Anatomy of an Apology....

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's "admission" and apology made on national TV last night left me feeling somewhat incredulous and apathetic.

The statement was so measured, so shallow, so devoid of sincerity, that it made me wonder if anyone would actually believe it. Its as if a team of lawyers made it and in all likelihood, it probably was.

Suffice it to say that I didn't really care for the statement, and found it extremely wanting, if indeed it was intended to settle the controversial issue of the Gloriagate tapes once and for all.

Bear with me, as I give you a brief point by point analysis of the contents of the statement. For reference, the complete text of Pres. Arroyo's statement last night can be found in yesterday's post. Please bear in mind that these are my own opinions, and that they are not intended to be construed as fact.

1. The admission was half-baked. Even though she admitted being in communication with a Commission on Elections (COMELEC) official, she all but admitted that the voice on the wiretapped recordings was hers, or that the official she was referring to was former Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. While Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and media took her statements to mean that she admitted owning the voice on the tape, she never categorically admitted or confirmed that it was her. Probably done deliberately, as if to create a possible legal technicality or loophole that can be exploited later if push comes to shove;

2. She said "the election had already been decided and the votes counted." If indeed it was at the time of the phone conversation (I doubt if it was), there would be no need for her to be "anxious to protect my [her] votes." This statement is quite inconsistent to say the least;

3. If indeed she was innocently following up the results of the election with Commissioner Garcillano, it doesn't really make sense why in the transcripts they keep discussing election spots like Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Cotabato, when Commissioner Garcillano's assignment during the last elections was the Southern Tagalog region;

4. If it really was a mistake in judgement made in good faith as she claims it was, she should have owned up to her mistake at the first instance. Instead, there even seemed to be an attempt to cover up the faux pas by creating a "spliced" version of the recording, along with introducing to the public an employee, Edgardo "Bong" Ruado, who claimed that "he thought" he was the other person in the recording. If it was indeed an attempt at a cover-up, it was really a pitiful and pathetic attempt;

5. And lastly, while there is nothing wrong with an apology, she should be ready to face the legal implications of her admission, if any. The apology may even give the wrong impression that people are free to do whatever they want, be it illegal, immoral, or unethical, as long as they apologize later on. No one is above the law. Not even the President of the Republic.

My Two Cents

While I'm not usually the type of person who would pass judgement on another, sometimes personal opinions cannot be helped, especially in situations like this where the truth has been easily muddled by all the politicking, doublespeak, and legal gobbledygook.

Whether or not the admission and apology is sincere is irrelevant and beside the point. It is clear that Pres. Arroyo has to face the legal consequences of her act, if indeed there are any. Of course, that goes without saying.

But there's more. The Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines is not just one person, for indeed, it is bigger than any single individual. It is an institution of integrity, beyond reproach, representing the highest office in the land. It is the paragon of leadership, of incorruptibility, capable of inspiring trust and confidence in every Filipino citizen. It symbolizes our ideals, our dreams and aspirations, our desire of making this country a better place not only for ourselves, but for the rest of the world. That crystalline image has been ireparably cracked, at the very least, by "a lapse in judgement," and at the worst, an attempt to cheat in the last elections. This will simply not do.

While I may not go as far as demand that Pres. Arroyo step down from the Presidency, ponder this question: would you still trust her with the immense responsibility of running this country to the best of her abilities in a moral, ethical, and legal manner for the next five years? If everyone in the Philippines would answer this question truly from the heart, this nation would go a long way in discovering its true self.

Something to think about.

Quaere Verum.

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