Entering May, 2009, we are reminded that only 12 months separate us from a decision Filipino voters will make that can undo the country or push it to unknown heights. The presidential choice is more crucial than any in the past since the 1986 snap elections.
Elections 2010–if the democratic course is maintained–will end the nine-year Gloria Macapaga-Arroyo government. Only major constitutional coups, embodied in the increasingly desperate charter change initiative, the rumors of various forms of emergencies, and failure of the 2010 elections, can derail this conclusion.
The successful holding of a credible 2010 elections remain the principal scenario against which all the other scenarios should be measured. The former represents the prevailing public consensus based on the unalterable conclusion of a failed and hugely unpopular GMA administration. The electoral process to end the GMA government is also dictated by the same public consensus for a relatively peaceful and democratic transition to a new administration.
However, various scenarios threaten to replace the election scenario or at the least vitiate or weaken its regime-changing role. One, of course, is the current charter-change move. Other possibles are the attempts to manipulate or–failing–to sabotage the automated elections (and revert back to manual election system), the creation of artificial political atmospheres to justify various forms of state of emergency, and the scheme to form a caretaker government premised on a nationwide failure of elections. Various combinations of these are also possibles.
One thing is sure. The next 12 months are a politically-sensitive period where there is a wide latitude for many scenarios to happen. They also call for a heightened vigilance from all citizens and democratic forces in order to ensure that the 2010 elections happen as planned in accordance with constitutional mandate.