The sad, sad, news today is that Haydee Yorac is dead: she who fought Ferdinand Marcos, tamed warlord Ali Dimaporo, educated students, fought corruption, and achieved more for the PCGG than most others who have been part of that commission: PCIJ sums up her achievements. Sassy Lawyer eloquently sums up Yorac’s life as one well lived.
The big news is the meeting of the directorate of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, preceded by lobbying by the President (which Max Soliven thinks has buoyed up her hopes), who authorized a statement saying the bishops have heeded her call to move on, so the faithful must move on, too; and lobbying by people against the President, and much media speculation as detailed by the stories of the Inquirer, the Manila Times, the Philippine Star, Bishop Teodoro Bacani weighs in on politics and morality from a prelate’s point of view (recall his outrage on television after witnessing the goings-on in the House).
News-worthy, too, are recent pronouncements of former president Fidel V. Ramos, who warns of a potential civil war (Newsstand tries to dissect the meaning of his words and actions).
In the Propaganda 101 Department, opponents of the President will have to come to grips with the simple yet effective strategy of the Palace: if the enemy comes up with a powerful word, simply adopt it and make the resonance of the word your own. And so, Sec. Bunye can say, congressmen voted with “truth and morality” as the basis of their votes. By the way, a friend never fails to remind me that the President’s team is uncannily like the media handlers of George W. Bush. TPM Cafe has an interesting take on what the Bush people believe to be the secret for continued political survival and even success:
Back to the administration, or the administration+congressional leadership: I think their attitude, and tactically it’s a brilliant insight, is that only a few things count: winning presidential elections, keeping absolute control of Congress — which means not just a Republican majority but a malleable one — and winning on the few things that matter to their cash constituents — tax cuts, tort reform, tax cuts, energy bill subsidies, tax cuts, bankruptcy changes, and eliminating Social Security. The war was also important, for a lot of reasons, but not least because it established the president’s authority to act without any check, domestic or external and gave Bush the advantages of a “wartime president.” Everything else is means to those ends. The president’s popularity dipped into the low 40s, and they passed the energy bill anyway — what more proof do you need that the president’s poll numbers hardly matter, if you control the instutions? …That’s why I didn’t fully accept Garance’s argument last week that they aren’t really PR geniuses because of the poll numbers — they don’t need the poll numbers until they need the poll numbers, and when they need them, they figure they can find a way to push them up a bit and/or push the relevant Democrats down. (Or, another way to put it, is that they may not be PR geniuses, but they actually know that the exercise of power does not depend entirely on PR.)
Read it and weep.
In the punditocracy, the Inquirer editorial objects to burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or cemetery of heroes. Fine, and we should add, as far as I know, it was Marcos who decided to name the Veteran’s cemetery the Cemetery of Heroes. Thing is, there are portions reserved for burial not on the basis of heroism, but simply, on rank or past position: for example, there is a portion for past presidents, a portion for past chief justices, a portion for chiefs of staff of the armed forces; why not segregate that portion and rename it “Himlayan ng nagkaroon ng Katungkulan,” or something?
Juan Mercado delves into Millennium Development Goals; Bel Cunanan coos about all things praiseworthy about the administration; Federico Pascual says former president Estrada is not a flight risk, since Estrada’s lawyers have proposed “Metro Manila arrest” (I say, just send him home; I was always against his arrest and detention, anyway, to the shock of many of my friends: I told them, lock him if and only if, he’s tried and then sentenced, not a moment before or all hell will break loose, which it did); Dong Puno takes a dim view on the idea of a People’s Court; Alex Magno admires Koizumi of Japan; Robert Lazaro says media’s having a tough time; Emil Jurado claims the military accomplished People Power and tells Cory Aquino to go away (he hates the reality TV show “Pinoy Big Brother,” too, which Rey Agapay loves); Alvin Capino dissects the intramural fighting in the Liberal Party; and Tony Abaya takes a dim view of Renato de Villa, suggesting Senator Biazon or Rep. Golez as better civilian bridges to the armed forces.
The blogosphere has ina alleco strongly defending the value of protest actions; Philippine Politics predicting Bong-bong Marcos as the heir apparent and leading candidate in a Marcos restoration (I disagree, the leading contender is Imee who has her father’s brains); Ronnel Lim with an amusing take on Malaysian politics; Edwin Lacierda advocating the revival of the mosquito press;
I’ve noticed that my blog readings now include a group best described as the Policy-Economy-Systems blogs: namely, Big mango, who resumes his series on the Blueprint for a viable Philippines, by examining its proposals on health care; Go Figure who begins delving into “hyperwage theory” by proposing some sort of mental chess with his readers; and overseas, New Economist who has an entry on something called “Hindu growth” -economic expansion helped along not by inviting new investments, but simply by taking on a more pro-business attitude towards governance.
In media aesthetics-related news, Kottke.org links to the new design for The Guardian of London, new typefaces and everything; the future for the broadsheet is a comin’ and it’s in tabloid size. Finally, Dubaichronicles has the most touching photo of the week: Choc-nut sent from home.