The joke around town is that the opposition has a witness training academy and that the Arroyo administration has a witness prevention program. With witnesses dancing the cha-cha-cha--although unfortunately not in the way FVR had in mind--what are we to think? Bearing witness in this country, law on perjury and libel notwithstanding, is taken so lightly that I would not be surprised if any moment now someone turn up in the Senate and testify to Garcillano's having been abducted by an alien spaceship. Where the hell is that man anyway?
Whether the opposition would admit it or not, it is now President Arroyo who has the upper hand. Back from the abyss of that week when Cory Aquino and the Makati Business Club called for her resignation, President Arroyo's strategy--including her rather exemplary witness prevention program--seems to be doing just fine.
The slow trickle of witnesses being presented in the congressional investigations only tend to contribute in the public perception that the opposition has indeed a witness training academy. It would be better for the opposition to present these other corroborating witnesses during the impeachment trial itself where they would produce the necessary "damning effect" against the president. Right now, the slow parade of witnesses is only immunizing President Arroyo against other future accusations. When and if the impeachment trial comes, the middle-class urbanite public may be so fatigued by the same accusations rehashed for the trial that the outrage prequisite to a People Power demonstration --the opposition's preferred option of unseating President Arroyo-- may simply not materialize at Ortigas.
The impeachment kindling point for President Arroyo, the opposition discovered too late, is much higher that that of Estrada. The middle classes and the conservative forces in Philippine politics started with much prejudice against Estrada that they were only too glad to find a valid reason to wash their hands of him. PR-wise, it is simply much easier to caricature as evil a corpulent mustached actor with a legendary libido than a diminutive lady economist with a cute voice on the phone.