Convicted of plunder in 2004, Joseph Estrada was pardoned in 2007, after a public declaration that he would no longer run for any elective office.
But that was then. Since early this year Estrada has been saying that he might seek in 2010 the presidency he lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001, when the second People Power uprising known as EDSA 2 removed him from office. He’s refused to say if he will indeed run next year, but Estrada recently bought not only two helicopters, but also, says his friend and political ally Juan Ponce Enrile, a private jet and 20 vans. He’s preparing for the 2010 campaign, says Enrile: Estrada will run next year.
Walter Lippmann, who was the most respected figure in US journalism for about half of the 20th century, used the term “the manufacture of consent” in the 1920s to describe how people can be made to decide the way their alleged betters want them to, or think they should.
Ordinary folk are supposed to make the decisions in a democracy, but they don’t always make the best ones, given the vast confusion created by contending claims in modern societies.
Most Filipinos think that, as the expression from US political lore goes, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is so unpopular she couldn’t win an election as a dog-catcher. Her numbers validate that view, the most recent being a whopping 46 percent disapproval grade and a 48 percent mistrust rating, according to Pulse Asia. If her numbers were any lower she could shake hands with the devil. As ratings go these numbers favorably compare only with those of the late Idi Amin when he was president of Uganda; not even the much-despised George W. Bush was as mistrusted.
No matter. Apparently Mrs. Arroyo thinks she can win an election – but not as president, which in 2004 she amply demonstrated she couldn’t, but as a congresswoman in the Second District of Pampanga, of which the Macapagal hometown, Lubao, is a part.
Speaking through a joint statement, several opposition groups warned the other day that an “Arroyo dictatorship” could follow the approval of House Resolution 1109 .
Their fears, said the United Opposition, Gabriela, Bayan, and Gloria Step Down Movement, among others, were not groundless, given the country’s experience with the government of Ferdinand Marcos, who managed to establish a dictatorship in 1972 by placing the entire country under martial law.