Like most Filipinos abroad that are eager to hear Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address, I camped up late at night watching ANC and the internet for it to come.
It was supposed to be her “last” address, her last time to speak before a joined house of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives without actually resorting to convene it to a constituent assembly. People are just waiting for her to speak about her presidency’s alleged legacy.
But even before she started her speech I was already wondering what legacy it might be.
For starters, most issues that the people might remember her term were the scandals that are much bigger than those of her predecessor’s. We are very much familiar with the Broadband deal that was put on hold.
However big it was, costing Jun Lozada and then Comelec chief Banjamin Abalos their jobs, it was just the tip of the iceberg.
Several more multi-million dollar projects were on the tables but were not immediately accessible to the mainstream media; one of them includes the territorial integrity of the country. It was like selling our collective soul being sold to the highest bidder. Most insulting was the fact that there were even no bidding to begin with.
It’s funny how she speaks of peace with the communists and the Muslim rebels. Yeah unlike Erap she never donned a military uniform while dropping bombs on Mindanao and declaring an all-out war on NPA rebels.
Her presidency had declared war on legitimate an unarmed political activists. Most activists and media personnel are on the military’s Order of Battle. She even spoke highly of the famous Mindoro butcher Col. Palparan on her past SONA. Up to now, Jonas Burgos is never found. And they still claim that Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas’ story of being kidnapped and tortured by the military is just a propaganda effort by the communists.
She does not want to be popular merely because she clearly wasn’t. It is but a convenient way to dismiss popularity surveys as irrelevant when you can’t top it. Like my favorite Trapo Dick Gordon used to say when faced with questions from critics, he would simply dismissed such as “pulitika lang yan!”
I watched the speech online. I read the transcripts several times. But I never find any inkling of what would be close to a legacy. The whole speech speaks none of it. Just a standard I-had-done-it-all kind of talk and now we-must-continue-doing-what-we’re-doing call to action.
Less of the truth… but more of the same.
She even manages to pull a grin while saying that at the end of her speech she said she will step down from the stage “but not from the Presidency” followed by a remark that her term ends next year. It was a simple but effective ploy on working on the paranoid opposition that she is still planning on something far beyond the expiration of her term.
On the whole, she was simply sideswiping the opposition and her growing critics and delivering a message of caution to her own party to fall back in line. After all, she said, she’s not done yet. She is still at the helm. She still is very much in charge.
And that should be enough for us to make haste.