We waited with bated breath as the New Year approached. Apart from being finally rid of 2005, we eagerly waited to see if Mrs. Arroyo would agree to comply with past-President Fidel V. Ramos' ultimatum to quit in 2007 as requested. Instead, we were greeted by a New Year week filled with icy silence from GMA perforated by news of clandestine meetings among FVR and opposition figures.
Yesterday, during a rambling and occasionally rumbling press conference, FVR repeated his challenge to Mrs. Arroyo - quit by 30 June 2007. He said that if she stepped down, among other things, she would avert a possible uprising by long-suffering, poverty-stricken Filipinos.
Today, through Press Secretary Bunye, Mrs. Arroyo has effectively rejected Mr. Ramos' proffer of resignation a second time. Bunye said that Mrs. Arroyo plans to continue as President till 2010 unless she is unseated by the Filipino people via constitutional means. Uh oh.
This is beginning to look like a game of blink between FVR and GMA. And it looks like he's blinked twice. This brings to mind what a friend recently said about this situation, "Watch, ha? He'll (FVR) threaten her (GMA) and say 'O, deadline na 'to'. Then she'll ignore him, so he'll say, 'Sige, bigyan kita ng last chance'. Then she'll ignore him yet again, and he'll say, 'Sige ng nga, this is the last, last chance', and so on". It certainly is looking that way. Some are of the belief that this is showdown time between the Titans, others think that Mr. Ramos no longer has the credibility he used to enjoy with the people, referring to recent surveys that claim that after GMA, he is considered least favored to lead the country at this time.
Are there alternatives left to FVR? Some say that he should just play meek elderly statesman and contemplate on his new tattoo. Others say that he should cut ties with GMA and join the opposiiton, become it's "unifier". There is fear that if protestations to FVR's proposal by Majority Leader Nograles are echoed by many in the Lakas Party, and if rumors are true that GMA's dangling money and manna to keep her hold on power, FVR may find himself left out in the cold come Saturday night. Uh oh.
We in the Black & White Movement hope that Mr. Ramos will ultimately withdraw support from GMA, call for her resignation, as well as the resignation of VP Noli de Castro (Mr. de Castro seems to have painted himself out of the picture, unless he thinks he can win the Presidency or Prime Ministership) and become a champion for truth. Mr. Ramos has the benefit of experience, we hope that his trust in it will show him the right way.
And how do the people feel about all this? We are partcularly interested in the middle force thinking. Sad to say, either way this particular game plays out, the bulk of the middle forces may continue to be disinterested. Many appear unbothered by the danger of a NO-EL situation, the Constitutional Commission's flimflam revisions, the "children" of the "Mother of all tapes". It seems the callous grown from the lack of true change after two EDSA Revolutions has become too thick to file through. The Black and White Movement continues to work hard at breaking through calloused hearts. We are of the strong conviction that despite the power of the enemy, we will stay the course.