All those who seek the ouster of Macapagal-Arroyo from Malacanang are contained, harassed, intimidated, removed, imprisoned or even killed. On the other hand, those who support the continued stay of the administration enjoy the perks of being close to the powers-that-be.
Hell-bent or hell-sent?
The Arroyo administration is hell-bent (or hell-sent, depending on one’s perspective) on keeping itself in power.
It is determined to push through with changing the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative to give Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the power of both president and prime minister until 2010. After that, she could be declared prime minister for life.
Amending the Constitution to remove all restrictions to foreign trade and investment is meant to please the administration’s benefactors, particularly the U.S., as well as big foreign and local businesses. The removal of restrictions on the establishment of foreign military bases, the continued stay of foreign troops and the bringing into the country of nuclear weapons would please the U.S. even more.
The removal of any limit to the tenure of local officials and lawmakers is meant to satiate the greed for power of her allies.
Critical local officials can block the administration’s plans to verify the signatures it collected (or fabricated, based on allegations of the opposition). They can also spoil the planned manipulation of plebiscite results. It should therefore not be surprising that the administration is determined to remove or immobilize them.
On the other hand, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is still exerting pressure on opposition lawmakers in case they would have to ask Congress to convene itself as a constituent assembly if the people’s initiative fails.
Meanwhile, the obliteration of the Left is meant to quell opposition from the parliament of the streets not only against charter change but also against the continued stay of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
Removing the corrupt
While those guilty of corruption should be punished by removal from office, who should be removed first to serve as example to other corrupt officials? In the first place, who committed the worst crime of corruption? Who used the taxpayers’ money for their personal gain?
Who corrupted the core institutions and processes of government in order to stay in power? In particular, who used the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the manipulation of 2004 election returns?
Who favored the promotion AFP and PNP personnel who sacrificed their integrity and honor by helping their benefactors cheat in the 2004 elections? Who committed the most scandalous form of cheating and whose telephone conversations with an election official were recorded while doing so?
Who circumvented the law in order to go after critics and justify illegal acts? Who made the House a mere rubber stamp to promote self-serving interests?
If we are really serious about removing the corrupt government officials, then there is no mistaking who should go first.