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Mar 23

Vigil at the National I.C.U.

Where to get your Black T-Shirt in case you want to wear one or wipe your ass with it.

Details on the upcoming Black Friday Protest Movement activity.

In today’s news:

Garci’s passport was, well, not up to standards (well, one of them, anyway): Garci passport faked, says central bank.

Economist Ciel Habito’s account of how signatures are being gathered for Charter Change (and a photo of a Barangay assembly banner). Malaya reports, Cha-cha campaign shifts to People’s Initiative. In Mindanews, Patricio Diaz says forget about a timetable, it’s better for the Palace to keep everybody guessing. Palace seeks middle ground on Charter change impasse.

Yesterday, as he was giving a press briefing, Sec. Mike Defensor was startled when the Malacañan Palace sign behind him fell off the wall. Immediate response of those who saw it, live or on TV: ominous.

So which is it? Hagedorn out: All systems go for Small Town Lottery to kill ‘jueteng’ says the Inquirer; Palace Explains freeze on lottery says the Manila Times; Local lotteries to be allowed, eventually, says Manila Standard-Today.

P10b worth of defective P1,000 notes in BSP vault

Congressmen restore P70-M pork barrel

Senga warns of more coup attempts by Left, Right, rebels

Expect higher palay and corn production due to La Niña

In the Nation of Thailand, Suthichai Yoon says of Premier Thaksin, Don’t listen to his words, just read his trembling lips: He means “yes” when he says “no”. When he says: “Trust me, I am telling you the truth”, that’s when you should reach for a lie detector.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Reconciliation.

Gail Ilagan says its clownish for the opposition to demand to talk to the troops. I agree.

Tony Abaya points out the built-in futility of the political alliances that have formed in the opposition -and what would happen if they won.

Manuel Buencamino wonders why some witnesses are more credible than others.

Connie Veneracion writes an exegesis and apologia for column-writing. Ben Lim tackles the ideal role of the National Telecommunications Commission.

The Inquirer editorial comments on witness-snatching.

Catch S.G. Austero tonight on Ricky Carandang’s show, “The big Picture,” on ANC at 9 p.m (Ricky might be in a bad mood because of Juan Mercado’s column today, though). Incidentally, I really, really, liked this entry by Bong Austero. He has a four-point recommendation which is great:

I think that first, we should get commitment from everyone – and I mean everyone – pro or anti, leftist or rightist, opposition or government – to respect democratic processes. No more extra constitutional solutions. No more coups. No more conspiracies to topple the government through extra-constitutional means. No more arrests without warrants.

Second, I think it is time to bring the discussion to the level of what is “the common good.” We can disagree on how to get there, we can disagree on what is the right course of action, but we should all focus on a more strategic goal – a better country in say, three or four year’s time…

Third and necessarily, I think that it is time to come to the table with a little more sincerity. I ranted about vested interests and selfish intentions in that letter. It is time to come clean and this is only possible in an environment that is free from moralizing and judging. For example, let us stop obfuscating about whether there was a conspiracy or an attempted coup last February because as the no-nonsense Professor Solita Monsod said on public television: meron talaga coup! And since the threats to stability has been reduced and it has been proven that the people are not wont to support such moves anyway, it is best for government to come clean now, rectify the mistakes, and stop all this senseless posturing.

Fourth, it is time for ordinary Filipinos to take the discussion and the crafting of the solution out of the hands of the politicians. For crying out loud, who actually listens to them? I know I reach for the remote control everytime someone of their ilk comes on television.

This is the sort of thing that helps push forward the idea that there remains more to unite us than divides us (if you look beyond the President). The difficulty though, is that it requires everyone’s cooperation (what happens, for example, if the arrests without warrants don’t cease? obviously, more of the kind of protests that drive those who disagree with them, nuts).

A couple of blog entries also worth devoting some quality reading time to. the first is by Big Mango, who starts with a review of “V for Vendetta” and suggests what we need is to seriously reconsider the existing structures of our country. In a sense, thought not always when it comes to particulars, we see eye to eye on this. My personal frustration with what’s going on now, is that the present administration is like an accident victim on life support, with everyone desperately trying to postpone the decision on when to pull the plug. It does neither the patient, potential recipients of organs, or the family, any good.

The necessary and urgent changes are being postponed. A proper debate as to what those changes should be -though I think in many ways, there is actually a kind of consensus on what those changes should be, the difficult part is the speed and extent to adopt- can’t take place because it’s hopelessly muddled by the frantic desire to keep the patient artificially alive. The result is an artificial and unhealthy disconnect between those already moving forward in the provinces, and those reduced to trench warfare in Metro Manila. That patient, of course, is the President, and postponing the pulling of the plug is all that’s been accomplished by her in the past months. In fact, Big Mango’s thoughts have a lot in common with those expressed by Bong Austero.

The second is courtesy of Coffee with Amee, in Concerns of a Bystander, thoughts on what democracy is and should be about. Great quotes, some provocative thoughts.

Carlos Celdran thoughtfully responds to Howie Severino’s thoughts on Filipino and English. The problem is really quite complicated and requires a rethinking of existing language policy, such as it is. In the first place, existing Philippine languages are either dying out, or are being displaced by Filipino; on the other hand, English is becoming far more of an elite language than at any other time previously. Both Filipino and English are also in danger of ceasing to be living languages, in that neither are fully stepping up to the plate as being vehicles for intellectual discourse -or if it is, it’s only serving this purpose among a dwindling few. Of course these statements are, to a certain extent, generalizations, but it should be of concern in a country which has high levels of literacy but which might not have such a high level of functional literacy. Carlos Celdran says we should promote bilingualism; I agree; a further effort should be made to bring back the original goal, long since lost and perverted, when a national language was proposed and adopted: trilingualism, competency in one’s native language, the national language, and a foreign language. The mistake of the past two generations has been to displace English with Filipino; and now, displacing other Philippine languages with Filipino, too. Is the solution abolishing Filipino? I doubt it. It is integrating Filipino in the teaching of English, and other Philippine languages in teaching Filipino and English -and diverting some of our meager government resources into making all these languages truly living ones (I would even go as far as supporting an already moderate proposal, considering how emotional the language debate becomes, to require Tagalogs to learn a non-Tagalog Philippine language, since non-Tagalogs have to learn Filipino which is basically Metro Manila Tagalog).

Two readings from the Philippines Free Press Online: And the January 30 Insurrection by Pete Lacaba (republished in his book, Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage), and The Long Week, by Kerima Polotan, both from 1970, about the First Quarter Storm. Many of the figures and institutions in the articles are still familiar to present-day readers. Lacaba takes a sympathetic, even romantic, view of the protesters; Polotan casts a skeptical glare at everyone and everything. Incidentally, both writers would incur Marcos’s ire during martial law: Lacaba was imprisoned, and Polotan had to go into exile for writing a biography of Mrs. Marcos that displeased the Palace.

[email protected] tackles Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and the Social Contract.

This, I didn’t notice: Philippine Politics 04 points to People Power in Belarus.

This, I found startling: Torn & Frayed says the Brits have very little national pride.

baratillo books [email protected] poetizes about Dinky.

And this, I just found funny (by captainaqua):
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55 comments

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  1. Francis

    dogma is a kind of opinion…

    also subject for dispute…

    That’s my opinion of the subject.. 🙂

  2. Sam

    There is a tendency for some people to define Democratic processes in a myopic and narrow view. They simply reduce democratic processes to formal democratic rituals and a sort of numbers game, i.e. elections, impeachment, etc…without realizing that rallies, demonstrations, open criticism, free speech and even uprisings are also essential features of democratic exercises and processes.

    The very foundation of democracy that we enjoy today was built not through formal democracy, it was built by direct democratic action by the people.

    To limit our options for social change only through formal democratic processes is to limit and negate the very essence of democracy itself. The real essence of democracy is giving people more power and not rendering people powerless.

  3. joselu

    Karl, I think we must be fair.I noticed also how bystander gets palpal in sassys blog.
    I think it has to do w/ a difference in treating issues.
    I understand Manolo’s policy is “tolerance”.It’s obvious that one can say almost anything here & Manolo will surely give the space for every individual to speak his heart out.

    Personaly,I think being tolerant does not equate w/ approval or disapproval of things mentioned.
    Because in a way the nature of the blog is not to challange or question anyone but it seems to be a venue for free expression.

    The down side of it is when someone from this blog presents his idea to another person who does not have “tolerance” for a policy.Insted shows more concern to the understanding of things through the law.
    The next thing that happens is bystanders goes back to this blog where in a way he has more protection.In sassys blog, it seems others hit a brick wall w/ their ideas.Maybe, because all the while no one challeges their ideas here so one thinks he is being resonable until he finds himself alienated by another person w/ other policies.

    I guess it’s safe to assume that all of us are for the rule of law.If sassy is presenting something from the point of view of the law.I find it strange that she can be opposed on it.

    The Law is supposed to be black & white.In politics insted it’s about the shades of gray.
    The question is Karl.What are we really talking about we want to do, the law or something else or what ever has more advantage?
    Follow the law or question it using the shades of gray.?

    I find it rather disturbing of being supporters of b&w but when it comes respecting & understanding the law suddenly there is another standard.

  4. Para_sa_Kanto_Mama

    No one could represent the silent majority. Anyone who speaks from this rank breaks his silence and ceases to be part of the majority. How could one fathom the sentiments of this majority if all they want is to suffer in silence?
    Anyone who speaks preposterously for the silent majority qualifies for a cabinet position.

  5. The Bystander

    Joselu #54:

    “I think we must be fair.I noticed also how bystander gets palpal in sassys blog.”

    –First, I couldn’t quite get what you mean by “palpal”. Second, if ever I was retaliatory in my statements, it was part of an honest-to-goodness attempt at getting to the bottom of the issues. It was within the rules. There never was any instance when I resorted to name-calling just to prove my point. I hope we are clear on that.

    “The next thing that happens is bystanders goes back to this blog where in a way he has more protection.In sassys blog, it seems others hit a brick wall w/ their ideas.Maybe, because all the while no one challeges their ideas here so one thinks he is being resonable until he finds himself alienated by another person w/ other policies”

    –Honestly, I’m finding it hard to understand what you mean Joselu. But I will try. If I may paraphrase it, do you mean to say that I’m thinking as if my ideas are beyond question such that I feel threatened or uncomfortable once someone challenges my ideas? If that is what you mean, then I’m sorry that you got it all wrong. In the first place, I seldom post a comment here. Second, I have my own blog where I can present my ideas in a relatively formal and organized way. And I do acknowledge the fact that I can be wrong in my perception of things. Who’s perfect anyway? That is the reason why I interact with other bloggers so I can verify whether my observations are shared by many.

    “If sassy is presenting something from the point of view of the law.I find it strange that she can be opposed on it.”

    –Lawyers are not infallible. The validity of one’s arguments does not depend on one’s profession. Just like other professions, there are also lousy ones. This is also the reason why I do not brag about my profession, even if it so happens that I also belong to the same legal profession. For me, it’s better that others judge the merits of my arguments for what they are, not because they were authored by someone who has earned a degree of some sort. I tell you, we can learn more from insights of ordinary men and women than those who project themselves as “experts” in a given field of endeavor.

    –What we discussed in that thread was not only about legal matters. It has something to do with the issue of “freedom of the press” which has both legal and political implications. I advise you to read thoroughly the articles of that blog so that you’ll have an idea of what I mean.

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