Last July 8, 2005, we started an internet-based initiative asking GMA to resign now, based on a moral conviction that the revelations in the "Garci" tapes are much more than just a lapse in judgment, and that GMA's voluntary resignation will decisively and immediately abate our present political crisis.
Many of you not only responded, but also reacted. While most of you concurred with our premise, you did not necessarily agree with our course of action, preferring instead other modes of resolving this issue - like impeachment, snap elections, or setting up of a truth commission, among others.
Looking at the ensuing debates in egroups and live forums, we can only conclude that our nation is not only divided. we have become a people hopelessly fragmented. Calls for unity from both sides of the fence are hollow, and no one is responding; because at its core, they are really just asking: "join us and condemn the others". People have taken up positions on the issue, and no amount of logic or cajoling will make them cross over to another position.
So. rather than trying to convince you that "GMA resign" is the one and only correct solution to the present crisis, we decided to ask you instead, "What do you think should be done to resolve the issue?" Rather than arguing on the merits or lack of it of other positions, we thought we can harness your views and positions as inputs towards consensus building.
We have redesigned the website (now called www.SaveTheRepublic.net) to allow you to enter your preferred course of action. The options are:
1.. Voluntary resignation of GMA
3.. Truth Commission
4.. Snap Election
5.. Interim Caretaker government
We assume that all of these can be accomplished within our existing constitutional framework. We will submit the results of this poll to our political, church, and civic leaders who are actively involved in the resolution of this issue. Hopefully, this will make them come together and work towards a consensus on how to best address the crisis.
I think it's time that the voice of those of us who have internet access - the middle class, the working professionals, and the OFW community, should be heard. After all, we are the backbone of the economy. And we played a pivotal role during EDSA 1 and 2.
If you want to be counted, visit www.SaveTheRepublic.net now.
And if you want to participate in discussions, you can send a blank e-mail to
Now. for my personal commentary:
I believe we are where we are today because we are looking for a political solution to a moral crisis. Thus, we tend to ask the wrong questions which lead to faulty conclusions which, in turn, lead to intransigent positions that do not address the core issue.
Many people ask the questions:
1.. What happens if GMA steps down, either by resignation or through impeachment?
2.. Who will replace her?
3.. Is Noli qualified to lead the country? If not Noli, then who?
4.. Are we not just recycling the same old faces from the opposition and allowing them to grab power at this time?
5.. What alternatives are being offered by those asking GMA to step down?
6.. Will we be better or worse off if GMA steps down?
And this leads to the following conclusions:
1.. Noli is the most probable successor, but he is unmistakably unqualified
2.. Making GMA step down will only benefit the Erap-led opposition and bring them back to power
3.. GMA is still the lesser evil
4.. The constitutional process of succession is deficient; we need something more revolutionary
Which leads us to take positions to defend our conclusions:
1.. GMA is still our best option; let's forgive her and give her a chance. This time, she will be more "principled" knowing that we are watching over her
2.. All anti-GMA positions are, in effect, pro-Erap; it's bad for the country
3.. GMA is not the only one who cheated. Everybody cheats anyway. At least, GMA has good credentials in governance. We're still better off with her as president.
4.. Let's stick to the rule of law (and most advocates narrowly limit it to the impeachment process). If Congress or the Senate exonerates GMA, then it's a good excuse to continue supporting her. She is, after all, the lesser evil. If she is impeached, then it compels us to swallow the bitter pill of a Noli presidency.
5.. It's not GMA that's the problem; it's the system. Let's change the form of government.
6.. This is a good opportunity to correct fundamental flaws of the system. Let's look beyond what the constitution provides in replacing GMA.
Do you still wonder why we are hopelessly gridlocked at this time? Meanwhile, the economy continues to suffer and I'm afraid will not hold up for long if this unstable condition continues.
I believe we should start with a moral question when faced with a moral issue.
GMA admitted to a lapse in judgment in talking to Garcillano. Given the circumstances of her admission, we need to ask: "Was it indeed a mere lapse of judgment or did she actually cheat?"
Each one of us can and should make a moral judgment based on the information we already know. You start with the tapes. If you have not heard it, or read the transcript, download a copy from http://pcij.org/blog/wp-docs/hellogarci-transcript-final.pdf.
Now some might argue that the authenticity of the tape has not been established. Well. with all the powers vested in her office, she could easily declare and produce proof that the tapes are spurious. But she has not. To the contrary, her confession tacitly lent credence to the tapes. Until she changes her mind and declares otherwise, you can assume the tapes are authentic.
But which version? The most commonly available is the one at the PCIJ website. If GMA really cares to quash all speculations, she can single out this version and declare it as false, even malicious. But she has not.
Next, you look at the context - the series of developments that led to our present situation and how the Arroyo government has handled the whole issue. You ask the following questions:
1.. Why did GMA insist on appointing Garcillano as COMELEC Commissioner even after the Commission on Appointments repeatedly by-passed him because of his reputation as an "operator" (one who engineers massive electoral fraud)?
2.. Why did Bunye preemptively release to media "authentic" and "tampered" versions of the tapes (in effect, admitting the conversations did happen) but only to retract it later?
3.. Why did it take so long for GMA to admit to a lapse in judgment, and only after efforts at downplaying and covering it up have failed?
4.. Why did the 10 key Cabinet members resign? Do you honestly believe they conspired with the opposition for personal gain?
5.. To this date, why has GMA not categorically denied that it was her voice on the tape, and not exerted any effort at refuting the authenticity of the tape? Is it not in her best interest to clear any cloud of suspicion over her possible cheating?
Even if you consider that the tapes came from the opposition and could have possibly been tampered for their own purpose, I am convinced you will come to the same conclusion that the majority of our people has reached: 59% of the entire population (SWS Survey) and 80% of Metro Manila residents (Pulse Asia Survey) believe GMA cheated.
If you have reached this conclusion, then there is only one appropriate moral response: GMA must leave her office. It's only a question of when and how.
As you now ask "What happens next?" it should necessarily exclude any conclusion or position that will make her stay in power.
Finally, let me give a commentary on the belief shared by some that "GMA is the lesser evil".
GMA has effectively used this in her election campaign, sowing fear upon a nation with the prospect of a bumbling FPJ presidency. It made us turn a blind eye to the blatant misuse of government funds for her campaign. It was a minor sin (not really that evil, we reasoned) we were willing to gloss over to save us from the certainty of economic perdition that an FPJ presidency would surely bring.
Today, GMA terrorizes us with the same fear - this time of the prospect of a blundering Noli presidency, or worse - the return of Erap and his cabals. She begrudgingly admits that this is all just a lapse in judgment, and tells us "Let's put this behind us, and let's move forward. Either that, or face the prospect of economic reversal." Sadly, there are many who buy this deceitful lie, and who are all too willing to condone such a grievous crime as cheating her way into office, for the sake of the economy. or so they believe.
But if we allow this, where do you draw the line? Next thing we see, she declares martial law, and we begin to cheer her because now she can decisively deal with those trying to destabilize her regime. They would sell this, too, as the lesser evil.
It's time to say "Tama na. Sobra na."
The worst kind of evil is one that surreptitiously makes people condone it while making them believe they do so for a higher good. That is the kind of evil that GMA is. No. she is definitely not the lesser evil.
It's time to speak up and be counted. The worst thing we can do in times like this is to wait on the sidelines and do nothing. Visit www.SaveTheRepublic.net now.
God bless and God save our republic.