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Jun 16

Outflanking her enemies

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This passage (by Ryszard Kapuscinski, first put forward in my entry of February 22, 2008), considering not only recent goings-on in Iran, but goings-on here at home, comes to mind:

It is authority that provokes revolution. Certainly, it does not do so consciously. Yet its style of life and way of ruling finally become a provocation. This occurs when a feeling of impunity takes root among the elite: We are allowed anything, we can do anything. This is a delusion, but it rests on a certain rational foundation. For a while, it does indeed look as if they can do whatever they want. Scandal after scandal and illegality after illegality go unpunished. The people remain silent, patient, wary. They are afraid and do not yet feel their own strength. At the same time, they keep a detailed account of the wrongs, which at one particular moment are to be added up. The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle known to history. Why did it happen on that day, and not on another? Why did this event, and not some other, bring it about? After all, the government was indulging in even worse excesses only yesterday, and there was no reaction at all. “What have I done?” asks the ruler, at a loss. “What has possessed them all of a sudden?” This is what he has done: He has abused the patience of the people. But where is the limit of that patience? How can it be defined? If the answer can be determined at all, it will be different in each case. The only certain thing is that rulers who know that such a limit exists and know how to respect it can count on holding power for a long time. But there are few such rulers.

I think it’s fair to say the President has learned how to push the envelope without bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down. It helps that quite a few of her in house tacticians earned their spurs during the Marcos years, in the Marcos administration. They knew well enough that no situation unfolds exactly the same as a previous one; but that in bold strokes, an old battle plan might be useful if suitable tweaked and revised.

In bold strokes: keep many possibilities up in the air; pursue them simultaneously; switch your emphasis from one to the other, depending on circumstances and as opportunities arise; recognize the essentials, as far as public opinion is concerned; never force your foes to feel their backs are against the wall until you possess overwhelming force; meanwhile, pick them off one by one; recognize that the ultimate trump cards in the president’s hands are the armed forces and police, and that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, if divided, is as much a bulwark of support as it might be a focus for rallying one’s opponents; and always maintain the appearance of legality.

So we are seeing a dizzying number of possibilities raised, knocked down, revived, shelved, or what have you; the essentials, however, have been identified -primarily, an election in 2010- while everyone is still kept guessing, so that the resources of the enemy are dissipated while that of the administration is more cohesive; the military and police have been kept fat and well-groomed, the hierarchy remains divided, and everything is geared for resolution in the Supreme Court.

I know many people, both among her admirers and her critics, strongly believe the President’s bottom line is simple: she does not want to be disgraced by going to jail, and she wants to complete her term. I do believe that her stay in office has also convinced her that God put her in power to kick the country into shape. Therefore to be convinced of failure when it comes to the former, will only inspire her to pursue staying in power, as her self-preservation, to her mind, becomes a case of national survival, too.

So all options must remain on the table for the duration, if only to keep everyone guessing. It helps distract her leading opponents, but also, helps keep her supporters tractable.

For example, Lito Banayo thinks that Gilbert Teodoro’s headed for a trap: he will have to resign from the cabinet on November 30 to pursue his candidacy for the presidency; at which point, Hermogenes Esperon will become Secretary of National Defense. Meanwhile, the President has showered Class 1978 of the Philippine Military Academy with promotions and raised them to the command of strategic forces: “In the Army,” Banayo points out, which “is 75% of all the armed forces,” her loyalists command “six out of 10 infantry divisions.” All dissent within the AFP has been suppressed; the Marines are kept busy in Mindanao. The case against General Francisco V. Gudani is instructive, too.

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(photo from Jose Antonio Figueroa collection)

Now let me reproduce a passage from Ferdinand Marcos’ diary, from September 1, 1972. Senator Daniel Inouye, on a visit to supposedly survey typhoon damage, confided to Marcos that he was in town to “see the general situation.” Marcos then goes on to recount,

He asked me what is going to happen. He explained that he has been told there are four options: 1. Extension of my term 2. A parliamentary form of government 3. I run for reelection 3. Martial law.

I immediately countered that I do not need martial law to win an election and that in the present situation anybody I opposed would come out; that I would not agree to allowing the First Lady to run since it would be unfair to her. “We are too old in this game to need martial law to get votes,” I said and he smiled with understanding.

“However,” I explained, “do not misunderstand me. If the communists sow terror in Manila. If they bomb and burn, kill and kidnap, if they use the Vietcong tactics; then I will not hesitate to proclaim martial law.”

“What I would prefer would be an extension. But I would accept it only if the political opposition agrees to it. If they do not I will not agree to it.”

“I would then try to be a Prime Minister.”

“But I would first wipe out the communists before the next President or Prime Minister takes over so he has a chance. I need several years to build up my replacement. None of those aspiring now are fit to lead the country. Aquino and Diokno are demagogues and are communist-inclined. They would immediately set up a communist regime. Roxas is a weakling. He would not risk his life to protect our freedoms. Puyat is an oligarch. He has too many interests to protect.”

“What we need is somebody who is trusted by the Armed Forces, is a liberal thinker, will fight communism and will risk not only his life but everything in this fight.”

Consider the tactics in play in this passage.

1. Reassure everyone of your adherence to democracy;

2. Downgrade your enemies;

3. Point to a credible threat;

4. And point to yourself, by virtue of this process of elimination, as the one who should be left standing, by force of arms if need be.

Now consider this video, of the President speaking at the PaLaKa unification shindig.

Here is the transcript of what the President said:

Let us also make the alliance between the local government units and the Armed Forces of the Philippines a major campaign plank, especially in the local elections.

I ask Administration candidates to take this up as a key governance thrust, and openly support those who pledge to push peace and development, and oppose collaborators of those who seek to use violence to overthrow government and to impose their obsolete ideology on the people. (applause)

In 2010, let us have none of our LGUs flirting with the enemies of the state. (applause) And let us show those who continue to do so as undermining their communities and their Republic. I am confident that with you working with me now under one political name and banner, we can further strengthen our partnership in pursuit of the people’s welfare.

In 2010, let us have none of our LGUs flirting with the enemies of the state. (applause) And let us show those who continue to do so as undermining their communities and their Republic. I am confident that with you working with me now under one political name and banner, we can further strengthen our partnership in pursuit of the people’s welfare.

Our government has always found it easier and more productive to bring down projects and services to provinces and localities where governors are not at odds with congressmen, or mayors are not at odds with their governors or their congressmen. And I am glad that our merged party will have a mechanism for reconciliation or, if necessary, the adjudication of disputes at the local level.

Cynics and detractors love to paint grim scenarios about a cancellation of the 2010 elections. Let this merger of LAKAS and KAMPI be tangible proof of the Administration’s readiness, nay determination, to help ensure that the elections do push through. (applause)

The emergence of LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD as one party is our finest weapon and perhaps our best guarantee for success in the 2010 elections. (applause) I look upon LAKAS-KAMPI, moving as one, fighting as one, as the instrument and vehicle for electing the best, most qualified and the worthiest leaders of our country. (applause)

Let us strive for victory which not only our party but the entire nation and our democracy can claim as their own.

I’ve been trying to find an Executive Order the President reportedly recently signed, instituting the above as an official policy of her administration.

But straight from the horse’s mouth is the emerging tactic of pursuing a showdown with the Left, to galvanize support within the military, and set the stage for a showdown which opens up many tactical opportunities: a means to crack down on local government leaders being just one of these opportunities, under the guise of a renewed offensive against the Left, along the lines long ago drawn up by Norberto Gonzales and friends.

This is not an encouraging one, for those inclined to hope 2010 comes along and resolves the past few years’ divisions by taking the President out of the equation.

She sees an opening and intends to maximize it. Of course there will be elections. It will be accompanied by a showdown. The showdown… well, it expands the options available to the ruling party.

50 comments

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  1. siyetehan

    seems we are heading into very similar situations.

    the queen, indeed, knows how to play, and knows how to take control of the tempo, as well.

    while the administration learns from the past, i believe it is about time also for the opposition to see the situation through, sit, discuss together, and unite to formalize their options.

    with what the people see today, the opposition doesn’t seem to care.

  2. Carl

    Mind those deficits and stop the BIR from running amok. As long as the economy keeps humming reasonably along, people will be in an accommodating mood.

  3. taxj

    Bingo, siyetehan. History is repeating itself too soon. Simply substitute Gloria for Marcos, and the treatise remains valid.

    Unfortunately, all presidential aspirants are obviously more concerned with their personal ambitions than with the country’s welfare. They attend demos only for the free media mileage. This is why they are outflanked by Glorias, and people don’t fill the streets. It’s never fun watching the antics of beasts of prey.

    I see no relief even after a Gloria exit. Were the evil bitch only less so, an extension of her sevice or disservice, in exchange for a reinvigrated Charter through a Con Ass, would have been less intolerable. I doubt though whether a Senateless Con Ass would prosper, with or without demos.

  4. The EQualizer

    MANOLO:
    Although Gloria is following the Marcos playbook,there are at least three distinct differences that will prevent her from doing a Marcos successfully NOW:

    1)Marcos definitely had CHARISMA.Even some of his critics admire the power of his personality and his words.

    Gloria is the exact opposite of Marcos in terms of charisma.

    2)Reagan strongly supported Marcos.

    On the other hand ,does Obama even want to give her a photo op?

    3)Marcos closed down all independent media during the declaration of martial law.

    We have the power of the internet now.

  5. The EQualizer

    Always remember,they always fall…
    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.” Mahatma Gandhi

  6. SoP

    Getting tired of the comparisons to Marcos. When Ramos tried to instigate chacha they said it was martial law all over again. Now they’re doing it to GMA. A little perspective: Manolo was just 2 years old when martial law was declared.

    You got to be careful predicting the next Marcos or martial law Manolo or you’ll risk being branded the boy who cried “elephant in the room!”

  7. Jhay

    It cannot be helped that GMA be compared to Marcos. He’s the one who has set so many precedents before. It’s a benchmark so to speak.

    As Ambeth Ocampo once wrote, “History does not repeat itself. We repeat history!”

  8. UP n grad

    There continues to be movement re Con-Ass.

    The SCORP has made its ruling on Lozano’s petition, and some of the reactions include this:
    ————
    Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tanada III, a member of the Liberal Party, welcomed the tribunal’s decision.

    “This should also be a warning to Representative Antonino that his plan will not work. The dismissal of the case of Lozano will now force the proponents of HR 1109 to either convene con ass to create the judicial controversy or to just forget HR 1109 and have it archived. The LP hopes that the proponents choose the later,” Rep Tanada said in a text message.

    —————-
    I still see May2010 elections to happen as scheduled(as GMA had stated (in mlq3’s comments above)). Also that 2010-elections will be per rules of 1987 constitution.

  9. Bert

    Everything is just so unpredictable. The best that we could all do for now…just be sure that we are prepared for any eventuality. And keep the powder dry always.

  10. mlq3

    just go over the implications of the president’s actions. and tell me what they tell you. the only problem with the boy who cried wolf was the wolf eventually showed up and gobbled up those didn’t believe the boy.

  11. d0d0ng

    Marcos had everything scripted that he can smile on the suggestion from the military decorated Hawaiian senator. Such confirmation from a representative of powerful country is a perfect timing of military option that have been played many times over in Marcos’ head.

    Same strategy, one direction. Marcos flouted well in advance the chaos about to happen and repeatedly warned the Filipinos up to the declaration of martial law. The president had laid out in the past the bits and pieces about the charter change, including the brief war in the south resulting from MOA-BJE.

    Brilliant comparison, Manolo. The President is holding all the cards. She can choose which cards to use. And the Filipinos are her audience, waiting which magic she tries to pull.

    As usual, the President has the upper hand since her audience are in catatonic state. The recent Supreme Court ruling favors the President’s script on Senate-less congressional assembly.

  12. Carl

    After Cory Aquino, her kamag-anaks and her myriad advisers double-crossed Doy Laurel after EDSA, it will be very difficult for an oppositionist politician to be genuinely altruistic. Doy’s altruism was later rewarded with treachery and contempt.

    The Aquino administration was a lesson about temporary alliances and how, once the bogeyman is out of the picture, former comrades turn around and devour one another.

  13. supremo

    GMA is probably wishing an Iran-like disturbance in the Philippines.

  14. siyetehan

    i just thought:

    who is the enemy, anyway?

    who is the opposition?

  15. taxj

    Siyetehan, good questions.

    We cry WOLF, WOLF. An imaginary bogeyman. A senseless Senateless Con Ass. A phoney villain. This distracts us from the voraceous tiger that’s devouring us. Some call her the evil bitch. She knows that we are as kittens, chasing anything that moves. She keeps us on endless chases. Left, right. Right, left. And in circles! How can we keep our powders dry?

  16. BrianB

    smart, savvy, quick learner… cold, hardened mercenary.

  17. SoP

    When she said LGUs flirting with the enemy, I’m more inclined to think she’s referring to Muslim mayors and governors supporting the Muslim terrorists. The implication being martial law, if it be used, will be confined to the lower tip of Mindanao. In my opinion, that is long due. There’s too much restlessness and local warlords terrorizing and striking fear on the hearts of decent, peaceful citizens down south.

    As for the other bogey in the room, the communists, it wouldn’t be immoral and unethical to go after them (although it’s fiscally irresponsible). The communist party is no longer an outlawed party. They can challenge for seats if they want. Some left of center candidates have already fielded seats. So why are they still blowing up cellphone towers and burning sugarcane fields and arming themselves? We should not tolerate this. A lot of peoples in this country, the Aeatas and other Lumads, are living in squalor and below poverty condition much worse than these armchair, middle-class revolutionaries, but we don’t see them engaging in criminal behavior as do these commies who have such a deluded sense of entitlement and immaturity that they harbor pubescent wetdreams of revolution.

    It is for the sake of hardworking people who invested so much time and energy building up capital and for the patient and kind-hearted Aetas and lumads that the government should take a harder line on people who bully us and use physical intimidation. There is no justice on being soft on punishing these people.

  18. supremo

    The Philippines should really go back to the 1973 Constitution without the law-making powers of the President. Tensions in that government setup does not build up so much because the President can always call for parliamentary elections.

  19. taxj

    HR 1109 was nothing but a stupid attempt to secure an SC ruling on a contrived controversy. By refusing to play along, the SC effectively killed the silly ConAss, which was dead meat from the start anyway.

    The mere expression of an intent to rape had to be made in stealth: viva voce. No matter that the head showed anyway! Would Congress dare do the real thing in public? No! It’s not because it can’t give it a semblance of legality. It’s simply undoable!

    Manolo, let not Gloria’s blunders and her frequent trips to Pampanga distract us. We are not kittens. Instead, let’s focus on the 2010 elections. The phoney ConAss definitely can’t disrupt it. One thing or another might.

  20. Carl

    I think most people agree that the 1987 Constitution is a stinker. The problem is there’s always that suspicion that whoever is in power will tweak the Constitution to his or her favor.

    In the meantime, the country is managing to cope relatively well, and the leading presidentiables seem to be a moderate lot. So there is less urgency to change the Constitution. After all, we are used to just getting by.

  21. SoP

    In the end, GMA has to be voted at the very least as congresswoman in Pampanga to push trough with steps 2-10. I don’t think she’s a shoe-in for congresswoman. I think Kapampangans will surprise Filipinos when they overwhelmingly vote for GMA’s opposition in 2010. You’ve heard it her 1st.

  22. siyetehan

    SoP:

    I just hope that the Opposition will do something about it.

    May plano na palang tumakbong kongresista si Gloria….

    Is the opposition finding a formidable opponent for her? Or does the Opposition continue to oppose eache other still?

  23. SoP

    I think an independent could run against her and still win. It doesn’t have to be the opposition.

  24. SoP

    “Carl on Thu, 18th Jun 2009 9:36 am

    …The problem is there’s always that suspicion that whoever is in power will tweak the Constitution to his or her favor…”

    I see Filipinos as a bad judge of characters when it comes to their leaders. For the absence of good insight, they make up by opposing everything. Absolutely everything. This was especially true with Ramos who they just totally smeared with martial law imagery, when in hindsight we can see that Ramos is a good guy.

    It doesn’t help that the void of good insight is filled by leftist views. I reckon 90% of our journalists are left leaning, which makes the middle class left leaning. This in addition to the poor who are dissuaded with leftist propaganda by the grassroots commies. It only results in a majority population which is leftist and opposes everything.

    There has to be a balance. I would like to see more centrist journalists and pundits who can bring some sanity to public opinion.

  25. Dino Manrique

    Photos and brief report of the June 10 anti Con-Ass rally at the Ateneo de Manila University: http://filipinowriter.multiply.com/photos/album/85/Ateneo_TindigNation_Concert_Rally_and_Noise_Barrage

  26. d0d0ng

    “The problem is there’s always that suspicion that whoever is in power will tweak the Constitution to his or her favor.”

    It is the other way around. The case point, US did not change its constitution while Philippines is changing shoes to custom fit the leader’s grand bunions.

    Lawmakers are in the business of changing rules to suit family agenda instead of uniform and wide application of rules that apply to everybody.

  27. taxj

    Carl. “…The problem is there’s always that suspicion that whoever is in power will tweak the Constitution to his or her favor…””

    The Charter is a tool. Use it well, and you reap the benefits.
    Use it otherwise, and you suffer the consequences. It’s easy to blame it for any or all of our ills. The same applies to any other Charter. The challenge is how to better utilize what we have for our benefit.

  28. Carl

    Tools aren’t always useful to the same degree. There are functional tools and there are clunkers. And almost everyone agrees that the Cory Constitution is a lemon. It was done in haste and in heat. Too many unresolved hang-ups relating to the Marcos era that resulted in paranoid, knee-jerk rejection of all things that were related to the past, including those that were practical and functional. There was also the predominant influence of pre-martial law trapos who idealized pre-martial law conditions, warts and all, as if it were the lost paradise (which it certainly wasn’t).

    However, I do agree that Charter change isn’t ideal at this time. There’s too much suspicion and mistrust and it will only destabilize the present economic situation, which is generally not too bad. Besides, the present crop of presidential candidates appear to be a rather sober lot, compared to the airhead demagogues we’ve seen in previous presidential elections. Charter change will come at its own time, when the citizenry is in a more accommodating mood.

  29. ramrod

    It is the other way around. The case point, US did not change its constitution while Philippines is changing shoes to custom fit the leader’s grand bunions.

    Lawmakers are in the business of changing rules to suit family agenda instead of uniform and wide application of rules that apply to everybody.
    ——————————————-

    Strong lobbyists in the US (pharmaceutical firms, oil, etc.) can influence economic policies to suit them also. The Filipinos are just learning from the US. Our laws, policies can be amended to meet the people’s changing needs and situation, that is the beauty of our constitution, our founding fathers designed it that way, it is not perfect as they were not, its up to us and the future generations to uphold, change, improve…the democratic way.
    Thats why a change of heart is not only for voters, leaders, winners, or losers but for everybody – to include the rich, the poor, uncorrupt, the corrupt, and those who are contemplating corruption and abuse. If man is inherently good, plus the influence of religion, perhaps collectively, the Filipinos will choose what it right and just when the time comes.

  30. taxj

    I have always maintained that the 1987 Charter is much flawed. It has one saving grace though. It enshrined local governments. But we failed to make much use of it. It would have made a lot of difference. Maybe it’s not too late yet for this.

    I just wanted to say that it’s unwise to rush a new one. I think we still can live with it, at least for three years more. I prefer a ConAss by a 2010 elected Congress. It’s cheaper. Congress can take its own sweet time, then present proposals to a plebiscite that shall be timed with the mid-term elections.

    A ConCon is expensive and divisive. It will have to work under much financial and time pressure. Besides, there is no guarantee that their output would be better than that of a ConAss.

  31. ramrod

    It is the other way around. The case point, US did not change its constitution while Philippines is changing shoes to custom fit the leader’s grand bunions.

    Lawmakers are in the business of changing rules to suit family agenda instead of uniform and wide application of rules that apply to everybody.
    ——————————————-

    Strong lobbyists in the US (pharmaceutical firms, oil, etc.) can influence economic policies to suit them also. The Filipinos are just learning from the US. Our laws, policies can be amended to meet the people’s changing needs and situation, that is the beauty of our constitution, our founding fathers designed it that way, it is not perfect as they were not, its up to us and the future generations to uphold, change, improve…the democratic way.
    Thats why a change of heart is not only for voters, leaders, winners, or losers but for everybody – to include the rich, the poor, uncorrupt, the corrupt, and those who are contemplating corruption and abuse. If man is inherently good, plus the influence of religion, perhaps collectively, the Filipinos will choose what it right and just when the time comes.

  32. d0d0ng

    The ingenuity of the President and her advisers to find loopholes and exploit them is legendary.

    When the Swiss Supreme Court decided to transfer 32 billion Marcos loot to the Philippine government for restitution to entitled parties (such as martial law victims, farmers, etc), the Agrarian Reform law was created to become the beneficiary of the loot leaving a very small portion to satisfy Honolulu court decision to pay human right victims. The loot was used to finance Arroyo’s 2004 elections as confirmed by COA as being disbursed prior to election to farmers including a non-farming Metro Manila.

    Another ingenuity is shown when Bolante resigned from DAR to remove Ombudsman jurisdiction on DAR official and thus shielded the government to do its own investigation and disclose how it uses the loot, and then Bolante secured in the US free from Senate fishing investigation in aid of legislation.

    The effectiveness of Palace brilliance are demonstrated when her legal adviser pointed out the one year rule on impeachment charges decapitating the most serious charges with the lesser charges.

    Arroyo would have the MOA-BJE on her platter if not for the Lanao governor who smelled the change of favors in the south and went direct to the Supreme Court.

    Estrada’s pardon weakened the fragmented opposition further leery of any Palace deals.

    And recently, it is disclosed that there is no constitutional provision that bar the President to run in congressional seat in her bailiwick which gives her immunity when elected in 2010. Thus, Nograles is announcing with confidence the charter change will be after the election.

    Amazing how the Palace hands work.

  33. Carl

    House Resolution 1109 proved to be either a half-hearted attempt by Nograles to appease his bosses, or it could have been a ruse. As expected, the Supreme Court shot it down. It wasn’t even properly done. Trying to initiate a “justiciable controversy” via a “viva voce” vote was facetious, to say the least.

    For the sake of political and economic stability, it would be better to take constitutional change off the table until after the 2010 election. Or at a time when the country is more receptive to this issue.

  34. taxj

    Amazing job, dOdOng. But, since when did Congressmen acquire immunity from suit? Anti-Gloria camps are losing steam, barking at shadows. With the misdirected frenzy caused by the phoney ConAss, its proponent got her money’s worth. She wasn’t called the luckiest bitch for nothing. Thanks to a clumsy and unwieldy opposition, and a population that’s too weak and weary to even think or act sensibly enough. Nobody’s left to mind the threats to the 2010 elections.

  35. SoP

    Her luck’s about to run out taxj. First she has to run for congress (she could lose). Then she has to change the constitution (she might not). Then she has to be prime minister (Ramos will oppose her being head of the Lakas-CMD).

    A non-extradition country is a better option. Or martial law.

  36. taxj

    If she runs for Congress, it would be under the present Charter. Even if she wins, she would not be able to serve, much less change the Charter. Do you think she can get away from a plunder charge right after she finishes her term as de facto President?

    Martial law is only possible, if protests goes a bit overboard, or if there’s a failure of elections! The military may support her, or beat her to it. Don’t count on an EDSA as in 1 or 2. People have wisened up. It would only preserve our oligarchy, like the 2010 electons!

  37. SoP

    Non-extradition country then. Or plead guilty for the corruption charges in exchange for a presidential pardon.

  38. d0d0ng

    Taxj on, “But, since when did Congressmen acquire immunity from suit?”

    Article 3 of 1987 Constitution provides parliamentary immunity from suit.

    Taxj on, “Do you think she can get away from a plunder charge right after she finishes her term as de facto President?”

    Yes. That is the purpose of running at lower position with immunity shield. Both Senators Cayetano and Escudero are in the same opinion that the main benefit of running at disadvantage lower position is the following:

    1. Immunity from arrest for any crime with a penalty of below six years imprisonment.

    2. Once elected, she may wield through party allies control over political exercise like impeachment and national budget.

  39. SoP

    Looking at a scenario where she wins a congressional seat in 2010, would she still have that veneer of authority and imperviousness when there’s another president (be it Panlilio, Roxas, de Castro, et.) taking center stage and calling the shots?

    For now the congressmen fear her because she’s top dog, the “bosing” in pinoy parlance. But when she takes off the cloak of presidency, will the respect/fear gained from authority still be there? It looks like Lakas-CMD-Kampi will revert to the authority of Ramos or anyone else anointed by Ramos, as GMA would just be an “ordinary” congresswoman. She would be vulnerable, and the people who hate her will be relentless in bringing her down when she becomes a mere mortal again.

  40. SoP

    So I doubt that “she may wield through party allies control over political exercise like impeachment and national budget”. Her influence on national politics will decline quickly.

    I think when authority is relinquished, it’s hard to get it back. She’ll have plenty of knives to pick from her back when the scratch she provides to congressmen’s itch won’t be enough.

  41. d0d0ng

    As it stands right now, Ramos is an outsider and Arroyo clan is running the Lakas-CMD-Kampi. The recent coalition is engineered by the clan and by history the road belongs to the aggressive driver.

    SoP, it is too easy to discount Arroyo as finished as you have said. The reverse is true. It is the opposition senators who recognized the exploits done by the President. In fact, the opposition senators have no answers to every calculating move done by the President in preparation for the 2010 election. The Filipinos are just bystanders watching how the political game unfolds. With the spiral of silence, Arroyo is creating her own history.

  42. SoP

    I think GMAs momentum will fizzle. She’s not like Erap (charismatic but outlandishly incompetent) or Ramos (competent staid pragmatist). She just doesn’t have the charisma of a Marcos or Erap nor does she have the good legacy of Ramos. All she has going for her is half of Marcos’ Machiavellian instincts. And I don’t think that’s enough.

  43. taxj

    d0d0ng,

    Both Senators Cayetano and Escudero are paranoid. Or they simply missed out on something. With all due respects…

    1. “Immunity from arrest for any crime with a penalty of below six years imprisonment.” Methinks our beloved Gloria deserves just a bit more!

    2. “Once elected, she may wield through party allies control over political exercise like impeachment and national budget.” Would she have as much allies and wield as much power as a Congressman as she had as President? Would she still have power over the purse?

    We are torn between complacency and paranoia because we choose to limit our options and mental exercises.

  44. d0d0ng

    SoP & Taxj, the best thing we do are all speculations. In contrast, the President is micro-managing crisis after crisis and still the best person in making deals which put her in power in the first place. The timing of execution from switching allegiance from Estrada to deflecting corruption charges and blows from world rice shortages and mini-war are quite impressive. She has the military precision so to speak but even better than her military counterpart -Marcos and Ramos. Even how brilliant Marcos is, he failed miserably in exit strategy. And so was Ramos, he was not able to figure out to make a comeback though he advocated for charter change. The President made a template of charter change and laid out all the infrastructures that points to the same direction, her eventual comeback. A diminished capacity is not terminal if only temporary just like taking a paycut. That is why, Manolo timely dwelt on this subject “Outflanking-her-enemies”.

  45. taxj

    Touche! Exactly my point in castigating my idol Senators for getting waylaid so easily. The phoney ConAss and the seeming nose dive brouhaha are nothing but a part of a grand ruse. She is both smart and systematic. SmartMatic, for short. Failure of elections. The only way out for her is IN, even after 2010.

  46. SoP

    “d0d0ng on Wed, 24th Jun 2009 12:02 am
    …In contrast, the President is micro-managing crisis after crisis and still the best person in making deals which put her in power in the first place… Even how brilliant Marcos is, he failed miserably in exit strategy…”

    The best exit strategy is to not need one at all. Ramos didn’t need one because he more or less left a solid legacy. Sure there was that one time when he was called by the senate to explain some suspected anomalies with the Centennial Expo scandal, but he passed with flying colors. The politicians can try to smear him, but the people will back him up because he had some semblance of decency. He did try to get term extension, but when he felt the pulse of the nation didn’t want it, he backed down.

    But when you have monumental fuck ups like Erap, Marcos, and GMA and have the vulgaritythe to push too hard for power, don’t count on politicians to bring you down – the people (power) will do it themselves. I don’t have much faith in GMA’s exit strategy. You know why? Coz she needs one in the first place.

    I can’t see how you can put Ramos in a lower league as Erap, Marcos, and GMA. Ramos may be as power hungry and corrupt as the other three, but restraint is something that common people can understand and appreciate. In the end, I think Ramos has more political capital built up compared to the three, despite being perceived as less Machiavellian. At the end of the day, it’s better to be loved than to be feared. And one should never be feared to the point of hatred. There’s too much hate going for GMA, Erap, and Marcos. Ramos is well loved.

  47. d0d0ng

    Under tremendous pressure including former President Aquino and the Catholic Bishops due to experience of Marcos dictatorship, Ramos was prevailed upon to respect the constitutional provision of one-six-year term. Ramos is a believer that a good president should serve as long as it necessary for the benefit of the Filipinos with his favorable view of US 2 terms.

    Thus, the charter change started towards the end of Ramos’ term. Ramos himself told reporters, “I would not want the policies, the momentum, the tremendous progress we have achieved wasted.”

    President Arroyo took seriously the brilliant cue from Ramos and put the government resources behind charter change. If it can’t be done before 2010 elections, then the push after the election when Filipinos are already receptive to the idea without Arroyo in the presidency.

  48. taxj

    “The best exit strategy is to not need one at all.” This is is probably the best advice one could give GMA, some six years ago.

    Ramos built “irrigation ditches” which rebels used effectively in their fight against government forces. IPP’s may still line up his pockets as a token of gratitude. Talk about his paper tiger economy.

  49. d0d0ng

    Arroyo is from Napoleon’s breed. She will not stopped unless you put her in prison like Napoleon Bonaparte.

  50. SoP

    Randy David may possibly run against GMA.

    Didn’t I say GMA ain’t a shoe-in and an independent may run against her and that she may be overwhelmingly defeated (SoP on Thu, 18th Jun 2009 11:52 am and SoP on Thu, 18th Jun 2009 3:39 pm)?

    My premonition is slowly being realized. I’m getting giddy 🙂

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090626-212480/UP-prof-ready-to-run-vs-Arroyo

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