Wednesday, April 21, 2010

People Power 3 or Martial Law 2

The blogosphere has been inundated with projections about the probable outcome of the May 10 elections in the Philippines with many bloggers predicting an outright Noynoy Aquino victory based on the strength of polls that show him consistently holding on to 37% or more of the vote.

Still others contend that Manny Villar will eke out a win despite falling in the polls from 35% to 22%, just slightly ahead of Erap Estrada at 20%, because of “logistics”.

As Villar Los Angeles supporter Bobby Reyes candidly wrote in his Mabuhay Radio blog, “in the Philippines, the Golden Rule applies: "The political party that has the gold (money, bread, dinero, pera), rules… only the Nacionalista Party has more-than ample resources that can translate into votes during the Election Day. And …while money cannot buy you love, it can help a lot in rallying the troops during the last hours before Election Day. I am not saying for the record that money can buy votes (which is supposedly illegal) but let us be pragmatic about the whole electoral process in the Philippines.”

An increasing number of bloggers and prognosticators believe, however, that there will likely be a failure of elections. As Jason Gutierrez noted, “electricity supply problems, data transmission complications, the reliability of the machines themselves and the potential for the system to be manipulated could lead to a failure of elections”.

But it will largely be a failure of “national” elections as local elections for House seats will likely succeed. Under this scenario, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will handily win her House seat in Pampanga and then be elected Speaker of the House.

Because senators are elected nationally, the failure of elections will mean that they will not be able to convene after June 30 to elect a senate president who will rule in the absence of a duly elected president and vice-president. Without a Senate President, the next in line would be the House Speaker. (June 30 News Flash: “Incoming House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today assumed the presidency from outgoing termed-out President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo”)

But a failure of elections can also pave the way for an “interim revolutionary government”, an idea that was publicly floated in late 2009 by then Presidential National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. Instead of being reprimanded by Pres. Arroyo for making this suggestion, he was instead rewarded with his appointment as Secretary of National Defense to succeed Arroyo’s presidential candidate, Gilberto Teodoro.

In Gerry Cunanan’s widely-circulated blog (“A Worst Case Scenario”), he described a visit last November 2009 by Secretary Gonzales and his political adviser, Fr. Archie Intengan, with Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias “to convince the good bishop to support them in their plan to install an interim Revolutionary Government. What gave them the idea that Bishop Tobias would cooperate was a supposed letter from the activist bishop addressed to the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines)--which they claim to have been able to obtain--saying that he does not believe that the 2010 elections would do us any good and what we need is an interim revolutionary government to reform the political system.”

Sec. Gonzales is the national chairman of the Partido Demokratikong Sosyalista ng Pilipinas which was founded in 1973. According to its website (, it is “the only member of the Left (a long-time member of the Socialist International) that does not trace its roots to the Communist Party of the Philippines or to the ideology of Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)”.

Gonzales’ PDSP has been engaged in a hot war with Jose Ma. Sison’s CPP which supports Villar because he accdepted two members of the Makabayan slate on his senate ticket. Gonzales accused the CPP and its military arm, the New People’s Army, of assassinating PDSP secretary-general Danny Yang in July 2009. According to the PDSP website, which lists Fr. Intengan as an active member, the CPP and the NPA liquidated over a thousand people from 2000 up to May 2006, and majority of their victims were civilians. “Documents gathered from the military revealed that in a span of six years, the CPP-NPA perpetrated 1,130 liquidations, resulting in the killing of 1,227 people. The victims included 384 soldiers, policemen and intelligence operatives and 843 civilians.”

Arroyo’s appointment of Gonzales in November of 2009 drew an angry response from Lito Ustarez, a top official of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), a labor organization affiliated with the CPP: "With the appointment of the much-hated national security adviser...Gloria Arroyo has just brought Adolf Hitler back to life…He is one of the worst Filipinos for the job of a Defense secretary. We are concerned that his appointment will signal another escalation of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, and all-out militarization in the country, especially in Mindanao." Ustarez charged that Gonzales was the architect of Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, the counter-insurgency program linked to extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of activists.

Cunanan’s blog posits the “hypothetical scenario”where something goes wrong after the May 10 elections and people “go out into the streets denouncing the delay or failure of the elections. Such unstable situation can grow worse after every day that would pass. If any violent incident happens--say, an explosion that would kill a number of demonstrators- -chaos may ensue. In such a situation, the President, with the support of Congress, can "legally" declare Martial Law.”

After May 10, will it be Aquino or Villar or will it be People Power 3 or Martial Law 2?

1 comment:

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