Why the 2007 elections is the sum of Gloria’s fears
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo
Inq7.net 2006-11-27
HALF of the Filipino nation, 50 percent, distrusts Madame Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo while 48 percent are critical of her administration’s performance. Only 21 percent are saying that they trust her while 28 percent are undecided. These were some of the results of the recently released Third Quarter Pulse Asia Survey.

The biggest dissatisfaction is found in the socio-economic class E, which confirms the earlier findings of the Social Weather Station (SWS) that the economic gains being touted by the regime have no effect on the poorest Filipinos.

What should also alarm the regime in the Pulse Asia findings is that in the Visayas, where Arroyo enjoys her biggest support, the number of those who are now critical of her performance rose by 7 percent (from 30 to 37 percent).

Between 40 to 53 percent of Filipinos gave the Arroyo administration poor marks over its performance on six national issues—criminality, political killings, workers’ pay, poverty, graft and corruption, and inflation.

The Third Quarter Pulse Asia Survey, which was conducted from October 21 to November 8, also showed that Madame Arroyo registered the lowest approval rating—25 percent—among the top five public officials of the country and she also carried the biggest disapproval rating at 48 percent.

Senate President Manuel Villar, the third in the order of constitutional succession, chalked the highest approval rating at 60 percent. Vice President Noli de Castro followed Villar with a 54 percent approval rating.

The performance and trust ratings of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban significantly improved in the wake of the high court's rejection of the petition for a people's initiative to amend the Constitution. The approval rating of Chief Justice Panganiban improved by nine percentage points while that of the high tribunal rose from 36 to 46 percent.

This early, a good three months before candidates for the 2007 elections file their certificates of candidacies, the surveys are revealing a consistent pattern that spells political disaster for Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In the Pulse Asia survey on 2007 possible senate candidates, the best that a regime candidate, Secretary Mike Defensor, could do was place number 20 (only 12 senators are to be elected).

The handwriting on the wall shows that many Filipinos are poised to affirm their deep-seated resentments against Madame Macapagal Arroyo when they vote in the coming May 2007 elections. They are set to register their feelings about the person who majority of them believe is not their elected president.

Just look at the contrasts that the Pulse Asia survey showed. The 50 percent who expressed distrust is complemented by the rise in the ratings of public officials—Senate President Manny Villar and Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban—who are seen to have taken adversarial positions against her.

Villar and Panganiban are heading the two institutions that have been resisting the dictatorial tendencies of the Arroyo regime. If not for the Senate and the Supreme Court, we have no basis to claim that freedom and democracy still reigns in our country.
While Vice President Noli de Castro may not be associated with the groups that have been actively resisting the Arroyo regime, he has wisely kept his distance from the regime and its highly controversial actions. Thus, De Castro has managed to maintain his popularity.

It comes as no surprise therefore that the Arroyo regime’s favorite mouthpiece, Secretary Mike Defensor, has been floating the idea of a “unity ticket” with the opposition for the 2007 elections. Arrogant in stealing a victory, the regime now wants to diffuse an imminent political Waterloo with a “unity ticket.”

That offer of a “unity ticket” is no different from the offer of King Richard III (in the Shakespeare opus Richard III) of “A horse, a horse—my kingdom for a horse” after losing the decisive Battle of Bosworth that determined the winner of the English civil war known as The War of the Roses. Fleeing for his life, Richard Gloucester was bartering the kingdom that he already lost for a horse.

But make no mistake about it—there is more than just saving face for Madame Arroyo in floating that offer for a “unity ticket.” The regime realizes that an opposition victory in 2007 will most likely result in the successful impeachment of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
To begin with, the opposition does not need to win the majority of the seats in Congress unlike what the Democratic Party in the US recently accomplished during the November 7 US Mid-term Elections. All the opposition needs to be able to forward an impeachment case to the senate is to win 60 congressional district seats.

Expecting a more hostile Senate to emerge after the 2007 elections, the Arroyo regime would want to avoid the electoral exercise as if it were the bubonic plague. Under the political climate that the surveys have been showing, gaining those 60 congressional seats appears to be the easiest thing that the opposition can do in the 2007 elections.

This is also the underlying reason for the persistence to dance the Cha Cha (Charter Change) despite the rejection that the Supreme Court gave the so-called People’s Initiative for Charter Change. Those congressmen who torpedoed the 2005 and 2006 impeachment cases against Arroyo must be very worried and concerned about their own prospects for re-election.

If I am an opposition congressional candidate who will be running against a pro-Gloria congressman who killed the impeachment case, I will adopt a famous historical rallying point (“Remember the Alamo”) and banner my campaign with the slogan “REMEMBER THE IMPEACHMENT.”

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

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