In the aftermath of the Lozada abduction and Senate testimony–and frantic administration maneuvers to damn him–the Philippine middle class has stepped forward and increasingly has taken a hostile position against the Arroyo family rule. This was evident in the reaction to the media-covered Senate testimony by the new ZTE-NBN witness Jun Lozada. The radio and TV coverage was well-received and brought about grassroots-level discussions on the topic, and more significantly, on the issue of legitimacy of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
The difference today from similar occurrences in 2005 (Garci tapes) and 2006 (state of emergency) is the emerging broad consensus to end the GMA term sooner than 2010. Previous differences among the broad opposition are dissolving in recognition of the widespread unpopularity of the Arroyos and the activism of the middle class.
The engine of disenchantment is fueled by middle class discontent (such as over the massive corruption, the rapid weakening of dollar vis-a-vis peso, scarcity in the local job market, GMA Marcosian tactics, and the specter of 2010 elections cancellation and continuing Arroyo rule). Two recent events–the JDV ouster and the Lozada abduction–are being seen by the middle class as indicative of the ruthlessness of the president’s team in their drive to maintain the power. It has led to their defending Lozada and to their manning the frontlines of the movement against GMA.
Is it the tipping point? I don’t think so–yet. However, this particular pot simmers, and if it continues to simmer, will ultimately boil over. The rallies, the masses, the statements, and open positions–all these are but prelude to a great political act by the middle class.
All the ingredients for people power are already in place and there is the momentum. Having said this, they are not yet ripe and are still undergoing the process of maturation. How long this process lasts depends on more events that logically should happen.
The political awakening of the middle class was the key ingredient in previous people power. It is now the sword of Damocles over the rule of the Arroyos.