The flurry of political defections from the ranks of erstwhile supporters of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo or people who were under her graces is stunning. The formation of the National Unity Party (NUP) under Cebu representative Pablo Garcia further split the Lakas-Kampi and basically isolated Macapagal-Arroyo within Congress. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) elected new leaders who are not anymore identified with Macapagal-Arroyo. Even Zaldy Ampatuan and Lintang Bedol–of the 2004 and 2007 electoral cheating fame in ARMM have sent overtures to turn against GMA.
What we witness today is the result of the political consolidation done by the Aquino administration during his first year in office. This has resulted in the firm hold on power of the new president and sent notice to all of his capacity to exercise political will. The resounding majorities he got in the impeachment vote against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and on the postponement of the ARMM elections manifested this political will.
Since there is as yet no credible plot against him and having maintained a high trust and satisfaction rating, president Noynoy Aquino is now poised to undertake major, dramatic moves, particularly in the anti-corruption campaign. Fence-sitters, opportunists, and vulnerable oppositionists are among those who took notice and–contemplating the hazards of the next five years of an Aquino presidency–took the expected political steps to distance themselves from the former president.
There is a denouement in the offing. The Arroyo ship is sinking and rats are abandoning it. Who will go down with it? Or are we contemplating another Marcosian chapter of a fleeing president?