Everybody knows Washington's stand---no elections means trouble for Mrs. Arroyo. That is as clear as the bright blue sky in Rio de Janeiro. And, true to form, Mrs. Arroyo did, indeed, said that elections would definitely push thru. And I believe her.
She'll push thru with it, but there's one more question---how credible would the elections be and how "peaceful" would that 2010 exercise be?
Some moderate elements of civil society would say, it all depends on us. Yeah. Sure. Right. But, we're not born yesterday.
Automation of the elections is simply no guarantee that the next elections would be as clean as we hope it would be. Why? Because associates of the First Gentleman already control it. They already won first base (COMELEC-SMARTMATIC/TIM contract). Now, what's the second base? Obviously, a smooth operations need the support of military and police officials. They're sure to get it once they replace Verzosa's men with Roberto Rosales or when the AFP changes leadership with the early retirement of Ibrado.
The crux of the matter is simply trust. Many people don't trust the current administration. And it is unfortunate. The credibility of these elections does not depend much on automation. No. It's the integrity of the present administration and sadly, there's none left.
The elections would only be credible if, say, we change the present leadership. That's the only way that elections would be deemed and viewed as "credible". There's so much distrust on the real intentions of Mrs. Arroyo's gang that people can't avoid being anxious on the future come 2010.
It's not enough that Mrs. Arroyo gives us assurance that she'll respect the electoral process. It's definitely not enough that Mrs. Arroyo speaks of an election when her dogs in Congress push for amendments on the economic provisions of the Constitution. And it hell sure is not reassuring that Mrs. Arroyo is visiting her province in Pampanga more than twenty times to believe that everything's fine. No.
It's not that she'll push thru with it---it's the conduct and integrity of the entire enterprise that is now, in question. And for the interest of the entire country, it's definitely important to ask her to either go on a leave of absence or oust her immediately. That would surely give everybody a big sign of relief.