To those who worry about the possibility of Arroyo benefitting from the failure of elections, let me share with you a conversation I had with one of the members of PMA Class 1978. I decided to publish this now simply because I think it is relevant and timely after the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a totally discouraging piece on the elections.
I asked permission from my source, who I will not identify here for the moment, and he told me that I am allowed to publish this here.
A few Wednesdays ago, members of PMA Class 1978 met in an undisclosed restaurant in Manila. The topic of the meeting---mapping contingency plans in case of a failure of elections. The members of the class who attended were top generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and some civilian members. Members of this class includes AFP Chief of Staff General Delfin Bangit and other high-ranking officials.
After dinner, they then started the meeting. The question is---will the class support the proposal made by some quarters (not identified) for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to serve as transition president in the event of a failed elections?
There were a few debates but the collective answer is firm---NO. The class will not support Mrs. Arroyo as caretaker or even transition president.
PMA Class 1978 thinks that it is better to provide Mrs. Arroyo a graceful exit. The Class is willing to provide security for Mrs. Arroyo. Sources close to the palace confided to me that Mrs. Arroyo and her family are willing to be "exiled" in a villa in Portugal, if the occasion presents itself. Intelligence sources say some of Mrs. Arroyo's closest advisers fear that some groups, enemies of the state, are planning to assassinate Mrs. Arroyo.
The overwhelming decision of the class is:
1. Respect the Constitution since most of them are constitutionalists. The Charter, however, is silent about who will be the president from May 10 to May 30. The class thinks that there are still members of the Senate whose terms are still constitutionally active, meaning, those twelve senators whose terms as expiring in 2013.
2. PMA Class 1978 thinks that these senators should elect among themselves a Senate president, who will then serve as interim president while the count is being finished. As there is no enabling law, the class thinks that the Supreme Court Chief Justice should provide legal or constitutional counsel or direction. The Supreme Court Chief Justice will provide legal muscle for any action of the Senate.
3. PMA Class 1978 will resist any and all efforts to disrupt the peace and order of the country. Meaning, those who will force the issue and take advantage of the ensuing chaos and confusion will be dealt with with the full force of the law.
4. The most acceptable members of civil society will also be asked to sit in a panel, an independent commission, to govern the bureaucracy during the interim period. All sectors will be asked to respect the decision of the electorate from either a manual or a fully automated elections.
5. The PMA Class 1978 thinks that it is the Liberal party who is fomenting doubts and laying the groundwork for EDSA 3. The class abides with the constitutional means of succession and will resist any and all attempts to create another EDSA revolt.