1. Bringing out the truth cuts both ways. It is a given that we all should work at finding out the truth. In the meantime, GMA is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. GMA critics charge her with election fraud based on a wiretap. Wiretapping is illegal in the Philippines. So, there are two possible illegal acts here, the alleged election fraud and wiretapping. We need to know the facts regarding this illegal wiretapping because this has serious implications on our civil liberties and the Machiavellian way of assuming political power. If it could happen to the President then it could happen to any citizen, and even worse, the vulnerable and weak in society. This is a serious implication, which the "progressives" in civil society, academia, media, church, etc. are silent on. This is a terrible omission on their part.
2. Justice is multidimensional. Seeking out the truth is only one aspect. Another important aspect is procedural justice, which is the process of arriving at the truth, reaching a decision, and acting on the decision reached. The election fraud charge could have been resolved by: a) GMA resigning, b) another People Power or coup det'at, and c) impeachment by Congress. Options a and b were rejected by GMA, which is her prerogative, by majority of the Filipinos (no People Power), and the Armed Forces respectively. Impeachment was the logical, next, and most feasible alternative. However, as a friend observed, the opposition Congressmen who led the impeachment/prosecution panel were also the ones in charge of the defense of ERAP during his impeachment proceedings. On both occasions, they bungled the job (despite their educational credentials and their dominance in Congress during ERAP's presidency). Let's face it, impeachment is both a legal and political process. If the opposition and their allies had a weak case, they should not have hurriedly filed the impeachment complaint and should have prepared better. The Filipino people are not stupid and will not confuse legal and political ineptness on the part of the opposition with the administration's political machinations.
There should be a way of proving GMA cheated AND finding out who authorized, organized, funded, and conducted an illegal wiretap without sacrificing the economy. All these, not only GMA's ouster, should constitute the fixed pie of justice in this case.
3. Headless opposition. As FVR noted, GMA may not be our ideal president, but there are currently no alternatives in the opposition. The opposition is headless, disorganized, inept, and lazy. They are also vulnerable. Cory, aside from being retired, has her Hacienda Luisita agrarian reform and massacre debacles (including the killing of union leaders). Bro. Eddie has his Zoe TV station legal woes. Drilon and Dinky Soliman are being attacked for their insincerity. The Senate is so unproductive that I am amazed that they are not ashamed of it. Drilon and the UP Law Center charged GMA of graft and corruption on the Northrail project, a critical transportation project for Central Luzon, but they misidentified the Chinese proponent-corporation. Nestle, which Ex-DTI Sec. Santos headed previously, is tainted by the killings of Nestle union leaders. Ping Lacson is in trouble because of the alleged kidnapping, murder, and drugs accusations, and possibly espionage in the U.S. because of his protege, Michael Ray Aquino. Makati Mayor Binay is hindering business activity in his own city by co-organizing allegedly paid-for rallies. The Makati Business Club calls for GMA's resignation without consulting its members, while its Executive Director is allegedly a Canadian citizen. Congressmen are concerned more with their pork barrel and political dynasties. The Left, well, what can I say?
Do you think that persons and groups of contradictory political persuasions, who are now united in their attempts to oust GMA, will be able to solve our political and economic problems? They are their own worst enemies. The Philippines has been spared from catastrophes this year, but not the biggest catastrophe of all- inept and lazy professional politicians and amateur politician wannabes.
4. Debate now. The Constitutional debate is not being rushed. Discussions started almost immediately after the implementation of the 1987 constitution when various sectors of society began noticing the negative impacts of some aspects of the constitution. During FVR's presidency, the debate heated up. Many think it was bad timing because it would've favored FVR, but hindsight now provides us with the regret of an alternative future. The point is that on every occasion the possibility of amending the constitution was raised, select groups immediately opposed it. Why are those who profess to work for democracy so adamant against discussing and debating constitutional amendments? Shall we let this opportunity for constitutional amendment (and possibly shortening GMA's rule) pass? A parliamentary form of government is not a panacea to the nation's ills, but it addresses an important structural aspect of a country's developmental strategy- the political and legislative sector. Again, as FVR noted, a parliamentary form of government also provides for the development of leaders from all sectors of society; since it is cheaper to gain political power. Vested interests are not the monopoly of GMA and her allies, it seems.
The future is uncertain with globalization, "war on terror" (??), and "natural" disasters (actually natural phenomena affecting human settlements). Self-defeating politics are only an added misery. Too many people in the Philippines and in the world live in poverty. In the U.S., living wages are declining so working here will become increasingly difficult. The same may be true in Europe. If the Middle East autocrats don't shape up and their oil runs out, their economies may not be resilient enough to hire more migrant laborers. While economic migration is now the norm for a number of us middle class, middle-aged Filipinos, it is developing the Philippine economy that will enable us to live meaningful lives at home. We need to tackle poverty everyday and not let the politicians waste our time entertaining us with their clownish behavior. The poor are desperate and poverty is one antecedent to political upheavals and violence. While we have been weathering the external shocks of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, ERAP and GMA?, oil price increases, etc., a catastrophe such as a massive earthquake, another Pinatubo, a tsunami, drought, or a pandemic hitting a populated area could easily send the country in to chaos. All it takes is one massive "external" shock. Are we prepared?
I suggest reading the Hyperwage Theory of Thads Bentulan/Streetstrategist at the Businessworld on how to tackle poverty (I have parts 1-26 on e-file).
Office of the Provincial