It was Robert Burns who said this line: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft aglay.” [The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.]
So it is with the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Hers would have been an administration full of promise and fulfillment of good governance, prosperity, peace and reforms. Born of EDSA 2, it rekindled the hopes of EDSA 1. She started with the intention to trail-blaze the road to new politics, strengthen good governance, and put the country and people on the road to prosperity and establish its own in the community of nations. She has also a personal agenda to cleanse the Macapagal name of the stink during her father’s time.
Yet, nearing the end, the controversial legacy she will leave most probably will be the weakening of Philippine post-Marcos democracy. She has brought the country to the verge of polarization, established a near-monopoly of power, and brought back into the hall of power the erstwhile martial law cronies and oligarchs.
The Macapagal-Arroyo administration will go down in history as the most unpopular administration ever with most of its nine years of rule in the shadows of substantial negative satisfaction rating. Its endorsement of a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections is widely seen as a kiss of death.
Where did she lost it? I think it was right at the start. She may have the best intentions in 2001 or in 1998 but most of the people traveling with her only have the power, the perks, and the money in mind. From the start, corruption, power-tripping, and disregard of law and convention marked the behavior of the men and women in the Arroyo house of power.
The desperate drive to change the Constitution–still alive until now–perfectly captures this obsession for power. The building of a KBL-type machinery in Congress and the local governments through the language of money, perks, and threats has brought it this far.
The people know the state of things. The holding of the scheduled and credible 2010 elections, the death of the cha-cha initiative, the prevention of martial law or state of emergency, and the defeat of the Macapagal-Arroyo candidate–all these are on their cards as the situation enters the election scenario.
Of mice and men–in the end their schemes will amount to nothing.