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Dec 19

Post mortems

I didn’t think I’d get negative reactions to Neither Victory nor Defeat, my column for today so quickly, but I have. I’m not alone in trying to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. Just today, Billy Esposo in the Inquirer and Leandro Coronel in the Business Mirror make the administration and opposition’s respective merits and demerits their column subjects.

Best line of the week: “I develop amnesia during Christmas,” says Mark Jimenez.

The other story: government leaks the massive debt of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco). Second salvo in the second eruption of the Lopez-Macapagal Wars (the first one was waged by Diosdado Macapagal and guess who lost). Curiously (and unrelatedly) Fel Maragay tackles the emerging closeness between two long-time Lopez foes: the Macapagals and the Marcoses.

PCIJ goes from strength to strength in its coverage and analysis of the Consultative Commission for Charter Change. First they have a superb roundup of the issues and events, then a thorough look into the specifics of the debate; and a very helpful chart on different proposals for amendments. Ellen Tordesillas also weighs in by reproducing, in full, the dissenting or minority report.

The punditocracy is quite upset over one, particular proposal: to scrap the 2007 elections. Rita Jimeno recounts the shenanigans surrounding the ConCom’s decision to propose just that. Amando Doronila growls it’s a subterfuge to keep Arroyo in power; the Inquirer editorial calls for this trial balloon to be thoroughly machine-gunned. The Business Mirror editorial calls it the road to perdition. JB Baylon is simply outraged.

Incidentally, the Philippines Free Press blog reproduces an article from 1972: Constitutional Convention, Nakakahiya! Eerily appropriate reading for today.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, says the Inquirer, has taken up blogging. The CBCP head can be read here.

Manila Standard-Today has been leaked possible details of the coming cabinet reshuffle. Presidential Chief of Staff: Tommy Alcantara out (rumored to be the next Executive Secretary, so it’s no demotion), and Mike Defensor in (a promotion of sorts, or maybe only a short leash: definitely the malicious whispering is Mike doesn’t want the job because the gravy is plentiful at Environment & Natural Resources).  Presidential Management Staff:  Tiglao out by February, and ally and close friend Rene Velasco to replace him (for those reading Palace intramurals, this is a victory for Tiglao and his camp). Philippine Information Agency: Rene Velasco out (and up, to PMS), Dodie Limcaoco to replace him (Dodie’s sun continues to set; he is drifting further and further away from the Palace). Budget and Management: Rep. Rolando Andaya (once the budget’s been passed) is in, Romulo Neri will go back to NEDA (perhaps he’s uneasy signing all the checks, or the President doesn’t want the Speaker to know what checks are being signed).

When I first began The Philippine Presidency Project, someone suggested I set it up along the lines of Wikipedia. I vehemently disagreed, saying the problem with Wikipedia is that it has no central authority, which is required in a website putting forward facts and not opinion. I have modified my views on Wikipedia somewhat, and edit and add entries to it when I have free time. But the problem of it being over democratic remains. BuzzMachine has been putting forward the idea that academe should step in and issue “Wiki seals of approval,” to help readers: now others have taken up his call, too. And, as Leon Kilat points out, it seems Wikipedia has about the same number of errors, on average, as say, Encyclopedia Britannica.

Interesting readings: PCIJ dissects the culture of competitiveness and corruption surrounding college basketball.  My Liberal Times has an entry (and a link to his article) on South Koreans and why they are visiting and living in, the Philippines.  Morofilm (whom I’ve been reading for some time, but his old blog was unlinkeable) has an entry on pets and curious lore about lizards. Edwin Lacierda peculates on an alternative kind of coup. Philippine Commentary, is, after all, a scientist and he waxes scientific about the Nativity. Manila Vanilla on traffic with a smile. And New Economist points to articles tackling the question of whether, when it comes to nation-states, size matters. And a magnificent example of National Democratic prose.

The ultimate post mortem: was that Juan served for lunch?

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  1. Karl

    Good day Mlq3

    I have been reading bout concom and been wondering if my emails to Miss Pedrosa are at all worth it…

    hearing interview of Ricky Carandang and Sec Gen Of ConCom Lito Lorenzana

    Let the debates begin…..DUH?

    Why hasn’t it started yet?

    no political or electoral reforms in proposals?

    but why? too sensitive to discuss was the reply

    Anyways that is how I saw it others who watched might differ…

  2. jon

    mlq3, how can you say post mortems (as the title of this entry)? Everything appears to open-ended in the Philippines!

    I don’t know if you can do us all a favor to research all (at least that we know of) issues that hasn’t seen closure, and maybe make it a semi-permanent or rolling blog entry? I can think of some, like the Jose Pidal account, the Bolante caper, the Garci anthology, etc.

    It’s just an idea. I would definitely make a permanent link to something like that. It will serve as a constant reminder to us all filipino bloggers.

  3. mlq3

    jon, let me get some work out of the way and i’ll try.

  4. Karl

    Best line of the week: “I develop amnesia during Christmas,” says Mark Jimenez.

    Ninong natatandaan nyo pa po ako?

    (Joke Only 🙂 )

  5. cvj

    Magnificent indeed…Raymundo and Jaime’s rejoinder to Patricia Evangelista’s rebuttal clarifies a lot. Things fell into place when they state:

    “It is perfectly fine to challenge the Left and its claims. It is a remarkable feat for a college coed to problematize the Left…”

    What i initially took to be a disproportionate reaction now looks more measured in light of the above. They also do a convincing job in explaining that this is not a personal attack, and should not be taken as one since…

    “To take offense from this symptomatic reading is as good as implying that she is the sole author of her beliefs. Who is ever?”

    Whether conscious of it or not, there is a lot of theory behind Patricia’s column. It’s good to have people around who would remind us of this fact and its implications.

  6. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    I read your article in the Inquirer last night (my time) and I must admit that the comments by some people that you reported on are sensible on the conditions that (1) the subject of discussion is a person worthy of trust. And Gloria is not, (2) the commentor has always been or is truly politically “neutral” (almost an impossible feat in my opinion).

    The commenters you spoke of remind me of habitual subjectives in a ‘negotiation’ scenario.

    What your commentors in effect said was that there is/are no worthy replacement/s for Arroyo today. I disagree. There are a few people out there who qualify but typical of any ‘revolt’ from within, the situation in the Philippines has not come to a boiling point yet – the political climate has not reached the tipping point. In a full-blown crisis scenario, a person from the opposition (or from Gloria’s camp) will come out who will make the difference and LEAD.

    The ‘Jacobins’ are in power today; when the government’s exercise of all-out corruption has become intolerable, ‘Robespierre’ will fall. Remember that the latter lost his head after 4 years of continuing corruption.

    As in any society in crisis and in search of identity, it is inevitable that people (particularly those with a little more than others to lose) become subjective. In my opinion, one must be able to make tough decisions; subjectives have never made a difference – they will blow the way of the wind and in the French Revolution, the ‘subjectives’ lost their heads too.

    In the scheme of things today, a citizen of this country must be able to say, ‘Right! I believe Gloria is right and I shall support her whatever it takes.’ or “I believe Gloria is evil and I shall withdraw my support.”

    Sounds simplistic but in the scheme of things, it’s all about Right versus Wrong. There are tough decisions to be made but these are tough times. The country’s own sanity is in peril and we cannot just sit on the side undecided.

  7. cvj

    i’ve googled, ‘Robespierre’ and did not see any reference that he was guillotined for corruption.

  8. Karl

    I just figured out that the opposite of apathy is not empathy but interest

    when I joined apathy and empathy one said hooray for apathy

    what if I say those who consider apathy does not care about the National Interest at all

    National interest ..beyond politics,beyond showbiz and beyond sports it is for the FLAG

    considering how we physically treat our FLAG,we allow it to get old with out burning it…
    then that is a picture of how we love or even respect our country.

  9. hvrds

    I just happened to read the issues propounded by Ms. P. Evangelista and was stunned and confounded by her theories of how the U.K., Australia and the United States developed their economies. She maintained that they developed without government handouts.

    From the railroads during Lincoln’s time to Marconi (wireless) RCA(It was confiscated by the U.S. government from the British during the First World War and after the war, the U.S. refused to return it to the English owners.FDR then Secretary of the Navy forced the English to sell it to G.E. NBC, Westinghouse, United Fruit and CBS. The government gave these compnaies a virtual monopoly to develop the hardware and sell radio and TV to the American people. _) to the Internet it was government handouts and support of research and development in the leading universities of the U.S. and the war (World War I/II) that brought forth the behemoths of the Industrial might of the United States. G.E. , U.S. Steel, Bell Labs, NBC, CBS, Intel and even Microsoft. You remove government procurement and you have nothing.

    It is shocking that the premier University of the Philippines you have students who are completely in the dark. The moral philosopher Adam Smith in his time castigated the corporations of his day because they were all growing rich with government monopolies imposed by the then parliament and King. The United States broke off from them and the First Treasury Secretary of the United States, Alexander Hamilton made sure of the governments role in developing the U.S. economy. He brought dirigism to new heights in the then New World. They established West Point as an engineering school and to this day all waterways in the U.S. are maintained and were developed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
    Another example in modern days:
    The World Trade Towers was built in the early seventies by the State of New York and New Jersey. It is a state owned and operated development project. Go to every major industrial economy and you will see the not so invisible hand of the state. No private capital was used as it was thought to be a huge risk.. It ran with losses for almost a generation. It was the brainchild of the descendants of the owners of Exxon – the Rockefeller brothers David and Nelson. Public funds were used to build it.

    It is so unfortunate that education in the Philippines is so bad that the young are now praying to God and Shell, Smart and Ayala. Country, state and nation. Still very alien concepts in the islands.

  10. baycas

    to stem ‘abuse,’ Wikipedia plans stable version…paraphrasing an article posted last night on inq7 infotech breaking news.

    “LONDON–Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, is to introduce a fixed version to counter potential abuse of its live content, founder Jimmy Wales told Monday’s Financial Times…”

    …evidently a reaction to detractors’ post-mortem.

  11. Carl

    Your article on “Neither Victory Nor Defeat” provides a very sober analysis to the present impasse. It reminds me of the “game theory” approach to resolving conflicts. It makes a lot of sense, and well it should. After all, the proponents of game theory were recently awarded the Nobel Prize. Hotheads and those with a personal agenda may not agree with the ideas cited in your article, but the situation on the ground bears this out. There is no better validation of ideas than a reality check.

  12. a de brux

    CVJ,

    I’m sorry you didn’t find anythign in google about Robespierre being guillotined for corruption.

    French history (in the French language) would tell you more.

    Robespierre’s corruption was not only in terms of money – his brother Augustin took care of that for him. Robespierre and his close aides as well as his co-members of the directorate were not only morally corrupt themselves, they corrupted everybody by offering position, money, etc. Barras was one prime example who, to me would typify DOJ Gonzales today (Barras who was in charge of national security and not of justice dispensed justice like a member of the Oxo or the Bahala Na gang!)

  13. cvj

    a de brux, thanks for the explanation. btw, good post above. you’ve stated your case well.

  14. a de brux

    Thanks CJV…

  15. znkldmdnmjdfdf

    robespierre was a great leader, who crushed the fascistcapitalist royalist popish reviolt, and installed a sucessful socialist regime, punishing virtual waffen ss supporters

  16. mcvnv

    Great site!e

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