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An Aquinorroyo II DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/31/2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Aquinorroyo II

Herman Tiu Laurel
It’s now looking more and more like an Aquinorroyo II, with the usual Big Business honchos and the US Embassy brokering various political deals and transition scenarios.
It’s not just the story going around that days prior to Comelec and Smartmatic’s recall of 76,000 compact flash cards, a known oligarch allegedly brokered a meeting between a Palace aide, et al. with the “pinkest” one of “The Three Sisters” to stave off an intra-Edsa II death match, which could have afforded the masa’s President Joseph Estrada a clear touchdown. The provenance of Aquinorroyo II is also due to the shared Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo patsies now figuring in the latest Yellow “trip to Jerusalem” — from Dinky Soliman, to Sonny Belmonte, to The Firm plus Teddy “Bear” Locsin, as well as, the likes of Jose “Ping” de Jesus.

People now tend to forget that Gloria would never have catapulted from vice president to president without Cory’s sponsorship of Edsa II. Thereafter, Mrs. Aquino graced every Edsa II celebration giddily, sitting alongside Arroyo. Even during the August Twenty-One (Atom) anniversary in the crucial Oakwood protest year of 2003, Cory towed Gloria along to buttress the latter’s shaky government — cementing the Aquinorroyo partnership — with Cory wearing a wide rimmed buntal hat while holding Gloria’s hand, as if aiding her tottering little understudy. All that, of course, changed a few years later when certain events came between them.

But the stakes for both the Gloria and BSA III camps now rest on keeping their tenuous shares of power over the only outsider in the political spectrum: President Joseph Estrada. While Teddy “Bear” Locsin strains the definition of “digital signatures” and displays arrogance with aplomb, President Estrada’s true potential for upsetting the last voting exercise is now only beginning to surface as various anomalies in the automated election system are cropping up one after another.

In particular, the massive disenfranchisement that came about, which, going by the foreign election observers’ report, in conjunction with the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg), could have reached as high as 8 million disenfranchised voters — more than enough to be the factor in the upset, as the disenfranchised were mostly masa voters.

Meanwhile, former Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte is a particularly crucial personality to analyze in the emerging structure of Aquinorroyo II, being probably the biggest single contributor to BSA III’s campaign kitty, with a billion pesos taken from the three billion from Quezon City’s budget, as exposed by QC opposition leaders Johnny Chang and Rod Kapunan.

Although there is ostensibly a looming fight between Arroyo and Belmonte for the House speakership, knowing their cozy relationship in the past decade, it will be more of a staged act to keep the many power and economic deals of Edsa II intact. Talk of an old official of Cory becoming part of the BSA III Cabinet is another sure sign that makes me visualize an even sharper Aquinorroyo picture.

Former Neda Chief Romulo Neri, in one of his frequent candid narrations about the goings-on among oligarchs and government projects (as he did in the ZTE-NBN mess), reportedly mentioned he queried about a P700-million item for “information and legal charges” in the project cost of an expressway takeover. The answer he got was that this was already cleared with the powers that be, with the sources of this information translating this to mean that the same major figures in the ZTE-NBN deal had already taken their slice of the pie. This being the case, the guy becomes a perfect “crossover” figure to maintain the bridges over potentially troubled waters in the Aquinorroyo continuum.

For many parties with vested interests in the perpetuation of the policies of the past 10 years, this Aquinorroyo continuity is truly a valued commodity. Proponents of projects such as the “Deal of the Century” $4-billion sale of Transco involving the US Carlyle Group, the China State Grid and Monte Oro (the local broker identified with Fidel Ramos) would naturally not want anything to upset their sweetheart deals (which, in the instant case, should have already netted for the Philippines $6 billion if all the assets and potential ancillary businesses were factored in).

And this is why a political successor other than Aquinorroyo II would have created tremendous problems; hence, the imprudence with which the premature visit of US Ambassador Harry Thomas was made to a non-president, followed by that of the Chinese ambassador.

Even if BSA III transcends his cluelessness and desires to go beyond the Aquinorroyo legacy, he will only find himself shackled by his relatives and political confidantes. Already, his financial and tax policies are being pre-determined, such as in his soft-pedaling on the P6-billion excise tax on fuel, as well as, his financial advisers’ insistence on seeking a 15-percent VAT hike.

Gloria Arroyo has even gleefully advised BSA III to impose new taxes to resolve the crisis-laden deficit, which will only worsen the economy and increase the deficit further. Sadly, the only solution, which is to cut the horrendously exorbitant P3-trillion profit pie of Big Business to balance the economy, is suicide for him, considering that the local corporatocracy constitutes his power base.

But, as an Aquinorroyo I came and went, so will an Aquinorroyo II fade. The only question is, will a death clash resume or will an implosion of the conundrum ensue? Here, it would be best for the masa and President Estrada to never concede but to be ready for sudden changes in the political sphere.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, GNN Herman Tiu Laurel Edition, live on Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com5.html


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