From the sounds of it, the Administration has made the prosecution of GMA one of its defining moments.
The President will claim the motive is not personal, that it is beyond him, that it is justice running its course. The truth is the initiative will only move as quickly or as slowly as he wants it to.
As for it being not personal, the facts speak otherwise: While she might arguably be more culpable than other Presidents, P-Noy is exclusively gunning for GMA. It may have to do with the disrespect that Gloria showed his mother in her final years.
The strategy to bringing down the ex-president is as follows:
1. Incense the public- The President devoted the greater part of his last two SONAs to the misdeeds of his predecessor. By fomenting the nation’s ire, the Administration hopes to rally public opinion and dissuade the opposition and the courts from blocking its moves to convict GMA.
2. Attack across various fronts- The Government is applying pressure across a broad spectrum to overwhelm the defenses of GMA. Six cases of plunder have been filed against her. A tax case has been initiated against her son, Mikey. Proceedings are being contemplated for fraud in the 2004 elections. Expect Gloria and her family to be charged with ill-gotten wealth once there is enough evidence.
3.Get to GMA’s former underlings- This is standard procedure, move on the underlings hoping they will turn state witness against their principal. A trove of witnesses are now offering to tell all against GMA.
4. Pressure her through her family- Already, a tax case has been filed against Mikey. His father could be next. The Government may enquire whether the funds that have fueled recent mega corporate acquisitions is ex-FG money.
GMA’s strategy for the defense might be as follows:
1. Buy time, literally- GMA’s principal objective is to hang on until 2016 when she can cut a deal with the next president. Anything that freezes the ball is good.
2. Smear the Government witnesses- Since most of them will themselves have been party to the crime, these witnesses will have skeletons in their closet. GMA’s team will seek to expose these skeletons.
3. Undermine P-Noy – The more popular the President, the weaker her situation. She will look to find chinks in his armor and his people, to be there when P-Noy stumbles.
4. Change her image- GMA needs an image makeover. She is seen as cold and abrasive (a result, Maryknollers say, of her Asumptionista upbringing). She needs to be more humble if she wants the public to warm up to her.
5. Hope for diversions- Anything –natural calamities, other scandals- that diverts the national attention from her case is welcome.
6. Get rid of the man-This is the most expeditious solution to her problems. How she does this is another matter.
7. Skip town- If none of the above works, she might consider leaving Dodge.
The country is closely following the GMA case.
P-Noy has staked his Presidency on bringing his predecessor to justice (even while wishing for her speedy recovery). He has the Government resources at his disposal. The public is behind him. With the new Ombudsman, he now has the constitutional platform to expedite proceedings. The question is whether he possesses the finishing touch, whether he can pull the trigger when the time comes.
Despite all the bravado, it is not certain that he can. In the Libingan case, he could not declare that Marcos, his father’s nemesis, was not a hero. Does he have it in him to put an ailing, 64 year old woman behind bars? To-date, this Government has still to land a big fish, and this is the biggest of them all.
GMA will do her utmost to stave off proceedings until 2016. She will be aided by the glacial pace of the courts.
She could help her cause by returning what she is has taken from the country, by undertaking economic programs for the poor, promoting responsible legislation in Congress, and, if she can afford it, personally helping the Government fund its budget deficit.
The bad news for her is she is already guilty in the forum of public opinion. The President knows this and will leverage it.
The good news is people’s memories are short: As we have seen, this nation, unfortunately, is prepared to forget those who have wronged it.
GMA is hoping that just as others have made a comeback, so can she.