Arroyo’s Diminishing Options

Patronage

While patronage guarantees support for Arroyo at the most propitious times, such as during impeachments and elections, central to crippling any organized mass movement – key to any extra-constitutional presidential transition – is the neutralization of the Left. A government document underscores a national security strategy against the Left – which includes dislodging progressive Party-list groups from Congress – as vital to the Arroyo presidency. Thus, Arroyo’s presidency has also been propped up by the gun leaving nearly 1,000 activists summarily executed and hundreds of others missing since 2001. Civil liberties are threatened by illegal arrests and detention, trumped-up criminal charges, an anti-terrorism law, and the absence of any legal protection.

To conclude, the greed for power has been sustained at the cost of making the Philippine government the most corrupt in East Asia, based on the latest Transparency International report, and by a culture of impunity making the presidential office unaccountable to alleged election cheating, corruption, and crimes against humanity. Arroyo’s presidency has further reduced Congress into a rubber-stamp legislature and the judiciary tarnished by both alleged corruption and presidential appointees.

As a result, Arroyo has become the most unpopular president of all times based on public surveys. There are scores of issues and charges to settle with the president, something that is much anticipated if and when she steps down from the presidency in mid-2010 and becomes a private citizen. To pre-empt this inevitable scenario, she will be spending the rest of her term to either install a friendly successor or use all possible means to stay in power.

With all remaining options including attempts at another Cha-Cha diminishing the whole nation should brace for some extreme measures being resorted to in 2009. She will be capitalizing on all the conditions she needs, including an anti-Arroyo opposition extremely divided by presidential ambitions and a judiciary dominated by her own appointees.

Critical times call for critical leadership. It is up for the people and their organized forces to be equal to this challenge.(Bulatlat.com)

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