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by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Thursday, May. 06, 2010 at 12:05 PM 818-749-0272 1740 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, Ca 90026

The election campaign is heating up in the Philippines and all indications show that as we go down to the wires the anxiety about the possibility of failure will heighten. Political camps from all the variations of Laban, Lakas and Masa to the traditional Nacionalista, Liberal Party atb. are seemingly resigned to the idea that winning the ballots will not necessarily translate into bagging Malacanang. There are attempts at least within the circle of leading candidates to throw around the idea that they will revert to parliament of the streets in the worst case scenario: a Marcos era redux!

photo0614.jpg, image/jpeg, 1280x960


May 5,2010


By Plaridel Inkana

The election campaign is heating up in the Philippines and all indications show that as we go down to the wires the anxiety about the possibility of failure will heighten. Political camps from all the variations of Laban, Lakas and Masa to the traditional Nacionalista, Liberal Party atb. are seemingly resigned to the idea that winning the ballots will not necessarily translate into bagging Malacanang. There are attempts at least within the circle of leading candidates to throw around the idea that they will revert to parliament of the streets in the worst case scenario: a Marcos era redux!

If it is really in the mind of the seating administration to hold on to political power using whatever it takes – with GMA’s approval rating hitting all time low from SWS to Pulse of Asia’s recent polls – then they will be swimming against the tide, tidal wave that is. Those numbers are significant and clearly manifest the people’s frustration with the current government. But of course I’m pretty sure in spite of that fact, the Arroyo clique is still toying with the idea of extending its tenure as a caretaker government in the interim if there’s a failure of elections in May. This will give time for Arroyo to consolidate her forces, not to hold on to the government in perpetuity but particularly to weaken arch enemies within the ruling elite, and use that power as a leverage in striking a deal with friendlier opposition groups and possibly anointing a successor who is more willing to leave her sorties intact and exit the scene quietly. That is the most logical path GMA could take in order to avert her imminent date with the guillotine - but that is only my opinion.


The best strategy for the Arroyo government faced with current realities on the ground is absolutely to do nothing. Let the kinks of the new voting system unravel without significant government interventions: unreadable UV ink on ballots, 30% expected failure of optical reading units, failure in Hong Kong elections, logjam in text transmittal and power outages to name a few. Considering the level of mistrust all sectors of the Philippine society are harboring against Arroyo whatever the government do will be suspect, even honestly dealing with impending problems.

What we should know is with a new giant digital based system like what we have in place in the Philippines, a miniscule aberration if left unchecked could lead to a cascading failure that will eventually break the system. May be that’s what Arroyo is praying for.


There are ideas coming from some quarters even from the progressive bloc that under Obama’s liberal charge, Washington will not allow a failure of elections to happen which could lead to a quagmire reminiscent of Marcos and the Peoples Power Uprising. Some went even further to illustrate that the recent visit of GMA to Washington D.C. was in the behest of Obama himself to personally warn the Philippine president that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate any move to scuttle the May elections.

Yes the U.S. has a lot to do with the country’s affair but we have to clearly define what is the U.S. pertaining to its interests in the Philippines. Certainly it is not solely Obama’s. Paraphrasing Clinton, “it is the economy stupid!” It is the economic interests of Wall Street and global capital. Mcdonalds, WallMart, Chevron and other oil concerns, Westinghouse, Procter and Gamble, Del Monte, IBM, Citigroup, BofA to name a few.

How about the interests of other multinational corporations?

For example what will a change in Manila’s political climate means to multinational mining companies operating unabated in Mindanao particularly in the region of Northern Sorsogon which witnessed a spike in paramilitary killings and disappearances of indigenous activists organizing the people to defend their ancestral lands from corporate encroachment?

According to GRP’s own estimate, the country’s untapped commercial grade copper, silver and gold will amount to more or less 1 trillion in U.S. dollars if mined. Isn’t that enough incentive to meddle in the Philippine political affairs. Most foreign concerns who struck deals with the Arroyos were greatly rewarded. What will stop them from encouraging the present regime in prolonging its tenure? Nothing! Prove me wrong!

In Arroyo’s trip to Washington she had an audience with her liberal friends from her college days (she was a classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown) but I’m pretty sure boys from Gonzaga and Regents paid her a visit too. We cannot ignore the powerful conservative bloc who are working their darndest to telegraph Mr. Obama’s career. They could have assured Ms Arroyo that it will be full throttle for her again when they regain the upper-hand in Capitol Hill after the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections.

Some will argue it is bad for foreign capital to throw the archipelago into turmoil. But look, most if not all profitable ventures for international capitalists are located in areas embroiled in conflicts: Iraq, Niger Delta, Sudan, The Congo. It seems that super-profits is synonymous with total conflagration. PROVE ME WRONG!

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