Monday, July 27, 2009

What’s Norberto up to?

What in heaven or hell’s name is the nation’s In-security Adviser, Norberto Gonzales, up to? He and his acolyte (it used to be reverse roles), Romeo “Archie” Intengan, the ingenuously “jesuitic” priest cum political ideologue, have been going the rounds of whoever care to listen for the last several months, whispering about a plot to save “democracy”, reform the country, and put to eternal rest their worst enemies --- the political left, the “communists” which is how they call anyone who does not subscribe either to an archaic Cold War version of “freedom” or their social democrat mantras.

They have talked to my lord bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan and Fernando Capalla of Davao, Diosdado Talamayan of Cagayan and Ramon Villena of Bayombong. Together these four are trying to outshine each other for the “pleasure” of Dona Gloria’s anointment as her cardinal of the Malacanang Diocese.

They “convinced” the quartet to “conditionally” bless their vision of a Reformist Transition Council of State (RETRACOS), which shall immediately preside over the revision of the present Constitution (by themselves and their “acolytic” minions), reform the electoral system (probably with Ben Abalos, Garcillano, Bedol, Sumalipao and Icaro as the “reformists”), and hold elections still on May 2010, for a parliamentary, federalist (their sweetener) form of government. “Just be sure we will have elections in 2010”, one of the prelates told them.

In order to make-believe that they have the full support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, they trot out Milo Ibrado, Norbert’s deputy in the National Security Council, who happens to be the brother of the Chief of Staff, Gen. Victor Ibrado. The gullible fall for their poster-boy camouflage.

Armed with DD Pueblos and the Malacanang Diocese’ nihil obstat condizionerum, they discuss their proposal with the chief magistrate of the land no less, Reynato Puno. And offer him no less than the chair of their Retracos. The CJ, we are told, remained silent, imperturbably suppressing a giggle or a smile, and just gazed beyond Norbert.

Norbert and Archie next peddled their wares, now with their testimonial “impression” that the Chief Justice himself would not object, to another set of bishops, this time belonging to the perceived Diocese of the Streets. The bishops brought along their consiglieri on matters temporal and non-spiritual --- a lawyer here, a civil society stalwart there. They were astonished at the proposal, not the least being the contradiction in terms presented by the word “reform” and Gloria.

For here was Norbert saying that while the CJ would be their chairperson, one of the members of the Retracos would be La Donna Gloria Macapagal Macaraeg de Arroyo, misma! Lastima!

Porque, los obispos “de la calzada” ask? How could that be? How could reform and Gloria mix together, let alone the better Puno and sui generis Macapagal-Arroyo?

Ah! Norbert explains, “the chain of command in the AFP cannot be broken. And GMA is the top of that chain, as commander-in-chief, so she must perforce be part of the Retracos”.

Politely the bishops declined their benediction. (What kind of damaged culture tells us we must be polite even before those we find objectionable? Why can’t we find it within us to be frank and candid, and tell our enemies off --- to their face?)

I was told that Norbert and Archie have been talking to other men of the cloth, but as I have no personal admissions from those they allegedly tried to convince, I shall not purvey rumour.

Now why must a supposedly responsible person, appointed at that as member of the cabinet being the National Security Adviser and Executive Director of the National Security Council, be peddling a concept anathema to constitutional order? For the Constitution prescribes both term limits for public officials and acceptable, legal modes of revising hat Constitution itself. And nowhere in its text or the antecedent minutes of the Commission that promulgated it, does it say anything about a Reformist Transition Council of Sorts (Retracos still).

Does the Dona know about Norbert’s ingenious proposal? Or Don Miguel? Or Senor Buboy (Diosdado too)? She should.

And clearly she does. For neither slap on the wrist, or as normal leaders would, removal from the cabinet, has been inflicted upon Norbert.

The Chief Justice has admitted that he did meet with Norbert. But that he refused to play along. The bishops of the Diocese of the Streets have publicly described their unusual face-off with Norbert too. Maybe my lord bishop DD Pueblos of the Diocese of Malacanang, or Ramon Villena, the Dona’s personal favourite, or Capalla and Talamayan will likewise affirm. They are not allowed by the Pope to lie, remember? Or maybe they could wiggle out by saying Norbert “confessed” his plot to them.

Now if her National Security Adviser publicly proposes something that is illegal in se and per se, and her mouthpiece Sergio Remonde as well as her eminence grise Eduardo Ermita disclaim the same as mere personal opinion, cannot the people conclude that she approves of the same?

Which is why the FSGO is right when it states that what the people want to hear in her SONA (I am writing this article hours before she addresses Congress), the following:

“That she will relinquish all power at noon of June 30, 2010, and thus allow the peaceful and orderly transfer of power to her duly-elected successor;

“That she will not allow any effort to alter, amend or re-write the Constitution before June 30, 2010, nor would she support any effort to prepare for a Constituent Assembly, and would leave it to the next leadership in both the executive and legislative branches of government to call for an elected Constitutional Convention to amend the charter;

“That she will ensure that all support mechanisms will be undertaken to ensure clean, honest, free and orderly elections on May 10, 2009, and will not in any way use the powers and resources of her incumbent office to influence or alter the people’s free and sovereign choice of their next leaders, nor in any way cause the failure of said electoral exercise;

“And that she will not entertain any suggestions or attempts to impose emergency rule or martial law, and would prosecute all public officials who suggest the same in public statements calling for a revolutionary or transition government, all of which are anathema to democratic order.”

And anticipating that she will not state the same, the FSGO further said:

“Failure on her part to forthrightly declare all these should be taken by the Filipino people as clear intent to thwart the elections of 2010 under the mandates of law and the Constitution.

“It is clear in most every public opinion survey that the people want the elections of 2010 to proceed and succeed in electing a new set of leaders. The second quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations for the current year reinforces previous public opinion research on the non-acceptability of charter change. Seven out of every ten adult Filipinos nationwide oppose changing the Constitution to allow her continued rule beyond June 30, 2010. In the National Capital Region, fully 83% oppose it.

“We, the Former Senior Government Officials therefore ask the Filipino people to be prepared to do anything and everything to thwart all plans and attempts to prolong the rule of the present administration under the leadership of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We call on all sectors of the population, whatever their calling, wherever they are in these islands, to be prepared to resist.

“We have thwarted the enemies of democracy before. We should be prepared to do it again.”

That statement has been furnished to the State Department of the United States of America, as it has been to heads of missions of ASEAN and our major trading and diplomatic partners.

* * *

Vegetius Renatus in his Epitoma Rei Militaris wrote: “Se vis pace, pare bellum”. “Let him who desires peace be prepared for war”.

And the erudite, highly respected chief magistrate of the land, speaking through Midas Marquez his spokesperson, clarified that a “transition council” , by whosever concept, Norbert’s or whoever, can only be possible “if there is a supervening event”.

In 1986, a “supervening event”, thereinafter referred to as “people power”, toppled Ferdinand Marcos. In 2001, a supervening event called Edsa Dos toppled Joseph Estrada. Will there ever be a supervening event to prevent Gloria Macapagal Macaraeg de Arroyo, “pinagpala ng Panginoon” (according to herself), from ruling forever and ever, and finally and formally creating her imperial Diocese of Malacanang to bless her “forever and ever”? Hallelujah! Laudamus te! Glorificamus te! Pax Glorianicus.

Or will that supervening event devour the impostor astride the tiger’s back?

Let us just pray for Cory Aquino.