Friday, February 29, 2008

Pester Power

Here’s the idea: we pressure congressmen to impeach GMA.

We, meaning ordinary citizens everywhere, especially those from districts whose representatives have blocked (or are inclined to block) any move to impeach the president. The premise behind this “Operation Impeachment” is simply representative democracy. It’s the “active participation” everyone keeps writing about, only this time we have something more concrete to do than attend rallies.

[Disclaimer: rallies and statements of support are great (I’ll be at Ayala later). They serve to keep public opinion focused and to raise the heat. But it’s also time to focus our actions.]

Operation Impeachment. The rationale is simple, the actions required perhaps more so, but the effects are potentially far-reaching. It may serve not only to bring a corrupt administration to justice but also to help bring us to the next level of political development. At the very least it gives us something to do besides gathering en masse and hoping we spark another EDSA.

Why should we do it?

GMA is corrupt and has lost the moral ascendancy to govern – that is something most people agree on. Even the “anti- anti-GMA” know this; they just believe there is no better alternative. [To that I say read Raul Pangalangan’s argument against inaction. ]

However, removing her Erap-style is not a long-term solution. GMA isn’t the only problem, the same way Erap wasn’t. They are symptoms of an even bigger problem that has been around since before them. Besides, kicking her out would require more than a show of force. (Someone called her kapit-tuko before, this has never been more apt.) It may take actual force (with the military actively involved), a risk I am not willing to take.

Her resignation would be welcome, but honestly, does anybody see that happening? So we go for impeachment. And we help accomplish that by getting our representatives to do it.

How do we do it?

Two words: pester power.

We email, fax, call, or text our congressmen and tell them to support the bid for impeachment. We do this on a regular basis and in increasing numbers until they agree to sign a document that says they will support impeachment. We do this everyday if necessary until they announce on TV that they’re supporting impeachment.

Ang kapangyarihan ng kakulitan.

We do not stop until they side with us or unequivocally reject us, in which case we shame them. We shame them in person, we shame them in the media. If they’re thick enough to say they’re voting their consciences, we say they’re too thick to be in our ideal Congress.

Is it legal?

Hell yeah! Especially if we concentrate on representatives of our respective districts. We’re having lawyer types check it out but it’s basically all in the constitution. They’re called representatives for a reason.

When do we start?

Sometime next week. Hopefully we’ll have a resource site ready by then, with downloadable petition templates and “things to remember” documents. If it goes well we’ll even have a mechanism for reporting what has been done in participating districts.

I’ll be pitching this idea to people I’ll meet in the rally later. Let’s see where it goes.

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