Contrary to what contrarians say, citizens expressing outrage over House Resolution 1109 are the voices in the wilderness, if the small turnout of gatherings and discussions, so far, is any indication.
To take the position that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with term extensions or changing the constitution is ignoring the context of Gloria Arroyo’s past few years in power. This position ignores the broken promise of not running for re-election, the Hello Garci tapes, the desparecidos, the journalist killing sprees, the manufactured ‘People’s Initiative’ for cha-cha some years back, the ZTE-NBN scandal, the invention of ‘Executive Privilege’ over major trade agreements such as JPEPA, the fertilizer funds scandal and many others.
To ignore the context in which HR 1109 has unfolded is intellectually dishonest if done maliciously and most unfortunate if done in complete ignorance. One may argue that there is no direct correlation between the scandals of the past to any intimations of “Gloria Forever.” But politics, as all study of human behavior, is not a science. We cannot know beyond doubt whether this resolution indeed plots to keep incumbents in power indefinitely. And so all we have are indicators – that is, behavior and actions committed in the past and unfolding in the present.
We may presume that this administration should not be judged guilty before the Court of Public Opinion without, as some quarters say, “due process.” As if our public institutions, and the processes they purportedly implement, are blemish-free. As if our public institutions and the rules they enforce have been equally applied to those who govern as well as those governed. As if our public institutions have and always will work for justice and fairness and are not liable to abuse by those who monopolize them. As if our public institutions were mere conveyor belts that say after Step 1 comes Step 2 comes Step 3 then Step 4. To claim such, displays blind ignorance.
I do not know that our opposition is driven by ‘fear’ – by definition an emotional reaction to something that may cause harm or hurt. But is this fear irrational? That is, without reason? Are we afraid, for no reason, that the Specter of Gloria Forever is haunting us?
By accident of nature, humans have evolved to have large brains. We learn. In the course of evolution, we have learned, for example, that when we place our hand on a live stove, it will hurt. We do not actually need to place said hand on said stove repeatedly to know, beyond a doubt, that each time, it will burn.