Sunday, July 17, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2005

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio
www.junpolicarpio.com

GLORIA’S GRACEFUL EXIT

People everywhere, in America or in the Philippines, share common needs, demands, aspirations, or problems. They were all created by God from the same mold. Since the advent of time, their basic necessities of life remain the same: food, shelter, and clothing. The emergence of the civilized world introduced freedom, law and order, crime and punishment to be the essential elements of a democratic society.

Former President Clinton was caught lying under oath during his impeachment proceedings. The American people did not rush to the streets to demand his ouster even if it was revealed that he was doing the affairs of government while a young female intern was doing something immoral for him under his presidential desk. He was able to survive the Senate investigation to remove him from office. He did not resign but remained in office to complete his second term. Why? Because majority of the American people were enjoying life under a robust American economy.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines, in comparison, was caught in audio recordings speaking to Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of the Commission on Elections, a constitutional body, and urging him to commit vote-padding or to fraudulently increase his vote tally. She called him at the time when the votes were being canvassed. She induced him to guarantee her of about one million-vote margin over her closest opponent, the late Fernando Poe, Jr., a popular movie actor. When she admitted apologetically that she was indeed the woman talking in the audio recordings, ten of her cabinet members who were perceived to be very close to her, former president Corazon Aquino, former vice-president Teofisto Guingona, Senate President Franklin Drilon, many business groups, and several legislators including her political allies urged her to step down and resign from the Office of the Presidency for the good of the people and democracy. Then the poor masses of the Filipino people followed up their indignant public demonstrations calling her to resign immediately. Several religious groups and Catholic priests and bishops join the people’s cry for Gloria’s quick exit from Malacanang Palace for good. The United States top diplomatic official in the Philippines changed his tone from supporting President Arroyo to supporting the rule of law. He expressed in a television interview that the United States is very disappointed of what’s happening in the Philippines.

Like a typical accused criminal, Arroyo denied having committed any crime. She refused to give in to any demand of resigning from the presidency. At the same time, her government forces snatched Garcilllano , her principal co-conspirator, presumably to prevent him from “ratting out” Mafia-style.

Sgt. Doble, an Army soldier, initially admitted to former deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation Samuel Ong that he was the eavesdropper. Ong publicly announced that he is the source of the original audio recordings “ the mother of all tapes.” Then, out of nowhere came a frantic call from Doble’s wife asking government authorities to rescue Doble from the Jesuit Seminary where he was staying with Ong. In the recordings, Garcillano boasted to President Arroyo in one occasion that he would order the kidnapping of the wife and children of an election official who threatened to “spill the beans out” on their fraudulent scheme, criminal syndicate –style. While in custody of President Arroyo’s forces, Sgt. Doble changed his story to the media and before a Congressional inquiry. His scared countenance during the hearing and his inconsistencies betrayed his false testimony.

After listening to the audio recordings, the fools would doubt the involvement of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a blatant scheme to steal the presidential election of 2004. Yet there still exist more intelligent and wiser Filipinos anywhere in the world. The Philippine Military cannot remain neutral for a long period of time. The United States has already spoken through her diplomat in the Philippines that she supports the “rule of law” which is not the same as the rule of an outlaw.

President Arroyo should not behave like Brazilian President Lula who was able to remain in power despite corruption charges and calls for resignation. The Brazilian economy is very strong and the people are happy. Former President Corazon Aquino survived her presidency despite a number of coup attempts. But she was not caught cheating in a presidential election.

Arroyo needs to study the last days of Chilean President Salvador Allende, Argentinean President Isabel Peron, and Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto who were all forced out office. She may also review the last days of Philippine President Marcos.

Joining her family’s self-imposed exile in the United States is a good option for President Arroyo to make a graceful exit from power. Whatever the Philippine Constitution prescribes as to her successor should prevail unless her vice-president is the “underboss.”
End

About the author: He is the first Asian American and Filipino American to run for the U.S. Congress from New York in 2004. He is a retired officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services. He worked as intelligence analyst in the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Division of Intelligence and Research from 1968 to 1972 until Marcos imposed Martial Law. He taught at the University of Manila School of Foreign Service from 1968 to 1973 until he immigrated to the United States as an alien with outstanding qualifications. He has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University and Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from the University of the Philippines.

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