WHEN TV and newspapers carried images of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and some members of her family taking a Sunday morning stroll along Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard last July, those who had witnessed the dying days of the Marcos regime were reminded of a presidential family photo in 1985, showing the Marcoses relaxing on Malacañang grounds.
PITY party-list organizations. Although Republic Act 7941 reserves 20 percent of House seats for these groups, which are supposed to be from marginalized sectors whose interests are not represented in Congress, the reality is that it is difficult for them to win votes. That’s because Filipinos are still mostly uninformed about the party-list process and the Commission on Elections has done nothing in terms of a voter-awareness campaign to remedy the situation.
VIRGILIO Garcillano will go down in history as the election official whose wiretapped conversations mortally wounded a president. He disappeared from public view in the second week of June, as the controversy over the wiretaps heated up, and many may have a hard time recalling what he looks like. Yet his raspy voice, distinctive lisp, and thick Visayan accent are now embedded in the audio memory of millions of Filipinos who have listened to the “Garci” tapes.
TO DESTROY an institution like the Commission on Elections (Comelec), you must first fill it up with handpicked commissioners with questionable credentials and even more dubious impartiality. Then, let them run the constitutional body as if they were ruling over personal fiefdoms. This would then reduce middle-level bureaucrats to mere vassals doing — or forced to do — their every bidding, including perhaps, as the taped conversations involving President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano suggest, rigging the elections in their political benefactor’s favor.
TODAY the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stands on the edge of the abyss. Will she fall or can she pull back from the brink?
This crisis is not only the most serious in her four-year presidency, it challenges the viability of Philippine democracy as well.
UNTIL last month, the heavens seemed to have favored Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The economy was picking up, the stock market was trading briskly, and Congress had just passed a new tax measure. For sure, the budget deficit and rising oil prices were something to worry about. At the same time, the opposition seemed bent on raking the jueteng muck. But all these were part of life — and politics — as usual.