Last night, the news broke late enough so most of the papers weren’t able to make it their headline news: but Inq7.net and the Inquirer positively bellowed,
Trillanes: Time to take sides (Malaya)
RG Cruz has a detailed account of the news breaking, and the initial ham-fisted handling of the escape by the government, in his blog. Very helpful, by the way, are the extensive quotes in his entry.
So once again, the specter of armed intervention haunts us, at a time when the military have retreated into themselves, and the civilian public knows little about the way the officers and enlisted men think. My own gut instinct is that the young officers who do the thinking are closer in their attitudes and prescriptions to their nemesis, the New People’s Army, not a comforting thought.
I am reminded of the memoirs of an American Communist, Sol Auerbach, including a discussion he had with Manuel L. Quezon. A passage in particular, has remained fixed in my mind ever since I read it. Auerbach recounted what Quezon told him, regarding agrarian and other reforms:
He was going to solve the problem, he assured me, by such agencies as the National Rice and Corn Corporation that would help store and market the crops of the small growers, and by measures against usury. For the rest, he was engaged in solving the problem in his own way – by putting the fear of the masses into the hearts of the wealthy land barons. “I tell them, if you know what’s good for you better improve the conditions of your tenants. You do not have enough sons for the army, so we must conscript our soldiers from the poor. We put guns in their hands and teach them how to use them. If you are not careful they will use those guns against you. If you want to save what you have, give them ten per cent of it or they will take it all.”
Fast forward from 1937 to 2006, and we had former President Fidel V. Ramos in his rambling press conference seriously suggesting that if reforms weren’t swiftly put in place, and in a manner that demonstrated the capacity of the political class to set aside its own interests, the day wouldn’t be far off when the outraged masses would simply take to looting and pillaging the enclaves of the middle and upper classes. And here lies the genuine danger in what’s taking place, with the Lakas-CMD steamroller heaving into action: it is leaving less and less room for any hope for the system to correct and save itself.
Constitutional change related news is conflicting, to say the least:
House adopting ConCom proposals (Inquirer)
House junks Con-Com proposals (Manila Times)
House rams Cha-cha, No-El still on (Tribune)
In the punditocracy, The Inquirer editorial says the President prefers an Opposition a la carte.
Ninez Cacho-Olivarez says the old Macapagal-Lopez feud is back with a vengeance.
Patricio Diaz embarks on a thought-provoking series of columns, first with Where Lie the Faults?(2). He begins with referring to the findings he expressed in his August 19, 2005 column (apparently he hasn’t been well):
In the first article, “What’s Wrong in the System,” we explained that (1) nothing, in principle, is wrong with a form of government having three co-equal branches designed to balance and check each other.
And (2) nothing is essentially wrong with a political system under one central control so long as the central government is just, honestly equitable and sincere to the local governments.
Hence, in principle, there is nothing essentially wrong with the presidential-unitary system. The faults must be lying somewhere.
That elicited the question, “Where?”
Today, Patricio Diaz continues with with Where Lie the Faults? (3).
Alvin Capino observes that jueteng is back.
Johnna Villaviray-Giolagon visits the Leper colony in Culion.
The blogosphere has Yugatech kindly giving me the credit for coining the term, “Pinoy Big Blogger.” Thanks. What to do with the domain though, is Yuga’s problem.
Red’s Herring has a delightful summary of political opinions presented via the Socratic method.
Ang Tambayan ni Paeng decides to endorse putschist Nick Faeldon’s half-mast flag project (incidentally, Yuga asks a very good question: if the government doesn’t like a site or a blog, can it force the company hosting the site to give up information on the blog or site owner?). Paeng is also involved in an effort to clean up the Philippines.
New Economist asks, is intelligence useful for politicians? My view: empathy, communication skills and charisma are more useful; intelligence can be provided by Think Tanks. The politician who can’t get elected is a politician unable to effect change.
Thoughts, Ideas, Etc. from Hong Kong thinks its a good thing Philippine sports is being forced to be less basketball-obsessed. I agree.
Poynteronline points to an analysis of online and print newspapers in Europe. Interesting reading for newspaper people.