Saturday, July 09, 2005

Gloriagate

before medical school happened, I used to be aware of the politics of this country. I was at the EDSA II rallies that ousted Joseph Estrada from the presidency. I even joined the pre-EDSA II rallies, the ones organized by militant rightist groups and other UP students. I was a student in UP then and as we all know, UP has always been deeply involved in politics because of its non-apathetic students (and because of the student orgs backed by militants). anyway, my point is that there was a time i used to be aware of the issues.

and then medical school happened.

so now, i don't have much time to read the paper but i do my best to keep updated. so forgive me if i do not know a lot about what is happening in the country today. i know that GMA is in hot water for speaking with a Comelec official named Garci before the election results were out. The opposition contends that this was cheating because the context of the conversation may be interpreted as GMA asking Garci to "ensure" (read: cheat) that she maintains her lead. GMA and her allies contend on the other hand that, yes, she was stupid for speaking with Garci, but that she mainly did it not to cheat but to protect whatever votes have already been cast in her favor. i haven't heard the tapes or any recordings and outside of what i wrote above, i know almost nothing more.

let me just give my two centavos worth of opinion.

i like GMA. i really do. despite what other people say about her, i think she is smart and that she has a very good economic strategy to get this country out of the rut it's in. i think we haven't had a leader in awhile with this much political strength to make the tough calls to raise taxes, to whip the beaureucracy into fiscal discipline, to generally make some changes in government that matter. i think her agenda looks to the future rather than the present. most politicians are so worried about looking good that they have no political will to approve higher taxes because the masses won't like it, when they know full well that this is what the country needs desperately. GMA on the other hand has already said repeatedly that we have to swallow the bitter pill. and that's what she has been giving this country. so it is understandable that people hate her. because by definition, bitter pills taste just that, bitter.

if one looks at the business pages before all this gloriagate scandal, you will see only one trend -- business is (or was) going up. we're within targets of the budget deficit. the peso was doing well compared to other currencies. all other economic parameters looked good. we were growing economically at a slow but steady pace. this was part of what GMA was talking about. her first priority was to put the fiscal house in order. she's achieved that (or was getting there). sooner or later, had there not been trouble, she would have made these changes meaningful to the common Filipino. she was hated so much because the common Filipino didn't know about these things that were happening in the economic and business fields. these recent improvements in the economy are just abstract concepts to the 60% of Filipinos living below the poverty line, whose only concern was to earn enough to buy rice and fish for the day's meals. they don't care about the GDP and GNP. but just because they don't care does not mean it isn't important (this lesson has to be learned by a lot of pa-pogi politicians).

so all this accusations of cheating came out. at first, i really didn't have an opinion about it, mainly because, as i said, i like GMA. and then i thought about compromises and how God really hates compromising. Cheating is cheating and if she did cheat during the elections, then there must be corresponding repercussions for the sin, no matter how good a leader she was. this country has been riddled with corruption since the marcos era (perhaps even before that). people in government have always robbed the people through corruption and the people have always felt resigned to the fact that corruption will always be a commonplace thing in this country, where the lowliest policeman up to the highest official in the land is involved. this shouldn't be the case. if GMA is booted out of office by the masses (which I don't really want to see happen) or is proved guilty by congress (which i doubt will happen), or if she resigns (???), maybe she will serve as an example: no matter how smart or how good a leader or how much great plans the leader has, it won't matter in the end because the law will punish him if he does something illegal like massive electoral cheating. maybe something drastic will happen this time such that once and for all, people in government will realize that the people on the streets really do want a clean government and will not tolerate cheating (or corruption). or maybe i'm just being too idealistic.

i don't really know what's going to happen. i want GMA to continue on as president and I want to believe that she isn't guilty. but i'd be stupid if i said that she isn't. she looks like she is. and if she is guilty, then she has to suffer the consequences of her actions (sounds naive but it's true). so whatever tomorrow holds for this country, i don't really know but i'm not worried because i know that whoever will be president in the days to come, God allowed that person to sit there for a reason. In the end, God is still in control and He is still ruler of the universe. just by that reason alone, i feel safe in His arms and I feel secure.

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