Unsolicited advice for Gloria M. Arroyo
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo
Inq7.net 2006-05-15
Madame Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may want to consider creating the Department of the Operators and Enforcers—which she can call DOPE. In that department she could appoint the likes of Raul Gonzalez, Norberto Gonzales, Eduardo Ermita, Ronnie Puno and all those others in her government who have been effectively eroding the foundations of our democratic institutions.
The proposal is very practical—it will allow the rest of the other departments to function normally while also allowing more focus for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political operators, bullies, enforcers, hit men and what not. Under the present circumstances, government agencies cannot perform their normal functions because their top priorities have been misdirected towards the preservation of the status quo at all costs.

And to allow the arrangement to continue will only add more pressure to an already explosive national situation.

While I believe that it is best for everyone, for both Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the nation, that she resigns together with Noli de Castro and allows a snap election to settle the issue and stabilize the country—the intermediate measure that needs to be done is to provide a fair measure of normalcy in government operations. There are over 40 million Filipinos who desperately need jobs, health care and education on top of their urgent daily pursuit of eating at least one decent meal a day.

At the rate things are going, Madame Arroyo is likely to get the entire house razed to the ground, if only to secure her continued residence at the Palace. Every right thinking Filipino only wants to resolve the current tenancy problem in Malacanang Palace and would not want to see the whole country reduced to smoldering embers.

Filipinos won’t tolerate injustice

The single biggest dysfunctional segment in public service today is the Justice Department under Raul Gonzalez who does not seem to realize that the very nature of his job and his office is to administer justice and not to deal out personal vendetta and political retribution.

Ninoy Aquino best summed it up when he said during the dark days of martial law that the Filipinos can live with poverty but they will never accept injustice. In the end, the injustice done to Ninoy—how he was murdered when he returned from exile—proved to be the beginning of the end of the Marcos regime. The injustice was so etched in the consciousness of the people that Ninoy’s widow, Cory, inherited the mantle of leadership.


The current setup of the government where priorities are upset by Arroyo’s personal needs is eroding her very chances of survival more than it is thwarting opposition moves to oust her. Are we surprised that crime is on the upswing—seeing how her new DILG secretary is busy selling Charter change through a bogus people’s initiative?

Because these operators and enforcers are at the helm of frontline agencies, administration performance has been dismal. Most Filipinos do not really want to get involved in political intramurals. People despise both the trapos in the administration and the opposition. But when they do not get the governance that they expect and deserve—they will only be too eager to go along with those ouster moves in order to get the government service that they are missing.

I do believe that this is reflected in those surveys that show wide scale public dissatisfaction with the Arroyo regime. If there was good governance, the President would not have registered such dismal ratings despite the issues that are being raised against her.

Ms Arroyo might survive if the people feel that she is delivering jobs, food security, peace and order and health care. Right now, all that she has going for her is the counterpart dysfunctional state of the opposition who cannot get their act together and offer an acceptable alternative. However, if government performance hits an all-time low while the people’s misery index rises to an all-time high, people will consequently consider taking their chances with the opposition.

Credibility repair

I’ve written before that when Ms Arroyo lost her credibility, she lost her grip on power. With the rising misery index brought about by high oil prices and the setbacks that she suffered with the three Supreme Court decisions on EO 464, CPR and PP 1017—the latest surveys may yet show Ms Arroyo doing much worse than her negative 35% ratings, an all-time low for a Malacanang resident.

It is bad enough for the Arroyo regime to be doing the wrong things. It is made worse by having ineffective mouthpieces who say the most inappropriate things. It’s time for Arroyo to fire her communications team and adopt a new approach. Maybe, try getting real for once.

Just look at the pathetic attempts of Toting Bunye to create the impression that she won in those three decisions of the Supreme Court. Seeing Toting try to make a disaster appear as a victory reminds me of a boxer who kissed the canvass three times, absorbed an avalanche of punches that puffed his face, closed his eyes and bloodied his mouth—and yet still have the gall and the temerity to raise his hands, trying to claim victory, after having been counted out by the referee!

Come to think of it, punch drunk fighters do that. The accumulation of haymakers that the Arroyo regime has been absorbing since the Garci tapes were exposed must have rendered her and her team issue-drunk.

When pugilists manifest signs of punch drunkenness, they are advised to retire and preserve whatever is left of their brains. That is food for thought for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

You may email William M. Esposo at: macesposo@yahoo.com

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