The GMA regime's weakness and vulnerability
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-06-25

Many Filipinos are nearly panicking these days that Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) will not leave Malacañang Palace in 2010. This is more emotional and less rational. More than anything else, it reflects the cowardice of a nation to assert its collective will — in utter fear of the imagined strength of GMA.

If reason is to rule one’s judgment, then all the signs point to GMA having very slim chances of pulling off a magic stunt and remain in power after her term ends on June 30, 2010.

How all this speculation about her reigning forever and ever gets too much media coverage also reflects the lack of analyses in Philippine media. Or perhaps it is media’s way of pandering to some Filipinos’ unconscious desire to unnecessarily raise their blood pressure. It could also be traced to media’s inclination to recruit so-called ‘political analysts’ as resource persons when they happen to be idiots who do not know the truth.

The presentation of the BIG PICTURE is notably lacking in many so-called ‘expert analyses’ in Philippine media. To be able to truly explain a given situation and spell out its full ramifications, one has to present the big picture.

By merely showing beach revelers partying late into the night, one is given the impression that all is well and everyone is happy. But when the real larger picture of a 100-foot tidal wave about to smash the beach party is shown, we naturally change our impression of safe and happy to one of anxiety and fear.

Thus, media analyses here tend to widen instead of bridge the Information Gap. We also miss seeing the BIG PICTURE when we study our history. We’re good at remembering events, names, dates and places but not the historical significance and lessons of the events. We get too engrossed with minutiae and fail to see the BIG PICTURE.

Just analyze with cold blooded, non emotional logic the GMA regime and you cannot find the basis for even considering it a stable government — much less a strong one. Consider the following:

1. The GMA regime rules over a weak state. The institutions fail (the sure indicator of a weak state) and she is dominated by the two superpowers fighting over our minerals, oil (in the South China Sea) and strategic military location. The ruler of a weak state is easily removed.

2. GMA, unlike Dictator Ferdinand Marcos, relies on a military that is deeply divided. A US or China that decides to play the rebel faction can easily terminate the GMA regime with extreme prejudice.

3. GMA is very unpopular and has chalked up the worst negative satisfaction ratings of any president that has been subjected to this measurement. Nothing can be more explosive than a very unpopular ruler of a weak state during a period where many of its people are going hungry.

4. The GMA regime’s international standing is dominated by its image of human rights abuses (political killings) and corruption (worst in the region, one of the most corrupt in the world). When a political tsunami hits GMA, what country will feel like sympathizing with a regime with that woeful track record? Can you see other nationals demonstrating for GMA they way they are expressing support for the Iranian Opposition?

5. GMA’s political coalition is very fragile — an understatement actually. It is a political coalition that is founded on the shaky ‘principles’ of Harlot Politics. The recent forced merger of Lakas-CMD with Kampi showed deep resentment among original leaders of both parties. Some allies have already transferred to the political party of perceived 2010 winner, Senator Manny Villar. Even Manny Pacquiao is now striking an alliance with Joseph “Erap” Estrada to reinforce the boxer’s congressional bid.

Those are five irrefutable facts about the true state of the GMA regime. Any three of those five would have sufficed to conclude that GMA is a political goner. Why she has lasted this long are because of an Opposition which lacks the class and caliber of a Ninoy Aquino to lead them and the fact that most Filipinos are not empowered to assert and enforce the national will.

Our sorry situation of being helpless in removing bad leaders is also created by the failure of the middle class to engineer meaningful change. Many of our so-called civil society groups are more interested to grab media exposure than to enlighten and inspire our masses to aspire for reform.

If Filipinos had the courage that the Iranian Opposition displayed in protesting what they charged as large scale cheating in their recent elections — GMA, her political allies, cronies and kin would have all been history after the Garci Tapes emerged. But we are still stuck with them, not because they are really strong and powerful, but because we are too weak and yellow.

The festering political tension in the Philippines today is being decided not by which side is stronger but by which side is less weak.
We Filipinos like to brag about originating the use of People Power. That is not quite true.

The Iranians in 1979, when they ousted their Shah, pre-dated our rendition of People Power. There they relentlessly braved bullets being fired at them until the Shah’s military saw the moral issue and joined the people.

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