Statement of the Ateneo Debate Society
We have achieved moral certainty that there is enough basis to call for resignation.
There is an obvious, deliberate attempt to hide truth from the public about the anomalous circumstances surrounding the ZTE contract. Despite testimonies by Jun Lozada and Joey de Venecia pertaining to direct involvement of the President and by FG, Malacanangâ€™s only response was to invoke EO 464 and refuse to disclose records of the ZTE deal.
Comelec officials have not been punished for glaring anomalies in the last presidential elections. Despite evidence showing Arroyo intervening by talking to a Comelec Commissioner, and an admission from Arroyo herself of doing so, justice still has not been served.
The administration has not answered for its involvement and continues to coddle implicated personalities like Gen. Palparan. International institutions, such as Amnesty International, have condemned the administration for, at the least, gross negligence resulting to the deaths of hundreds.
Other unanswered anomalies
The Fertilizer Fund scam exposed by Jocjoc Bolante, who explained how funds were diverted to Arroyo’s 2004 campaign. The North Rail project, wherein the Philippine government purportedly lost hundreds of millions of pesos on an overpriced contract. The Telecoms Franchise Bill, where FG allegedly asked for a 50-million peso bribe for the President to lift her veto.
Moral certainty is different from legal certainty.
Demanding evidence to meet legal certainty falls prey to the rhetoric of the Arroyo administration. Clearly, the law was framed to enable trust in the government by its people. In this situation, that trust has been breached. Legal certainty is not the absolute barometer for deciding when people should engage in protest action against a specific regime. Moral repugnance justifies a call for new, more credible leadership.
Meaningful reform is impossible under the Arroyo administration.
Efforts to institute reform have been co-opted. The Ombudsman is appointed by the administration and is perceived to be largely pandering to Arroyo’s interest. The DOJ is run by Raul Gonzalez, who has proven to be extremely loyal to Arroyo. Laws like the anti-plunder law and institutions like the PAGC have been unable to hold the administration and its officials to task.
The current corruption problem is not a problem of legislation. While the existing laws are essential, and proposed ones like the Access to Information Bill can empower the citizenry in their desire to improve government accountability, they need to be accompanied by public confidence in the governmentâ€™s commitment and willingness to implement them. Corruption is an issue of leadership. Massive distrust in the highest official signifies that government is no longer perceived as effective in discharging its duties. This negativity only harms the nation in the long-run.
The logic that we should wait for other people to make up their minds or come out with more evidence is erroneous.
This is a chicken and egg argument. If we all take a lead, it becomes easier for institutions, like the CBCP, to heed our call. It also becomes easier for people with pertinent information to come out.
The potential ineptitude of the succeeding administration is not an excuse to allow an illegitimate regime to stay in power.
Should Noli de Castro become the President, the challenge is for the citizenry not to disengage simply because they achieved the goal of Arroyoâ€™s resignation, which was civil societyâ€™s folly post-EDSA 2.
A military takeover will not necessarily follow from a call for resignation.
There was no military takeover when calls were made for Estrada to resign. Military adventurism has never worked without popular support, as evidenced by Oakwood and Manila Peninsula.
We believe that the removal of the Arroyo administration presents a crucial opportunity to institute reforms and changes to which this current administration has been deaf. A call for resignation is not only constitutional, but more importantly, moral.
Statement from Ateneo Debate Society
Joseph James E. Alcantara
IV AB Social Science, Ateneo de Manila University
Varsity Debater & Adjudicator, Ateneo Debate Society
Vice-President for PR & Comm., Ateneo Debate Society
Team Manager, Ateneo de Manila Track and Field Team
President, Social Science Circle
Moderator, Grade School Debate Club