Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The Philippines is a weak state in terms of capacity for governance because of the shaky authority President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo possesses. Her administration has been hounded by controversies like rigging the 2004 presidential elections, anomalous government deals, corruption charges, among others. Her capacity for governance is being seriously challenged by oppositions that stem out of the scandals she faces.
First, the weak Philippine state encounters serious subversion to its capacities for governance, one of which was the recent hotel siege by mutinous soldiers. These soldiers held a mutiny to call for Arroyo’s resignation because for them, she is no longer fit to rule the country. While the mutineers later lost ground, that did not stop the world from speculating that an administration being rocked by several coup de etats could only be but weak.
The recent jeepney strike that paralyzed urban centers outside Manila and forcing passengers to walk and hitch rides is another blow to the weak capacity for governance inasmuch as the administration cannot do anything about the skyrocketing prices of fuel products like diesel, premium gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas. The protest of the jeepney drivers regarding the 12% tax on fuel sales as well as law deregulation on oil could be seen as a dissatisfaction of the transport sector over the government’s inutile stance regarding the crippling oil cartel. Only recently did jeepney strikes begin to gather fire again since the last few years of rule of Marcos, but it’s only now, in Arroyo’s administration that transport strikes are returning.
The release of Estrada could also be seen as a way for the government to prevent its foundations from finally crumbling down since the conviction of Estrada six weeks before he was granted pardon by Arroyo. If the pardon did not arrive at an opportune time, Estradas supporters could again try to put up another people power to boot Arroyo out of Malacañang. Many Estrada loyalists as well as opposition groups continue to question the legitimacy of Arroyo’s presidency.