But on top of a philosophically conservative opposition to a JDV-GMA-FVR initiative on the Constitution, OneVoice was the first to publicly voice the idea that 2007 can serve as a national referendum on the various thorny issues involving the impeachment of the President that has indeed, paralyzed the nation these past 18 months, ever since Ignacio Bunye held up those two Garci CDRoms for the Media but couldn't get it straight -- which was which.
In the 2007 midterm elections, all local elective positions from Mayor to Governor to Congressman will be contested. Half the Senate or twelve Senators will be elected at-large in national elections. Now, less than SEVEN months from the May, 2007 elections, one may well ask the question:
Can the results of the 2007 Midterm Elections tell us whether or not the Filipino people want President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo impeached?
Such a question can easily be answered it seems, because it only takes one-third of the Members of the Lower House to impeach a sitting President. So, the reasoning goes, the Opposition only needs to win 80 seats and GMA could easily be impeached. But twice already in 2005 and 2006, the Opposition has failed to muster the eighty (80) or so Congressmen to send the President for impeachment trial in the Senate.
Impeaching the President in the Lower House is actually less than half the battle for the Opposition to remove her from office. She must be convicted in the 24-Member Senate in a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Therefore, in the long run it is certain political suicide for the 80 Congressmen who vote for impeachment in the Lower House, IF the chances of gaining conviction in the Senate are NIL anyway.
GMA would likely have been acquitted by the present Senate if a trial were held in 2005 or 2006, given its composition. THAT is the real reason 80 Congressmen could not be assembled to vote for impeachment. They all figured it would be futile and suicide in the end! Many of these guyz may be corrupt local warlords, but they are not stupid.
Perhaps then, the better question to ask is this:
Can the 2007 Elections serve as a national referendum to tell us whether the Filipino People want the President convicted and removed from office?
This question can best be answered by the results of the 2007 Senate race. There two reasons for this assertion: (1) The Senate race is a nationwide election involving all the voters. (2) The voters know that conviction and removal depends on the Senate, where at least 16 Senators out of 24 are needed for conviction.
Now dig this. Take a look at the twelve senators that will be carried over in 2007 as incumbents serving out their last three years:
Manuel RoxasThere are at least 8 incumbents in the above list who would likely vote for conviction if GMA ever darked the Senate's door in a trial in the above list. That means that the 2007 Senate race must be won by the Opposition by the exact proportion required for conviction. If the Opposition wins 8 or more seats in the 2007 elections, there will be a 2/3 majority Opposition in the Senate. There is a wrinkle: Miriam Defensor Santiago's health, but we won't go into that now.
Ramon Revilla, Jr.
Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal
Pilar Juliana Cayetano
Juan Ponce Enrile
No matter what actually happens in the Lower House races, the mere existence of a 2/3 Opposition Majority in the Senate--16 hanging Senator-Judges-- would increase the likelihood of an impeachment by the the Lower House.
In effect, the Filipino voters have the opportunity primarily in the senate race, to decide the fate of the President, just as One Voice suggested earlier this year.
If they elect 8 or more Opposition Senators in 2007, that would be a clear signal that their answer is YES, impeach, try, and convict President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But if the Opposition wins 7 or fewer seats that would indicate the People likely do not want a trial at all.
Pulse Asia Surveys July 2006 Ulat ng Bayan provides a SNAPSHOT of the 2007 Senate Race 10 months before the elections:
Twenty personalities, led by former Senator Loren Legarda, have a statistical chance of winning if the May 2007 senatorial elections were held today. Most of these individuals are affiliated with the political opposition, although given the fluidity of the country’s situation, the political affiliation of these individuals may still change between today and May 2007. Currently, the following individuals end up within the winning circle of 12 senators:The year 2007 is going to be a very exciting election for Philippine Democracy! The last time we held an impeachment trial, Hilario Davide, Angelo Reyes, Gloria Arroyo and Cardinal Sin didn't think we could take the Rule of Law and see the trial through. So they did the coup called Edsa 2.(1) former Senator Loren Legarda (48.6%);Given the survey’s margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points, the following probable senatorial candidates also have a statistical chance of winning:
(2) Senator Francis N. Pangilinan (39.0%);
(3) Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (34.9%);
(4) Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr. (34.2%);
(5) Senator Ralph G. Recto (33.1%);
(6) former Senator Vicente C. Sotto III (31.0%);
(7) Atty. Aquilino Pimentel III (29.9%);
(8) Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter S. Cayetano (29.5%);
(9) former Senator Greogorio B. Honasan (27.7%);
(10) San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito-Estrada (23.8%);
(11) Ilocos Norte Representative Imee R. Marcos (23.1%); and
(12) former Senator John Henry Osmeña (22.7%)(13.) Tarlac Representative Benigno C. Aquino III (21.8%);
(14.) Senator Luisa P. Estrada (21.7%);
(15.) Senator Joker P. Arroyo (21.0%);
(16.) Senator Edgardo J. Angara (20.9%);
(17.) House Minority Floor Leader Francis G. Escudero (20.2%);
(18.) former Senator Francisco S. Tatad (18.9%);
(19.) Presidential Chief of Staff Michael T. Defensor (18.7%); and
(20.) Muntinlupa Representative Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon (18.5%)
Now, the People will decide. Not them!