After the flurry of email forwards from both sides of the political fence settled down, nothing much has really changed. We’re still as hopelessly divided as ever.
Consistent with the surveys, only a few expressed outright support for GMA. It really boils down to a battle between those who espouse GMA’s ouster and those who say, “I don’t like GMA, but…” The latter would invariably conclude their piece with the exhortation, “Let’s move on!”
By that, they mean “leave GMA alone to focus on governance, and let her finish her term until 2010”. They, of course, assume that GMA will govern under the status quo. I doubt if any of them ever anticipated the reckless charge towards charter change.
Why the indecent haste in shifting to a parliamentary form of government?
GMA’s worst fear is to go down in history the same way Erap did – discredited and shamed. For it will besmear not only her own legacy, but that of her father as well. She will do anything and everything to finish her term up to 2010.
On June 26 of this year, the opposition is poised to file another impeachment complaint. With the 2007 election just around the corner, many Congressmen will be mindful of their reelection bid. And it becomes risky for some of them to be associated with GMA, given her consistently low trust ratings at the polls. The opposition might just get the numbers needed to send the impeachment complaint to the Senate.
Even if she survives this year, the 2007 elections will alter the present configuration of Congress. Going by the prevailing anti-GMA mood reflected in the surveys, it is not unlikely to see more opposition-leaning solons in the next Congress. And it becomes more likely that she will be impeached in 2008.
The palace-formulated ChaCha is designed to preemptively neutralize all such efforts to remove her from office. The target is to convene the existing Congress as the interim parliament when it opens its session sometime July. This will hinder, if not completely bar, any impeachment proceeding. And with automatic term extensions for the incumbents embedded in the transitory provisions, GMA is trying to preserve the composition of a subservient Congress until the end of her term in 2010.
When Speaker JoeDeV could not get the numbers to transform Congress into a Constituent Assembly, GMA had to resort to a little known provision of the constitution called “people’s initiative”, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling declaring there is no enabling law to exercise this right.
GMA’s choice of a metaphor for this initiative – a train, is ironically, quite appropriate. It reveals their true intentions – to railroad the process and to destroy everything that gets in its way, including institutions and democratic processes.
But I like the metaphor used by Akbayan better. They call it “People’s Initiative of Gloria” or PIG for short. For that is what it has become… “babuyan na talaga”.
If you have read this far, you’re probably one of the politically astute few who is keenly interested in current political affairs. But I’m also willing to bet that you have not read the proposed charter change, and appreciate it enough to endorse or reject it. And yet, GMA would like us to believe that an obscure advocacy group, without funding support, has sufficiently explained it and managed to convince 8 million people to endorse it in a span of two weeks, enough to make them sign a petition. And they even have the gall to proclaim that “the people have spoken!” What an insult to the intelligence of our people.
What shall we do, then? How do we move on?
The root cause of our present political crisis is the question of legitimacy of the GMA presidency. It is evident by now that the palace-sponsored charter change is part of an elaborate scheme to skirt the issue and window-dress the remaining term of GMA with a semblance of legitimacy. But it will not work.
The solution is to confront the issue squarely. Let GMA seek a fresh mandate from the people through snap elections, to settle once and for all the issue of legitimacy.
The trick is to engage all sectors to abide by the results of the election. GMA can show good faith by using the vast resources of her office to “influence” the revamp of the Comelec into a more credible body. (She might even be surprised at how much goodwill this will generate for her.) In exchange, the anti-GMA groups will commit to stop all protest actions if the people decide to give her a fresh mandate.
Some might argue that there are legal obstacles. But I think they are much easier to hurdle than the obstacles facing the chacha train today. And if GMA’s strategists will only look at this option objectively, they will discover this to be a far better means to resolve the crisis in GMA’s favor. She has the advantage of the incumbent. And if, as they claim, the opposition remains fragmented – they could probably never agree to rally behind a single candidate.
And to those who keep asking, “Who is your alternative?”… Well, the answer now lies in your hands. More importantly, this will put a closure to the legitimacy issue that all started with the Garci tape.
NO. Charter change is not the answer. The answer is SNAP elections.
If you want to end the current political crisis, I invite you to sign up in our online petition www.petitiononline.com/no2PIG. We may never reach 8 million petitioners but if there are enough decent Filipinos who will join this clamor, then maybe we can influence our leaders to make it happen.
Then and only then can we all truly say, “Let’s move on!”