Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What if P-Noy resigned?

By Perry Diaz
Aquino-Resign-MovementIn the aftermath of the Mamasapano Massacre, a groundswell is rising for the resignation of President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III. This is reminiscent of the time leading to the uprising in 2001 when a citizens’ movement snowballed into another people power revolution, which came to fruition when the generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines withdrew their support for then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
Known as “EDSA Dos,” it was a coup d’état disguised as a people power revolution, which many believed was orchestrated by an elite group who wanted Erap’s vice president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to take over the presidency. Indeed, if EDSA Dos was considered a “revolution,” then it was a revolution of the elite – the oligarchs of the land. And true enough; as soon as Gloria took over, the oligarchs placed their people in key government positions. Indeed, EDSA Dos was all about power.
Gloria’s usurpation of the presidency in January 2001 positioned her to run for president in 2004, which gave her the “power of the incumbent.” Elected amidst charges of election cheating, Gloria was in power for nine and a half years, which made her the longest serving president since 1986, when EDSA 1 deposed the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. As we all know now, Gloria’s reign was the most corrupt since the time of Marcos.
People power
Aquino-Resign-Movement.2Although the Resign Movement was gaining momentum, it didn’t reach a critical mass that could have ignited another people power revolution. And after three people power revolutions – EDSA 3 was a failed attempt to bring Erap back to power after Gloria was sworn into office – the people are now tired of “people power” revolutions. So what we’re seeing now is a different tact to bring down the president: the use of the media. And this includes social media, which in essence is another form of “people power.” But is social media enough to put pressure on P-Noy to resign? Or does it need “boots on the ground,” that is, another EDSA-type people power uprising?
Aquino-US-puppet-rallyBut regardless of what the people – or those behind them — would employ to pursue a regime change, it has all the trappings of a coup d’état. The only difference is that the “players” this time around have a pinkish taint of anti-Americanism, who accuse P-Noy of being a puppet of the Americans. Ironically, the beneficiary of EDSA 1 – P-Noy’s mother, Cory Aquino – was the Left’s chosen leader. However, the two heroes of the revolt against Marcos’ totalitarian rule were his own henchmen, Minister of Defense Juan Ponce and Enrile and Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos — a cousin of Marcos – who were both staunchly pro-American.
Regime change
EDSA Dos: Swearing-in of "President" Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
EDSA Dos: Swearing-in of “President” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
And just like the previous EDSA revolutions, the objective of this attempt to bring down P-Noy is regime change. And this is where it gets real fuzzy; the transition could be anything but orderly.
If the EDSA Dos scenario were followed, then the sitting Vice President, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, would assume the presidency. But unlike Gloria – who had the commitment of the military’s top brass and then Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. to install her as “president” instead of “acting president,” which was what Erap was assured of – Binay might have difficulty convincing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to install him even as “acting president.” However, Binay could choose anybody – even a barangay captain – to install him as “president” and that would be it.
Déjà vu
Binay Dynasty
Binay Dynasty
But what if P-Noy resigned? The constitution says that the Vice President takes over the presidency when it’s vacated. And this is where the anti-Aquino forces differ in strategy. Some say that Binay would make an excellent president, but others say, “He’d be the most corrupt president in the history of the country!” More corrupt than Gloria? “Absolutely!”
Imagine this: Gloria had only her husband Mike doing all the “dirty” work during her presidency. But Jojo Binay has a family dynasty – to date, five members — that’s too deep into politics, four of whom have been accused or charged of graft and corruption; some of which dates back three decades ago when Cory appointed Jojo as officer-in-charge – and eventually elected mayor — of Makati City. And with Jojo taking over the presidency, it makes one wonder what would the limit be; that is, how far would his family go in accumulating ill-gotten wealth? Or, would it be like a high rollers’ Texas hold ‘em poker game: no limit? And to think that Jojo would be in power for eight and a half years, there is no limit to what he and his family could do if they were to engage in corruption in a scale far greater than all the allegations of corruption against them when they held unrestrained power in Makati City.
To prevent Binay from ascending to the presidency if P-Noy resigned, the Resign Movement proposed the formation of a “National Transformation Council” (NTC), which would take over the rein of government and ignore the constitutional presidential line of succession. But this would look like a coup d’état, which can only succeed with the full support – and participation — of the military. And this begs the question: who would constitute the National Transformation Council? Right now, it’s anybody’s guess.
What if Binay won?
Is Binay working or campaigning?
Is Binay working or campaigning?
The organizers were saying that the NTC would consist of persons with the following qualities: honesty, integrity, credibility, and efficiency. The question is: where do you find them? And what is the likelihood that it would be filled with opportunistic individuals who belong to the rich and powerful elite? It’s déjà vu all over again… and it could be worse.
Then there is the problem of convincing the international community – particularly the U.S. – that it was not a military takeover. But that would be hard to sell. Anything that comes close to a military coup d’état could compel the U.S. to withhold financial and military aid to the country.
It’s becoming apparent that forcing P-Noy to resign and replace him with a junta wouldn’t dwell too well with the Filipino people, many of whom have horrendous memories of the Marcos dictatorship. Leaderless and rudderless, the Resign Movement is beginning to show cracks on its façade.
The challenge facing the nation is to find an honest and incorruptible leader. There are a few elected men and women who have excelled in the performance of their electoral mandates. Anyone of them could be a better president than Binay. But can they beat Binay who has been campaigning for president since he was elected vice president in 2010?
The question to be asked then shouldn’t be “What if P-Noy resigned?” but it should be “What if Binay won?”

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