|All options for Arroyo's hold on power are now in place|
|Written by Jorge Madlos|
|Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00|
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration placing the whole island of Mindanao under a "state of calamity" and the recent Supreme Court decision allowing GMA to appoint the next Chief Justice are but only two among the many measures that prepare the stage for the US-Arroyo regime's continued hold on power.
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Scrutiny with regard to the need, legal basis and motive of placing Mindanao under a "state of calamity" and on the timing and legality of the Supreme Court ruling should be viewed in the context of a regime that is insatiable in perpetuating itself in power.
The National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) holds that there is an abundance of reason to believe that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does not intend to relinquish the power she has mustered by way of deceit, bribery, impunity, and militarism over the last nine years. Come hell or high water, she is hell-bent to stay in power, and, like puzzle pieces falling into its proper place, all indication point to this.
The problem-laden election computerization project is such that the Arroyo government can manipulate the election results as it did in 2004 and in 2007 to favor administration candidates. A victory for Gilbert Teodoro and Arroyo loyalist congressional candidates in the May 10 polls would spell victory for GMA, for they can easily amend the constitution and install GMA as prime minister.
Mr. Teodoro, however, is not entirely indispensable because even if he loses in the May 10 elections, so long as loyalist congressmen of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dominate the House of Representatives, they can force the senate to a joint voting in amending the constitution, a debacle which can, there and then, install GMA as prime minister. Should a fierce legal skirmish arise on this matter, the GMA-controlled Supreme Court would then be there to uphold the "constitutionality" of this illegal, undemocratic and immoral act.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, a member of PMA Class'78 that adopted GMA as honorary member, as the new AFP Chief-of-staff and has placed other prominent members from the same PMA class in strategic positions in both the bureaucracy and the army. This would assure GMA of an armed force prepared to do her bidding should she become either a holdover president in the event of a failure of elections or as prime minister installed by a Congress dominated by her sycophants and political parasites.
Arroyo's Supreme Court appointees have vested upon her the power to pick the next Chief Justice, even if this clearly violates a prohibition in the bourgeois constitution barring a new appointment days before the national elections.
An Arroyo-handpicked Supreme Court chief, together with justices who are toady to the Arroyo government, would be needed to resolve all major legal issues directed to favor the grand design for her to stay in power. These issues would include, among other things, the lifting of the constitutional ban on US military basing in the Philippines and a provision giving the US imperialist the equal right with our landless farmers to own agricultural land in our country.
Her shameless intent to run for congress representing the 2nd district of Pampanga, obviously is a step to retain power. Through another round of election fraud, money and use of the AFP and other private armies she is hell-bent on getting enough number of congressmen to win in the upcoming elections. Nothing can stop their sheer number in congress from tinkering with the constitution and declare GMA their Prime Minister - not even a battery of legal luminaries can stop this grand scheme in the halls of a GMA-controlled Supreme Court.
Another devious choice for the Arroyo government is to cause a failure of election, which would make it highly probable for it to become a holdover government, or declare martial law in case of chaos brought about by a vacuum of leadership in the event the electoral process collapses.
There is a big possibility for the machines to malfunction, considering that these are low quality and not proven to be reliable. The current election machines are also vulnerable to power shortages and electronic sabotage.
A power crisis that suddenly explodes right in the middle of a country speeding towards national elections, an election in fact that marks the end of the reactionary regime, is, plainly, the Arroyo government riding on the crisis as part of the grand scheme to stay in power.
The power crisis for instance, although most damaging in Mindanao but also felt in the entire country, can ultimately cause failure of election on a nationwide scale. El NiÃ±o and the increase of power consumption may have caused the power crisis, but the government neglect in solving this problem already perceived 10 years ago is in fact a scheme in itself -- the strong possibility of manipulating these power shortages to cause the failure of the May 10 national election.
The reported smuggling into our country of thousands of mobile phone/electronic jamming devices that can jam election machines is also a serious threat to cause the elections to crash.
Due to the unfamiliarity of a very large section of the Filipino populace in the utilization of automation in election, there is the strong possibility of a low voters turn-out, or that could result in a huge number of invalid votes which, again, may pose as bases for declaring the national polls a failure.
Apart from the power crisis, the country is also beset by other pressing predicament, such as the Moro problem, which continues to rage despite the GRP's brag of nearing a closed peace deal with the MILF, and the continued terrorist threat of the Abu Sayyaf.
Should all other options fail, this may as well become an opening for a desperate US-Arroyo regime to place the entire country under Martial Law. It would not come as a shock to all should Ms. Arroyo take this course, and become all too imperious about it, given her predisposition to militarism and impunity.
With all these attending circumstances and the development that may unfold as the May 10 national elections draw near, it is highly probable for GMA to stay in power longer and continue to rule with an iron-clad fist. The people must prepare for the worst scenario.
The National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) therefore calls upon the People in Mindanao to join hands with the rest of the Filipino people in exposing and opposing all attempts of the US-Arroyo regime to prolong its hold on to power and clamp the nation down with outright tyranny.
[The author is spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, an alliance of revolutionary organizations waging an armed struggle in the country.]