Figuratively and literally, pro-GMA congressmen are raring to do a Pacquiao in the next days to come. Many of them went to Las Vegas, not only to watch the Pacquiao-de la Hoya match but–as rumors have it–to strategize charter change moves out of the eyes of the local opposition. Conspicuously absent was the First Gentleman who–as stories have it–does not have a US visa for the fight.
What is expected of these congressmen during the next two weeks until Congress adjourns for the holidays? Simply put, they want to do a Cha-cha. Like a reprise of a broken record, they want to do all over again what they tried hard to do in December 2006, albeit with a twist.
In that caper under the tutelage of then GMA ally former Speaker Jose de Venecia, they changed the House Rules on constitutional amendments and revision asserting that the House alone can pass a resolution convening a joint-vote Constituent Assembly. It was a coup of sorts on the 1987 constitution and the Senate raised a howl. The people were enraged and the bet then was that the protest National Day of Prayer called by all the major churches will attract more than half a million participants–easily turning into another show of people power. Malacañang–for it was the one that engineered the whole thing–ran scared and hastily instructed de Venecia and the pro-GMA congressmen to shelve the amendment to the House rules.
Now, with JDV and his allies in Lakas-CMD on the other side, the Cha-cha dancing has devolved upon Congressman Luis Villafuerte’ KAMPI and GMA’s sons–the same people who undertook a coup against JDV. This time, apart from the political opposition, they have Lakas-CMD and Speaker Prospero Nograles–of uncertain loyalties–to deal with.
The GMA forces in the House are crowing about a 183-strong signatory to a House resolution for the convening of a Constituent Assembly. This particular resolution–reportedly being passed around by the Arroyo sons directly–has not even been filed and contained no particular provisions to amend. They are publicly proclaiming that the 196 three-fourths vote required to pass a constitutional amendment in a joint-vote Con-Ass will be theirs.
Of course, the passage of such a resolution is just the first round in a four-round Cha-cha bout.
The second round is the expected Supreme Court battle over the joint-vote Con-Ass. A February 16 retirement by SC justice Adolfo Azcuna is eyed by GMA political strategists as the golden opportunity to appoint a pro-GMA justice in order to firm up the shaky alignment in the current Supreme Court.
The third round is the convening of the joint-vote Constituent Assembly to actually pass the necessary amendment or revision of the 1987 constitution by shifting to a parliamentary system, extending the terms of office of elected officials, or by simply allowing the president to run again for reelection. This is where the 196 captive votes will come in handy, ramming through by brute force such an amendment or revision.
The fourth round is the conduct of the plebiscite on the GMA extension in power, possibly by corroding and influencing the Commission on Elections.
Like the Pacquiao steamroller win over de la Hoya, the GMA strategists imagine doing it over the Cha-cha opposition. The GMA congressmen are raring to do it in the next days to come.
Unlike in the case of Pacquiao, the people are overwhelmingly against a GMA Cha-cha. There is simply no audience for such a brazen political play at power.