Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror December 5, 2007 edition, p. A10.

Couch commandos described last Thursday’s action as poorly conceived and desperate. Know-it-alls called it stupid. Then there were those who argued that: “Ends do not justify the means.”

But the argument about means and ends does not apply to the exercise of a people’s sovereign will. The universally accepted principle and practice in that area is “by any means necessary.”  Witness the American and Philippine Revolutions and the struggle of Israelis to establish their own country, to cite a few examples.

The action of Senator Antonio Trillanes and General Danilo Lim flows from the fountainhead of modern democracy, the American Declaration of Independence:

“[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Thus, it’s a waste of time to argue over the righteousness or immorality of the course of action chosen by Trillanes and Lim. They had a right and a duty to act. And they did.

Agreeing on the form of government that will replace Gloria Arroyo and uniting behind that vision will better serve the public welfare.

I didn’t go to the Peninsula Hotel last Thursday because I saw Trillanes and Lim surrounded by junta advocates. I am against juntas.

An unelected government run by a coalition of ideologues and men in uniform, no matter how pure of heart they may be, is not my idea of a democracy.

Besides, ideologues have no qualms about sacrificing the principles that set apart civilized societies from barbarians—the rule of law, due process, human rights, civil rights and liberties – on the altar of doctrine.

In America, neocon ideologues stood the Statue of Liberty on its head as soon as they came into power.

The protector of the world’s oppressed became the warden of torture camps. The land of the freedom and liberty became the land where a suspect can be spied on, arrested, and detained incommunicado without need for a warrant.  And, when corruption infected the neocon war on terror, the land of equal opportunity for all became the land of no-bid contracts for the favored few.

It would have been nice if Trillanes and Lim called for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo followed by a snap election. That would have erased all doubts about their commitment to a democratic way of life.  Unfortunately, they chose to be vague about the type of government they envisioned.

Be that as it may, I applaud Senator Trillanes and General Lim for their courage and patriotism. They may not have triumphed but they didn’t lose. There are no losers among those who fight fearlessly for what’s right.

Gloria Arroyo can bully cowards and weaklings but the courageous and the stouthearted will always remain defiant, undefeated and unbowed.