At 7:00 p.m. exactly, the President began her broadcast from the Presidential Study in the Palace. The results of the election, she pointed out, had been predicted and the elections deemed credible by foreign observers.
“I recognize making any such call was a lapse in judgement. I am sorry.” She regrets taking so long to respond. “I want to assure I have redoubled by efforts to serve the nation and earn your trust…”
“…I want to close this chapter and move on… I ask every one of you to… help forge one Philippines, where everyone is equal under the law.”
First impressions: the act of contrition was not accompanied by anything dramatic, as far as people surrounding her are concerned. The President shows no inclination to face whatever consequences her statement may open her up to. She wants to move on, but did not address questions on the conduct of the election itself. I think the public will initially be impressed with her reaction, but that it may not satisfy her allies; it will certainly lead to a chorus of denunciations from the opposition to see if they can’t capitalize on it.
There was a flurry of reporting on AM radio, ranging from a meeting of the AFP top brass called at 5 pm, and rumors (apparently emanating from the opposition) that the President was going to announce her resignation (and, additionally, a supposed “simulated” people power, which sounded odd), to the usual worries over martial law. Reporters from Congress pointed out most representatives had gone home to their constituencies.
The Palace press corps was closeted in the Press Briefing Room (also called the Blue Room) in Kalayaan Hall, where a projection screen was set up; there was last-minute confusion as to the extent of media interaction after the President’s statement. As of 6:30 scuttlebutt in the Palace was that the President’s apology was a go.
There’s a historical precedent for a presidential apology to the nation: Diosdado Macapagal’s “mea culpa” address to the nation.
Then Sec. Bunye held a briefing: “She followed the advice of counsel. They reviewed all the tapes, and truly found nothing illegal or out of the ordinary took place.”
What was missing from the predictions earlier was an announcement of the elimination of people around her who harm her. I think this will lead to profound skepticism on the part of people wanting to give the President another chance. Bunye claims the President’s reaction “from the start” was to come clean; but that she had to consult her lawyers, led by Justice Vitug; and that lawyers invariably advise their clients to keep silent until they’ve studied the case. The President finally got the clearance “over the weekend.” Bunye claims the President’s statements do not contradict his own. Bunye says a security investigation will take place as the bugging has national security implications.
The CaT once again translates things into pictures.