I am not really a big fan of political rallies but I went to some major ones when I felt that the need was pressing. If I were already old enough to carry a placard in 1986, I would almost certainly be in the first EDSA crowd calling for Marcos to leave Malacañang. The last mass protest I’ve been to was when people clamored for Erap’s resignation in 2001. I was among the thousands gathered in front of the EDSA shrine when the military top brass lead by then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Angelo Reyes defected to the side of the people calling for reform.
Tomorrow, a big rally against charter change or Cha-cha will be held in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country as well. If I were in the Philippines, I would probably join this one too. But sigh! I am trapped here in a foreign land (until my flight back home next week Yipeeeeee!), so I resort to blogging instead, to voice out. Thank you wordpress!
I believe the renewed calls for Cha-cha especially the proposal to extend the terms of all incumbents including the president is highly deceptive and ill-timed! Some politicians are using the global economic slump as an excuse for amending the constitution as if term-extension is the silver bullet versus this problem. On the contrary, shouldn’t they be blamed for not doing enough to buffer the struggling economy against further decline? In other countries, particularly in the United States where it all started, the incumbent leaders are being blamed for the financial crunch. I doubt that our current set of Philippine leaders is guiltless with respect to the harm that this crisis is bringing to our country! This gives us more reason to oppose any move that will cancel or postpone the general elections in 2010. We need fresh leadership. More importantly, we need a new president!
Speaking of president, I do not understand how and why pro-Cha-cha lawmakers think they could trick the Filipino people into believing that we need to extend President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term given her tarnished resume. To illustrate: 1) PGMA won (many say she cheated Fernando Poe Jr.) with the narrowest of margins in the 2004 Presidential race. 2) PGMA’s term has been marred with controversy after controversy; from the “Hello Garci” scandal to the fertilizer fund scam to the ZTE-NBN deal. 3) PGMA has had four impeachment complaints to date. 4) PGMA’s cabinet, 10 of them, resigned en mass in 2005. Well, that tells a lot about her doesn’t it? 5) PGMA’s approval rating has been in the negative since 2005 making her the most unpopular president since Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Translated, most Filipinos do not trust her anymore nowadays!
Seven plus two more years (until her presidency expires in 2010) under the Arroyo administration is enough for me. Adding a couple of years to that will be too much and will create further public outcry! I voted for PGMA in 2004 thinking that she is the “lesser evil” (I didn’t want FPJ to win). However, if by some manipulative political design, legislators are able to push for Cha-cha and term extension, there will be no doubt in my mind that she is one of the “most evil” leaders our country has ever had.
If she would put an end to Cha-cha version 2008, PGMA should be allowed to finish her remaining years as president. I have not been too keen about impeachment claims filed against her because I think the most probable next-in-line replacements would just be the same banana. Then what? Impeach her successor as well? Impeachment proceedings just create political noise, which cause more harm than good to the country. It impedes growth, which in fairness to PGMA has been observed during her tenure, regardless of whether she was directly responsible for it or not. In the current context, it is a waste of time and resources. However, I believe that Cha-cha, if shoved down Filipino throats will galvanize mass action and bring the impeachment fight to the streets.
Don’t get me wrong. I am also pro-Cha-cha. I see the merits of revising the Constitution. I am pro-federalism, in fact. However, now is not the proper time for Charter change. We should wait until after the elections of 2010. Let us be vigilant and help ensure that the elections in that year will be clean and credible so as to avoid any legitimacy questions like that which hounded PGMA ever since she became head of state.
NO TO CHARTER CHANGE UNDER PGMA!!!