Sunday, February 10, 2008

Move on? I've no objections

Phnom Penh---Saturday night some Filipinos here met to discuss recent events in the Philippines, especially the 'Lozada Affair'. After lunch today, they came out with the following statement for circulation and signatures among like-minded Filipinos here:

Move On and Move Out!
An Urgent Request to the Arroyo Administration
in Light of the Jun Lozada Abduction and the
continuing coverup of the ZTE-NBN and other scandals and abuses:

The abduction last week of Jun Lozada, resigned president of the Philippine Forest Corporation, to prevent him from testifying on the aborted $329 M ZTE-NBN contract before the Philippine Senate, could be just one more episode indicating the administration’s overriding principle of governance: criminal self-aggrandizement complexed with an almost unlimited capacity for self-preservation.

But it is not. In fact, the abduction and the subsequent coverup, the lie after lie after lie, big and small, the use of the bureaucracy, the national security apparatus, and the abuse of the state’s monopoly of force, to prevent the truth from coming out, represent by far the most painful insult to the people because of the brazenness and silliness of the acts, and the assumption by Malacanang that it can continue to bribe and spin and intimidate and to conduct business as usual despite the very public and very obvious unraveling of its conspiracies.

In the coming days, we anticipate a worsening of the crisis of confidence and legitimacy of the administration. As its lies grow bolder, it will become more and more difficult to sustain its aura of invincibility.

We, members of the Filipino Community in Cambodia---eking out an honest and decent living, and concerned about the standing of the country in the international community---alarmed, ashamed, and disgusted by the recent events, renew our call to Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her top officials, civilian, police and military, to resign en masse to pave the way for new and clean snap elections and a smooth transition, and to prevent any new power grab by adventurist undemocratic elements.

We do not and cannot buy the argument or the illusion that only Mrs. Arroyo can propel the country’s economy forward. But even if that were true, we do not believe in a tradeoff between economic prosperity and social justice and human rights.

We say it is not too early for change. We should not wait for the 2010 elections. It is also not too late for Mrs. Arroyo and company to rediscover a modicum of decency and civility. She should not wait to be handcuffed in 2010; she can always turn herself and her husband in at the police outpost closest to the Palace. After all, as Joseph Estrada has shown, there is life after the presidency and there is life after prison.

Mrs. Arroyo, it is time to move on and to move out, so the country can finally move forward!

Pinoys in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, February 10, 2008

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