Angelo de la Cruz, his wife Arsenia, children and grandchildren on his arrival in Manila. - Rudy Santos

A People United Gets Its Demand
Edward  K. Logedo, Philippines

“We can not and never will negotiate with terrorists” was the initial response of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo when she was first informed that Angelo De La Cruz, a Filipino working as a truck driver in Iraq, was taken hostage by Iraqi militants on July 4 and threatened with beheading if the Philippines did not pull its troops out of Iraq. A few days later, after sensing the unpopularity of her initial stand, she issued a statement saying “We are exploring all possibilities to save the life of Angelo De La Cruz".

“Does saving face for George W. Bush weigh more than saving the life of Angelo De La Cruz?” asked the The Philippine Daily Inquirer, a major Philippine daily, in reaction to Arroyo’s hesitancy to take definitive action to save De La Cruz' life. It was the same question that Filipinos in the grassroots from all over the county were asking.

To pressure Arroyo, people from all over the country staged mass protests demanding that Arroyo bring the troops back home if only to make sure that the life of De La Cruz be saved. In the end, Arroyo had no choice but to give in to the people’s demand.

Ellen Tordesillas, a political columnist with Malaya, a Philippine Daily, said: “President Arroyo knew if Angelo lost his head, hers was next to go.”

Once again the Filipinos have shown that officers in the government are placed there by the people to represent their interest and when people are united and organized, they would always be in the position to define what that interest is and to demand to the government how such interest should be ser

refusing to kill