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I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Come Friday

Come Friday, will it be curtains for the Arroyo government?

Book makers I know were busy over the weekend taking bets on whether Lozada would make GMA fall. After today’s marathon hearing, the trend seems to be a shrinking pay-off as the odds are perceived to be tilting in favor of Lozada; last I checked, the bookies are taking odds on when GMA will fall. And the current favorite is Friday.

I don’t think government will fall on Friday, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

All day today, I couldn’t get away from the blanket coverage of the Senate farce hearing. The Senators were all getting frothy in the mouth as they alternately doted on Lozada and lashed out at everyone who dared dispute anything Lozada said. And the self-described ‘Jedi’ was lapping it all up. The guy was clearly enjoying himself. Seriously. His ham acting is starting to grate on me. I started out being kinda sympathetic to the man, but as he warmed up to his place in the spotlight, he has become by turns flippant, self-aggrandizing, piteous, arrogantly glib, and pathetic. He may be telling the truth, but I’m no longer willing to just take his word for it. And I don’t think I’m alone in wanting more than just a good story.

And that’s why I don’t think we’ll be hearing the death knell for the Arroyo government this Friday. Not enough people will be ready to simply take his word for it anymore. Truth be told, he hasn’t really said anything new. Lozada’s great worth was his sincerity – his credibility as the timid man who the government tried to silence. When he held that early morning press-con, he had the air of a man who was at his wits end, seeking refuge in every guilty man’s last recourse: the truth. His story was visceral. It was immediate. And it rang true.

Over the weekend, tho’, his storytelling has become more polished, more nuanced, more … deliberate. For someone who said all he wanted was to get out of this mess, he has shown himself more than willing to be the Senate’s foil – the fulcrum upon which the lever of government overthrow would be laid. This is not to say that i think he is lying. It all just seems so contrived that now, I believe people will be more inclined to wait for proof (as they were before Lozada burst onto the scene and reminded people – in dramatic fashion – of what they already knew) before they take to the streets to oust the President during whose term the country experienced record growth and a record decline in deficit. Hot bloods will not rule the day.

As Lozada said, one learns to tolerate corruption. As a nation, I think we have done just that: we have learned to distinguish between tolerable corruption and intolerable corruption, for as long as the net benefit is convenience for everyone involved. That’s the reason why people willing and routinely bribe cops to get out of traffic violations; why people come to government offices bearing presents for the petty tyrants behind window number five; or why the church approves of accepting vote-buying money.

At most, people will demand that Abalos lose his head. Or that Neri should be finally castrated. The story-line Lozada is peddling may be clear, but the link to the President needs to be strengthened before it can do any lasting damage. Obviously, the reasoning goes like this: the President approved the outrageous kick-backs (by extension, willingly burdening the people with a horrendous debt for something that was both unnecessary and unconscionably expensive) as an act of gratitude to Abalos for rigging the 2004 elections. Everything else about this whole brouhaha is incidental to that one, singularly sensational possibility.

Short of divine intervention, unless Lozada or the Senate or anyone coughs up the provable details to flesh out that scenario, the President will stay in power.

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7 Responses

  1. Jeg says:

    There was this sort of man-on-the-street interview on the news this morning on the Senate hearings. There was this shirtless man who said something like, “Abalos, magtago-tago ka na!” And this duster-clad woman who lamented the corruption (in Pilipino) occurring at the highest levels, and then there was this one of an English-speaking, twenty-or-thirty-something woman in a coffee shop who said, “Why should we care?” So if these are representative opinions, no, the odds of the fall of GMA this Friday are miniscule since those who are supposed to lead the uprising against GMA couldnt be made to care.

  2. cvj says:

    People are waiting for proof of what they already know?

  3. shiro says:

    cvj:

    actually i think they’re waiting for the impossible…. waiting for the goverment to have to good sense to quit while it’s ahead. because seriously dude, that’s the only way we’re going to avoid chaos.

    rom:

    never liked that whining drama queen from the start. i’ll give it to the Senate, they do know how to stroke the little nerd’s ego.

  4. niki says:

    WHAT?? the government could fall on friday? but i’m having my post birthday celebration on friday ohnoooesss!!! LOLz.

    seriously tho, too much work + no pc or tv at home + blocked non-work related sites in the office = an ignorant niki. we keep receiving text messages tho warning us to stay away from crowded places…

  5. shiro says:

    niki, born in february too? 🙂

  6. rom says:

    niki: hey you! i got those messages too, but i’ve been ignoring them. hehe. Late happy birthdays sistah. 😀

    shiro: oy! don’t tell me you’re a valentine’s day baby?!

  7. shiro says:

    not quite rom, my birthday is on the weekend. 🙂

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