February 25, 2006

London Bridge is Falling Down

Er, Don Chino Roces Bridge, that is.

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists, the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State, who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people's confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that:

" The President... whenever it becomes necessary,...may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress...rebellion...," and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and six.

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO President Republic of the Philippines

Protesters at EDSA Kamuning. | Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe declaration of the "State of National Emergency" at Proclamation Number 1017 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ushered in a new era in the Philippines, one of deceit, deception and thievery. Or perhaps we never expected it, nor did we want it.

Stealing is bad, you should know that, it on the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai (or Horeb). We were taught not to steal. We were told not to cheat (Okay, we cheat on exams but that’s still not good).

But when you steal, you cheat, you rob a person of his rights; you don’t control that person any longer. That person has ceased to be under your control. When you rob the people of their property, expect the full brunt of their anger. But when you rob their ideals, dreams, aspirations and their rights, expect the wrath of God.

People may say that Arroyo cheating on the elections was good, for it saved the country from the cudgels of Fernando Poe, Jr. (rest in peace) and his cohorts. They viewed Arroyo as the “lesser evil,” perhaps other see her as the only “good,” and perhaps “best” candidate. They even acknowledge that even though Arroyo cheated, it was sufficient for her to defeat Poe (perhaps they did not know that when you cheat, whether or nor it surpassed the votes of the opponent, it is still illegal, according to the Omnibus Election Code).

Yet, how can we be so sure that Poe would be bad, nay, worse than President Estrada (who was deposed by the Supreme Court at the height of EDSA 2)? How sure are these people? Are they soothsayers, nay, God? Who are they to rig the elections? Are they higher than the law?

And know, State of Emergency has descended among us. We live out daily lives not knowing what will happen. Will I be arrested? Will my rights be curtailed?

Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona at the EDSA Shrine rally. | Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usArroyo is on the verge of a dictatorship. Let us not deny it, State of Emergency, at least on the Filipino context, covers economics exclusively. No politics. Yet Arroyo has proven her expertise as a master politician. What could be worse than martial law? Now you ask me: “Is there anything worse than martial law?”

The 1987 Constitution allows the President to declare martial law on these grounds: to suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Aside from those grounds, the 1987 constitution has another restriction: Congress (that is, Senate and the House), must convene within 48 hours after the declaration to debate matters.

Now the state of emergency can go on forever. Okay, indefinitely, you get my point. Arroyo can place the nation under the state of emergency for as long as she wants, come hell, fire and brimstone and high water. With the ambiguity of the term “state of emergency,” the Arroyo administration can do anything that they’d want to. From warrant-less searches, warrant-less arrests, heck even summary executions. Also, Arroyo’s allies at Congress may not allow anybody from talking about it, while in session. Anything is possible.

Now you know why Arroyo wants to change the constitution. Badly.

Back to the state of emergency, now why did she declare state of emergency? What are the grounds? Was there really clear and present danger? If the conspirators were captured, and they are all under custody, then what is the point? Can’t the normal laws run? If state of emergency is declared, then she would have negated all of her so-called economic “reforms” such as the highly unpopular Expanded-VAT, which will cause the flight of investors.

Or is it a plan gone all wrong? Remember, Marcos allowed the staged shooting of Juan Ponce Enrile to pave the ground for the declaration of martial law in 1973, is Arroyo doing the same old thing? Is this, in what wrestling aficionados call, a work? And with the proposed constitution’s futures dimming, is this another way to stay in power? Is still an overkill? When will this be lifted? Is Arroyo stepping into the unknown? Will she usher in a dictatorship?

It clearly shows that Arroyo planned this. And the suppression of human rights (reports say that she has the 2nd worst human rights record among Philippine presidents, after Marcos) will continue.

Will we ever see the light? We can only hope.

More links:
Philippines under state of emergency, 2006 from Wikipedia
Full text on the proposed constitution (opens a PDF file)

Photo credits
Copyright GMA News, grabbed from Flash Report
Copyright ABS-CBN News, grabbed from News Patrol


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