“Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be remembered as the president who was on par with if not gone beyond Ferdinand Marcos’ infamous legacy. Arroyo is more devious, however. She did not have to declare martial law to be a dictator.”
Thus said the group Youth Demanding Arroyo’s Removal (Youth-Dare) as the nation observed the declaration of the martial law last September 21. On that day, thousands of youth and students joined the huge protest in Ayala to commemorate one of the dark ages of in the country’s history. They also reiterated calls for Arroyo’s removal.
Its local chapter in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) released dozens of ‘Oust Gloria wish balloons’ containing resolutions on how to decisively resolve the political crisis. Youth-Dare is a member of the Gloria Step down Movement (GSM) and is one of the groups behind the Bukluran para sa Katotohanan.
Raymond Palatino, Youth-Dare spokesperson, said today’s generation of young Filipinos will not allow another Marcos to continue her reign of terror and further afflict the lives of our already burdened countrymen.
He said the country has long been living through an ‘undeclared martial law’ under Arroyo.
The Laban ng Masa, a national coalition of more than 100 people’s organizations organized on June 29, also strongly condemned Arroyo’s continued maneuvers to continue to her hold onto power. It is calling for the ouster of GMA, an end to elite rule and for the establishment of a transitional revolutionary government.
Arroyo has been heavily criticized for her recent policy decisions that are viewed as unconstitutional. On September 22, she issued a statement saying “the rights to peaceful assembly and free expression, while guaranteed in the Constitution, are still subject to certain restrictions…” This was followed by the strict imposition of a no permit, no rally policy.
“Similar to Marcos, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is forced to defend herself from the people’s growing discontent. And Arroyo is willing to use all available machineries and agencies to curb dissent,” said Wilson Fortaleza of Sanlakas, which is a member of the Laban ng Masa coalition.
Fortaleza added that despite the absence of a formal declaration of martial rule, Arroyo has managed to install a de facto martial rule with the no-permit-no-rally policy and policy of violently dispersing legitimate protest rallies; threats of sedition charges against protesters; and growing cases of salvaging and killings of both activists and journalists in the country.
More recently, Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 464, which requires officials from the executive department, as well as military and police officials, to first secure her permission before testifying in any congressional hearing. The order was released on the same day that BGen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan of the Navy appeared in a Senate hearing on the “Hello Garci” controversy.
The Palace has also been accused of bribing the congressmen to junk the impeachment complaint against Arroyo.
“The Arroyo regime has a taste for murder. She killed the impeachment and the people’s quest for truth and justice and her hands are also tainted with the blood of victims of human rights violations under her regime. Now she is out to kill the whole nation with the implementation of the E-VAT law and anti-poor economic policies,” Palatino said.
For his part, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato M. Reyes, Jr. noted that the similarities between Marcos and Arroyo.
“There are so many parallels with the current administration and the past dictatorship. Both Arroyo and Marcos were guilty of electoral fraud. Both had their share of cronies and allegations of corruption. Both had unleashed different forms of repression. And like Marcos, Arroyo may also be deposed through people power,” Reyes said.
He added that Arroyo is repeating many of the sins of the late dictator. “Recently she has allowed more United States intervention in our domestic affairs, much like what Marcos did when Martial Law got US backing,” Reyes said.
Youth-Dare believes that Arroyo is bound to suffer the same fate as Marcos.
“They share the same qualities and will share the same end. And just like the late dictator, the greed for power and wealth will bring the same curse of the nation’s hatred to Arroyo that will haunt her even after death.”
Millet Morante, also a leader of the Laban ng Masa coalition and secretary-general for the group Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), “urged the Filipino people to grab this opportune moment to end a pro-foreign, pro-elite Arroyo regime.”
Laban ng Masa coalition president Dodong Nemenzo again reiterated the group’s call for the end of the Arroyo regime and elite rule.
“Unlike the historic Marcos’ ouster and consequent Cory’s transitional revolutionary government (TRG) but was again overtaken by elite politics, the establishment of a (TRG) now seeks to install a genuine people’s democratic government that will prioritize the people’s agenda for food, jobs and employment. Let us not pause in this struggle, as the longer Arroyo stays in office, the more our children’s future will be subject to
a doomed fate,” said Nemenzo.