A well-known Catholic bishop, party-list leader and others agree that a transition council should replace President Macapagal-Arroyo, whose ouster is being sought by more and more Filipinos.
By Art Allad-iw
BAGUIO CITY – A Catholic bishop believes that there is a breakdown in the government as manifested by the present crisis in the presidency and government’s anti-people policies. A party-list leader says on the other hand that a council should be established, which would serve later as a transition government before the election of a new set of leaders should Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) be ousted.
In a forum this week at the University of the Philippines in Baguio, Catholic Bishop Julio Labayen encouraged participants to espouse politics that advances the rights and welfare of the majority for a better society. The forum was well-attended by militant groups, church people, and the academe.
Labayen, a figure in the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggle, said that Macapagal-Arroyo’s governance and method of leadership is not pro-people, as shown by the expanded value added tax and incessant oil price hikes.
Labayen is a member of the Makabansang Kilusang Ekonomya (MKE or patriotic economic movement) which was part of the June 24 national day of mourning. The group also called for the President to speak as to truth of the latest CD which exposes her alleged conversation with Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to rig the Mindanao elections in her favor.
Representatives from militant groups and the Political Science Division of the university, who were invited as reactors, agreed with Labayen’s pronouncements and also voiced their support for the ouster of the President.
Chie Galvez of the Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU or people’s dialogue) and the local chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) said an ouster is inevitable with all the controversies and problems haunting the present administration. She said the only question is when this will take place.
Deeper into poverty
Geraldine Cacho of ORNUS (Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Siyudad or urban poor association) also supported the call for the ouster of Arroyo, saying that Macapagal-Arroyo’s anti-people policies that drove the urban poor deeper into poverty.
“Kahit ilang ulit tayong magpalit ng pangulo, huwag tayong magsasawa, hanggang sa maitayo natin ang gobyernong para sa atin” (Even if we replace more presidents, we should be patient until we build our own government), she said.
Cacho reiterated that the VAT which will be implemented in July will hit the poor most. She added that the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), which is supposed to provide affordable housing for the urban poor community, is very costly.
Cacho also lamented that government troops are bombarding the interior tri-boundary of Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur and Benguet as part of Macapagal-Arroyo’s counter insurgency campaign, where hundreds of women and children are caught in the crossfire.
“Ginegyera kami ng gobyerno, ginegyera kami ni Gloria” (Government has declared war against us, Gloria has declared war against us), Cacho declared.
Cacho also criticized the Arroyo government for branding organizations critical of her administration, including ORNUS, as “communist fronts.”
Meanwhile, UP Political Science Prof. Maileenita Penalba said that the crisis of the president is a crisis of political legitimacy. “Mahirap mamalakad kung walang political legitimacy,” she explained.
Should President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo be ousted, who would take he place?
In the same forum, Manny Loste, national vice-chairperson of party-list Bayan Muna said that the kind of crisis the country has can not be handled by one person only.
Loste said the proposal of Bayan Muna and its allied organizations is a transition council that would be composed of people, who care for the rights and welfare of fellow Filipinos.
Loste explained that the said council will pave the way for an election of a new set of officials. “This would be different from EDSA 2, where the vice president automatically replaced the ousted president,” he said.
He stressed that Vice President Noli de Castro cannot replace Arroyo because even his election into office is tainted with fraud.
Loste also said that the political crisis could be resolved if the economic and moral crisis is addressed.
Bishop Labayen agreed with Bayan Muna’s proposal for a transition council, stressing that the transition council should involve all Filipinos. With a report from Kim Quitasol / Nordis / Posted by Bulatlat