Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My mother is an activist

As I've said in my pre-elections post, I'll just vote the senators whom my mother told me to vote. And that's what I did. Back then, I didn't know why she wanted to vote for just those two for senator. Now, I've come across this Inquirer article now I know why.

What does the Honasan-Trillanes vote mean?

Here are some excerpts:

But if the senatorial elections were a referendum on Ms Arroyo, what was the implied referendum question? Was it “Do you approve of the government of President Arroyo?” (I shudder when I recall the Ferdinand Marcos-era referendum question: “Would you like President Marcos to continue the reforms needed to build a New Society?” - and a supine nation resoundingly voted, “Yes, please!”)

If it was, the impending victory of 10 non-administration candidates should tell us that the answer is, “No, we reject Gloria Arroyo.” But the expected triumph of Gringo - the poll group Social Weather Stations placed him in the magic 12, ranking him 7th overall, as against his current rank of 8th in the partial results - and the probable upset victory of Trillanes answer an entirely different question altogether. It pertains not to whether we reject Ms. Arroyo. It pertains rather to the “how” of rejection.

The Honasan-Trillanes vote shows a voter prepared to get rid of President Arroyo whatever it takes. It helps that the two are Philippine Military Academy graduates, untainted by graft and corruption, and who embodied to the lay public certain ideals for which they have made personal sacrifices. At least 1.3 million voters so far have cast their lot with two former coup plotters and, irony of ironies, would now reward them a fully constitutional way of expressing their rage.

Yet that doesn’t explain the Honasan-Trillanes vote completely. This attitude is but a symptom of a deeper malaise that has “numbed the Filipino” to the dangers of taking legal shortcuts. The Arroyo government has so strained the fabric of the rule of law, and pushed legal technicalities to breaking point, that it has undercut the legitimating power of the Constitution.

If MalacaƱang can repeatedly flout the law, why should it matter if we all flouted the law ourselves, but for good causes rather than bad? Why should Gloria have a monopoly on short-circuiting the Constitution, while the rest of us scrupulously but helplessly chant the Bill of Rights? Two can play the game, plus Honasan and Trillanes’ 1.3 million and counting.

I am not a great fan of PGMA either. Although, I appreciate her 8 by '08 program, which is her administration's national agenda focusing on eight priority investments (job creation; a better cost of living; a strong peso; more investments; pro-poor education; pro-poor healthcare, housing, food; green Philippines and Anti-terrorism), I feel that she is so consumed by greed for power, and that doesn't sit too well with me. I see her and I remember the saying, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Not a good thing to associate your nation's president with, I tell you.

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