Friday, July 10, 2009

Charter Change And Martial Rule

Is it possible under the present circumstances, for Mrs. Gloria Arroyo to mix charter change with martial rule, as alleged by former ally Jose de Venecia Jr.?

Speaking before members of the diplomatic community at the Manila Polo Club, De Venecia gave diplomats a veritable security and political briefing on what's really happening. He confirmed earlier entries in NPR about the plan of Arroyo to call for a State of Emergency should Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. fails to sustain enough support to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly.

As what I wrote here several weeks ago, August 6 is the date where all of these things would come to a head, or a week after Mrs. Arroyo's SONA. If Congress convene itself as an assembly, then, several scenarios are likely to happen:

1. Bombings in Mindanao would increase, with the administration again pointing to extremist groups as the ones responsible for the attacks. These bombings are diversionary tactics, meant to delude the public and ensure that another option remains available should public outrage comes to a decisive and explosive level.

2. Increased military and police checkpoints which they plan to set up a few days or the week of the SONA. This will be extended after the SONA, as they expect opposition to mount huge rallies shortly after the convening of Congress into a Constituent Assembly.

Now, what if Congress fails to convene itself into a Constituent Assembly?

1. Either a self-coup or a declaration of martial rule. A self-coup is more likely since failure to convene will surely diminish rallies against the administration. This coup would be mounted by several so-called reformists who will occupy several key government installations. They will then announce order and institute a revolutionary government with Arroyo as the head.
Arroyo will scrap the Constitution, convene a small group of constitutional experts and start the constitutional review. Shortly after that, they plan to institute preparations for parliamentary elections.