Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Can GMA still unite the country?

“Okay. But does, in fact, a head of government need ‘national unity’ in order to govern?”

PDI editorialist John Nery, answering his own question, blogs : “History and experience tell us that the answer must be No. All (GMA) needs is the support of, or at least the lack of outright hostility from, an active plurality.”

My reply to John reads:

It's not just about national unity, per se. GMA has been "elected" to lead the nation and serve as a SYMBOL of that unity; hence of stability.

1. As such a symbol, the Filipinos look up to GMA as the national embodiment to inspire confidence in the authority and legitimacy of the political system (hasn't the "lapse in judgment" - without specifically confronting now, I mean NOW, the truth or untruth in the tapped conversations, i.e. without waiting for the Truth Commission to be convened or for the impeachment proceedings to take place - taken that symbolism away?);

2. GMA is also expected to marshal her influence within the system in order to initiate the public policies she promised she would do when elected president (she lost a veritable ally in Senate President Drilon of LP, the “Hyatt 10,” former President Cory Aquino and her supporters, Business Groups [MBC and Finex, notably], a coalition of NGOs, a number of major academes, etc., and the counting is certainly not over yet);

3. As chief executive, the people conferred in her the trust that she has the competence to supervise the conduct of the government and the economy (top on her agenda, it seems, is "political survival," whether or not we believe Dinky Soliman, and the varied rhetoric of "fundamental change" are empty shibboleths. Remember too the “UP 11” warmed about an impending Argentine crisis in two years, and we are now into 2nd year);

4. And in time of crisis, the national leadership is supposed to reassure and calm the citizenry (now, ordinary citizens are emboldened to make public pronouncements about secessions, not to speak of earnest talks about revolutionary government, council of elders, transition government, civilian-military junta, or a former president - with suspected prodding from Big Uncle - as the one wielding the reins of government).

What we need from GMA is a modicum of self-abnegation and patriotism, well, possibly ala Al Gore who wanted the American nation, looking more and more like a banana republic, to move forward. Can you imagine Al Gore, a two-term vice-president, leading a mass action after five U.S. citizens in dark robes, using arcane language (shades of “constructive resignation”?) ultimately elected a U.S. president?

Come to think of it now: it was the pivotal interpretation of “initiate” in the Davide impeachment, but in the coming days it could be “admissibility.” And we revere it as constitutional process or “rule of law,” which is what the bishops are asking for. The whole shebang, come to think of it, is all about elite consensus, isn't it?

But then again, in our beloved motherland, who has the “final say”?


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