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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Spare Tire

If civil society has not been able to gather sufficient outrage against GMA to mount an EDSA Tres or Kwatro, if the entire business sector has not thrown its weight behind the GMA resign movement, if the Catholic bishops could not directly demand the ouster of GMA with unanimity, if the Protestant denominations could not agree among themselves to withdraw support from the president, GMA has the Vice-President Noli de Castro or Kabayan to thank for.

To many pragmatists in and out of government, Kabayan as an alternative is simply unacceptable and perhaps, even worse. The leadership and intellectual qualifications of GMA and that of Kabayan are as far as the east is from the west. The ability of GMA to converse in economic and financial terms is alienspeak to Kabayan. To many, the contrast is so stark that GMA's choice of Kabayan was obviously not a testament to his yet untested leadership but more a pandering to the masa and a prop to her candidacy for purely political gain.

But given her current snafu and with the growing clamor for removal, Kabayan has proven to be a serendipitous choice that compels GMA to remain in office.

In this brewing controversy, many start with a premise that GMA admittedly has committed a wrong but the next question is asked: Who will be the viable alternative? That is an insulting question as though the Vice-President does not exist.

But it is that next question that prompts the people to reconsider GMA's culpability. It is also that next question that gives pause to the public not to go along with the constitutional line of succession, not out of defiance but out of fear of the unknown factor that is Kabayan. Does he have the required acumen to solve this country's ills or will he be a puppet on someone else's strings?

There is nobody to blame for Kabayan's ascendancy. We cannot blame GMA for tapping him because she needed him as foil as she already lied she will not run for president. We cannot blame the poor for voting Kabayan because he represented their aspirations, as one of their own who rose from abject poverty to the heights of power. We cannot blame civil society because like the presidential protagonists, Kabayan was the lesser of two evils and his female foe and former kumare had a political baggage surnamed Leviste whose notoriety is said to rival the First Gentleman.

But given all his inadequacies, that next question should not even be asked because for us schooled in law, he is the Vice President and is next in line. That is all that matters. It is as simple and as true as the night follows the day. No questions asked.

The opposition pays lip service to the charter when they say they will observe constitutional succession. Politically, Kabayan is not one of their own and sowing the seeds of impeachment only to let Kabayan reap the harvest is not their idea of success. But it makes one wonder that the opposition must be so pungently vexed with GMA that they are willing to do that and hand over the reins of power to Kabayan who has done nothing, in their eyes, but to stand behind the president. At least, they cannot fault him for turncoatism.

Not once, but twice did we have the chance to deny Kabayan public office, but the fact remains that he is now our Vice-President required to take the reins of government after GMA is removed. There should be no ifs or buts about his qualifications or the lack thereof. And no opposition-led people power to oust him later should he become president. He has complied with the minimum requirements under the Constitution to become Vice-President. Let us trust him to do some good. So, live with it and let us be done for.

And may God have mercy on our nation.

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