Monday, July 18, 2005

A Divided and Fragmented Nation

The past few weeks saw the usual political brouhaha between the Arroyo administration and opposition parties. The admission of Arroyo that she was the one speaking with Commissioner Garcillano in the tapes was just an episode of an unpredictable political telenovela. Just like “Annaluna”, the drama series depicting the plight of an abused and martyr child, which I used to patronize during my elementary years, this political crisis has no definite ending. Annaluna’s long plot which spanned for five years irritated its avid viewers. It jumped from one TV station to another and went around circles. It followed the tradition of Voltes V series which often fails to broadcast the culminating episode. In the same vein the Gloriagate scandal is a deep, long tunnel, with no expected light at its end. It will continue to irritate its spectators and sow discomfort to the people.

Eighteen years ago, an American “parachutist” chanced upon the Philippines and dubbed our society as a damaged culture. During that time, Atlantic Monthly writer James Fallows was perceived as a jeering and arrogant observer who deserved to be lynched. Now, eighteen years later, amidst the political scandal the Arroyo administration is facing, his thesis proves to be instructive. Indeed, we exhibit a fractured notion of national unity. The controversy revealed that Filipinos are not only divided, but moreso, fragmented. So far, the following options are presented.

  1. Voluntary resignation of GMA
  2. Impeachment
  3. Truth Commission
  4. Snap Election
  5. Interim Caretaker government

The divided opposition provides more ammunition to the Arroyo administration’s case. The Estrada-led party wants a caretaker government, the CBCP endorses a Truth Commission, Brother Eddie wants a transition, revolutionary government to be elected by the people, other parties desire to pursue a snap election, while opposition Representatives are gravitated towards an impeachment proceedings. Overall, percolating these proposals to provide a good mix is a tall order. The difficulty of arriving at a consensus is the major factor why the middle class and the general public are resistant to change. No amount of protest rallies or cabinet member resignation can entice the people to repeat the EDSA revolution scenarios. As former Senator Jovito Salonga intelligently stated, “the time is not yet ripe for another serious uprising.” People Power does not happen by accident but reinforced by amalgam of social, economic, cultural and political factors.

The voluntary resignation of GMA is now considered just “one of the options.” Although 80% of the people think that GMA rigged the elections, the Filipinos’ forgiving culture frustrates any attempt to forcefully evict a cheating president. It appears that the status quo is still the best option for the present situation, until the divided opposition arrived at a popular and acceptable consensus. Christ’s words remain true: “..every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand'. (Matthew 12:25).

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