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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Philippines political situation

President Gloria Arroyo of the Phillippines has been blasted by the United States for caving to terrorism. But she wasn't elected to support Bush's crumbling coalition. In fact, she barely beat Fernando Poe Junior and faces more pressing problems from her constituents.

Many of Arroyo's rivals believe the election was a fraud and stand ready to pounce on Arroyo for any perceived mistakes. The economy in the Phillippines and government spending are also taking their toll on the recently re-elected President.

In fact, last Friday 1,500 Poe supporters protested to the point that authorities needed water cannons to disperse the protesters.

In the case of Angelo de la Cruz, it appears that Arroyo bungled the deal:

The twist of the events is the regrettable. Sto. Tomas said it was necessary for her to announce the news presumably to break the tension gripping the family of De la Cruz and the people in his barangay in New Mexico, Pampanga. She was right. The news was greeted with jubilation.

Then, the regrettable followed. And she was blamed for making the announcement. Otherwise, she would have been thanked for doing it. Responsibility is two-ended.

Actually, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo imposed a news blackout on the negotiation. While the blackout was out of her responsibility to avoid complication, media did not welcome it as it suppressed the freedom of information.

The reversal of events in the case of De la Cruz should make media ponder on where freedom ends and where responsibility begins. There is no clearly set boundary. Every case must be studied closely. An abuse of freedom at the sacrifice of responsibility can be regrettable.

While the Cruz deal may momentarily help Arroyo's standing at home, it will do little to slow down the opposition that will be attacking her every move for the next six years.

- Bob Brigham
Bay to the Beltway
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