(Below: the Mabini Gate of the Palace barricaded with GI sheets; from Jove Francisco’s blog; this was the gate attacked most violently on May 1, 2001)
In his blog, Jove Francisco reports that ironically, the Presidential Security Group has returned to normal duty (shedding their battle fatigues), just as they have come under suspicion. Jove points out,
Next to the first family, or yeah, even way before the first family, the PSG are the people that any sitting president should trust. They will defend him or her, no matter what. The press corps knows that fact… If PGMA really doubted the loyalty of her PSG, then dalawa lang yan: extreme paranoia or may clear and present danger (with proof) silang nakuha. Either way, as I always say: it has come to this. The level of distrust has come to this.
Come to what? If not the beginning of the end, then the end of the beginning. As I said on Dong Puno live the other night, and in a previous column, I give the President five months (now actually just four months): within that period of time, either she will be on her way out, or she can look forward to finishing her term. The Inquirer headlines Palace paranoia concerning the President’s praetorian guard, while the Palace also says they’re “steadfastly loyal”. The Manila Times perceives it as a symptom of a deeper unease between the President, former President Ramos, and the USA. The Manila Standard-Today has a curious story: Lotto winners kidnap swindler who duped them.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Remembrance of books past. The Inquirer editorial takes a cue from Edwin Lacierda’s view that the disappearance of a Department of Agriculture undersecretary (accused of funneling fertilizer funds to the President’s campaign) is a black eye for Rotary International: add to this the view of online columnist Billy Esposo, that de la Salle University’s athletics woes represents the perils of a “win at all cost” mentality, and we really do have a crisis in all our institutions, as I pointed out abroad.
Dan Mariano points out the recent conviction of terrorists was done without the benefit of an anti-terror law.
Marichu Villanueva says the Secretary of Finance is having nightmares about the VAT; Fel Maragay wonders if the law can’t be softened a bit.Today, of course, is the last day of life as we know it, or before the implementation of the VAT increases that begins tomorrow. And as for Fidel V. Ramos planning (or having planned) a coup, Patricio Diaz says it’s madness.
In the blogosphere, Newsstand is irked by the President’s not-so-subtle declaration of war on ABS-CBN, using Inquirer columnist Mon Tulfo (in the words of a colleague) as her guided torpedo: Philippine Commentary is a little more skeptical about everyone’s motives (the media included); journalist Ellen Tordesillas has been blogging for some days now (hoorah!); The Unlawyer has returned (and is no longer anonymous); PCIJ delves into the Reform Agenda of the Black & White Movement (full disclosure: I am one of the convenors of B&W); Newsboy complains that the opposition simply isn’t helping (who? what? when? where? why?); Ricky Carandang, after pointing out the problem of the country is that we have a low-trust society, delves into the reasons behind our not having trust: our dependence on servants (to which reader Manuel Buencamino cleverly replies that having servants teaches management skills, and I agree); Leon Kilat reports on an effort by young radicals to set up some Google bombs, by linking the phrase “pekeng pangulo” to the President’s website (see? that was easy). Incidentally, my favorite Communist blogger has penned an eloquent justification of why she’s a Communist:
What does this particular rallyist want? Simple.
I want a society where every family can sit together Saturday mornings and plan what they’re going to buy at the mall or the supermarket; make lists of supplies they’ll need for the coming week; or lists of the chores they have to do.
I want a society where all families have their own houses (not hovels, not boxes, not karitons) and all the kids have their own comfortable rooms each (and there’s a community playground with see-saws, swings and jungle bars).
I want a society where pictures of families sitting down to Sunday dinner or Saturday brunch are not just in the magazine ads but in the photo albums of every family – the dinners and lunches a regular event (umuusok ang malaking mangkok ng nilagang baka o sinigang na baboy. isang bandehadong puno ng chop suey. maputi at mabango ang bagong sinaing. may malaking pitsel ng dalandan juice. mga hiwa ng pakwan, melon o mangga bilang panghimagas. ).
I want a society where all Filipino households have a videoke machine or Magic Sing microphone each.
There’s nothing normal in how Philippine society currently works, in the way it’s laid out, in the statistics that come out in the papers (even in the reports manipulated by the government). It’s simply not right that the huge majority have so little, and a small minority have most of everything.
Which serves as a reminder that at least in the political sphere, there should always be ample democratic space for our Communist fellow citizens, and that we should all object when this country begins to resemble Colombia.
The blogosphere also has The Economic Nationalist saying there’s no such thing as free trade that’s good; Abe Margallo dissecting Mar Roxas’s speech; Uniffors lists 10 things you can do in a “national emergency”; Idiot Savant says there’s something wrong with how Philippine History is taught; and Stepping on Poop is pissed off with Philippine Halloween TV programming.
Overseas, Kottke.org reports a wierd phenomenon in New York City: thousands complaining of the smell of maple syrup. And Washington Note says the Fitzgerald investigation in the USA is about something the administration here at home says isn’t important: truth and accountability. Imagine that. Could it be, the administration’s wrong? Truth and accountability matter? Gosh.