From where I sit, the greatest threat to Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not the opposition but her minions. The events of the last seven days prove this.
Black Thursday threw the Arroyo regime in disarray. This was the day Speaker Joe de Venecia et al had tried to pull a fast one on the Filipino people by unilaterally ruling a Charter change through a constituent assembly (con-ass) that would not include Senate participation. Our utter revulsion found form at last. We have to thank God for our Church leaders who strongly expressed their position against con-ass and left Congress running for shelter.
The ConAsses brought Arroyo to the brink, something the opposition had not even accomplished over the last 18 months since the Garci issue. Now, these ConAsses cannot even figure out how to cut their losses. They are still trying to peddle Charter change. Moreover, House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles is still hawking con-ass.
Now the ConAsses want to try the con-con (constitutional convention) route. Con-con would have taken off a long time ago had they opted to go that route in the first place. But they had to show their fangs with con-ass last Black Thursday. Now, after showing all and sundry their true colors, I doubt if any right thinking Filipino will want Charter change at all, regardless of mode.
As if Madame Arroyo isn't already in enough trouble - an agency directly under her undermines the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) rally against con-ass scheduled for tomorrow by grabbing the intended Luneta Grandstand venue. To even make matters worse - that agency happens to be the Pagcor which has been the target of many Church crusades against gambling whether legal or illegal.
Now tell me. Is this not tantamount to waving a very large red flag to a rampaging bull?
What can be so important with that Pagcor event, that it cannot give way to such an important event such as the CBCP rally? I am of course assuming that Pagcor indeed needed the venue at the same time, based on their claim that they had allegedly booked ahead. If this so happens to be a pre-emptive move by the regime then whoever thought of this is a moron, if not an infiltrator and a saboteur.
They may have successfully forced a deferment of the CBCP rally but the real trade-off is that it only added fuel to the national anger. By that act alone, Madame Arroyo does not even need to spy, sow intrigue, induce and plot against the opposition. All this time, the opposition has failed to mount anything like con-ass to destabilize her regime. Neither has the opposition conceived anything that would sow as much anger and disgust as having a government agency like Pagcor bumping off a CBCP rally.
As if all the self-inflicted wounds were not enough, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez gets into the act. The Department of Justice reportedly issued a memorandum warning government employees from joining the protest rallies lest they be administratively charged for taking to the streets.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez supported his action by citing a recent Supreme Court decision that government personnel cannot hold "prohibited concerted mass action."
Gonzalez threatened: "All government employees of all government departments and agencies are prohibited from joining mass actions, rallies, protests, strikes and other activities against the government and duly constituted authority."
His memorandum is like scaring a child with the bogeyman lurking in the dark. The CBCP rally is not a prohibited concerted mass action so there is no basis to remind government employees not to attend the rally if they wish to.
I dare Gonzalez to declare the CBCP rally a "prohibited" rally.
From his earlier threats to feed some people to the sharks to this recent bluster of a memorandum, I am beginning to believe those reports that Gonzalez may indeed be suffering from chronic kidneys and is undergoing dialysis. All this time, I thought that something is wrong with his head. Now, I wonder if it's the kidney or the head that is the worse problem.
It so happens that your chair wrecker has first hand knowledge of what it is to suffer from chronic kidneys or what is also called end stage renal failure. I suffered from it myself, the cost of building my immensity. I underwent hemodialysis for 25 months at the Makati Medical Center until I finally had a successful kidney transplant operation last January 9, 2002 under the best renal transplant team in the country headed by Dr. Claver Ramos.
Here are some basic facts about the disease:
1. Around 85% of people who are over 70 years of age and are afflicted with chronic kidneys die within three years after they start dialysis treatments. Of course, they don't last a year if they get the disease and do not undergo dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
2. People who are undergoing hemodialysis, which is normally tri-weekly, effectively lose three days of productivity and eventually cannot work, especially those over 70 years of age. After each four-hour hemodialysis session, a patient is too tired to work and just sleeps.
3. Even dialysis does not remove all the toxins that the failed kidneys can no longer process. The mind is affected. The older the patient is, the worse the effect on the mind.
Do you remember that time after the 1983 Aquino assassination when former President Ferdinand Marcos sounded incoherent during his television appearances? That is what chronic kidneys and hemodialysis treatments do to you.
It makes me wonder really if Secretary Gonzalez has joined the "Senior Citizen's Kidney Club" which, thank God, at age 57 I am not qualified to join yet. Well, he sounds like he has assumed the chairmanship of the club.
Lest I start to sound like fellow STAR columnist Dr. Charlie Chante, enough said about pathology. But who knows ? I might decide one of these days to talk about a famous liver and a famous esophagus.
Let's not be sidetracked. Let's get our minds off the kidney, liver and esophagus. We have to shift our focus back to the ass, the con-ass.