There is simply no more reason -- moral or political -- for the United States and the American people, in particular Filipino-Americans, to give aid and comfort to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It would be deleterious to the national interests of the United States to continue to support her failed regime. She has severely damaged Philippine democratic institutions like no other leader since Ferdinand Marcos, by selfishly betraying the center of the Republic and only envigorating both rightwing and leftwing fascists. By deftly wielding the political Mafia which runs Congress yet is beholden to the Palace, GMA has managed to supplant the Rule of Law by the Rule of the Majority in such a clever mutation that many are stunned into inaction by incomprehension at the magnitude of what she has been willing to do thus far. GMA has taught us all a lesson in how little difference there can be between a legitimate government and Mob Rule.
JB BAYLON of newspaper Malaya has a slightly different name for all this: BANDIT DEMOCRACY.
But GMA has prevailed by confusing the enemy, who cannot seem to see just what it is that hits them and foils their every move. Yet, in saving herself, GMA created a Gordian Knot of Gridlock that the country does not deserve. Though her ally Jose de Venecia crows about the productivity of his Congress as a promise of parliamentary things yet to come, the 2006 Budget has not been passed, stymied in the Senate by E.O. 464. In a cruel twist, an automatically re-enacted budget is actually favorable to the Palace, since about P100 billion becomes available for "realignment". Thus even gridlock is enlisted in the aid of GMA's self-preservation. Not passing the budget--again-- is a desirable goal for the Palace.
Gloria has also damaged the common national security interests of both countries by her changing stands and policies with respect to the war on terrorism and in our relations with allies. She has allegedly prostituted the Philippine Military to partisan political purposes, alienating the people from its own Armed Forces and hurting the morale of men fighting the NPA and the terrorists. Several disasters are thus waiting to happen under her failed and divisive leadership. These can be averted, at least in part, by the withdrawal of US support for this tragically flawed and egotistical leader of the hapless Filipino nation.
Filipino-Americans on the Continent should call on the US government and American social and political leaders to join Presidents Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, and Joseph Estrada, Senate President Franklin Drilon and the various civil and religious societies in the Philippines in a united call for GMA to voluntarily and peaceably cut short her hold on power, for the good of the nation!
The Catholic Bishops did not overtly join this call last July when GMA's regime was teetering on the brink of resignation. But when they issue a second statement on the Gloriagate crisis this Sunday, they will surely come closer, not farther, to that call.
Under GMA, the Philippines has been designated by Freedom House International as only "partly free." And things are going to get worse. In any event, the relationship between America and the Philippines is an old and historic one. It has a logic and reality of its own, and would easily survive any regime change..
Unfortunately for us, where Erap was drunk on alcohol, Gloria is addicted to autarky and won't let go the teat of absolute power. Yet, I think everyone knows, (even the U.S. State Department), that she's just got to go sooner or later folks, because the bus is headed off a cliff with her at the wheel. Simple as that.
"Who would replace her?" I hear you asking. Well, just think of all those successful Filipinos in America-- doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, engineers, fathers, mothers, worthy citizens and residents all over the American Continent. There is plenty more here in the Philippine Archipelago where they came from! The Gene Pool has not run out as some Filipino-Americans self-servingly sigh as an excuse for mental laziness in the matter of Gloriagate. Also there is still a Constitution in force, with a clear line of succession, and a public not so easily cajoled to march into the streets in the name of some purported savior. "Regime change" can certainly be done constitutionally.
For example, should GMA and Noli de Castro voluntarily resign (for the good of the country) there would be democratic elections in a few months and we could be out of this dangerous quagmire soon enough. There is a Senate full of potential leaders who can't be any worse than Gloria and are likely going to learn from her heedlessness. With no particular preference, any of the following would be okay with a lot of reasonable people here: Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Rodolfo Biazon, Dick Gordon, Manuel Roxas III, Alfredo Lim. And who can neglect the towering presence of Senate President Frank Drilon, who has been a beacon of hope and principle, and is third in the line of Constitutional succession, and would oversee regular elections that would follow a vacancy in both top posts.
In other words, Philippine Democracy is not so weak that it cannot replace Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with someone else better than her. A change will have to come, sooner or later, but I think the chances of that change being peaceful and democratic could be greatly increased if America were to now withdraw support for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It would have the same magnificent effect as Ronald Reagan's almost forgotten message to Marcos at a crucial point in Philippine history: "Cut and cut clean!"
As much as the courage and valor of the Filipinos massed in defense of the mutineers against Marcos on Edsa that one glorious week in 1986, Ronald Reagan certainly contributed much to the peaceful victory of the Edsa-1 People Power Revolution. As I asked in The Paradox of People Power, what would have happened if Reagan's message to Marcos had been, "Go ahead, do whatever you want, the US will continue to support you." ?
I believe that President Bush can help to avert several disasters that are about to happen in the Philippines by a similar simple message for GMA to cut and cut cleanly too.. Heck, even former President Fidel Ramos has already made such a call for the President to cut short her term. Why not Bush?
If you love and cherish the Philippines and care that it not be so badly led that some disaster should happen, please send this posting to your Congressman and to President Bush. Or write one of your own.
President George W. BushPLEASE SEND THIS POST TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS IN NORTH AMERICA.
The White House
Dear President Bush,
It's time for a little straight talk, Texas style.
First let me say that I am a loyal American citizen living in the Philippine Archipelago. Actually, I am also a loyal Philippine citizen -- a natural-born dual citizen of both countries, just like many other Americans, such as Britons and Canadians, who also have, by accidents of birth and Constitutions, a hyphen in their belonging to America. But of whatever category there are at least four million of us Filipino-Americans, whose love for, and allegiance to both countries, can never be separated, nor diminished, only disappoined. We are salt and pepper already mixed together in the melting pot of the world's cultures that is America. And our blood too, waters the purple flower that grows in Babylon. Our treasure of Liberty is your Liberty, Mr. President.
I know of course, how busy you are with all those other projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and New Orleans -- but next month Gloria's gonna try and drop by the Ranch on her way to Europe. I thought I better give you a Heads-up on what's really going on. She's gonna give you a bunch-a-bull, so I need for you to listen to this please, Mr. President, just for a few more minutes...
(1) Despite her promises after 9/11, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has failed to secure an Anti-Terrorism Law in the Philippines, mainly because she has failed to make the case with the Filipino people and its Congress which she controls, to join in the Global War On Terrorism. I think this is because she is at heart, a politician, who saw GWOT just as a way into America's good graces. Sorry to let you know this, but she used you and she used our great nation, pretending to be our friend, when really all she wanted was to win an election in 2004, by hook or by crook, by golly or by Garci.
(2) Despite her promises to the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq, she negotiated with and capitulated to hooded terrorist kidnappers holding Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz hostage. Spooked by the local antiwar Media and the Left, she gave in to the terrorists' demand and pulled out the Philippine humanitarian force.
(3) Despite fulsome support of the American people and the US Congress for her administration up until that point -- and indeed to this very day [sic!] -- Gloria then high-tailed it off to China to play that game of modern promiscuity that is the vice of Third World leaders who don't really want the Cold War to go away. It was always in pitting one Big Power against another during that long struggle, that the craftiest among them thought they found "an independent foreign policy." In my opinion, for Gloria this two-step process of abandoning the Coalition in Iraq and jumping into the Chinese-canopied bed in Asia was actually done in anticipation of a DEFEAT for the Republicans and George W. Bush in the 2004 US national elections. Analysis of the Palace's moves and statements in the crucial month before the November, 2004 polls shows that Malacanang was already betting on and backing a win by JOHN KERRY. Gloria did not believe you were going to win a second term, W.
(4) Despite her promises of reform in the Armed Forces, the Oakwood Mutiny has flared up again, and everything that happened after it was put down in 2003 only confirms the accusations of Lt. Trillanes and the men of the Magdalo that rampant, systemic corruption paralyzes the Philippine Armed Forces and saps its morale.You know what really happened at Oakwood, Mr. President? Before the Mutiny, there is some reason to believe that these officers were actually secretaly supplying President Arroyo with intelligence on the Mafia of corruption in the Military. But she betrayed them to that very Mafia, which precipitated the Mutiny. Then Gringo Honasan stole Erap's money and they landed in GMA's jail. Now they're busting out and I don't know who they are loyal to. But you must leave open the possibility that they are patriots of a new kind, or an old kind, if you know what I mean, Mr. President. To them applies the following dilemma which your great abolitionist forefather, Justice Frederick Douglass once said --"Your forefathers were men of peace; but they preferred revolution to 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."
(5) Despite GMA's promise not to run in the 2004 elections, she did indeed run, and yeah, I agree with you Mr. President, "a woman's entitled to change her mind." But you don't know her like we do. She never changed her mind the way you said it, because she always intended to run in that election. Majority even believe she cheated and voterigged it if truth be told. And now the worst of the things she said she hoped to prevent by not running, have indeed come to pass. The nation is hopelessly divided against its government, Gloriagate has become a Gordian Knot of Gridlock.
(6) Despite her oath of Office as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protect and to preserve the nation, to uphold its freedoms and its democracy, under President Arroyo the Philippine Military was evidently prostituted to partisan political purposes in a wiretapping operation that bears some resemblance to your own troubles in that regard. But you should see WHY she was doing the wiretapping here. It had nothing to do with National Security.
YOU TOO MADE A PROMISE ONCE, President George W. Bush -- at the National Endowment for Democracy in November, 2003 -- when you said that America would never again support brutal dictatorships in the world as she did in the Cold War. I think it is time you redeemed this promise in the case of the Philippines, the First Iraq. It's the least you can do, and actually fixing this broken democracy in the Philippines would be much easier than Iraq. Mr. President, If you joined Cory and the Good Guys in calling for GMA to just leave and let the rest of us fix everything, America would surely be met with flowers, chocolate and street dancing. GARONTEED, Dubya!
With all due respects, of course,