January 26, 2007 11:20pm CST
Are the successive suspension of mayors and governors in the Philippines President Arroyo's sign of a more repressive administration? Over the past few weeks, Filipinos have been hearing news about mayors and governors being suspended. At first, no one bothers with the news. At least no one who gets directly affected by these issues. But when mayors and governors get suspended left and right, people are disturbed. See, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not having a good political year. Her term has blown out of proportions ever since the "Hello Garci" scandal where she was accused of having contacted an elections official to manipulate the polls. Then came the storm involving her husband. And more recently, the Subic rape case involving an American marine (Daniel Smith) and a Filipino woman ("Nicole") who swears that she got raped. The Philippine court decided the case against Smith and had him transferred to a local jail. Arroyo and her staff decided to intervene with judicial proceedings and had him transferred to US custodies "in the dead of the night" without seeking proper legal procedures. May is near. This means that elections are up and officials will be elected. It stands as a bit of a good news to Arroyo since it does not involve presidential elections yet. But regional officials are up for their piece of the ballots and it seems that Arroyo is involved with the Ombudsman's successive suspension of local officials. Do you think all these are just coincidental or is Arroyo taking holds of the reins?