Inside the SONA

Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror, July 19, 2006 edition, p. A6.

Next week, Mrs. Gloria Arroyo will deliver her annual report to the nation (SONA).  She will inform her preferred shareholders that she has accomplished a great deal for them and they will shower her with applause. Then she will tell the common stockholders, us, to be a little more patient. “Your turn will come. Promise.”

Mrs. Arroyo will claim that reforms are in place, the economy is strong and getting stronger, the four mega-regions are ready for takeoff, the New People’s Army  will be wiped out along with destabilizers and coup plotters, and corruption will be eliminated.  Then she will ask everybody to support Charter change so that the three little paper boats from Payatas can find safe harbor in a unicameral parliament.  “No more checks and balances to sink the Paperboat of State.”

She will not remind the public about her rants against bishops meddling in politics. If at all, she will tell them she shares the bishop’s belief that the impeachment process is an “unproductive political exercise” because it cannot be used “as the means for establishing the truth.”   The bishops are still searching for the truth. “Hello…hello Garci…yun dagdag…yun dagdag” did not tell them anything. Mrs. Arroyo won’t tell either.

But the public does not need to be told.  Instead, it’s got something to say to the bishops, “Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cheated, your Excellencies.”

Now, the public wants to move on. From searching for the truth to bringing criminals to justice. Except they won’t find justice in a forum where accomplices are supposed to decide on the fate of their principal. “Honor among thieves.”

House Majority leader Prospero Nograles made that clear. He said, “The House or Congress is not a correct venue to find guilt or innocence. It’s the courts that will decide guilt or no guilt, not Congress in an impeachment case because Congress decides, as a policy, whether good or bad, to remove an official.”  In other words, sue her.  Except you can’t sue her while she’s in Malacañang.  “Catch-22.”

Mrs. Arroyo will use her “get out of jail” card from the CBCP to erase the separation of church and state and talk about… what else? Family values. Genghis Kahn and Bush credited family values for their success. Why should the Queen of the Enchanted Kingdom be any different?

Her lap dummy, Ignacio Bunye, said, “We invite the bishops and other religious leaders to forge a joint action plan for the further strengthening of the Filipino family.”  He also took advantage of the furlough to propose Charter change promotional campaigns.

He said, “We are proposing for the conduct of a joint government-CBCP forum on Charter change, where we will invite all stakeholders, those who are advocating and those who are against, to have an extensive debate on Charter change.”

Thus, we can anticipate photos of collaborationist clerics signing a memorandum of understanding with Mrs. Arroyo. Ricardo Cardinal Saludo, as blogger Dean Jorge Bocobo respectfully calls the eminence greasy from Malacañang, will spin those photos as an endorsement of her cheating, her human rights record and her stealing. “United we scam.”

Mrs. Arroyo will crow about foiling the plot to bomb the Batasan. She will be careful about innuendos that the opposition was part of it because they would have also been in the Batasan if the plot had succeeded. A careless insinuation from her will undermine the canard that the opposition is driven by political ambition only. Suicide bombing and selfish political ambition do not fit hand in glove. “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”

Mrs. Arroyo will dwell on everything she has done, is doing, and will do, to alleviate poverty. She will present her Statement of Assets and Liabilities along with that of her son and brother-in-law to prove she’s an expert at creating wealth. For her family. “Charity begins at home.”

The public is tired of listening to Mrs. Arroyo’s self-adulation. All they really want to hear is an abbreviated, slightly altered, reprise of her Rizal Day speech:

“My beloved countrymen:  Since I’m the principal figure in the divisive national events for the last five years, my political efforts can only result in never-ending divisiveness. Consequently, I will end up stalling national growth for a few years more as a result of lost momentum. In view of this, I am resigning right now.”

Unfortunately, with 12,000 armed men surrounding the Batasan on SONA day, Mrs. Arroyo might be tempted to use the occasion to terrorize the joint session of Congress to convene themselves as a constituent assembly to amend the constitution. “Tapos na ang boksing.”

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