Events are moving fast in the national political front even as trends firm up for the rest of the term of the Aquino government. The center of the tempest, of course, is the current attempt of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the rest of the Arroyo faction to evade the inevitable criminal cases being prepared against them and their impending arrest. Though the fight is being fought in medical opinions, in legal petitions before the Supreme Court, and in media blasts, the real arena is political.
On the one hand, there is the Aquino government drive, with a clear political will behind it, to address the unfinished issues of the Arroyo administration, including the issues of massive corruption and electoral shenanigans in the 2004 and 2007 national and local elections. In the majority of these issues, the key figures are none other than former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the erstwhile First Gentleman, Atty. Miguel Arroyo.
On the other hand, there is the Arroyo clique that has ruled the country for almost a decade, weakened and almost brought down the post-Marcos democratic regime, suspected to have systematically amassed illegal wealth in billions of dollars, and is now exerting efforts to defend itself and its gains.
Despite the various attempts to derail the 2010 elections and–when this failed–to prevent an Aquino victory, the people threw out the former Arroyo administration. Despite the midnight appointments, laws, executive orders, and other maneuvers, the Arroyo clique failed to stop the consolidation of power by the Aquino administration.
Erstwhile allies of the Arroyos changed sides in droves even as its own hardcore supporters tried desperately to challenge, even futile trying out out possible destabilization campaigns. The Arroyo clique tried to maintain their dominance in Lakas and in the House of Representatives but even this ended in futility.
The lone apparent Arroyo-influenced institution is the Supreme Court. The current Arroyo petitions for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and a favorable ruling on the constitutionality of the Department of Justice Order No. 41 is certain to be seen as a test of the political position of the Arroyo appointees in the court. This is unfortunate but the high court is still under a cloud of doubt in the public mind because of its previous pro-Arroyo rulings.
Whatever the SC decision is, the political battle develops to the advantage of the Aquino government. There is a great amount of public support for the closure of the issues against the Arroyos.
The basic options open to the Arroyos, if they chose not to admit their guilt, are only two: flight or fight. The latter–the path taken by former president Estrada–would mean political humiliation and a long stay in a detention resthouse while the case is being tried, and, if convicted, a probable long stay in the penintentiary.
Flight means going on an asylum in a friendly country with no extradition treaty with the Philippines and waiting out an unfriendly Philippine government such as the Aquino administration. Then, negotiate when conditions are favorable. This was the Marcos strategy.
At the end of the day, the politics of it will determine the option.