Yesterday’s “smiling, even laughing, martial law” was Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel arrested then told, after she was manhandled, “well, we only invited you… no, wait, we brought you in for your own protection, yeah, that’s it!”
Here’s a thought, not mine, but shared by a colleague. 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?
In Thailand, an op-ed piece in the Nation says don’t blame the Constitution for the Thaksin mess -the charter had provisions enough to stop him.
Juan Mercado on anonymous sources. Incidentally, Inq7.net, which has its own editorial standards, as a rule, I understand, declines to use anonymous sources.
Tony Abaya concludes that the culprit behind the state of emergency was Joseph Estrada.
Billy Esposo identifies how the President can trigger a civil war.
Gail Ilagan pens an open letter to the victim in the Subic rape case.
Connie Veneracion probes the institutional characteristics of mass poverty. I hope a part II will be written examining how, for example, in the UK, the Dickensian misery of one generation (plus imperialism) enabled the creation of a reservoir of national wealth while dismantling, a generation or two later, an ancient aristocracy’s stranglehold on power: the upper crust was basically taxed out of political influence; resulting in the state socialism that now prevails in the UK and much of Europe.
Tomorrow, take the MRT for Liberty is the Black Friday Protest Movement’s activity. You can still Frapp for Freedom if you like, I guess (personally, I think we should all Take a Dump for Democracy but coordinating that might be difficult; read in Slate why automatic toilets stink). Next week the activity goes nationwide.
And finally, a wish list in no particular order.
1. Federalism. National government supervises defense, foreign affairs, national infrastructure and communications, international and inter-region trade. All other powers devolved to local governments.
2. President elected nationally for a 4 year term, with one reelection. Legislators can’t run for president. Only governors with genuine executive experience.
3. Senate with 7 senators each for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, 2 for tribal minorities, another for Muslims.
4. House with larger legislative districts than at present, and reestablish sectoral representation.
5. Abolish congressional and senatorial allowances.
6. Divert pork barrel to the regional level.
7. One term limit for legislators, lifetime ban after that from any elective office, with a ban on all relatives to the 4th degree of consanguinity also for the duration of the legislator’s lifetime. No term limit on executive positions in the local level.
8. Congress meets only 100 session days in the year, and legislators required to have other means of livelihood to prevent permanent political parasites.
9. Abolish political parties. NGO’s can put up candidates.
10. Create a prefabricated one-family house and replace existing shanties with these houses, in the locations where people already live.
11. Abolish compulsory military service. Provide scholarships for those interested in entering the armed forces. Establish compulsory civic work on the Gawad Kalinga model.
12. Prohibit government officials from becoming baptismal or wedding sponsors; prohibit any appointment for any reason for godchildren with godparents while they’re in government service.
13. Raise government salaries to the equivalent of 1937 levels, but eliminate discretionary spending and allowances.
14. Encourage arbitration to settle cases.
15. Abolish the position of councilor and board member. Barangay chairmen should compose provincial and city councils.
16. Require run-off elections when no winner achieves at least 50% of votes cast for a position.
17. Retire PMA graduates serving in the police. Totally civilianize the police.
18. Call out the legal profession to man emergency courts to declog all pending cases, empty the jails of people waiting for minor cases to be resolved.
19. Forbid advertising by government agencies or corporations.
20. Computerize elections.
21. Flesh out the Red Cross proposal to establish a means to help OFWs ensure their kids are going to school, getting good grades, and their relatives spending money wisely and productively.
22. Accomplish urban and rural land reform on a province-by-province basis. Ethanol program for moribund sugar industry.
23. Total logging ban. Watershed rehabilitation.
24. Trains, trains, trains and Ro-ro, ro-ro, ro-ro.
25. Prohibit fraternity monopolies in the professions.
26. But first things first, we need a president with a genuine mandate.
27. Then a free and fair Constitutional Convention.
Well, we can all dream….