Fearless forecast

Malacañang thinks this is the safest route to redirect the demands for GMA resignation because the current balance of forces in Congress favors Mrs. Arroyo. Speaker de Venecia and the Lakas-NUCD think they will handily defeat any impeachment move despite the defection to the minority of most of the members of the Liberal Party.

The administration challenge to those calling for Mrs. Arroyo to go to Congress and try to have her impeached is actually a tactic to derail the growing movement calling for her resignation. But as recent history has proven in the case of former President Joseph Estrada, the impeachment process is not necessarily a way out for an embattled regime.

The necessary number of votes for impeachment no longer looks formidable as political alliances shift in a very fluid situation. Even now the Opposition has announced that it is close to getting one-third or the required number of Congressmen willing to impeach GMA.

As to the resignation scenario, Mrs. Arroyo’s remaining allies such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce put it quite accurately when they assert that the call for resignation hinges on Mrs. Arroyo’s decision alone. And she has categorically and repeatedly said that she will not resign. Similarly the CBCP statement leaves it up to her conscience which unfortunately amounts to the same thing as Mrs. Arroyo by all indications will not resign on her own.

The problem with the open splits in the Arroyo regime and the institutions that backed her is that while these serve as major factors in helping to bring down her government, there is still the missing key ingredient.

And that is, the rejection by the majority of the people of Mrs. Arroyo, dramatically and unambiguously manifested no less, than by the flooding of the country’s major thoroughfares with the people’s warm bodies. In other words, what used to be hailed by the likes of Mrs. Arroyo, former presidents Corazon Aquino and General Fidel Ramos, the Catholic Church, mass media and the United States of America in glowing terms as “people power”.

Even sources in the military confirm that disgruntled groups and those who want to see an end to the Arroyo regime will not make any move to withdraw their support without masses of people demonstrating in the streets of Manila and elsewhere.

Thus it appears that all roads will eventually lead to the ouster scenario. Mrs. Arroyo will have to be forced out of office. She will have to hightail out of Malacañang the way her predecessor did, on the heels of an outraged throng gathered at the gates of the presidential palace.

If and when this happens, an extra constitutional change in government looms as the most likely outcome. In which case, the likelihood of Vice President Noli de Castro taking over is eclipsed. Some form of transitional arrangement will then come to the fore that is not necessarily confined to the legal framework prescribed in the 1987 Constitution.

Already there is a widespread and growing sentiment that it is not enough to change Mrs. Arroyo only to install a regime that will turn out to be as corrupt, undemocratic and subservient to foreign interests and the vested interests of the elite in this country; that is, a regime that will go through another cycle of instability and crisis that will necessitate its being booted out as well.

It indicates a widespread realization that “people power” must aim for more than it has achieved in the past. It bears close watching whether the overall situation and the moves of various political forces working for Mrs. Arroyo’s ouster will allow such an aspiration to come to pass. Posted by Bulatlat

*Published by BusinessWorld, 15-16 July 05

Posted by Bulatlat


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