People Power and the Transition Council as Alternative

We condemn rampant criminality, especially the involvement of officials and law enforcers in criminal activities, and the use of extra-judicial killings and other brutal and illegal coercive measures to suppress civil liberties and democratic rights. We want peace and order to reign over our land, so that each one may enjoy the fruits of his or her labor.

We oppose the Arroyo government’s blind support for the US-led “war on terror”. We shall continue to resist attempts to institute and employ draconian repressive measures to suppress protest and to curtail the bill of rights under the guise of countering “international and domestic terrorism”. We shall continue to seek and demand justice for the victims of such measures, including extra-judicial killings and harassments of mass leaders, journalists, and activists. We want peace based on justice.

We want no more of sham elections with rampant violence, vote buying and the wastage of government funds; where consequently only the rich and the powerful can win and the people are left with no real choices. We want an electoral process and political system where the poor and marginalized have a fair chance of being represented and their concerns heard and addressed by government.

We seek a government that would be truly representative of the people, especially the majority of the toiling masses and responsive to their needs in these difficult times­one that could unite and lead us in our arduous quest for freedom, democracy and social justice.

The “transition council” can pave the way to such an alternative government.

On the Transition Council as an alternative

There is as yet no consensus on the concept of an interim or transition group/committee/council as an alternative form of government. This is a matter that must be addressed cognizant of the fact that without the requisite consensus on how to remove Mrs. Arroyo from power, all talk of alternatives is at best premature; at worst, divisive. Yet there is need and basis for describing the kind of transition council the people will identify with and embrace.

Such a transition council or government must necessarily be composed mainly of representatives of those groups that had worked the hardest for the ouster of the current regime, with due consideration to their size and political significance. Conceivably it will consist of representatives of the opposition, the militant democratic mass movement, the organizations of professionals, patriotic businessmen and other middle forces, and some of the retired military and police officers who enjoy the confidence of the active military and police forces.

It is perforce a civilian authority that is supreme to the armed forces and the police. Consequently any form of military or civilian-military junta is unacceptable and must be ejected.

Representatives of workers, peasants, women, youth and national minorities should be adequately and properly represented. It is something that must be struggled for by these sectors of society together with adherents from the middle classes and the political forces they lead.

But we must be realistic and come to terms with the fact that the ouster or resignation of Mrs. Arroyo cannot, by and of itself, dismantle the system of elite rule in this country. Thus it will not be progressives and mass-based leaders of the people who will be dominant in the transition council but traditional politicians and their allies who retain their basic allegiance to the status quo. In effect, the ouster or resignation of Arroyo in favor of a transition council will not resolve everything but it can be a good beginning.

This is especially so if the transition government is able to put up and unify the country on a program that is pro-Filipino, pro-people and biased for the poor, deprived and oppressed. It shall then prepare for and oversee, in a fixed and reasonable length of time, a free, fair, honest and truly democratic election process that will allow the people to choose their new executive and legislative leaders.

It can also call for the election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) that would in no way be similar to the “chacha” scheme of Mrs. Arroyo, former President Fidel Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia to change the Constitution for their vested interests. Such a constitutional convention should draft a patriotic and democratic Charter that shall be ratified by the people.

The ConCon could institute wide-ranging reforms in the electoral and political system including a shift to a parliamentary form of government that would enlarge the chances of poor candidates to win a seat in the Legislature, favor the development of party- and program-based politics and reduce the gridlock between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. It can also strengthen the pro-Filipino and pro-people economic provisions of the Charter as well as its national sovereignty provisions such as the nuclear- and bases-free provisions that have been circumvented by new treaties and executive agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Logistics and Supply Agreement (MLSA).

How will the members of the transition council be chosen? In the first place, the strongest and most effective parties and organizations in the movement to force Mrs. Arroyo to resign, or in effect oust her from power, will come to the fore through the large numbers of people they are able to lead and influence, most especially to mount the mammoth mass actions that will be indispensable, if not decisive, in deposing Mrs. Arroyo.

Negotiations are even now taking place among such parties and organizations. They must constitute a convenors’ group that will then apportion delegates to a people’s congress or consultative assembly. The latter in turn shall select and acclaim the members of the transition council in an open, transparent and democratic manner. This must be done even before the Arroyo regime completely crumbles as we know it eventually will.

Conclusion

Putting an end to the Arroyo regime is something we must all work for in unity, with determination and fortitude. We in the middle forces must take the side of the majority of our people and act now to tip the balance in their favor, for our good as well as for the good of the entire nation.

Posted by (Bulatlat.com)

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