Where I stand

When Privileged Communications Land You in Hot Soup: is my Arab News column for today.

Plebiscitary democracy: is my PDI column for today.

Let me use this forum to explain, clearly, where I stand concerning the issue of the controversial tape (and versions thereof). I am posting this here, in my blog, to make it clear this is my own personal view, and not one endorsed by any organization I’m affiliated with, or work with, either the Philippine Daily Inquirer, or Inq7.net which publishes Inquirer content online, or the Ayala Museum or the Arab News.

I worked for the President for a long time, first as a speechwriter, then as a technical assistant, and then as a presidential assistant. I am proud of my work with her, not least because, in doing that work, I had the privilege of working with people of whose patriotism and good intentions I have no doubt. In all the undertakings related to the President I engaged in before and after she became President, it was made clear to me that responsibility, hard work, and honesty were required. And yet in my writing I tried to temper my partisanship by trying to be impartial and have a mind of my own in writing about current events. Though I was at Edsa Dos, I wrote critically, before and after it, of some of the things I observed; though Edsa Tres was aimed against the President, I went there to talk to people and tried to point out it was legitimate people power until the point was reached when it turned violent, and its leaders melted away to abandon their followers to the truncheons and tear gas of the government. I opposed Mikey Arroyo’s running for office; I tried to point out where Fernando Poe Jr. appealed to the best of us, and where those around him reminded us of the worst of us. And I deplored the tricks used to call his citizenship into question.

So let me speak from the point of view of those who opposed Joseph Estrada and all his works, not least because he could have been a great president but squandered his chances. And for those who supported Gloria Macapagal Arroyo because, for all her defects, she had a golden opportunity to lead the country forward, if she did so without regard to the personal fortunes of her family, or to politics of the worst and most corrosive kind. I wanted her to succeed, because she could, if she set her mind to it.

I’ve written that Cory Aquino will go down favorably in our history because of all our presidents, only she showed what we so deeply desire to see in our leaders: a willingness to relinquish power. No other president has been able to serenely walk away from power. I recall that one of the most emotional moments during my service to the President was the day after she declared she would not run for a full term. There were many in the Palace choked with emotion -with pride. At that point I vowed to accomplish all I had set out to do with her guidance and approval, so that the Palace would be a place filled with history for her successor. When she declared that she had changed her mind, I’d finished most of what I’d set out to do, and knew the time had come to move on. Serendipitously, two offers came my way at about that time, from the Inquirer and the Ayala Museum, and so I could resign having done what I was brought in to do, and without fear of being unable to continue earning a living.

I voted for her in 2004, because of my observations about her opponents. I believed she won,but was disturbed by the conduct of her allies in Congress and the gloating that took place in the Visayas -both observations are documented in the columns I wrote at the time. Her victory was, at the very least, plausible. I have said this time and again. But it is precisely for that reason that I believe that it’s everyone’s duty to listen to the tapes, and, having listened to them, ask some tough questions both of the President, and of themselves. The issue of the tape requires consistency of those who take pride in Edsa I and Edsa II; and it demands that those who supported, or support her, make a deliberate effort not to blind themselves to reality.

That reality is that the tape is there, and that the government, instead of seeking out the truth, has tried to ignore it, and even suppress the efforts of those who want to inquire into the circumstances surrounding that tape. The reality is that, setting aside the ambitions of the political opposition and other groups trying to use the tape for partisan purposes, the behavior of the government at present constitutes a betrayal of the President’s supporters.

Unless you knew of a plan to cheat, and unless you believe cheating in elections is desirable, then you supported the President in 2004 because you believed she deserved the job, and would be a credit to your vote and the country. The opposition in its many factional forms, has never believed the President capable of good, and yet tens of thousands of Filipinos actively worked to prove she deserved the mandate of the people, and millions of Filipinos went to the polls in the honest belief that she did. If it is proven she deliberately set out to thwart the people’s will, then she first of all betrayed her own constituency, and is responsible for denying the nation its paramount right -to freely elect its leaders.

Consistency: if you objected to censorship during martial law, if you read Mr. & Ms. after the wake of Ninoy’s murder; if you watched illegal videotapes, and helped smuggle them around, so that the people would know what was really going on, then you have to listen to the tape -in all its versions.

Consistency: If you sang “Bayan Ko” and rallied in the streets to bring back democracy, that is, if you helped fight to make elections free, then you have to listen, read, and decide for yourself what it all may mean.

Consistency: If you believe “we cannot have a nation run by a thief,” and rallied to demand the resignation of a man who put the presidency in disrepute, then you recognize that a president who betrays public trust has no right to continue in office. This means, then, that should a betrayal of public trust occur in the case of his successors, they do not deserve to continue in office, either.

Consistency: If you opposed the muzzling of the press during martial law, if you denounced the attempts to cow it under Estrada, then you must denounce and resist similar efforts now, and they are clearly taking place. I am not a lawyer, but in bringing out the tapes in the first place, can the government claim any right to forbid us to listen to the tape, and make up our own mind?

Consistency: The overwhelming majority of our people, I believe, want the system to work, and are not rash to judge until the system has been given a chance to resolve things. Let the system be given a chance; but should it fail us, then we cannot deny ourselves the option of people power. I do believe this: the targets of people power in the past, cannot be the beneficiaries of people power in the future; and also that those who have participated in people power in the past, cannot claim that it should be denied anybody in the future. Most of all: people power is peaceful, it is disciplined, it is idealistic, it places the leaders and followers side by side and in the line of fire together.

Consistency: The question is a simple one, and nothing should distract us from this. It is a question of the President’s continued fitness for office. What will determine that fitness? Her being forthright with her people and disabusing them of the notion that she betrayed them by cheating her way to victory. The only way she can do this is to prove that the tapes are not genuine, that she never engaged in improper conversations with Comelec officials, that she was not the commander in chief of an army of fraud. Should she fail to do this -if she continues to hide behind a wall of silence, if she fails to take an active role in determining the authenticity or falseness of any version of the tape- then as of that moment she has lost her right to lead the country. I suggest those at the forefront of demanding clear, unequivocal executive action should be her supporters, because if she fails to prove her innocence she has betrayed those who supported her out of a genuine conviction most of all.

Consistency: To have faith in our country and its people. We have gone far since Edsa I, you only have to remember the fear that was felt during martial law. We have not had to live with such feelings of fear, except, perhaps, when military putschists periodically embark on their mischief. We cannot be ruled by fear, of the unknown, of the future, of those trying to capitalize on the situation. We must be ruled by an unshakeable faith in ourselves, that we would rather risk all, than live in a society that distrusts its people, and prefers a sham democracy to the real thing.

I have listened to the tapes. I am suspending full judgement until the tape -and the various versions of it floating around- have been studied by institutions such as the FBI. But one can only wait so long; the longer we wait, the stronger the doubt must grow. The editorial of the Inquirer yesterday put it best: this is more than politics. As the editorial ends, so does this manifesto of sorts, end: “The President must show leadership by example. She must be the first to live by the maxim that the truth shall set us free -even, as she has herself said, if this means the chips must fall where they may.”

74 comments

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    • jove on June 16, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    this blew my mind away. … (lynda jumilla’s mind too)

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 3:35 pm
      Author

    bakit naman?

  1. Thank you. You have just given voice to the mixed fear and optimism I feel as someone who also voted for Gloria in 2004 and feels betrayed by her recent actions.

    I’m not ashamed of voting for her, but I’m no Gloria partisan. I’m aware that here in the Philippines, anybody who runs for any high office very likely has some comelec officer in his/her pocket – but I’d also like to see Gloria accept the consequences of her actions.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 4:06 pm
      Author

    thank you.

    • har on June 16, 2005 at 4:31 pm

    Wish PGMA will do it exactly the way you ended your piece. I don’t think there is anything more important than The Truth to come out. We cannot go on blindly from here. Her silence is never an answer to what we, the Filipino people, truly deserve.

    • Gigi on June 16, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of GMA (but not of FPJ or Erap either) and I realize that accusations are regularly launched by both the administration and opposition — whether they are true or false or somewhere in the middle — in order to weaken and destroy the other. And therein lies part of the problem: no one knows what and whom to believe anymore. So it’s going to take a lot of work on everyone’s part to really pay attention and try to study the facts out there; unfortunately, doing so is usually too much work for most folks — so whoever yells the loudest and longest is ultimately the one heard. Matirang matibay, as always.

    So you really nailed it. I don’t think anyone could have said it better. Thank you for your courage and honesty. You are one of the few credible voices (and pens) left out there, and thank God you’ve chosen to tell the truth as you know it. Someone has to, after all.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 4:40 pm
      Author

    I agree. Thanks!

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 4:41 pm
      Author

    gigi: thanks, that means a lot!

    • john on June 16, 2005 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you muy mucho!

    God save the Philippines! The truth shall set us free! just listen to the tapes, the events that transpired in the conversations and you will know!

    • eric on June 16, 2005 at 5:49 pm

    thanks and i do agree on what you’ve said… our country is in deep trouble right now… let us all unite in prayer and ask the Lord to heal our leaders and save our country and people.

    • butch on June 16, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks, Manolo, for so clearly stating where you are and where you’re coming from. Everyone who cares about where this country is going should think as hard and be as clear where they stand on Gloria-Garci tapes. And this means more than just downloading Hello Garci ringtones.

    May I suggest that it doesn’t seem necessary to suspend full judgement until the tapes are authenticated by the FBI. After listening to the tapes, can one really believe that the “destablizers” recruited and directed the scriptwriters, actors, sound effects specialists, digital editors and so forth that would be needed to fake all those conversations mentioning very specific names, places and events? Logically, Occam’s Razor states that one should make no more assumptions than needed. When multiple explanations are available for a phenomenon, the simplest version is true. Commissioner Garcellano and President Arroyo were really wiretapped by the ISAFP in the act of conspiring to rig the 2004 election results.

    She must go.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 6:25 pm
      Author

    Butch,

    One has to approach these things steadily. To listen is what so many still have to do. When they’ve listened, they will discover Occam’s razor for themselves.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 7:01 pm
      Author

    eric: faith can move mountains.

    • marvin on June 16, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    Amen, Manolo. Nobody’s perfect. But there are things that cannot be compromised. Sayang it was fun routing for her from the start. But who knows? If she comes to her senses and avoids the inevitable confrontation with the public and even her own conscience by resigning, she might even be remembered well by the people. All is not lost. There is still time.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 7:12 pm
      Author

    Sana nga, Atty.

    • holyfather on June 16, 2005 at 8:48 pm

    Bravo mlq3, a fluent voice for the hardworking, decent and patriotic Filipinos.

    • noliE. on June 16, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    Ouch! you hit it right on the head. Lots of people needs to be consistent. Chavit Singson must top the list and Pimentel and Angara.

    Singson- Now talking about about separatist government and not listen to the tape as mush as the second enveloped.
    Pimentel- Sour graping.
    Angara- Who?
    All along I find Winnie Monsod and Oscar Orbos very consistent. Maybe we can work to make them the President and Vice President (not necessarily in order) in a transitional government.

    • Ed on June 16, 2005 at 10:40 pm

    Singson will never have the vote of the ilocanos so does that idiot who claimed mindanao will also secceed if we have another edsa. They should be persecuted for treason. Man if i remember correctly Congorestman Nograles said he and some of his merry congorestman from mindanao will separate from the National Government and make a Mindanao Republic, Bat wala sila sa kulungan? lets see, they are saying this bullcrap to scare some people to thinking “hey we shouldnt make a fuss about the truth because there will be no more Luzon,Visayas,Mindanao” and most of all they are from the administration.

    Singsong won the election because he used guns and money. Plain and simple. Nobody can stand up to him except of course bongbong marcos who slapped singson for not stopping jueteng from bongbong’s town(I heard it from somebody who actually saw the slapping and death threat show) but if Singson says ilocanos unite and lets create a government! no one will follow that MF cos they need manila for commerce and stuff.

    Another thing, Erap didint resign. He made a letter of absense or something but he didint resign. He never was impeached. So we cant say that he resigned or forced to resign or whatever to the president. I know little about our constitution but thats what the constitution say. When I was partying in EDSA 2 Erap never even lift a finger to hose the rallyist or protesters. Unlike that little monkey we have as a president. If erap turned violent that moment maybe things are different. but no he chose to let the people party until he was forced to get out of malacanang cos reyes,aglipay and those people with guns commited mutiny and treason and turned against their commander in chief.

    why am I saying this? it is because I dont know what to do anymore. im not that frustrated but only shit knows what shit we have at the moment.

    Ang MAGNANAKAW AY GALIT SA KAPWA MAGNANAKAW. isa pa, Kelan ka nakakilala ng isang asa city jail na nagsasabing sya ay may kasalanan?

    my piso.

    • dragon on June 16, 2005 at 11:04 pm

    more power!

    visit us at http://financemanila.net/forum

    we have a forum there to discuss not only philippine stocks, but also philippine politics.

    • mlq3 on June 16, 2005 at 11:15 pm
      Author

    holy father, nolie, ed, sandro, dragon, thanks for your comments.

    • Carla on June 17, 2005 at 7:20 am

    The sad thing is that we cannot be consistent when the rules are arbitrary. I recall very clearly how many of us were only so willing to look the other way just to prevent an FPJ victory. Another dumb actor to run the country: it was simply unthinkable to the middle class.

    To be honest, I dreaded it, too, but that’s democracy for you: one person, one vote. We can tinker with it in many ways and I suggest we do: as we can plainly see, it’s madness to let one person elected by less than 30% of the population govern us for six years and it’s suicidal to have those elections administered by crooks who count votes by (sleight of) hand. But whatever we agree on from here, we have to stick to it. Yes, even if as a consequence, another dumb actor wins. Or else, let’s not bother with elections anymore. Let’s just draw lots next time; it will save us lots of money and all this aggravation.

    • Jonjon on June 17, 2005 at 8:50 am

    Very very nice piece!

    • Ed on June 17, 2005 at 9:02 am

    Carla, another dumb actor? excuse me but erap wasnt dumb when he filed a bill when he was still a senator that made the americans leave their bases here. He wasnt dumb when he ran the city of san juan for many years. He wasnt dumb when he caught criminals while he was still a chief of a super police and to think that he became a mayor, senator, vice president and president proves something that he is more intelligent than you and me. yeah sure he didint finish schooling but even bill gates didint finished college and still he is the richest man in the world (he filed a leave of absence when he was studying in harvard). and what makes you think your above than than fpj and erap?

    Im sick and tired of people saying not another dumb actor. to quote carla that she is more willing to look the other way just to make sure not another dumb actor wins is wrong. who are we to control what the poor wants to have as a president? more importantly who are we to judge a person about his mental capacity to “lead not rule” us?

    one thing, kung sino ang nagsasabing bobo si erap at fpj bakit hindi nyo magaya ang mga ccomplishment nila? mga impokrito…..

    • Dani Molintas on June 17, 2005 at 9:09 am

    Good morning,

    I’d like to ask permission to reprint your “Where I Stand” article in Student Agenda, a social science supplement for high school students. Agenda is not a non-profit publication, but it is published by a start-up Publishing Firm that I now work with (so no revenues yet). Most of our clients are in public high schools outside Metro Manila.

    We believe that your article will provide high school students with a context for what is now going on.

    If you allow, the article will be published in the Philippine History edition of Agenda.

    Thank. We are hoping for your kind consideration.

    • Resty O. on June 17, 2005 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for this part. It so eloquently, unemotionally put what I wanted to shout but can’t.

    “Consistency: The overwhelming majority of our people, I believe, want the system to work, and are not rash to judge until the system has been given a chance to resolve things. Let the system be given a chance; but should it fail us, then we cannot deny ourselves the option of people power. I do believe this: the targets of people power in the past, cannot be the beneficiaries of people power in the future; and also that those who have participated in people power in the past, cannot claim that it should be denied anybody in the future. Most of all: people power is peaceful, it is disciplined, it is idealistic, it places the leaders and followers side by side and in the line of fire together.”

    • Patrick on June 17, 2005 at 11:18 am

    my love to my wife now pouring like concrete mix – reason? – she shared me this site, your site….

    correct me if im wrong, but a decade ago, i read a peruvian saying that goes “para sa carse el clavo” or “to remove the nail” – unless somebody will face the very painful issue of “recorded or taped conversation,” the doubts of the listening public will certainly going into unimaginable proportion that will only do more harm not only to Her Excellency but as well as the Filipino people. Election fraud and illegal number games were already here ahead of us and should be STOP at once. remove the nail now, so the bleeding will stop.

    my fervent prayers to all of us.

    great piece, Mr. M.L. Quezon III.

    • mlq3 on June 17, 2005 at 12:48 pm
      Author

    Carla: many in the middle class and upper class voted for Erap; my point was if the people feel the president should be a certain person, then so be it, but then if that person screws up, that’s it, also. Erap’s advantage was something that is the bedrock of politics -communication.

    Jonjon: thank you.

    Ed: I agree, Erap’s main problem is that he’s lazy. But he’s not dumb -certainly not dumber than many other politicians or businessmen.

    Resty: thanks for your kind words.

    Patrick: Three cheers for your wife!

    • R. on June 17, 2005 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t say things like that out of kindness or for the sake of being nice. 🙂 You know how much I can be harsh when I want to. 🙂

    • mlq3 on June 17, 2005 at 12:52 pm
      Author

    very true, r.!

    • Ed on June 17, 2005 at 1:47 pm

    We cant just remove jueteng in the provinces, if we want to remove jueteng, we should give the provincianos a better way to spend their time and money. but i doubt if we can remove it completely. jueteng is not addictive unlike casino games and tong its. jueteng is something a bettor feels like doing then let him bet his pang yosi money.

    • mlq3 on June 17, 2005 at 2:10 pm
      Author

    personally, i think jueteng should be legalized.

    • Ed on June 17, 2005 at 3:36 pm

    then some questions will arise, who’s gonna watch and control it? how’s it gonna be?

    • mlq3 on June 17, 2005 at 4:28 pm
      Author

    someone has ideas in inq7.net look at viewpoints section.

    • Sidney on June 17, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    I am a foreigner living in Manila and I have a love-hate relationship with the Philippines. I love the Philippines because of its friendly fun loving people but I also hate the Filipinos because they always manage to screw things up. The country has such an enormous potential which is wasted. SAYANG ! Priority should be given to education and to the economy.
    Not to words and words, to scandals after scandals, mud sliding after mud sliding, words and words. Grandstanding!
    Nothing is changing and the “massa” is suffering more and more.
    Sorry, right now the Philippines don’t need (deserve) a democracy. What you need is a strong leader who will put the Philippines back into the league of the progressive countries.
    But I agree, I should mind my own business 🙂

    • mlq3 on June 17, 2005 at 4:57 pm
      Author

    I don’t think you should mind your own business. You live here, you have a stake in what happens.

    • Ed on June 17, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    That’s my mantra all along we need somebody who we can trust and who can do the right things without fearing he will be slammed by detractors. But we dont need a king, we need a dictator or something like lacson who can kill people without even blinking. look what bayani fernando did. he made those eering drivers in EDSA to follow some rules. maybe we as filipinos need discipline. yep we need somebody who doesnt fear giving corporal punishment to eering citizen.

    • R. on June 17, 2005 at 6:39 pm

    Recall that we had Marcos, but even he woefully failed.

    • R. on June 17, 2005 at 6:44 pm

    Ed,

    It’s easy for you to say those things. What if what happened to Bubby Dacer, those guys na bigla na lang nawawala, tinatapon sa dagat, pinapakain sa pating ng buhay, sinisemento sa isang drum, sinusunog. Desaparecidos!!! I hope these things don’t ever happen to you or your family. Guys, you are infuriating me. I hope you’re not serious. MLQ3’s position is very clear. Let’s give the democratic laboratory experiment a chance. After all, we haven’t fully tried it. Now this is me speaking, if I may: After all, we are still a young democracy, a democrcy on paper at best. Back to MLQ: Better communism than fascism!

    People, it’s good to take up History 101 again and again. Bye, gotta sleep.

    • ed on June 17, 2005 at 9:07 pm

    what i mean is a dictator who can punish and give us some gain from his rule. look at singapore. that country used to be worse than cambodia. worse even than burma and now
    look at it. they got some dude named lee something to instill discipline and stuff. We
    need someone like him. and FYI R. Marcos did something good then imelda and co smeared
    his lifeworks. Marcos didnt stole all those money, its his wife and companion who did
    those gory details. and also one of my uncle is a so called “victim” of the martial
    law because he joined an organisation and blew something in baguio and he got caught.
    They beat the crap out of him and stuff.

    having a monkey president is better than communism, did you see whats happening in china?
    they are now opening their door for capitalism because communism cant feed their starving
    population, even the former soviet union fell on its knees.

    maybe we should start studying History again and do the mistakes again and again and again……..

    • Sidney on June 17, 2005 at 11:23 pm

    I agree with Ed.
    A strong leader doesn’t mean illegal killings. Lee from Singapore is a very good example.
    It means clear rules and laws. You pay your taxes, you stop before a red traffic light, you don’t corrupt an official to get a permit, you are punished if you steal or murder. No mercy for corrupt officials.
    The rule of law. Peace and order.
    Tax money goes into EDUCATION, infrastructure, tourism, economy. You attract foreign money; you create jobs (also in the province).
    This is not a far fetched dream. It is possible. You have a young population, so much potential.
    I don’t think a democrat can do the job. There are too many (rich and powerful) groups who don’t want any change.

    • Carla on June 18, 2005 at 2:15 am

    Ed, I don’t think you understood my post about “dumb actors”. Read it carefully. The gist is that democratic systems should allow ANYONE to run and govern if they win. That we should not bend or ignore rules just because of our perceptions regarding a candidate.

    As for dictatorships, we’ve been there and done that. The only example you can give of a “good” dictator is Lee Kwan Yew. Authoritarian rule–whether in capitalist or communist mode– has resulted in tragedy the world over. Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Suharto, Somoza, the Khmer Rouge, Haile Selasie, Idi Amin, Duvalier, Stalin…the list is endless. There is no such thing as a gentle tyrant.

    • richard on June 19, 2005 at 12:43 am

    could anyone please point out the “incriminating portions” in this tape that “proves” that gloria cheated in the last elections to win?!? the exit polls suggests that she won! the namfrel count points to a trend that says she won! if she was caught in an awkward moment where she’s calling an election officer because she’s concerned about protecting her votes (that’s how i the transcripts impressed me), and she’s not too willing to admit this because she won’t hear the end of things from the opposition, then i will happily support her as president.

    i’m a migrant filipino and the viewpoint from out-country is our country is so fond of shooting itself in the foot! no wonder the bitter pills that we’re trying to implement won’t hit the ground because the spin doctors have delicious brews to cater every now and then and the media (and the people) are happy to lap it up each time they’re served!

    i can only hope that some of our people can cut the bullshit and the rhetorics and get some real work done for our country. THESE TAPES ARE NOT IMPORTANT and AND DOESN’T DESERVE THE AIRTIME IT’S GETTING

    • Ed on June 19, 2005 at 12:45 am

    Carla, Im just trying to imply that youre so wrong about “not another dumb actor”. Because you see it’s wrong to point it that way. those “not another dumb actor” are what they seem to be. To give you some example, There were rumors going around that FPJ do charitable works without media attention and fanfare. His company makes money while his competitors are struggling. There are lots of stories about the man’s deeds that are unsurpass by most of us. so its not easy to qualify him or even some actors who dreamed about making a difference for his country.

    Gentle Dictator? no such thing! I agree with you 100% but what if or lets presume someone got sick and tired of all this bullcrap and he took over? Stalin made his country a super world power, but he did it with a price. his so called heir to the throne let it crumble. So my point is we need “someone strong enough to instill disipline”. Not necessarily my grade 6 PE teacher who made me not to disobey his orders.

    I heard a foreigner(before i broke his nose) yelled at a waiter saying filipinos are all crooks and domestic helpers. Its a shame people outside our country thinks that we are all like that.

  2. If anyone has solid evidence to prove that someone else won in the last election, file a case in court. If gloria got away with some ruse to win and none of us can prove it, then that’s how things will have to stand.

    consistency is following the law to the letter….damn by that no one should be bothering themseleves listening to these tapes and making judgements about the president! the closest thing to a sane reaction to this intrigue is for the proper office to revisit the votes in Mindanao to see whether there has been some cheating. OR have all the sanctimonious lovers of democracy and fairplay put their money where their mouth is and fund an effort to launch an investigation (if they don’t trust the government). This way you’ll be helping out the opposition qwith REAL MONEY and BUILD UP A SOLID CASE AGAINST Arroyo. Any “evidence” short of this standard should hardly be entertained and should definitely not be used to topple this president. As for those who say that Arroyo will lose her “moral authority” to govern, I say those who won’t support her will be doing OUR COUNTRY and themselves a great disservice because the main issue for our country IS NOT POLITICS, OR MORAL AUTHORITY. It is governance and economic and fiscal policies to put our country back on track! THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING JUST THAT AND THE OPPOSITION IS DERAILING THIS EFFORT AND TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE PRESENT HARDSHIPS TO SWING THE TIDE TO THEIR FAVOR.

    Most of our people is doing the right thing by not doing what the opposition hopes them to do. I hope people in media will do well to follow this lead and make itself more useful to the development effort for the country.

  3. garbled portion reads: “consistency is following the law to the letter. By that measure, no one should even be bothering themseleves to listen to these tapes and making judgements about the president–if this was obtained illegally and will not even stand in court! The “court of public opinion” is a favorite rhetoric in our country but the rest of the progressive world would hear none of that!”

    • gonzo on June 19, 2005 at 1:50 pm

    My big question is what is it in our nature that drives us filipinos to continually shoot ourselves in the foot, as someone said earlier? If, 40 years ago someone had come up with a methodical, detailled, well-organised plan to destroy this country, he couldn’t have done a better job than what we (and esp our elected officials) have collectively done over the years to screw things up in virtually every department.

    It really does make and authoritarian form of govt sound rather appealing. The trouble is where do we find a strongman who has both vision, lack of greed, and love of country (and more importantly, love of his fellow countrymen–not just his rels) as his main virtues? Why, we’d have to pick him from th same damaged lot where we all have come from.

    i’d appreciate a real in-depth analysis on the Filipino psyche– We are we so f-ed up, so dedicated to going backward instead of forward? And are there other cultures in the world like us, where we manage to shoot down every single possible chance of making progress. Surely it can’t be just us?!?

    In fact i’d recommend that we study other countries that have (had) similar histories/poverty levels to the Philippines, and look at what they’ve done/are doing to get their economies going. Maybe have a look at Malaysia, or Thailand, or even Ireland.

    But before that i think a comprehensive study on our Filipino nature–and th roots of our current propensity towards self-destruction–is definitely in order..

    • mlq3 on June 19, 2005 at 2:24 pm
      Author

    gonzo, i’ve been asking some writers i know to do exactly that -explain us to ourselves. there are some very good books in which people attempt to explain their countries or other countries. Barzini’s “The Italians” is a good one, and reads remarkably like Philippine society (particularly its sections on Italians and politics, and Italians in places such as Sicily, home of the Mafia). A good book I’m reading now is “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong,” by two Quebecois Canadians, Nadeau & Barlow. The sections on French politics, politicians, etc. also evoke the Philippines in some parts.

    If you go to the i Magazine website, you can read my essay, “Circle to Circle” which has my theory on where we’ve gone wrong.

    • mlq3 on June 19, 2005 at 2:26 pm
      Author

    richard, my only reply would be, not just the letter, but the spirit, of the law is what matters; a fanatical dedication to the letter of the law in contravention of the spirit of the law, defeats the law. A government with a strong standing in the eyes of the people is in a better position to enact the hard reforms we need.

  4. mr quezon,

    interpreting the “spirit” of the law is something that we need to leave to our courts rather than to amateur debaters like ourselves…if you think that this govt no longer has a strong standing in your eyes then that is your opinion. other people actually would prefer to ignore this media event and support this government as it pushes the reforms that our country needs.

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