SWS, GMA and charter change
Each time the Social Weather Station (SWS) releases its latest results for some 1,200 respondents across social classes (from A to E) in various geographical locations as in its last quarter survey giving the President a satisfaction rating of -30, Malacanang has always dismissed it by saying the presidency is not a popularity contest and that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) would rather focus on anti-poverty programs amidst the global economic crisis. Accordingly, an SWS net satisfaction rating of -30 to -46 is classified as ‘bad’. Offhand, it is not bad but rather very bad considering that it was again 21 points lower than last year and the worst since 2005 when net satisfaction was pegged at -25. So, where would all future survey ratings drift if not irreversibly negative each and every time since officially enough, PGMA always embraces her self-serving view that popularity is one thing but governance is another. Ergo, what doesn’t matter to her, matters to all of us who believe that surveys serve as a barometer upon which public pulse is scientifically gauged.
This latest SWS survey result simply means that if Malacanang insists in moving for a charter change (cha-cha) or being rammed through our throats (in the words of Bro. Mike Velarde of El Shaddai), then this -30 will glide down even farther to the point it will statistically state that the presidency operates in a vacuum if not in total isolation than GMA together with her rabid sycophants would be willing to accept. At least, SWS is there to locate the position of the ship of state in the huge radar screen as it steams through turbulent political waters. Not remotely, the captain of the ship, in this case, GMA stirs the course of history from a pre-plotted course that would bring her to where she wants to be – ‘GMA forever’. But refusing to read the writings on the wall, GMA can play bully in the school yard herself to pursue what she has always attempted to do but failed – extend her term – beyond 2010.
What were the ingredients made ready for this golden scenario of ‘GMA forever’? First, PNP Chief Versoza is not being replaced in spite of the euro general scandal in Moscow which is perceived as a clandestine money-laundering activity. Second, the House of Representatives effectively killed – with the traditional tyranny of the majority – the impeachment move against GMA initiated by ex-speaker, Jose de Venecia based on a mistaken view that it was bereft of substance than in form. Third, Senate President Villar was unceremoniously unseated on suspicion he might undo GMA as he undid Erap and to be replaced by a Juan Ponce Enrile who is known as a martial law operator in the Marcos regime. Fourth, the upcoming positions of associate justices in the Supreme Court will be indicatively filled in based on presidential whim in the light of the fact that the cha-cha syndrome has been diagnosed as a form of social cancer. Necessarily, GMA will get a second opinion from her new bunch of judicial surgeons who will state the initial diagnosis otherwise. Fifth, the Lower Chamber – by sheer numbers game – can defang the Senate to render it entirely useless if it takes a different view on charter change. Sixth, before final voting even begins, a form of oblique patronage refund will be distributed to the patronizing pro-administration congressmen as JDV has already claimed that the votes are for sale.
Thus, if chips fall in place, there is no way cha-cha can’t unfold. But even if the GMA regime is able to achieve its goal to get the charter change done, there will be even greater problems the government will face as has already been predicted in the case of 1946 when the Parity Law opened wide the doors for foreign ownership. Under the charter change as proposed, central to its theme is allowing foreigners to own as much lands as they may have wanted where they can do business of whatsoever kind. This means that we would have permitted foreigners to exploit our natural resources especially so that this government appears to allow mining explorations by foreign firms. Presumably, it will create more problems than the government can solve once it becomes – all systems go – under a new order of things.
Do we as much as have to rewrite the Constitution to pave the way for everything that Malacanang may have thought of? The conditions for a change of form of government appear to have been premised on self-preservation – extending the term of GMA as it is with her political allies thereby breaching our right to vote for our leaders come 2010. Certainly, the term of office of our incumbent elected officials cannot be extended by a simple master stroke unless otherwise we can equate that as the sovereign power of the governed. Viewed holistically, it seems improbable that we can even allow the affairs of state to be subcontracted by way of the role and excesses of foreign capitalists as future partners in governance, or what else will it be?
From where I stand, it presents clear as crystal that every part of the grand jigsaw puzzle is being fitted in place. Suppose that indeed, Malacanang succeeds to railroad cha-cha – overcoming all the legal obstacles that come with it – what future do we have under the new scenario? Will change come to RP? Would PGMA be a better president? Will there be new million jobs for everyone? And so on? In other words, can they please tell us what the future will be like under a new form of government with – GMA and her rabid allies – the same pack of political leaders we will have? Pray tell, the leaders we have now are the best, the most concerned of our people, the incorruptible of our body polity? Meaning less than that, charter change is not the way to go. SWS’s net satisfaction rating of the president already serves public notice that any charter-change move is doomed from the start. True enough, GMA does not give a damn hook on her being unpopular but then again, her unpopularity is making her very popular – as long as she is the president.
PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
UP Diliman, Quezon City (Email: email@example.com)