On Respect for the Presidential Office

(A reply to Sec. Mike Defensor)

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Mike Defensor, asked by media late last week to comment on a music video which we in the Artists for the Removal of Gloria (ARREST Gloria) produced, said that creating and distributing such works is “okay” but the Office of the President must be respected.

We perfectly agree with Secretary Defensor that the presidential office should be accorded due respect. It is in fact due to our respect for the presidential office that we have come up with the music video.

Secretary Defensor, who was once an activist, should know that a president is worthy of his or her office only for so long as he or she is able to act in accordance with the best interests of the people.

The right of the people to revolt against a tyrannical, corrupt and ineffectual leader is recognized not only by the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights which in turn is recognized by the Philippine Constitution, but also by the greatest political thinkers in history – among them St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and our very own Emilio Jacinto and Apolinario Mabini.

It is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whom Secretary Defensor should be telling to respect the presidential office. Her fraudulent victory in the 2004 election – together with her record of imposing anti-national and anti-people policies, corruption, and disrespect for the most basic human rights – have defiled the presidential office at a scale that few of her predecessors could match.

With all that President Arroyo has brought upon the country, we would surely have fared better without a President for the last four and a half years.

By acting against the best interests of the people at such an unimaginable level, President Arroyo has proven herself totally unworthy of governing the nation. With that, she does more disgrace to the presidential office than anyone else in the country could do today by continuing to hold on to the reins of power.

If she has even an ounce of respect for the office she now holds, the least that President Arroyo could do is to vacate Malacañang. Secretary Defensor should tell her to do this if he really believes in what he says about respecting the presidential office.

Artists for the Removal of Gloria (ARREST Gloria)
July 24, 2005

Southern Tagalog Exposure KASIBULAN Women Visual Artists’ Collective KUMASA (Kulturang Ugnayan ng Manggagawa at Uring Anakpawis sa Timog Katagalugan) ARTIST, Inc. (Arts Research and Training Institute in Southern Tagalog) Kilometer 64 Poetry Group Tambisan sa Sining Paolo Martinez Andrea Muñoz Gian Paolo Mayuga Jeffrey Ferrer Onin Tagaro Bobby Balingit Winnie Balingit Lourd de Veyra Dong Abay Ninj Abay Con Cabrera

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