Philippines elections, an indictment of Arroyo — NDF

Jun. 19, 2007

The circus that is the recent Philippine midterm elections was an indictment of how Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo “won” her presidency in the last 2004 elections and punctuated her government’s acute isolation from the Filipino masses.

The 12-0 illusion of Arroyo’s Team Unity administration coalition delivered for the people more violence and systematic fraud. The regime’s fraud machinery in Mindanao (the hocus-pocus site of the 2004 presidential elections in favor of Arroyo) was apparently exposed in how the recent elections were conducted most especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where bribe money, patronage politics were the rules of the game, ably presided by fraud operators and protectors sitting in the highest echelons in Comelec at the national and local levels.

But close to the final election tally nationwide, majority of Arroyo’s anointed bets in the senatorial race were biting the dust in the polls. Team Unity’s Zubiri candidly admitted that Arroyo was frustrated with the said election turn-out and that those local bets abandoned them. The local bets who rooted for and received blood money from Arroyo were more keen on how they themselves would survive in the polls. It is understandable because to bring Mrs. Arroyo’s name and her unpopularity in the local campaign sortie anywhere were more of a plague.

The midterm elections was characterized by the same age-old recipe for elite control: patronage politics sponsored by the Arroyo clique and provincial clans, violence and machinery for fraud and violence. The results were the continued dominance of landlords and big business and old names in local politics and in the Philippine Congress. In Southern Mindanao, most of the regime’s bets had won including one of Mrs. Arroyo’s staunchest defenders and hatchet man, Prospero Nograles. Lakas-CMD’s dominance over Kampi, as in the case in Compostela Valley, would all serve for the de-Venecia-Ramos clique and Arroyo’s perpetuation in power. The Lakas-CMD-Kampi row in many areas that were declared free zones only highlighted the gnawing crack within the ruling pro-Arroyo faction. In the course of the ruling elite’s insatiable hunger for power, 115 lives were lost in election-related reactionary violence during the midterm Philippine elections.

Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo in her desperation to neutralize progressive groups and opposition parties under her regime, had upped the ante in her treacherous campaign against those highly critical of her government. In the first six months alone this year and into the election campaign, 19 members and leaders of progressive groups and party-list members were abducted on top of the close to a thousand murdered members from their ranks since Arroyo sat in power in 2001. Militarization and repression intensified in the urban centers and in the rural areas. Twenty two Malacanang-backed partylist groups and opposition namesakes were fielded to sow confusion; the regime had also pushed for the new formula lowering the number of nominees from winning party-list groups who can sit in the GRP Congress. Despite the regime’s vilification and massive campaign against the vocal critics of the regime, opposition bets including progressive party-list groups have gained seats in the Philippine legislature.

The popular opposition’s apparent victory should be viewed as a chance to translate their anti-Arroyo campaign promises to the masses during the reactionary elections into a concerted effort with the people. Their victory should be translated into intensifying the broad united front with the Filipino masses against the detested and murderous Arroyo regime.

On the other hand, decades of people’s frustration over the GRP’s reactionary elections has only further emphasized the correctness of the national democratic revolution as the true path to transform the face of Philippine society and ensure the patriotic and democratic interests of the Filipino people.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao calls on well-meaning and progressive parties, opposition groups and all freedom-loving Filipinos to consistently expose, educate and mobilize the people against the scourge that is the Arroyo regime. The Filipino masses are rising up to the challenge in ousting the detested Arroyo regime as the revolutionary movement raises the level of the armed struggle against the exploitative social system until victory is won.

(sgd) Rubi del Mundo
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Southern Mindanao

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