Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The New Administration Lightning Rod

It looks like House Speaker Prospero Nograles is trying his hand at replacing former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez as the administration’s lightning rod. From the looks of it, Nograles has readily leaped into this role with gusto.

Recently, former President Cory Aquino accused the House of a “shameless abuse of power”, when it approved the controversial Resolution 1109, which calls for the House to convene as a constituent assembly. In reaction, Nograles lashed back at Aquino by describing her administration as “the best example of raw, unbridled and uncontrolled power.”

It appears that Nograles, despite his being an opponent of the Martial Law regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, is practicing selective memory, as he forgets why it was necessary to have the revolutionary government in the first place. To refresh his memory, the revolutionary government was formed after Marcos was toppled in the peaceful EDSA revolution in 1986. It was a revolutionary government because it was forged in the flames (metaphorically, of course) of the EDSA revolution, and it was necessary to remove all traces of the corrupt martial law regime.

That Aquino squandered her opportunities in fully rehabilitating the Philippine government, simply reestablished the ruling pre-Martial Law elite, and created new dynasties such as that of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay is beside the point. The fact remains that her Presidency was responsible for getting rid of twenty years of repressive martial law.

And now Nograles appears to repudiate EDSA and go to bat for an Arroyo administration that seems to be doing its utmost best in outdoing what Marcos and his cronies did. His statements only display his historical ignorance and do nothing to assuage fears that the House will accede to the President’s wish to stay in power. In fact, his statements simply show that Nograles is an Arroyo lapdog through and through, that he is willing to deny history in defense of this administration.

Another instance where Nograles doesn’t seem to get it was when he assailed the anti-Charter Change movement for ignoring the fact that the Senate had come out with a resolution calling for a shift to a federal government. He lamented that, because that resolution was proposed by the opposition, people didn’t react negatively to it, while HR 1109 is being demonized because the administration allies approved it.

For one thing, a number of Senators have already withdrawn their support for the federalist resolution, fearing that the administration may use it to ram Charter Change through. For another, the fact that people didn’t react to the Senate resolution, and reacted badly to HR 1109 should tell Nograles just how low people regard the administration.

No matter how hard the administration tries to spin it, opposition to Charter Change before the 2010 elections is not going to die down, because of the perception that the administration and its lackeys in the House will use it to extend itself in power. Nograles and his merry men (and women) should recognize that they’re playing with fire, and the country will be badly burned if they continue on this course.

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