Friday, July 01, 2005

Was GMA wrong to say she's sorry?

In hindsight, it appears that President Arroyo's apologia was a bad move. Rather than easing the pressure on her to step down, it had instead intensified it. Golez abandoned ship, Susan Roces fumed in anger, mass protests only got bigger. Because President Arroyo did not say what she was specifically apologizing for, many people assume she is guilty of the worst things alleged against her. Max Soliven writes:

It’s increasingly clear that her . . . uh, confession was a mistake. Confession may be good for the soul. It is the kiss of death in politics.

An incomplete confession is even worse. It sounds insincere and phoney while giving enemies and critics the opportunity to attack more fiercely. For every "admission" creates a crack, which can be pried wider to demolish the defense.

In the words of Mike Defensor, the events had entered a Chapter Two as far as the opposition is concerned, but, arguably, had President Arroyo only kept her lips sealed, the story would have been stuck to Chapter One.

So was GMA wrong to make her quasi confession?

Not really, says Julius Fortuna:

[ The pseudo-confession ] was not so much to appease the opposition but to maintain her alliances, who were beginning to get irritated by her silence about the tapes. There was no way she could convince the opposition, but her allies in the Church and in big business had to be saved.

It seems that the President’s "I am sorry" was able to buy her time. President Cory Aquino continues to give her the benefit of the doubt and the business community in Makati is not about to jump to the opposition.

I had the inital feeling that GMA's apology was a bad move on her part. But we'll see. If her alliances hold and the Church is reigned in, it may be a strategic advance. The opposition can protest to high heavens, but in a politically conservative country like ours, without the Church's blessing, the People Power tipping point can hardly be reached.

No comments: