Why the most feared scenario is the least likely scenario
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-03-23

The recent appointments to the two military top posts, the Supreme Court controversial decision regarding the replacement Chief Justice, the perceived manufactured power crisis and the steady flow of problems in the poll automation — condition many folks to fear that a conspiracy is afoot to keep Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) in power after her term expires on June 30, 2010.

With no newly elected president, vice president, with the current Senate President’s term to end also on June 30, 2010 — many sectors fear a programmed failure of the national elections that will pave the way for a Speaker GMA to rule as caretaker. It is seen that her loyalists in the top posts of the military as well as the majority of the Supreme Court Justices will be there to provide the muscle and the legality to the process.

The recent pronouncement of Palace spokesperson Charito Planas that a military junta could well follow a failure of election is unlikely. Military supported People Power is the more likely consequence. With Filipinos keyed by poll automation to expect election results to be announced within 48 hours — this scenario will not even get to July 1, 2010 when a new Speaker of the House of Representatives can take over as caretaker.

It’s not even likely that we will get to the month of June without dramatic developments taking place. Like the game changing developments that led to the 1986 People Power event, the public passion will lead to polarization, confrontation and resolution. If ever, we must pray that these developments shall follow the peaceful and sober manner by which the 1986 People Power event unfolded.

Can GMA use these developments to justify and enforce martial law? That is highly improbable. Conditioned by the acts of impunity she committed during her term, she may be reckless enough to attempt it. But will the military be reckless too? That is doubtful.

The recent appointment to the post of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Army Chief had caused big ripples among the generals. Reliable Chair Wrecker sources reported that a national crisis emanating from a failure of elections will result in many generals joining the anti-GMA junior officers. Those PMA class 1978 division commanders will find no officers and soldiers following their illegal orders.

This most feared scenario of GMA continuing to rule after June 30, 2010 is viewed by your Chair Wrecker as the least likely scenario. Let’s not even go to a head count of the AFP officers who will follow GMA. Let’s go and review if even her top political operators — Ronnie Puno first and foremost of them – would be willing to take big risks for her. How about Bert Gonzales and Leandro Mendoza? Will they take big risks for GMA?

They used to suppress dissent by citing “protecting the duly constituted authority” as their official cover. They can no longer apply that official cover to extend GMA’s term. In their hearts and minds, they know what can be done at this stage and what acts are considered sheer madness, if not suicidal.

Take the case of Ronnie Puno. Ronnie is a survivor with a talent for reinventing himself to be useful in new conditions. From his role during the Marcos regime, Ronnie has reinvented himself during the terms of Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and GMA. Don’t be surprised if Ronnie has already started the process of reinventing himself in the new administration.

If the face off will be between Noynoy Aquino and GMA — as Aquino is the man to beat in this presidential election — GMA’s biggest handicap is that her support bases are there for mutual convenience whereas the supporters of Aquino are passionately bound by shared principles. Principled supporters will fight to the end. Pragmatic supporters will scamper in the face of a grave peril.

Realistically, these loyalists of GMA in the military and the Supreme Court can only help soften the pressure against her after she exits. But even that is doubtful. In a new administration, especially a popular one, loyalties tend to shift very quickly.

If the contest between the frontrunner and second placer for the presidency is close, then together with the GMA factors in the Comelec (Commission on Elections) they could perhaps influence the results to favor GMA’s candidate. GMA would not want to see either leading presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino or third placer Joseph Estrada to win.

GMA knows that Aquino will prosecute her. Other than the sins she has committed against the country, GMA has done Cory Aquino and her family a lot of wrong. She has reasons to fear that Estrada could do worse than just prosecute her. She had abandoned Estrada and incarcerated him.

GMA’s realistic option for installing a friendly president is none other than the man now popularly called Money Villarroyo, the current second placer — Nacionalista Party’s Manny Villar. Compare their characters and their track records for compromise and you can’t help but exclaim — it’s a match hatched in hell!

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