Austero’s eloquence

It was only through Global Voices Online that I found out Bong Austero, who penned an open letter that’s been much-forwarded (sometimes even without his name), is a blogger.

Reading his blog was quite an experience. There are three entries that should be read by everyone, regardless of which side they’re on, not least because they give breadth and depth to the open letter that he says he never thought would achieve such a wide circulation (and probably, for that very reason: people could tell they weren’t crafted for any other purpose than to express the author’s feelings):

And the plot thickens

The marginalized majority

The demolition team becomes personal

All three entries are not just eloquently, but so honestly, written they remind me of something people have been chiding me about: the loss of civility in discussing the issues. I do not, and will not, regret a temper and biting words with regards to public figures, but perhaps that shouldn’t be the case with regards to private individuals, particularly in the blogs. Perhaps, but not always.

One thing, though: anyone should be able to say anything they like, for whatever side. When you try forcing people to shut up, you lose. Mr. Austero is speaking to his constituency, and obviously doing it well -and in a way no one can question. So read what he has to say.

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    • manuelbuencamino on March 9, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    The marginalized majority? The last time I looked more than 50per cent of the people wanted Gloria to resign. Her negative ratings have gone down steadily from +30 in March 2004 to -33 in surveys taken in the last quarter of 2005.

    I don’t know Manolo but I’m not fooled by this guy. I e mailed you a detailed deconstruction of his famous letter so you’ll know why I am very cynical about it.

    Let me just say that his letter lays the predicate for keeping Gloria. Hoever, his predicate is based on negatives about the opposition rather than the positive points, if any, of Gloria.

    To me therefore the letter is a demolition job and nothing more. The fact that many people agree with him tells me that Malacanang propaganda works on certain people. The kind of people who make choices based on what they dislike more.

    • a de brux on March 9, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    MLQ3,

    Dmolition job, says M Buencamino and I believe his assesment is spot on. Demolition jobs entail intimidations.

    Yesterday I read a post in Tagalog in Ellen’s blog saying she should also be arrested or something like that…today, over at your blog, someone posted a similar insinuation but against me (crazy thing to do really) saying perhaps my bank accounts should be inspected or some similar warped gibberish.

    These “gibberish” reminded me of a call from someone I know very well at the embassy a few days ago informing me that someone (presumably that someone is also from the embassy) had been asked to check up on a person with my blog-emailID (yes, MINE!) Anyway, it’s easy for anyone in Gloria’s govt or her friends and supporters to track me if they are so eager or so scared because many in the embassy know my ID, besides there are many trails in the blogsphere about me so their task would be easy and that’s because I’ve never meant to hide…

    Know what? I had already suspected that it might come to this – I’ve long alerted my MPs and friends in media here (and back home too) that Gloria’s govt might try some subtle and not quite so subtle intimidation tactics against overseas Pinoys who are staunchly anti-Arroyo.

    If RP ‘authorities’ are hell bent on intimidating me or other Pinoys overseas like me who are staunchly anti-Gloria Mandaraya, they will have to try harder or opt for a different tack – as I said to that horrid creature over at your blog (who is undoubtedly a Gloria govt paid hack or a member of the Luli Arroyo internet brigade) that she and Gloria’s gov’t are welcome to do what they want so that I can take them ‘officially’ to the European arena of freedom of the press and of freedom of speech where my MPs will strip them naked, slaughter their egos and bare their extremely corrupt guts for the world to see.

    Gloria, her friends, her supporters and members of her cabinet must be extremely careful about intimidating overseas Pinoys here, in the US or in Japan; that like at home, there are also good and righteous people here and elsewhere in the West but who who posses an advantage today over our kababayans back home because our governments here are democratic; that our freedom loving institutions – the media in particular – are equally ruthless and like the few good people in media back home, will NEVER, EVER kowtow to Pidalists, election thieves, corrupt pseudo-presidents, human rights abusers and freedom of the press killers.

    • Dwarf_In_The_Palace on March 9, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    MLQ3,

    The REPLY from an AUSTRALIAN with FILIPINO husband to AUSTEROS OPEN LETTER is WORTH READING. Too BAD coming
    from an outsider.

    I have to respond to this. Write me off as an ignorant Australian if you will who only has Filipino cable and the internet to inform me but I can’t let it go.

    1. Your concept of democracy is passive aggressive and weak. Silence doesn’t go anywhere – the world does not read minds. If you can’t be bothered to put your thoughts out there in the public arena, don’t blame others who will.

    2. It is arrogant to assume that your brand of patriotism is more profound than others. You choose to sacrifice your “freedom and your rights” while others are sacrificing or risking at the very least their lives. The Philippines is second only to Iraq in killing it’s journalists – what does that tell you about the patriotism of those journalists who speak up about corruption? If it is a question of sacrifice, you cannot claim the higher ground.

    3. You so flatter the activists, journalists, etc.. when you say they have brought down the hard work of GMA. No one needed to have lifted a finger or do you think it is the fault of the bleeding hearts that the Philippines is the 11th most corrupt country in the world? The political ideas most closely reflecting those in the Philippines in East Asia can be found in South Korea. I don’t think democracy has affected things too badly there. Another country in SE Asia who is also struggling to topple their president is Thailand. At present, it would take you 30 YEARS to catch up with Thailand. In the 60s, you were the “Pearl of the Orient”, the richest country in SE Asia, and since Marcos, the decline has been steady for decades. Now all your SE neighbours far outstrip you in terms of development and you are rating alongside war torn countries like Laos and Cambodia. Do you really think that is the fault of your activists?! Do you really believe that shutting up and trusting your illegitimate leader is going to solve things? Do you really believe that forgiving the rampant corrutption is going to make it alright?

    If GMA is working so hard to put things right, my (Filipino) husband and I wonder why the Philippines is so consistently absent from trade and tourism fairs in Australia when even countries like Vietnam and Mongolia can repersent themselves? Perhaps the corruption takes it toll on the budget? The only ones to represent your country at the moment are the OFWs and were it not for those Filipinos working OS your country would certainly be bankrupt.

    I have travelled around SE Asia and can certainly attest to how backwards things are in the Philippines. Considering that since the Marcos era, the same politicians, the same oligarchy of families are running the show and the same corrupt practices abound, I would imagine that they are to blame. Certainly the media in Australia demonstrated great respect and admiration for people power and I’m sure that is the case the world over. It is a shame that you’re so pissed of by citizens using their democratic rights to speak up about genuine grievances. The fact that even groups like the Makati Business Council and retired generals are telling people to protest demonstrates how desperate things are right now.

    If you think the activists make you look bad, I say not as bad as a cheating president does or letting US soldiers rape your citizens without consequence. The rest of the world would probably say Jamaah Islamiah and your sluggish economy look pretty pathetic. Whatever happens now you need serious change and you need it fast because the way you’re going, you’re going to be pegged alongside African countries in years to come the way things are going.

    Bushwalker – live journal

    • a de brux on March 9, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    Whoa!

    Dwarf_In_The_Palace, that was a simple but powerful post from down under.

    Thanks for posting it.

    • Geo on March 10, 2006 at 12:06 am

    We all don’t need to be enemies. In the biggest picture, we all want the same thing. We just see different paths…but yet they all lead to the mountain top. At least I hope so.

    Thanks for the space to air my own thoughts, mlq3. I’m glad to have been exposed to the views of others. Peace be with you.

    This is my last post here, and I bid all of thee adieu. Best wishes to all of us and to this flawed-yet-beautiful country we all love.

    No war. No blood. Stop the hate. Please…..

    • Confused on March 10, 2006 at 1:09 am

    #3 “1. Your concept of democracy is passive aggressive and weak. Silence doesn’t go anywhere – the world does not read minds. If you can’t be bothered to put your thoughts out there in the public arena, don’t blame others who will.”

    Didn’t Mr. Austero put his thoughts out there in the public arena?

    • pingkian on March 10, 2006 at 1:28 am

    I agree mb, adb. On apologies first,I have tried to post my comments below in reaction to another blog, but seem it can’t get through. Here it is…..

    I agree with adb, first things first as stated in item # 26, we need a President with genuine mandate.

    By the way mlq3, are those wish list yours, that of your friend or simply a collection of proposals from various people? I have serious apprehension about the proposals and that serious discussions on the wish list should not divide and detract us from the more urgent issue of a President without real (or for those who not yet fully convinced, with questionable) mandate. But I can help but comment broadly on some fundamental issues in the wish list.

    1. The wish list put so much limitation or restriction on the people who want to serve through politics or to choose its leaders although I presume I know where the proposal is coming from. It pre-supposes an unintelligent electorate and greedy politicians. My contention is that the electorate is not stupid, there’s just a dearth of willing, winnable, qualified, and decent politicians. Most decent and qualified people tend shy away from politics and responsibilities and that in many instances the choice is limited from among lesser evils, but the people shoul not be constrained to elect leaders who have proven themselves worthy of people’s trust. The people deserve the kind of leaders they have. The important thing is “genuine mandate” and the leveling of the playing field through electoral reforms; integration or rationalization of sectoral representation and party list system. The sovereign – the people is supreme above all else, even to be dumb.
    2. Instead of putting up so many prohibitions, restrictions and limitations, focus should be more on developing a more responsive and accountable and transparent system of governance, checks and balances, and the system of reward and punishment (for public servants – politicians or government employee), and a system the encourages an active and responsible “citizenry.”
    3. Federalism? Regional Autonomous Government or federal state? It’s another layer, in our already bloated government bureaucracy. I’m a believer of decentralization and empowerment – devolution and de-concentration of powers and responsibility to LGUs, perhaps, we simply need to amend the local government code; equity should be made an important principle in the amendment to minimize high skewed disparity in income/resources and development between and among local government units.
    4. The key to all these is education and an informed, active and vigilant citizenry.

    Are these or those in the wish list possible with GLORIA? NO, not because the above cannot be legislated, but because she does not have the trust and respect of and the support and mandate from the people. FIRST THINGS FIRST.

  1. mlq3 said: . . . people could tell they weren’t crafted for any other purpose than to express the author’s feelings . . . not just eloquently, but so honestly, written . . .

    Abe: Eloquently written, yes. Mr. Austero is seemingly gifted. But honestly? Well, precisely because he has that gift of persuasion and the skill to express himself in style that he is succeeding to obscure the fact that he is politically active and, indeed, highly partisan instead of someone who is honestly pleading to “respect my silence.”

    Let’s take note of some of his pretensions to assure his readers that he is not a GMA defender by any guise:

    “I do not like [GMA] too. I did not even vote for her. I voted for Raul Roco. But as much as I do not like her, I do not like you even more. I may not trust her, but guess what, I do not trust you even more.”

    Unfortunately for Austero, in his lame effort to fortify his lines, he was unable to hush up his single-minded bias for the President. Here’s just one sample: “From where I sit, she is the one who has been working really hard to move this country forward while all of you have been so busy with one and only one thing: to make sure she does not succeed. So forgive me if I do not want to join you in your moral pissing contest. Forgive me if I have chosen to see things from another perspective. You say she is the problem. I say, we are the problem, more to the point, I think you are a bigger problem than she is.”

    By professing in the foregoing to refuse joining the “moral pissing contest,” Austero apparently wants to present himself as politically neutral, uncommitted – a fencesitter. But here’s the dishonesty, witting or unwitting: first, the humility “WE are the problem” and then promptly followed by an arrogant self-absolution “I think YOU are the bigger problem than she is.”

    Now this: “While I felt outraged that she called a Comelec official during the elections and that she may have rigged the elections, I have since then taken the higher moral ground and forgiven her.” So, those who have chosen to take the cudgels of demanding more from the President – to clear the cloud over her supposedly rightful claim to the presidency – have taken the lower moral ground?

    mlq3 said: I do not, and will not, regret a temper and biting words with regards to public figures, but perhaps that shouldn’t be the case with regards to private individuals, particularly in the blogs. Perhaps, but not always.

    Abe: Please don’t fall for this guy, Manolo, because he is obviously hitting hard while complaining “Who’s hitting me in the back, don’t you know I’m just a spectator?

    If Austero is not a hack writer, and I don’t think he is, he has at least taken the function of a political hack (like some of US, if to follow Austero’s self-abnegation) and therefore a fair game for equally hard-hitting exchange from any sides of the political debate; never mind he really said nothing new.

    What’s quite obvious however is that after Austero had outed himself and received all the attention, he would decline to wrestle fair and square. Note how he makes a case: “Others can out-debate me, out-fact me, out-argue me – that still doesn’t make me wrong. I stand by my feelings and opinions.” To be a bit “biting,” one who is conveniently willing to leap from practical, factual and logical reasoning to moral or personal considerations can be as childish as someone who lacks of the needed “civility in discussing issues.” Is Austero really worth your time? Not mine, so I’m doing this exchange with you and your visitors, not him.

    • a de brux on March 10, 2006 at 4:17 am

    MLQ3,

    I’ve just read Max Soliven’s and Jose Sison’s articles on the net in tomorrow’s (Friday) edition of the Star: Max’s one on one talk with Gloria and Sison’s discreet plea for a calm “surrender”. But both essentially defend to the death Gloria’s right to do as she pleases, right or wrong, good or bad, corruption and all.

    I’m inclined to believe that the freedom of the press in the Philippines is gasping for its last breath. We all have a big problem because the nation’s civil society is more than ever firmly split right in the middle, the middle class is pathetically weak while most of the impoverished class is clueless.

    Only the liars, the cheats, the corrupt and the greedy in government have some kind of devil’s determination and direction as to where they want the country to go – clearly to damnation but only few people care to stop them.

    How do you propose to build a democracy with that kind of foundation?

  2. “Is Austero really worth your time? Not mine, so I’m doing this exchange with you and your visitors, not him.” – Abe M.

    Yes, it’s so much easier to exchange ideas who agree with everything you say. OK – sarcasm aside – frankly, the rationalizations here amuse me. For many commentators, Mr. Austero is simply a “hack”, or a “demolition job”, or (this is my favorite) a “member of the Luli Arroyo Internet Brigade”.

    Psychologists call this “cognitive dissonance” – a mindset so entrenched in the idea that ordinary Filipinos want Gloria out of office cannot conceive that many ordinary Filipinos don’t want it at all. So instead of acknowledging the latter, they’d much prefer to believe that this guy is a partisan hack in Gloria’s pay.

    It’s not just the lack of civility that disturbs: it’s also the opposition’s unwillingness to think, once one’s mind is made up, that the undecided pick up on and eventually reject. You reject this guy for being “partisan” – fair being fair, we can equally reject the opposition for being just as biased. You prefer the echo chamber of like-minded commentators to the dissent of an honest few – it makes honest individuals tremble at the thought of a similarly insulated revolutionary government, should your plans succeed.

    You’re free to call Mr. Austero names, it’s your right after all – but please, don’t do this and expect to retain the moral high ground that seems to be crumbling under your very feet.

    • Karl on March 10, 2006 at 6:22 am

    So we must not do an argumentum ad hominem on the guy because we must look at the message…

    since I don’t know the guy all I can shoot is the message.

    The message sucked!

    I did not say Mr. Austero sucked.

    Will that do?

    • a de brux on March 10, 2006 at 6:38 am

    Karl,

    Heheh! You have the gift of the surgical gab – with a few words you clipped the guy’s beak!

    Right on!

    • Tom on March 10, 2006 at 7:47 am

    I was just testing how to post a comment on Austero’s blog and this is what I see: “Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.”

    I looked at the comments on all three articles and, what do I see–nothing but comments agreeing with him.

    In contrast, dito at sa blog ni Ellen, Ricky, PCIJ, etc, puedeng magpost ang mga “mickeytmoc” at sinumang kontra sa mga opinion ng blog owner/s and regulars.

    Who is silencing who?

    • pingkian on March 10, 2006 at 7:58 am

    As communicators’ say, the “medium is the message,” but if I may add, the “source is also message.” Translated differently, I’m for GLORIA, and I’m gonna flood your blog’s.

  3. Did you actually try to post anything before going off on your tangent about moderated comments? Dito naman din, ah. Look below: “Comment moderation is enabled and may delay yoru comment.” In fact, I see a lot of dissenting posts on Bong Austero’s blog as well. Are you suggesting Bong is silencing those who disagree with him, Tom? Can you provide any more proof?

    • JCastro on March 10, 2006 at 8:17 am

    Most people in the middle class are conflict averse, and would just want to continue working. They’re the type who blanked out the student leaders on the PA shouting “Makibaka!” as they studied in classrooms during college. I think Mr. Austero’s posts encapsulates perfectly how this segment of the population feels. I think the spin and mud-slinging dominating political debate right now is having its intended effect.

    • JCastro on March 10, 2006 at 8:21 am

    Interesting follow-up question: who’s been doing the most mudslinging so far?

    • d0d0ng on March 10, 2006 at 8:33 am

    What can you expect from an angry man like Bong Austero?
    But it is worth to examine as I did.

    1st paragraph, he doesn’t want anybody especially Tita Cory & others to represent his rights.He simply ignore that application of government policy inherently applies to all. If Ate Glue violated freedom of the press in Tribune, it is meant as an example to people like him once he turns against the government.

    2nd paragraph, he vocalized that silence is a response. Typical of kids, as if silence can telegraph accurately ones messages. Another kiddie stuff, is leave him alone coz his rights are not at peril.

    3rd paragraph, he had chosen to see Ate Glue’s perspective at the same time asking forgiveness. This is similar to Ate Glue’s admission and asking forgiveness as rhetoric.

    4th paragraph, he had dispensed forgiveness easily to Ate Glue as he is convinced that Ate Glue had done nothing wrong at all.

    5th paragraph, he believed that the political scene can result into bloody fight.

    6th paragraph, he doesn’t trust anybody especially those against the government who started the fight.

    7th paragraph, he believed that those against government are destroying the country. He cannot see that destruction started from within the government covering up her corruption and illegitimacy.

    8th paragraph, he categorized that all those against the government as one and the same.

    9th paragraph, he cast lot with lesser evil the government.

    10th paragraph, he believed that those against the government are bullies. He forgot that bullies usually have power (like the government) that like to display to intimidate opponents.

    11th paragraph, he can respect those who are willing to go to jail at the same time he had forgotten those who were arrested.

    12th paragraph, he believed that opponents wanted to bring down the government (lesser evil)

    13th paragraph, he believed that being silent can solve corruptions.

    14th paragraph, he believed that seeking redress for corruptions is a graver threat than corruption itself and he needs protection from that.

    Hehehe!

    • jackryan68 on March 10, 2006 at 8:53 am

    I am middle class, I tend to be conflict averse, but while I respect Mr. Austero’s sentiments, I do not share them.

    I am deeply concerned about the future of our country if we will keep on sending the message that it is OK to lie, cheat and steal (because most politicians are doing it anyway) so long as life becomes a little bearable for most everyone.

    But then again, it might be possible that there are many more Austeros in our midst who have lost faith in the Filipino’s capacity to rise above himself.

    But I need proof, and will accept it willingly if it indeed has become the case, my fears notwithstanding.

    I think the best was to establish this is to petition President Arroyo to call a snap election and secure a legitimate mandate from the people. I am ready to accept the people’s verdict when that happens.

  4. Thanks Karl for the support..

    I am for the rule of Law No matter what happens to who.. I really don’t care..

    What pisses me is that the impeachment was tried. The tapes if were illegal, and if the vodaphone incident in Greece is anything.. Then the CIA probably had something to do with this one..

    Think about this Garci was traveling the country the Cell phones do not transmit even 20 KM so they had to have someone following him closely to get the transmission and not sitting is ISAF headquarters, which is always claimed.. Next the “CIA” is believed to have activated a program hidden in the Vodaphone network to copy and retransmit the calls to a different location.

    The Black and White group was started in the US with connections to a US Agent.. That agent was then arrested..

    What would be more embarassing to the US, that the agent gave the tapes to people here.. OR that they were spying on the Elections by using hidden technology in the Phone Companies..

    There have been so many CLAIMS and Counter Claims about Fraud either to do with the elections, Contracts, and even alliances..

    (I am meant to be part of some Internet Brigade.)

    I don’t care who gets caught, If they are doing wrong like stealing, Pay offs, Closing their eyes to what others are doing. Then i think the law should be brought to bare and show who is meant to rule the country..

    I have had too many people steal off me.. And then i pay my taxes and everything else and what do i get, a government who steals, The People Throw him out but give him a nice house to relax in…

    Now there are all these claims like ADB yesterday saying stuff which if it is true then open another cell if not then open one for the person who started the lie..(Who ever that be)

    We have to stop all the claims and counter claims we have to prosecute through the law those who lie, cheat and steal.

    The Opposition took the impeachment case to the Supreme Court and it was thrown back at them, So it is over, We may not like their conclusion but so be it that is the law.

    Now lets arrest those who break the law where ever and who ever they are..

    Open the Bank Accounts.

    ADB you may not know why i chose this name it was to say think about who you are aligned with or friends with… Do not get into bed with the wrong person.. If you must we must sleep alone than make the wrong connections with people.. In the long run one bad apple will always spoil the bunch..

    With the coup plot i think alot of the people on the outside edges of it gave it some support, not realizing what some of the planners where really up to.. One part needed support from the CPP – NPA so they organized it, Annother part needed support from the US so rang the US and told them.. They both may not know what each did, and that is the worst bit as when it comes to splitting the country for the spoils i am sure the CPP -NPA would have expected to get the North.. Which others would never give up..

    Thus we would have ended up with a civil war as no one would now know which side each other is on as there were more combinations than a rubix cube..

    • Jeg on March 10, 2006 at 11:16 am

    Would a snap election be legal? Especially a snap election in which Gloria will run? The law doesnt permit re-election, does it?

    On the whole I agree with Mr. Austero’s letter except for the forgiving Gloria part. It’s not up to us. She has to answer for her crimes and she has to answer to them in the proper venue. The Black&White website states, “We have concluded that President GMA cheated.” That doesnt cut it either. It’s not up to them. That’s for the courts to decide. (A phone call to a COMELEC official, although highly suspicious, does not constitute proof.) Senator Legarda (I think) has filed a case. That case needs support (and money–a million bucks per ballot box?). Why hasnt the Black&White people thrown their support behind that case? Are they really hell-bent on extra-legal courses of action?

    Is the strategy of groups like BlackWhite to shame Gloria into resigning? It won’t happen. She has no shame. The people won’t march because the last time they did it, they handed the presidency to Gloria, and they won’t fall for that again. Who will they hand the power to this time? Joe De Venecia? Please.

    Mr. Austero and those who won’t join the so-called opposition (and myself, just so we’re clear where I stand), have decided to wait. Wait for 2010 when the law says Gloria should get out. Wait for 2010 when she cant hide behind immunity. Those of you who have the means and the power should make themselves busy building a case: election fraud, misuse of government funds, plunder–those charges need proof, and the proof won’t be found by marching on the streets of EDSA. It’s time for a new tack. It’s called the Law.

    We put GMA where she is. We were stupid and we’re to blame for all this. Shifting all the blame on Gloria won’t cover that fact.

  5. mlq3 got me (forced me?) to read the austero posts. here’s my nitpick comment:

    ito ang sinabi niya

    I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself.

    If his rights and freedoms are threatened, he will fight for them raw. Eh papaano naman kung yung freedom (of speech) at rights ng iba o ng kaaway mo ang na threaten, Bong? Will you defend their right too?

    Take note he wrote that after the media crackdown…

    Eto naman yung latest whine niya.

    If you disagree with me, by all means disagree. But you can not tell me to shut up. You can not tell me that I have no right to speak up about these things.

    Heh.

    i agree with MLQ3:

    All those carping against the opposition and in favor of the present dispensation, display the eminently undemocratic notion that the present regime will last forever. Democracy is premised on the understanding that today’s self-satisfied majority will be tomorrow’s minority howling in the wilderness. That is why democracy is as much about respecting the minority as it is about the rights of the majority. Every proposal -Charter change, support for the President, etc.- assumes the side that will stay in power is the President’s side. Suppose tomorrow or in 2007 or even 2010 the other side won? Where would today’s majority turned minority be, with all the laws and policies it’s presently carrying out and establishing as precedents?

  6. Jeg – good call! Those who are tired of rallies (and, considering that I’ve received Bong’s letter in the email about a dozen times just this week) haven’t given up on other means yet. It’s wrong to assume that since a majority want GMA out, that same majority will support the opposition’s coup attempts. The right way to look at it is: here’s an untapped majority who will support the opposition’s constitutional efforts against GMA!

    I think the opposition is suffering a failure of imagination; c’mon, rally na lang ba ang makakatanggal kay Ate Glue sa poder? There are long-term solutions we can consider – forming a political party (assuming the opposition has certain principles that they can agree on) or take a page from Glo’s book and take over an existing party! Hit the Comelec – force an impeachment of Comelec officials! Send money and moral support to lawyers who can prosecute corrupt officials! Hey, just look in your own back yard – so much corruption in local politics, why the obsession with the Glow?

    Thing is, people want to strengthen institutions. This will ensure our long-term survival as a nation. And we can do both that – and prosecute a corrupt government – if we pursue constitutional and legal means!

    These people who write letters that end up getting emailed again and again – these aren’t your enemies. These are the allies who you can win back, assuming you have the imagination to propose a different solution to our common problems!

    • jackryan68 on March 10, 2006 at 11:51 am

    I’m no lawyer, so I can be corrected.

    But I think if President Arroyo decides to stand in a snap election to choose who will have an unassailable mandate to lead until 2010, it is not technically a reelection, and will not violate the constitutional provision.

    The main issue hounding her is legitimacy, and a snap election will offer her that, as well as closure to all these mess. Then, we can now all move forward.

    • cvj on March 10, 2006 at 11:51 am

    mickeytymoc, i’m experiencing some of that cognitive dissonance right now since in this time of PP1017, ‘smiling martial law’ and press intimidation, you choose to express your outrage against an attack on the “dissent of an honest few” by a hypothetical “insulated revolutionary government”.

    In case you didn’t notice, the link to Mr. Austero has been put up on a weblog whose owner is not exactly ‘likely-minded’. I think that was done by our Host precisely to avoid the discourse from congealing into “group think”.

    Personally, I don’t mind giving up some of that moral high ground for the privilege of calling Mr. Austero a fascist, although one who is admittedly sincere.

    Anyway, since we’re on the matter of “cognitive dissonance”, i believe this applies best to those who continue to deny that GMA did anything wrong in the face of everything that has been revealed. If there was an Olympics for mental gymnastics, they would surely run away with the gold.

  7. mlq3 got me (forced me?) to read the austero posts. here’s my nitpick comment:

    ito ang sinabi niya after the media crackdown…

    I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself.

    If his rights and freedoms are threatened, he will fight for them raw. Eh papaano naman kung yung freedom (of speech) at rights ng iba o ng kaaway mo ang na threaten, Bong? Will you defend their right too?

    Eto naman yung latest whine niya.

    If you disagree with me, by all means disagree. But you can not tell me to shut up. You can not tell me that I have no right to speak up about these things.

    Heh.

    i agree with MLQ3:

    All those carping against the opposition and in favor of the present dispensation, display the eminently undemocratic notion that the present regime will last forever. Democracy is premised on the understanding that today’s self-satisfied majority will be tomorrow’s minority howling in the wilderness. That is why democracy is as much about respecting the minority as it is about the rights of the majority. Every proposal -Charter change, support for the President, etc.- assumes the side that will stay in power is the President’s side. Suppose tomorrow or in 2007 or even 2010 the other side won? Where would today’s majority turned minority be, with all the laws and policies it’s presently carrying out and establishing as precedents?

  8. What again is the title of his blog? He obviously parrots the government line. I must respect what he has to say, although I am in total disagreement with him.

    If the majority of our people holds the same view as him, then we really deserve the kind of government we have.

    What again is the title of his blog? Perfect description for all the posts there.

  9. oops, paki delete na lang yung earlier double post ko.

  10. “Anyway, since we’re on the matter of ‘cognitive dissonance’, i believe this applies best to those who continue to deny that GMA did anything wrong in the face of everything that has been revealed. If there was an Olympics for mental gymnastics, they would surely run away with the gold.”

    I agree with you on this. While we’re on the subject, can you point me to anyone on this thread who denied that GMA did anything wrong? I hope you weren’t referring to Bong Austero or myself – because I’d have to prove you wrong.

    Bong acknowledges that Gloria might be guilty; all he says is he’s forgiven her. I acknowledge that Gloria might be guilty, too – but I think she should be tried and found guilty by legal, Constitutional means.

    I suggest you read our comments more carefully next time, friend.

  11. baka naman kaya nag-ngingitngit sila kasi di sila tinawag ni eloquent ni mlq 😛

  12. MLQ3
    Powerful post indeed that-a-one by dwarf_in_the_palace. Sure captured the unsaid thing about how we pinoys think and react in the face of political adversity. Only thing is, it might not have been written by an Australian at all but a Pinoy or Pinay, going by the, uh, straightand solid, almost scholarly way of expressing the thought.
    No offense meant on te Aussies… but the post really sounded like some writer or professor with a brown skin.
    More posts like that please, MLQ3, to prick the soul of the Filipino, from all colors of the spectrum.

  13. MLQ3
    Powerful post indeed that-a-one by dwarf_in_the_palace. Sure captured the unsaid thing about how we pinoys think and react in the face of political adversity. Only thing is, it might not have been written by an Australian at all but a Pinoy or Pinay, going by the, uh, straightand solid, almost scholarly way of expressing the thought.
    No offense meant on te Aussies… but the post really sounded like some writer or professor with a brown skin.
    More posts like that please, MLQ3, to prick the soul of the Filipino, from all colors of the spectrum

    • PIH on March 10, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    The marginalized majority? The last time I looked more than 50per cent of the people wanted Gloria to resign. Her negative ratings have gone down steadily from +30 in March 2004 to -33 in surveys taken in the last quarter of 2005.

    The last time I looked surveys were not the means employed to replace presidents. I believe we have elections for that.

    I fin it amusing how the same people who cry foul for the infringement on civil liberties and due process by GMA’s draconian Proclamation No. 1017, are so willing to deny GMA those same rights. Apparently “ad hoc-ism” has been gaining ground in the Philippines.

    Better for the guilty to go free than for an innocent to be punished, remember?

  14. Here’s a longer quote on this:

    Because quite frankly, we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward. You may think that is not correct, you can tell me all the dire warnings about the evils of authoritarian rule, but quite frankly all we see is your pathetic efforts to prop up your cause. You tell me that you are simply protecting my freedoms and my rights, but who told you to do that? I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself.

    😉

  15. TO ALL THE APATHETIC AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS:

    You profess your care for society, or so you say, but are too suspicious of the other side that you would rather remain with the status quo. You always question the motives of GMA’s critics (dissidents and oppositionists) that you forget the fact that the status quo (GMA and those who benefit from her illegitimate rule) could be more guilty of the same motives for which you are precisely indifferent about. You are so engulfed in self-righteousness that you get blinded by your own selfishness and pride. There are quite a lot of so-called “opinion makers” who fall into this category. You can easily spot them in the opinion pages of newspapers or in, yes, BLOGS! Unfortunately, it is in this atmosphere of cynicism where tyranny is wittingly or unwittingly tolerated.

    For me, the issue is simple: It’s either you’re pro or anti-GMA. I prefer the latter, because I cannot swallow a President who claims to be God’s annointed but whose sincerity is belied by all the lying, cheating, stealing and the creeping suppression of our basic rights.

    To the apathetic and the self-righteous: I’D RATHER COURSE THE UNCHARTED WATERS OF THE DEEP BLUE SEA THAN REMAIN IN HELL IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEVIL.

    • Helga on March 10, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Manolo, John, Anna, Bystander, this is not meant to sound defeatist, but all this to and fro-ing between the anti and pro Glo folk in the middle class has made me realize that the middle class that led the EDSA1 crowds has been decimated by the passage of time, fading memory, and death. Come to think of it, we make up a small percentage of Philippine society. Maybe we should shift our attention from winning the hearts and minds of this minority to the greater majority? Let’s not forget that “middle forces” doesn’t just mean middle class.

    The more we try to convince those that don’t agree with us, the harder their stance against us. Why can’t we engage the folks with the numbers that matter? Maybe the masses we’ve ignored will be more wiling to listen, provided our engagement is sincere.

    • in a pig's eye on March 10, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Micketymoc says in Comment #30:

    “Bong acknowledges that Gloria might be guilty; all he says is he’s forgiven her. I acknowledge that Gloria might be guilty, too – but I think she should be tried and found guilty by legal, Constitutional means.”

    ~~
    Pare, ang hirap naman dito sa Pilipinas under gluemac, yang sinasabi mong “legal and ethical means” is whatever gluemac deems so.

    Kasi naman..

    SHE’s got the whole world in her hands!

    {C’mon boys and gals!
    Sing along with me, all you freedom loving people across this nation.
    Be strong and let’s fight the forces of untruth.
    Let’s be a country fit for righteous governance and democracy!}

    Ah one..
    Ah two…
    Ah one, two, three, and..
    ________
    She’s got the Justice system -in Her hands,
She´s got the Comelec officials -in Her hands,
    She’s got the Cabinet members -in Her hands
    She´s got the whole world in Her hands.

    She’s got the Lower house -in Her hands,
She´s got the Police forces -in Her hands,
    She’s got the Religious leaders -in Her hands
    She´s got the whole world in Her hands.

    She´s got you and me, brother, in Her hands,
She´s got you and me, sister, in Her hands,
    She´s got the whole world in Her hands.

    She’s got ev’rybody here in Her hands.
She’s got ev’rybody here in Her hands.
    She’s got the whole world in Her hands.

    • Jeg on March 10, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Helga. Re your call for ‘winning the hearts and minds of the greater majority…the masses we’ve ignored’. Is your group advocating an extra-legal transfer of power? A coup, so to speak? Im sorry but I find that ‘winning the hearts and minds’ thing a bit chilling. Has your group given up on the law? Ok so we’ve lost Congress (failed impeachment attempt), but we still have the Supreme Court. I just think we should strengthen our institutions like micketymoc said, not undermine them.

    And has the Comelec gotten under everybody’s radar? We’ll need a credible Comelec for 2010. No one’s paying them any mind.

    This whole ‘mass rally’ thing is so easy to hijack. Case in point was EDSA 2. If EDSA 3 succeeded, we’d have had Erap back in Malakanyang. EDSA 1 was a glorious, spontaneous expression. EDSA 2 was a mistake. It gave us a dangerous precedent (and a dangerous president). We broke the law in EDSA 2 and are now reaping what we’ve sown. Let’s not make that same mistake again.

  16. off topic-

    i don’t know if you are experiencing the same thing, guys, but i’m finding it hard to connect with this blogsite. i made several attemps and wordpress popping up message of database idsconnection before i finally get connected.

    back to the topic:

    like the rest, i don’t believe the letter writer’s claim that he is not a gma die hard while taking too narrow a view on how he had forgiven and accepted the presidents apologies for her transgression.

    these words must not come from one who is taking an objective view on the scandals wrought by the gma government:

    “Yet, you persist in one and only thing: making GMA look bad in the eyes of the world and making sure that this country continues to suffer to prove your sorry point. In the process, you continue to destroy what we painstakinly try to built “

    • cvj on March 10, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    micketymoc, no – i had in mind other mlq3 regulars. the word you used seemed appropriate. besides #10 above, i haven’t read any of your other material.

    like you, i prefer constitutional means to resolve matters, but i also see the urgent need for GMA’s removal.

    just curious, do share Bong Austero’s sentiments when he says in the open letter, “we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward. “?

    ———

    Geo, godspeed wherever you’re going.

  17. I do notice a lot that when some people are not getting there way they start to name calling..

    We are not in the Play Ground we are in real life.

    I have been named a lot APATHETIC AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS are not normally thrown my way..

    I am not apathetic and i don’t think alot of others are.. They have weighed the Pros and Cons of the Situation and feel that an Economic agenda by the present administration is better than no public agenda at all, or no government.

    Self-Righteous is what i would have labeled Cory or the Hyatt 10..
    Dictionary Term..
    -Piously sure of one’s own righteousness.
    -holier than thou.
    -Exhibiting an attitude of superior virtue.

    Some of us believe if we can get economic change, that this will help the poor than fighting on the streets.

    If you had take 10 Peso’s From all the people at the rallys in the last 6 months and sent that to the poor it would have made a bigger difference than what they have spent so far..

    If the 300 Pesos each for the HIRE A MOB had been used for social change we would all be better off…

    Open the BANK ACCOUNTS that is all I can SAY

  18. pig,

    she has not got us.

  19. cvj – dude, hebigat question yan, mahirap i-yes or no. Some countries (1 i’ve seen firsthand) implement a compromise of liberties in exchange for an efficient government, pero it varies on how each party keeps its end of the deal. Singapore is repressive compared to us, but the citizenry is quite prosperous. No so with Burma or Vietnam.

    I wouldn’t blindly give up my rights just to move this country forward. Besides, both are rather ill-defined so far – ano bang nabibili ko kapalit ng rights ko? At magkano? All my civil rights? Or just a curtailment of my right to expression? Ano ba ang kapalit? And how would selling my civil rights get me that? Any answers would be welcome, kahit hypothetical. 🙂

  20. I agree. I do not even consider myself as belonging to the “middle class”. The latter pertains more or less to economic status and the supposed influence it can wield on society. The term “middle forces”, on the other hand, refers more to one’s ideological principles, that he or she is neither “left” nor “right”.

    The middle class or middle forces constitute only a small percentage of the 80 percent of Filipinos who want GMA to resign.

  21. sleeping,

    whose bank account needs to be opened and why? i dn’t get it. will opening a particular bank account change the fact that gma cheated, that she bribed the congressmen to quash the impeachment ?

    • jackryan68 on March 10, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    I agree Helga. Most everyone here have made up their minds, so we’re pretty much preaching to the converted.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there are communities where the ideals of EDSA ’86 live on. When the widow of late Sen. Diokno posed the challenge of “showing us EDSA,” we can point to and celebrate their success stories.

    Provinces like Bulacan, Oriental Negros, Bohol and Nueva Vizcaya; cities like Naga (where I come from), Tuguegarao and Vigan; and towns like Concepcion (Iloilo), Upi (Maguindanao) and E.B. Magalona (Negros Occidental) have effective programs that have been harnessing people power to mobilize community resources and build strong local institutions.

    They have good, experienced leaders that will put GMA to shame kung accomplishments at commitment sa matinong pamalalakad lang naman ang pag-uusapan. It’s quite ironic that they are marginalized under our Manila-centric media and politics.

  22. SLEEPING WITH WHO:

    Why? Did you feel alluded to by the phrase “APATHETIC AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS”? For the record, I did not even bother to name names, so don’t accuse me of name-calling. But if you feel that way, I can’t do anything about it.

    I am not and will never resort to name-calling. I am not like PGMA who is so fond of branding her critics as DESTABILIZERS.

  23. AS you said … and people are agreeing with you….

    Why can’t we engage the folks with the numbers that matter?

    —-So you dont have the numbers of the people you claim you have?

    Maybe the masses we’ve ignored will be more wiling to listen, provided our engagement is sincere.

    —-So you have not been sincere in the past..

    These are reasons why alot of the public don’t support groups like the B&W and others.. because sincerity is only being used as a play.. and the morality card.. Only comes out as a last resort.. And this time so many have tried to play it when they have their own Skeletons..

    • cvj on March 10, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Helga, all along i thought we were doing this for the masses? Democratic and other such values aside, if i wanted to look only after my own middle class interest, i would certainly look the other way when GMA does what she can to remain in power. In the meantime, i’ll support moves to change the Constitution so that the Head of State would never depend upon direct voting by the population. In that way, the trauma Erap presidency and the specter of an FPJ candidacy or a Noli Vice presidency would never be repeated. This is how the fascist framework fits so neatly with middle class aspirations. These are the new middle class values, post EDSA2.

    It is therefore important to make the majority aware of the above agenda before it succeeds.

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