Almost 60% of our countrymen believe GMA cheated in the last elections, according to the latest Social Weather Stations survey. It’s easy to see why.
If you listen to the conversations or read the transcript of the tapes, you can only come to one conclusion. And if you consider the fact that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) appointed Virgilio Garcillano as COMELEC commissioner, in spite of his notoriety as an “operator” (one who is known to engineer wide-scale cheating), you can only conclude that there was pre-meditated cheating.
And yet, many of us are paralyzed into inaction, simply because we do not like the alternatives being peddled by the opposition, or too scared to gamble with Noli de Castro. Even after the key cabinet members resigned – which triggered a series of calls for her resignation from Cory, the business community, and some of her political allies, we still did not budge.
We are all too willing to condone GMA’s iniquity, hoping against hope that she can weather the turmoil. We would much rather have a cheat who has proven credentials in governance, than risk the stewardship of the nation in the hands of novices like Noli de Castro or Susan Roces, or worse – in the hands of a plunderer like Joseph Estrada (Erap).
But if we look back to the experience of EDSA 1 & 2, we know that GMA will have to go…sooner or later. All the requisite ingredients for her government’s collapse are now in place. With or without our involvement, the protest actions will continue to escalate until GMA steps down. It’s only a question of when and how.
How will all this play out? Here are the possible scenarios:
- Opposition-led people power prevails. They dictate who rules – probably Susan or Erap. Rule of succession does not apply in a revolt.
- Military intervenes, led by Fortunato Abat or some other groups. Military junta takes over.
- GMA agrees to power-sharing (very unlikely). GMA agrees to a multi-sectoral caretaker government that she heads.
- GMA calls a snap election (unlikely, but an option when she becomes desperate. At least, she has a chance, no matter how slim, of staying in power if she wins). Key issues here are constitutionality of the exercise and the composition of COMELEC.
- GMA is impeached. If impeached, Noli de Castro takes over. If not impeached, outcome will depend on how the process is played out; may lead to escalation of protests, and ultimately another EDSA revolt.
- GMA resigns. Noli takes over.
I’m sure many of you will argue that there is another scenario which I am deliberately ignoring – that of GMA rising above the current crisis. I doubt it. Especially now that her allies and the business community (and I believe, the Catholic church, too, in the coming days) have withdrawn their support for the Arroyo government.
GMA will have to go or be booted out. We will all be better off if she leaves through the constitutional means at the soonest possible time – which means voluntary resignation. But if Cory, her allies, and the business community can’t convince her to resign, who can?
I believe it is the voice of the moral majority of the Filipino people. Unfortunately, up till now, we have made a political issue out of this, arguing no end on the rule of law, on the process, on GMA’s apology and the need for forgiveness and healing, and the best post-GMA scenario we would advocate. And we are divided as a people like we’ve never been.
I think it is high time we looked at this as a moral issue. Did she cheat or not? If she did, then she has no business continuing in office another minute. She must resign now.
But that means Noli will be our next president – a prospect that’s scary, at best, and repugnant to many.
But then again, consider this. This is the most expedient and constitutionally unassailable option. The other options are riskier and messier.
True, Noli lacks the credentials and the experience. But periods of crisis also bring out the best in a person. He cannot ignore what the prevailing conditions, including the pressure from below, will demand from him. We can just pray that he has the right heart and enough sense to surround himself with able and competent men.
IT IS TIME TO ACT NOW! We call on the moral majority of the Filipino people who will stand for what is right in this critical hour. If not on the streets, then on the Internet where we have set up a petition website (www.GMAresignNow.com ), asking GMA to resign and letting the constitutional process of succession take effect. This is the only way she can save the republic.
If we do nothing, the political situation will continue to be volatile, and it may lead to other scenarios far worse than having Noli as president. And I’m afraid that this time, it might not be as bloodless.