Sunday, October 19, 2008


The current leadership of the Philippine government rode on the wave to power through the people's desire to have transparent and honest government. Good governance was the promise of EDSA II. In the last 8 years, we have seen the betrayal of that promise and the horrific erosion of the democratic institutions of the republic. People are disillusioned and cynical; apathy has seeped into the fabric of our civic life. Poverty has increased and all too often, we read stories of mothers or fathers killing their children as the only way to end their misery. At least half a million people in Mindanao have been displaced and live in constant uncertainty about the future. More and more people are leaving the Philippines and we have Filipinas as domestic helpers in Cambodia. What has become of us?

The constitution provides an impeachment process that allows the people to hold a sitting president accountable for her actions. This process is the responsibility of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE. These institutions make up a third, co-equal branch of government. They are supposed to be part of the check and balance in our democracy. These politicians were elected to uphold the voice of the people.

When Speaker Nograles says (as if warning those who filed the impeachment procedure) that impeachment is a political process, he has forgotten that it is also the only recourse for accountability of a sitting president. He seems to have forgotten that he was elected to uphold democratic processes; he has forgotten that his first level of accountability is to the people, not to the President and her cohorts. All of the Representatives of the House must recognize and act as agents of the people who want to hold this government accountable.

There are those who say that filing an impeachment complaint is a futile exercise. They say the complaint will only make the administration-allied Congress people richer because they will allegedly be asking for a fee or a Christmas gift in exchange for voting down the impeachment case. If we review news footage of that fateful day last year, then we have seen it happen before and it will probably happen again.

This is a challenge to the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE - whether you are opposition or administration - is our democracy worth your pork barrel fund? Is the blatant corruption and erosion of our constitutional rights worth the one million or two million pesos that may be offered to you? Is the endorsement of GMA going to make you win? Can you really close your eyes to all that is wrong and accept it so that you can take care of your "constituency"? Face your God and reflect on the answers to these questions.

And to those of us who are wringing our hands, rolling our eyes and saying that this is too much! She is strong and lucky...let’s just grit our teeth and wait for the end of her term… Well, it seems recent moves of Malacanang are clearly geared toward not ending this regime. We should ask ourselves - why is this happening? The answer is that we allow it; we shrug our shoulders and say, this too shall pass.

There is hope in the people who continue to stand up and hold this government accountable at great cost to life and quality of living. Jun Lozada and his family continue to live in the care of the Catholic religious community. Dante Madriaga cannot pay for the tuition fee of his children as he languishes inside the Senate compound. All the people who have spoken truth to power continue to be harassed and have to constantly look behind their backs because the harassments continue at all levels - from actual threats, the spiking of tires to tapping phones - these remind us of the dark days of Martial Law. We continue to be maligned and are called “de-stabilizers” when the people who really cause instability are those who have lied, stolen, cheated and killed to be able to hold on to power.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be held accountable. She must suffer her day in court as a sitting president. Let the impeachment proceeding take its course, make the people aware of the facts in evidence and let our democratic institutions do their work. Our ASEAN neighbors are asserting their democratic rights within their own systems and are struggling to unseat corrupt and unjust leaders. We should do no less. We proved that non-violent, citizen-led democratic change is possible. We owe it to ourselves and to the future.

Let us insist on an impeachment proceeding! Let us lobby and hold our REPRESENTATIVES ACCOUNTABLE TO US! Let us make our voices heard...we must hold GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO accountable to the nation.