Monday, July 04, 2005

What a month!

It's been more than a month since I lasdt made an update. I hardly sleep anymore these days, what with my two full-time jobs. I haven't even seen a new movie lately, although of course I have not neglected reading books. I may not have time for a relationship and for movies, but for books I always have the time for.

Hmmm...XLIBRIS is fun and I have made really nice and great friends. The BREAKFAST CLUB rules!! Working as a faculty for Cebu Normal University has also been a blessing, so now I guess I am feeling more fulfilled than ever.

Here's a new political analysis I have written regarding the current brouhaha we have in our political arena:

GMA, People Power, and the Politics of Symbolism and Theatrics
By Todd Lucero Sales

The camera suddenly focused on a somber but defiant President Gloria M. Arroyo. Behind her, the screen captured the brilliant hued Philippine and the Presidential flags. Two framed photographs of the President’s children sat on top of a lone table just behind her. Her clothes are simple and soft-colored, but very much comfortable to look at. She looked as if she was going to break down mid-way her televised address to the Filipino people, but she held firm and defiantly denied allegations of vote rigging during the last elections. To the end, she continued to exhibit the strong and undeterred character which she has been known to have.

Street protests and rumor mills have been active since former NBI deputy director Samuel Ong released audio CDs he claimed to have been a conversation between President GMA and an elections commissioner. This allegation only exacerbated the problems already besieging the president since the jueteng exposes have surfaced. Once again, it would seem that history is repeating itself. Who once profited from the ouster of Erap because of the same issue is now under attack also because of the illegal numbers game.

Susan Roces has come forward to reclaim what allegedly was her late husband’s presidency, and the movie actress has tried to insinuate herself as though she is like Cory trying to avenge her husband’s death. The radical groups have beefed up their operations, coming up with the most bizarre political ideas on how to govern the country after GMA’s ouster. No doubt, there will be more rumors of coup d’etats and another People Power uprising in the days to come. In fact this already happened in May 2001, when the Labor Day turned bloody as thousands of Erap loyalists tried to attack Malacañang but ultimately failed. With all these new developments, could there be a possible EDSA IV? A possible radical shift in the government once more?

What the anti-Gloria groups don’t know, or refuse to recognize until now, is that People Power involves more than just the simple parliament of the streets. It entails more than the gathering of thousands of people, praying and dancing and celebrating their brains out until the despised leaders in Malacañang have been driven away. People Power in the Philippines is as complicated as it is unique. First, let us examine the circumstances that led to the successful uprisings in 1986 and January 2001. The abuses and outright corruption of the leaders in both instances incensed the Filipino people, but it was only until the deaths of political symbolisms in 86 and January 2001 that the people decided that things had already gone too far. In 86, it was Ninoy Aquino, whose sacrifice and defiance against the Marcos regime made him the symbol of the struggle against Martial rule; indeed the symbol of the struggle of the Filipino nation. In January 2001, it was the sealed envelope, which can be roughly translated as a symbolism for justice and transparency in the already disputed impeachment trial, the last frontier for Filipino legalities at that time. After both symbolisms were terminated nothing much mattered except for the removal of Marcos and Erap.

In a paternalistic society such as ours, it is also necessary to give importance to the roles of the different institutions we hold dear. Both the 86 and 2001 People Powers were successful because they had the backing of some, if not all, of our major pillars of power. The Congress, the Military, Police, and most especially the Church, were all important ingredients to the success of the 86 uprising. This success was intensified in January 2001 with the additional support of civil society, media, and the upper and middle classes. These pillars of power symbolize in many different ways the psyche of the Filipino people. They are, in the long run, as inseparable as day and night. You take one away and you will never succeed.

Philippine politics, similarly, includes great amount of theatrics. Gloria has indeed been a mistress of the politics of theatrics, from her speeches, her pronouncements, her attires, and her choice of venues. Illustrations: she once proclaimed to the people she was not running for president, but took it back when she said she believed she had the moral responsibility to govern for 6 more years. This art has been perfected in India, and is most of the time successful, as concretized by her victory over Mr. Poe. Her recent admission on national television that she was the voice in the CD and her sincere apologies is reminiscent of her father’s own public address, also of asking for forgiveness. She also reminded me then of Clinton’s admission of sexual indiscretion with Monica Lewinsky, and HM Queen Elizabeth II’s bowing down as Princess Diana’s hearse passed by Buckingham Palace. There is something oddly heart-warming seeing a leader admit his/her fault, and even more admirable are those leaders who stand up and own up their faults.

With these things in mind, it is quite doubtful if another uprising will prosper, let alone take place. After all, GMA still has the backing of most major pillars of power in the country. Supporters of FPJ and Erap can continue moaning that they were cheated in the last elections, but this will not matter. What matters is that PGMA still commands the support of the powerful few of the country. Only when their support has been taken away can we expect another president in Malacañang.

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