Strange Bedfellows Indeed
If President Arroyo is
to be given credit, it is in unifying the people against her
Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies scoffed at the unprecedented gathering of
opposition leaders namely, former President Corazon Aquino, Senate
President Franklin Drilon, Susan Roces, widow of the late movie actor and
presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., and former President Joseph
Estrada at a thanksgiving Mass at the San Juan Medical Center February 5.
It was called a “meeting of strange bedfellows” by House Majority Leader
It is indeed a
gathering of strange bedfellows coming barely two weeks after the
commemoration of Edsa 2. Even the Arroyo administration cannot help but
notice that it was a gathering of personalities who were at odds during
Edsa 2. The only people of significance at Edsa 2 who were lacking during
the gathering were the legal left led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New
Patriotic Alliance) and its member-organizations, Bayan Muna Party (People
First Party), and church leaders.
Fidel V. Ramos was also not there but after a series of flip-flops he
finally ended in Arroyo’s camp.
administration has belittled the capacity of the opposition to unify
because of contending interests. Nograles has even contradicted himself
by saying that the opposition’s “declaration of unity has not
materialized” and yet saying that these strange bedfellows are “bound by a
common desire to oust the President at all cost”.
But is so doing he
hit the point. The people who gathered at San Juan are united in their
view that President Arroyo has questionable mandate, her administration is
wreaking havoc on the lives of the Filipino people, and that she cannot
stay in Malacanang till 2010. And they are not the only ones opposed to
and calling for the resignation or ouster of the Arroyo administration.
Bayan, Bayan Muna,
Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement) were not there
but they have consistently pushed for the ouster of Arroyo. They are
steadfast in their efforts to muster the numbers that will oust the
especially the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP),
have refrained from calling for Arroyo’s resignation or ouster but they
have become increasingly critical of the administration. Not even the
resurfacing of controversial former Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of
the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and his public declaration that he
was not the person in the controversial “Hello Garci” tapes and that
President Arroyo did not cheat during the elections convinced the CBCP and
put a closure to the issue of electoral fraud. And notwithstanding the
CBCP official position, Bishops Cruz, Tobias, Labayen, and Yniguez have
criticized the administration openly and have called for her resignation.
If President Arroyo
is to be given credit, it is in unifying the people against her
The main protagonists
at Edsa 2 have transcended the past and have set aside their differences
and conflicting interests to unite against the Arroyo administration.
They may not agree on the manner of removing President Arroyo, by
resignation or ouster, and the manner of choosing her immediate
replacement, by constitutional succession or through a transition council,
but this does not prevent them from working together. They are also
united in the need for fundamental reforms and in plans to hold elections
to choose who will eventually replace Arroyo.
Eduardo Ermita is wrong in saying that, “The fact remains that President
Arroyo has the mandate of the people.” It is precisely this mandate that
is now under question. The recap by the Social Weather Station of its
2005 surveys shows that 71 percent believes that there was massive
cheating during the 2004 elections. But it is a fact that Arroyo refuses
to yield even as her satisfaction ratings are at a historic low and is
continuously plunging. It is also a fact that majority of Filipinos want
her out. If President Arroyo continues to hold on to power, then the saga
that is the People versus Arroyo may finally reach its logical conclusion.
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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