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Twenty two years after the first People Power triumphantly enshrined democracy in our nation's political culture, we find ourselves in the throes of yet another uprising.
The past weeks have been tumultuous with events akin to those that took place 22 years ago: an autocratic ruler desperately clings to power, a people outraged by oppression and by revelations of corruption, a military whose loyalty to duty is undergoing a crisis, and the Church hierarchy advocating personal and social change.
There are many learned arguments that purport that conditions are not yet there for another "EDSA." Consideration for what comes after the present regime has been toppled had not been thought through. The military's support of an uprising is unsure. Another regime change would dramatically affect economic gains both in the short term and in the long term. Replacing the current president is not tantamount to reforming the corrupt system.
Is the time ripe for another regime change?
Would the consequences be as dire if someone like Vice-President Noli de Castro, or Senate President Manny Villar, or Chief Justice Reynato Puno, assumed the presidency after Arroyo's ouster? Perhaps not. The depths of corruption and depravity that the present regime has sunk into is, arguably, beyond imitation or surpassing. Moreover, a renewed vigilance against “another Gloria” would be immediate.
These are valid and cogent points that should not be dismissed by the strong desire to inflict comeuppance or revenge. Instead, they must be—indeed—thought through.
Effects on the economy had always been the boogeyman of the Arroyo regime against those who seek to oust it. Implicitly, the claim is that the nation's economy would flounder when Arroyo is removed from office. This ignores the fact that the numerous instances and enormity of corruption during this administration has hurt us economically.
Meanwhile, given the recent events that involved the leadership of the military, it is unlikely that armed forces would switch loyalties. So many of the top brass has been "bought" by Malacañang that it almost becomes unthinkable that those leading the military institution would abandon "their president and commander-in-chief."
Thus, of the conditions that are needed to make things ripe for another EDSA, only the military’s support is lacking. Would this jeopardize another People Power to replace the current corrupt administration?
Finally, while it is true that replacing the current occupant of Malacañang does not entail an overhaul of the corrupt system that has bred an equally corrupt culture of politics, her removal would be a decisive first step towards addressing this paramount concern. In the words of a political observer, she is “the paramount issue." Political questions do not only involve issues or personalities: they involve both. And in our case, Arroyo is the issue and personality. To make her AND her administration accountable is an important measure in confronting the issue of corruption. Needless to say, this needs to be undertaken immediately.