It is now joined. The battle on Charter change to enable President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stay in power–whether as president or prime minister–starts now.
At stake here is the fate of the 2010 elections–whether or not it will push through at all. If it pushes through, whether or not it will be for positions under the present presidential system or will it be for positions under a parliamentary system. Or, will it be preceded or replaced by a plebiscite.
Also on the line–and more importantly–is the eventual fate of the GMA presidency. Will it be a lameduck presidency, be cut-off prematurely, or be transformed into martial rule or a nominally democratic rule?
Ranged on one side are the formidable forces of Malacañang located in the three major government organs of Congress, Supreme Court and Commission on Elections, the pro-GMA ruling coalition, and supporters in government, military and police, and civil society . On the other side are virtually all the other political forces and at least 64% (according to a recent SWS survey)of the people who said NO to cha-cha. Mobilizations on both sides currently is ongoing.
The timeframe allowed for the cha-cha struggle has dwindled to only a few months until the first quarter of next year. It’s a now-or-never proposition for the GMA regime.