We now see the imminent collapse of the Smartmatic-TIM poll automation ruse that the Comelec has tried to ram through despite the system’s apparent vulnerability to manipulation by the powers-that-be. As this plot is finally laid to rest, whatever credibility is left of Chairman Jose Melo and his sidekick Ferdinand Rafanan will also go six feet under for placing us on the verge of yet another massive miscarriage of elections. However, once the dust settles, the nation should see to it that another con job, the Melo-imposed early filing of candidacy, must be quickly junked as well.
Such a deadline was advanced from the usual February, or just three months before the scheduled polls, to November, or a full six months ahead of May, allegedly because an early printing of new ballots is needed for the computerized system. Yet, for all their excuses, the unavoidable conclusion is that this is just GMA and her oligarch-cohorts’ way of disqualifying President Joseph Estrada by ensuring that the clock would not run out on any legal challenge to his candidacy before the Supreme Court.
For most objective, non-partisan, and disinterested legal luminaries, including a number of former SC chiefs, Estrada can indeed run since the constitutional ban on “reelection” only applies to an incumbent who can unfairly use his position toward this end. But for the GMA regime, the oft-repeated line is that this will all depend on the interpretation of the current SC--whose justices, majority of whom are appointed by Gloria, most Filipinos justifiably believe will vote to ban Estrada.
The legal strategy of Estrada’s camp has thus been anchored on the “due process” principle enshrined in legal jurisprudence to ensure that months of filing of motions and petitions for reconsideration can thwart Gloria’s SC appointees from railroading any decision that will enrage the nation.
Corollary to this, of course, is another scenario for Estrada not to be forced to run: That is, if Escudero, Villar, Roxas, and all those desiring to carry the “sure win” anti-Gloria mantle set aside personal ambition and unite under one whom they can accept as primus inter pares. But, at the rate moneyed candidates like Villar and Roxas feel the noblesse oblige to squander a little more of their shameful wealth, there is little prospect of a unified opposition ticket.
Hopefully, the numerous avowed “opposition” candidates will wake up, sooner than later, from any delusion that they can win as a divided force. It is almost a foregone conclusion that since Noli de Castro is this regime’s most likely presidential timber, he will be running a credible lead against them because they lack one thing in common--they are not candidates of the masa. And, if their stubbornness to stay divided persists, Noli (and GMA) will win.
Thus, the only real alternative for the opposition to capture the masa vote is President Estrada who, despite efforts by Villar-commissioned surveys to play down, remains the masses’ main man. Keep in mind that Estrada’s respectable showing already comes without him even expressing any final decision to run, and despite Noli de Castro’s use of hundreds of millions of government funds to stay ahead of him in the polls; with Estrada having spent practically nothing, except gasoline, for his Lakbay Pasasalamat.
What is Estrada’s edge? Well, one of the means by which he has kept his equanimity, perspective, and humor through the past nine years is by telling the dignity of his life story again and again, not just to his intimates but to the entire nation and the world. The latter he has managed through video productions (VCDs, DVDs), expertly put together by Estrada himself, along with his production staff, led by his brother Jessie Ejercito, as well as, loyal writers who’ve remained faithful through those “dark years” after his fall from Malacañang.
All in all, these efforts have yielded four versions of Ama ng Masa, the last of which carries footage from Gloria Arroyo’s giddy COPA (Council on Philippine Affairs) celebration of the Edsa II coup, where she was seen grinning from ear to ear when she named the military and police generals with whom she conspired, while vice-president, to subvert the popular will. Although Ama ng Masa was subsequently banned by the MTRCB from public viewing, that COPA footage will forever haunt Gloria and ensure that she will never escape accountability for her crime of treason against a duly-constituted government of the Republic of the
Estrada’s Tadhana or Destiny is thus being fulfilled with each unfolding event, making certain that he will be the nation’s leader once more or be the power behind the next president from a hoped-for united opposition slate.
(Tune in to Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.; select YouTube broadcasts with links at http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)