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Nov 03

Forward and backwards

The President, through her Executive Secretary, says that while she did agree to parliamentary elections in 2007, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will cut short her term. Everything depends, her Executive Secretary says, on what the President’s Consultative Commission on Charter Change will say. So this early on, she’s squirming again for more wiggle room (read Jove Francisco’s blog for the skinny on the Palace press corps, their questions, and observations: most of all, the Veep seems unhappy about FVR, JDV, and GMA basically declaring him politically redundant; and Jove warns, “Oh and by the way, prepare for the IMELDIFICATION of the metropolis soon. It was the topic in today’s NAPC/NEDA cabinet meeting.”). Or perhaps she’s trying to kill Ramos by provoking a stroke due to exasperation.

The military question still haunts the Palace: the Daily Tribune says the President fears a military “tipping point” is near, and that the Palace has admitted Sec. Romulo was sent to America to embrace Uncle Sam. Malaya reports perpetual putschist Gregorio Honasan may be up to old tricks.

The perils of “zero tolerance” seems to be similar to the perils of a “preemptive, response”: riots, such as what’s been going on in Paris. Belmont Club has two extended (and interesting) entries on the Paris riots here (complete with maps) and here, complete with Francis Fukoyama quotes.

Forward and back again: Mike Defensor is reversed, the Palace now says he won’t appear before the People’s Congress. Or will he?

The peso is stronger, stocks are up, the markets seem happy with the VAT: the Inquirer editorial asks though, what about three to four months from now?

In the punditocracy today… My column today is The soft underbelly of the argument, in response to Solita Monsod’s column (in my column I make reference to two past columns, my May 24, 2004 column and then my June 21, 2004 column: Inq7.net columnist Billy Esposo, in response to my column, points to his May 17, 2004 column which argues that the surveys were just flat wrong). Today, Emil Jurado makes essentially the same pre-packaged arguments that Monsod made. There’s a rather good column by Dong Puno who argues that the President’s defenders can’t continue to be ostriches with their heads in the sand, and that the public is more discerning than either the President’s defendors or detractors assume:

Take the cases of Joc-Joc Bolante, Bert Gonzales and, of course, Garci. No amount of spin doctoring can remedy the fatal flaw the administration’s case suffers from: Not one of the three has come clean with the facts.

While I make no conclusions about whether or not the three are involved in anomalies, it’s become increasingly difficult to give them and the administration the benefit of the doubt. If they did nothing wrong – Garci during the last national elections, Bert in regard to the Venable LLP contract, and Joc-Joc with the fertilizer fund–then why don’t they just come out and give straightforward explanations.

Citizens as a whole are neither stupid nor naive nor particularly partisan. We can sort out the facts from, to quote FVR, the “cow manure.” Most of us can see the difference between an honest quest for the truth and opposition ploys, the schemes of destabilizers, or desperate and pointless inanities like a “People’s Court.” (As a person whose judgment I trust cogently asks: Who gave them the right to play God?) We can also distinguish between credible defense and mere dissembling and cover up.

Juan Mercado tackles the gulf between the desperately poor and everyone else, and ends with this line:

To succeed, a crippled administration must move beyond surviving to governing. And a feeble opposition must muster faces other than the old crooks.

Conrado de Quiros sums up the dangerous interest in resolving the crisis through military intervention:

What’s wrong with the picture? Well, it is not the veracity of these revelations, or the lack of it. It is the fact that a coup is being talked about openly and its tactics assessed as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Rodolfo Biazon intuits what’s wrong when he says: “This is regrettable. Is this anindication of the kind of trust the President can expect not only from the public but also from the different sectors? This is a sorry state of affairs.”

Fel Maragay says: 1. Executive Secretary received the summons to the People’s Congress and Mike Defensor seems hell-bent on appearing before it to defend the President; 2. How can charter change prosper if the Senate is opposed and only 30% of the public supports constitutional change? 3. The Commission on Human Rights has no teeth; 4. Heherson Alvarez is returning to the cabinet as Presidential Adviser on Land Reform (strongly recommended by de Venecia and Ramos): his main task, resolving the Hacienda Luisita case; the House remains divided on the anti-Terror bill, and in the Senate, even Senator Villar is having misgivings. Syke Garcia wonders if churches shouldn’t be stripped of their tax-exempt status. Connie Veneracion says mother doesn’t always know best; Alex Magno takes potshots at Greenpeace; Julius Fortuna mediates on the woes of Julius Babao; Alfredo del Rosario tackles the question of whether writers make good ambassadors; J.A. dela Cruz reprises Sen. Dick Gordon’s recipe for the President to succeed:

Said Gordon: “PGMA should immediately do the following: a) run after the criminals – smugglers, kidnappers, drug traffickers -; b) generate jobs – shift budget to tourism and trade, the two main (immediate) fund (investment) generating departments of the country; c) boost tax collection and tax the “wants, not the needs”; d) close the gap in education and health and e) make (transform) the government into a fast, fair, firm, friendly and forward looking one.” Gordon’s point that President Arroyo should focus on these doable measures is shared by most Filipinos.

Slaying a myth with a myth department: Gail Ilagan writes a review of David Martinez’s book, A Country of Our Own, which indeed makes for an interesting read. But the reviewer writes this passage:

Will diversity achieve harmony and equality? Only through consent. And that was never — and continues not to be — respectfully sought of us. (Are those Tagalogs marching at Mendiola and Ayala asking us what we want at this time? Do they care about what we want? Have they ever asked or cared? Has the central government ever consulted Mindanao before it declares all-out war in these islands?)

Which tries to slay what Martinez says is the myth of the Filipino nation-state with other myths, such as: that consent has never been obtained (what of plebiscites massively approved, province-per-province, for every constitution since 1935, or the women’s suffrage movement having been most active in the provinces in the 1920s and 1930s, or, finally, that Manila has not been a Tagalog city since after World War II, as any Tagalog Manilan would tell you -Nick Joaquin, for one, wrote often and with a certain exasperation about it; it was no coincidence that the first popularly-elected mayor of Manila, Arsenio Lacson, was Visayan).

Regular reader Patricio Abinales comments, in response to my Arab News column on Americans and Mindanao, that there actually was nostalgia for American rule among the Moros in Mindanao.

In the blogosphere, Ricky Carandang has more on mistrust as a political phenomenon; ExpectoRants joins (in spirit) the Black & White Movement; Sassy Lawyer examines the Julis Babao cause celebre, in one of her exceptionally thorough examinations, and concludes it’s all showbiz (Paeng wonders why people aren’t more interested in Jonathan Tiongco’s being a part of the picture), while Philippine Commentary looks at the same issue, and concludes the problem is the government isn’t serious about fighting terrorism.

The economic nationalist debates a Frenchman about vegetables; The Bangus Supremacy is furious over an internet cafe company’s proposal for stricter censorship of the internet. My favorite Communist blogger has an eloquent entry condemning homophobia, but pointing out Gay members of “The Movement” subsume their efforts into the broader fight against the ruling system. Kottke.org has an extended entry on sports as tidying-up. Leon Kilat reports about online gamers being offered 10,000 pesos a month to play. Technobiography introduces the Pinoy Travel Blog, to which he is a contributor. And finally, Washington Note says George W. Bush is close to matching Richard Nixon’s Watergate unpopularity.

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  1. emilie

    Winnie Monsod made a good point and so did you. I can add that GMA really won and got 40% of the votes and the rest got distributed to those whose ego are bigger than the votes they got….and the ones who complain without ending that she is fake president are the ones who did not vote for her in the first place and since they comprise 60% of the remaining contra votes they begin to forget that the 60% was fragmented into so many camps and just shout cheat! cheat! fake!
    Those who ask for truth should study history because it sounds like facing the wailing wall…start with punishing the Marcoses first…God until now we still dont know who masterminded the murder of Ninoy Aquino…the extent of Erap’s loot…and yet these are the very same people who ask for truth and closure ..what an irony!
    Implosion is highly possible now than before and GMA should not go around as if the exchange rate and stock market is everything. If she thinks that raising minimum wage every year is a good policy she should have her head examined. I think she hates the manufacturing industry very much that she wants to close down whatever is left in this country and just concentrate with bpos and call centers. She is so in love with OFWs thats why she wants jobs to be scarce in this country. She is not contented enough with playing around with the cofers of the govt and now she thinks that private cofers is hers to command to pay more wages when all the cost of inputs are skyrocketing thanks to EVAT.

  2. joselu

    I think what really brings us down is our rutton attitude.It’s sad that insted of having a positive attitude of sustaining the strenght of the peso, Inq would insted ask but where will the peso be 3-4 months from now.Historicaly the ber months is when the peso is strong although it was not so tue last year.The r-vat had a positive effect on our creditors.
    we really must be a sic society bordering on the sadista!We are so obsesed w/ a politics that divides & provides entertainment. We insted could not care less of positive steps to take to improve our economy that will put food in the table.
    I agree w/ winnie m’s article, same w/ juarados.
    I think that in the “real world” it’s facts & not opinions or subjective feelings that send people to jail.I guess there are people who listen to reason & there are those that no amount of reason can ever satisfy.
    I wounder where rightousness figures in the development and properity of a nation.last I herd it’s about focused strong hard working people that brings results.i guess our national tagedy is that we have destorted praiorities & afterwards we complain endlesly.

  3. Karl. Garcia

    Is it really a matter of apathy, I read the exchanges between columnist Conrado de Quirros and a certain reader that so what if GMA cheated.

    I always hear Cong. Cayetano that she lied ,she cheated and stole and they wanted to prove it but they were stopped.The truth is always blocked and so on.

    It is a pity, we could have an intelligent president, an economist at that.
    As I aid in another comment to another entry..it will always be quid quo pro as Senator Gordon says transactional leadership.

    If transactional leadership will be blamed then the blame game will never end for all of us are transactors.

    As long as someone wants something there will always be transactions.

    In Grad school we wre taught about Strategic Market Relations as it is opposed to transactional relationship.
    My prof compared it to a vendor with a valued suki as the vendor may treat buyers who just happened by.

    The vendor may overcharge or may not care as if the vendor pratices the so cvalled strategic market relations he would cherish and take care of the suki.

    No matter who the leader is or the collective leadership as proposed by parliamentarian proponents as long as it is Quid quo pro then everything will remain constant. The more you change the more you stay the same.

  4. Gail Ilagan

    Hi, Q3. Thanks for reviewing the (p)review. I actually finished the book after that kneejerk came out. Suffrage movement? I suspect that was just an opportunity for southern women to exercise their traditional egalitarianism. Referendum? Like elections, you mean? Uh, since when did that pick up the true sentiments in these islands?

    Merry pickings!

    G

  1. Manuel L. Quezon III » The buzz

    […] Come, Ms President, you know fully well that the signature campaign shows the mark of government forces and traditional politicians behind it. The victims of that “train” are the people who have so far been against Charter change, in general, and a parliamentary system, in particular. Or to put it another way: That signature campaign has nothing to do with the people. It has to do with Jose de Venecia who-knowing he has not a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected president-has been moving heaven and earth to change the rules of the game so his chances of leading the country are markedly improved. It has to do with the traditional politicians in Congress, who enjoy their power and want to increase it and perpetuate themselves in it. And finally, it has to do with GMA herself who, if the Charter change is approved, can finish her term with her powers intact and without fear of impeachment. Why? Because the first section of the proposed new Article XVIII, titled “Transitory Provisions,” effectively ensures it: “The incumbent President and Vice President shall serve until the expiration of their term at noon on the thirtieth day of June 2010 and shall continue to exercise their full powers under the 1987 Constitution unless impeached by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of the interim parliament.” Nota bene: Under the present system, only one-third of the House of Representatives is sufficient—but it still failed—to impeach her. Another nota bene: no elections in 2007 (implied, because the interim parliament is composed of present legislators from both Houses, plus Cabinet members); no more term limits (explicit). The Inquirer editorial today supports Mrs. Monsod’s point that the amendments effort is unleashing a new kind of “destructive politics.” The game plan obvious began to be cobbled together last year; and by all accounts this is the current incarnation of the Autogolpe idea. […]

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