We have been romanticizing removing a president since the days of Ferdinand Marcos, thinking that removal will always be good for the country. We removed Marcos (1965-1986) in 1986 with Cory Aquino, a direct aftermath of the Ninoy Aquino assassination. Then in 2001, Ouster 2.0 occurred with the Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo taking over and holding power for nine years, the longest president to do so post Martial Law. Joseph Estrada was elected president in 1998. A power grab was also planned after discovering the 2004 election operations to ensure a GMA victory. That would have been Ouster 3.0 but the incumbent vice president then did not play the part and Arroyo mustered grit.
In those two instances, the reasons were different. One had it coming after more than 20 years in office and the sordid facts of Martial Law. The other was removed because of his way of life, governance style and loose talk about money coming from “illegal” sources. As to PGMA, she became captive of all players, dishing out favors in order to survive the gauntlet. We had the infamous Hyatt 10 to remind us of those days, a tipping point that bombed out.
Today, PRRD is only on his 82nd day of his term and already, talks of ouster are being mounted. In fact, the political industry is abuzz and nightly meetings are called to periodically assess the situation. Clearly, the recipe for Ouster 3.0 is being laid out: “extra judicial killings” (which until this very day, no operational definition has been accepted. The term itself is oxymoronic because there are no judicial killings); “cussing” the US president; the apparent pursuit of an independent foreign policy and the war against illegal drugs and corruption.
Why would a sitting president be ousted for these reasons?
The arena for the framing of PRRD is taking place on an international stage, done by international media. It is like the recipe of the Latin American democracies, paint the scenario, create the necessary plot and attempt to install a new order by removing the regime. The last of this modus took place recently in Turkey. It failed and the US had to deny, backtrack and mend fences.
So can an outside force take out a sitting president on account of his illegal drugs war? Can the icon of western democracy be party to the unseating of an elected and popular leader? On both questions we have seen examples of leaders being removed and nations being “rescued” to save democracy. When the human rights of those killed in police operations is more important than the 700,000 drug users who have surrendered and are willing to undergo rehabilitation, then truly we have a problem. We cry for the dead and we reject the living dead.
When the so-called security shield in the West Philippine Sea is sacrificed because of a new leader who, despite a victory before the international court, downplays the arbitral award in favor of collaboration with China, then we feel the after effects of a major fault line that shifted. Should we always toe the line as “little brown brothers?” Or as an independent nation that can chart its own destiny?
So who is violently shaking the bamboo trees? That ops are local. But clearly when a total stranger like Matobato becomes an international star, there is a public relations hand, K Street tagged, contracted to do the shaking before such publications as the Washington Post, the New York Times, TIME, Bloomberg and others. Ouster 3.0 is getting a page straight from the 1986 playbook. And when a former Philippine Ambassador suddenly found his voice and accepted an interview in a local, friendly channel, after six years of being quiet, you know there is something afoot.
But Ouster 3.0 cannot be implemented in the light of a very problematic November 8 endgame in the US. So, correctly laid out, PRRD has to engage with Japan and China more because these countries understand Asia for Asians. Promoting Asian values is often alluded to influences by Confucianism, in particular, “filial piety or loyalty towards the family, corporation, and nation; the forgoing of personal freedom for the sake of society’s stability and prosperity; the pursuit of academic and technological excellence; and, a strong work ethic together with thrift.”
Proponents of so-called “Asian values,” who tend to support Asian-style authoritarian governments, claim “these values are more appropriate for the region than Western democracy with its emphasis on individual freedoms.” “Asian values” were codified and promoted in the Bangkok Declaration of 1993, which re-emphasized the “principles of sovereignty, self-determination, and non-interference in civil and political rights. They included predisposition towards one-party authoritarian government; preference for social harmony; concern with socio-economic prosperity and the collective well-being of the community; loyalty and respect towards figures of authority; pPreference for collectivism and communitarianism.”
We did not hear any frontal attack from our ASEAN partners when PRRD explained to them Bud Dajo, did we? PRRD brought the glare back on ASEAN and among Asian countries when he decided to reframe relations with the US, China, Japan and Russia. Indeed, shared values and vision for an ASEAN Economic Community.
How do you therefore oust a Duterte? Hard because both chambers are controlled by Mindanaons and they hold on to that coalition by trumping political moves early on. Problematic because the soldiers and the police are rallying his offensives against illegal drugs and terrorists (PRRD holds the record of visiting the most number of military camps and meeting the frontlines). Dangerous because the people are with him, what with improved frontline services and a caring quotient never before seen in a leader. These and the grassroots movement being set up in every province. And he has not yet submitted the full list of officials involved in the illegal drugs trade. He has not even started with his list of tax offenders, right?
The oligarchs can spend their money and rally the Yellow flag but what they are missing is a clear understanding of why Duterte won in May 2016. If you are still in disbelief, wake up from such stupor. The least vetted, the one with not much plan, the late candidate derided with a single issue, the candidate who represented anger and resentment against the six years of Aquino is the sitting president. Live with it. And live with the fact that Duterte has done much in the 50 days and surely, the 100 days. Yeah, the mayor from Mindanao!
So, Ouster 3.0 will have to wait until the 91 percent goes down to 30 percent. Until Matobato gets the brilliance he so promised his handlers. Until another robotic wonder can come up with a more credible denouement. Until a smoking gun links PRRD with corruption and gangland style killings. But as it is, there is no reason for any ouster move. Would the incumbent vice president, if at all, orchestrate any grab? Doubt it. It is not in her DNA, even cheating is not. But she has to control her tendency to be swayed because it will be misinterpreted and that will always be her onus, being with LP.
Ouster has not done wonders for us. The mandate is there, respect it and let’s look for a common ground for Filipinos and our country. Clearly, “you cannot speak on behalf of a nation when you have no mandate to do so.”