One of the two most powerful persons in the Philippines was the Governor General and in order to guard against abuses and disloyalty to the Spanish Crown two things were used or at least availabe. The first was the Visitador General and his visita – a suprise inspection; and the other was the Residencia , which happened at the end of the goverborship. It was not a perfect system and nor was it sometime you could not escape. But it was there and one of the two most powerful person in the country could be checked and made to pay for cheating the King and his colonial subjects.
Makes one wondder if the visita and residencia would be a good thing to have in the Philippines.
Now it seems that GMA or Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will have her version of the Residencia. All the signs seem to point to it : First, the revelation and allegations of fraudand cheating; and Second, the appointment of a new ombudsman. How will this Residencia of Gloria turn out and how will she play her cards ?
THE CARD OF TRANSFER AND EXILE
Whether by an upring or by a putsch or by a rebellion-coup de etat te leader is exiled. In the case of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos the Americans took hin to Hawaii and not to Paoay, Ilocos Sur. Jean-Claude “Baby-Doc” Duvalier ended up in France. Macoy died in exile and live in climate controlled glass coffin up North – in Ilocos – a Marcos bailiwick. As for Baby Doc after the Earthquake hit Haiti he went back. He was greeted by his supporters at the airport. Then the next day he was greeted by the policemen and taken to jail. He was released but not allowed to leave Haiti so he can greet the judge at his trial soon.
THE CARD OF SICKNESS AND IMMINENT DEATH
In the movie Casino when the mafia heads appeared in their trial all of them were sickly men in wheel chairs, with canes and nurses. The transformation is amazing. In some cases when a country strong man falls out of power and about to face the court the transformation is nearly the same – General Pinochet has a heart problem, Suharto is rushed to the hospital and Hosni Mubarak is depressed and close to dying in his hospital room.
Gloria has just been taken to St Luke’s Hospital.
THE CARD OF THE SHOGUN OF DARKNESS
Kakuei Tanaka was and probably is the most powerful and controversial leader in postwar Japan. A Prime Minister who fell from power because of corruption was able to became still a member of the Japanese Diet. Using his influence and political group – His support and group was needed to form a government – he was able to became a key player in Japanese politics without being Prime Minister. Until his death although he was convicted he was able to stay the Shadow Shogun.
THE CARD OF AGE AND FORGETFULLNESS
Of course there is the case of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Joeseph Estrada who were given pardon by Gerald Ford and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo respectively. Nixon, whose political fall made the name Watergate the word for any great political scandal, has became an elder statesman. While Erap was able to finish second in the last Presidential election.
So What will it be? What will Gloria, who is not known for her charisma but rather for her strength of character, do ? Will she face the storm or seek asylum in another country or the four corners of a hospital bed room?
Irregardless, This has to happen. The trial has to happen. Gloria and her accusers needs to have their day in court. The Nation needs it.
I think it will happen … A trial but as to what the result will be dependent on the winds of politics.
At least the Residencia and Visita was one way to check and stop abuses. Looking at how for nearly the whole history of these islands we have had corruption problems ( who has not) and looking at the long and winding road that led to the predicament of pact presidents and leaders it might be prudcent to have this put back in.
Now the Visita and Residencia was of course not the problem of the other most powerful man in the Spanish Colony of the Philippines for he was an eccleciastical the Archbishop of Manila.
residencia. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from Britannica.com
visitador. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from Britannica.com