Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Garci Bombs

Everybody seems to agree in at least one point: The political crisis in the Philippines has simmered down after the failure of the impeachment in the House of Representatives. While the opposition has tried to keep the (il)legitimacy issue of GMA’s presidency alive and continues to challenge her rule, the President and her allies claim that the country is back to business as usual. In a commentary, I explain what may be called the extraordinary political resilience of the President. If you have a closer look, this is only partly her own doing. GMA’s major strong point is the weakness of her opponents, who lack unity, leadership, a concept, not to mention a strategy.

A new chapter in this drama is just unfolding as Virgilio Garcillano who has been accused of colluding with the President to rig the May 2004 elections has entered the stage from his hideout in Mindanao. The circumstances of his emergence are worthy of a political thriller. Garci, as the maligned former elections commissioner has been christened by the public, is expected to testify at a joint committee hearing of the House of Representatives this Wednesday (December 7, 2005). His strategy has two components: denial (that he conspired with GMA to rig the vote) and counter-attack: Turning the tables, Garcillano’s lawyer has suggested that several of the President’s political foes have also spoken to the former elections commissioner during the 2004 polls. This is aimed at questioning the moral authority of the President’s foes.

Is the Philippine political class heading towards a political bloodbath or will it all end with a grand cover-up? Whatever the outcome of the ongoing drama, I don’t see closure anytime soon.


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