Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Palace to make a move against Gibo soon?

Senator Frank Drilon, citing sources from the palace, says that Secretary Ebdane will head the Department of Defense (DND)--a move interpreted as a precursor to the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. What's curious is the expected "lateral" transfer of Defense secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro to the Justice department, with now current head Agnes Devenadera to go back to her solgen post.

Why the justice department for Gibo? Is he not an effective soldier anymore for Gloria? Probably because of his strong public condemnation of martial rule yesterday, when he said that there's no such thing and he'll be first to oppose it, same stance as former president Fidel V. Ramos. Or, possibly, Gloria is afraid that Teodoro is gaining more and more adherents not just in the military, but moreso in civil society. I, myself, admired Teodoro's grit. He seems to be the perfect leader, having a good grasp of things and with a good and strong heart.

Maybe Teodoro is being eased out because he's getting bigger than his boss. Being a professional in Arroyo's Cabinet is not an admirable trait. What Gloria wants and likes are dogs. These people serve her well and calms her troubled mind.

Or possibly, maybe the justice portfolio is more apt for Gibo, since the post is more "controversial" and one can get more publicity juice out of it. Or, maybe, Gloria suspects that some group within the Cabinet is sabotaging her and wants a Honduran solution soon?

I asked my classmate what he thinks and he says that Gibo and Gloria are not seeing eye-to-eye anymore after Gibo's lavish birthday party. Gloria was not there, but her Cabinet members were. That party was interpreted by close Arroyo associates as a virtual Munich Putsch. Remember that even Executive secretary Eduardo Ermita was there to toast for Gibo.

An Oddity

It's so odd that, a few months prior to her downfall, err, the end of her term, Gloria is still making all these moves. Ebdane was formerly PNP chief and commands his own men inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) and AFP. Like DOTC secretary Leandro Mendoza, Ebdane was one of those who remained loyal to Madame, because they're friends of her husband, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.

Ebdane remains very relevant to Mrs. Arroyo since his former subordinates now occupy highly sensitive posts within the AFP and PNP.

Consolidating power for what?

For an administration with a few months left, it's totally suspicious why the sudden re-shuffle. Is Gloria easing those not in her inner circle anymore and moving to consolidate all power to her group? Teodoro revealed that he's not too privy to what Arroyo thinks anymore, a possible sign of disengagement to the power center. (some say that the reshuffle will happen shorly during or after Arroyo's trip to Egypt)

Why consolidate power when you're virtually a lameduck at this point, except that you're preparing for something big soon?

The transfer of Ebdane, Arroyo's closest general, says something. This is actually an indirect admission that internal squabbles are really happening within the military establishment, for both glory and gold.

The defense department has a say on appointments in the AFP. With the current wrangling within the military and police, Arroyo probably sees the need to appoint someone very close to her so that her favored PMA class gets the top posts even while AFP Chief of Staff General Victor Ibrado stays as head.

The plan really is to undermine the leadership of Ibrado, subverting him by snatching the ranks beneath him, while allowing him to act as Chief of Staff. This is reminiscent of the moves by Lacson's group when he allowed his men to undermine then PNP Chief Roberto Lastimoso's leadership while allowing Lastimoso to "act" as PNP chief.

Bombings related to efforts to "delimit" Gibo's power as defense sec?

Arroyo's men know that its hard to dislodge Gibo from his seat, given his rising popularity. What would, however, justify this?

Instability. As what I wrote previously, this administration thrives in destabilization. It always gets what it wants shortly after a destabilized situation.

By creating a destabilized environment, Malacanang can now justify the removal of Gibo from defense and transfer him to the justice portfolio. The question really is---what's next?

More on this at See you there.