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27 June 2005

Response To GMA's Mea Culpa

U P D A T E: Would you believe that a reliable source says that GMA's apology speech took more than 30 takes before it was shown on nationwide TV?

She looked calm and prepared when she spoke. She tried looking gloomy and sorry. Imagine a child getting caught from looting cookies from a cookie jar. Her affect was almost sepulchral.

Earlier rumors that "the cabinet members will be behind her or will be inside the hall" as she spoke, didn't seem to materialize. Or at least, that was how I perceived it.

She went on with her speech stoically. The whole exercise seemed mechanical. To the trained eye, it was quite obvious she read from a teleprompter. I got nothing against that. But her spindoctors ought to have a lecture in conveying sincerity. For a grave accusation and political crisis such as the one she is facing, I believe it would have been better if she spoke extemporaneously. Being spontaneous can convey genuineness, especially at times like these.

This is my detailed response to President GMA's nationwide address early this evening. I have divided her speech in blockquotes, with my response immediately below each blockquote. I do not pretend to be a smart-aleck or a know-it-all; I am just a Filipino citizen concerned about where my country is heading in the light of this recent development.
Mga Minamahal kong Kababayan [To My Beloved Countrymen],

For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You deserve an explanation; from me, because you are the people I was elected to serve.
Mrs. President, it has been a full 3 weeks before you replied. In the weeks before you spoke, you described the whole hullabaloo as "extreme madness," and you called your detractors as "agents of destabilization." Your PNP Director even agreed with you, and along with the jueteng scandal besetting your husband, son, and brother-in-law, he said that the whole thing is nothing but a "destabilization plot" against your good office.
As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow even after the election results were already in and the votes had been counted.

I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did not. As I mentioned, the election had already been decided and the votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.
WHOA! Mrs. President, that was quite a mouthful. Now, I have more questions than ever.
  • Election canvassing was "unnecessarily slow" - Mrs. President, if you're so annoyed with the slow count, why didn't you make it your political will to hasten the computerization of elections here in the Philippines so election results wouldn't be tainted with doubt and suspicion?

  • Was your anxiety to protect your votes synonymous with the impropriety of calling and talking with "a Comelec official"?

  • Granting that your "intent was not to influence the outcome of the election," isn't it illegal in this country for candidates to talk to COMELEC officials during election or canvassing time?

  • You said your conversation with the COMELEC official "did not" influence the election outcome. Do you have concrete proof that it really "did not"?

  • You said "the election had already been decided and the votes counted." So, why were you still anxious? Can't clear winners sit back and relax?

  • "The outcome had been predicted by every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive by international election observers, and our own Namfrel." Why do we still hold elections, Mrs. President, if polls would suffice? I am sorry, Mrs. President, but I do not trust NAMFREL, and I'm sure there's a good number of Filipinos out there who also have doubts about the integrity of this organization.
That said, let me tell you how I personally feel, I recognize that making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I am sorry. I also regret taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events. I want to assure you that I have redoubled my efforts to serve the nation and earn your trust.

Nagagambala ako. Maliwanag na may kakulangan sa wastong pagpapasya ang nangyaring pagtawag sa telepono. Pinagsisisihan ko ito ng lubos. Pinanagutan ko nang lubusan ang aking mga ginawa at humuhingi ako ng tawad sa inyo, sa lahat ng mga butihing mamamayan na nabawasan ng tiwala dahil sa mga pangyayaring ito. Ibig kong tiyakin sa inyo na lalo pa akong magsisikap upang maglingkod sa bayan at matamo ang inyong tiwala.
Oh, Mrs. President. My heart goes with you. I forgive you. I really do. I know it must have been terribly difficult for you to come up with this apology.

I also believe you are in grief over what you did. In the past weeks, you have characteristically displayed the initial stages of the famous Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle. You are now in the Bargaining Stage. I am bracing myself as you gradually transfer to the latter stages.

I also admire you for taking full responsibility for your actions. But Mrs. President, taking full responsibility also means facing the consequence of your misdeed. You can not simply earn the trust you lost by simply "redoubling your efforts to serve," moving on, and forgetting what happened. You must know that every malefaction has a consequent punishment.
I took office with a mandate to carry out a plan for the nation. Since that time, I have focused on making the tough but necessary decisions to make up for years of economic neglect. We passed a comprehensive fiscally responsible national budget; raised new and necessary revenues to reinvest in the people; and implemented new anti-corruption measures that have led to the highest collection of taxes in history.

Nothing should stand in the way of this work, or the next phase of my reform agenda, which includes new investments in education and social services with our new revenues; and an expansion of our successful anti-corruption and lifestyle checks.

That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business of governing.

I ask each and every one of you to join hands with me in a show of unity, to help forge One Philippines, where everyone is equal under the law, and where everyone has the opportunity to use their God-given talents to make a better life.

Our nation is strong and getting stronger. The progress is steady and I ask you to walk with me on this journey to rebuild our great nation. I remain your humble servant and promise you that I will fulfill my constitutional oath of office to serve the people to the best of my ability.

God Bless the Philippines.
Mrs. President, you must understand that no one is above the law. I know you have great aspirations for this country. So do I. So do many other Filipinos who love this country as much as you and I do. But you did a wrong thing which can not be undone. I do not think that was "mere lapse in judgment" because your controversial phone conversations with the COMELEC official showed you did not do the impropriety once, but many times. Repeated wrongdoing is intentional, Mrs. President.

The issue here is broken trust, Mrs. President. The Scottish novelist George MacDonald once said that "to be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." In the days to come, you will understand why it is so.

You cannot simply ask the Filipino people to move on and forget about your transgression because you have to work hard to meet the elements of your "reform agenda." You blew it, Mrs. President. By admitting your wrongdoing, you have lost the chance to serve this beloved country. It will be painful to lose you at the helm, and so much more painful for the country because of the forthcoming economic/financial backlash. But that is how it must be, Mrs. President. YOU COMMITTED A MORTAL SIN AGAINST THE FILIPINO NATION. You must face the consequences. You must resign. That is the most honorable thing to do.

While you have lofty goals and admirable dreams for the country, you should have thought about the danger of losing that rare chance to serve this country when you committed your "lapse in judgement."

Step down now, Mrs. President. Do not wait for another 3 more weeks to do so. This country has already suffered so much. Do not consider me or those who ask you to resign as your enemy. We are all in the same boat. The more you cling to the position you have unwittingly contaminated, the worse it will be for the Filipino people.

We all need a clean, fresh start, and a new leader who is credible and whose integrity cannot be questioned.

I regret losing someone like you, Mrs. Arroyo. You could have been a great leader. 'Too bad you blew it.

7 comment(s):

Good morning to you!
I agree with what you have written.
More power!

By Anonymous Luchie, at 7:00 PM  

Salamat, Luchie.

By Blogger P. Penitente, at 7:23 PM  

i agree with the resign call. dapat lang. kahit si eba at adan nang magsorry ay pinalayas pa rin ng diyos mula sa paraiso

By Anonymous mong, at 7:36 PM  

Napakagandang analogy, Mong. Akmang-akma.

By Blogger P. Penitente, at 7:56 PM  

People told Erap the same thing when he was caught with his hands in the cookie jar too - he did not resigned.

Something immoral does not necessarily mean illegal. Clinton did an immoral affair but he was never impeached. If you want to take down GMA, don't use the tape because 1) it's inadmissable, 2) the COCs has more evidence.

Also, remember that the ELECTIONS = WAR. There are no elections so far that there was no "cheating" of sorts involved.

We want GMA out but if she resigns, the line of succession follows. Assuming Noli stays in position he will be the next President, then the Head of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House, after which and if there is no one left to follow this line of succession that is the only time we can have a snap elections - which of course will cost us another 5B Pesos.

By the way, try reading


to. They got some discussions there.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 PM  

Clinton was actually impeached, Anonymous. I think he is the first US president in history to be impeached.

I also know and agree with the rules of succession, but thanks for pointing it out.

Most, but not all immoral deeds are illegal. I think election cheating is one of them.

While it is true that "ELECTIONS = WAR", it does not mean that cheating is the norm in order to win. That is the ideal scenario, and we have ideals because we desire an orderly election process. I know that is still far from reality, but if we stop aiming for that ideal, then we are no better than impish little kids.

By Blogger P. Penitente, at 9:31 PM  

i agree! gloria resign!!

By Anonymous Victor, at 5:44 PM  

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