BLAWGER ED LACIERDA, legal counsel of the Black and White Movement opposing President Gloria Macapgal Arroyo answered in the affirmative when ABSCBN's Ricky Carandang asked him this question this morning about the One Voice Movement led by Christian Monsod and apparently supported by several top leaders of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), including its President, Archbishop Angelo N. Lagdameo.
Ed is apparently in disagrement with the position taken by One Voice on the 2007 elections as a "referendum" on the President, saying that "local elections" are very different than national elections. He said Black and White were okay "with electoral reform, computerization and all that" but that he could not see how a credible election would be held "with GMA still in power."
From what I could gather, Ed, and by extension the Black and White Movement are firmly for impeachment being the only viable route to settling the President's crisis of legitimacy. This position is bolstered by the recent Pulse Asia Survey result indicating that 56% of the electorate would like to see last year's failed impeachment bid revived.
My own position is as follows:
(1) I strongly support the non partisan movement called One Voice, especially their opposition to the chacha choo choo train of Jose de Venecia and the Sigaw ng Bayan's people's initiative. I think they represent a genuine and substantive dissent from the bums' rush that the President and her men are allowing by indulging the people's initiative, which will require quite a somersault on the part of the Supreme Court to reverse Santiago vs. Comelec, which struck down the first time FVR tried to pull a chacha in 1997.
(2) Regarding their position on the 2007 elections as a referendum, that too in my opinion, is a valid position to take, despite Ed's remark about 2007 being mainly composed of local elections. But he neglected to consider the fact that 2007 is also a senatorial election, which ARE national elections and typically have produced the future presidents of the country. In fact, early indications are that the Senate will become OPPOSITION country after 2007, with such stalwarts as former Senate Majority Leader Loren Legarda (who was FPJ's running mate in 2004 ) already registering strong polling numbers for a comeback to the Senate. The same is true for former Senators Tito Sotto, John Osmena and a number of re-electionists like Jinggoy and Loi Estrada. In fact, the smart money is on this strong possibility of a fully Oppositionist Senate. What that means is that IF 80 congressmen inclined to vote for a prospective THIRD impeachment bid next year (assuming the one this year fails for lack of numbers), GMA's ass is grass.
(3) Though I believe many within One Voice actually are still supporting the President, there is nothing in their steadfastly NON-PARTISAN position on chacha (they want a Constitutional Convention) and the 2007 elections (they want to do a registration drive, especially among the youth) that would preclude the impeachment that Black and White Movement wants. Which I too believe is the best way to resolve the President's crisis of legitimacy. To be impeached and convicted or acquitted. As far as I'm concerned, there are four more chances to do before 2010.
(4) I don't believe support for One Voice is necessarily support for the Palace. I see it mainly as an anti-chacha movement that can potentially help elect the kind of folks that will support democratic processes, not sabotage them as the Palace has done.
(5) But I am against inane charades like last year's People's Tribunal, which was a leftist fantasy kangaroo court whose heavy Stalinist-Maoist overtones turned off a lot of good people and damaged this year's impeachment bid.