May 16, 2010
‘Conscience will have nothing to do with the inevitable shift in the loyalty of the erstwhile allies of Gloria.’
RARELY do we agree with Gloria Arroyo’s apple polishers, but this time we are with presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo when he said Noynoy Aquino must be kidding when he said Gloria Arroyo, not Kris Arroyo, should go on self-exile. Noynoy was commenting on a promise of Kris during the campaign that she would leave the country if her presence became a liability to her brother’s presidency.
Our reason, however, is nothing remotely related to Saludo’s claim that Arroyo cannot leave because she has a duty to fulfill her mandate as an incoming Pampanga congressman. Gloria should stay – nay, be prevented from leaving the country – so she could face the charges the incoming administration is readying against her.
Noynoy ran on the platform of anti-corruption. That promise must be redeemed. Gloria and her family must not be allowed to escape the reach of justice by leaving for a foreign refuge where the Philippines does not an extradition treaty.
Gloria calculated badly when she decided to run for her district’s seat in the House. She thought she could continue being a player in the national political scene by becoming Speaker. By becoming the fourth-ranking leader of the land, she thought she could secure virtual immunity from prosecution by threatening Noynoy with impeachment.
At last count, there are about 105 Lakas Kampi congressional candidates who made it. That falls short of the 135 or so votes (partylist representatives included) needed to elect her as Speaker. Worse, it is all but certain that most of these nominal allies of hers will dump her in favor of the new administration’s anointed for the top House post.
Noynoy said a "conscience vote" would carry the day for incoming Quezon City Rep. Sonny Belmonte. That’s nicely phrased, coming from Noynoy who occupied the moral high ground during the campaign. Conscience, however, will have nothing to do with the inevitable shift in the loyalty of the erstwhile allies of Gloria.
Lack of conscience or "utang na loob" is more likely it. The problem with transactional politics is that when one party no longer has the chips to buy the loyalty of the other, the relationship is dissolved.
Noynoy can mouth all the platitudes about bringing back decency and morality to governance, but if he wants to lead effectively, he should master how to push the levers of power. Well-timed and well-aimed nudges at the incoming members of the 15th Congress should strip Gloria of any residual delusion she continues to be a significant term in the political equation.
Or that she would not end up in Bilibid.