Monday, February 11, 2008

A way out of Hobbesian state

What’s painfully disturbing about the litany of polity-wrecking scandals that have visited the Arroyo regime where none, by the regime’s own playbook, seems poised to be held accountable is that it has the effect of “normalizing” breaches, however manifest, of the basic definition of a good order.

Parallel excesses during Marcos rule, it should be recalled, were at least seen for what they were – aberrations as outgrowths of the supposed “abnormal” times. Yet, expectations then that public decency would prevail when normalcy returns were not dashed altogether.

Today, frightening telltale signs of a dysfunctional or collapsing system are cascading in the ordinary course of the business of governance: plunder of the national coffer are prima facie traceable to the First Family; documented incidences of extra-judicial killings and other forms of political repressions have been reported by reputable international organizations; flights of the middle class, professionals and intellectuals continue to drain the nation’s human capital; election fraud and machinations implicate the very governmental agencies(the Commission on Elections and the military establishment) charged with protecting the sanctity of the electoral process; emasculation of the constitutional checks and balances mechanisms is simply taken for granted by those members of Congress entrusted to enforce them; unfettered and autonomous yet primitive pursuit of self-interest by the economic elites sustains uneven economic development and gaping inequality.

The harsh reality appears inevitable: the longer President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo holds on to power, the sooner she (or even her immediate predecessor, if at all) will preside over a failed Philippine state in which life for the unfortunate majority of the Filipinos, so entrapped, will be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

I have had the chance to tackle this matter before (when the laundry list was still shorter) in the following post:
The institutional cost of Arroyo clinging to power, come hail and high water to the republic, amidst the “Garci tapes” scandal has become extremely prohibitive. Aside from the prostitution of the electoral body and Philippine military during the last presidential election as indicated in the tapes and testified to by high-ranking military officers of solid or daring scruples, the other obvious casualty of course has been the built-in checks-and-balances mechanism of impeachment when the pro-Arroyo members of the House opted to hide behind the narrow reading or misreading of the law or the brutal application of technicality. But the Catholic Church hierarchy has not been far behind; under the humiliating shadow of Palace payola to some bishops, the hierarchy has joined the chorus to bury the tapes for the “common good” while ignoring the clamor of the flock. The middling Filipino, on the other hand, which like the Church was once at the core of two great upheavals, has cast its lot with the “let’s move on” bandwagon choosing to sweep the tapes under the rug or let the matter melt into thin air as if it were a “figment of one’s imagination.”
There’s one window of opportunity to abort the slide of the country into Hobbesian anarchy: like Marcos, Arroyo must cut and cut cleanly – now, not later.

Whereupon, following a voluntary transfer of power, Vice President Noli de Castro must proceed to assume the presidency pursuant to the Constitution. At a minimum, obeisance to the constitutional succession process will restore a modicum of popular confidence in the legal order but therefrom the momentum could be built for the nation to undergo a long-overdue cathartic experience.

However, to begin at once the healing process and reconciliation, de Castro must be unhampered in the exercise of his (presidential) prerogative of deciding whether to condone Arroyo and others by the executive grant of general amnesty.

On the other hand, as a matter of reciprocal self-abnegation on the part of de Castro himself, he must commit to the nation not to vie for the office of the president in 2010, the next scheduled presidential election.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anon ymous said...

Vote Huckabee!!

And in 2010, vote de Castro!!!

February 13, 2008 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anon ymous said...

...my point is... do not do de Castro any favors.

de Castro has the wherewithal and leadership to be 2010-to-2016 president; forget the abnegation-stuff.

February 13, 2008 8:55 PM  
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