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

Oppo doesn’t want GMA to resign

A noted blogger’s recent references to Nixon reminded me of the first ever Time Magazine editorial – The President Should Resign. It was a good piece, written in 1973, which eerily resonates with the mess the Philippines is in right now. All you have to do is substitute ‘Macapagal-Arroyo’ for ‘Nixon’ and change a few pronouns around.

(Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) and the nation have passed a tragic point of no return. It now seems likely that the President will have to give up (her) office: (she) has irredeemably lost (her) moral authority, the confidence of most of the country, and therefore (her) ability to govern effectively.

The most important decision of (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s) remarkable career is before (her): whether (she) will give up the presidency rather than do further damage to (her) country.

Even if (she) were to be acquitted (in an impeachment trial), the process would leave (her) and the country devastated. Events have achieved an alarming momentum; additional facts that would be brought out under subpoena power at an impeachment trial could strike in many unforeseen and dangerous directions.

Moreover, a trial would take at least several months, during which the country would be virtually leaderless. (Malakanyang) would be paralyzed while the (Philippines) awaited the outcome. The Republic would doubtless survive. But the wise and patriotic course is for (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s) to resign, sparing the country and (herself) this agony.

The wise and patriotic course. Man, has anybody ever whispered those words in her ear?

About the choice of successors – something that has also been plaguing us of late – the editorial had this to say:

(Noli de Castro) would be an unmistakable improvement over the grievously wounded (Macapagal-Arroyo). Barring some unforeseen revelations, (De Castro) has the immense asset of a (relatively) corruption-free reputation. He has a solid if unimaginative record in domestic policy, stands somewhere near the (Philippine) center, and is greatly liked and respected (by the people). In foreign affairs, he is obviously inexperienced, but other Presidents have risen above such limitations, as the example of (Joseph Estrada?) demonstrates. With (enough) help, (De Castro) should be able to carry on(.) He would have one overriding advantage in dealing with foreign powers (and investors especially): their certainty that (De Castro) would be in (Malakanyang) for at least (two) more years.

Reading it in our context, the editorial makes the point that political stability, if it can be achieved with GMA’s resignation, would be a more potent force than an immensely qualified President. I can’t help but agree.


Today, the opposition is pursuing a strategy of attrition. They will keep on pinging GMA, weakening her, weakening her, but never unto the point of toppling her government. They know that if they do, they cannot guarantee that they themselves can grab or hold onto power. As it is, even in the fight against GMA, the fissures between the power blocs – even the individual oppositionists – is plain to see. With GMA gone, those fissures will widen into yawning chasms and the once mighty (if fragile) opposition will again fall to pieces. And since it is so uncertain who among the oppositionists now will end up on top of the heap, they would all rather maintain the status quo. But always weakening GMA, weakening and weakening her. They figure, by 2010, she will have been so undermined that her party won’t be able to muster up a creditable bid for the Presidency. This was the strategy in 2007, and it worked.

But while this may be good mojo for the opposition, it is a lousy deal for the country.

While the opposition snipes at the President, political unrest will continue. Her government will become increasingly ineffective in governance and it will be the country that suffers. And as the country’s suffering grows, the opposition will be quick to blame GMA, convenient ignoring the fact that their ceaseless efforts to undermine her are partly to blame for the breakdown in governance.

Like I said, lousy for the country. Even lousier because there is, in fact, a viable alternative. Noli de Castro may not be exactly presidential timbre, but is the Constitutional successor, he seems to be competent, and the people still trust him. What makes him unacceptable from the purely political point of view is that giving him two and-a-half years as President will probably make him unbeatable in 2010.

And so it happens. The President will probably not resign. Not solely because she doesn’t want to, but also because the opposition – despite all its thunder – doesn’t want her to either.


Filed under: 2010 watch, politics, , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. mlq3 says:

    i think it would help to further slice and dice the oppo, to figure out who, exactly, are doing what you think they’re doing -which i think some of them are, but not all, and maybe not even most.

  2. cvj says:

    This blog entry of yours is the closest i think you’ve gotten to asking GMA to resign, or at least giving the reasons why she should.

  3. rom says:

    mlq3: I’m with the God of Abraham on this one, uncle. Show me ten politicians who are pursuing this crusade against GMA solely to get rid of a rotten leader – and therefore would truly run her out if they could, and then hand the presidency over to Noli de Castro – and I’d say that the Sodom and Gomorrah of Philippine politics deserve the benefit of the doubt.

  4. rom says:

    cvj: yep, it’s the closest. the truth is, I’ve always been against the idea of resignation although not as against it as I’ve been against the idea of people-powering her out of office. I’ve always thought that, at some point, she would have to decide whether staying in power would do the country more good than ill. I think the time to make that decision has come.

  5. shiro says:

    totally love how you were able to find those parallels. yeah, it is pretty creepy. but the dwarf is proving to be even trickier than Tricky Dick ever was…

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