2007 Philippine Elections: What’s at Stake (2)

May. 02, 2007

In this second installment in Davao Today’s Q&A series on the 2007 elections, newspaper columnist and political analyst Luis V. Teodoro argues that the May 14 elections will be a “turning point in whether the march to authoritarianism will continue or if the political crisis that began in 2004 — the crisis of legitimacy of the Arroyo regime — can begin to be resolved.”

What is at stake in this election?

This election will be a turning point in whether the march to authoritarianism will continue or if the political crisis that began in 2004 — the crisis of legitimacy of the Arroyo regime — can begin to be resolved. The first (and worse) will happen if the regime retains control of the House and gains control of the Senate. The second could — a possibility — if the opposition prevails.

Some say the Arroyo administration is determined to dominate the elections to head off another possible impeachment and political turbulence. Any thoughts on this?

Beyond that intent, I think a sweep by Arroyo regime candidates in the House and the Senate — which is likely through the use of fraud and lots and lots of government money — is likely to be used by the regime to justify even worse human rights abuses, including more activist killings and the suppression of free expression, and more arrests on trumped-up charges. Note that (Department of National Defense secretary Hermogenes) Ebdane has already declared that the regime will intensify its anti-terrorism campaign by July.

There is also the sense that local political groups or politicians are exploiting the administration’s desperation. They do this by getting political concessions from the administration which they would then use to beef up their own political domains. Any thoughts?

Thats because they know the regime will do and give anything to win at the local level. The national and local trapos (traditional politicains_ are in effect in a developing conspiracy to give the regime a resounding mandate after May.

What are the issues do you think should be on the table during the campaign but are not being discussed?

Arroyos legitimacy, and its link to the House and Senate campaigns. Poverty. Human rights. The US role in the return of authoritarian rule. The ongoing and totally cynical destruction of the party list system so the dynasties can retain their dominance in Congress.

What do you think is the administration’s strongest points, and the opposition’s?

The regime has the money, the military, and the willingness to do ANYTHING to win. The opposition is scared of the regime. Its only strong point is that the people despise the Arroyo regime, but it is not taking advantage of it because too many of them are afraid to burn their bridges with the Malacanang crew and its operatives.

What would swing the polls? The middle class? The Left? The Right?

Everyone working together against the regime and its candidates would do it — but thats not likely. The Right is part of the problem. The Middle Class is cynical, stupid and weak-minded. The Left is their convenient scapegoat.

What is your sense of how Filipinos regard or appreciate the elections? Is this something important to them? Do they even care? Or are they jaded?

I dont think they care because theyre unable to think things through. They think this is just another election; they cant put in the context of the Arroyo regime drive for total dominance at the expense of the Bill of Rights — in fact the entire Constitution, which they will rewrite if they win this May. Besides, many Filipinos think they can always leave — or are too busy deluding themselves that voting for (boxing champion Manny) Pacquiao or some other idiot will make things better or at least bearable. We have a human factor deficiency in this country. We have seen the enemy and it isnt only the ruling class — it is also us. (davaotoday.com)

Historian and political analyst Manuel Quezon III answered these same questions in the first installment of this series. Read it here.

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