COMMENTARY: Details Thaksin did not tell the red shirts

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - The way former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra addressed the red shirts at their gathering on May 19 may have left people wondering if political reconciliation could actually be achieved.

Thaksin's address showed aggression, arrogance and overconfidence. It appeared he felt that his side now had the upper hand over his political enemies. And it seemed reconciliation was unnecessary for his side now.

In his address, made on the third anniversary of the 2010 dispersal of the red- shirts' anti-government rally, Thaksin told his supporters why he was overthrown in a coup. He described himself as a good and capable person. But he opted to ignore certain facts, such as his alleged abuse of power and interference with independent organisations.

He also said that the yellow-shirt protesters faced no opposition while he was in power, although a rally was planned for his supporters on Sept 20, 2006. A coup was staged one day before that, and an excuse by the coup-makers was to avert possible violence due to confrontation between both sides.

Those facts were intentionally left out, possibly in the hope that people would forget because they happened some years ago.

Also, Thaksin opted not to mention the draft of a so-called reconciliation bill proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung. The legislation draft is expected to be submitted to the House of Representatives later this week for deliberation. It would grant amnesty to all people involved in the recent political conflict since before the coup of September 19, 2006. All court cases resulting from the conflict would also be annulled retroactively, which means Thaksin would see his seized assets reinstated.

The proposed law is supposed to "restore justice" to all people involved in the conflict, but in fact the greatest beneficiary would be Thaksin.

If this draft is put into law, everyone involved - including the protesters, the protest leaders, the soldiers involved in the crackdown, as well as then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban (who are both blamed by the red shirts for the deaths of many protesters in 2010) - will be spared from legal prosecution.

If Thaksin made it clear that he preferred Chalerm's draft, he could be viewed as using his supporters for his own benefit.

In his address, Thaksin said he backed another draft law proposed by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema that would give amnesty to all ordinary protesters, but not the protest leaders. However, earlier Thaksin had made a Skype call to a meeting of the ruling party's MPs and told them that he wanted the amnesty law to "go the full way". Thaksin's remark prompted as many as 149 Pheu Thai MPs to sign in support of Chalerm's draft law. Even Worachai admitted that Chalerm's draft was better than his.

However, there were also signs of dissatisfaction among many red shirts and their MP sympathisers who pointed out that Chalerm's draft would be unfair to the red shirts.

Thaksin appeared to be aware of the dissatisfaction, so he avoided mentioning Chalerm's draft while addressing the red shirts. But he did not speak against it either. Chalerm, meanwhile, has not stopped his campaign for a general amnesty law.

Abhisit, the Democrat Party chief and opposition leader, said that if Thaksin was sincere, he should tell Chalerm to drop his draft law. Abhisit said he believed Thaksin actually preferred Chalerm's legislation because it would benefit him most. However, he added, Thaksin voiced support for Worachai's draft law because he did not want to upset the red shirts during their gathering.

It is likely that both Worachai's and Chalerm's drafts would be tabled for House deliberation. They could be merged to become new legislation. That means if the red shirts want amnesty for their fellow protesters facing legal trouble, they have to allow Thaksin to get amnesty for all his cases and to have his seized assets returned.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …

  • Cops receive mid-year bonus
    Cops receive mid-year bonus

    Active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP)have received their mid-year bonuses. However, the bonus of personnel with pending administrative and criminal cases has been deferred as per administrative policy, according to PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias. The PNP has released P1.9 billion for the mid-year bonus of the 155,000 active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel. …

  • Catholics organize to promote pope's climate change message

    NEW YORK (AP) — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options