The passing away of president Cory Aquino has raised the political bar against any plot to change the constitution in service of an extension of power. The politically relevant act by Cory that reverberates in the current period is her ultimate decision not to run in the 1992 presidential elections and to effect a peaceful transfer of power.
That transition is the subject matter of the 2010 presidential elections. A firm anti-dictatorial provision, the 1987 Cory constitution stipulates that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term of presidential office ends at 12:00 noon on June 30, 2010. The only possible means that this can be set aside is through a charter change or through an overturning of this Constitution by a coup d’etat.
Until the next president has taken his or her oath of office, the grave danger for these to happen will always be there. These two scenarios in fact were suspected to have been unleashed in the past two months as the time approaches for politicians to finalize their respective electoral plans. The latter situation would make it doubly difficult to rationalize a no-election scenario.
A fallback scheme would be to let the electoral process proceed and intervene at an appropriate time, again to realize a no-election scenario. Another possible fallback is to have a co-conspirator run for president and try to manipulate the results.
There is a basis for saying that Cory’s illness and eventual death–helped along by a few other interventions–staved off the conspiracy and used up the precious time it needs to develop. However, there maybe a desperate logic that drives it. The immediate weeks after the burial of Cory Aquino is a time for vigilance.
At any rate, the people power that brought Cory Aquino to presidency has come alive in her death. Its logic for democracy cannot be denied. The transition of power will happen. People power may even anoint the successor president.