An interview with the Queen

Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror May 30, 2007 edition, p. A6

“The effective means of controlling the presidency lies not in law but in politics. For the American President rules by influence; and the withdrawal of consent, by Congress, by the press, by public opinion, can bring any President down.” – – Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in The Imperial Presidency

“Your Majesty, how do you feel about Team Unity’s (TU’s) humiliating defeat?”

“The national elections are just starting their count, but in the congressional and local elections, the victory of the overwhelming majority of candidates sympathetic to the administration shows a vote for political stability and economic reform.”

“The counting is almost over, your Majesty.”

“On the contrary, [Commission on Elections or Comelec head Benjamin] Abalos says there are still five million votes to count.”

“But Namfrel disagrees. They said, based on numerical probability, the top nine spots are secure.”

“Namfrel said that?”

“Yes.”

“Namfrel doesn’t know canvassing.”

“You mean TU can come back from behind?”

“Yes.”

“This late in the game?”

“I did it in 2004, didn’t I?”

“But the public won’t stand for it anymore.”

“Won’t stand for what?”

“Dagdag-bawas and tampering with ERs (elections returns) and COCs (certificates of canvass).”

“You call it dagdag-bawas; I call it clerical error. You say tampering; I say corrections of manifest errors.  Abalos will explain it to you later.”

“Thank you. Now, moving on to another topic…”

“Moving on. Those are my favorite words.”

“…Gov. Erico Aumentado said 10 towns in his island province will receive government projects for delivering sweeps to TU candidates. Is that true?”

“Yes, Boholanos will be rewarded; as promised.”

“Isn’t that electioneering?”

“You call it electioneering; I call it social payback.  Abalos will explain that to you, too.”

“I hope so… now, what if the Genuine Opposition (GO) wins anyway?  Won’t that show rejection rather than support for you?”

“The senatorial election was not about me. People voted for their favorite personalities. That’s all there is to it.”

“Still…a lot of people believe you are now a lame duck.”

“Really? Sez who?”

“Manuel L. Quezon III reported in his blog: ‘… Abaya (Manila Standard columnist Antonio Abaya) expresses what I think is an emerging consensus among people who aren’t fans of the President: to grant her a reprieve, but a highly conditional one.’”

“(Hahaha)…Sounds like they’re offering me another ‘graceful exit.’”

“It certainly does.”

“Remember 2005? [Fidel] Ramos and [Jose] De Venecia thought they were dealing with a lame duck. Well, guess who’s still on the throne barking orders to her throne bearers?”

“But there’s a big probability you will have an opposition Senate. Doesn’t that worry you?”

“Me? Granting, for the sake of argument, Abalos fails, I still have a couple of aces up my sleeve. I have my anti-terror law and my Sigaw charter change gang. The Senate should worry; not me.”

“So you’re not conceding defeat?”

“Defeat? In the congressional and local elections, the victory of the overwhelming majority of candidates sympathetic to the administration shows a vote for political stability and economic reform. I won, honey.”

“Any other message to your subjects?”

“I want to thank in advance the five million voters whose votes await canvassing by Abalos. They are the true voice of the people.”

“Huh?”

“You better believe it. Like the man said, ‘who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?’”

“Abalos said that?”

“No, not Abalos. Marx.”

“Karl Marx?”

“No, not Karl. Groucho.”

(This interview took place at the Enchanted Kingdom Palace, May 27, 2007)

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