Monday, October 23, 2006

"So how's the political climate there?"

Unleaded : P38.70 / Liter
USD 1.00 : 50.12 Php

Something I posted in our highschool Yahoo Group. Then again, the US-based classmate who asked might just have been making small talk.

In a nutshell--

We have a president whose moral legitimacy to office is at best highly suspect. You may have heard of the "Hello Garci" tapes where she was recorded goading a COMELEC official to make sure she wins the election by a margin of 1M votes minimum. The opposition tried to impeach Arroyo twice on this ground but twice too her allies in Congress shot the action down before it even left the ground.

Which brings us to Congress. Congress, using the above as illustration, still operates principally through the politics of patronage -- the favors, trade-offs, wheeling-and-dealings and the mutual back-scratching which constitute the moving force behind every elected Congressman (give or take a hopeless idealist or two). God forbid they ever do anything out of principle, integrity, the decent regard for truth, public service, the common good, justice and the rule of law.

Which brings us to the Judiciary. They are the dedicated observers of the Golden Rule. They rule in favor of whoever brings the gold. In my personal experience, very true. The Supreme Court however is said to be the last beacon of hope in this Godforsaken land of ours. True, it has shown its "independence" in recent rulings such as those on the illegality of Comelec contracts, unconstitutionality of Executive Orders, non-exemption of PCGG officials from Senate inquiries. But these are matters which hardly steer the fate of the nation as a whole. We still have to see how it decides on the issue of people's initiative to amend the Constitution (a GMA pet, for her reign beyond 2010) pending before it. Makes for a good show since ten of the 15 Justices are Gloria appointees.

So, in a nutshell, we have a president who's not elected and the most unpopular ever, Congress who's currying her favor (as a matter of political survival some would argue), and a justice system that lets you get away with anything if the price is right. Nothing new aboutall this, really. It's just more in-our-face real to us now since the stakes for us are markedly higher -- we're at the age where we play a major role as productive citizens in society, and we now have the future of our own kids to think about.

So why is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still in power, in fighting form, and even bold enough to maneuver an extension of her run till God knows when? The answer is simple. There's nobody stopping her. The people are demoralized, weak and exhausted. And the opposition, in a word, is shit. But that's another post altogether.

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