Published on January 16, 2008
It surely will sound very far-fetched to you, and I have had great difficulty taking in this scenario myself. However, like I said in my political FAQs last week, we will share with you anything worth sharing, be it information or even speculation. In a state of flux like this, pundits either read too much or too little into every development.
The theory's tag line can't be simpler: everything in the wake of the December 23 election is a set-up. In other words, Thaksin and his wife are being lured into a trap. They are about to walk toward great danger that even a bigger election victory can't protect them from: the uncompromising stand of Thai judges.
One wonders why the coup-makers have been very accommodating. The People Power Party leader, Samak Sundaravej, has enjoyed substantial freedom in seeking allies after his party won the poll. All of Thaksin's "detractors" or "defectors" have been allowed to make another U-turn without fuss. And while there was no red carpet laid down for Pojaman, she was allowed to sneak in like a long-lost celeb, rather than a political criminal warranting maximum security.
An often-ignored important detail about her homecoming is the fact that she has had her passport confiscated and can no longer leave the country. Her fate now does not depend on how much influence she can assert on the formation of the new Cabinet, but how the judges will rule on the corruption cases she and her husband are facing. Thaksin may have sent her as a negotiator or even infiltrator, but he must have realised she now risks becoming a hostage.
Over the past two years, the courts seemed to be the only place where political popularity counted for nothing. A general election has been annulled, election commissioners have been jailed and the most supported political party in Thai history has been dissolved. Now Thaksin and Pojaman have to ask themselves what will happen if the judges go strictly by the book on the Ratchadapisek land purchase and alleged share violations involving their businesses and the ousted leader's political status.
Current rumours and gossip in newspapers seem to suit this "Oops! We're trapped" theory. According to one, the PPP has even approached the Democrats to form a "national reconciliation" government, with some sources going as far as saying the prime minister's post will be conceded to Abhisit Vejjajiva in exchange for soft treatment in the corruption cases. Another rumour has it that the PPP has agreed on the military's choice for the new defence minister.
The most outrageous gossip, of course, has to do with how easy it has been for the PPP to find coalition allies. While we can't deny that it's in Thai politicians' nature to switch sides or forget any pledge if the inducements are obscene enough, we can't rule out the possibility of them double-crossing the rich couple and winning big bucks in the process either.
There you go. Ignore this if it sounds too implausible. After all, the thought of Snoh sacrificing himself as bait is nothing short of ridiculous. What I like about this theory, though, is the way it takes everything back to where it started and sets the stage for a grand finale.
Thaksin, democracy and the rule of law have been badly mixed up, and thus messed up, for so long. Our crisis is our failure to differentiate between the three. Wishful thinking or not, things may soon get clearer and the "three elements" will start taking care of one another. If democracy - in other words, the election - is bringing Thaksin home, the rule of law will have the final say on where he truly belongs.
*In my article "The nation's head and heart spoke at once" in the aftermath of the December election, I mentioned that the Democrats edged the PPP in the party-list vote. Final official counts, however, showed the PPP won in the party-list category by about 200,000 ballots. While this doesn't affect my main assertion that while one half of Thailand was saying "No" to the coup, the other half was saying "No" to the ills of the Thaksin's era, I sincerely apologise for the wrong information.