This October 2008, the one-year ban on filing an impeachment complaint against president Macapagal-Arroyo lapses. Her opponents were not long in coming. Jose de Venecia III, together with Bayan Muna representatives, is set to file an impeachment complaint.
At the same time, the Charter change initiative–through a constituent assembly–is being pushed in the House of Representatives by GMA’s allies. Their own hope lies in garnering at least ¾ votes or 197 votes out of the combined membership of the House and the Senate, and in getting a majority Supreme Court opinion for a joint Congress voting as one house in the constituent assembly.
All the while, serious presidentiables are maneuvering to preempt charter change–which they correctly assess as a ploy to extend GMA’s stay in power beyond 2010. The fate of the 2010 elections, in fact, rests on preventing GMA’s charter change agenda from winning–something which almost all want to do at this time.
GMA’s strategists, at this time, are content to push the cha-cha initiative through Congress quietly, basically by attempting to divide, distract, or buy off the opposition. Some form of emergency or even martial law is seen at the moment as a reserve weapon if and when popular protests threaten to derail again the charter change scheme.
An ironic aspect of the current scenario is the fact that an impeachment move will not benefit the political opposition at this time unless it also brings with it a clear road to power. Otherwise, it is in their favor that GMA continues on into the 2010 elections–thereby making her the election issue and boosting the chances of an oposition candidate. The other irony is that the non pro-GMA leaders in the ruling coalition sees her as an electoral liability and therefore is more prone to get her out of way or replace her before 2010.
Of course, if charter change fails, the GMA administration will be a lameduck administration well before 2010 and will be vulnerable to various political maneuvers by both friends and foes alike. With the looming economic crisis before us, the political crisis cannot but become graver. Unless, of course, all agree on the peaceful and credible changing of leaders through fair and free elections in 2010.