Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror January 24, 2007 edition, p. A6
This election, like any other election, will be about voting for the lesser evil or, as one quip once put it, “the evil of having to choose between two lesser.”
Malaca?ang advertises the election as “Erap versus GMA.” The billing is true up to a certain point. It becomes a gigantic fraud when it equates the entire opposition with Erap. It becomes a grand deception when it suggests that the election of senators and congressmen identified with Erap and opposed to Mrs. Arroyo is the same as restoring Erap. It’s not even close but that’s what Malaca?ang wants everyone to think. So far, it has been successful.
Conrado de Quiros, my favorite columnist, spoke for many decent Filipinos when he called for the formation of another senatorial slate. He wrote, “Good vs. Evil is always better than Evil vs. the Lesser Evil. I refuse to call it a ‘third force’ because that suggests there are already two other (major) forces locked in contention. I propose to call it ‘the real opposition.’”
Granted. But, is this the best time to divide the opposition?
Roosevelt and Churchill joined forces with Stalin to defeat Hitler. They knew it was an unholy alliance but they did it anyway, to rid the world of a greater evil. It was not about the end justifying the means. It was a matter of setting priorities— Hitler first, Stalin later— because Churchill and Roosevelt realized they couldn’t wage war on Hitler and Stalin at the same time and hope to win. In the same way, uniting behind a common ticket is the best guarantee for ridding this country of its greatest threat.
There is no reason for reformers to fear the UNO ticket. The UNO senatorial slate will provide, at most, 12 out of 24 senators. And not all of UNO’s bets are bad. Furthermore, they cannot, even if they wanted to, do as much mischief as Mrs. Gloria Arroyo. They, individually and collectively, will not have the same power she enjoys over government funds, the justice system, the armed forces, and the police. Electing UNO means Mrs. Arroyo is out. It does not mean Erap is going back to Malaca?ang.
This election is not about Erap. He is only part of the opposition. He is not THE opposition. The opposition is bigger than Erap and the “real opposition” put together.
This election is about Mrs. Arroyo and what she has done to the country. Will she get away with it?
Mrs. Arroyo will choose whoever will let her get away with it. Eduardo Ermita made no bones about that. He said, “We’ll just have to first choose the correct candidates for the Senate and (who are) supportive of the President, especially in the House of Representatives, so that in the eventuality that anybody would wish to make a move on another impeachment, then we are assured that it will not progress because we have more allies in the House and in the Upper House.”
The “real opposition” must keep its eye on the prize. And the price of a disunited opposition. A third force will become a “wedge issue”, it will lead to in-fighting and cannibalism among the opposition and Mrs. Arroyo will be the only survivor.
The only question a voter should consider next May is: “Am I for or against Mrs. Arroyo?” That is the bottom line. Nothing else matters because no reforms can take place while Mrs. Arroyo is in power.
The “real opposition” must define this election as “People of the Philippines versus Mrs. Arroyo.” Period. They should unite behind a common ticket. A vote for UNO is not a vote for Erap. It is a vote towards impeaching Mrs. Arroyo. And a chance at reforms.
Hitler first, Stalin later.