Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in the Opinion Section, Yellow Pad Column of BusinessWorld, September 12, 2005 edition, page 6/S1.

Reconciliation. Again.

In the wake of the impeachment’s death, Mrs. Arroyo repeated her reconciliation offer, saying it was time to return to work, and not to the streets. This, after so many other reconciliation attempts in the recent past.

Mrs. Arroyo’s allies in Congress tried to reconcile the Constitution with her desire to see the impeachment complaint knocked out before she even stepped into the ring. Her congressmen easily reconciled themselves to the technical knockout.

Environment Secretary Mike Defensor tried to reconcile “yun dagdag, yun dagdag” with “binalibag” and the result was binalibag siya ni Congressman Pichay.

Congressman Abante of Manila tried to reconcile jueteng witness Sandra Cam with Mrs Arroyo.  Ms. Cam was smart enough to tape her meeting with Abante so inatras ni Abante ang kanyang reconciliation offer.

DILG Secretary Reyes and the AFP tried to reconcile national security with an illegal raid on the room of a man who was helping Loren Legarda win her election protest against Noli de Castro.  Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer Romeo Macalintal said the documents confiscated by the joint police and armed forces intelligence team were useless in any legal proceeding-legal garbage in other words. I have not reconciled myself with Macalintal’s idea that an official copy of election returns is trash and only the original counts. Why make seven copies in the first place?

Brother Mike Velarde tried to reconcile Mrs. Arroyo and former President Estrada.  Mike Defensor leaked the terms of reconciliation to the press: Estrada was going to be released on recognizance. According to one newspaper, recognizance “involves the release of an accused without bail to someone of high moral standing in the community.” The reconciliation talks collapsed when both sides realized that there was no one in Malacanang who could possibly pass the “high moral standing in the community” requirement for bail on recognizance.

Mrs. Arroyo is said to be still trying to reconcile with the Marcos family.  According to Marcos’ son, Mrs. Arroyo talked to his mother about allowing his father to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. There could also have been talks regarding the disposition of Marcos’ wealth, something his heirs believe they have been unjustifiably deprived of. This reconciliation effort goes on (or is it a done deal?), despite Imee Marcos’ recent denial regarding a deal between her family and Mrs. Arroyo on the ill-gotten Marcos wealth. Rumor had it that Imee had absented herself from the impeachment voting because of that deal between her mother Imelda and Mrs. Arroyo. Will Mrs. Arroyo still reconcile herself with their wishes, now that the impeachment has been quashed?

Mrs. Arroyo tried to reconcile the new president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to her desire to stay in Malacanang. Unfortunately, he reminded her that the CBCP was more interested in the truth than in her continued occupation of the Palace. Napuwing tuloy si Mrs. Arroyo, according to her boy Bobi Tiglao, that’s why
she left the meeting teary-eyed.

At the El Shaddai meeting , Mrs. Arroyo tried reconciliation with the crowd.  She said, “All that I am asking God is for His divine will and as such I composed a prayer.” She read them a prayer she composed, “I am nothing. God is all. Father, I love you. Come Divine Will to think in my mind, to speak in my mouth, to see in my eyes, to breathe in my breathing and to move in my motion. So that the will of God will be my will and the will of all of us”.

Then her allies promptly killed the impeachment, among others, so that it would no longer hang over her head when she attends that UN Security Council meeting in New York on September 14.

With the impeachment behind her, we now have an even clearer idea of what Mrs. Arroyo really means when she extends her hand in reconciliation.

Today, for example, the news headlines said that Mrs. Arroyo named Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan as officer-in-charge of the Southern Command in a concurrent capacity last Thursday. In doing so, she rejected the AFP Board of Generals’ recommendation-Maj. Gen. Samuel Samuel Bagasin. This, after all military vows to stay neutral on the political crisis.

Clearly, even among those who do her bidding, Mrs. Arroyo has a different concept of reconciliation, and for that matter, truth, justice and the rule of law.

Thanks, but no thanks.