A crisis of institutions
The incident unfolding in Makati City today is not surprising. It is a logical conclusion to the abuses committed by the GMA administration, from the dismissal of the impeachment complaint to the clamp down of democratic and constitutional processes.
The situation is a result of the refusal of the government to address allegations of fraud and corruption squarely. The administration has evaded and manipulated constitutional processes to hold GMA accountable for allegations of monumental fraud. It compromised attempts to investigate with impartiality allegations of corruption involving the NBN deal; what we have witnessed instead is the brazen giving of pay-offs to legislators and local government officials. It manipulated the military and used coercion to persecute the opposition, as evidenced by the spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances..
Sen. Trillanes is an elected public official, and his mandate to serve is clear and not clouded by cheating and electoral fraud. He was elected with 11 million votes, and even the Senate, through a resolution, affirmed his right to represent his constituency and voted in favor of his serving as Senator. His election reflected the predominantly anti-administration sentiment of the people, and yet the GMA government continued persecuting him and the Magdalo soldiers, with their politically-motivated trial dragging for four years and Sen. Trillanes himself blocked from serving in the Senate.
The nation must root out the problems that have led to this incident. The ‘Hello Garci’ controversy, the onerous NBN deal, the alleged bribery of legislators and governors, the sham impeachment complaint filed against GMA, and the politically-motivated trial of soldiers involved in the Oakwood mutiny fueled this confrontation, and the crisis would continue to fester as long as the corruption charges and legitimacy questions leveled against the GMA administration are not resolved with credibility.
AKBAYAN urges all forces to seek a peaceful and civilian solution to this incident. We must avoid bloodshed at all cost, and democratic solutions to this problem are only possible through non-violent means. No deadline should be imposed on the Magdalo soldiers since it would only create a climate conducive to a bloody confrontation between the soldiers. A deadline should be imposed for the realization of democratic, peaceful, and credible resolutions to political crisis, and not on a crisis situation that could potentially be violent.
We warn the administration against the use of force to end the situation. The withdrawal of support has so far been peaceful, and the AFP and PNP must not initiate a violent response to the crisis. We warn the government against using the situation to enforce authoritarian measures against the opposition and the public in general.
We support efforts for negotiation to avoid bloodshed. However, negotiations must be founded on a more lasting resolution to the conflict: a credible closure to the allegations of fraud and corruption against the GMA administration, an end to extrajudicial killings, and the strengthening of our democracy.