While there is a unity among various political forces on the campaign to remove President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office, there are different ideas on who or what should replace Macapagal-Arroyo should she be unseated.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
The July 13 rally along Ayala Avenue in Makati City calling for the removal of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office was, so to speak, an all-star cast of the various groups opposing the current Malacañang occupant.
The forces ranged from Left to Right. Present were the different cause-oriented groups under the banner of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), the National Coalition of Concerned Volunteers (NCCV) led by actor Rez Cortez, the United Opposition (UNO) led by Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the Be Not Afraid Movement led by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and the so-called rejectionist groups coalesced into the Laban ng Masa (The Masses’ Fight).
Anti-Arroyo rallies have been held almost daily since June 6.
While there is a unity among various political forces on the campaign to remove Macapagal-Arroyo from office, there have been different ideas on what should replace Macapagal-Arroyo if she is unseated.
Many of the groups present in the July 13 rally gravitate toward the idea of a people’s transition council. Among them, it is Bayan and Laban ng Masa which have clear program proposals for the transition council.
Bayan’s proposed People’s Council would be composed of “patriotic and pro-people figures” with a track record of integrity and competence as political leaders, as well as democratic and progressive elements from the opposition parties that play significant roles in the anti-Arroyo campaign.
The council would draft a nationalist-oriented and progressive constitution. After that, it will call for genuine elections.
It would also undertake a number of urgent tasks, including: investigation of the involvement and culpability of Macapagal-Arroyo, Garcillano, military officials, and others involved in poll fraud; implementation of electoral and political reforms; rendering of justice and indemnification to human rights victims; and ensuring the protection of and respect for civil liberties; resumption of peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) through the fulfillment of all existing agreements, solving the fiscal crisis by canceling or repudiating all odious debts; and protecting the country from the ravages of free-market globalization and reversing the disastrous structural adjustment programs imposed by the country’s creditors.
The Laban ng Masa, on the other hand, is pushing for what it calls a “transitional revolutionary government” or TRG. The TRG would form a constitutional convention with proportional representation, and will work for the following goals: public custody of common resources like land and water, repudiation of illegitimate debts and relief to workers and all other vulnerable sectors of society, recognition of the Moro people’s right to self-determination, promotion of gender equality and women’s rights, and ensuring of the people’s access to basic services as well as the protection of their rights.
The Laban ng Masa is calling for the resignation of the entire Macapagal-Arroyo regime and the abolition of Congress and the Comelec as a prerequisite for the establishment of the TRG. Its statements, however, do not say who will compose the TRG.
A number of political figures from UNO, which is associated with deposed President Joseph Estrada, and the NCCV which supported the presidential bid of the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr., have expressed openness to the idea of a Transition Council. Among them are Estrada himself, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos. Marcos, in particular, pushes for a transition council to be headed by actress Susan Roces-Poe, wife of Fernando Poe, Jr.
Absent from the July 13 rally was the Coalition for National Salvation (CNS), a group led by retired Gen. Fortunato Abat who currently faces court charges of inciting to sedition. The Abat group is also batting for a TRG to replace Macapagal-Arroyo.
Abat, former chief of the armed forces, calls for the resignation of the president and the vice president and the abolition of Congress prior to the establishment of the TRG. The TRG will work based on a program of self- and social discipline and punish those who committed offenses against the nation through “revolutionary laws.” It will also call for a referendum or election to seek the people’s approval for a constitution that will convert the country into a federal and parliamentary system.
The general, believed by some quarters as actually part of the camp of former president Fidel V. Ramos, is reportedly calling for a military junta. Bulatlat