MANILA, NOVEMBER 15,  2003   (MALAYA) WE are confused about all this talk about reconciliation. Who does Gloria Arroyo want to be reconciled with?

The communist rebels? The Islamic secessionists? The Marcoses? Joseph Estrada?

There is nothing on record that shows Gloria and these disparate forces have ever been friends. Estrangement presupposes some affection in the past. What is there to reconcile?

The exception is Estrada who served with Gloria in the Senate and gave her a Cabinet portfolio although she won the vice presidency under another ticket. And what did Estrada get in return? A stab in the back. Does Gloria really believe Estrada would easily forget?

Gloria, perhaps, wants to be reconciled with the mainstream opposition? For sure, it's Gloria's fondest wish that the opposition would stop its incessant attacks on her incompetence and corruption. She's running in May. She needs all the support she can extort, buy or inveigle to reverse her plunging ratings.

But there is no sensible reason for the opposition to be reconciled with her. She has been trying to destroy the opposition since Day One. That she failed to succeed is not for lack of trying. The opposition is simply paying her in kind.

More important, the opposition would be remiss in its duty if it would come into an accommodation with Gloria. Her incompetence and her corruption are a given. It would be irresponsible for the opposition to play blind to the failings and abuses of her administration.

On the practical side, going to bed with Gloria this late in the day will snatch from the opposition the victory in May which is already within its grasp.

Our reading is the call for reconciliation is pitched at her former allies in Edsa 2. The militants have jumped the fence and are now openly calling for her ouster. Civil society is divided, with only the mercenary NGOs still sticking it out with her. Business is fed up with the mess she has created. With the retirement of Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Church has become palpably de-politicized.

Still we grudgingly tip our hats off to Gloria. She continues to hope the Edsa 2 alliance could be rebuilt.

Will she succeed?

Frankly, we don't care. That Edsa 2 alliance comprises forces which cannot deliver the votes during elections. Remember the anybody-but-Erap call in 1998? Its only proven route to power is through unconstitutional means.

Perhaps that's what Gloria is cooking. She needs these hypocrites to serve as a smokescreen while she is plotting to scuttle the elections which she cannot conceivably win.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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