Now that GMA has done the unprecedented by running as Congresswoman of Pampanga, also after the declaration of Martial law in Maguindanao, her intention to remain in power beyond 2010 glares us in the face. The President's intentions are evident in many other things she has been doing.
After GMA had been in Malacanang for seven years, the FSGO came up with "SEVEN YEARS, SEVEN CURSES UNDER GMA." (FSGO is a group of 80 former senior government officials from the time of Macapagal to the present.)
THE STATE OF THE NATION ACCORDING TO FSGO, 25 July, 2008
a. A country unable to feed its own people
b. Worsening poverty and increasing disparity between the rich and the poor
c. Deteriorating basic social services essential to the survival and welfare of the Filipino people
d. National government gripped by a metastatic cancer of corruption
e. Wanton abuse of presidential prerogatives
f. An illegitimate president
g. A nation robbed of its dignity, unity and future
There are, at present, 6 STORMS BLOWING OVER THE COUNTRY
a. Mindanao Conflict
b. Financial Turmoil
c. Governance Crisis
d. Human Rights Crisis
e. Political Storm
f. Crisis of Citizenship
FOR THESE REASONS…
We cannot afford to have GMA stay even one day beyond 30 June 2010
GMA cannot afford to give up power for several reasons:
a. Protection from prosecution
b. Protection and perpetuation of financial, kleptocratic, dynastic empire
Because GMA cannot afford to give up power, there will be unceasing attempts to extend the term of GMA by all means possible. What are the modes that have been identified?
6 MODES OF TERM EXTENSION
a. Option A: Charter Change through ConAss
b. Option A1: Charter Change after 2010
c. Option B: Emergency Rule
d. Option C: Buying the Next President
e. Option D: Failure of Elections
f. Option E: Transitional revolutionary government
All tracks are currently in motion, they are parallel and intertwining…One does not exclude another.
Charter Change is of course the default option, with Option A being CHA-CHA THROUGH CONASS. Preferred Cha-Cha mode: ConAss “voting jointly ”¾ of total of 261 legislators (combined Senate and HOR), with entry of new PL representatives: 220 out of 293
- Senate Reso 811 signed by 23 Senators
R 1109 convening ConAss “upon a vote of ¾ of all members of Congress (no proposed amendments) Passed viva voce on 26 May, 3 days before recess
Objective: “justiciable case” to raise to Supreme Court
2 previous attempts dismissed by Supreme Court
Next milestone: to convene ConAss – adopt rules with majority vote of both Houses of Congress
OPTION A1 - CONASS AFTER 2010
“Justiciable case” only upon adoption of actual amendment. The likelihood of getting the needed ¾ vote to convene ConAss is diminishing by the day so OPTION A1 is CONASS AFTER 2010.
The “Putin Formula” (This is how the Russian strongman Putin stayed in power)
Lacking time to complete ChaCha, the present moves to convene the Constituent Assembly may be to secure a Supreme Court ruling that the House of Representatives can convene ConAss even without the conformity of the Senate. For the 2010 elections, GMA runs for the position of representative of the District of Lubao, she wins handily, then is elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Immediately after elections – the House convenes the ConAss without the Senate and then changes to the parliamentary system. GMA is elected Prime Minister while the 2010 President-elect remains as ceremonial President, VP as speaker. This option needs a Supreme Court decision allowing ConAss even without support of the Senate. The option also needs a compliant President-elect.
Electoral challenge: David and Gloriath
OPTION B:EMERGENCY RULE
WHAT’S IN PLACE? Capacitated PNP under Puno’s DILG; Ascendance of PMA Class ‘78; Expanded/politicized scope of ISAFP; Proliferation of Retired Military in Key Executive Positions; Laying the Ground/Mind-Conditioning.
We see an expanded and strengthened Special Action Force (SAF). This elite force has increased in number from the original 400 to an estimated 5,000. The SAF participate in accelerated, high-profile drills: e.g., anti-terrorism rescue operations in MRT, monthly uphill march in full battle gear (Baras), etc. It was the SAF that led the assault when the Magdalo rebels in the Armed Forced occupied the Manila Penninsula. This Special Action Force participates in joint exercises with the US military and 200 are now engaged in Basilan to develop combat capacity and espirit d’ corps. It is also the SAF that provides security to Congress (2 Houses)
There have been sizeable budget increases to achieve the desired 1:500 ratio of police to citizens, but police personnel are not allocated according to population. Instead, most new recruits are to Metro Manila. Because of investments in equipment, the PNP is also now better equipped than the AFP. 26 V-150’s purchased/refurbished from AFP are not so much for combat but for intimidation. The PNP also has a number of light, sleek APC’s for urban use and state-of-the art surveillance equipment (based on the fact that there were all expense paid trips to Rohde and Schwartz in Munich).
In 2005, PAOCC, the Presidential Anti-organized Crime Commission had the highest allocation of intelligence funds (excluding Office of the President).
The National Peace and Order Council (NPOC) was reorganized under the DILG through Executive Order 739. The NPOC has the same composition as the National Security Council (NSC) except for the Chair – DILG Secretary instead of the President. Functions of the NPOC includes function to “initiate and/or oversee the convergence and the orchestration of internal security operations and efforts of civil authorities and agencies, military and police.” The National Peace and Order Council is organized from local to national levels
ASCENDANCE OF CLASS ‘78
Background: There is an existing PMA practice of classes adopting politicians as honorary classmates, with the politician and his/her adoptive class mutually taking care of each other. Class ‘78 is GMA’s adoptive class.
In May, 2009, in an unprecedented move, GMA cut short the terms of office of both COS Alexander Yano (Class ‘76) and Deputy COS Cardozo Luna (Class ’75) – both highly respected professional soldiers. Yano and Luna were appointed to diplomatic posts, Yano as Ambassador to Brunei, Luna as Ambassador to the Netherlands. (In 1972, Marcos appointed Gen Rafael Ileto, who opposed Oplan Sagittarius, as Ambassador to Iran.)
COS Yano’s and Dep COS Luna’s retirement from active service advanced the appointment of Ibrado (Class ’76) who is due to retire in March, 2010. Ibrado's retirement is widely expected to be advanced so as to give room for Bangit (Class ’78, former PSG head, former ISAPF chief, currently head of the Philippine Army – 75% of AFP) who is next in line and targeted to be in place for 2010 elections. PMA
Class ‘77 is being skipped
22 members of PMA Class '78 are presently occupying sensitive positions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines:
In GHQ: J2 (Intelligence) V Martir, J3 (Operations) Holganza, J6 (Communications and Electronics/Commel) J Martir, J7 (Civil-Military Relations), DND-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), Chief of Engineers, ISAFP Prestoza, Presidential Security Group
Service commands: Philippine Army Bangit, Air Force Rabena, Navy Angue, Marines Sabban. In the Infantry divisions: 6 out of 10 are led by members of Class '78. In the PNP, the PNP-NCR Chief is Rosales (Class ’78 president and known GMA boy) who was appointed after his predecessor Bataoil was moved to a newly created position in the north. Current PNP Chief Versoza (Class ’76), has a reputation for engaging in shoot-outs and being cool under fire but he is due to retire in December, 2010. It is expected that his retirement will be advanced.
Also a member of Class ’78 - CIDG Director Castaneda (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group)
Expanded/Politicized Scope of ISAFP
EO 73 created the Energy Contingency Task Force (ECTF) under the National Food and Energy Council (NFEC). The ECTF includes Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), placing it under the Office of the President therefore effectively outside the chain of command. The function of the ECTF is to monitor the food and energy situation, including political developments, in the face of possible food riots. The task force is composed of almost all members of Cabinet and it is headed by ES directly reporting to the President. The current head of ISAFP, Prestoza, is the former head of the Presidential Security Group
Sample of ISAFP undertakings under GMA: Wiretapping of Garci, San Mateo raid which carted away Sen Legarda’s evidences on 2004 election fraud (2005), wooing of Mancao as witness vs. Sen Lacson in Dacer case (2008), purported smear drive vs SOJ Gonzales (2009)
Heightened surveillance of political opposition and even within AFP, including ISAFP
RETIRED MILITARY IN KEY EXECUTIVE POSITIONS
At least 50 retired military and police are occupying key positions in this administration. In the Cabinet are: ES Ermita, DOTC Ebdane, DOTC Mendoza, PMS Esperon, OPAPP Razon, DOE Reyes. In Diplomatic positions are: Cimatu, Santiago, Abu, Senga, Yano, Luna, etc. Retired military and police have also been appointed to position in the LTO, PDEA, SBMA, PPO, as Postmaster General, or as undersecretaries.
The operational significance of these appointments is minimal (with obvious exceptions) but the appointment of retired military and police officers ensures -
minimal resistance to emergency rule from the Cabinet and a message to those in active service: Cooperation will be rewarded.
LAYING THE GROUND/MIND-CONDITIONING
There are now 70 checkpoints in Metro Manila (from 38 before appointment of Rosales), including 12 in Manila alone. Reportedly, over 200 checkpoints are planned in Luzon.
There is an amnesty for unlicensed firearms and easy gun registration. This happened before Martial law so when Martial Law was declared, locating and confiscating the guns was easy.
There was a series of bomb episodes in Metro Manila: DA, Ombudsman, One Burgundy Plaza. The bombs had high C-4 component but were without blasting caps. C-4 is an expensive bomb component that is available only through the military. Successive bomb explosions in Cotabato, Jolo, and Iligan merited mixed signals from national government
Appointment of Ebdane (former Chief PNP and ISAFP head) as Acting SILG
Excessive security preparations for 27 July SONA
OPTION B:EMERGENCY RULE
Emergency Rule can be declared if there is a basis for such a declaration. This can be provided by orchestrated bombings, civil disorder, and/or failure of elections. Emergency Rule is an option that is not likely to succeed but the attempt itself will cause damage that the country cannot afford.
OPTION C:BUYING 2010 PRESIDENT
GMA will fund the campaign (may bonus pa) of her candidate. Since association with GMA is widely known to be the kiss of death, it is possible that the administration will set up a decoy candidate. The administration will also try to divide and therefore destroy the opposition.
Why is the next President important to GMA? The next president will have the power to protect GMA from prosecution. GMA also wants a president who will agree to charter change after the 2010 election.
OPTION D:FAILURE OF ELECTIONS
There are many controversies where the Smartmatic poll automation contract is concerned. Smartmatic's actual capacity is being questioned. There are allegations of manipulation by “big people in high places.” Furthermore, Smartmatic is a foreign company, therefore the software to be used is completely in the hands of a foreign company. One may also raise questions regarding the actual capacity of COMELEC to direct and oversee automated elections. Not only is the electorate unprepared for automated elections, there is no clear back-up plan. Presently, we are faced with the spectre of Election Day disasters: power outage, equipment bog down, incorrect filling up of ballots, delays in voting – long lines, people give up
Result: no president, vice-president, senators, congresspersons, LGUs, only Chief Justice (Puno retirement in May, 2010)
TRANSITIONAL REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT
This is the Brain-child of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. The revolutionary government will have a Reformist Transition Council of State (RETRACOS), a Military-backed transition government patterned after President Cory’s revolutionary government. The RETRACOS will be composed of the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Church, and GMA (4 members). It will be headed by the Chief Justice but GMA will retain vast powers of GMA; e.g., remains commander-in-chief of AFP. The objective of the Transitional Revolutionary Government will still be to achieve electoral reform and charter change to parliamentary form of government before 2010 elections
This idea has been publicly rejected by other Malacanang officials (e.g., Ermita, Claudio, and Remonde) but Gonzales, accompanied by Jesuit Fr. Intengan, continues to go around selling the idea: according to media reports – Bps. Capalla, De Dios Pueblos, Talamayan, Villena; and KME Bishops Tobias, Iniguez; and CJ Puno. Furthermore, according to Former SND Avelino Cruz: Gonzales does not do anything without the approval of the President
AS WINDOW FOR TERM EXTENSION NARROWS
ConAss “voting jointly” is no longer likely as Cong-Asses are no longer likely to go along because if the move does not succeed, their chances in the 2010 elections will be affected. Buying the next President is also growing increasingly dim. Noli has distanced himself from Malacanang. Gibo is not figuring in surveys. There are dnough transactional candidates but can they be trusted to protect her? Even worse for GMA, will they agree to turn over power to her through a shift to the parliamentary system?
AS THE WINDOW FOR TERM EXTENSION NARROWS
The choice is narrowing down to –
Emergency rule, possibly in combination with - Failure of elections
The newest track: RETRACOS
For international acceptance, Charter Change to shift to the parliamentary system and allow GMA's election as Prime Minister is necessary for Gloria to remain in power.
There is no term limit for a Prime Minister so GMA will enjoy perpetual immunity from prosecution.
AND SHE SHALL RULE FOREVER AND EVER…
WHAT MUST WE DO?
Bring every option out into the light of day, place it under public scrutiny
Insist that all potential players state their position, make public their stand on the different options
Resist in all legal and non-violent ways
The ultimate authority resides in us, the people..
We must express with passion, commitment and vehemence our outrage at any attempt to extend her term even one day beyond June 30, 2010.
From Ibasura Primer on Charter Change
KAYA BA NATIN?
(Crisis of Citizenship)
Now Na! -
For another take on Gloria's plans, read the Article "Gloria Forever"
by Antonio Abaya.
(This presentation was made by Teresita Quintos Deles to a group of LCC students sometime in October, 2009)