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Feb 28

Spitfire’s list

I’ve been reflecting on a Philippines Free Press editorial dating back to 1988, which demands what we need today: a respectable opposition. Though as you’ll see from Gail Ilagan’s column below, the country may be saved not by the opposition, but by the public from both opposition and administration. Perhaps God works in mysterious ways: we need Imee Marcos and Joseph Estrada to serve as the strongest shields of Mrs. Arroyo, until the rest of the country finally comes to its senses about her.

In his column today, Tony Abaya harps on the naive nature of those who would sit at the same table with National Democrats, much less march with them. And he has some valid points that I share: how can people praise, for example, Rep. Crispin Beltran, when he publicly praised the Tiananmen Square massacre? And who lavishes praise on Cuba because, at least, under Castro no dental cavity is left unfilled? I have visited the Vietnamese refugees in Vietville, Puerto Princesa City, and listened to their stories of how they were persecuted for crimes you and I commit over here on a regular basis: dreaming of setting up a Mom & Pop store, owning a vehicle, attending Sunday Mass, not believing in dictatorship, wanting to read any book we please, etc.

What Abaya overlooks, however, is this. At a time when government tries to make its efforts acceptable by publishing arrest lists filled with the names most citizens who consider themselves decent dislike, it is exceedingly dangerous to imagine that isn’t merely the tip of the iceberg. The dangerous logic of the government propaganda line -“if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear”- is that it assumes the government is as reasonable, as decent, as self-controlled as you like to think you are. Who says they are, and will ever be? Who says any government has ever been that way? And who says any government, even if that way, will stay that way, unless people make themselves pests to ensure that will be so?

Who determines who has done something wrong? Not the courts. Not Congress, nominally, at least, representative of the people. The determiner of right and wrong is the military and police, under the guidance of the government: and as for their verdict, there’s no appeal.

Furthermore, whether one agrees or not that the National Democrats are obnoxious, dangerous, and devilish, it takes a government undergoing implosion to turn an otherwise unpopular enemy into a figure otherwise hostile people are willing to rally around to support. If what you have, for example, against Crispin Beltran is a warrant arising from a speech he made against Marcos, then you leave no choice for decent people but to disagree with the reason behind his arrest. When a government invites someone in for questioning, then, while the questioning is going on, discovers a moldy old warrant, and implements it, and then, having done that, only then begins to cobble together what it claims is evidence for more contemporary charges, you do not have justice, or a justifiable national security interest: you have what anti-opposition critics have accused the opposition of doing -a fishing expedition. So if a fishing expedition against Arroyo’s wrong, it is now OK if used against her critics? That’s the kind of twisted logic that can only turn more and more people against the administration. (Update: Sassy Lawyer points to a news report that the only place not covered by Proc. 1017 is Cebu City).

Anway. In the punditocracy today, let us begin, since “fairness” is being insisted upon at the point of a bayonet, in producing the Palace propaganda line, courtesy of Marit Stinus-Remonde. The right to overthrow presidents, she says, is not a human right; thank God the Americans, the French and the British had kings. Too bad Ferdinand Marcos didn’t proclaim himself one.

After getting a taste of the real-life differences between mainstream media and blogging, Connie Veneracion comes out today with an analysis of Proclamation 1017 which is very subtle. She defines what the proclamation is, and is not -but ultimately argues that public passions will be crucial to determining the legitimacy of the proclamation.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. gave voice to the arguments he expressed to me last Friday, but amplifies and adds to them in the light of recent developments. In the first part of his speech he argues,

Indeed, no one has anything to fear from 1017 but fear itself.

Sure, the proclamation can have a chilling effect. That is what it is meant to do to those who commit crimes-but only crimes-that contribute to the emergency. The proclamation should instill no fear in those who speak the truth however distasteful to the President and her people. It certainly shouldn’t lower the temperature of our passionate commitment to the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, and the separation of powers that is protected by the immunity of the members of Congress.

Indeed, the proclamation can chill us only if we let it-as when the House submits too readily when it should be resisting without qualification or demure to the encroachments of the presidency. The House should not be satisfied if small allowance is made for the personal dignity of the members hauled off to jail.

I heard colleagues in the House say that our members are not above the law and are nothing more than ordinary citizens. Excuse us, but we are not ordinary citizens. Arrest one of us and you detain an entire constituency and diminish to that extent the people who speak and act through Congress.

I have heard colleagues in the House say that congressmen are no more immune to arrest for rape than for rebellion. Those who say so probably have a proclivity for rape.

But there is a vast ocean of difference between rape and rebellion; the first can never be condoned, the second is the historical foundation of our new democracy since Edsa. And if there is any raping going on, it may be of democracy, and it isn’t by this branch of the government.

So, yes, the President has the power to proclaim, and we must presume she did it responsibly. But sooner rather than later, and unavoidably, she must come before Congress and show it that she was correct in her perception, and punctilious about the legality of the measures taken to address the threat.

Nor should she be afraid to do so. She has only to show us, when the emergency is over, the intelligence reports and the evidence to back them up.

Thus she must establish the premises of her proclamation, such as the existence of a conspiracy between the extreme Left and the extreme Right to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

She must establish their persistence in this regard.

She must show how certain segments of media have recklessly magnified the claims of these elements, and show why these claims are not entitled to be published or broadcast pursuant to the never-to-be-infringed and always-to-be-upheld freedoms of speech, press and peaceful assembly.

Accusations, especially of graft and corruption, not to mention election fraud, which strikes at very root of the assumption that hers is a duly constituted government, can never be restrained.

Butch Dalisay gives clear, concise, arguments as to why the President, and not the people, is the one doing the shooting -of her own foot:

What’s becoming clear to both sides is that she’s increasingly displaying a personal intolerance of opposition — even from within her own Cabinet — and intends to hang on to the full term she believes she’s entitled to, no matter what. A clampdown would give her a freer hand to move on with her reform agenda away from the incessant carping of her detractors — or at least that’s what her spokesman would say. And why not, indeed? As some of my US-based friends would urge, why not just drop all the bickering and rally behind GMA to modernize the nation?

We’d love to do that, folks; no one wants to march in the noonday sun, only to get whacked over the head by a policeman’s truncheon. GMA’s reform agenda looks good on paper — except that she hasn’t lifted a finger to implement, say, real electoral reform. And until she dusted this “state of emergency” rule out of the Constitution, and riding on a small economic bubble, it was even looking like the Lucky Lady would outlast her critics.

But once again, by arresting enemies and silencing pesky journalists, a shakened and still shaky government is proving that primal fear and survival instincts — not any modern philosophy of governance — rule the roost in Malacañang.

In her column, Gail Ilagan in Mindanao takes the state of emergency as a personal affront to the citizenry:

I appeal for the lifting of the national state of emergency because the populace is taking the declaration as a personal affront that implies a curtailment of our basic freedoms and rights. It has set off a high fear reaction which, because the Proclamation has prevented certain events to unfold as anticipated during the EDSA anniversary, has been rendered baseless. People need to attribute and justify the “unfounded alarm” that was raised in them. Fear turns to anger that will find direction, like a divining rod, to what had triggered the unfounded fear. When that happens, the politicians won’t need to pay people to go out to the streets to protest. They would do so on their own.

H. Marcos C. Mordeno in the same paper makes an interesting observation:

Back to the Fort Bonifacio event, it would seem Defensor was unnerved when Lt. Col. Archie Segumalian, commander of the 2nd Marine Battalion who joined Querubin, shouted “we just wanted clean elections.” Had Segumalian elaborated on the statement, which refers to the alleged attempt by the Arroyo camp to use the Marines in rigging the elections in Lanao in May 2004, Malacañang’s chief of staff would have realized his savvy as a propagandist would be useless against the word of what’s largely perceived to be the most professional military unit in the country, the Philippine Marines.

In the blogosphere, kantogirl blues has to have one of the funniest blog entries to come out of the latest mutation of this crisis. Going down the existing limitations on the freedoms people want to exercise, she suggests “pink is the new black,” referring to protest-friendly colors. Paolo Manalo runs with the idea:

If pink is the new black, and activists become “aesthetic connoisseurs”, will there be a militant beauty congress called Mga Anak ng Fuschia whispering in a very loud voice:

DON’T MAKE BAKA, MAKE NA LANG CHAKA!
DON’T MAKE GALIT, MAKE NA LANG LAIT!
IF NOT US, WHO PA KAYA?
IF NOT NOW NA, WHEN PA?

Perhaps Paolo, et al. are onto something: the launch of a colegiala-conyotic resistance. How else to explain something like GMA Stinks?

But seriously, folks…

After all points to the tremendous pressure -the piercing spotlight of history- on the justices of the Supreme Court by what this blogger charmingly calls “the Kapampangan spitfire”.

Kumintang, last Saturday, pointed out that what shouldn’t be overlooked is that even if one grants the President the right to do what she’s doing, she has a corresponding right to defend the very things she says must be sacrificed for the time being.

Torn & Frayed attended a talk given by Randy David and former UP Law Dean Pangalanan. Two tidbits from Randy David are particularly illuminating:

His most memorable remark was “Everyone is aware of the enormous class and economic differences in the Philippines, but you cannot really be aware of them until you taste the judicial system”.

Mike Defensor phone David to apologise and to explain he was not “on the list”. “There’s a list?” David said.

Speaking of lists, Punzi proposes what he thinks is the government’s order of battle.

Philippine Politics 04 has a very useful run-down of the perpetual confrontations between the administration and the media.

Finally, there has been a flurry of manifestos and statements. Among the latest:

Action for Economic Reforms and the Jose P. Laurel Constitutional Law Society

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  1. epsotto

    One man with courage makes a majority.

    — Andrew Jackson

  2. sleeping with who

    How many comments on this web site could be classed as incitement to sedition?

    Remember your email addresses are listed on this site and other sites such as PCIJ have logs..

  3. mlq3

    sleeping, that i leave to the police and the government lawyers. each person who writes and comments here is responsible for their own statements, and unless any law has been passed to the contrary, the government cannot claim power over cyberspace.

  4. cvj

    So Tony Abaya is worried that the Communist might do what the GMA government is already doing. Threats to democracy, coming from the left, right or middle will always be there even after GMA. What matters is whether there are enough people who still believe and accept democracy in the Philippines as a workable system.

  5. Madame Chiang

    The Brits still have their monarch!!

  6. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Re Sleeping’s concern

    I personally will welcome Gloria’s and her government’s interference in my freedom to express my thoughts in cyberspace.

    If they dare do so – they will have to do it where I am to make their ‘charges’ stick – they will learn a thing or two about the meaning of democracy and freedom of speech in Europe. My MPs (Members of Parliament) will have a field day taking them to the European arena to answer some very serious questions/charges too!

    I wonder if they will be stupid enough to do that. They probably can muzzle bloggers in the Philippines but boy oh boy, they will have to be starking mad to do it against Pinoys overseas.

  7. mlq3

    madame chiang, true, i was referring to the Glorious Revolution.

  8. sleeping with who


    I was not refering to you MLQ3 but others and some outbusts which are some times over the top..

    Freedom of speech goes only so far. As soon as you threaten someones life that is no longer good, or free.

    Lots of people do not think of the people they injury with their words, People houses burn down because Demonstrators block roads, Fire Engines are required to protect buildings. People Die and people must realize that their words can kill. And that Citisims are OK if not good but not Incitement..

    We know when we were all young we were impressionable and would do anything to impress our peers.. And people like R.David and others expect that and use that to their advantage in demonstrations… Most of the crowds he and others assemble are young and impressionable..

    The PCIJ website was much worse than this sites comments ever were. but i just put the warning out there. Since you are still publishing the email addresses and people sometime get hot under the collar and want to blow off steam.. It is better to think twice about the way you phrase what you are trying to say..

    With Freedom comes responsibility.

  9. sleeping with who

    And i think the only way this country is going to Jump up and compete is if people take the responsibility they have been given with this freedom we have..

    Still look on the roads Drivers dont take it ABS didn’t take it, NAPACOR didn’t take it, Queribin didn’t take it…

    With out the ability to accept responsibility and to act responsibily we don’t deserve freedom..

  10. Nick Nichols

    Hmmm … looks like “sleeping” doesn’t take it.

    – Nick Nichols
    nich@nich3.net

    And just what kind of American friends do you have, Manolo? Oh … Republicans, I guess.

  11. sleeping with who

    “Gringo,” Honasan has been linked to most of the coup attempts since edsa, including bloody revolts by soldiers in 1987 and 1989 against President Corazon Aquino.
    He thinks he is a king-queen maker but if you dont like him he will bite back..

    Involved in Edsa then made a hero then is involved in Bloody coup attempts after that and still thinks he is a hero??

  12. mlq3

    nick, i suffer from a historical bias towards democrats. i’ve never understood why filipinos, once they become americans, tend to vote republican.

  13. sleeping with who

    THE FAMILY, which police claimed “wrongly received” the 49,000-peso cash that rescuers recovered from a stampede victim in Pasig City three weeks ago, is willing to return the money to the children of the “real owner”.

    Now this family are taking responsibility..

  14. a de brux

    Not me, MLQ3! I am a Democrat…but my sister is Republican and voted for eeeeeeeeek Bush!

  15. Karl

    First of all,

    Hello to sleeping..long time no comment.

    Point well digested…

    But if you are talking of commenters responsibility,
    all I can say is thank for your concern and that’s all.

  16. sleeping with who

    Just reading something How many channels does ABS-CBN own in Metro Manila…

    SECTION 3. No person or corporation may own, operate, or manage more than one radio or television station in one municipality or city; nor more than five AM and five FM radio station; nor more than five television channels in the entire country, and no radio or television station shall be utilized by any single-interest group to disseminate information or otherwise influence the public or the government to serve or support the ends of such group.

    Then the last part of this What about the Channels for churches…

    http://www.ntc.gov.ph/laws/pd-576-a.html

    HI Karl good to see you still about.. Hope the Family is all good..

  17. mlq3

    you could ask the same about GMA and the government.

  18. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    MLQ3,

    So there was a list!

    Gloria’s proclamation should have been followed by:

    “Therefore, I in my capacity as Commander in Chief, have ordered the arrest of so and so and so…blah blah blah!”

    That would have been a more convincing act!

    I’m all the more convinced this emergency rule declaration was made in panic although I will believe that they’ve been toying with the idea but not quite ready yet because the State was not in imminent danger of a VIOLENT OVERTHROW!

  19. Karl

    sorry sleeping..that’s not all pala

    If you are talking of accountability.when you equate it to reponsibility…I believe that the government(local or national) must also be accountable and responsible as well.
    You mentioned the ultra tragedy and where is ultra located …Pasig right?perfect example of a local government not willing to take reponibilty for many things…
    The stampede,the drug trade,the carnappings,the flesh trade and more.

  20. sleeping with who

    Has to start somewhere.. What about Makati then Flesh Trade, drugs..

    We all have to be accountable to ourselves and others around us..

    Two Wrongs don’t make a right..

  21. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Just read that “US state dept. official arriving for 3-day visit”.
    http://www.inq7.net/globalnation/sec_new/2006/feb/28-02.htm

    Hmmm, interesting…

  22. a de brux

    Sleeping,

    Yeah, agree that we have to be accountable to ouveselves and to others around us. All good stuff as one might say…

    On that premise therefore, we should ask Gloria and her government to the same. There have been more than 2 wrongs committed by Gloria and her government, so what do we do now?

  23. a de brux

    MLQ3, I just re-read your blog and something struck me.

    I keep harping on Gloria and HER government (European version of American administration) but I don’t refer to THE government because to me, THE government is the total encompassing structure that involves every single person working in that structure (titular civil servants for instance) in the service of the State and since I am focused on command responsibility, I always refer to Gloria and HER government.

    Am I wrong?

  24. Danielle

    I know people who are apologists for Gloria. And I just do not understand them. They point to Pimentel and Drilon being hungry for power…but they don’t realize that Gloria will do anything and everything to stay in power. What puzzles me is that they don’t see how GMA is clipping our rights to free assembly and free speech. I wonder why they are so selective with the information they have…They cannot put two and two together! Can anyone explain it to me.. .

  25. toyrant

    Media does not fear Proclamation 1017. It thrives on it.
    Just read PDI, watch the news and read blogs. Media appears to condemn it, but it’s slowly falling in love with its existence because it puts them in the spotlight.
    Sure, detained for a few hours, but write about it the next day? That’s hardly suppression of freedom.

    Note: falling in love with its existence, not its effects on their (media) existence

  26. cvj

    Danielle, here’s a laundry list – fascination with those who are in power, a bias towards ‘law and order’ types, disgust with ‘politics’ in general and the ‘noise’ it generates, disillusionment with democracy, fear of bogeymen (lacson, gringo, erap and the ‘masa’, communists), a misplaced sense of urgency that this is the ‘last chance’ for an economic takeoff, a sense that as long as they keep a low profile events will not affect them, lack of a ‘face’ to rally around…all the above make for fertile ground for fascism to flourish, the ‘middle forces’ of yesterday are the fascists of today. For some background reading on the attractions of Fascism, you can read Erich Fromm’s ‘Escape from Freedom’.

  27. a de brux

    With MLQ’s permission:

    A message to cvj: can’t access my blog’s “comments” site, can’t post my reply.

  28. cvj

    a de brux, i see…anyway, if you have info on the mechanics of subscribing to the Tribune, i’m interested.

  29. a de brux

    cvj, I received this from the cyber-group e-mail by way of “mechanics”:

    “the email contacts for the tribune are as follows:

    advertising@tribune.net.ph
    nco@tribune.net.ph
    peter@tribune.net.ph
    acctg@tribune.net.ph

    gil r. ramos ph.d. “

  30. cvj

    a de brux, thanks! [thanks to mlq3 for the space].

  31. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Just received this from a US based friend member of an e-mail group I belong to. It’s a wild but excellent suggestion to confront Gloria and her SOE head on:

    “let hundreds of thousands of disgrunted soldiers lay down their arms and join the college students who will be lining up to be put in prison by arroyo. let arroyo worry how to feed the millions that she has threatened to put in jail. “you want to throw people in prison? here, you got millions of volunteers to satisfy your insatiable gluttony of power! we are not afraid of you and your prisons. do with us what you will while the whole world watches.”

  32. Geo

    Until now, the Catholic, military and political institutions have had ample opportunities to make known their decision about all of this. Until now, they have opted to NOT call for any unconstitutional removal of the sitting President of the Nation.

    More significantly, the general population has made it’s complaints against the administration known, but has also voted for peace and order (evidenced by the lack of willingness to join in any “mass action”).

    Seems like the vast majority is willing to accept an airing of views…but isn’t ready to accept a disassembling of the structures of society.

    I don’t know if this is all a vote for GMA (I doubt it), but it’s a resounding vote for keeping a lid on things.

    This is a reality that needs to be dealt with.

    The people have semingly spoken.

    Now what?

  33. in a pig's eye

    if you were glow and in a bind,

    who would you entrust your life with more and why?

    Gen. Senga

    or..

    JDV?

    “why” is actually the more important of the two..

    uuuyyy, kayo ha….

    ibang klaseng “hand-holding” na yan;-)

  34. footvoter

    “… Seems like the vast majority is willing to accept an airing of views…but isn’t ready to accept a disassembling of the structures of society. I don’t know if this is all a vote for GMA (I doubt it), but it’s a resounding vote for keeping a lid on things. This is a reality that needs to be dealt with. The people have semingly spoken…”

    Some people would rather not listen. The same people, ironically, who would claim moral ascendancy in their “defense of democracy”.

  35. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    BRIBE OR REWARD?

    I read that Arroyo has increased wages of state employees “granting a 1,000-peso-increase in monthly salaries of more than one million national government employees, including members of the military and the national police.”

    Malaya reports that “Andaya said Arroyo is not trying to bribe soldiers, policemen and employes into supporting her.”

    A US-based fellow cyber activist immediately posted the following very relevant comment:

    “Arroyo’s right. It’s not a bribe. It’s a reward. For refusing to mutiny.”

  36. David

    This should not however detract from the fact that salaries of government employees, including public school teachers, government doctors and public attorneys, are still too low. This is so even with the P1,000 salary increase.

  37. Jon Mariano

    It has been pointed out that the low level of salaries for government employees is one of the causes for corruption. The salaries are so low they need to find some extra income. (e.g. enterprising teachers sell stuff to their students). There is no question, the salaries and wages need to be increased.

    Gloria’s problem in this turbulent times for her is that everything she does will be questioned. Why issue this order when the bill in congress for this specific purpose is almost ready? When it comes out, it can have a retro effect. So there’s really no need to do it now. It’s just window dressing. For publicity and to gain some pogi points.

    Another problem with this order is that not all government employees are going to benefit. When you say “state” employee, it refers to national government employees only. Those working for local (provincial, city, and town) government offices are not considered “state” employees. Not included too are employees of government offices that has been devolved to the local government. This units don’t have the funds to pay for this 1,000 peso increase.

    I would bet that there are more that are going to be disappointed and disgruntled (for not receiving an increase), than happy (those receiving the increase). Just can’t make everybody happy nowadays.

  38. karl

    Everybody happy…

    Every one knows that no one can please everyone…Gloria tried that and failed

    So spoil only one sector..Gloria again tried that and is still trying with the military sector with the boodle fights, the promise of 400 sqm(more or less) lot for each soldier some where, where it would result to the inggitan value again…

    So goes the last point of damned if you do ..damned if you don’t.
    She’s damned.

  39. a de brux

    There’s no question that our government employees deserve a raise. It is only fair that they be given a raise.

    Two years ago, I was shown the pay slip of a soldier with the rank of MSgt – can’t recall the exact figure but I remember being astonished to see so little, and thought then that it was less than what a dog sitter I knew here earned. I thought that a soldier who puts his life in the line of fire for his country deserved more. In France, an army private would get at least 5x what the PA Msgt earned + all benefits due him and his family.

    I believe all civil servants deserve a decent pay, correct social security cover, other social benefits and be able to look forward to a good pension that all working people aspire to have.

    I don’t believe it’s extravagant for an ordinary civil servant or government employee to aspire for a decent standard of income in order to live, to feed his/her family, to educate his/her own children, to have a home, to spend a bit of quality time with his/her family on vacation or on a paid leave. This should be the normal aspiration of one and all normal, ordinary working human being in the world.

    But as Jon Mariano said Gloria’s act of hiking the wages was not based on a sense of what is just or fair but on accumulating pogi points. That’s not honorable.

    France treats its civil servants decently and yet they are never satisfied so I imagine how civil servants feel in the Philippines with their very low pay.

    France has a law called “RMI” (Revenu Minimum d’Insertion) reserved for the poorest of the poor which automatically provides for a minimum government cash hand out of 300 Euros per month (420 US$ more or less) to any person living on French soil (French citizen or not) so that that person could afford the most basic needs of a human being. RMI is not an unemployment pension or benefit, it is not a social welfare agency handout nor is it a social security benefit – it is akin to a social contract between the State and the people: a provision for the poorest of the poor that taxpayers shoulder on top of other ‘solidarity for the poor’ taxes they pay.

    Proportionally speaking, there may not be billionaires or millionaires or very rich people in “every street corner” in Paris and elsewhere in France as you would find in America; most French are perhaps not as well off as the average middle class American (with big cars, big houses, country club memberships, etc.) but in spite of the less material wealth, overall the French are proud because they know they are fulfilling the terms of the Social Contract they signed with the State to care for their less fortunate brethren in the country. Nobody is left out.

  40. mlq3

    Geo, yes, I do agree with you that it’s clear the country shuddered and pulled back from the brink.

  41. sleeping with who

    A de Brux You sit in you nice house in a nice country with benefits supplied by the government, which is unable in the long run to pay for all the subdis es that it gives to its farmers to hurt the poorer countries around the world.

    At that is in a country where the majority of the people do work for a living and pay fair taxes, I live in a country where the opposite is true..

    And then you criticize the government with out knowing the truth on the ground. Look at the Police Stations where you report a crime here, No Aircon (Heating for France), No real Facilities an old typewriter which the inspector fights with to keep working and we complain when they are slow to react..

    We all have a part in this story and Yours is Your Country you live in is Part of the CAUSE… FREEDOM to keep other countries down is FRANCES MOTTO..

    Your government has no balls to stand up to the farmers and truckers in your country and you tell our government that it is weak and ineffectual.

  42. cvj

    “..This is a reality that needs to be dealt with. The people have semingly spoken…” – Am i supposed to understand this to mean that each day GMA remains in power is a de-facto validation of her mandate?

  43. Geo

    mlq3,

    What I HOPE has happened/will happen:

    There is a widespread realization that everyone can/should do one’s job, can/should pursue one’s dreams, can/should speak one’s mind…but with those freedoms and opportunities come a sense of responsibility — a responsibility for one’s role in society and a responsibility to society at large.

    In the political arena, legislators must legislate (hello Senators) and the executive must deliver substantial reforms which result in significant results (while providing full transparency of its processes and actions — hello GMA). At the end of the day (OK — at the end of the prescribed term), the voters will decide whether or not they approved of the individual politicians’ totality of contributions. Hopefully, in the near future, the voters will also assess the overall performance of political parties – especially vis-à-vis the original platforms espoused during the previous election period.

    Policy disagreements are welcome, but only when legal, viable alternative solutions are offered and submitted for review by the appropriate bodies. Suspicions of anomalies must be aired in the proper venues, must be backed by substantive evidence (circumstantial evidence is enough to initiate investigations) and must then be coursed through the appropriate investigative/judicial bodies — like the Ombudsman, PET, SC, whatever.

    By the way, this means that those latter institutions must be staffed and managed by highly-qualified, untainted professionals and their processes and procedures must be transparent. The demand for highly scrupulous individuals with substantive track records is wholly necessary and cannot be compromised…as the country’s laws are the bedrock of a rational, progressive nation. Reforms concerning the process of appointments to these positions should undergo review.

    Similar to the concept of the separation of Church and State, the political and military institutions must remain separate and should not interfere with one another…and that concept applies to the individuals within those institutions. The active link between the military and the political bodies is exclusively the domain of the office of the President (and the designated members of its Cabinet), though it is clear that reforms are needed in some areas of this relationship (i.e. the reality of the present “revolving door” system of appointments). The recommendations from the Feliciano Commission are a good impetus to start/continue such a review.

    The press is the public’s window through which it can gather useful information about many facets of life. In the coverage of the political, legislative, judicial and military on-goings, *substantive* information is the key requirement. That necessarily means that – in addition to a presentation of whatever facts are available – the pros and cons views of various individuals or groups should be aired. The underlying concept here is “balanced presentation”…that is the press corp’s self-proclaimed duty.

    Personally (i.e. my opinion/suggestion), there should be a clear divide between the press (the information providers) and the Op/Ed pieces (the opinion providers) presented through their media. In that light, news presenters should not, can not, be opinion makers (though they can easily offer an opportunity for the opinion-makers to air their thoughts). This kind of policy would create a clear separation in the public’s eye/mind of what constitutes information and what constitutes opinion. It would hopefully even lead to even greater protection of the freedom of the press.

    In addition, there is a huge difference between news providers (as defined above) and advocacy publications/broadcasts. The former is a public service; the latter a private decision/action. It is imperative, I believe, that advocacy publications/broadcasts cannot label themselves as a news-providing media. They should be able to enjoy the freedom of expression…but are subject to the limits as defined by the law, just like any citizen or civil group. The news organizations need only to follow its own guidelines of “balanced reporting”. In effect, the news media is its own public institution – thereby enjoying the right of non-interference by other public institutions, but at the same time, also honoring its responsibility to remain within the confines of its role in society.

    All in all, there are laws that exist…and perhaps more/better laws needed to be passed…which govern the way society and its public and private entities operate. These laws must be followed. Without them, anarchy will reign. And who needs/wants that?

    Who knows? Maybe all of these painful experiences will actually result in the advancement of a society much better attuned to how institutions are supposed to work and how the laws, rules and regulations must be respected. Maybe the institutional reforms that are needed will be more efficiently and rapidly passed. Maybe individuals within institutions will respect the rules, processes and procedures of their respective institutions…and will not interfere with other institutions. Maybe the citizens will begin to focus more on the transparency and performance of institutions, rather than just focus on personalities (who have often attempted/succeeded to operate outside of the limits of their respective institutions). In my opinion, that would be a very big step forward in the goal to make the Philippines a better country/society.

    It’s worth trying, no?

  44. Geo

    cvj wrote:

    “Am i supposed to understand this to mean that each day GMA remains in power is a de-facto validation of her mandate?”

    ***No, not necessarily. It seems that the public still wants more information — and ultimately some kind of conclusion — regarding the allegation of electoral fraud. (According to the last polls, that is…which may now be a bit stale. Question: Is SWS or a similar body planning to make new, updated polls?)

    However, it also seems that the majority of the people want this issue tackled in a responsible, less emotional manner. They want, at the same time, that each public institution maintains its activities within the confines of its constitutional roles. And last — but certainly not least — it wants these institutions to perform at an increasingly higher level of performance.

    If my above understanding/perception is correct, then the next step is to take one’s issues, complaints and suspicions to the proper venue…and nowhere else.

    In this calmer, more rational, less aggravated environment, I would personally hope that the admin would unilaterally offer itself to a calmer, more rational, less aggravated process of review. If not, I think the GMA oppositionists should pursue the issue through the proper channels.

    And let’s not forget that the media will soon be presented with the PET’s findings on Legarda’s appeal. Those findings may change the equation, as they might give us all either a greater suspicion that fraud occurred…or didn’t.

    If widespread anomalies are confirmed, this may well open the door to more legal avenues for the issue of Gloria’s legitimacy.

    All the above said, there just may be a possibility that the general population is sick of all of this noise and disruption, is willing to sweep it under the rug (which certainly already covers a lot of dirt), and is simply demanding concrete improvements in daily life…not in political affairs. This is the “shut up, ALL of you, and do the work required to make this country a better place to live! Either that or just get out of our way” hypothesis.

    I really don’t know. I just know that repeated calls for mass action have failed to get the public to do just that. And that reality can’t be ignored.

  45. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Brief message for Sleeping with who,

    You don’t know what you are talking about…I have no patience with a Gloria mouthpiece that pretends to know something about French and European policies only to utter complete, total, absolute load of RUBBISH!

    I recommend that you stick to being a Gloria mouthpiece.

  46. mlq3

    geo, i’ve said elsewhere that i do think one lesson as the age of people power ends (though it may be reborn or whatever, too), is that we have to do things the hard way. there are many who want it done the hard way -but really, i’ve been meeting a lot of people who end up cratching their heads because every hard way just got that much harder -impossible, i often hear- because of the direction the president’s headed.

    set aside the opposition and examine every option, and tell if you think the president would participate.

  47. cvj

    Thanks for the clarification Geo. What you are recommending sounds reasonable if you manage to ignore the elephant in the room. For the 2004 elections, i queued up for 2 hours to register to vote, and another 3 hours to vote for GMA here in Singapore as i had the same hopes as you. I was counting on 2004 to 2010 as a period of relative quiet, a time when a professional leader can institute reforms that will allow our economy to grow and give us enough momentum to lift the country above the threshold of sustainable economic development. I guess the Garci tapes and GMA’s reaction have varying effects on people. When i first heard about it, i was tempted to ignore the whole episode, but i had to read Monsod , Randy David’s analysis and MLQ3’s stand. I also had to take into account subsequent actions taken by the various parties involved. With that, i realized that what i was originally counting on is no longer a viable scenario. It is not easy to work and ‘scream and yell’ at the same time. I’m sure it is all the more not easy (to say the least) for the junior officers of the military to do what they are doing, but as Ricelander said in a related context, it is in their nature not to ignore these things. A democratic government is not like a corporation where effectiveness (however it is defined) automatically confers legitimacy.

  48. Geo

    cvg wrote:

    “I guess the Garci tapes and GMA’s reaction have varying effects on people. When i first heard about it, i was tempted to ignore the whole episode, but i had to read Monsod , Randy David’s analysis and MLQ3’s stand. I also had to take into account subsequent actions taken by the various parties involved.”

    ***No offense, but that’s a pretty weak case you have there.

    Meanwhile, your comments demonstrate the power of the press…or more accurately, the columnists. Now it’s nice that we can all get the opinions of various well-educated, knowledgeable people, but we can’t forget that these are often just opinions…and not facts. These opinion-makers have no responsibilty to gather or cite concrete proof of their opinions. They also don’t undergo any oversight process…including the stringent rules required in court.

    That is why I have intermittently asked — begged — mlq3 to be intellectual, not emotional. Since most of us respect his vast body of knowledge, we (me, at least) would like to enjoy the benefit of what is inside his brain…but don’t want to be presented with skewed, one-sided expressions from his heart. (No offense, as it certainly seems that you have a good heart, mlq3)

    Looks like it may be too late for that — mlq3 (or Randy David or whomever) has taken a political stance and has taken political action. He is not providing us with a detached, intellectual presentation of the facts (but again, he doesn’t need to).

    That leaves us with your interpretation of some events (which I hope aren’t being shaped by your exposure to avowed political activists). Yet these interpretations are based on feelings/perceptions and not facts, aren’t they?

    If so, there’s no crime in that. On top of it all, it seems to me that you have not written posts full of emotional bunk and calling for everyone to do/believe X, Y or Z. So I’m not denying you your rights…nor am I objecting to your words, or you in general.

    But I can’t say that about a slew of posters here (and elsewhere). And yet the columnists’ and these posters’ incendiary words are stirring things up to dangerously high levels. I’m sure many will disagree, but to me, that’s flirting with irresponsibility. It opens the door for malicious types to use these words to justify their illegal and society-threatening actions.

    And don’t get me wrong: Factless, emotional words of the pro-GMA types can likewise open the door for malicious types to do their own BS.

    In this type of environment, the people should step way back and demand that institutions and the laws which guide them should be respected. Let the activists and the players say what they want, but just keep looking for the facts and the results of judicial review.

    Then again, that’s just my opinion. 🙂

  49. cvj

    Geo, as always, i respect you opinion. I think we have a basic disconnect as to our respective understanding of the interplay between intellectual convictions and emotions, as well as its application to the current issue. Oftentimes, it is (A) intellectual convictions that drive emotions and that is ok. Other times, it is (B) emotions (e.g. hopes & fears) that shape intellectual convictions, which is sometimes ok, sometimes not ok depending on the specifics. I think you misconstrue MLQ3’s position as originating from (B) while it is actually a case of (A).

    Since uncertainty is the main issue, the crux of the matter to me is, who between the opposing parties is stopping the truth from coming out? From your comments in Ricky Carandang and Abe Margallo’s weblogs, i know you have your pet theory which you want to be further investigated. While i would like to believe your theory as there’s a good chance your bogeyman is also my bogeyman, in instances of uncertainty, it is usually best to rely on Occam’s razor.

    Just like you, i look on to people i respect for guidance. Apart from being columnists, Monsod was fearless in opposing Marcos and a competent economist who helped engineer the post-EDSA economic recovery. Randy David is a veteran sociologist. I happened to cross reference his manner of sociological analysis with other materials in his field and find that his approach on which bases his interpretation, makes sense. It’s the ‘Rightists’ loss not to read him just because he is branded as a ‘Leftist’. MLQ3, of course, needs no further introduction.

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