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Mar 09

Listen and read

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.

Here at home, the Palace is unhappy with Fitch.
Listen and read is my column for today.

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….

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44 comments

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  1. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Am about to hit the sack (a little past midnight here) but couldn’t help checking out your site first (tee-hee, kinda addictive this blogging thingy).

    At first glance, your wish list is almost complete but perhaps I can think of a thing or two to add, with your permission of course after I’ve had a bit of beauty sleep (ahem!).

    Meanwhile, I believe the following should be priority in the wish list: “26. But first things first, we need a president with a genuine mandate.”

    Fair wind!

  2. Karl

    I am sure many of us share at least 80% of the wish list
    besides 26 and 27
    I like the one with larger congressional district

    because they keep on legislating for additional districts due to the excuse of increasing population….

    come on !That would mean perpetual additional districts.

  3. Karl

    I just heard that in Kenya…They close down media for being too pro government.

    Now, thats an irony.

  4. Dominique

    Hi, Manolo,

    Thanks for the link yesterday. But it seems that today I have another stomach-churning start, courtesy of “laughing martial law.” Argh!

    Regarding your wish list, I would also recommend term limits and consanguinary prohibitions for mayors and governors.

  5. d0d0ng

    I just hope the next president can read the list and see the wisdom in it for the good of the nation and its suffering people.

    We always hope there is something good for the country tomorrow.

  6. micketymoc

    I’d take to the streets to support item #1. But how much support does Charter Change in general get from those who aren’t in favor of GMA?

  7. Steve

    9. Abolish political parties. NGO’s can put up candidates.

    –I took a scholarly look at this notion during the 1992 elections (there was an effort, called something like Project 2000, back then to get NGOs directly involved in electoral politics). Didn’t work out so well.

  8. totoy

    Manolo, weren’t most capital cities in most countries (except for the U.S.’s) destroyed during World War II?

    Everybody (except the U.S.) had to rebuild, so that makes the debate about poverty before World War II moot and insignificant.

    Thing is Western European countries had traditions of laissez faire capitalism. Japan emulated this as well. That’s why they were able to rebuild. We Filipinos don’t have that tradition.

  9. sleeping with who

    Not really thought out this list sorry..

    Think of the good and bad times.. You said in one item, no advertising– What do you call public announcements.

    The courts only have to do their job correctly. dodong your an idiot.. sorry but the past is what brings us the future.. Without seeing the problems of the past we cannot make a better future that is why this country has gone down down down..

    Education is built on the past mistakes… The wheel was made to fix the problem of dragging things. We have never stopped using the wheel we have improved on it by looking at the past.

    The only reason no one wants the courts to work correctly is they are protecting someone else or themselves..

    OPEN the BANK ACCOUNTS
    CHARGE the GUILTY.
    TREAT ALL the SAME.. NO MORE F…… REST HOUSES..

  10. jhay

    “10. Create a prefabricated one-family house and replace existing shanties with these houses, in the locations where people already live.”

    These are already in existence and quite fun to live in I think. I just saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel about this type of housing used in UK for the temporary homes of the middle class and college students looking for dormitories in crowded cities like London.

    Alvin Toffler illustrated this in his book “Future Shock” back in 1970. His explanations were simply mind boggling.

  11. totoy

    “10. Create a prefabricated one-family house and replace existing shanties with these houses, in the locations where people already live.”

    With our bankrupt government? Excuse me Manolo, but I refuse to subsidize with my tax payer money the homes of the poor squatters. A prefab could cost 100,000, if scales of production achieves that.

    I bought my homes through the old fashion way: I borrowed money so I could go abroad where I became TNT for a couple of years, and with luck and hardwork I was able to repay those debts and I now own a couple of homes. All this I did without getting handouts from the government or anybody. It would be unfair for us hardworking people if the government just gave homes to useless lazy squatters.

    Squatter should get off their asses and find work!

  12. number cruncher

    hmm, “tolle lege” means “take and read” (i’m an augustinian number cruncher)…

  13. JCastro

    I’d like to add: the implementation of a jury system. It’ll be interesting to see how the common citizen would decide on the major cases of the day.

  14. Observer

    “1. Federalism. National government supervises defense, foreign affairs, national infrastructure and communications, international and inter-region trade. All other powers devolved to local governments.”

    If the Philippines shifts to a federal system of government, the existing local governments might have to be modified. One federal government and 79 provinces?

    “2. President elected nationally for a 4 year term, with one reelection. Legislators can’t run for president. Only governors with genuine executive experience.”

    This is a very interesting proposal.

    What about the mayors of highly urbanized cities? Would they not be considered to have the requisite executive experience?

    “9. Abolish political parties. NGO’s can put up candidates.”

    Is this theoretically possible? Would not any organization that puts up candidates be a political party even if it is not referred to as such?

  15. sleeping with who

    See the senate yesterday do they think that the government employees are stupid.. The allowance is going to be 2000 Pesos but only for half the year and not back dated..

    So 2000 Pesos later divide by 2 equals 1000 Pesos..

    But worse than that they need it now not later when they have debts already to pay..

    GOD the SENATE is Getting worse..

  16. sleeping with who

    21. and their relatives spending money wisely and productively.

    And who decides they are spending money wisely.. Police state.. OR shall we do a cocolevy and have all the money go to a “trusted” person to manage..

    I have a great idea lets get ESTRADA to decide where it gets spent….

  17. sleeping with who

    8. Congress meets only 100 session days in the year, and legislators required to have other means of livelihood to prevent permanent political parasites.

    Yep and then they will make plans so their companies get all the perks from the government..

    MAKE THEM WORK LIKE EMPLOYEES.. SIGN in at 9:00am every morning every working day of the year..

    Are they not meant to be working for the Country not themselves..

  18. sleeping with who

    24. Trains, trains, trains and Ro-ro, ro-ro, ro-ro.

    Well UP doesn’t want any trains don’t you remember, and is not Randy David supported but 80% of the population so he must be right..

  19. cvj

    For item #1, i think for some aspects of international trade, the local government can have a say. For example, if Tawi-Tawi wants to become a free trade zone, so be it.

    On #2, does that mean that only Governors can run for President?

    I’m concerned on how #7 might affect the incidence of parricide.

    I find #9 difficult to reconcile with your earlier calls to bring back Block Voting. Aren’t we supposed to encourage stronger political parties? Also, NGO’s in general are fine but how do we distinguish them from special interest groups?

    Related to item# 12, the Church can actually help out in this area by imposing a limit to the number of ninongs and ninangs.

    On #13, i understand that this is a wish list but where do we get the government revenue to cover the orders of magnitude increase in government workers salaries, by how much are we talking about anyway?

    Having #16 would definitely go a long way in ensuring #26.

  20. sleeping with who

    prefabricated one-family house and replace existing shanties with these houses..

    Most of these people are living there illegally there in the first place..

    Work out who is legal then provide legal assistance to them..

    Who would pay for the houses.. Where does the money come from when they could set up another drug den in a house now?

    Would you place then in the creeks and under the bridges..

    No STICK TO THE LAW.. AND ENFORCE IT..

  21. julie

    manolo, you can flesh out this wish list and turn it into your program of action when you run for office. 🙂 yeah, i know you’re not interested right now but who knows…

  22. jackryan68

    “1. Federalism. National government supervises defense, foreign affairs, national infrastructure and communications, international and inter-region trade. All other powers devolved to local governments.

    “If the Philippines shifts to a federal system of government, the existing local governments might have to be modified. One federal government and 79 provinces?”

    Provincial governments should be abolished and replaced with state governments corresponding to existing regional groupings. The current provincial officials can run for executive and legislative state positions. This will substantially streamline the bureaucracy.

    Existing provincial mayor’s leagues should be empowered instead. Their president’s mandate shall include ensuring that the province is not neglected in the allocation of state resources.

  23. sleeping with who

    Minority Leader Rolex Suplico threatened Thursday to slash down to P1 the budgets of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP)

    This proves that the Reps think that they are above the law and can threaten the other brances in government not to act against them..

    LAW APPLIED FREELY TO ALL.. INCLUDING Congress .. Senators.. Judges.. and Presidents in power or out..

  24. Jon Mariano

    Sleeping, what you’re saying regarding “abuse of power” if congress reduces the budget of one office smacks of double standard. If you say that Gloria can declare the state of emergency because that is in her constitutionally given powers, then Congress is also within its powers in allocating money for budgets of government offices.

  25. sleeping with who

    No its given the right to protect the country and its people if it gives a one peso amount to the police and DILG then that is no longer protecting but removing the protection that is meant to be provided to the people by the state..

  26. sleeping with who

    Also its called Blackmail so he can be arrested now for trying to influence people by the removal of resources to the department..

  27. sleeping with who

    If he does not like the law change it don’t purposely kill people on the streets because you don’t like one law..

    That is exactly what he would be doing….

  28. sleeping with who

    And as i just found out they do have bloody two laws one for you and me one for them..

    -it is unlawful to arrest members of Congress for offenses that are punishable by six years or less.

    So they can break any law at all that has a punishment under six years.. Is that correct..

    That is a load of BS..

  29. JCastro

    The law also says that in Congress, majority rules. Since the statement was made by a minority leader, I wonder why so much ado is made about it. Unless the minority is so right that the majority is willing to go along with them?

  30. sleeping with who

    The US State Department’s 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices said that while the Philippine government “generally” respected the human rights of its citizens, “pervasive weakness in the rule of law, official impunity, and the wide disparity between rich and poor contributed to cynicism about official justice.”

    Other issues included in the report are: disappearances; physical and psychological abuse of suspects and detainees and instances of torture; arbitrary arrest and detention; police, prosecutorial, and judicial corruption; long delays in trials; harsh prison conditions; societal discrimination against Muslims;

    The first bit is valid yes and the second is correct, but who are we talking about here the Human rights abuses by the Bush Administration..

    If this artice did not mention the Philippines we would be talking about the US…

    And once again it all comes downs to the courts to follow through and the judges and fiscals not being corrupt..

  31. joselu

    jon,i think the president can declare a state of emergency as a judgment call.i think the president has a greater view of things.what do you want a president to do when the state is being challenged?i think your mixing your judgement because you don’t agree w/ gma.
    not to mention that in an informal survey more people agreed w/ her for what she did.
    supplico is wrong for using his power to threaten others like all congresmen & senators do. wrong is wrong but we don’t say anything against it.
    so it seems you close your eyes on one thing & keep it opend on what gloria does even if the majority agreed w/ her.jon don’t you call that double standards.

  32. sleeping with who

    China rejects US criticism of its human rights record, telling Washington to “look squarely” at its own problems.

    We should do the same..

  33. a de brux

    Rule of Law: investigating, indicting, prosecuting, punishing Gloria Mandaraya for her recent destabilization efforts aimed at stiffling “baby” democracy to death.

  34. a de brux

    GLORIA MANDARAYA RESIGN!

    You are a horrid little girl with liliputan- sized morals surpassed only by your own gargantuan lust for money and power.

    Your liliputan-sized personality cannot cope with the gigantic moral requirements of the highest office of the land.

    You are the country’s biggest destabilizer and the nation’s real baby democracy killer.

  35. sleeping with who

    Drop that one ADB they have already tried that they will try again later what about the rest.. This country does not lie in one persons hands maybe your bank accounts should also be checked..

    Since you have personal contact with so many of these people who have either been in power or are now..

  36. a de brux

    Sleeping,

    Sleeping, don’t you goddamn threaten me with something you can’t do yourself… you can do that to a few people but not to ALL people. So, why don’t you tell your commandant Luli Macapagal to do just that! Who will do the checking? You or Lulli or both of you? You try to do that, will you?

    Let’s have YOU and your patrons in the Palace try to stiffle my freedom of speech by a stupid blackmail (you are crazy, you know that?) and by golly, I’ll take you all to the European freedom of speech arena where my MPs will strip you all naked, slaughter your egos and bare your very corrupt guts for the world to see…

    You see, people in Europe don’t take kindly to double-dealing presidents, Pidalists, baby democracy murderers, human rights abusers, all of whom are found in just ONE person quatting in Malacanang: GLORIA MANDARAYA

    If you don’t know it yet, ordinary people and governments here – and media in particular – don’t take kindly to extremely corrupt first families who are suspected of not having refused a foreign supplier’s gifts composing of two real estate properties in two of the most posh areas here (one supposedly for Luli and one supposedly for Dado) against a very lucrative but corruption ridden government contract!

  37. sleeping with who

    See i am neither and have never been involved with any of them..

    But you seem to get very angry do you have some thing to hide..

    Freedom of speech is fine but not freedom to steal, but here the bank accounts are locked up so tight so no one can see where the money trails are..

    Why do you think it is so hard to find where all the money goes in the case with the Fertilizers… IF they opened up the accounts so the law makers could track it all then we would have less corruption.. Same with the Estrada Case.. Freedom here freedom there it all breeds more corruption..

    Like to see some of the Police, Army, and Judges, Fiscals, Mayors..

    I am sure they would shed so much light on what really is going on..

    You cannot disagree on that and most countries in Europe do not have such Bank laws like here, This is a left over from the Marcos years where the people in power did not want others knowing or able to trace what was going on..

  38. fencesitter

    wow! thanks for the information ADB. saan ba sa europe mahahanap yang regalo nila na iyan.

    Sagutin nyo yan, sleeping, joselu.

  39. a de brux

    Sleeping, you ain’t seen me get angry yet…

    But do I detect some kind of self-flagellation on your part now? A kind of remorse? Are you now enligtened?

    In other words, are you trying to say that you see the wisdom in being an anti-Gloria Arroyo now? That she shouldn’t be given the freedom to steal from government coffers, to cheat in elections and/or to rob the nation of its rights?

    If so, well done! Welcome to the world of the living and out of the sleeping, dozy, confused blogworld of Luli Macapagal…

    Well done, Sleeping!

  40. karl

    Adb,Sleeping

    Not trying to be a referee here….

    Since napansin ko nagawa kong makapag dialogue sa inyo sans animosity….(sometimes there is pero lumilipas agad)

    It has reached a point where one accuses one of being in some sort of internet brigade and the other to have someone’s bank account to be checked just to prove a point.

    Looking at the blog next to this made me think on how we should treat comments of other than ours.

    I know this is easier said than done(ako nga rin hirap) pero
    If the message sucks and say the message sucks..no name calling or accusing.

    IMNSHO ONLY!

    In my not so humble opinion only!

  41. pingkian

    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 random collection of proposals from various people? I have serious apprehension about some of 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’t 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 a gullible and 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 because the cost is too high, responsibilities too great while incentives are too small, hence in many instances the choices are limited from among lesser evils, but the people should not be constrained to elect and re-elect again and again leaders who have proven themselves worthy of people’s trust. As the saying goes, 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 that 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 highly 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, she is as she is regardless what. It is not that the above cannot be legislated under the current dispensation, but because she does not have the trust and respect of and the support and mandate from the people. FIRST THINGS FIRST.

  42. francis

    i dont like #3 on the list, it gives muslims special treatment, I know their religion and way of life is kind a different but giving them a representative and neglecting the OTHER religion is not just fair.

  43. Doubting_Thomas

    Maybe it’s affirmative action.

  44. ats

    Why not include the abolishment of the armed forces…..Since we cant maintain them any way…

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