Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My Funny Revolution

And so it seems that in this beloved country of ours, mob revolution is one familiar feeling that we are feeling again, just like in a song. Just like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day, where every so often, from time to time, it comes to us and happens almost as if we had expected it to happen once in every number of years, or even in every generation passing.

If once again, the angry marches in the wide avenues of Manila would spark again “an unforgettable fire”, one that would never be put off and continues to rage until it brings down once again yet another government, I have this strange but certain feeling that this will not be the last time that we will march on the streets to urge a bedeviled leader to step aside, or step down due to some colossal indiscretions. Even if we change the seat of power now, “people power” would be like Valentine’s Day that we could expect it almost to come after the passing of quite sometime. Future governments may still be disturbed upon their sleep, over burning beds, to be besieged once more by the specter of a systemic transitional process that can now be considered entombed as an “invisible law”, one that is unseen and unwritten but strong enough that it can be likened to rushing giant waves that could scuttle away even the mightiest of cliffs. Somehow, it is beneficial to us this “invisible law” for we keep our leaders up on their toes, but are we really comfortable with this vicious cycle? Only if we were in a parliamentary form of governance where by then, we need no more enormous marches on the streets and parkways, and where violent military takeover may not be as threatening as it is right now.

Today, hordes of soul marches again down the carless avenues, risking life and limbs and surviving the penalties of the weather as well as the pangs of hunger in their tummies. The drum beats roll once more to the suasions of a hundreds of thousands of souls--angry souls--that thunders down the alleyways, all the way to Malacañang where someone is for sure crossing her fingers, wishing so darnly that the miracle of the “people power” would not descend upon us once more, at this particular time.

Let me reminisce once more. I remember those slow but excruciating hours leading to the downfall of then President Joseph Estrada; those dangerous hours that is so familiar to us at these very moments, where everything seemed to have happened so fast that the braggadocio of a macho President sputtered away pitifully like dried peas and when the smoke had cleared, we saw the once mighty President ushered away by the very people who were once his strength but later on became his captors.

Indeed, I can softly remember those days when I had taken it that President Estrada could seem to do no wrong before the eyes of a continually forgiving public, like he could go away from murder, where it had seemed the people who had rocketed him to the highest seat would forever be starstruck by his legend as an affable and indefatigable movie icon. But the worst things indeed happened as his people walked out of him one by one until the military, that ever requisite factor of a successful uprising, finally quitted on him, and urge him to step down almost upon gunpoint.

And now today, as we hold our breath, everything may happen so fast, like lightning. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should examine all her sides, especially the police and the military, and check on her loyalties often like she breathes, and to expect almost everything that is worst and hope that tomorrow will be another day and every document in Malacañang would still bear her signatures. The sun will come out tomorrow as the old familiar song says.

Where do I stand on this you might ask? Only if we could determine beyond doubt that GMA had really cheated in her winning the last presidential election, then it would have been easier to take sides. For certain, the cheater has no business ministrating upon millions of Filipinos suffering already from economic woes and won’t take anymore yet another rotten governance.

As a student of law in the past and until now, I was trained to respect the Constitution and hold it dear like a fragile but all too rare and precious of gems. We have been inculcated to see it that way, to respect and revere the Constitution like it is the Holy Grail, to protect it at all cost and from every trespasser.

If it were up to me, I hope violent transfer of power would not ensue and no blood of any of our countrymen would be spilt on the tarmac of revolution. Constitutional transfer of governance is deemed the best solution, if not the only solution.

Setting aside the present constitution may prove to be all too costly for us and in fact may be gravely time-consuming. We may have to painfully pass thru a messy labyrinth of conventions, plebiscites and arduous campaigning only to expect that another “people’s revolution” may scuttle it away in the future---like we are Sisyphus ever pushing that rock over the steep hill. It may seem like we are always destroying temples and rebuilding it in three days, like we are all like Christ Himself.

If the angry street marches we have now may become overly thundering, GMA may be left with no choice but to face impeachment for betraying the public trust, or resign her office outrightly. By then, the Vice-President may assume the empty seat as the constitution mandates. This way, we can evade bloodshed and at the same time preserve the constitution.

And by then, all sectors---the government, the opposition leaders, the religious people, the businessmen and the civil society---may come together at some appointed time and place, like in a summit, and determine wholeheartedly if we really need to shift to the parliamentary form of government, where we can change bedeviled leaders without risking lives and limbs and without doing away with constitutions which we have spent for and sacrificed for so heavily, and where general violence as a manner of takeover may be not as threatening as it is at present.
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