Philippine Bastille


Malacanang has run out of words to describe the Citizens’ Congress–or People’s Court, as some newspapers breathlessly labeled it–organized by the Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan (Unity for Truth).

Chaired by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, the Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability will look into allegations that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the last elections, and committed acts of corruption as well as human rights violations. Continue reading

Warning to Arroyo


Former President Fidel V. Ramos’ speech before the Makati Business Club last Thursday (October 20) was three things all at once. It was a call as well as a reminder. But it was also a warning.

Ramos urged Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cut her term short and “reform herself”. He also described the support he gave her last July as “secondary and incidental” in that it was given “in the absence of a better alternative.” Translation: it could also be temporary. Continue reading

Look Who’s Talking (2)


Does one incident make a trend, one swallow a spring– or a rally attended by clerics “creeping theocracy”?

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago says yes, the prayer rally last Friday that police attacked with water cannon being, in her view, an attempt to violate the law by using religion as cover.

“No religion,” said Santiago, “can serve to camouflage disobedience of the law by invoking freedom of religion. That would be creeping theocracy.” Continue reading

Madness in its method


Former President Fidel Ramos’ claim that all the talk about the imposition of martial rule is nonsense has been echoed by a number of politicians and media commentators. Primarily they cite the conditions and limits the 1987 Constitution imposes on any declaration of martial law, or attempt to do so.

Section 18 of Article VII (The Executive Department) empowers the President to put the Philippines or any part of it under martial law “in case of invasion or rebellion,” but only for 60 days. Continue reading

Look who’s talking


All this talk of martial law’s nonsense, said former President Fidel V. Ramos the other day. Except that he said it in the barracks language favored by the military. He said it’s “all bulls–t,” or cow dung.

Although many Filipinos think martial law’’ already here, Ramos focused on the harm the talk is supposedly causing the country. He then added that he doesn’t think Filipinos will accept martial law. What’s more, the Constitution protects the nation from a declaration similar to Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081, which put the country under martial law on September 21, 1972. Continue reading

Unpopular and incorrigible


Few will dispute that the country has never been as unstable as today. But it isn’t because it is divided, as Malacanang would have us believe.

The “division” created by the Arroyo political crisis exists only in the frantic imaginations of Palace henchmen. A division implies a more or less equal balance of forces for and against. But the Arroyo camp is almost totally isolated and its support dwindling, while those opposed to it grow in strength and numbers. Continue reading

Arroyo’s end


No, this is not to confirm the silly tale that former President Corazon Aquino and Senate President Franklin Drilon are planning to assassinate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This is in reference to the Arroyo regime’s eventual departure, courtesy of its own fatal flaws.

Few think this still possible, given the regime’s tenacity and the middle-class’ seeming indifference. As predicted, the failure of anti-Arroyo forces last July-August to create the critical mass that brought down Joseph Estrada in 2001 has kept Arroyo in power. Lukewarm middle-class support was crucial to that failure. Continue reading

Business unusual


Despite Malacanang’s pretense at business as usual, the political situation is as unstable as ever, and the Arroyo government as afraid of being ousted now as it was last July.

The crisis is first of all rooted in the dubious mandate of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In trying to sidestep that issue and halt protests, the Palace is itself fanning the crisis it says is over. Continue reading