*Posted by Enteng Romano at eLagda – 06 March 2009*
This year’s EDSA anniversaries (both I and II) will best be remembered for
its non-celebration. Thanks to GMA who not only downplayed it, but
I agree with FVR, who was visibly irked with the non-appearance of GMA and
vanishing trick of VP Noli, when he said, “What appointment could be more
important on this day (February 25) than the commemoration of the
restoration of democracy?”
But then, you have to ask, “What democracy?”
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that GMA spoke to Garci? Even GMA
herself tacitly admitted it when she said, “I am sorry.” The Garci tapes
contained damning pieces of wiretapped phone conversations. In one, GMA
asked Garci to guarantee a 1 million winning margin. In another, they talked
about the abduction of a teacher to silence her. The most natural thing to
resolve this was for Congress to go through impeachment to either clear or
find GMA culpable. But they found the complaint insufficient in substance
and dismissed it. They have reduced the issue to a numbers game. In
succeeding years, a Malacanang stooge would file a bogus impeachment
complaint to immunize her for at least a year. *They have prostituted the
process and reduced it to power play.*
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that COMELEC officials colluded with
suppliers to defraud the government of billions of pesos in the election
automation project? The Supreme Court itself declared so and directed the
Ombudsman to run after the culprits. But the Ombudsman exonerated them
leading to a situation where you have a crime without criminals. *They
defied the Supreme Court and got away with it.*
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that Abalos, FG, and GMA are involved
in the NBN-ZTE scandal? A picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture
with the three of them golfing at the ZTE headquarters in China says a lot,
especially since the ZTE project was quickly changed from a BOT to a
government-to- government contract soon after the game. Besides, how do you
explain GMA’s trip to China, “coming and going like a thief in the night”
(Malacanang Press Office’s own words) to seal the ZTE contract as witness,
doing the signing at the airport, breaking all diplomatic protocols? And
yet, no charges have been filed against any of the principal players, even
after GMA admitted that she belatedly knew of the irregularity. In contrast,
Jun Lozada and his wife Violet have 10 live court cases against them. *They
have perverted the justice system, using the agencies of justice to
persecute anyone who dare go against them.* **
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that GMA distributed money to
congressmen, mayors and governors at Malacanang in November 2007 to buy
their support? Among Ed Panlilio himself showed the money and an ABS-CBN
news footage showed Congressmen leaving the meeting with loot bags similar
to the one given to Among Ed. If it is true that GMA was truly unaware of
the dole-outs, then you would expect that the Taray Queen would unleash her
wrath on whoever was behind it for doing it right under her nose and making
her look like a fool. Nothing of that sort happened. KAMPI – the president’s
own party, owned up to the cash bonanza, and no one was ever charged,
reprimanded, or even slapped in the wrist. *They think all Filipinos are
dumb to accept such a tall tale.*
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that Jocjoc Bolante architected the
fertilizer scam, with the blessings of his patrons? Two independent Senate
investigations concluded so and recommended the filing of plunder against
him. But the Ombudsman is taking its sweet time in filing the charges. Under
public pressure to catch a big fish, the Ombudsman hurriedly filed graft
charges against Neric Acosta of Bukidnon – a known critic of GMA. Ooooppps.
Wrong aquarium. What the public wanted was a big fish from the Palace
aquarium where there are plenty of sharks. *They must think plunder is a
joke. That explains why they pardoned Erap so soon.*
Is there any Filipino who still doubts that FG is involved in the rigging of
road projects? The World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity
concluded so, and they had two witnesses who attested to it. But FG could
not attend the Senate hearings. He has a heart condition and to testify
would be too stressful. (And a round of golf with millions of pesos at stake
is not?) They have just set a precedent in jurisprudence. Henceforth, all
accused with heart conditions cannot be compelled to testify. They can
either check in or get a certificate of exemption from St. Luke’s Hospital.
*They must think they’re above the law.*
Of course, they invoke due process and rule of law as their refuge. For such
are the ways of democracy. Well... they have succeeded in perverting
democracy to a point where you can hardly recognize it.
I think this nation is long overdue for a change. Even the administration
agrees. But the kind of change they espouse – charter change, is really just
a ruse to extend their terms and perpetuate themselves in power.
No, more than change, this nation is long overdue for a revolution. And I
think it will happen soon, through the ballot or by the bullet.
The signs are clear.
The judiciary was designed to play a passive role in governance, acting only
on pleadings presented before it. But when you see a Chief Justice
proactively initiating reforms on human rights and leading a Moral Force
movement, you know something is wrong with the system.
When you have the two chambers of Congress competing with each other in
leading investigations of never-ending scandals – the lower chamber to
insulate its patron at the palace, and the upper chamber to provide a stage
for its presidential aspirants… you know that they will come to a head
sooner or later.
When you read a full page ad by associations of retired and active officers
declaring that they are united behind an incarcerated comrade, you know that
something more than just a senatorial bid is brewing.
When you view all of these against a backdrop of hundreds of thousands of
Filipinos losing their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of families moving
below the poverty line… the old palace line that they are working hard on
the economy supported with their fudged numbers simply will no longer cut.
And when you factor in the people’s sentiment about their president – 46%
disapproval and 45% distrust ratings, you know you have a powder keg just
waiting for the fuse to be lit.
The political equilibrium is precariously unstable brought about mostly by
the abuses and excesses of the ruling class. The inviolable law of physics
is finally catching up with them… for every action, there is an equal and
The Americans bought into Obama’s promise of “change we can believe in.” I
think the Filipinos will buy into anybody’s promise of “change we can live
with.” I still remember how people rushed to the side of government to
defend democracy during the Oakwood mutiny. Is there any Filipino who still
doubts which side people will rush to, this time around?
Are there Filipinos who still care about democracy? Many. But not the farce
that we see today. We all yearn for the one that is *of the people, by the
people, and for the people*.
*Panahon na para sa pagbabago. Now na!*