People’s contingency plan vs ‘Gloria Forever’
As calls for vigilance over possible attempts to sabotage the May 2010 elections intensify, we miss Josie Lichauco, activist for good governance.Josie, who served as transportation and communication secretary during the Ramos administration passed away last Feb. 14. Yesterday, her family and friends held a mass on the 40th day of her death.
The Concerned Citizens Movement, which Josie started with a few friends in 2005, is formulating a “People’s Contingency Plan to Counter Gloria Forever”.
Marily Orosa, CCM co-convenor said, “The issue now is not whether there will be failure of elections. That’s already a foregone conclusion. The issue is what will the people do in response to the failure?”
It was CCM that petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the Comelec – Smartmatic –Total Information Management consortium from carrying out the nationwide automation of the 2010 elections because it was never tested in a smaller scale as required by the law.
CCM said glitches are inevitable in a new automated system and the Comelec is risking failure by going nationwide untested.
CCM co-convenor Bettina Legarda recalls that it was Josie who frantically convened a meeting of the CCM to discuss the prospects of an automated failure of elections because she was in her lifetime an authority in the filed of telecommunications and Information Technology law.
Her immediate concern then was the lack of 100% telecommunications connectivity in the country that would make a nationwide automated elections impossible. This, plus the scenario articulated by then National Security Council Norberto Gonzalez about a transition council with Gloria Arroyo as a member of the same compelled CCM to file its Petition against the automated elections.
The Supreme Court dismissed the CCM petition. But the concern has not been erased. It has even intensified , what with Presidential deputy spokesperson Charito Planas talking of a possible military takeover in the event of a failure of elections in May.
Harry Roque, professor of law at the University of the Philippines and another CCM convenor said, “we may have lost the case in the Supreme Court, but we succeeded in provoking a public discussion of the possibility of a failure of elections. Now, not only are people convinced that it will certainly happen, but people have rightfully connected the failure of elections with the recent Supreme Court decision allowing Mrs. Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice. It’s all part of an overall scheme intended to perpetuate Mrs. Arroyo in office beyond June 30, 2010. It’s OPLAN Gloria Forever still.”
This scenario has gained credence with the appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, an Arroyo loyalist as Armed Forces chief and Malacañang’s reported plan to install another Arroyo loyalist, National Capital Region Police Chief Roberto Rosales, in place of current PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, who has of late shown some degree of independence in political issues.
Roque said, at a bare minimum, CCM will reject any proposal for a transition government that would include Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. “The Constitution may not have contemplated a failure of automated elections. It is very clear though that under the Constitution, an incumbent President could never be a hold-over President.”