Seven Minutes to Midnight: The National Elections of 2010
What is important is that the election occurred. And while our “national doomsday clock” has been set back, it is a fair enough thing to say that it has been set back at least seven minutes…
Seven Minutes to Midnight:
The National Elections of 2010
It would be cliché to say that “EDSA won this election”. The whole campaign, from 2009 to this very moment in May, has been heated, and the election process has been touch and go. However, though the results have largely been the product of a massive wave of “Obama-ification”, or a voter trend towards idealistic rather than ideological foundations, the effects are not that overwhelming and there is still much left to be expected. The one thing that did surprise a lot of people is the successful—though sometimes rough and crude—conduct of the elections.
Since the beginning of the proposal for automating the 2010 elections, pundits and the people in general have concocted doomsday scenarios. 2005 left a bitter taste in the mouth, with a COMELEC Chairman involved in an alleged conspiracy to assure the victory of Gloria Arroyo, then seeking reelection. In 2007 another COMELEC Chairman, this time supposedly acting on orders was involved in a ZTE-NBN scandal, and consequently disgraced. The COMELEC institution was so riddled with corruption accusations that there was a growing movement to abolish the whole body once and for all. Automation was seen as merely “computerized” institutionalized cheating.
Other scenarios came into play: “no-el”, or no elections would be precipitated following certain emergency scenarios that would possibly erupt across the country and force an extension of the Presidential term. The No-El could also be precipitated by the failure of elections, which many predicted would come to pass.
The election happened anyway. Though there were still incidences of shootouts, machine glitches and other “standard” forms of political intimidation, the elections took off, and yielded quick results, and by night time more than half of the votes had already been counted for. In fact, people resorted to the traditional cheating method of vote-buying and armed goon squads to force candidacies.
Many may have thought that the military would step in. Many may have thought the COMELEC would again “be tainted with the grease of money”. Many may have thought that “orders from above” would force one doomsday scenario or another. Yet none of these nightmarish possibilities came to light. Remember the fact that Revolutions are only successful by implicit acquiescence of the State? In this case, the State may have issued orders to “stand down, and keep order”. Or it may have been the initiative of the institutions themselves.
Admittedly, that is a lot of may-haves. What is important is that the election occurred. And while our “national doomsday clock” has been set back, it is a fair enough thing to say that it has been set back at least seven minutes.
The Supreme Court is still generally populated by allies of the former President.
The “old political institutions” have reasserted themselves in their provinces, snuffing out idealistic groups (e.g., the Panlilios and Padacas of the regions). Most of them are LAKAS-Kampi, owing allegiance again to the former President.
The Congressional seats are still dominated by the LAKAS-KAMPI party, and allies to the former President; and with the trend of the current elections, would continue to dominate the Lower House.
The final key to the puzzle is the ascension of our present Chief Executive to the position of Congressman, setting up the next political battle in the Legislative Branch.
Remember that the last ruling of the Supreme Court was that the Cha-Cha proposal (in its Con-Ass form) would be allowed only after the elections. And enough preparation has been made by its supporters to push it through.
More ominous is the fact that Arroyos control seats in Congress, making dynastic “Prime Ministers”/”Speakers” a distinct possibility.
Yes, this is another “Iron Curtain doomsday scenario” (referring to the general reaction to Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech and how they thought it was mere “warmongering”). This doomsday scenario could be just that; another exaggeration of fancy, concocted by conspiracy-theory nuts. At this point, it is all too early to tell.
Barring that, there is still the less visible but continuing Communist and separatist insurgencies that hold shaky truces with the government and the formation of the “Magdalo” as a political entity. When Cory Aquino assumed the Presidency in 1986, the Communists were not consulted, and her rightist military allies were soon alienated. Both intensified their bid for power, one in the continuation of Marxist rebellion, and the other in the many, many coups against the government—one even came close to succeeding, if not for American intervention.
At least now, in the wake of EDSA 2, the Left has had some share of government positions, particularly in Congress. And though their two major senatorial candidates have failed to win Senate seats, the fact that they had candidates for that legislative body indicates their growing influence. The Left may also be realizing that maybe they could “transform” the “democratist-capitalist” institutions from within, rather than through the use of force. And yes, the “democratist-revolutionist” forces that are leaning to either the Left or to anarchic existence (overthrow for overthrow’s sake), have largely been rebuffed.
Then there is the “Magdalo” force. Right now, they are solidly against the present Administration and consequently supportive of any force against her. That force right now is represented by the Aquinos. Unfortunately, if the “monarchists” keep a low enough profile for a long enough time, the “Magdalo” could “evolve” into another political force altogether. There is also the generals, and retired officers who held prominent positions in government under the present Administration. The President-elect, if he alienates one or both, could trigger “coup hysteria” the way his predecessor did throughout 2005-2008. Even worse, he could trigger actual coups in the likes of 1986-1989. We must remember that forces of anarchy, whether harboring good intentions or no, can smell weakness, and they will be drawn towards it.
So, there we are with the “doomsday scenarios” for the future: the democratist-revolutionist factions in the form of the Left and the militant Right, taking more and more influence through both legitimate and “forceful” means, and the monarchist faction shifting political battlegrounds to the Legislature. With a pliant President, the monarchists could easily capture Congress.
Then again, the Center has control of the Presidency and the Senate, and could compel or influence the shifting of allegiances of the Lower House, as well as influence and placate the Left and the militant Right. For this much alone, even the conspiracy-theorist can have a long “breather”.