defined so on Wikipedia:

Tragic (or dramatic) irony occurs when a character onstage is ignorant, but the audience watching knows his or her eventual fate, as in Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King.

This morning I encountered something much like dramatic irony when reading a 1966 article about the foreign relations of the Philippines. Within the piece were two specific statements that made me wish I could send a telegram back through time warning Mr. Onofre D. Corpuz about the horrible misfortune to come.

First was this one, in his section discussing how an orientation in economic relations towards Southeast Asia would be good for development.

The Philippines is well situated to play a leading role in this process, and economic interests, therefore, promise to lead the nation’s foreign policy closer to Southeast Asia. Barring a sudden deterioration which could result from escalation of hostilities in Vietnam, we are presently on the threshold of a period in which the necessary economic underpinnings of diplomatic projects, such as ASA and Maphilindo, will emerge.

[Note: ASA is Association of Southeast Asia, predecessor to ASEAN]

So, how did that Vietnam thing go after 1966? I forget now. Anyway, I’m sure it couldn’t have destabilized the regional economy or anything.

The second quote mixes retrospective irony with a case of be careful what you wish for.

As a result, political power is widely dispersed and the bases of power are fragmented. No Philippine president has ever been re-elected after a full presidential term of four years. There are no political institutions in the Philippines that have enabled a leader to stay in power as long as have Indonesia’s Sukarno, India’s Nehru, Burma’s Ne Win, and Malaysia’s Tungku Abdul Rahman.

1966 was the second year of Ferdinand Marcos’ first term as president, after which he would in fact be re-elected, just like Mr. Corpuz was hoping. What Corpuz probably was less happy about was when Marcos declared martial law in 1972, and continued his Presidency until 1986, when he was driven from office by mass protests indirectly in response to the assassination of opposition politician Benigno Aquino.

Part 2: A brief history of Philippine-US relations: Early colonial rule

Since it turns out that all of my books on the Philippines are back home in the US and I’m not going to hit the library for a blog entry, I’m relying on a combination of memory and internet sources. I apologize for any errors, tell me if you spot any, and don’t quote this in your schoolwork.

Continued from Part 1: The “Nicole” Rape Case.

The fact is barely remembered in the US, but The Philippines was a colonial possession of the United States from approximately 1900-1946. The exact date at which The Philippines became a US colony is open to debate. The US purchased the Philippines from Spain in 1898 after winning the Spanish-American war, but since The Philippines had already declared an independent republic earlier that year, after years of resistance against Spanish colonial rule, and with neither the nascent first Republic of the Philippines nor the United States recognizing each other’s legitimacy as administrator of the country, the Philippine-American war broke out. The US defeated the Philippine military and established a colonial government in 1901, headed by Governor General William Howard Taft, whose experience in this job led to his later role as President of the United States.

Although The Philippines was a colony of the US, administration of the colony was markedly different from the colonies of European nations that still existed, or the colonies that Japan was busily establishing to the north. United States rule was particularly different from the earlier Spanish rule that it replaced. “From the very beginning, United States presidents and their representatives in the islands defined their colonial mission as tutelage: preparing the Philippines for eventual independence.” (source) In many ways, US colonial administration of The Philippines, with its mission of “tutelage” in preparation for independence, was more similar to US led occupation missions in post-war Japan and Germany, or present day Iraq than to traditional concepts of colonial rule. Keep in mind that Douglas MacArthur, the leader of occupation era Japan, had been in the Philippines before the Japanese invasion of World War II.

Compared to Spanish rule, whose policy was to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the Spanish and mixed-blood colonial elite, spread the Catholic faith, exploit the land for resources that could benefit the home country, and keep the populace illiterate and unorganized, US rule was an improvement. Governor General Taft’s administrative philosophy was “the Philippines for the Filipinos . . . that every measure, whether in the form of a law or an executive order, before its adoption, should be weighed in the light of this question: Does it make for the welfare of the Filipino people, or does it not?”

To this end, and with the eventual goal of independence, the colonial administration promoted economic development, building political structures and instituted compulsory education for all citizens, using English as the primary language of instruction-in contrast to Spanish times, when very few Filipinos ever became proficient in Spanish. The Catholic Church had been the official religion of the colony and actually conducted much of the local governance throughout the islands, with the Spanish colonial government primarily sticking to urban strongholds. The Church had thus accumulated massive holdings, and priests had been known to run isolated parishes in the manner of medieval fiefdoms. The act establishing the colonial administration also revoked the Church’s official status, and the United States bought the majority of Church land, reselling it to private citizens and businesses.

But even though American colonial rule of the Philippines was relatively benign when compared with most European administered colonies over the previous centuries, it was still colonial rule. Like any colony, the colonizers imposed their language and culture on the colonized. English was the official language throughout the American colonial period, a constant reminder of who was really in charge, and in the early years also an impediment against participation in the civil service by Filipinos. Today, English remains one of the two national languages of the Republic of the Philippines, along with Tagalog, the native language of the region of Luzon island surrounding Manila, the country’s capital and economic center. While citizens throughout the country are supposed to be educated in both national languages, many Filipinos with a native regional dialect besides Tagalog are actually more comfortable with English, which they consider a supplement to their native language, as opposed to Tagalog, which is sometimes seen as threatening regional dialect. The various dialects and languages are all strongly influenced by the language of their colonizers, with a large part of everyday vocabulary consisting of Spanish and English words. Interestingly, speakers of Philippine languages will sometimes use entire grammatically correct phrases or even clauses of English in ordinary conversation in their native language. I have heard that speakers of the Tagalog (Manila region) dialect use the most English words, but the more provincial Visayas dialects contains a higher proportion of Spanish words. However, Spanish derived words are used only as vocabulary in all dialects, and never as complete grammatical structures, which is reflective of the rarity of actual Spanish fluency in the Spanish ruled Philippines.

All governments have some level of corruption, and those which are not answerable to the people they administer, such as colonial governments, tend to be worse. The American colonial government in the Philippines was described in a 1921 letter from Dean C. Worcester as one in which graft was “generally, openly and insolently demanded as a prerequisite to the performance of their duties by government officers and employees.” (Worcester was an author of several books on the Philippines. One can currently be found at Project Gutenberg.) Aside from corruption, there was also contempt for the natives from many colonial administrators, even including at least one Governor General. In 1905, Taft’s secretary wrote “the trouble with Governor-General Wright and some others was that they came from the South and that they could not get rid of the race-prejudice which the man from the South of the United States has.”

Some prominent figures such as Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryan had opposed on anti-imperialist and anti-racist grounds the colonization of of the Philippines in the first place, but during the early years of the colonial period there was little support for granting them independence in the near term. There had been a promise by the US government from the beginning that the Philippines would be granted independence someday, when it was ready, but the primary debate was between those who wanted to establish a local Philippine civilian government subordinate to the US administration, and those who wanted to continue direct rule. Representing the first opinion, former Governor General Taft, now Secretary of War, wrote in 1907 that “the partial control of the government which is now in the hands of the Filipinos has itself developed both conservatism and an interest in the existing government which will have a healthful tendency to delay the pressure for immediate independence on the part of those who are actually exercising influence in the Assembly.” On the other side, an American teacher working in the Philippines wrote in 1908 that a “mistake was made in introducing civil government quite so soon, but on the other hand the military people exaggerate very much the danger of an insurrection and the need of an army–it is for their interest to do so.”

Next, part 3: Through Independence.

The history of Philippine-US relations and the Nicole rape case. Part 1: The case

Although it has been overshadowed by the devastating typhoon that has killed over 1000 people throughout the Philippines, under normal circumstances the conviction of US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith’s conviction by the Makati criminal court (Makati is a city in the greater Manila metropolitan region) for the rape of a young Filipina woman would be the biggest story in the country. The woman, known as “Nicole”(23) due to a media tradition of not reporting the names of rape victims, is only one of what many consider to be many Filipinas/Filipinos who have been abused by US soldiers over the century that the US has had a military presence in the country, but is the first to ever see her attacker convicted in a Philippine court. While it is specifically a victory for “Nicole,” in the Philippines this verdict is also generally being considered a milestone in the assertion of sovereignty and the rule of law in a country which lacked the first throughout its almost 400 years as a colony, and the second during the more recent Marcos dictatorship, which ended in only 1986.

Daniel Smith (21) was charged with the actual rape, along with three other marines and their Filipino driver who were all charged with assisting and egging on Smith, but not actually participating directly. Nicole, who was 22 at the time, was apparently attending a party on the base due to her being engaged to another soldier (the relationship has since dissolved), and after imbibing so much alcohol that she lost consciousness, was carried to a truck in which Smith raped her, while the other marines cheered him on, and the Filipino man simply drove around. Faced with physical evidence, namely semen stains on the woman’s underwear and a used condom, Smith could not deny that the sex had occurred, but naturally he claimed that it had been consensual, “Nicole” claimed otherwise, and the other men all denied culpability. In the end, only Smith was convicted-probably due to medical expert testimony that she had suffered injuries consistent with sexual assault, and while the others may not exactly have been hailed as innocent and offered an apology, they were acquitted on grounds of reasonable doubt. In accordance with the terms of the Visiting Forces Agreement, although Smith is being tried in a Philippino court, but was held in the custody of the United States embassy pending conviction, after which he has now been ordered by the judge to begin serving his sentence of life (actually 40 years under local law)in a Philippine prison. It is, however, currently unclear whether he will be transferred immediately, as his attorney is filing an appeal, and a related motion requesting that he remain in US custody pending the final appeal. Current agreements between the USA and The Philippines grant no special protection to US soldiers acting outside their official duties, but memories of previous unequal arrangements linger, and public has not trusted either the US or Philippine governments to live up to the conditions of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

A timeline of events related to the crime and trial can be found here.

While rape cases are by nature always sensational and cases involving military personnel are all the more so, this particular case is particularly significant in the context of the history of The Philippines.

Part 2: A brief history of Philippine-US relations: Early colonial period, to be followed by the third and final section.

Coup attempt and crackdown in the Philippines – some background information

The NYTimes reports:

Saying that the Philippine government had foiled a military coup attempt and still faced the threat of violent overthrow, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared emergency rule on Friday and banned rallies marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator.
< ...>
Ignoring the ban on rallies, former President Corazon Aquino, who remains a popular figure here, led thousands of demonstrators in a march through the financial district calling for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation. The opposition has crystallized around allegations that Mrs. Arroyo rigged national elections in 2004, as well as charges of government corruption and human rights abuses, charges that she vigorously denies.

Mrs. Aquino urged Mrs. Arroyo to “make the supreme sacrifice by resigning.” Dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

Calls for Arroyo’s resignation are nothing new. Here is a photograph of graffitti saying “oust Gloria” that I took on December 7, 2005 on the wall of a street in a somewhat poor but not impoverished neighborhood of Manila.

Ever since the fall of Marcos in 1986 in the face of overwhelming popular protests, the threat of another such EDSA “people power” rebellion (named after a main street in Manila) looms every time the administration is in crisis. Not coincidentally, Aquino became president following the first EDSA rebellion-taking over for Marcos- and Arroyo became president by virtue of her being VP when the corrupt movie star and darling of the lower class electorate was forced out of office during EDSA 2. The big difference is that Aquino was a major organizer of the first EDSA, risking her life to protest against Marcos. And the threat was very real, as his government had killed her husband for political opposition. By contrast, Arroyo seems to be very much a typical politician.

Below I provide more detailed information, typed from a book published just last year on the political history of the Philippines, that I picked up during my recent trip there.

Excerpts from page 278-283 of State and Society in the Philippines, by Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso, 2005. I’ve bolded the most important bits.
Continue reading Coup attempt and crackdown in the Philippines – some background information