Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The View From Manila

In the past twenty years, two presidents have been unceremoniously removed in the Republic of the Philippines. The first, Ferdinand Marcos, kept martial law in effect just little too long, and was forced out in a bloodless "people power" revolution. The second, Joseph Estrada, resigned as the result of a scandal, one of a number of corrupt politicians who seem to permeate life in that troubled land.

The current leader, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, faces charges of impeachment over attempting to unduly influence the outcome of the election. Oh, she's not guilty of that, she says; merely of "very poor judgment." This much was learned from a wire-tapped phone conversation. (Now what do you suppose they were discussing?)

The Washington Post reports: "Nearly a third of Filipinos live in poverty, according to government statistics. Among the countries of Southeast Asia, the Philippines has one of he most visible divides between rich and poor."

So, within a twenty-year period, the island nation could have a third leader forced out. Doesn't sound like much of a loss, does it?

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