GMA’s isolation from jaor political and social forces have gone from bad to worse even prior to Feb. 24. Already, the broad united front seeking her ouster included a cross-section of the population, including restive junior military officers. Various coalitions and alliances have been formed, and even the conservative Catholic bishops issued a rebuke on GMA’s attempts to cover up the truth that the murdered impeachment process could have helped uncover. More and more are entertaining the prospect of Arroyo’s removal and having a Transition Council as the immediate replacement and vehicle for urgent reforms, including the holding of special elections for the presidency.
For all intents and purposes, GMA’s Feb. 24 coup turned the tables on this broad united front by calling it a Left-Right conspiracy and thereby causing the filing of multiple rebellion charges on a handful of junior military officers and some of her leading critics in Congress, the Independent Bloc of partylist representatives of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela.
GMA’s coup especially targetted the Left and sought to demolish the six-person Independent Bloc, starting with the forcible abduction-cum-warrantless arrest of labor leader and Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran on Feb. 25 as he was on his way to Manila, and the attempted violent abduction of Bayan Muna Rep. and House Deputy Minority Leader Satur Ocampo.
Three rebellion cases were filed against the Batasan 6 and six other leaders of mass organizations involved in the oust Arroyo movement. The filing of these rebellion complaints and the attempted warrantless arrests on the Batasan 6 and other activist leaders sought to jail, silence and disempower these noted mass leaders whose organizations have the proven capacity of organizing and mobilizing huge numbers of people. The case of the Batasan 6 is a stark example of how GMA is brazenly violating due process and civil liberties of its critics. The still unproven charges of conspiracy and rebellion are being used to erase the Batasan 6’s legitimate claim to their human rights and civil liberties.
Media was and is not spared. The Tribune was raided. Security forces were sent to ABS-CBN and GMA. “Media guidelines” were issued. Several unnamed media personalities were placed on surveillance. Two anti-Arroyo radio programs were booted out from a radio station whose owner is closely identified with GMA. The media and press freedom were again misrepresented by government as part of the problem that is a hated and discredited presidency.
The political murders continue. Cris Hugo, a 20-year-old journalism student and leader of the League of Filipino Students in Bicol, was shot dead. Several other activists were murdered in various places in Central Luzon. The AFP and the PNP continue to show disinterest in investigating or stopping the political murders most probably because the blood trail would only lead to those who are implementing Proclamation 1017 and the Oplan Bantay Laya of the AFP.
Perhaps the biggest sign of GMA’s ultra-rightwing coup is the use of the communist bogey, the whipping up of anti-Left hysteria especially among the middle classes. Depending on the apathetic and anti-Left middle class, the hypocritical GMA has labelled the Left as a “historical enemy of the republic” and called on the people to reject the Left’s alleged conspiracy with the Right to install a junta. (It is rather unfortunate that some of the so-called educated people fall prey to this fantastic yarn. For how could the Left possibly allow a military coup to the extent of allowing a military junta that will surely be anti-Left? Besides, the Left has been a mainstay in the pro-democracy struggles since the first workers’ movement was born — it fought the invading Japanese and fought mightily the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent regimes that did not dare demolish all martial law structures left by Marcos. The many Left martyrs and heroes attest to this fact.)
But ultra-rightwing tyrants like Arroyo are actually very isolated. They are prone to the united action of the Right, Middle and Left or just about everyone else other than GMA’s terrible ultra-rightwing cabal.
Indeed, the GMA ultra-rightwing coup is bound to fail. She may be holding firmly on the presidency she continues to usurp, but with 65 percent of the population wanting her out and with fascism becoming more brazen, she should prepare to the shock of her sorry life. (The people’s initiative cannot save her but will even bury her deeper in disrepute. The whole nation knows that it is GMA-initiated and therefore fake people’s initiative that, many older people say, is no different from how Marcos had his dictatorial Constitution approved in the 197o’s.)
Lest we forget, Filipinos survived and ultimately defeated a far worse and far superior tyrant than she is now.