SPEAKING with amazing candor and directness to ABSCBN News Anchors Ricky Carandang and Pinky Webb on ANC's noontime show, former President FIDEL VALDEZ RAMOS just about gave PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO the same advice once given to a failing and moribund Philippine President -- CUT AND CUT CLEANLY. But he actually used even more CUTTING language than that to deliver a message that his support for the Arroyo regime has its limits. Despite having "saved her" from total collapse last July, when calls for her resignation peaked, FVR did not seem to be in a very supportive mood towards the Palace today. On the contrary!
1. The former President cited FREEDOM HOUSE's downgrade of the Philippines from FREE to PARTLY FREE, (which was a subject of Philippine Commentary's post yesterday) --warning that if the Palace continues its plan to CANCEL THE 2007 Elections, and extend the terms of all incumbent officials to the year 2010, with GMA as President & Prime Minister, this would surely result in a further downgrade next year from PARTLY FREE to NOT FREE, pointing to countries like the Sudan and North Korea as examples of that category. Paranaque Rep. ROILO GOLEZ, (like FVR a military man and former National Security Adviser of GMA) has already filed a resolution in Congress rejecting the recommendations of the Palace's Constitutional Commission, as a brazen attempt at "naked bribery" of public officials. Sen Pres. FRANKLIN DRILON also rose against the Palace plan, calling it "undisguised bribery" and noting the rising crsecendo of condemnation. By joining the chorus of those opposing the Palace's chacha plans FVR is sending a powerful signal to the Administration, that he may soon WITHDRAW SUPPORT from the administration if something doesn't give. In fact, he was being pretty direct on the noon time show...
2. FVR repeated his call from last September for the President to CUT SHORT HER TERM, reading to the television audience a statement he made to NEWSBREAK MAGAZINE in which he called upon GMA to "do something noble for the sake of the country." Asked by Pinky Webb how long his support for GMA might last, he stunned me with his laughing but apparently serious answer: JANUARY 1, 2006 would be a good time. (Perhaps the President should indeed reconsider RESIGNATION. Rizal Day December 30, 2005, would be a perfect day -- the 40th anniversay of the last day in office of President Diosdado Macapagal (her father) in 1965, and the 3rd anniversary of her I WILL NOT RUN in 2004 speech given in Baguio City in 2002.)
3. Referring to the unstable situation created by the President's unyielding position, FVR spoke ominously of an approaching TIPPING POINT as the people deal with an increasingly desperate economic situation made worse by the POLITICAL GRIDLOCK caused by Gloriagate.
4. Asked if he had lost hope in the administration of President Arroyo, Fidel Ramos, laughing in that warm but utterly humorless way of his said, "I've lost more than hope." (What could he have meant? Faith? Charity? Patience?)
5. But FVR seemed to pull back -- JUST A LITTLE -- from the brink of actually declaring that he WAS withdrawing his support as of today, despite the near-perfect pitch of the questions by the ABSCBN anchors Ricky Carandang and Pinky Webb, (who are in the running as our versions of Larry King when it comes to asking questions and getting answers.) But FVR employed instead a metaphor that may strike a powerful chord in the Filipino people. FVR invoked the metaphor of a SENIOR CITIZEN patriotically concerned about his people, who ARE only PARTLY FREE now, and that of an OLDER BROTHER calling on his YOUNGER SISTER to heed these words of wise and worldly warning from him, saying, it was his duty to KEEP ON TALKING even if his advice has so far fallen on deaf ears, for the sake of the ENTIRE FAMILY.
Who says the gene pool has run out and we are stuck with GMA? There is still the Constitution, there is still Rule of Law, as long as WE insist on it, peaceably but with the force of moral ascendancy, reason, and common sense. I really like the ideas of this KUYA EDDIE!
QUOTE FROM JUSTICE FREDERICK O. DOUGLAS: "Your forefathers were men of peace; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forebearance but they knew its limits. They believed in order but not the order of tyranny. With them nothing was "settled" that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were "final" -- but not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men, for they seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them!"
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