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Ellen Tordesillas

Be afraid, Gloria

August 9, 2009 10:42pm
Much as Lorelei Fajardo tried to put up an undaunted stance saying her boss, Gloria Arroyo, did not feel threatened by the massive turnout for President Cory Aquino’s wake and funeral, it was obvious it was plain bravado.

Arroyo’s fear of the people was betrayed by the script that they executed when she visited Cory’s wake at the Manila Cathedral early morning of Wednesday, upon her arrival from the United States and a few hours before Cory’s interment.

About two hours before Arroyo arrived, her advance party came.

I saw Mike Defensor, former presidential chief of staff and now chairman of the Philippine National Railways. He was followed by Mai Jimenez, one of those very close with Arroyo whom she installed as a director of the Asian Development Bank.

Later on, Finance Secretary Gary Teves came. Teves was with Arroyo in the US. He was bumped off in the list of seven people who would participate in the Obama-Arroyo talks in the White House for Medy Poblador, undersecretary assigned in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs.

Poblador, who is more known in the political circles as Arroyo’s “bag woman” because she has been reported to be the source of fat envelopes given to congressmen, members of clergy and persons that Malacañang needs to win over, wanted a photo with Obama.

(By the way, Teves was not the only one removed from the original list of those participating in the meeting with Obama. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro was also bumped off to accommodate Presidential Adviser for Climate Change Heherson Alvarez.)

I’m not sure if Poblador, who had worked in Malacañang during Aquino’s presidency, also came to the Manila Cathedral. No one I asked saw her.

A member of the organization of Former Senior Government Officials related that minutes before Arroyo arrived, a group of what looked like government employees came.

Those who were helping in managing the wake thought they were another usual group of government employees who have been coming to the wake the past three days risking the displeasure of Malacañang. What they did not reckon with was Malacañang’s insecurity and craftiness.

When Arroyo arrived before 4:00 a.m., those pre-positioned government employees clapped. Mga pala pala!

It must have been fear of being booed that Malacañang thought of having their own pala. It was really in bad taste.

The outpouring of grief over Cory’s death, which surprised everybody even the Aquino family, to a large extent, was also the people venting out of their anger over the Arroyo administration’s abuse of power and corruption in all facets of governance.

During the funeral march, I asked people who were chanting “Cory! Cory! Cory!” what they want to do with Arroyo. They immediately changed their chant to “Gloria resign! Gloria resign!”

There were some who shouted, “Bitayin si Gloria! (Hang Gloria!).” I pray we won’t come to the point that we would have to replicate here what happened to the Ceausescus of Romania.

What blogger Phil Cruz should serve as warning to Arroyo and her associates:

“When Cory’s health was gradually waning a few months ago, I was hoping and praying that she would be able to get well enough again to lead the nation in one final battle against Gloria’s schemes to stay in power. I believed that there was no one with the moral force to lead us except her.

“When she passed away, I was devastated. Who will lead us now?

“But it seems her death is the divine answer to the plea of millions like me. Cory will still lead us.. stronger now even in death.

“She has once again reignited the fervor of a slumbering people. I can feel the tremor building up.

“Be afraid, Gloria. Be very afraid.”
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