Babe's Eye View

By Babe Romualdez                                        

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June 20, 2004

The Philippine STAR, Opinion Page

Cooler Heads Should Prevail

By Babe Romualdez

With the way this canvassing process is going, it looks like we may be setting ourselves up for a constitutional crisis or the "danger point" as Joe deV warned.  The likelihood of Frank Drilon assuming the position of Acting President is extremely high.  At noon of June 30, GMA will take her oath in Cebu as FPJ threatens to inaugurate himself in Rizal Park.  If we don't have a proclamation by noon, then the Constitution mandates that Drilon assumes the position of Acting President.  So we will have Acting President Drilon, Sitting President GMA and FPJ acting as President.  The possibility of having three presidents cannot be anything else, but chaotic.  As things come to a head, we could fragment into three Philippine Republics.

Political polarization calls for acts of statesmanship and civility.  Joker Arroyo taunted the opposition to walk out.  Tito Sotto dared Arroyo if he wanted trouble. Angara said the broken gavel is a bad omen.  This sounds like a script written for Vincent Price in an Edgar Allan Poe horror movie.  Politicians have simply lost civility because they take things personally like most of us. 


Even if he is aligned with the Administration, Frank Drilon should rein over these legislative hotheads and handle the canvassing like a statesman.  Because he is third-in-line, he should be fair and objective if he receives the summons to hold the country together from the center.


The KNP lawyers have already walked out of the canvass.  Sen. Nene Pimentel and the opposition have accused the pro-GMA legislators of railroading the canvassing.  Rabid FPJ supporters are giving hints of staging massive protest actions in case their idol doesn't get proclaimed as winner.  Accusations are flying between all warring political camps. We need cooler heads to come forward and forestall this crisis.  The heroine of People Power I Mrs. Aquino has already said that "People Power" is no longer an option.


Instead of worrying over the political instability brought about by this NO PROC situation, we should be concerned about the rising unemployment of 5-million.  And this figure will rise if we continue with this political stalemate.  Companies are postponing expansion plans, investments are being held back, and nothing will move in this country until a president is proclaimed.  


Countries like the a United States have already warned their citizens in the country to take precautions because of post-election violence.  We are really killing ourselves slowly, but surely.  Instead of finding ways to solve other fundamental problems like the debt, poverty and energy, the politicians in this country who should know better, are just simply obsessed with positions of power.  This lack of priority will blow up in our faces, sooner than later.  People were hoping and praying that these elections will, at least, get us back on track, but it seems we're not even back to square one.  We're back to zero.


People are just sick and tired of the way this country is going.  Some are indifferent, most are apathetic, but many are just simply disgusted.  If they can, they would just pack up and leave.  They're simply sick of politics and the lack of opportunities, services, discipline and consideration.  Let's face it, people just want to make a living in peace.  In fact, to them, who is leading in the polls doesn't matter anymore.  


They just want the government to do its job and get this country moving again.  If we can't get our acts together in this present political system, we might as well have declared a revolutionary government and stayed with it.  The sad part is that many people don't care anymore.  This is even more dangerous than having people wanting to go in the streets.  People's morale has definitely reached rock bottom.  Just like what happened to African countries like Rwanda and Liberia--the specters of starvation, disease, widespread violence and homicidal warlord factions--can really happen to this country and it's not farfetched at all.


Law and order isn't any better with the killing of Batangas Judge Voltaire Rosales.  Instead of having to be angry about the politicians in this country, of which we already are, we should really be angry about killings like this.  Judge Rosales, who was four years behind me in La Salle, was an exceptional man.  I did not know him personally, but from the way his son described him, he seemed to be a good family man.  I am told that he was an exceptionally honest and incorruptible public servant.  How can a man like this be snuffed out just like that?  


Nowadays, you can have anybody removed from the face of the earth for a measly P5,000.  Instead of protecting us, politicians seem to have become the enemies of the state.  Nowadays, the truth is, we really have to fend for ourselves.


A foreign intelligence operative, who has been in and out of the country for the past 20 years, told me that he has never seen anything like what is happening to this country today.  He said that, at the rate we're going, Iraq might even stabilize faster than us.  The Philippines is now labeled worldwide as the country with the slowest elections ever.  It looks like we're going to hit the Guiness Book of World Records once again and for the wrong reasons.  Cooler heads must prevail before this political impasse gets really ugly.  If our politicians think that the gavel head that flew off the other day was funny, they will definitely not find it funny when their own heads fly off one day.



The beheading of US national Paul Johnson by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group will definitely put George W. Bush's re-election in peril.  I have always maintained that a Bush Presidency is good for this country because of his post-9 / 11 policy of strengthening the military capabilities of its allies.  If the Democrats get into power, this policy could be reversed and could leave us hanging to fight our own war on terror.  This is something we have to prepare for.