Thursday, December 14, 2006

Arroyo, consummate politician

Arroyo's retreat from constitutional change by whatever means is not only an indication of her sensitivity to popular opinion. It is, more than anything else, the sign that she is the consummate politician. Having tested popular opinion on constitutional change through a constituent assembly, she is at the very least intelligent enough to know that the backlash against the House of Representatives could infect her already tenuous tenure as President. She has sacrificed her pawns at the same time preserved her place at helm of the nation. She packaged her retreat as an attempt to end political divisions but in truth is putting out fires that her allies set when they unilaterally scrapped the rule that constitutional amendments, like other laws, must be approved separately by both chambers of Congress. Arroyo survives yet again. What remains to be seen is whether she and allies will tempt fate again before her term ends in 2010 and tinker with the Constitution.

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