DESTABILIZERS, this we know after reading enough of their ghastly history, are not clumsy fools. They operate from some basic assumptions, primarily the popular support of the leader they want to unsettle and depose. If the leader is deeply popular, any urge to destabilize has to be put on hold. Then, the destabilizers would crawl back deep into the woodwork to wait for a better time.
The time to launch is normally after a tipping point, when the leader’s popular support has deeply eroded and that leader’s institutions of support have all but crumbled. A craven leader isolated at the Palace is the leader ripe for a destabilization effort.
That is Destabilization 101. Of course, the one that did Allende in was of different stuff. But in this day and age, no one moves hastily against popular leaders. Ok, the Magdalo party-list did file an impeachment complaint against Mr. Duterte. What about it? You have to remember this. This is a party-list of former mutineers and they don’t conform to rules. They fight even when there is zero chance of success, e.g. the Oakwood mutiny.
The Philippines marches along unbothered even after Mr. Duterte’s warning on a possible plot against his government because even the most rabid Duterte followers know that no fool would, at this time, seriously plot against Mr. Duterte. He is popular, with approval and trust ratings that swing between excellent and good. Even the most devoted anti-Duterte forces dread the thought of tens of thousands of warm bodies shielding the Palace gates in the case of a plot to protect their idol.
Then, the social media would fire up a pro-Duterte counter-move that would probably draw millions of supporters from across the archipelago.
Right now, the most foolhardy move to carry out is a move, with vehement intent, against Mr. Duterte. It would not wash. Just like Jimmy Carter’s mental imaginings of adulter, those with the intent to plot and destabilize would just leave it as a state of mind, with no corresponding action.
Other things to factor in which are just as important.
A President normally gets support from the two chambers of Congress—voting numbers that are enough to pass priority measures from the Palace—but Mr. Duterte is different. He has ”supermajorities“ in the two chambers. If the President wants something done, it is mostly a done deal. Just look at the numbers in the House vote on the death penalty bill. And the swift action taken against those who voted against.
The Senate, while it goes through the process of deliberating much more exhaustively on draft laws, will ultimately pass the priority bills of the President. The senators will eventually come around and rally behind the President on the issue of priority legislation.
Mr. Pacquiao, in case you have not noticed this yet, is the spear carrier of the presidential wishes. Somebody with a better command of issues and of the English language would have been preferable as Mr. Duterte’s point man in the Senate. But Mr. Pacquiao apparently relishes that role, even with his fumbling of both his temporal and spiritual discourses.
His colleagues in the Senate majority let him be. It is only Mr. Pacquiao who is planning to run for President in that majority. The rest do have the ambition but not the resources. Mr. Pacquiao, a billionaire, has both.
The PNP is solidly behind Mr. Duterte. And so is the Armed Forces of the Philippines: Army, Navy and Air Force. A destabilization plan would be impossible without some Army brigades and Air Force wings and PNP units committed to the plot.
Let us look deeper into the two groups that have been identified as the possible abettors/leaders of the “destabilization” plot.
First, the big-time miners.
Miners? Oh no. I have written many negative columns against the miners and their move to deny Gina Lopez of her due. I, however, don’t buy the claim that they are funding the destabilization moves against Mr. Duterte. The big-time miners are business people and profit-oriented and realistic. They don’t blow up the system; they fight within it using their awesome resources, from the media muscle to the best legal services available. Look how Ms. Lopez’s conformation has dragged on at the CA and the favorable, pro-mining arguments from within the heavyweights in Mr. Duterte’s Cabinet.
The miners, up to now, feel they have the capacity to get a “reject” verdict from the CA. Why would they undertake the foolish and costly move to fund a destabilization move against a popular President? The miners are not Stanfilco during the Allende days.
Second, the “ yellows.”
The so-called yellows are non-existent, the creation of a media that wants to create groups contending for power in our deeply polarized country. BS Aquino III simply had an unexplainable disdain for the people that were extremely loyal to his parents and even preferred the likes of Max Mejia Jr., over the Ninoy-Cory loyalists.
Some of the Ninoy-Cory loyalists are in the camp of Mr. Duterte and their affection for the second Aquino president is zilch.
A lazy media that refuses to dig deeper into the backgrounds of the personalities that followed Ninoy and Cory and those that served the son readily adopted the easy generalization “ yellows” but this is a mirage, and I am not referring to the small car seen by Mr. Duterte at the assembly plant.
Simply put, the destabilization plot that pops up so often is a mirage. Just like the silly imagining somewhere that microwaves are spying /wiretapping gadgets.