IN US air force regulations, a pilot is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous missions. If he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

The situation is called "Catch 22", a term for a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem."

This is a situation confronting former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today. Despite her detention and physical condition, the government feels threatened by her active and persuasive influence over a significant political sector of the nation.

You cannot blame her if it is in her nature to command loyalty and affection from her supporters, including senators, congressmen, city mayors, and governors. After all, in nine years as President she has given them favors, promoted their political career, and granted them aid and material assistance (PDAF, CDF) to their constituencies.

The administration feels insecure over Mrs. Arroyo reactivation in politics. Keeping her sequestered in hospital confinement keeps her isolated and remote from the still powerful Lakas party to which she is the titular head.

The government is paranoid over her partial and limited freedom- whether it is time spent at her La Vista,, QC residence or at her Lubao domicile. Her foes believe that a house arrest will open the floodgates of visitors, mostly her faithful leaders nationwide who want to meet her for old time's sake.

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Her medical condition aggravated by her physical restriction at the V. Luna hospital demands at least a home sojourn to hasten her recovery. that is what her doctors prescribed. This has been the repeated theme of her lawyers' petition for bail and request for house arrest.

Our old folk advised her lawyers not to keep repeating the belief she is in deteriorating condition. This mantra, if repeated often enough, may come to be true. Beware of what you wish for.

I read that Mrs. Arroyo will be seeking re-election as congresswoman of the 2nd district. This plan will send chilling news to the P-Noy group as it will make the Sandiganbayan dig in and thwart all moves to grant her a bail or house arrest. As a congresswoman, she can sway enough votes to determine Committee proceedings.

If GMA is healthy and strong enough to campaign for or fulfill her duties as Representative, albeit her neck brace and wheelchair, the more she can be a tipping point in the Presidential elections. For this very reason, the government will refuse to set her partially free. If she is not going to run for Congress, it is a substantive proof of her weaning away from politics. When she ceases to be a political force, she can have certain freedom, a house arrest at least, to hasten her healing.

But if she needs to stay in power- as a fish needs to keep in the water- it will send a cryptic message to Malacanang. President Noy is likely to be fooled in two ways, in Kierkegaard's concept. One is to believe what isn't so. The other is to refuse to believe that it is so.

It is in her hands if she wants to be free. That is the core of Catch 22.