Friday, December 04, 2009

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


I welcome Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s decision to run for Congress in 2010 national elections given the perceived notion that she wants to cling to any political power available for self-preservation. Instead of imposing martial law like what Marcos did in 1981, she takes the legal road to perpetuate herself in power. That’s better, I may quip, if she can guarantee victory from her local voters.

Political observers say that indeed President Arroyo’s victory as a congresswoman- elect from Pampanga is assured considering her political influence as a sitting president and her overflowing cash that will run her political machine.

But what if she lost to an honest candidate endorsed by majority of her voting townmates? Surely that scenario would be the worst thing that could happen to President Arroyo. I just hope she would not go the way of Roman Emperor Nero or Babylonian King
Nebuchadnezzar of the Old Testament. Both of them went nuts.

Even if Arroyo wins a seat in Congress next year, she is still liable to criminal prosecution. I believe that under Philippine laws which are similar to American jurisprudence, members of Congress are not immune from criminal suit, especially when the charge is very serious like plunder.

Anyway, if history repeats itself and she would be convicted of plunder, the next president, I presume, would be ready to offer her pardon. Remember, she pardoned ex-president Joseph Estrada from a similar crime of plunder. To obtain pardon or forgiveness, she has to beg for it. Isn’t this the essence of justice?

Anyway, look at the Marcos family and where are they now? The head of this family, ex-philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, plundered the wealth of the Philippine nation, from gold bars and bullions to possibly trillions of pesos in real estate and other resources.

Now I hear that Bad Guy Marcos may even be buried and honored as a national hero. His son, Bongbong, is currently running for Senator. His daughter, Imee, did serve as a congresswoman from Ilocos Norte. His wife, Imelda, still wields power and influence in Philippine society with her hidden wealth.

The Filipino people are very forgiving by nature. Look at their wide smiles despite calamities and disasters. The rich and the powerful surely know how to manipulate and exploit the children of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, and the rest of the patriots who gave up their lives during the Philippine Revolution of 1896. This is the legacy from three hundred years of Spanish colonialism that created a timid, mendicant, indolent, or happy-go-lucky” (bahala na” syndrome) Filipino people who try to forget their hopelessness through singing and dancing.

It is best for President Arroyo to solve swiftly the Maguindanao Massacre instead of anythingelse in order to preserve even a scintilla of her honor and dignity. These heinous crimes perpetrated against innocent people happened during her watch. I believe she can do it using all the resources at her disposal and punish the murderers. Isn’t this the essence of justice?

If she fails to do it or waits too long for the wheels of justice to grind, she may not deserve the benefit of pardon from the next president.



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