The calls for President Arroyo to resign are mounting. In behalf of all my inarticulate friends, relatives and lovers, I call on Madame President to heed the call of the people. It is time to go.
She has destroyed any semblance of fair play in the Philippine electoral process. This was revealed to the people through the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes; and now, through the huge kick backs allegedly for then Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chair Ben Abalos.
She has destroyed whatever semblance of normal electoral process in Muslim Mindanao. The ‘Hello Garci’ tapes showed to all and sundry that Mindanao elections are controlled by Manila politicians, military and government officials. The tapes even presented how top government officials planned the cheating — including kidnapping Moro civilians.
In the last senatorial elections, the government made a mockery of elections in Muslim Mindanao, especially in Maguindanao Province. There were missing election returns, empty ballot boxes, etc. and no one was prosecuted.
She has destroyed any semblance of independence of the House of Representatives through her overthrowing of the supposedly powerful House Speaker Jose de Venecia. She also had thwarted three impeachments attempts against her.
She has destroyed whatever credibility the Civil Service has. The outgoing Civil Service Commission Chair Karina Davd revealed that she (PGMA) stuffed the bureaucracy with retired military and police officials as well as other unqualified political appointees. Jun Lozada revealed that a hundred million dollar or so project study was based on figures taken from a tabloid. And the Director-General of the highest economic planning body of the government (NEDA) said that his staff tried to verify a 300 million dollar project by going to the Internet and came up with nothing.
If 300 million dollar project studies are based on tabloid figures and verifed by our technocrats through Internet research alone, then how can we even hope to progress as a nation?
She has destroyed the people’s perception of supposedly pro-people, pro-freedom political icons like Senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. These senators had to defend her presidency despite the mounting evidence of corruption.
She has destroyed the people’s trust in the security forces in the country. People like Jonas Burgos, son of Press Freedom icon, Jose Burgos, can simply disappear while his alleged police / military abductors and probable killers remain at large. And people like Jun Lozada could easily be picked up from a very public place like the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and be driven around Southern Luzon while the powers that be mull his fate.
She tried to destroy again the image of the Moro people as head-hunting savages through the Beheading of Marines episode in Basilan. In spite of the gravity of the alleged offenses, the official findings were never published or disseminated to the public except to say that they were done by the government’s favorite bogeymen, the Abu Sayyaf. There was so much sound and fury but ended up with nothing. About a dozen Marines were beheaded but the public was not told of the whys and wherefores and no one was punished.
She has destroyed the country’s image as having the freest press in Asia by having the journalists handcuffed and arrested without warrant. And she then tried to intimidate the media people by issuing guidelines and practically threatening to revoke media organizations’ franchises if they don’t tow the line.
She has destroyed the reputation of the country as a democratic state. International organizations like the New York-bsed FREEDOM HOUSE has downgraded the category of the Philippines to a ‘partly-free’ country.
She has put restraints on the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution such as the freedom to assemble to seek redress and even the freedom of the Press.
And finally, she has destroyed the concept of people power.
When the people gathered at EDSA to topple the regime of then President Joseph Estrada, they wanted Mr. Estrada to answer for the crimes he commited against the people. The court (Sandiganbayan) found Mr. Estrada guilty of plunder. But after a few days, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo pardoned Mr. Estrada. So what was EDSA 2 all about then?
Together with the Filipinos, the world rejoiced when the Filipino people toppled the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 through ‘People Power’ at EDSA. The world was quite surprised when the Filipinos again used ‘People Power’ at EDSA to topple a populist president who was impeached by the House of Representatives. Because of the perceived bias of the majority of the senators, the people thought that the senators would not give a fair verdict and so the people went to EDSA to deliver the verdict themselves.
But the person put into power by the second EDSA People Power revolt, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, turned out to be allegedly even more corrupt than Mr. Estrada. Thus, many Filipinos have lost their faith in People Power. They are afraid that the next people power might bring in an even more corrupt president.
Madame President, please help restore the people’s faith in the government and its agencies back. Please help restore the people’s faith in People Power back by graciously resigning.You have already served more than 7 years, longer than a presidential term. Be kind to your country and to your people. Madame Glo, it is time to go.