Military Solution to the Con-Ass Treachery?

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Under the cover of darkness and deceit, Congress recently passed House Resolution 1109. This highly controversial resolution empowers Congress to convene itself into a Con-ass with members of the House and the Senate voting jointly—not separately as provided for in the 1987 Constitution that the legislators, allied with illegal President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, want to change. With this move, Arroyo and her allies are positioning themselves for a permanent power grab, a de facto dictatorship, all in the guise of law and order. But their move has also awakened, legitimized, and strengthened the possibility of a military response to their Con-ass treachery. The Arroyo administration has succeeded once more in plunging the country into uncertainty and instability as various societal forces mobilize to “solve” the Con-ass treachery.

“Tyranny of the Majority”

The Arroyo legislators emphasize that their interpretation of the Constitution provides that the House and the Senate should vote jointly and for a reason. The 250+ members of House of Representatives, most of whom are loyal vassals of Arroyo, outnumber the 24 Senators of the Republic. Thus the Arroyo dominated House legislature can ram through any constitutional amendment they want. The Senate will be rendered a useless bystander in the public ransacking of the 1987 Constitution. In effect, the Con-ass will become, in the words of one representative, a “tyranny of the majority”.

Arroyo legislators already displayed their tyrannical behavior in the way they muzzled other House legislators who opposed the Con-ass resolution. First they promised that there would be full plenary debates on HR 1009. There was none. Next they promised that, at least, all those who opposed the Con-ass resolution would have a chance to state their objections on the floor and for the record. This promise, they executed with a grain of salt.

After only a few minutes, an Arroyo legislator suddenly moved for the closure of the debate after only 5 of the 13 opposition legislators have spoken. This notorious legislator claimed that arguments were repetitive. Despite the vigorous objections of the minority opposition, the Arroyo majority voted to close the debate on HR 1109. One frustrated opposition legislature could not hold back his remark: “This Congress [is] the worst in the annals of history”.

Minority legislators complain about the “tyranny of the majority” in the House of Representatives. But this tyranny is nothing new to that dismal legislative institution. Past attempts in the House to impeach Arroyo for corruption and betrayal of the public trust, have all failed. Why? Because the “tyranny of the majority” is alive and well in the House of Representatives.

Worse, the Philippines has effectively been under the rule of the tyrannical elite who, while numerically few, have gained majority positions in the executive, legislative (except the Senate) and judicial branches of government. They are using their hold on government institutions to commit all kinds of criminal acts against the Republic. And they cannot be removed peacefully because they have manipulated and stacked the deck of law and order to legitimize their acts of corruption and plunder.

Setting the Stage for a Military Intervention?

Unfortunately, the current treacherous HR 1109 initiative of the “tyranny of the majority” sets the stage for a scenario that has now become more probable given the blatant disregard for law and order as well as the public outrage against Arroyo and her vassals in government.

After their failed coup against the Arroyo government in 2006, the military has been relatively quiet in the past two years. Arroyo has made sure that she has the loyalty of most of the general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines including those who helped her cheat during the 2004 presidential elections. Arroyo has increased the number of retired generals occupying important positions of government. She has also slowly but surely placed into power batch 1978 of the Philippine military academy, the batch that holds Arroyo as its honorary member.

But despite these efforts, Arroyo’s hold of the military is not secure. In 2007, for example, her top military whipping boys commanded all officers and soldiers not to vote for the senatorial candidacy of Captain Antonio Trillanes IV. When the results of May 2007 elections came out, the Arroyo administration was dismayed. Trillanes, who campaigned from his prison cell, was elected one of the senators of the republic. And worst, some 90% of voters in military camps voted for Trillanes.

Clearly, there is an inner tension between Arroyo and the middle ranking officers and soldiers of the military. Military officers have complained about the incessant inducement to corruption of their generals under the reign of Arroyo. And they are very unhappy about this corruption of the top echelons of the military and the constant betrayal of their military vow of courage, integrity, honesty, and the commitment to uphold and defend the country and its constitution.

Now, before their very eyes, the Arroyo government and its allies are betraying the Philippine Constitution to remain in power and to protect themselves from future legal cases of corruption and plunder. Will they just sit back and absorb this gross treachery?

In recent months, in various public civil society meetings, some active members of the military were vocal about their frustrations with the Arroyo government. Some even went beyond just ventilating their anger. They warned that, if Arroyo continues her oppressive administration and subverts the Constitution, majority of the military would be ready to join citizens in a peaceful uprising against the government.

 

Now here comes HR 1109 that seeks to undermine the Philippine Constitution. Will it reawaken the will of reform-minded military officers and soldiers to prevent the impending rape of the Constitution? Will they see the current treacherous act of Congress as a legitimate basis to overthrow a corruption regime on the way to dictatorship? Or will they simply accept HR 1109 mindful that a military takeover presents its own set of complex challenges before, during, and after the overthrow of government.

The Uncertain Fate of Citizens Movements

While the reform-minded officers of the military figure out their response to the current constitutional crisis, thousands of citizens are asking themselves what they can now do amidst the darkening political clouds that are gathering in the horizon.

Before HR 1109 came into being, concerned citizens have started dozens of creative new initiatives to prepare the way for a meaningful engagement in the 2010 national elections. They have launched visioning sessions, voter education and registration drives, civil society primaries, conscious search for bearers of positive politics, and many other hope engendering initiatives.

With the full implementation of the real agenda behind HR1109, many of these citizen initiatives become moot and academic. What is their reason for existence if there will be no elections for 2010? Or what will be the effectiveness of their initiatives considering that political traitors, who do not really care for the common good, will be redefining the ground rules of Philippine society itself?

A Turbulent Future

For many Filipinos, it has been a nightmare since the early days of the unfortunately long reign of the notoriously dirty Arroyo government that started in 2001. Concerned citizens and reform-oriented and patriotic segments of the military tried to unseat Arroyo in 2005 and early 2006. They were not successful because many Filipinos did not join their efforts. Filipinos were unclear as to who or what should be the alternative to the Arroyo government. They ventilated some of their frustrations in the 2007 elections where they elected individuals whom they thought could stand up against the abuses of the Arroyo government.

Then with the 2010 national elections on the horizon, many citizens focused on electoral initiatives designed to peacefully oust the Arroyo government from power. Their initiatives gained momentum and favorable public reception. Excitement and hope once more pervaded the land.

But now the Arroyo government has once more succeeded in plunging the nation into uncertainty. It has reawakened, in some quarters, the desirability of a military solution to the Arroyo problem once and for all. Proponents say the military solution will become even more attractive if military leaders will restore civilian authority and the rule of law and order on an expedited basis once corrupt politicians are removed from office. And civil society is once more back on the drawing board in terms of responding to the perilous challenge of Con-ass.

Meanwhile, only societal turbulence is clear in the horizon of the Philippine future. Citizens must make sure that this inevitable turbulence will be the chaos that will mark the end of an old order and the beginning of a something really new and promising for all Filipinos.

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