Millions of Filipinos are on the sideline, waiting for the outcome of the five demands that former senior government officials asked President Arroyo to do. And perhaps, this is a lithmus test that will, once and for all, show the present administration's sincerity in dealing with the present challenges that lurk behind her embattled leadership.
Perhaps, what the president can do is just to make an announcement right now that she is willing to scrap Executive Order 464, which was misconstrued by the civil society groups as an armor to shield the government's image from being eroded further. With all these shanigans in government under close public scrutiny, there is no doubt that the people themselves will be fuming with anger in secrecy. This is dangerous in the sense that when the people's sentiments can no longer be contained, that's the end of it all.
Well, the only thing that needs to be tested is the sincerity of the military and the police. For how long their patience will last, nobody can say at this point in time knowing that the top ranking military and police officials are trying to please the president's wishes for protection, in case another People Power will erupt in any time.
And the deciding factors are the current demands of former senior government officials for the president to act. Otherwise, it will be too late for the present administration to mend its ways. Tens of thousands of public servants are not hundred percent on the side of government, believe me. There's a lot of them who are disgruntled at the way things are going on right now, but they just keep mum about their sentiments, except for some others who already showed their
disenchantments in the open.
As far as I'm concerned, these demands are the biggest headaches for the present administration, knowing fully well that these may spark further unrest in the streets. Metro Manila has about 13 million people. If one third of this total will hit the streets, what do you think will happen. Surely, there will be gridlock and traffic will grind to a halt. The next thing we
knew is that the economy is held hostaged by these impending inconveniences. Unless the military is callous and insensitive enough to shoot all these people on the streets remains to be seen like what they did in Myanmar's heartless government.
Among these demands, the most difficult thing to do, unless some of the records right now will be fixed to make it appear they are clean for presentation in public hearings, is the availment of minutes of the board meetings made by the National Economic and Development Authority on the ZTE-NBN broadband deal.
Why not? NEDA officials are not that stupid not to heed to calls of Malacanang to fix the problem at hand. And now, they are thinking about it already while time drags on. No wonder that most of employees at NEDA are good in terms of numbers.
Scrutinizing these public records on the US$329 million NBN contract during a Senate hearing would hopefully generate facts rather than fiction. But at this point in time, NEDA insiders are already thinking how to get away with the multi-million NBN mess, whose factual barometer would largely depend on these public records.
Another thing is that suspending those allegedly involved in the attempted kidnapping of Mr. Jun Lozada after he landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hong Kong, is something that must be done to at least supress a conspiracy in the future. Imagine, if it were not for the media, perhaps, no Lozada would be speaking and smiling before a sea of people, telling them his sad ordeals.
Citing news reports, the FSGO group also asked President Arroyo to stop the Department of Justice, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to stop harassing Lozada and other witnesses on the scrapped NBN-ZTE project.
Members of the FSGO include former education secretary Florencio Abad; former budget secretaries Emilia Boncodin and Benjamin Diokno; former Civil Service Commission chairperson Karina Constantino-David; former executive secretary and former senator Franklin Drilon; former presidential management staff Victoria Garchitorena; former NEDA secretary general Cielito Habito; former trade minister Vicente Paterno; former foreign affairs undersecretary Leticia Ramos-Shahani, among others, who asked the President to respond to their demands in a week.
These former senior government officials gave the president within one week to act on their demands. Failure to do so would mean bad consequences for the government, they warned.