Martsa Kontra Cha-cha:
Bayan calls on public to resist con-ass and be vigilant vs emergency rule
Exactly one year before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term expires
as president at noon on June 30, 2010, various groups, students,
religious, and civil society formations held a march against charter
change in the country’s capital.
Called the Martsa Kontra Cha-cha, the activity kicked off what organizers
announced as month-long protests leading up to the State of the Nation
Address of Mrs. Arroyo on July 27. The participants include university
students, religious congregations, as well as Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Three marching columns coming from Welcome Rotonda, Taft Avenue and
Intramuros were expected to converge at the Liwasang Bonifacio at around
6pm. The Liwasan program will consist of nationalist songs from the
kundiman era. Expected to perform were violinist Coke Bolipata who will
play Nicanor Abelardo’s Mutya ng Pasig. Activists from Bayan, Karapatan,
the Concerned Artists of the Philippines and the UP Alay Sining will sing
Joey Ayala’s Wala nang Tao sa Sta. Filomena.
“We’ve held anti cha-cha protests in Makati, now we’re here in Manila, the
country’s capital. We want the people here to prepare for the SONA because
that could be the turning point in the Con-ass issue. We should be ready
to protest what should definitely be Mrs. Arroyo’s last SONA,” said Bayan
“We call on the people to be ever vigilant against moves to declare a
state of emergency. The recent bombings and bomb scares should not be used
as a pretext for emergency rule or for the postponement of the national
elections,” Reyes added.
Manual polls could favor plebiscite and cha-cha
Bayan also warned that the possible return to manual polls after the
failed automation can still be favorable to the Arroyo administration.
“The proponents of charter change wish to time the plebiscite with the
2010 polls. That is their time table. Should the cheating machine work,
this may well include rigging the results of the plebiscite and thus pave
the way for the transition to a parliamentary form of government,” Reyes
“We must step up protests leading up to the SONA. Right now, everything is
up in the air. There is so much uncertainty being created by this regime.
The people have not other recourse but to take direct action to prevent
cha-cha, emergency rule and the rigging of the 2010 polls,” he added.
Black Friday protests
toward SONA kick off Bayan slams LPG price hike, says cooking gas
overpriced by P7.71 per kg
Multisectoral group Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today slammed the P3 per kilogram (kg) hike in
the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and argued that oil firms
should even rollback petroleum prices by about P7.71 per kg.
The group issued the statement as it held a noise barrage in Welcome
Rotonda, Quezon City to mark the start of its month-long “Black Friday”
protests that will culminate in a huge mobilization during Mrs. Gloria
Arroyo’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.
On Wednesday, the country’s two biggest oil players, Petron Corporation
and Pilipinas Shell implemented an identical P3 per kg increase in their
LPG prices. But Bayan said that based on movements in global oil prices
and foreign exchange rate, oil players owe consumers a rollback of around
P7.71 per kg as of last month.
The group has earlier accused oil companies of pocketing P167.03 million
every day from continued overpricing of all petroleum products, including
gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and LPG. Based on its study, Bayan said that
the Big Three oil firms (Petron, Shell, and Chevron Philippines)
accumulate an estimated P138.14 million every day from overpriced
petroleum products. Petron accounted for P64.64 million daily of the said
amount; followed by Shell, P49.94 million; and Chevron, P23.55 million. A
distant fourth is Total Philippines, which like the Big Three is also a
local unit of a giant foreign oil firm, with P7.52 million a day. The rest
of the oil players combined for P21.38 million.
Bayan said that the unabated increases in oil prices and continued
overpricing of petroleum products under the Oil Deregulation Law are among
the major issues that Mrs. Arroyo must be held accountable for. The group
accused Mrs. Arroyo of tolerating the abuses of the oil companies led by
the Big Three because her administration also benefits from such abuses
through the 12% value added tax (VAT) imposed on oil products. Bayan
estimates that Malacañang pockets almost P22.78 million daily in VAT from
overpriced petroleum, on top of its regular VAT collections from oil
That the oil companies and the Arroyo administration are conniving to
exploit the consumers amid worsening poverty and joblessness in the
country depicts the real state of the nation and the people today, a
reality that Mrs. Arroyo will surely distort in her upcoming SONA, said
Bayan and its member-organizations said it will hold protest actions every
Friday in the coming weeks to inform the people about the true state of
the nation and encourage them to join its planned mobilization on Arroyo’s
July 27 SONA.
Mrs. Arroyo has been in power for almost nine years now and throughout her
term, the people have suffered grave abuse and exploitation as shown by
unhampered oil price hikes and overpricing, said the group. Bayan said
that the people must work together to ensure that this will be Arroyo’s
last SONA. (END)
26 June 2009
Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0197-322-1203
GABRIELA KICKS OFF STORM OF ANTI CHACHA PROTEST TOWARDS SONA; GEARS FOR
JUNE 30 MARCHA KONTRA CHACHA
As the rainy season starts, militant women's group GABRIELA kicked off the
women's storm of protest against charter change expected to culminate on
the State of the Nation Address on July 27. This morning, members of the
women's group lined up along España for an hour-long noise barrage as part
of the build-up action for the Marcha Kontra ChaCha on June 30 where
various religious, youth, cause-oriented and civil society groups will
hold a march throughout the city of Manila.
"Women together with the rest of the Filipino people vow to foil any and
all attempts of Gloria Arroyo and her minions of charter changer and to
extend her term. We will not allow her to continue committing crimes
against women and the people," said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary
De Jesus said that the people are not being fooled by Arroyo's denial of
any involvement in the charter change moves of Congress and the
government's tactic of sending feelers on options on how to extend
Arroyo's term. "Arroyo is desperate as her power nears its end. She is
dead-set in perpetuating her power through the amendment of the
constitution, "revolutionary" government or imposition of Martial Law."
"Should Arroyo insist on any of these schemes despite the protest of the
people, Arroyo can very well expect a term reduction rather than
extension. She will be ousted," said de Jesus.
The women's group said that their group is now actively campaigning in
communities, schools, factories and offices nationwide for women to join
the various protest actions against charter change.
"The reception of the people our campaign has reached so far is positive.
Women, in general, have had it with the Arroyo regime with its long list
of crimes including corruption, human rights violations, and denial of
basic services. We expect the number of women joining the protest actions
will increase until the State of the Nation Address on July 27," de Jesus
Kodao Video: People's march against
Cha-cha and the Con-Ass
of Students of the Philippines [NUSP]
National Office Office of the Student Regent, Vinzon’s Hall, UP Diliman,
QC Telephone 9818500 loc. 4511 or 4512
June 27, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALVIN PETERS, National President, 09206209362
VANESSA FAYE BOLIBOL, Chairperson NUSP NCR Chapter, 09293614592
BUGSY NOLASCO, Media Liaison Officer, 09064549475
NUSP Metro Manila student leaders congress makes a stand against
The National Union of Students of the Philippine’s Metro Manila student
leaders congress today registered a strong opposition to
administration-backed charter change.
The congress was attended by student council leaders from the University
of the Philippines Diliman and Manila, De La Salle University Manila, De
La Salle Araneta University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines,
Lyceum of the Philippines University, St. Paul University Manila, Trinity
University of Asia, St. Scholastica’s College Manila, Far Eastern
University, Philippine Normal University, City of Malabon University and
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
NUSP NCR Chairperson Vanessa Faye Bolibol said that a “moderate” assault
to charter change won’t suffice. The challenge she says is to “consolidate
our ranks” and launch “massive, creative and forceful mass actions” that
would manifest the general dissent of the youth and the people against
The congress was highlighted by a symbolic action wherein student leaders,
with invited speakers Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino
and Representative Ruffy Biazon, signed a magnified anti-cha-cha petition,
committing themselves to the campaign.
As a major convenor of Kabataan Kontra Cha-cha, a broad alliance of youth
groups and student councils against President Arroyo’s charter change,
NUSP challenged the student councils to further contribute to the
anti-cha-cha campaign by launching mass protests in their respective
schools, in addition to mobilizing their fellow youth to bigger actions.
The student leaders congress passed a resolution to join the next broad
anti-cha-cha protest set on June 30, 2009.
RAM and Erap groups
KALIKASAN PEOPLES NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
21 June 2009
Reference: Clemente Bautista Jr. National Coordinator, Kalikasan-PNE
Environmental activists slam Pres. Arroyo's sellout of lands to foreign
The news of a United Kingdom firm, Pacific Bio-Fields Holdings Plc.,
acquiring 400,000 hectares of land in northern Luzon which it can use for
50 years for free may be staggering but not surprising, according to green
"This is just another case of sellout of our patrimony to foreigners,
which the Arroyo administration is very good at," said Clemente Bautista,
national coordinator of militant environmental group Kalikasan People's
Network for the Environment.
According to Bautista, "This is not the first time the Arroyo
administration gave vast tracts of agricultural lands to foreign biofuel
corporations. In May 2007, state-owned PNOC-Alternative Fuels Corp. signed
a US$1.3 deal with British company NRG Chemical Engineering Pte. The
Arroyo administration committed one million hectares of agricultural land
to the project.”
NRG Chemical will own a 70 percent stake in the joint venture and provide
the bulk of the equity requirement in building a biodiesel refinery, two
ethanol plants and a million-hectare jatropha plantation, making it a
The group pointed out that the selling of lands does not stop at biofuel
projects but extends to other industries Pres. Arroyo is adamantly
promoting, like mining.
"Arroyo has legalized foreign corporations to fully own our lands
particularly transnational mining companies (mining TNCs). Such as the
case in the mining projects of Swedish corporation Xstrata and New
Zealand's Oceana Gold which own 31,600 hectares in South Cotabato and
21,465 hectares in Nueva Vizcaya, respectively,” Mr. Bautista explained.
Based on government data, as of July 2008 almost 600,000 hectares of our
lands is under 544 mining concession which most of it are directly and
indirectly owned by foreign mining TNCs.
The group cited other instances like in 2006 when the Arroyo
administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a $1 billion
mining deal with ZTE Mining Corporation allowing the said company to own
thousands of hectares of mineral lands and 90% of gold reserve in Mt.
Diwalwal in Mindanao.
Another was in 2007 where President Arroyo signed a bilateral trade
agreement with Chinese and Vietnamese corporations, which is the Joint
Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU). Many legal luminaries and politicians
saw the JMSU illegal and equivalent of surrendering our sovereignty in
Kalayaan group of islands.
The group warned that based on Arroyo's track record and greed for power
and wealth, she will continue to make dubious agreements with foreign
corporations and sell our natural resources.
“This is one of the reasons why the Arroyo administration is so adamant in
pushing for charter change (cha-cha) through constituent assembly
(con-Ass). By eliminating nationalistic provisions in the constitution,
foreigners will have their free way to own and exploit our lands and
natural resources," stated Bautista.
He furthered that, “If President Arroyo and her minions would be
successful in their Cha-cha initiative and in extending their rule in
Malacanang, they will continue getting the lion's share of kickbacks by
brokering our natural resources and lands to foreign capitalists."
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
KALIKASAN People's Network for the Environment is a network of people's
organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and
environmental advocates. It believes that the struggle for the environment
is a struggle of the people, thus all environmental action shall have the
interest of the majority at their core.
Program at Liwasan Bonifacio
26 June 2009
Selling 13% of Philippine land: a taste of Cha-Cha’s total economic
Kilusang Mayo Uno and Anakpawis Partylist strongly called for the
cancellation of an agreement for the reforestation of 400,000 hectares of
Northern Luzon for biodiesel production.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier revealed that the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources allowed a Japanese firm based in the UK,
Pacific Bio-Fields Holding, and its local counterpart, Bio-Energy NL, to
utilize an area equivalent to 13% of Philippine land for coconut biodiesel
plantation for the next 50 years.
“This gives us a glimpse of what the 100% sell-out of our country’s
resources looks like. This is the kind of outrage that Cha-Cha will allow
to happen. This is the kind of bribe that Arroyo wants to give foreign
capitalists through the Cha-Cha, in exchange of their support for her
political survival,” said Joselito Ustarez, KMU Executive Vice President.
“This is a most brutal betrayal of national patrimony. Arroyo is paving
the way for out and out recolonization of the Philippines.
“Our people are driven away from their homes, obliged to toil lands they
can never own, forced to work in foreign multinationals under cruel
working conditions, and this is already happening even without the
“The Arroyo regime makes it very difficult for Filipinos to acquire land
ownership, while it speedily grants exclusive use of more than a tenth of
our national territory to foreign companies. Clearly, Gloria Arroyo has
once again proven her faithful service to foreign interests.
“We should deliver our full defiance to foreign exploitation and plunder,
to Arroyo and her Cha-Cha, before all that is left of what we have is
gone,” challenged Ustarez.
Renato Reyes of BAYAN
Fr. Joe Dizon of Solidarity
June 25, 2009
AFP Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado recently admitted that the military is having
difficulty meeting the deadline imposed by de facto Commander-in-chief
Mrs. Gloria Arroyo three years ago, to end the decades-old communist
insurgency in 2010. (Philippine Star, 22 June 09) This was after he and
his predecessors had repeatedly boasted that the military was on track in
achieving the defeat of the New People’s Army (NPA). The lame excuse is
that the armed guerillas “are just crisscrossing borders and transferring
to another guerilla front” even when the AFP had already allegedly
“dismantled” the political and military infrastructures of numerous rebel
One need not be an expert on military strategy and tactics to know that
guerillas by nature employ flexibility and shifting tactics. This is a
guerilla movement’s way of dealing with the overwhelming superiority, in
terms of numbers and weapons, of the state’s armed forces at any given
point. Instead, it makes use of the favorable physical and social terrain
in the countryside, i.e. the rugged mountains and remaining forested areas
as well as the support of the rural populace, to conduct their type of
Time and again ruling regimes announce the impending demise of armed
revolutionary movements in much the same vein and for the same reasons
that they belittle the democratic protest movement. The aim is to conjure
strength and stability, to foist the illusion of popular acceptance if not
support, because government is supposedly undertaking reforms that address
the causes of armed conflict and mass protest actions.
Deceptive propaganda works up to a certain point given government
resources and numerous levers to manipulate, if not control, the mass
media. But reality always catches up and the truth becomes so glaring that
the regime’s minions are compelled to eat their words and offer the lamest
of excuses or persist in the most egregious of lies.
In the early 70’s, President Ferdinand Marcos declared that the NPA had
been “nipped in the bud” after AFP troops seized more than a dozen
high-power rifles in a Tarlac raid. But the NPA raided the Philippine
Military Academy armory at the end of the year, carting away much more
than what was lost in Tarlac.
In the 80’s, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the Regional Unified
Command Commanding General Romeo Gatan vowed to rid Cagayan Valley of the
NPA in a year’s time. Thereafter they complained that the NPA refused to
come out and engage the AFP in conventional battles.
In the 90’s, AFP Chief Gen. Abadia declared Oplan Lambat Bitag a success
and concluded that the NPA would be wiped out by 1995. His successor, Gen.
Enrile, declared “decisive victory” over the NPA but candidly admitted
that the latter is like a grapevine that could lose its leaves and fruit
but would continue to thrive as long as it still has roots.
Then came the current counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya,
notorious the world over for the deliberate and brutal targeting of
suspected civilian supporters, including unarmed activists, for
“neutralization”. The latter is military lingo for summary execution,
abduction, illegal arrest and detention on trumped-up charges and other
tactics to terrorize entire communities and keep them from giving aid and
succor to the so-called “enemy”. The AFP documentary “Knowing the Enemy”
justified such state terror tactics as the missing crucial piece in the
AFP strategy in order to explain away its previous failures.
Frustration and desperation within the AFP leadership was expressed by a
ranking general known to be a proponent of extra-judicial killings who
reportedly said, “If this doesn’t work, nothing will.” These are the same
words of a US Central Intelligence Agency officer in defending “Oplan
Phoenix” versus civilian targets.
What the Arroyo regime refuses to acknowledge is the real reason why its
“all-out war” policy can never defeat the communist-led armed
revolutionary movement. Mrs. Arroyo, her generals (both those in active
duty and those recycled into powerful civilian posts) and other Cabinet
right-wingers cannot accept that it is precisely the vastly unequal,
extremely oppressive and exploitative and, ultimately repressive
prevailing social system that is fuelling armed conflict and social
unrest. And that no amount of military might nor strategy and tactics can
wipe out the people’s legitimate struggles, armed or unarmed.
They deny the reality and refuse to accept the truth even when such is
staring them in the face because their own interests are so tied-up with
defending and preserving the status quo apart from advancing the Arroyo
clique’s particular selfish interests.
Too bad for the reactionaries there exists a homegrown revolutionary
movement that presents a clear-sighted, historical analysis of the
problems of Philippine society and a matching program to overhaul it.
Whether one sympathizes with it or not, the fact is this revolutionary
movement is present and exerts significant political influence. It
continues to challenge the ruling system and regime in power at every turn
and raises the possibility of overturning the crisis-ridden system one day
and introducing a radically different alternative, with an entirely new
set of political ideals, principles, values and work ethic not to mention
Both the promise of profound, sweeping change and the growing actual
strength of this movement is what continue to rile the Arroyo regime and
unsettle the entire ruling elite.
And should the Arroyo clique, faced with a constitutional limit to Mrs.
Arroyo’s continuation in power beyond 2010, resort to outright, wholesale
perversion of the remaining vestiges of democratic rule by manipulating
Congress and the Supreme Court and by declaring emergency rule, there
remains a wide countryside that can provide sanctuary as well as a
fighting terrain while hitherto legal, democratic rights and processes are
Senate President Ponce Enrile warns of revolution should the 2010
elections not push through because of failure of the automated electoral
system being set up by the Commission on Elections. Mr. Enrile is being
facetious because he, as one of the architects of martial rule under the
dictator Marcos, knows quite well that a revolution has been and is even
now raging nationwide. It finds expression in armed forms in the
countryside while seething in the cities and towns in the various forms of
protests and mass actions demanding pro-people and democratic reforms. In
a society in permanent crisis such as the Philippines, the revolutionary
movement is an inevitable and, to many sectors, a welcome offshoot.
Perhaps what Senator Enrile means is that the deceptive trappings of elite
democracy in this country will be sundered rapidly, dramatically and
irreparably should the electoral circus slated for 2010 be completely
disrupted for one reason or another. Revolution then will be more than a
theoretical option to many more Filipinos. #
June 14, 2009
“Con-Ass” and the people’s
The anti-Charter change (Chacha) and anti-Arroyo forces had barely a week
to mount the muscle-flexing protest action yesterday in Ayala Avenue,
Makati City and in major urban centers nationwide. They achieved a big
measure of success by gathering thousands in Makati and thousands more in
various cities and big towns nationwide. They displayed broad
participation by the organizations of the basic sectors among the working
people, the civic, professional and artist groups, the Catholic religious
congregations and some bishops, the protestant churches, the opposition
leaders and parties, and government officials and military/police officers
critical of the Arroyo regime.
Earlier mini-protests erupted in various parts of Metro Manila and “viral”
protest spread as well in the virtual world of the internet giving a
foretaste of what could lie ahead for the Arroyo clique as it schemes,
manipulates and buys its ways to staying in power beyond 2010, the
Constitutionally-mandated end of GMA’s term in office.
There is no denying that a vast majority of the people have had enough of
Mrs.Arroyo and her ilk. The crimes of her regime just keep mounting
despite the many times that she has been caught red-handed. She has
willfully ignored calls for accountability by the people, by the political
opposition, religious and business leaders and even by the international
community appalled at rampant human rights violations.
Shamelessly, Mrs. Arroyo has clung to power; she has refused to resign.
She has used emergency rule and various other draconian measures including
extrajudicial killings, militarization of rural and urban poor
communities, illegal arrest and detention and the filing of trumped-up
criminal charges against her perceived enemies, to prevent her ouster
through popular uprising.
Mrs. Arroyo and her clique have come up against Constitutional term limits
that makes her stepping down from power a given. She could appoint a loyal
and pliant presidential candidate for the national elections in 2010 and
utilize all the dirty tricks in the books (and some she has invented) to
make that candidate “win” in order to buy political insurance for herself
and her cohorts. The same way she preempted every impeachment move by
buying off the “honorable” members of the HOR; the way she squelched every
investigation into anomalies of her administration by appointing a
subservient Ombudsman; and the way she stopped every attempt to pry open
inquiry into the most scandalous of corrupt government deals by her hold
on the Supreme Court, majority of whom are her appointees.
But obviously that isn’t enough to ensure protection from being haled to
court once she loses her presidential immunity. Similarly, she cannot
predict where the political winds may blow once out of power; political
debts can be easily forgotten or overtaken by the pressing concerns of the
new administration whose own interests may no longer coincide with that of
This is the real reason for the desperate, despicable and brazenly
unconstitutional move called “Con-Ass”, recently railroaded by Mrs.
Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives (HOR), by the mere
expedient of a majority vote on House Resolution 1109 sponsored by no less
than Speaker Prospero Nograles. H.R. 1109 empowers Congress to convene as
a constituent assembly in order to revise the Philippine Constitution by
two thirds of all congressmen and senators voting jointly. And since the
more than 200 members of the Lower House vastly outnumber the 24 members
of the Senate, this bogus Constituent Assembly can be convened and make
revisions in the Charter even without a single senator participating.
The illegal and fake Constituent Assembly, packed by Arroyo allies whose
compliance to her marching orders are ensured by millions-worth of
incentives, will undertake the shift to a parliamentary system from the
current presidential system. In this way, Mrs. Arroyo can run as a
representative in her congressional district and manipulate her way into
becoming prime minister later on by simply buying off the majority of
members of parliament.
Time and so many legal impediments seem to make this scenario untenable.
Still, all the moves of Mrs. Arroyo and her allies constitute an
undeniable trail of deception, lies, maneuvers, buy-offs and quid-pro-quos
that point the way to this as the major ploy of the Arroyo clique.
Despite Mrs. Arroyo’s posturing that the merger of the two political
parties loyal to her, the Lakas-CMD and Kampi, is proof positive that the
2010 presidential elections are pushing through as scheduled, the truth is
such a merger party is precisely what Mrs. Arroyo will use to bamboozle
the opposition once she moves to get the prime minister position in a new
For someone supposedly so focused on the business of running the country,
Mrs. Arroyo has noticeably gone on frequent sorties into her hometown and
adjoining towns, part of the Congressional district in Pampanga where she
will likely run for congressperson. Now why should a former president of
the country be interested in running for the lowly post of a
congressperson if this isn’t the stepping stone to the most powerful post
in a parliamentary form of government?
Will the fear of the people’s wrath give pause to Mrs. Arroyo and her evil
cabal of plotters? At this point it is clear that this hardly is the case.
The Arroyo clique has taken an important lesson from the Marcos
Dictatorship on what are crucial to achieve their Machiavellian designs.
First is to secure the backing of the United States government (it will
give the “democratic” imprimatur to the recycled Arroyo regime via Con-Ass
and shift to parliamentary system). Then ensure the loyalty of the
military and police generals; the blessings of enough voices among the
church hierarchy and big business community; and the chorus of servile
“ayes” from so-called parliamentarians and local government officials
fattened by pork barrel and other perks.
The Arroyo clique is betting that the elite classes who rule this country
and the lone Super Power, the US of A, can be enticed to see things its
way; that is, the Arroyo clique’s narrow interests as key to protecting
and upholding their own immediate and strategic interests. For example,
apart from changing the Charter in order to make possible Mrs. Arroyo’s
continuing hold on the reigns of power in this country, Mrs. Arroyo uses
as bait constitutional amendments that will allow foreign investors to
acquire ownership and control over all natural resources and economic
enterprises to the extent of 100 per cent and to sell out the economic
sovereignty and national patrimony of the Filipino people.
US and other foreign military forces are to be allowed unrestricted stay
and operations in the Philippines not just by means of the RP-US Visiting
Forces Agreement (VFA) but by Constitutional fiat. Many of the
constitutional provisions against the basing of foreign military forces
and nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction on
Philippine soil are under threat of being excised from the basic law of
the land. The Arroyo regime also wants to remove the constitutional
restraints on martial law, emergency rule and violations of human rights.
It seeks to undermine formal guarantees of civil and political liberties
in the bill of rights achieved in the wake of the people’s victory over
the US- backed Marcos dictatorship.
One lesson that the Arroyo clique has obviously failed to learn is that
the inevitable ending for dictators and would-be dictators in this country
and elsewhere in the world is the dust-bin of history. The people’s wrath
and courageous, persistent mass struggles will definitely see to that. #
Mo. Mary John Mananzan▲, Fr.
Joe Dizon▲ and Film Director Carlitos Siquion-Reyna ▼
Singing "Bayan Ko"
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
What it takes
The political future of this country continues to defy simplistic and
worn-out notions especially about how the festering crisis of legitimacy
hounding the Arroyo regime can be quickly resolved. Those placing their
hopes in the 2010 elections as the definitive way to end Mrs. Arroyo’s
shaky and detested reign have been jolted by Malacanang’s brazen
maneuverings to maintain hold on power. The run-up to the 2010 elections
is hands down already the most chaotic, riddled with controversy and
shrouded with doubt and uncertainty.
There is the last-ditch attempt to amend the 1987 Constitution by
utilizing Mrs. Arroyo’s hold on the Lower House of Congress to convene a
supposed “constituent assembly” sans Senate participation. The plan
includes getting judicial stamp of approval for this political jujitsu
from a Supreme Court dominated by Mrs. Arroyo’s appointees and who have
time and again proven themselves pliant to her wishes.
The Arroyo clique would then move to shift to a parliamentary system that
would allow Mrs. Arroyo, by this time representing her hometown district
in Pampanga, to run for Prime Minister. Should she win she would enjoy all
the power, perks and privileges of the office including immunity from suit
for the multiple crimes of plunder, human rights violations, electoral
fraud and treasonous ceding of national sovereignty and patrimony to
foreign interests. By the way, the post of prime minister, by nature of
the parliamentary system, would have no term limits; theoretically, Mrs.
Arroyo could go on ruling this god-forsaken country indefinitely.
Efforts to reform the fraud-ridden electoral process by installing an
automated system that would cut short the time for counting, transmitting
and consolidating the poll results have only added confusion to an already
confusing situation. From the simple idea of speeding things up using
computers, it has become increasingly clear that what could actually
happen -- with a questionable and even flawed bidding process, a cheating
mafia still embedded in the Comelec , and technology only a curiously
select few control – is large-scale automated cheating OR a pre-determined
failure of elections.
The latest twist has the winning bidder for the automated electoral system
or AES inexplicably caught up in what appears to be “irreconcilable
differences” not unlike a marriage gone sour even before the honeymoon had
started. The withdrawal of the local partner TIM from its joint venture
with the Dutch company Smartmatic is another explosive ingredient to the
extremely volatile election run-up with just a little more than 10 months
to go. The belief is rife that TIM's move is part of a scheme to ensure
and strengthen the Arroyo regime's control of the election results.
The various conspiracy theories behind the TIM-Smartmatic break-up; the
most recent spate of bombings including, according to the police,
intentional duds; fresh rumors of a military coup; and the shrouded but no
less ominous threat of a Palace coup via the National Security Adviser’s
call for a “transition government” preceding the shift to a parliamentary
system as the only way to resolve the political crisis -- are testament to
the confusing state of affairs the country is currently embroiled in.
The Arroyo regime is always quick to accuse the entire breadth of the
legal opposition of politicking, destabilization, sabotage and worse. We
suspect it does so not so much to convince anyone except the most ignorant
or naïve but to give the Arroyo loyalists something to defend her with, no
matter if they sound like a broken record.
For good reason most people suspect government behind every hitch or
problem that crops up. This kind of thinking only shows the extent and
degree to which the Arroyo regime has lost its credibility. More so it
reveals how the regime has mangled its mandate and responsibility to the
people beyond redemption and how its overweening ambition and desperation
to stay in power pushes it to bring the ruling system perilously to the
There are those who, fed up with accusations and counter-accusations, hold
government and the opposition equally responsible for the deteriorating
situation, for seeding doubt and cynicism in the political atmosphere to
suit their own sinister and self-serving ends. It is a view that the
Arroyo regime at times welcomes, and even deliberately nurtures. For it
somehow obscures and glosses over the fact that it is government that is
vested with the power and resources to promote national interest and the
There are those who stick their heads in the sand ignoring the dangerous
developments taking place. For example, some persist in “Get out and
vote!” campaigns seemingly oblivious that at the rate things are going,
there may be no elections whatsoever or that only a thoroughly corrupted
electoral process would actually take place.
Some, especially presidential wannabes and other candidates for the 2010
elections, have not skipped a beat in their single-minded determination to
win, going full blast with their campaign advertisements, provincial
sorties and machinery building.
Self-proclaimed “alternative” candidates or putative movements for change
and good governance come up with all sorts of seemingly novel approaches
to choosing deserving candidates in the 2010 elections without facing the
reality of a downright rotten and discredited electoral system that would
frustrate any attempt to express and uphold the will, if not the true
interests, of the electorate.
What is needed at this time is a concerted, unwavering and focused
political campaign to thwart the Arroyo clique’s evil scheme to convene
the bogus “constituent assembly”, acquire the Supreme Court’s imprimatur
for this, and thus gain the legal leeway to shift to a form of government,
including the institution of a transition period, whereby Mrs. Arroyo
remains in power.
This requires massive and sustained mobilizations or demonstrations (and
the widespread information and educational campaigns that are their sine
qua non) up to and including the possibility of a popular, unarmed
uprising to oust this criminal gang from the Presidential Palace. The rank
and file and junior officers of the military and police must be convinced
to refrain from being used to violently suppress such a protest movement.
Those in the civilian bureaucracy must be convinced to withdraw their
support in various creative ways for this outlaw of a regime. The
international community must be convinced that the Oust Arroyo Movement is
legitimate, popularly and broadly supported and inevitable -- should Mrs.
Arroyo push through with its ill-disguised grab for power.
Nothing short of this monumental display of direct people’s action -- of
“people power” -- can stop the Arroyo cabal in its tracks. #
Anakapwis Rep. Joel Maglunsod
Anakpawis Secretary General
Cherry Clemente and Rep. Joel Maglunsod
Mameng Diunida of KADAMAY
and Beng Hernandez of HUSTISYA sing Bayan Ko
This track, este truck, was
used as the stage. At the end of the program it was going to its garage in
Quezon city. Student rallyists vs the cha-cha filled up for a free ride.