The unfolding events are interesting. First, you have this news about former Vice-President Guingona’s biography containing a titillating tidbit about a “mysterious visitor” propositioning him on a possible assassination attempt on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Then, Atty. Raymond Fortun, ex-president Estrada’s ex-spokesman and defense lawyer, accused Atty. Homobono Adaza and several ex-military officers of trying to stage a “coup d’etat.” The latter, said Fortun, intimated of another group that is seriously preparing for a coup d’etat.
If not for the seriousness of the topic, one’s reaction would have been one of incredulity on a bad plot. One would think that somebody in the opposition (or in the ruling coalition–nobody knows now where the people there are placing their bets for 2010) must have sniffed something and tried to ride on a scenario. Or, more probable, a message is being sent to Arroyo administration.
President Macapagal-Arroyo had left herself wide-open to scenarios of intimidation and threats. Her unsullied reputation as the most unpopular president ever has been compounded by perception of callousness and insensitivity regarding the plight of typhoon Frank’s victims. Politicians know that the president–if she still sits in 2010–will be the number one issue of the presidential elections.
Ironically, it will be the opposition (defined as the anti-GMA coalition) who would be interested in letting her stay until the elections. GMA as an issue can only benefit their own presidential candidate–a single one, that is. It will be the people in the ruling coalition who would dearly love to see her as a non-issue come election time.
If GMA is out of the presidential seat of power, the whole elections will be a whole new show. Both the ruling coalition and the opposition will disperse and realign into new coalitions around serious presidentiables. This scenario, in a sense, is preferable for many on both sides. In the same sense, everybody is suspect in trying to set aside GMA well before 2010.
Assuming the veracity of the stories that have come out about an “Ides of July” (thanks to Julius Caesar, an innocuous 15th day of a quarterly month becomes a sinister sign of regime change), it can only be within the context of either an outright military-assisted takeover or a deep operation calculated to force a presidential resignation. The rest of 2008 is the only window of opportunity for these types of political initiatives before the imperatives of 2010 elections set in.
What is sure is that the GMA administration is vulnerable to these pressures. As her grasp on the power weakens by the day, and she continues to fail in maneuvering either for an immunity guarantee or for a constitutional extension of stay in power, she becomes increasingly incapable of influencing the political events leading to the 2010 elections. For some, she then becomes increasingly a liability. Removing her from the scene becomes an option, even a necessity.
In October, the impreachment specter may become a reality. However, before this is the Ides of July…