Trying to be cute . . .
President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo is facing an exceptionally complex set of scandals and accusations and, as usual in the Philippines, nothing is clear.
Mrs. Arroyo's perfect storm of crises has probably put her close to lame-duck territory one year into her six-year term, and may have paralyzed her administration for years. This can only exacerbate the profound, long-term crisis of capacity that is crippling the state.
Even before the latest Comelec scandals, Arroyo had recorded the lowest presidential approval ratings in the history of opinion polls in The Philippines. It took her three weeks to respond to the telephone call revelations, and that response only came after a dozen of her cabinet secretaries reportedly threatened to resign.
But that reality came into effect on Mrs. Arroyo’s most trying day as 8 cabinet secretaries and two senior executives led by her economic team resigned en masse and asked for her to step down as well. On that same day her staunchest allies led by Senate President Franklin Drilon and former President Corazon Aquino joined the call for her to step down.
Rally after rally followed with each side gunning for the most number of warm bodies to give credence to their case. At its prime, the opposition claimed 40,000 flocked to Ayala to call for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo. But most probably the masses went to catch a glimpse of their favorite actors and actresses in the seemingly variety show bandwagon. The Arroyo supporters countered with a prayer rally held last Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand saying that at least 100,000 supporters called for stability and the end of the political turmoil.
In the end, these rallies do not only worsen the economic instability of the nation, they also generate divisive sentiments among the people and draw away focus from the nagging problems that need our leaders’ full attention.
In the course of the political turmoil brewing in the Philippines, many politicians and civil leaders have lost sight of the true problem hitting not only the home country but the whole International community as well.
A pending oil crisis is looming in the near future as the price of oil in the world market has breached the $70 per barrel ceiling. In addition the Philippines desperately need economic reform and to strengthen its effort in the fight against terrorism.
It seems that Mrs. Arroyo is dead set in addressing them but she is hugely damaged, and intensely vulnerable should just one more crisis break out.
But whether things would grow better or worse from here on, would all depend on what the Mrs. Arroyo would do to ease the pressure on her to vacate the presidency. For as long as she would not do anything to worsen the prevailing national condition, the easier it will be for the armed forces and the national police to remain neutral as it has been doing in the past weeks.
Which is why it is important to settle the issue through constitutional process rather than allow violence and divisiveness to continue.
It is really just a matter of letting our legal processes take their course, and for results to come out with objectivity.