Things are getting, in a sense, both simpler and more complicated. Let me clarify first of all, that in trying to analyze things, I am trying to remain clinical, although the conclusions I draw are, of course, my own; but I hope as much as possible not to reinforce my own conclusions by being selective with what I focus on.
Still, it seems the administration strategy is finally reaching a point of equilibrium, while the opposition has no real strategy, other than the most elementary opportunism. Meanwhile, the middle forces are trying to reach a consensus in time to remain relevant. There are rumors of Gringo Honasan circulating among high-level officers.
The administration plan is to remind people of the Vice-President’s unsuitability, and the risk involved in impeachment, resignation, and the resignation of both the President and Vice-President, etc. It is doing well in pointing out how unconvincing the opposition leaders are. They are also pointing out how the opposition hasn’t been able to mount larger protests (of course the military and police being more adept at heading off big rallies helps, but it’s also very true that the Left can only count on a hard core group of about 4-5,000, while the Makati machine and PMAP of Estrada seem only capable of mobilizing another 2-4,000. Other opposition groups such as Bro. Eddie would rather hold their own rallies in the Folk Arts Theater than share the stage with the likes of Jinggoy and JV Ejercito). The hoped-for outcome is that the President can weather the storm until the State of the Nation Address, when she can, perhaps, transform herself into a transition president, presiding over a constitutional convention to change the form of government.
The two non-news events yesterday were the opposition rally in Makati which only accomplished two things: to irritate motorists everywhere, and to remind the public that it’s a losing proposition to think of attending such rallies, if they continue to be dominated by the likes of Ernesto Maceda, the Estradas, Imee Marcos, and the Left. There is something surreal about seeing former UP President Dodong Nemenzo rallying with the likes of the Estrada loyalists. The other non-news was a widely-expected Cabinet reshuffle, which may have been derailed by the Supreme Court’s Temporary Restraining Order on the VAT law, which is interesting. The presumption was, that the Supreme Court would back the administration in any challenges to the law; it hasn’t, and it’s decision has shaken analysts. There are sectors in the business community inclined to support the President because they believe in her fiscal reforms, and hope her political troubles will accelerate them; others, however, worry that since the reforms are a difficult sell in the best of times, a president facing a political crisis and who lacks popularity, isn’t the best person to pitch the reforms to the public. The President’s team has proposed that opposition moves are motivated by a desire to derail things before the president’s policies show measurable gains; the high court decision certainly pushes back the time when the President’s reforms could bear fruit.
But it seems the President’s position is stronger, for now, as Cory Aquino and the bishops refrain from making a definitive stand. Much will depend, I think, on a Truth Commission, who is in it, how quickly it’s appointed, and how efficiently it does it’s job.
A new survey finally gives pro and con sides some figures to digest. The figures point, I think, to the continuation of House hearings and the appointment of a Truth Commission by the President. The figures also raise the possibility of a resolution censuring the President, to be considered by Congress. There remain intriguing hints from Jove that there’s some interesting news afoot.
An essential site is Gloriagate, which begins here, with Conversation No. 1, and so far, has reached Conversation No. 141. They are attempting to transcribe all the conversations on the 3-hour tape.Those just wanting to concentrate on the President’s conversations can find them segregated here.
I heard yesterday that Tony Abaya was dismissed as a columnist for the Standard, but I haven’t received verification from others.