The proposed people’s democratic council will be radically different from the present presidential leadership which has long been in the hands of bureaucrats and family dynasties whose supposed legitimacy in office is continually tarnished by electoral fraud, corruption, plunder and other crimes.
By Bobby Tuazon
In the intensity of the current political crisis in the Philippines, the formation of a people’s democratic council comes as a proposal worth looking into. It is gaining attention in many discussion circles in the grassroots movement, the academe, among students, the church and even among middle class institutions all over the country.
The proposal for the formation of a people’s democratic council – first initiated by leading militant and patriotic groups as well as the progressive party-list bloc in Congress – is certain to gain more steam as the legislature gears for impeachment proceedings in the days and weeks ahead against the embattled president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
As first proposed, the council seeks to replace the current presidency now occupied by Macapagal-Arroyo who stands accused of electoral fraud, alleged connections with illegal gambling and other charges. The council will be set up soon after the president is ousted from office by popular clamor through a peaceful uprising. It will draft a pro-people constitution, reform the government and initiate the holding of elections.
To be represented in the council are leaders of mass organizations of workers, farmers, urban poor, women and other democratic forces including professionals, small businessmen as well as known leaders from traditional opposition parties and patriotic members of the armed forces and police involved in the historic ouster of Macapagal-Arroyo.
In effect, the council will be radically different from the present presidential leadership which has long been in the hands of bureaucrats and family dynasties whose supposed legitimacy in office is continually tarnished by electoral fraud, corruption, plunder and other crimes. Essentially, it seeks to transfer political power from the ruling elite to the people themselves – or at least a coalition of various forces opposed to the president.
Because it restructures political power in favor of the democratic forces, it is expected to face obstacles and elite hostility. This early, some officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have threatened to intervene if Macapagal-Arroyo is forced to step down and the council – which they said would be dominated by the “left” – takes power. Political allies of the president including local governors and mayors, who believe they are elected into office unlike the “mob democracy” that aims to topple the president, have likewise threatened to declare separate local “republics” in a post-Arroyo scenario.