Before I forget, don’t forget to MRT for Liberty. Incidentally, read the scientific and sociological report, so to speak, by the inventor of the “flash mob”, Bill Wasik: Part 1 and Part 2 are online (I found out about it in the issue I just got of Harper’s). Most interesting is Wasik’s bemusement about how bloggers and others immediately seized on what he wanted to be a meaningless activity, as a means for potent political action. But why not? His social experiment is as useful a manual for action as any.
As you will read elsewhere in this entry, I was rather droopy and demoralized yesterday after reading the blog of one of the Open Letter writers. Besides inspiring responses from other bloggers I respect, encountering the Secretary of the Cabinet Rick Saludo dispelled any defeatist notions I may have had. I finally came to grasp the way his reasoning works: it’s selective, and it’s selectivity is calculated to pander to the ignorance of people; and because the ones who aren’t considered rabid attack dogs are the ones paraded before the public, everyone assumes they’re nice.
Here, for example, is how his logic works. He asked me before the show, so how many journalists actually got scared? Give me an honest answer, he said. Ok, I replied. No one. Not publicly. And even if anyone was scared, they gained courage by protesting loudly and together. So, he gleefully smiled, why all the fuss? The press is even stronger! But then I replied, well sure, but that’s just editorial, which is in the front line. Business and legal were quite worried. Saludo smiled and produced an Inquirer ad asking people to defend press freedom by subscribing. Well, not scared enough to prevent an ad campaign like this, he cooed.
Sure enough, during Debate the points were raised and made as previously discussed; and I had to point out that what’s remarkable is that the business side of the paper now has to throw itself at the mercy of subscribers as insurance against a potential ad boycott to be mounted by the government. Saludo denied of course, that this would ever happen.
I believe his argument’s premised on incurring the ire of those already opposed -or more properly, to whom the administration is against- while sending a combination of subtle and not so subtle signals to the public at large. The signals are: try to gather together, and you will be dispersed by any means necessary; try to speak out, and we will slowly but surely get to you, starting with the little fish until we can harpoon the whales; anyone not actively for us is against us, so there will be a lot of collateral damage; the only way to keep safe and sound is for every citizen to actively oppose minority rights; and finally, we demand that the rule of law is defined by however we choose to exercise powers we may or may not have, but you will never know it because we will never write anything down clearly and whatever we’ve written can be rescinded at a moment’s notice.
(Random Thoughts brings up Gowdin’s Law; which is all very nice when a discussion is in the abstract, but there’s nothing abstract about what’s going on at present -which strikes me as within the permissible bounds of using Hitlerian or other fascist analogies -then again those unimpressed by any sense of urgency of the times will, of course, bring up Godwin, and so we are stuck in a hamster wheel).
Anyway… In the news today:
Crackdown in AFP widens: Basilan hero, 24 others investigated (Inquirer) 25 held in AFP “purge”: Military detains coup-prone soldiers (Manila Times)
Gov’t exec asked ABS-CBN to “stop airing” Marines standoff (Inquirer) and Telecom agency’s bid to curb media bared (Malaya)
Sue Lopez, too, NBI told (Standard-Today)
Pasig City mayor stripped of power over local police (Daily Tribune)
During national emergency: Bill to curb GMA powers introduced (Manila Times)
Having finally publicly floated the bullet amendment idea, Senator Angara earns the ire of the Palace: Angara out of step with ChaCha, says Ermita (Standard-Today)
In the punditocracy today, the Inquirer editorial has it right: It’s better in Bangkok. Read this editorial by the Thai newspaper, The Nation, which states that Democratic ideals are non-negotiable:
It must be made clear that elections are only one of several key features of a democracy. There are other important elements, such as functioning independent watchdogs to provide checks and balances against the government and a level playing field for political parties to compete in the poll, as well as unfettered civil liberties, including freedom of the media and citizens’ rights to freedom of expression….
From this perspective, there really is nothing that can be gained from negotiations between Thaksin and his opponents. Or to be more precise, there is nothing that can be negotiated in the first place unless one is prepared to compromise on such democratic principles as sound governance, the rule of law and public accountability.
In other words, a negotiated end to this political conflict will be acceptable only if it is acceptable to allow a politician like Thaksin to escape punishment for alleged corruption, abuse of authority, conflicts of interest – the kind of transgressions that fly in the face of democratically minded people everywhere.
The China Post, too, argues in an editorial that the People’s Republic of China has to democratize, because checks and balances are a necessary thing:
One other fundamental weakness in Beijing’s development strategy has been its reluctance to bring about political reforms to match the economic advances it has attained in the past quarter-century. True, it issued its first ever white paper on democracy late last year. But Beijing only wants to practice the so-called socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics by insisting on the Communist Party’s dominance on the political system.
The Chinese leaders must pursue greater democracy by broadening political participation. Allowing more political parties to compete for power is necessary to create a checks and balances mechanism to make political leaders and officials accountable to the people, as well as to increase transparency and reduce corruption. All such political changes are essential for the mainland to deepen economic reform and undertake structural adjustments.
Also important, a democratic China will go a long way toward easing foreign concerns about its political intentions as it seeks to become a superpower. When China becomes more democratic, it will tend to increase its attraction to Taiwan.
Yet here at home, checks and balances are officially being proposed as immaterial and irrelevant. Then again, Amando Doronila suggests we have a crippled democracy because of Proclamation 1017. Manuel Buencamino says government set out to pinch the national nipple. Ellen Tordesillas is skeptical about the Mayuga report.
Rene Q. Blas remembers Jose P. Laurel whose birth anniversary it was on March 9.
the blogosphere, Torn & Frayed tackles the relevance of democracy in the region.
Edwin Lacierda is troubled by the presumption of regularity (I have said we must have a presumption of irregularity instead).
Ricky Carandang explains why he became a co-petitioner before the Supreme Court.
Bryanton Post discusses the implications of government calling up media owners.
Jove Francisco is puzzled why the Palace is suddenly demanding something from his network that the network says it doesn’t have. Or are they the next Tribune?
I was left rather demoralized by Bong Austero’s blog, but one comment by Abe Margallo in particular was quite reinvigorating. His blog, Red’s Herring, has every intellectual armament we need: The Lockean sense and defense (and you can brush on on who John Locke was). This passage, in particular, moved me:
For the society can never, by the fault of another, lose the native and original right it has to preserve itself, which can only be done by a settled legislative and a fair and impartial execution of the laws made by it. But the state of mankind is not so miserable that they are not capable of using this remedy till it be too late to look for any. To tell people they may provide for themselves by erecting a new legislative, when, by oppression, artifice, or being delivered over to a foreign power, their old one is gone, is only to tell them they may expect relief when it is too late, and the evil is past cure. This is, in effect, no more than to bid them first be slaves, and then to take care of their liberty, and, when their chains are on, tell them they may act like free men. This, if barely so, is rather mockery than relief, and men can never be secure from tyranny if there be no means to escape it till they are perfectly under it; and, therefore, it is that they have not only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it.
Mickeymotoc (Stepping on Poop) bewails the absence of civility, and yet ignores the basic nature of political discourse: you cannot fence-sit on an issue (and decide if you are many, or few, and whether you have a monopoly on honesty or not; if you do, then who is claiming, unreasonably, the moral high ground; if not, then you must concede what you have so far been unwilling to concede; else indeed risk the ire of the committed), and proclaim fence sitting some sort of admirable stand. Fence-sitting is collaboration and support for a cause that one does not oppose; it is also welcomed and used by the side that stands to benefit the most from fence-sitting. It strays dangerously close to those who want the Senate, for example, eliminated because it is a “debating club” -people who dismiss debate in a democracy are betraying a fascistic notion of things. Again, while I don’t question the sincerity of people, I do question whether they’ve thought through what they are unwilling to do: support the President, not because of those they dislike, but because the President is worth defending on her own merits. But what merits? That’s the question.
The simple truth is that unless we want the peace and quiet of the bound and gagged, there must be those who endure being in the wilderness because the self-satisfied today will be the ones in terror of the consequences of their actions tomorrow (and this holds for whichever side you belong to); and unless there have been those willing to buck the trend and think, and talk, and act, and be bothersome, no one will have any clue what to do when that tomorrow finally comes.
Then again, Demosthenes’s Game has a far simpler solution: liquidate your assets and flee. I am completely flabbergasted, I must say, “that democracy, malfunctioning or not, is already an end in itself” should be something frightening -I always thought it was the absolute essential, the thing all other things must be built on, if those things are to last?
And so the battle of the epistles continues.
There’s a response to Austero by an Australian married to a Filiipina.
Then there’s this one circulated on line by Joey Bermudez, President of China Trust and a member of the Management Association of the Philippines (he is responding to the Open Letter, “Paano naman kaming mga productive middle-class Pinoys!”):
With all due respect to the author, his piece is a litany of complaints but
he doesn’t offer any solution. Worse, he doesn’t even offer to participate
in the solution. He wants to forgive people who cheated in the elections
and he expects that this people will, in exchange for his forgiveness, repay
him with good governance. I have bad news for him: people who get away with
cheating are incapable of good governance and cannot be expected to repay
with kindness those who looked the other way while they were cheating.
Perhaps the author is confused. But the sooner he and other people who
think like him are able to sort out the issues in their minds, the faster we
can all agree to solve our own problems instead of whining and ranting about
them. Those who tolerate wrongdoing at the highest levels of government but
refuse to take active part in fighting this evil have no right to complain
about the way they are badly governed. We get the kind of government we
The author asks “Paano naman kaming mga productive middle class Pinoys?”. I
don’t know if he expects the answer to drop from the skies like manna from
heaven. I do not ask the same question because I am fully aware that the
answer is in my hands and I am doing something about it. Unlike the author,
I do not fight in anonymity. He justifies his anonymity by saying “hindi na
importante pangalan ko kasi pare-pareho naman tayong middle class…..”.
Nice try, but how pathetic and cowardly. Of course, his name is important!
Those who are afraid to be counted will never count. They will never
matter. But the sad thing is that the very same people who choose not to
count and not to matter are the very same people who, after rendering
themselves irrelevant by their non-participation, sink into utter
desperation and helplessness as they ask “Paano naman kami …..”.
Another emailed response is a paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal of the Open Letter, “An Open Letter to Our Leaders.” The rebuttal was written by an actor/artist Nor Domingo.
Please indulge me and read my response to the open letter. It’s in bold letters. Thank you!!
Ako ay isang middle class pinoy, isang officer sa isang malaking
korporasyon at may asawa…dalawa anak. Di na importante pangalan ko kasi
parepareho naman tayong mga middle-class….trabaho 9-5, inom konti tapos
uwi sa pamilya, laruin si baby, itutor si ate/kuya tapos tulog na, pag wala
na pera intay nala ng ng sweldo.
Ako rin ay isang middle class pinoy , isang freelance artist at may asawa at dalawang anak. Trabaho pag meron, hindi 9-5. Minsan 9am-9am. Hindi ako umiinom. Umuuwi na lang ako sa pamilya ko kasi sabik ako makita sila. Nuod TV, check ng e-mail. Paminsan-minsan nakakapaglibang ako at naglalaro ako ng ultimate Frisbee o kaya ng softball. Super middle-class pero feeling ko talaga, lower-middle.
Sa nangyayari ngayon sa ating bansa, lahat nalang ng sector ay maingay at
naririnig, tayo lang mga middle-class, tax paying at productive Pinoys ang
di naririnig. Subalit, buwis natin ang nagpapaikot sa bansang ito. Pag
may mga gulo na nangyayari, tayo ang tinatamaan. Kaya eto ang liham ko sa
lahat ng maiingay na sector na sana makagising sa inyong bulag na
Sa nangyayari ngayon sa ating bansa, marami talagang APATHETIC and I feel it’s pathetic. Nakakalungkot! Ke mayaman, middle-class at oo, kahit mga mahihirap. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi ang middle class ang nagpapaikot sa bansa natin kundi ang mga bagong bayani na patuloy na nagpapadala ng remittance dito sa Pilipinas. Kung wala sila ay matagal na tayong patay!
Kaya eto naman ang liham ko para sa lahat ng HINDI maiingay na sector na sana magising ang inyong bulag na pag-iisip. Actually, hindi kayo bulag. Alam niyo lahat ang katiwalian na nangyayari sa atin pero nagpasya kayo na manahimik na lamang. SAD!!
Sa Mga Politiko:
– diyos ko naman, sa dami na nang nakurakot ninyo di na ba kayo makuntento
kelangan nyo pa ba manggulo.
Agree ako sa iyo dito, kapatid. Pero hindi ba nakakainis na alam ng buong bansa ang ginagawa nila pero parang tinanggap na nila na ganun talaga ang buhay. Buwis natin yung kinukurakot nila. Buwis na binabayad NATIN para bumuti ang kalagayan ng ATING bansa. Kaso ginamit na ni GMA para manalo siya.
– hayan ayus na ha pinatawad na namin ang pandaraya nyo sa eleksyon,
pruweba dito e di kami umaatend sa mga panawagan ng people power, kaya sana
naman gantihan nyo kami ng magandang serbisyo at magaling na pamumuno at
malaking bawas sa kurakot naman please para kahit papano maramdaman naman
namin na may napupuntahan ang binabayad naming buwis.
Hindi ako agree sa iyo dito, brother or sister. Hindi ko sila pinatawad sa ginawa nilang pandaraya kaya umaatend pa rin ako ng mga “gatherings” to resolve this CRIME. Hindi tayo mabibigyan ng magandang serbisyo at magaling na pamumuno dahil nga ang pinagkakaabalahan nila ay kung paano mananatili sa posisyon. Her only chance to prove her detractors wrong was the impeachment process. Kung pinabayaan na lang ni GMA na manaig ang RULE OF LAW, dapat natuloy na ang impeachment process. Ang nangyari noon ay hindi rule of law, kundi rule of NUMBERS. Madali mong makukuha ang votes to turn down the impeachment if you have access to the country’s coffers. That was her only chance to prove her critics wrong, pero anong ginawa niya? Lahat ng ginagawa nila ngayon from the Calibrated preemptive response to EO 464 to Proclamation 1017 ay ginawa para hindi malaman ng mga mamayan ang katotohanan. Can you believe hindi nila pinapayagang maghayag ang media ng kahit na anong statement from those opposed to her pero sila pwedeng magsabi ng kung anu-anong kasinungalingan tungkol sa mga kumkalaban sa kanila? Marcos na Marcos!! Nandun ka nung EDSA 1 di ba? Hindi ka ba nalulungkot na sa 20th anibersaryo ng EDSA 1, hindi nila pinayagang mag-celebrate ang mga tao ng pagpapatalsik ng diktador at pagwawakas ng martial law? At nag-declare pa siya ng de facto martial law on the same day?!! Paano na lang kung twenty years from now, sasabihin sa iyo ng anak mo na hindi naman totoo yung EDSA revolution mo o wala naman siyang significance sa buhay ng mga Pilipino?
Mabalik ako sa pandaraya ni GMA. So naniniwala kang nandaya siya pero hindi ka nagalit at pinabayaan mo siya? Ninakawan ka at wala kang ginawa? Kung pinasok ang bahay mo at ninakaw lahat ng pinakamahalagang bagay sa buhay mo, pababayaan mo rin ba? Kung dinaya ang anak mo sa spelling bee, sasabihin mo ba sa kanya to just “move on”? Tuturuan mo ba ang anak mo na okay lang mangdaya sa exam huwag lang siyang papahuli o kung nahuli man siya, sasabihin mo bang okay lang kasi sigurado naming pasado siya? Sana hindi. VALUES. Iyan ang dapat ituro sa mga bata. Naalala mo ba ang commercial na, “ANG GINAGAWA NG MATANDA, NAGIGING TAMA SA BATA.”
Naalala ko nung una akong bumoto. I felt soooooooooooo great to finally have a chance to exercise my right and to have a hand in charting this nations future. I finally undertstood why in 1986, people defended the ballot boxes WITH THEIR LIVES!! They wanted to make sure their vote got counted. At ngayon nagagalit ako kasi baka yung boto ko hindi nabilang. Ang pakiramdam ko binastos ako, sinampal, tinapakan atsaka dinuraan!!! AT ngayon ok na yung mandaya basta huwag mangmang at artista ang manalo??
For the record hindi ko binoto si FPJ. Kay Roco ako all the way!! Pero kung si FPJ talaga ang nanalo, eh anong magagawa ko. Ganun ang demokrasya sa pagkakaintindi ko. Eh kung ayaw niyo nun, huwag na tayong mag-eleksyon!
– di nyo pa b a nakikita na dalawang klase lang ng tao ang nakikinig sa
inyo….isa ay bayaran na mahihirap kungdi man ay tangang mga excited na
reporter na parang naka-shabu lagi….mga praning e at naghahallucinate.
Kaibigan, hindi ko alam kung saan mo nahugot ito, sa totoo lang. HUwag mo naming laitin ang mga mahihirap. Kapit sa patalim na nga sila eh. Kung ikaw wala ring pera, you will do anything to put food in your mouth. Anyway, yung mga kapus-palad nating kababayan pumupunta rin yan sa mga pro-Gloria rallies kasi pinapakain sila. Pero mga reporter na naka-shabu at naghahallucinate??? Bow ako dito, di ko alam kung paano ko sasagutin ito. Sana lang pagnag-hallucinate si Pinky Webb ako ang mahita niya!! hehe
– Bago man lang kayo maglunsad ng kilos laban sa administrasyon, pumili
muna kayo ng magiting at nararapat na ipapalit sa liderato ngayon. Hirap
sa inyo paresign kayo ng paresign wala naman kayo ipapalit na maayos.
Advise lang galing sa isang middle-class na syang tunay na puwersa sa likod
ng lahat ng matagumpay na People Power, magpakita muna kayo ng galing bago
nyo batuhin ang administrasyon. Wala na kaming narinig sa inyo kundi
reklamo, e wala naman kayong ginagawa kundi magreklamo….para kayong
batang lagi na lang naaagawan ng laruan…..GROW UP naman…sa isip sa
salita at sa gawa.
Sa tanong kung sino ipapalit kay Gloria? Eh bakit naman kasi sa oposisyon ka lang tumitingin ng papalit? Sila lang ba ang option. Sobra ka na bang na-brainwash ni GMA at naniwala ka sa kaniyang walang makakapalit sa kanya. Kawawa naman tayo. 85 million people and only one person can run the country?? Paano pagdating ng 2010, yun din ba ang sasabihin niyo sa akin, kung sino ang papalit kay GMA? Paano paghindi siya bumaba parang ginawa ni Marcos nung 1972? Please naman sabihin mo sa akin na merong kahit kalahating milyong Pilipino na malinis ang puso at budhi that can lead this country to greatness.
– please lang gasgas na rin ang pagrarally nyo na katabi nyo ay mga bayaran
na mahihirap, magtayo nalang kayo ng negosyo at iem pleyo ang mga rallyista
para maging productive silang mamamayan. Sige nga, pag nagrarally kayo
yakapin nyo nga at halikan yang mga kasama nyong nagrarally!! Nung People
Power namin nagyayakapan kami lahat nuon.
Pare/Mare, Makisalamuha ka muna sa mga mahihirap para malaman mo at maintindihan kung saan nanggaggaling. Tulad ng nasabi ko, walang-wala talaga sila. Totoo hindi sila productive kasi walang trabaho. Hindi nila ginusto ito. Kaso ang administration na ito, mas concerned with sending at least 1 million Filipinos abroad to work(target ng DOLE). Exposing them to abuses and threats against their lives, destroying families, destroying lives!! Bakit hindi magtrabaho si GMA para maging ideal ang conditions dito para makapag-negosyo yung mga katulad nating middle-class and create 1 million jobs here.
Sa totoo lang ang sakit ng mga salita mo tungkol sa mga mahihirap. Tanong ko sa iyo, kung mahihirap ang katabi mo nung People Power 1, yayakapin mo ba sila at hahalikan?
– Wala naman mangyayari sa mga rally nyo nakakatraffic lang, kami pang
middle-class ang napeperwisyo. Di nyo kayang paghintayin ng 3 araw ang mga
rallyista nyo kasi kelangan nyo pakainin at swelduhan ang mga yan. Kung
gusto nyo tagumpay na People Power kami ang isama nyo….pero pagod na kami
e, sori ha.
Don’t give yourself too much credit na tayo lang ang makakapagtagumpay ng People Power. Tatlong araw lang nga kinaya mo eh. Hindi ka pa nagdanak ng dugo. Pero yung mga mahihirap na nilalait mo, mahigit na sampung taon nilabanan ang diktadurang Marcos habang nagpapahinga tayo sa bahay. A lot of them gave up their lives for us! Yes, US! You and me!! Tapos inecha-pwera pa sila pag alis ni Makoy!
Alam nyo lahat tayo may problema, pati US Army may problema, 2,000 plus na
patay sa kanila sa Iraq na parang walang rason naman, pero nakita nyo ba
sila nagreklamo? Wala diba kasi professional sila na sundalo…..yan dapat
ang sundalo di nagtatanong sumusunod lang. Kasi may mga bagay na di kayang
maintindihan ng indibidwal lamang, at ang mga nakatataas lang ang
nakakai ntindi ng kabuuan, kaya ito ang panuntunan ng lahat ng military ng
lahat ng bansa. Pero parang military natin yata ang pinaka-mareklamo.
Sabi nga sa Spiderman “with great power comes great
responsibility”…..kaya maging spiderman kayo lahat at protektahan ang
mamamayan. Sa totoo lang natatakot kami kapag nagrereklamo kayo, kasi may
baril kayo at tangke, kami wala.
Tanong ko lang uli, diba sabi mo nasa EDSA 1 ka? Diba yung mga military na ma-reklamo mo ang prinotektahan mo? Nung EDSA Dos ba pinalakpakan mo rin sila Angie Reyes nung pumunta sila sa Shrine? Bakit ngayon iba na ang tono mo?
But you’re right. They are professionals, at least some of them are. That’s why when the military is being used by certain politicians to steal votes for them, the real professionals in their ranks nagagalit because lahat sila masisira sa katiwalian ng iilan in their ranks. Sino ba unang nagpolitika sa military, kundi yung mga presidente. Sila ang una nilang nililigawan with perks and promotions to insure their loyalty.
Wala ako comment sa mga mahihirap, di naman kasi sila maingay na kusa e,
may bayad ang ingay nila. Saka wala rin naman sila email.
Eto ka na naman. Eh kanina ka pa comment ng comment sa mga mahihirap eh na kahit akong middle-class ay nasasaktan. Sana nga may e-mail sila ng masagot nila ang sulat mo. Tignan natin kung di ka makatikim.
Kaya paano na tayong mga middle-class?? Eto hanggang email nalang tayo kaya
ikalat nyo na ito at magdasal tayo na umabot ito sa mga dapat makabasa nito
at makiliti naman ang kanilang mga konsyensya.
Isang Middle-Class pinoy na walang puknat na binabawasan ang sweldo ng
Paano na tayong middle-class? Please huwag mo akong isama sa inyo kasi kung lahat ng middle-class ay katulad mong mag-isip habang buhay tayong aabusuhin ng mga politico. Dahil pinalagpas ninyo ang mga katarantaduhan na ginagawa nila ngayon, you just gave them a green light to do whatever they want with us. Yung mga middle class na katulad mo, LOW CLASS!! But I respect your right to express your ideas kaso yung ideas mo won’t land you in jail. Mine might or will, if I’m lucky. What do you think Secretary siRAULo Gonzalez?
Isang ring Middle-Class pinoy
Ang pangalan ko NOR DOMINGO at hindi tayo pareho.
Ang dami mong fans, pero naniniwala akong marami ring tulad ko na ikakalat ang sulat kong ito. And I will see them in the streets too!
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