On transition government

As always, I read Fr. Bernas’ column with interest and added diligence that I may be able to follow his drift, when such presents itself. It would seem that in today’s column from expert Fr. Bernas, that which he dismissed offhand as ‘gossip material’ (also ‘media material’) in reference to a transition government as being proposed by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales is in fact, a movement that is about to rear its ugly head. In his very words, this much he says:

‘I see the current movement toward setting up a transition government as tantamount to a confession of civilian incapability and an invitation to permanent or at least a protracted military rule”.

Apparently, reading from Norberto Gonzales’ well-circulated conviction, Bernas came into the conclusion that what is advocated is ‘extra-constitutional government to replace the current government’. And to this, Bernas believes that ‘a revolution becomes legitimate if it succeeds’ – an idea that I must have instead first heard from then Rep. Joker Arroyo in a congressional committee hearing attended by no less than then detained now Sen. Trillanes.

In other words, Bernas interprets, and rightly so, that such a transition government must copy from the very character of EDSA Revolt of 1986. But is there an existing condition for this to come about? Would the president herself permit her government to migrate into this mode?

I do recall quite correctly, that when Norberto Gonzales first espoused about this so-called ‘strategic papers’, he had in mind the next would-be president providing such “space” or more precisely, that the first few months of the new presidency must be one that paves the road to a new government that would abandon the frails, weaknesses, lapses and mistakes of the GMA & Co., matter-of-factly. But it all can be mere double-talk to test the waters, isn’t it?

In fact, it is safe to say that there could be an inherent contradiction to speak of a transition government if the reference is to a revolutionary government. Let me run down the three steps enumerated by Bernas to be the requisites for an EDSA 86-like transition government to occur, namely:

1. the takeover of power
2. setting up of a transition government
3. establishment of a new constitutional government

Bernas went on to revisit history, specifically the chain of major events that led to that point when the military abandoned President Marcos. Whoever really said that this Gonzales theory models its notion of transition government from that of 1986 Enrile-Ramos led military uprising, I do feel that Bernas’ expressed misgivings stand to be valid as he now in fact awaits some word from the defense secretary or from the AFP and the PNP. Indeed, what is the sense of Secretary Teodoro and the chiefs of the military and police on this ‘gossip’, true or not?

What Bernas doubts is, assuming such a scenario can take shape, whether the military would be willing to surrender the reins of government to civilians. He seems to read from the subsequent patterns of military adventurism that punctuated the Arroyo regime as a result of dissatisfaction with the way civilians run the government.

To this end, the movement’s advocates do the rounds trying to convince bishops possibly select personages from the Supreme Court, the military or defense establishment. But for anything like this to be under construction, necessarily challenges reflection. Has the president herself allowed Gonzales to recruit adherents to this kind of movement? Why does he not become a ‘security risk’ in so far as the entire intelligence community is concerned when Gonzales openly espouses revolution in the context of transition or transition in the context of revolution? In the end, a trick is being pulled before our very noses. Time to connect the dots.