Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Politics or revolution?

The crisis conditions of the country continue to worsen by the day despite sanguine assurances from the Arroyo regime. The imploding Philippine economy, now fast-tracked by the global financial crash, belies all of the government’s rosy claims. Just to cite a few instances: Intel has closed its plant and is slashing 1,800 jobs; and up to 150,000 OFWs are expected to return jobless within the year.

Yet, the Arroyo regime has presented no plan at all to help the country survive this collapse. Even its much ballyhooed P100-billion pump-priming fund is now being thumbed down by Arroyo’s private sector partners.

All factions within the traditional political elite, meanwhile, are focused on the 2010 elections. Politicians raise one circus after another, conducting investigations that never change anything nor result in any reforms that address fundamental issues. At the same time, the SWS engages in its usual game of “trending” for the likes of Noli, Villar, Danding Trojan Horses Loren and Chiz, etc., by framing survey questions to attain the desired results for these candidates who are most compliant to the (US and corporatocracy) Establishment’s wishes.

Because of these endless political games, many more nitty-gritty concerns escape attention. The middle class is now on the verge of extinction as the economy contracts and professional jobs diminish. Small and medium businesses fold up while Big Business continues to jack up prices. LPG prices skyrocket in the face of continued declines in oil prices, as electricity and water costs go up despite the regulatory agencies making statements to the contrary. Worse, food prices are on the rise, in spite of declining transport costs of agricultural products. All these sure signs of market manipulation are happening in an otherwise diseased economy. What’s more: New excises taxes are to be imposed on “sin” products, without regard for declining sales which will surely entail retrenchments.

Worst of all, MalacaƱang is even fortifying its cheating machinery while the economy goes to rot. Esperon, who helped cheat in 2004 and was the target of several military protests, is now Presidential Management Staff chief. And while the Remonde-Dureza shuffle is inconsequential because both are so, what’s really significant is the assignment of the “Hello Garci” tape source, the commanding officer of Doble who leaked the tape, Admiral Tirso Danga, to the National Printing Office which is the official printer of election ballots, election returns and certificates of canvass--a pivotal position for manipulating election and referendum votes, indeed.

With Comelec Chairman Melo refusing to clean up the voters’ list and two ex-military generals involved in cheating installed in critical positions, it is clear that any electoral exercise will be meaningless. We must call everyone’s attention to the fact that ex-commodore Danga is not simply a Gloria Arroyo enforcer; he is apparently, over and above all, a controlled agent of foreign elements embedded in our government and, previously, in our AFP, to operate in behalf of foreign interests. This is the only logical conclusion from the fact that Danga almost got Gloria kicked out of MalacaƱang yet has been repeatedly promoted and now gets a most critical post. Remember, the enemy is really bigger than Gloria alone.

Given the viruses implanted in our election infrastructure, can we still invest our confidence in the 2010 elections or any other voting exercise such as a referendum? It is clear that elections under the present dispensation are intended only to perpetuate the myth of democracy, laced as it is with prevailing neo-colonial conditions, while old and new puppets are installed into national office as programmed, to continue instituting policies of exploitation and oppression. All decent Filipinos imbued with integrity should henceforth expose and reject this fraud being foisted on the nation.

As it was in the past, the country is faced again with the problem of how to achieve regime change under these circumstances. Although a coup d’etat by anti-Gloria forces has gained the favor of almost 50 percent of Filipinos in surveys last year, AFP reformists have never really warmed up to it just yet. All that have been initiated were military protests at Oakwood and by Gen. Danny Lim in February 2006, both refusing to use armed might against the corrupt defenders of this regime. Apparently, both actions got disapproving signals from the US Embassy which was then the crucial element in the hesitation of other soldiers, who would otherwise have wanted to join. Let’s face it: the US likes a corrupt and helpless puppet, and none can be better than Gloria at that.

Floating Chief Justice Puno’s balloon, ostensibly triggered by an “impeachment move,” is one of the ways some parties seeking regime change have opted for, which this columnist detected right off as part of a PR or “media build-up.” The notion that the office of the Chief Justice enjoys respect, especially for his public disdain for politicians, buttresses the stature of the head of the Supreme Court. But this is only because the CJ is perceived to be in the line of succession and is thus conceivable in a “transition” government. Moreover, this is perfect for those who are seeking to cultivate a puppet leader since the CJ, with no power base or political savvy, makes for a perfect wimp.

Fellow Tribune columnist Ding Lichauco proposes a formula to open up nationalist political opportunities by bringing Puno, Lim and Erap together in one transition government. To some, like the Makati businessmen, it is a masterstroke of a formula. It appeases the US and the corporatocracy’s eagerness to topple the current regime while providing that popular flavor to a supposed turnover. But for many others, who view this just as another excuse for compromise, they ask: Haven’t we had enough of this already? So if such kind of politics-as-usual has failed time and again to bring about the reforms we need, isn’t The Last Revolution the only thing in order?

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