forgive and forget so i can sin anew

Analyzing GMA's call to form a government of national unity may
become as long and futile a process as getting it executed. Most of the
debate would involve problems of perception, sincerity, openness and
above all, an agreed platform or program to address the issues for
which the call is made.

As expected, the more scrupulous leaders, especially the rising "young
guns" from the opposition, may consider joining GMA's government of
national unity as a pact with Satan that cannot be disavowed. In their
perception GMA is demanding not only unwavering loyalty but also the
annihilation of their soul. In their view the electorate would perceive
any form of collaboration with GMA as blatant opportunism.

Yet the idea that a large part of our electorate does not like her is
inconceivable to GMA. She believes, as in the propaganda of her
spindoctors, that her accomplishments have been immense. She has
steered the economy to near-take off, she has given employment to
nearly all the unemployed, she has won over the swelling number of
squatters all over the country, her web of rolling stores has eased the
suffering of the poor and fed the hungry. Above all, she is known
globally as President George W. Bush's number one anti-terror
combatant of Asia.

She is certain that the media's underreporting (despite the efforts
of Malacañan spindoctors, as well as TV 4, 9 and 13) and the
opposition's savage demand that she resigns, lamentably, have
overshadowed her attainments. Nonetheless, notwithstanding the fact
that she is ignored by her own people, in the eyes of the world, she
remains to be an important mover in the enormous
social-political-economic matrix of Asia.

>>From day one of GMA's presidency she professed to unite the nation,
to cleanse government bureaucracy of graft and corruption, make the
economy grow so the poor will have food on their tables, roofs over
their heads and their children a good head start in education.

Yet even before her words receded into quietude, she was beleaguered by
charges of illegitimacy, maladministration, venalities involving the
First Family, corruption by her appointees and cronies. Her
trustworthiness rating went down by the minute. Instead of addressing
the charges and issues raised against her and the First Family, she
issued total denial all of charges and told those who raised the
charges "to stop politicking" so she can undertake the urgent task of
nation building.

>>From that day on denying charges and fingering the opposition for her
failures became the theme of her political elocution. In so doing, she
demonstrated to one and all that tricksters might learn how to escape
the blame but only the cunning have the slyness to shift it to an
enemy. She asked that we cease our recriminations, politicking, and
unite her executive authority so we all may "get on" and train our
focus on the future.

Whenever her government is riveted by events of extraordinary peril and
challenge, GMA and her advisers have all but told us that any form of
political criticism could destabilize her administration, which could
in turn drive away foreign investors and therefore debilitate the
economy. "The fact is that" they pontificated, the options open to the
administration are few and they consist mainly of riding out the times.

We have been hemmed in by previous tie-ups, failures, and schemes,
which are now grinding the economy to the ground. Yet GMA hid the fact
that she was the author of the fiscal crisis. In the four years of her
administration she increased our national debt by sixty-six percent
from the combined two trillion pesos incurred by all her predecessors
to six trillion pesos under her stewardship, with hardly any
accomplishment to show to our people. Again "unless we unite" we will
witness a trail of economic ruins-abandonment by foreign investors,
downgrading of our credit rating by financial institutions, and an
increase in numbers of the army of the poor and unemployed.

Then as now, the call to form a government of national unity has been
used by the administration, among other things, as a publicity and
denial stunt in the guise of a magnanimous peace offering or an
unselfish gesture to share sovereignty with the opposition. It is also
their social thermometer to determine the gravity of the electorate's
confidence and earnestness of the opposition in challenging the

"Let us forgive and forget and begin new." No doubt the motive behind
the call is well known - known to the people and the opposition -
to find in forgetfulness a corner to hide political wrongdoing.

Then as now, GMA has used denial to force upon us a politics of
forgetfulness, a joint public ritual by which we disremember her
transgressions as well as her bygone failures and hopefully cultivate
an abnormal capacity to accept her leadership for whatever its worth.

To minions like Speaker Jose de Venecia, Senators Edgardo Angara and
Miriam Santiago, GMA's call may sound self-serving but justifiable.
Accordingly political common sense dictates that it is pointless
exercise to dwell endlessly on past failures. An inordinate attachment
to the past will only deter us from "moving on" with the business of
living. Mature leaders are men and women who can deal with the problems
of the world as they come along and not as they were nor as we wish
them to be.

But to pursue this line of reasoning is to put up with wrongdoing at
any cost. No doubt it will take some so-called leaders a lifetime to
discover what was always wrong about overlooking evil. It would take
some bishops even longer. Note how obscenely some of them welcome the
chance to prolong GMA's denial, to help obliterate our memories of
her transgression and to demonstrate their organization's
spiritual-political clout. The organization's premises were often
amoral, but its leaders have bountiful moral vanity to expect that they
could prevail over consideration of realpolitik, appeasing GMA by
appealing to her sense of "right" and "wrong."

If it were the first time GMA made the call for unity government, the
electorate and leaders of the opposition may heed her call. They would
give her every opportunity and sufficient time to master events, to
deal with problems so she could solve then and move our society
forward. But this is her nth call and nobody believes her anymore. The
polls have shown that her credibility rating (only two out of ten
Filipinos believe her) has been the lowest for all the Presidents of
the Republic since polls have been taken.

The politics of denial and amnesia may be GMA's only way out of the
current political crisis. But it is no longer right for the opposition
and the electorate to obliterate their memories of her wrongdoing. The
call for a government of national unity has always been the means by
which the governing elite sedates our people whenever they reached the
shocking realization that their leaders have breached our Constitution
for which they have been sworn to protect. GMA wants to remain above
the law and still be recognized as the legitimate President of our

Electoral fraud, misuse of fertilizer fund to win support from local
officials, Venable LLP contract to craft a new constitution, connivance
with the majority in the House of Representatives to dismiss
impeachment complaints against her, are not failures due to hardened
structures or historical oversights. Nor were the charges against the
First Family's involvement in the jueteng payola scandal, influence
peddling, money, laundering, and smuggling figments of the
opposition's imagination.

Electoral fraud and other corruption scandals of the immediate past,
including the use of illegal force by police to brutalize dissenters
who assembled in the streets to seek redress of their grievances, are
willful acts intended to insure that GMA can concentrate power and
perpetuate herself in government. GMA has transmuted the power to bring
welfare to our people into the power to suppress liberty and perpetuate
tyranny. Such duplicitous moves could only endanger Philippine

In our country the politics of denial and amnesia, by some terrible
irony, has forced us the nth time to repeat a page of past history. We
may be a people of great patience, endurance and moral concern but as a
people we can hardly remember the recent past, more so the distant
ones. We cannot remember World War II atrocities by the Japanese
Imperial army that we readily agree to build memorial tablets in their
honor, even in places where they ruthlessly tortured, raped and killed
our men, women and children. We cannot remember the wrongdoings, much
less the names of politicians who only a few months ago were bannered
by media for graft and corruption. We are beginning to forget
yesterday's grave abuse of power and use of violence by the Armed
Forces against protesters who just wanted to voice their grievances
against the Commander-in-Chief.

Since we are a forgetful people, we always hope that opportunists and
profligates won't govern the Philippines We wish that money
appropriated for development were not stolen but were spent honestly
and judiciously on the intended projects. We want that if the
Philippines were transformed in the likeness of a modern Asian country
it will be as far removed from Marcos' legacy as today's Germany is
from Hitler's, so there would be no political turmoil, fiscal
deficit, ballooning foreign and domestic debts and endless new tax
measures. We long for a perfect leader. By some terrible twist of fate
we always get a woefully deficient one.

Still we need not obey necessity nor follow the grooves of the past, by
trying to deal with problems as they arise, and claiming illusionary
gains by politics of amnesia. We can embark on a more constructive and
beneficial course of action by remembering and undoing the mistakes of
the past, by rendering just punishments to those who have been
accountable for such wrongdoing, and by sweeping them into the dustbin
of history.

The years of Arroyo administration have made political life a living
hell, restored the urgency to change the rotten scheme of things
entire. Hopefully our people by rejecting her denial and awakening to
reckless electoral fraud, misgovernment, graft and corruption,
ingenuity of power would gain understanding of the importance of
governance. The next few months or years could be a more serious time
of political education.

We can suppose that the will to look for a better life is not dead in
this Republic and we will find answers that may yet surprise us all.
Who ever thought that we could stage a miracle that brought to an end
the foul practices of Marcos that was the nightmare of martial rule?