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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  1. 46. fencesitter wrote on March 10th, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Fencesitter all people..

    But especially involved with or have been involved with government either as an employee or as a lawmaker..

    I am sure some of the truths of the past would become obvious.. As i have said i don’t care who gets caught congressmen, Judges, Fiscals, Amry, Navy, Airforce, Mayors, Secretarys to the Mayors. You name it… Businessmen..

    One thing we would have to do is open them all up for inspection, for the past and for the future.. If we see large sums paid in.. See if it was legal..

    Even if they put a limit on what could be investigated any deposits over 40,000 pesos in a month. (Not single but add them up).. We know what the Salary of the Congress – Senators – and President and Vice Presidents are.. Find out what the Families – Wives _Husbands _ Daughters and Sons..

    Open them up lay them out for inspection to prove once and for all to see who is corrupt and who is not..

    Not just 1 or two but the whole lot of them even if it means thousands of pages of documents so be it.. Let us see for ourselves, then prosecute those who have stolen..

    NO LIMIT TO who, what, how, or when, lets go back all 20 YEARS.

    I think that is fair..

    • mlq3 on March 10, 2006 at 5:27 pm
      Author

    jackryan, your blog’s been inactive for some time. perhaps you could tell us more about what’ s going on in the places you mentioned. i’ve been saying over and over the future is being mapped out in these places, the effort has to be, to integrate those efforts into a larger effort.

    • Roehl on March 10, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Why is that post so popular? Because it expresses the frustration, or at the very least, the ambivalence of many middle class moderates over the “GMA-resign” thing.

    Once you ask your boss to resign you are telling him, “I will not work with you, I will not cooperate with you, I will only follow reluctantly orders reluctantly, because you are the boss and I’m not quitting – yet.”

    It’s not like these moderates are enthusiastic, Atienza-style, for GMA. However they don’t wish to relinquish the option of a critical collaboration.

    Moreover after GMA resigns, what’s next? More destabilization of course. In 2008 we’ll (THEY’LL) be demonstrating against de Castro. In fact GMA will be marching the streets with them, kapit-bisig, the way they are doing now with Imee and her ilk. Ganito na lang ba ang bansa natin? PI (Philippine Islands) talaga.

  2. SLEEPING WITH WHO:

    You know what? Wake up. For the record, I am not a member of the B&W Movement but I have to defend the members of that group if only to correct some fallacies in your arguments.

    First, the B&W never claimed to have the numbers of the middle class. They are simply convinced that PGMA deserves to be kicked out for LYING, CHEATING and STEALING. Better check out their blog before making any judgments.

    Second, your conclusion that the B&W Movement has not been sincere simply because Helga made a suggestion about the need to be “sincere” in convincing the masses is CLEARLY OUT OF SYNC, ILLOGICAL to say the least. Don’t just disagree for the sake of merely opposing. That’s not being SINCERE.

    • cvj on March 10, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    micketymoc – thanks, i appreciate your candor. i agree with your analysis. There does not seem to be a relationship between repression and prosperity that we can use as a rule of thumb. South Korea grew rapidly for 20 years under a dictatorship and continues to grow for 20 years in a democracy. This is in contrast to our experience were we achieved anemic growth under either system.

    Actual country experiences aside, trading off the right to free expression would not be wise because the avenue for feedback will be loss. As you said above, there’s always the danger in the place becoming an ‘echo chamber, so where’s the good in that? I also hear the counterargument that seems to say that it is the ‘noise’ generated by such free expression that places in jeopardy our economic well-being, although i tend to suspect that those saying this have vested interests to protect.

    Personally, i want my ights to be inalienable, just because i want it that way. But who knows? Mahirap din magsalita ng patapos. One thing though, i wouldn’t want my prosperity secured by someone else’s loss of liberty.

    • Helga on March 10, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Hi cvj – yes, we’re doing this for the masses, but they’ve always viewed us with suspicion. They think we’re doing this just for ourselves, and this is mainly due to our failure of communication or engagement. BnW thought that the engagement of the middle class was and still is important, but I personally feel that wider engagement may give us the answers to the question – what is it really that we want? What affects you most? Apart from Gloria’s resignation, impeachment, or non-violent ouster.

    I think your idea on changing the constitution is one good enough to chew on.

  3. “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. ”

    thanks helga. i see this fight as more about who can demoralize the other side. if the arroyo side can convince us na there’s no point in opposing her, if we lose the will… then talo na tayo.

    OTOH, if we manage to demoralize the remaining civil society supporters of this admin (i believe that includes the CBCP), then babagsak ang admin na ito sooner or later and justice will prevail.

    a variation of the demoralization tactics some arroyo supporters are using is called “Mobyism”

    http://politicaljunkie.blogspot.com/2005/12/mobyism.html

    • joselu on March 10, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    helga, there you go again, i don’t want to be malicious but, engaging the folks w/ the number that matters means using the “masa” again.
    so what will you promise them this time?
    so you are also a good politician
    poor masa they are like tiolet paper for characters who don’t have the numbers, much more the credibility

    • cvj on March 10, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    After what we did in EDSA2, we can’t blame them. DJB yesterday made a comment over at Ricky’s weblog about us sending a ‘loud and clear’ signal to the masses that this is *our* democracy. Hence their continued suspicion and non-participation. It sounds like we have to reestablish some form of social contract with them, the minimum terms i would imagine is to respect their right (as individual citizens) to vote for their leaders, but to make everyone understand the need for (actionable) vigilance against high-level corruption and crony capitalism.

  4. Look at this for past and now and how two faced some can be..
    http://www.cyberdyaryo.com/press_release/pr2001_0828_01.htm

    Who’s afraid of Sen. Panfilo Lacson?
    “The Court of Appeals,” says the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
    This afternoon, members of Bayan, human rights group Karapatan and the Plunder Watch Network trooped to the Court of Appeals (CA) to condemn the Court’s decision dismissing the Kuratong Baleleng case due to a technicality.
    “How convenient for the CA to use a technicality to get Lacson off the hook, considering that this is the strongest case so far, with the most damning evidence, against the senator,” said Bayan Secretary General Teodoro Casi�

    Then he creates a group called Be Not Afraid?..

    That is like saying come here nice kitty, then grabbing by the neck and placing it in a cage…

    This group and Bayan are now together?

    Then he said this..
    “Or maybe they’re better off filing a complaint with the New People’s Army!” fumed Casi

    This is why people from the public dont understand what is going on Cory and Imelda, Bayan and Lacson..

    At least in The Marcos years everyone knew who and why.. now it is all confused and too mixed up..

    People decided years ago never to support this group or that group and now they are being told to support them..

    For what end.. What is the outcome, That has been decided for them..

    This is a democracy we we have the right to decide for ourselves..

    • mcmc on March 10, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    I don’t share Bong Austero’s view in his open letter. Nabababawan ako sa pananaw niya. But if I have to be honest, it looks like a lot of Filipinos do agree with him (though I wouldn’t say “majority” of them do). The same way that a lot of Filipinos voted for GMA in 2004 because they thought she was the “lesser evil”.

    Sa totoo lang, kung epektibong presidente si GMA, kahit pa nandaya sya nung 2004, pwede ko rin syang patawarin. But she’s not effective because of her insecurities. She knows she’s not a charismatic leader, and has a lot of political debts to repay. Sa palagay ko nung una gusto nya sanang gawin ang tama, but the more she played the political game of power, the less focused she became on the things that really mattered. And morality matters, character matters. Your values define your actions, so if a person of low integrity gets to the highest position in the land, how hard do you think would it be for him/her to say no to a juicy retirement package?

    Day by day, she seems to sink lower. I-praise ba ang GMA-7 on air? I-endorse ba ang allies nya na ilegal na binoto ang sarili nila sa LP leadership positions? These acts speak so loudly of her character, that it is difficult to keep “forgiving” her. God teaches forgiveness, yes, but not condonation of sins.

    For me, the fact that GMA has done nothing to alleviate the public education system (and in fact encourages professionals to go overseas to earn almighty dollars!) nor address the burgeoning (literally) population issue is an even greater sin than “Hello Garci”.

    My wish for her? Get out of Malacanang — if not to resign, then to immerse herself in places where 6 year olds have to haul sacks of cement all day just to help their family eat noodles. Maybe then, some sort of conscience will develop inside her.

  5. MCMC wrote
    Then to immerse herself in places where 6 year olds have to haul sacks of cement all day just to help their family eat noodles..

    If you know about a place like this report it to DOLE.. The owners of these corporations who do this are disgusting.

    The family’s can also then lodge cases and get some money to help their children that have been abused..

  6. sleeping,

    what a crazy idea – opening all bank accounts of private citizens just so you can know who is corrupt. ganyan ba talaga mag-isip ang rabid gma defender.

    if you do not think kindly of those who are or were in government service, then you are giving us the reason to think the same way or worse of your gma.

  7. uh… so now that i’m registered… where’s the logout button, manolo?

  8. there is none.. It is a cookie i think..

    You maybe able to delete the cookie..

  9. sleeping, are you having the same problems with the missing logout button?

  10. Fencesitter you wrote :
    if you do not think kindly of those who are or were in government service, then you are giving us the reason to think the same way or worse of your gma.

    Well every one is saying she and her family and government is corrupt..

    Why not prove it one way or the other..But the same for the rest..

    What was said by ADB a few days ago..
    What is good for the goose is good for the gander..

    As Lacson would put it BE NOT AFRAID..

    • john marzan on March 10, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    nevermind…

  11. here it is…

    http://www.quezon.ph/blog/wp-login.php

    lol, i had to use google cache to look for the “login” button…

  12. The DOLE Raided some places in Makati today..

    Eight KTV bars in Makati City have been closed recently following the rescue of 16 minors aged 16 to 17 years old found working in these establishments..

    What have i been saying for months.. Also notice it is not news worth of ABS-CBN or others that something was found in MAKATI CITY….

    For those kids with the concrete or other kids needing rescue..
    If you need immediate assistance, you may call the DOLE Hotline 527-8000 and speak with live action officers.

  13. mcmc wrote:

    “For me, the fact that GMA has done nothing to alleviate the public education system (and in fact encourages professionals to go overseas to earn almighty dollars!) nor address the burgeoning (literally) population issue is an even greater sin than “Hello Garci”.

    mr/ms/mrs,

    i think you missed the point here – education,population and other issues must come secondary to legitimacy. only a legitimate president may address genuinely or legitimately the problems besetting our republic.

    • joselu on March 10, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    helga, it’s kinda a pathetic, since you can’t convince the middle class that you never will also then you turn to the “exploited masa”.
    just like the same politicians who use them for their own reasons. here come those who say they are not left or right but will never condem the right & left for all the things they do to bring down our country but will sympathize for them insted of sympathysing for the majority hard working filipinos who wanna have a life but insted brand them indifferent.
    now your even thinking of using the poor w/ a lil sugar coating of being sincer.
    will you also make fantastic promices like the trapo politicians?
    since the rightist where ready to work w/ the leftist out of desperation.
    who knows what else other people will do out of desperation.
    you are doing so much “hard sell”
    probaly your not convincing or even credible.

    • joselu on March 10, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    fencesitter, to do something to solve our problems one among the many is just the public education system.
    first we have to be a politicaly stable democracy.
    we have to tell the world & show the world that we are serious people & not a bunch of emotional clowns that can never agree on anything
    we have to make our democray work for us by not exploiting it for selfish ends.
    we have to first learn to deal w/ things like mature people do.
    we have to get rid of so many bad & wrong habits of freedom.
    not until we use freedom w/ responsibility are we going anywhere.

    • jackryan68 on March 10, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    MLQ, I lost my voice because of my deep frustration with the impeachment process. I think I know how your dad felt during those dark days of martial rule.

    But I found it back when GMA issued 1017.

    We’re putting up an adjunct to the Naga City website (www.naga.gov.ph) exclusively dedicated to our School Board project. It should be up in a week or two. (By the way, Philippine Star came up with a good review of our little efforts at e-governance, which we of course posted at our site — http://www.naga.gov.ph/journal2/?module=journal)

  14. My ten cents worth…

    I have not forgiven Gloria Arroyo. How can I forgive somebody who do not ask for forgiveness? Somebody who believes she has done nothing wrong? Somebody who has done some coverup of the things that she did? Somebody who chooses to be dodgy instead of being straightforward?

    The open letter writer was only speaking for himself. He definitely does not speak for me.

    • Helga on March 10, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    With all due respect, joselu, where in my statement does it say that we planned to “use” the masses? Engagement is hardly that. Problem is, you think that everyone’s got an ulterior motive, that there is no more room for understanding. That’s a bit too cynical for me. And it’s this cynicism that keeps us from looking further than our noses.

    It sounds like we have to reestablish some form of social contract with them, the minimum terms i would imagine is to respect their right (as individual citizens) to vote for their leaders, but to make everyone understand the need for (actionable) vigilance against high-level corruption and crony capitalism.

    Right on, cvj. The masses hate us because we’ve always set ourselves apart, always above them. We muzzled them. That arrogance has cost us the unity we need. Yes, they have as much right to their vote, it is the voice we can share. But we have to engage them, really listen to them. And I believe that through genuine interaction, we’ll learn from each other.

    • Helga on March 10, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    joselu – Not all the members of the Black & White Movement are white collar, upper middle class people. A lot of our members are from the lower middle class and varied urban sectors. They joined of their own free will. It is through listening to them that I’ve learned so much. That we do have the same fears, the same dreams, we are filled with the same disgust for Gloria. They saw through her far earlier than any of us. They are principled, proud, and pretty savvy about what’s going on. They’ve taught me how to be unafraid, and they’ve humbled me. See, they, unlike us, have nothing to lose

    • Tom on March 11, 2006 at 5:15 am

    micketymoc wrote on March 10th, 2006 at 7:58 am

    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?

    Sorry, mickeytmoc, ngayon ko lang nabasa yung post mo in response to mine. No, I did not try to post. But I just tried before posting this. And I couldn’t even get to first base, in a manner of speaking. Here’s what I get when I try to register Tomtomtom as my username: Sorry, this username is not available. I tried Tom, Tomtom, and then Tomtomtom, all the time getting the same message.

    Here is what I want to post there sana kaya nga lang hindi makalusot.

    Among other, sabi mo sa now-famous open-letter mo: “But you have tried to prove your accusations all these time and you have not succeeded, so it is time to let things be.”

    Para sa akin naman, paano ngang magsa-succeed e yung attempt pa lang hindi na pinapayagan. Yung impeachment, pinatay sa Congress by technicality. Yung Senate investigation ng fertilizer scandal, pinawalang-bisa ng pagtakas ni Bolante at mga kasama niya. Yung Mayuga report, ayaw pang ilabas hanggang ngayon. Lahat halos ng attempt ng Senate na magtanong sa mga government officials, EO464 ang supalpal. Kung baga sa contest, si GMA ay player, at the same time siya rin ang judge.

    Of course, sinabi mo rin somewhere else: “I will not nitpick with those who disagree with my letter. I choose not to indulge in point by point, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase, word by word analysis and counter analysis. I know this will sound condescending, but I will say it just the same because it is the truth: I have better things to do. Unlike some people, I have a life.”

    So kung hindi mo sagutin itong post ko, I will understand.

    End of what I wanted to post in Austero’s blog.

    Nung bisitahin ko sa blog ni Austero yung tatlong links na provided dito ni MLQ3, lahat pa rin ng comments ay agree sa kanya except for these two:

    • This have been said before but I’ll say it again.

    I do not totally agree with your letter, but rest assured I will not hound your blog, your e-mail or your mobile number for that.

    In fact, I’m happy that someone like you has spoken-written up to say their piece unlike the silent majority which you now cleverly described as being marginalized.

    I agree with you that it’s not your persona per se that is the issue, it’s your letter.

    So I just hope the demolition team backs off and keep things above the waistline.

    Keep writing and speaking your mind, it all adds up to the process of resolving this mess we are in. Whatever the outcome may be, it is because people like you spoke up and picked a side, for that you deserve every dignity, honor and respect as Filipino regardless of which side of the fence you are on.
    By jhay, at 9:11 AM

    • Just found out you were the open letter’s author through mlq3’s website. Thank you for speaking up for yourself and for the rest of us. The demolition team can say all they want, but each time your letter is forwarded is an affirmation itself of those views by your countrymen. Nothing could change that, so they resort to hurling insults.

    In any case, it’s good to know that letter’s source. Will be able to properly attribute it from now on.
    By Peter Valentine, at 12:22 PM

    End of two comments from Austero’s blog.

    Back to discussion with mickeytmoc. To answer your question, yes, I suspect he is silencing those who disagree with him. I have no proof of that, though. It’s just a suspicion based on what I saw on his blog.

    Austero wrote:

    “Because all you do is whine and sabotage this country.”

    “Come on, you really think we believe that you did not want to bring down the government when that is the one and only thing you have been trying to do in the last many months?”

    I can ask the same question you asked me. “Can [he] provide any proof?” He or you or anyone else can try, but cannot possibly prove those two statements above. In our haste, most, if not all, of us make statements that we cannot possibly back up with proof. Phrases like the above “all you do” and “the one and only thing you have been trying to do” are easy to utter but totally indefensible. I know I am nitpicking here so I ask for your indulgence.

    • captain a on March 11, 2006 at 9:47 am

    He says that he voted for Roco. This makes me wonder why he voted for Roco. Certainly, the ideas he Austero espouses are not those that the late Senator would have stood for.

    • rego on March 12, 2006 at 3:56 am

    I dont understand what really is the big fuss over Austero letter? Is n’t the writer just expressed his true feelings about what is happening in the country? I know the writer 19 years ago as The HRD officer in charge of us the OJT trainees. He is just an ordinary citizen of the country. If his letter gets fowarded, it becuase there are people who read it who can very well relate to the letter. It was the same reaction I felt when I first read the letter. That is why I spontaneously forward it to my freinds and relatives her in the US and post it in PCIJ blog. And they very well related to message of the letter. But of course there are also some who disagree it. Pero sabi nga ng author, Then by all means disagree! Take it your leave it” ika nga But demolishing the person is really an over reaction. Now is’nt that the atttitude that you dont like about Mrs Arroyo and you reacted strongly every time he demolishes and shoot down her opponents? NOw I am even more convinced that, really the people throwing stones at Mrs. Arroyo are no better than her. So why bother replacing her with the same kind of people. It just a waste of time, money and efforts.

    • cvj on March 12, 2006 at 5:47 am

    rego, you’ve just hit the nail on the head as to what all the is fuss about. it’s the reality that Austero’s letter (and others of it’s kind) has a constituency, which to me, says a lot. the contents of the letter itself can be dismissed as an incoherent rant which everybody is entitled to, but the extent of favorable reactions it has generated is definitely something that cannot be ignored.

    on the whole, i read the favorable reactions as one more evidence of a trend within the Filipino middle class towards the acceptance of a fascist order. then again, there’s the possibility that such a conclusion is premature since a number of the commenters who support the open letter also bring up their own fears of a future undemocratic junta or revolutionary government. If the second interpretation prevails, maybe there is still some common ground that can be salvaged, in which case the observation and advice given by ‘Micketymoc’ in #24 above…

    “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.”

    …is worth a second look. Unfortunately, this appears next to impossible to operationalize since the potential ‘allies’ seem to be predisposed to using silence and passivity as a tactic.

    • rego on March 12, 2006 at 6:18 am

    Thanks CVJ! BTW, Bong Austero has just come up with follow-up letter and Im very sure a lot of people can relate to it And I bet even more than the first letter. People can read it in his blog @

    http://bongaustero.blogspot.com/

    One of my favorite paragraph is this:

    “We can all bitch and protest to our hearts content until we are all blue in the face and the whole country has burned to embers that there is nothing left to fight for anymore, or we can buckle down to work, make sure we do not ever get into this situation again, and resolve to fight harder and better another day. Consequently, I do sincerely think that GMA might just be able to keep her place in history as a competent President, but I doubt if she will be able to live down her place in history as a cheat. Clinton might have earned his place in American history as a great president, but you can not tell me that people have forgotten what he did with you-know-who. History is a better, fairer judge. There is someone and something more powerful out there than anyone of us combined. The answer is not always yes or no. Sometimes the answer is wait.”

    • cvj on March 12, 2006 at 6:48 am

    rego, yes i was just over at Bong Austero’s site and have posted a comment. it’s good that he has come up with that follow up post as it clarifies a lot of matters. personally, i think the analogy with Clinton is not applicable since a personal indiscretion is entirely different from electoral fraud as far as its implications are concerned. By receiving a bj, Clinton did not have his mandate revoked. Also, just like other commenters, Bong is conceding ‘competence’ as a subsitute for ‘legitimacy’ which is inconsistent with democracic values.

    • rego on March 12, 2006 at 7:17 am

    cvj, if he is indeed conceeding competence over legitimacy, Im sure it is only temporary as what he said in Rina Jimenez David’s column today

    http://news.inq7.net/opinion/index.php?index=2&story_id=69092&col=79

    And I qoute:

    “There are reasons why I have decided to cast my lot with the President despite the fact that I simply do not like her. You can say that this is “conditioned” and “temporary” taking of sides. There is a moral “marginalization” being perpetuated by some people who are so convinced of their righteousness and speak with such sanctimoniousness, they have succeeded in alienating people. That is what did it for me. That simply was the tipping point. There is something glaringly wrong with the way civil society is conducting this fight.”

    Anyhow the bottomline is that Bong is not the enemy like what‘Micketymoc’ in #24 was trying to imply.

    • cvj on March 12, 2006 at 7:41 am

    Rego, on the matter ‘competence’, comment #61 above has a take on how GMA’s ‘insecurities’ are affecting her ability to govern.

    when you say – “if he is indeed conceeding competence over legitimacy, Im sure it is only temporary” , i hope you realize the implication of that statement. By dismissing legitimacy as an issue, the middle class as a group is turning GMA’s personal crime against the people into a collective one. we are not the only one with eyes and ears, the majority of Filipino society is aware of what we are doing.

    For a related offense, the Left has been punished by the people, languishing in the political dog house for 20 years. by our inaction, we in the middle class risk the same kind of marginalization.

    • rego on March 12, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    cvj, before we go on, i have to be very clear to you that personally i cannot really relate to the ligetimacy issue. Just like Winnie Monsod I believe that GMA won.

    Ms Monsod explained it so well in her column below. Sorry I dont have the links. And Inq7 dont hav ean archive of more 7 days. All I have is the cut and version.
    ———————————————————-
    Get Real : Truth is Arroyo won

    First posted 00:25am (Mla time) Oct 29, 2005
    By Solita Collas- Monsod
    Inquirer News Service

    Editor’s Note: Published on Page A12 of the October 29, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

    IT HAS been said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start thinking it is true. And this has obviously been taken to heart by various groups and individuals, who peddle their lies as “truth.” Unfortunately for them, there is another saying: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    Let us try to “unfool” the gullible and/or expose the weak underbelly of one of the “truths” being peddled.

    Item: “Gloria Arroyo is an illegitimate president [because she cheated to win].” This has been repeated most often, probably because the further claims of her detractors are based on this assertion, claims such as “she does not have to be impeached to kick her out,” “her illegitimacy makes it impossible for her to govern effectively” (so she must be made to resign or be kicked out), “she is not credible,” etc.

    Let’s jog our memories a bit:

    1. Voter preferences in the run-up to the 2004 elections, as recorded by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which conducted polls every two weeks since the start of the campaign period, showed that while at the beginning (Jan. 16-28) the lead of Fernando Poe Jr. over Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was almost 10 percentage points (36.3 percent vs. 26.5 percent), this was whittled down so that a month later, they were running neck-and-neck, and this continued into March. By the second week of April, the polls showed Ms Arroyo ahead by almost five percentage points (35.3 percent vs. 30.8 percent), although this was not statistically significant (i.e., it still could go either way). But by the week before the elections (May 1-4), Ms Arroyo’s lead over Poe was significant (37 percent vs. 30 percent).

    The other major polling organization, Pulse Asia, also noted the same trend, although its polls were taken at slightly different time periods: an increasing trend for Ms Arroyo and decreasing trend for Poe. Its last poll, conducted from April 26-29, showed Ms Arroyo leading, 37 percent vs. 31 percent.

    Note that a six-point lead in voter preferences, if translated into actual votes, would imply a difference of 2.0-2.5 million votes between the two candidates, depending on whether we use total votes cast or total registered voters as base.

    2. Exit polls conducted on election day itself by at least three media organizations (although only one of them may have used acceptable polling methods) validated the run-up polls. All of them showed Ms Arroyo as the winner.

    3. The final official congressional canvass showed Ms Arroyo getting 40 percent of the votes cast, while Poe got 36.5 percent (a difference of 1.1 million votes), while the Namfrel Quick Count, based on 83 percent of total precincts (the election watchdog group Namfrel was not present in all precincts), showed Ms Arroyo with 39.4 percent and Poe with 36.8 percent (a difference of 700,000 votes).

    All figures from different sources are within the same ball park, and all indicate that Ms Arroyo won. For those who think that the poll results should not be accepted, it should be pointed out that the head of the SWS is the first cousin of Poe. More importantly, since they are now using the same polling organizations to point out that Ms Arroyo has lost the trust of the nation, or that she is not satisfactory, let it be further pointed out that they cannot be selective in the use of poll results.

    What is more, other circumstances obtaining during the campaign period support the conclusion that it is the claim of “illegitimacy” that is a lie: after all, her coalition party, K4, won 58 percent of senatorial seats, 87 percent of congressional seats, 85 percent of gubernatorial slots, 87 percent of city mayor seats, and 85 percent of all mayor seats. Either they carried her or she carried them, or there was some combination of both.

    Could this have been the result of a grand conspiracy to commit massive cheating at all levels? But that is not what either the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) or the Namfrel thought. Said the prelates: “Gathered for the 89th CBCP Plenary Assembly of July 10-11 at Pius XII Center in Manila the bishops reviewed the conduct of the May 10th elections and their consequences for the future course of the country. Each bishop present was asked to comment on whether or not massive fraud in the conduct of the elections was observed by him and the volunteers in his diocese so as to have affected substantially the results of the elections. With only one or two exceptions, the rest of the bishops answered in the negative. This confirms our statement of June 1, 2004: ‘that there were some instances of cheating and violations of election law by political parties in their areas but these did not affect the voting in general.’ It is the view of the bishops that the results of the elections reflected the will of the Filipino people.”

    Said Namfrel secretary general Bill Luz: “The results of the elections are credible and reflect the vote of the people. We didn’t see enough electoral anomalies at the national level to have a material effect on the national results.”

    Then there was the endorsement (albeit last minute — but this shows that they were jumping on the bandwagon) that Ms Arroyo received from the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai. And finally, it was generally acknowledged that Poe was shooting himself in the foot during the campaign, and that the opposition was split four ways. In other words, they did it to themselves.

    Given all these, the bottom line is: Like it or not, Ms Arroyo is our legitimate President. Let us not allow ourselves to be misled by those who are themselves misled or who have their own political ambitions.

    • cvj on March 12, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    rego, i believe Solita Monsod and i believe in the reliability of credible exit polls so GMA could very well have won. Unfortunately, that’s beside the point. In an earlier column,

    http://news.inq7.net/opinion/index.php?index=2&story_id=39904&col=62

    Monsod determined that the Garci tapes were the ‘real thing’ and concluded:

    “I hope I am wrong. But if I am right, Garcillano is dead meat, Gloria is going to sink in that muck, and worst of all, the country might sink with her.”

    Now why would she have said that if she did not think this would be a problem? As a historical analogy, Nixon was forced to resign because of Watergate even if he won a landslide.

    Earlier in this thread (in #30) micketymoc asked me “can you point me to anyone on this thread who denied that GMA did anything wrong?”, would i be mistaken if i point you out to him?

    • rego on March 13, 2006 at 12:34 am

    cvj, this is good because we are talking….but have you noticed the dates when the columns has been written. My links was written on Oct 29, 2005 and yours was written on June 11, 2005….

    Anyway now that I have clarified to you my stand on the legitimacy issue. Can I ask you about your real stand on the issue too? I just wanted to know your thoughts on how should people resolve their legitimacy issue with Mrs Arroyo. Do think it should do you think it should be resolve by asking Mrs Arroyo to resign at all cost? Or do you think its should be resolved through the process defined in our constitution, the PET, by challenging it in the SC or maybe impeachment?

    • cvj on March 13, 2006 at 9:08 am

    rego, noticed that too, but the dates don’t matter as the messages are distinct. Monsod’s June 2005 column asserts that the Garci Tapes are genuine and that GMA & Garci may be in trouble because of this. Her October 2005 piece reproduced above makes a case that GMA won on the basis of supporting information such as exit polls, multiple vote tallies, CBCP etc. I don’t dispute this, in fact i believe Monsod as far as the facts are concerned. Where i part ways with her is in taking into account ‘Hello Garci’s effect on GMA’s legitimacy. In fact, as can be seen, Monsod may also have parted ways with her earlier self. I’m looking forward to an explanation from Monsod on this seeming inconsistency.

    On the options to resolve this matter, i prefer constitutional avenues (impeachment, SC rulings etc.), and other nonviolent forms of expression such as rallies, civil disobedience and the like. But that is just my preference. Regardless of how she gets ousted, i prefer immediate snap elections…none of this nonsense about revolutionary transition councils or juntas of any stripe.

    • rego on March 13, 2006 at 11:51 am

    cvj,

    personally, i believe that people who have legitimacy issues with the Arroyo government should only stick to the constitutional process. I believe it would be orderly and peaceful that way and will not hurt much the country and its economy. I am definitely against using people power again. I have nothing against rallies and other protest action for as long as it is non violent and orderly. Rallies should not be held in busy streets where traffic is impeded. And no “hakot” and bribery please. I prefer non violent protest like “flash mob”. Is snap election clearly defined in the constitution? If not then it should be clarified. But my main issue with election is the same as Bong. And I prefer that first we should work with electoral reforms particularly its computerization before any election should be held and strenghten the impeachment process and the PET. That way we miminized post election issues and whenever their will be election issues then everything should be resolved orderly in the COMELEC, PET and Impeachment court.

    I definitely would not want Mrs arroyo to extend beyond her term limit. So I believe it would be best for us to start looking for her replacement now. So anytime she is gone, that replacement should be very ready to take over. As matter of fact, The Opposition shoudl have done this before they start “rocking” Mrs Arroyo’s government. For 8 months now, they havent really presented or articulated well their replacement plan. And I belives unless they do that, they will never suceed.

    Im still very positive on what is going on in our country. I see it as very important process that we must undergo towards acheiving maturity. I can see that we are heading towards that maturity. One good sign for me is the rejection of the never ending call for people power. It seems to me that people are now really thinking and examining their options.I would like to see more order in the protest activities. There must be a rules that must be agreed upon by the two sides. All criticism towards the government and the opposition should definitely be given enough space. Consequently I would like to see all allegations being thrown to each other reaching the proper venue and resolved legally. And i definitely would like to see more debates or discussions without being too personal about it. Dapat iwasan yung name calling and just stick to the issue at hand. And best of all, the economy is moving well despite the so many crisis that we are having. I would definitely love to see the country moving forward while the debates and discussion continues to rage on. I hate it when everything hinges on Mrs Arroyo’s resignation or stay in power. Like the statement issued by Sen Pimentel ” no COMELEC computerization until Mrs Arroyo resigns”. And when Prof Randy David insinuated that Charter Change debates should not happen during Mrs Arroyo’s term. Why should our life and our nation stop moving on while Mrs Arroyo is in power?

    Now going back to Mrs Monsod, I dont really see her contradicting herself in all columns that I have read. My impression is that she is a data driven opinion writer. ( being an engineer and a data driven myself i can very well relate to her style) Her opinion progresses or evolves as the data came in. That is why I pointed out to you the dates of her column. As of now i dont see her exonerating Mrs Arroyo of her crimes but I dont see her haphazardly covicting Mrs Arroyo either. I am expecting that she may end up concretely doing either of that when the right data comes in.

    • cvj on March 13, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    rego, there’s currently some comments on snap elections over at micketymoc’s site. i’m also positive on the whole as far as people’s political maturity is concerned, but i believe that the poor are maturing faster than certain sectors of the middle class. however, even with those who i don’t agree with, i see that a lot of their disagreements is rooted in concern for the institutions of democracy. if they can only realize that GMA is the primary contributor to the rot of these institutions.

    i don’t believe Monsod rejected the existing data as much as taken in new data and weighed the probabilities. she’s more wary of military adventurism and the resulting junta-led dictatorship that might follow. in this sense, the few people who went to Fort Bonifacio were also kindred spirits. they were there to ensure that in the event of a GMA ouster, power would be handed back to the people.

    • rego on March 13, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    cvj,

    how did you come up with that thoughts that the poor is maturing faster than some sectors of the middle class?

    Definitely, I can very well see some attempts of GMA to go against the principles of democracy. But its is not suceeding though. This is the part where I can appreciate the opposition and the media. And thats is why I believe that the current situation is actually very good for the country. We have a president who is not afraid to do anything and we have an Opposition who counters her and continously exposing her evils. And with that, I believe there is really no need to oust Mrs Arroyo at all cost and subject the nation to so much torture.

    We can really make it work. Let Mrs Arroyo do a job that will benefit us while the people should maintain its vigilance toward all her moves. Anytime a wrong doing is spotted, go to court right way! Or even better, let Malacanang be Mrs Arroyo’s jail and subject her to a very intense “hard labor” to make the country move forward.

    On the other hand, let the opposition continue what they are doing too. And the poeple shoudl also be very vigilant and cautious towards them. If the Opposition is over doing it. Tell them to stop them right away. People should really raise the bar so that the Opposition can come up with a very good if not excellent alternative to Mrs Arroyo. Dont just hand the power to them that easy and cheap. Like, Mrs Arroyo they should also pay the high prices for what they wanted.

    Personally , I really believe that the only way to go is to really stick within framework of the constitution, to the principles of democracy, and to principle of civil liberties without so much emotionalism, over reactions and hypocrisy. Thats the only way to go!!!!!

    • pinoy_gising on March 13, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Below is my response to Mr. Austero’s latest blog entry in
    http://bongaustero.blogspot.com/2006/03/how-that-letter-came-to-be_11.html
    ***

    You said, “sometimes the answer is wait.”

    Wait for what? Wait until when? The 2010 elections? (IF GMA voluntarily gives up power by then and doesn’t do a Marcos.) Suppose we wait until then, and a new president is elected. And suppose that after some time we learn that this new president actually committed massive electoral fraud, illegally used billions in government funds for his/her election campaign, then attempted to cover-up all these misdeeds, even using repressive and illegal measures to continually evade accountability.

    What should we do then? Just forget all about it, too, and again, just move on with our lives?

    You challenge those protesting against GMA to prove their sincerity by going after her allies as well. Actually, there’s no lack of effort on their part in this regard, but your president is coddling and protecting her partners in crime. Do you not see that GMA is brazenly violating laws at will and with utter impunity? Right now, GMA and her allies ARE the law.

    You also complain about the trapos who are trying to exploit this crisis for their own ends. Yes they do exist, yes I do not like them too. But who said that by protesting against GMA you necessarily have to side with the traditional (Erap etc) opposition? What about those who are protesting for legitimate reasons, those who are just outraged by such serious wrongdoings and feel that these shouldn’t be tolerated? It seems that you fail to acknowledge them, focusing instead on the opportunists and the discredited politicians. Why don’t you cite the likes of Oscar Orbos, Ramon Magsaysay Jr, Randy David, and many many other credible and sincere persons who have called for GMA’s resignation and are continuing to speak out against her other grave crimes and abuses? (I won’t even mention those who are considered to be “progressive”, as you seem to have no love lost for them.) Or is it that in your mind, anyone protesting against GMA is automatically a power-hungry opportunist?

    You profess to not have faith in our elections, even if they were to be clean and relatively fraud-free, because you predict that only the likes of “Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ping Lacson, Joseph Estrada, Noli de Castro, Loren Legarda, Eddie Villanueva, Mike Velarde, Susan Roces” will win. (Not that I agree that all the other names there are necessarily worse than GMA.) But then you refuse to see such things as creeping martial law because you “refuse to argue on conjecture.” You play seer one moment then deny being a Madam Auring the next. You venture a guess about electoral outcome based on your reading of recent political history, but refuse to do the same when confronted with GMA’s tyrannical manifestations.

    Also, who said that kicking GMA would solve all the country’s problems? Of course it wouldn’t. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

    Finally, you say that “we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward.” (Who are the “we” there, by the way? Since you claim to speak for no one but yourself.) To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security would deserve neither and lose both.”

    • cvj on March 13, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    rego, i’ve come to that conclusion because among other things, in terms of political judgement, unlike me, they were not fooled by GMA. In contrast, you have people from the middle class who should know better saying things like “we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward…” and many in the middle class agree with him! How can you fight for something so hard and offer to give it up just like that?

    • JCastro on March 13, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Let’s outline the tactics of the government, Rego:

    1.) the government detains the likes of Randy David does not call it “arrest”, they call it an invitation.

    2.) the government disallows the EDSA 1 celebration, disperses the crowds violently in certain cases.

    3.) the government raids the Tribune, temporarily inconveniences their operations, and then lets them continue their operations.

    It goes on and on, but let’s just consider the above. The “coup plot” has not yet been substantiated by independent sources (the media, in this case) other than the government.

    The situation right now has gone beyond civilized debate between the opposition and the administration. When the government is using “bullying” tactics, are we to assume that the administration is still using fair tactics?

    There are specific legalities and procedures that the military and police must employ so that the government confines itself to activities that protect the public. It will be the duty of the courts to see if the military and police have gone beyond those legalities and procedures. But the government “bullying” can only be interpreted as meant to pursue administration political objectives, giving GMA an unfair advantage.

  15. ABS-CBN came out with the plot..

    It goes on and on, but let’s just consider the above. The “coup plot” has not yet been substantiated by independent sources (the media, in this case) other than the government.

    • JCastro on March 13, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    What constitutes a “coup”? Who were their sources? Only the government so far is shouting the line that they nipped a coup in the bud.

  16. cvj,

    first of all i’d to tell you that like how you expound in clear logic the consequense of the ligitimacy issue against the president. we need more people like you who are able to express the truth minus the rancor.

    I find mrs. monsod unprincipled at times specially when she was trying to defend and see nothing wrong with the bail out of maynilad by the governement during the election. It was obvious that gma let the lopezes off the hook of the maynilad’s debts which led us to believe that the arrangement had something to do with noli de castro’s tandem with gma.

    Mrs. monsod likewise, readily believed the statistics of the then secretary of labor and employment, carlos lorenzo, of the reported 1 million jobs generated by the arroyo governement after edsa dos which turned out to be an empty statisctics becasue it counted the “cargadors” as part of the employed class.

    • rego on March 13, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    CVJ,

    On the contrary, I believe that those group of middle class are the ones who is not giving it up that easy. They are the ones who is not so easy to hand down what they have fought so hard and won to the group of people that include the very same personalities tainted with issues they fought for. My impression is that they are the ones who are really raising the bar.

    JCastro,

    But still those ugly tactics was eassilly exposed and was arrested early. Isn’t it? And withregards to the coup, you may want to read the article in Time Magazine written by Robert Walsh who witnessed it all. http://bongaustero.blogspot.com/2006/02/denials_27.html

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