Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dangerous ground ahead

President Macapagal-Arroyo is unlikely to resign now that former President Ramos has given his support. Protests are on the streets still led by parties with various agendas. The focus of the protests is on Ayala Avenue, the heart of the Philippines' business district.

A cursory chat with a lot of people revealed that many people who support the resignation of the president seem no longer able to trust the constitutional processes. The constitution provides the process by which a sitting president may be removed and the grounds for this to happen. Because of United States influence on our history, the impeachment process is modelled after that of the US Congress process.

Nonetheless, in American history impeachment has been few and far between. Andrew Jackson was impeached but remained in office. Richard Nixon resigned before he was impeached. Bill Clinton was impeached and the case went before the senate for trial. He was acquitted. If there was a likely successful impeachment verdict, that would have been for Nixon.

One of the major tragedies of the Philippine experience with impeachment is that the Estrada case was preempted by people power 2 that unseated him from the Palace.

With some people having no trust for the constitutional processes and wanting to unseat a sitting president and not being able to agree to who the succesor would be, we have a recipe for chaos. This is what mariners call "dangerous ground".

Of course the constitution says that the Vice President will assume the presidency and serve the unexpired term of the president. But these various parties in protest have their own ideas for the succession.

This is dangerous ground. The nation is held by it's laws foremost of which is the constitution. The constitution is all but dead for this people.

And this dangerously as history tells us is the stage for military takeover or worse the takeover of ideologues who will completely destroy our democratic way of life.

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