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July 19, 2008

How low can low ever get for a President? President Arroyo is seem destined to go down in history as the president to garner the lowest popularity rating ever. To compare her with Ferdinand Marcos is perhaps even inappropriate because at his lowest Marcos was a prime suspect as mastermind in the assassination of his political arch-nemesis, the popular Ninoy Aquino. There is yet no crime of that proportion to tarnish her image, so you can just imagine the depths to which she is plunged. (Oh, but she loves deep-sea diving, doesn’t she?)

Does she care? She does; who is the person who would not be disturbed that a good percentage of the people he leads wants him lynched, another wants him slapped, another wants him cursed? But she seems to have imbibed desensitizing agents in great dosages. That, in combination with her faith, or delusion, that God put her there for a reason, should be enough to hold back any cares and concerns about public opinion most of the day, in the meantime at least. In her mind, it’s probably this: ” is popularity even of any necessity at all?” Indeed, do you need the people’s mandate to hold on to power? For if her popularity be any gauge, she should have been a goner a long time ago, but look, the ‘lucky bitch’ as her favorite adviser lovingly describes her, is still there.

If you are one of those who believe that all is fair in love and politics, she will certainly earn your praises. Look back how institutions were sacrificed to dump a drunkard and a high school dropout for her to make it to the highest office of the land, she, the prim and proper, churchgoing PhD graduate from a pedigreed family. If institutions could be demolished and ignored for reasons of Estrada and FPJ surely there is more reason to do her in now with scandals of unprecedented proportions breaking out into the open with amazing regularity. Yet look closely how she has cleverly pushed back all opposition including even her fiercest critics into going back to the institutions— to cut her down if they want, if they can. Well, the fact is she needed only ride on the growing sentiment that tweaking social institutions does worse than good in the end. Funny, she also has herself to prove that argument.

So what’s next in her game plan? Capture the institutions. Partly finished. She has done most of the finishings there already in masterful strokes and in cold-blooded fashion over the years fighting attempts to kick her out of power. It should be ‘expand and strengthen capture of institutions’.

The recent rulings of the Supreme Court are ready hints where this institution is headed. Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s dissenting opinions no matter how enlightening will forever be weighed down by his disjointed “constructive resignation” conjecture on Joseph Estrada to ever exert any moral influence on his colleagues. Who would listen to you when not so long ago you penned an atrocious decision whose illogic they could not possibly surpass anytime soon?

The Lower House is easy. Pera lang yan.

The military establishment, after the super loyal General Hermogenes Esperon, is harder to fathom. But the remains of General Angelo Reyes’ act in 2001 persist. The noble motives that inspired his mutiny inflicted upon the establishment cracks that to this day are visible and unrepaired. The fear that another extra-constitutional act could make it worse is a powerful deterrent. More, it must be safe to say that GMA enjoys the support of a die-hard faction in the military who would die and kill for her. That faction would be in unwitting alliance with the same conservative groups who frown on EDSA type uprisings. So there’s a lot of guessing game at play there. On the other hand, while there is so much grumbling among the idealists in the corps they need a leader, but their leaders have been either neutralized or compromised.

As for the Senate, she has shown how to castrate it without too much blood. An EO here and an AO there, or an invocation of executive privilege that will be questioned and defended in the SC for months on end… they give time to let issues die down. Accompanied by a barrage of “let’s move on”, the opposition will get frittered down little by little, inch by inch, as usual.

As for the Church, hahaha pera lang din yan couched in harmless names.

There. What’s her problem? You have opponents who respect institutions. All you need now is have those institutions marching in trance to your every command. Game is yours. Easy.

As for public opinion, it seems all she needs is thorough convincing not to stage or support an uprising because the institutions must be respected, else, things will get worse. They can hate you all they want, so what?! Just don’t let it develop into a massive movement that could not be controlled like EDSA 1 and 2.  Massive dole-outs could help.

That hatred too shall pass if she could yet do something to carve out for herself a nice place in history… if only there is at least six more years to do it.

The only thing left to do is convince the elites she is yet the best bet to do their bidding.

Oh, the other option is just unimaginable. A life in prison or exile as wife of Jose Pidal,… and as a sad footnote in history? Yuck!

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