BLACK-and-white is the new yellow, at least for this particular segment of the middle class that gathered at the De La Salle Greenhills auditorium this afternoon to ponder the question: How do we solve a problem like Gloria?
Years ago they wore the Cory color, but this afternoon, they came either in black or white shirts to symbolize their cause — that cheating, in particular the kind they say Gloria Macapagal Arroyo committed in the 2004 elections, is a moral issue that can have no gray areas, only black and white.
"Let us bring morality back to government," said Louie Sison of Bangon Pilipinas, one of the groups that helped organize today’s activity. The main message is that Arroyo has to go — either through resignation, impeachment or ouster or RIO in the words of the Black-and-White movement.
But that is easier said. What worries the leaders of the movement is the possibility of sudden death for the impeachment complaint against Arroyo. That’s because this coming Tuesday, the House Committee on Justice is set to tackle the complaint once again and it just might rule that the complaint is "insufficient in form and substance" and throw it into the congressional dustbin.
"Saan tayo pupunta pagkatapos pag wala na yung impeachment complaint? (Where do we go if the impeachment complaint is voted down?)," asked former education secretary and Liberal Party leader Florencio "Butch" Abad. What path do people take once the impeachment option is slammed shut in their faces?
That is the big question that perplexes the Black-and-White movement at the moment. Most of them are banking on this constitutional option as the way of the leadership crisis, since Arroyo refuses to resign and Filipinos have yet to muster the numbers to kick her out a la EDSA People Power.
There were other suggestions drawn up during the workshops this morning such as making Arroyo leave the country for exile but ensuring she is prosecuted later, or launching a civil disobedience movement. But the majority choice was still abiding by the impeachment process.
This is why the most urgent call today was keeping the impeachment process alive. Leaders of the Black-and-White movement say one way to do this is to call for a mass mobilization to the House of Representatives on Tuesday to show lawmakers that there is enough support among the citizenry for an impeachment process. Such a mobilization will also counter what they expect will be the government’s hakot crowd that is sure to make an appearance on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the movement has also launched a campaign to gather one million signatures of people seeking Arroyo’s resignation. They’re also talking to Vice President Noli de Castro to convince him to be a transition president who will help usher in political reform, in the event that Arroyo is impeached or resigns.