In his paper “Forgetting, or Not Knowing: Media and Martial Law,” Prof. Luis Teodoro said Martial Law “left a legacy of secrecy that up to now, 27 years later, (he delivered the paper in 1999 during a conference on the legacies of the Marcos dictatorship at the Ateneo de Manila University) is still very much in government.” This legacy of secrecy, he said, is seen in the journalists’ limited access to information, and cited that police officers sometimes even consider the police blotter as “classified.” Indeed, secrecy has become one of the characteristics of how the government operates.
People Power 2 promised to abolish this system of secrecy. When Arroyo became President after Joseph Estrada’s ouster, she said in her inaugural address:
To ensure that our gains are not dissipated through corruption, we must improve moral standards. As we do so, we create fertile ground for good governance based on a sound moral foundation, a philosophy of transparency, and an ethic of effective implementation.
But then again, those were Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s words.
While completing Estrada’s unfinished term, the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement was one of Gloria’s secrets. It was already a done deal when the public knew about it.
Gloria allegedly won in last year’s election, so she became President again. This time, she had more secrets, which were eventually revealed. Foremost among those secrets is called the Gloriagate controversy, more popularly known as “Hello Garci.” We all know what “Hello Garci’ is. Then, there’s Norberto Gonzales’ contract with an American law firm, exposed by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
Yesterday, BGen. Francisco Gudani, a Navy officer, revealed more details about Gloria’s “Hello Garci” secret. Of course, we all know the shrewd trapo queen wouldn’t take it sitting down. She woudn’t want the Senators, the media, and the people know the juicy details of her “affair” with Garci. So she issued Executive Order 494, which bans civilian and military officials from testifying in Congressional hearings. Of course she used legal-sounding terms such as “separation of powers,” etc., but we all know her real intention.
Gloria’s secrets must remain as they are–secrets. Gloria’s secrets must not be known.