Jun Lozada’s arrest for the crime of perjury is being painstakingly downplayed by both Malacañang and the accuser, presidential loyalist and fair-haired boy Mike Defensor. They stressed that the case is non-political, that the timing has nothing to do with political consideration, and that there is no political objectives to be achieved.
Of course, the opposite will be believed by the public–if only because GMA and her people have no more credibility with two-thirds of them. I would opine that the people had their instinct right. A Defensor political move (it’s political, believe me!) cannot be divorced from his role as a key GMA operator.
So we come to the crux of the matter: Why a Lozada arrest, and why now? To know the probable truth, one has to put the action within the context of the current political battle and the Malacañang boys’ objectives.
The obvious, unequivocal, and unyielding political objective is to maintain themselves in power. A lot has to do with keeping GMA in power, but the logical options include secret negotiations to jump–at the proper moment–to the probable presidential winner. Almost all of them pursue these two options simultaneously and several others beside. The over-all atmosphere is one of distrust and disloyalty, even as the trusted and the loyal desperately pursue seemingly convincing avenues for maintaining the course towards a GMA continuity.
The Pacquiao fight, with its bad impact on the legislative quorum, reveals the widening gap in the ruling coalition. The charter change initiative continues to unravel after the SC decided to dramatically increase party-list representation in the lower House, and the needed ¾ votes continues to be elusive. The Pacquiao fight provides a respite to the political conflict but three developments–the early Yano retirement, the so-called assassination plot against GMA and, now, the Lozada arrest–underscore the fierce political battle going on.
Whatever the truth in the Yano early retirement and the “plot,” it can be said that the immediate issue right now is the role of the president and her men in the coming elections. An election with GMA still the president and an election without GMA are two different situations, with broad implications on the fortunes of all the players in the presidential contest.
An increasingly lameduck presidency has to maintain and demonstrate it still has the power. With luck (or by manufacturing the luck), it may even turn the table against its opponents, bypass or set aside the elections, force charter change, and maintain itself in power.
The Lozada gambit is a test of the public’s oppositionist bent, the will to undertake political protest, and the actual strength of the street parliament. Malacañang has its own scenario and it is trying to put all elements in place. Whatever it is, it’s not the 2010 elections.