I called up my barangay on Saturday morning to find out when the assembly would be held, and was told it’s been postponed to a later date. When? Not sure, they said, we’ll let you know.
sketches of a village idiot savant attended the barangay assembly in his neighborhood in Dumaguete. Door prizes were given out to encourage attendance. Read his description of how the assembly itself went. Davao Today has an account of how things went over there:
In Talomo, the biggest barangay in this city, officials resorted to giving away rice porridge in order to attract people. And whatever questions the residents had about Charter change were easily drowned by the loud Yoyoy Villame songs being performed by a singer onstage, inside the S.I.R. Covered Court.
The songs and the porridge - instead of the scheduled open forum – followed the presentation of Celso Tizon, barangay captain of 76-A, on the benefits of Charter change…
Tizon, the Talomo official, denied earlier on Saturday that they would be gathering signatures during the assembly in support of the “people’s initiative.” According to him, the government would listen first to what people have to say about the proposed constitutional amendments.
“If we find out that people are in favor of pursuing the signature campaign, then we will push for it,” he said.
But what happened in the afternoon of Saturday was the opposite.
Participants were asked to sign three sets of papers. One paper was for the attendance, which they had to sign upon entering the S.I.R. Covered Court. Another set of papers was for “another attendance” while another set bore words that said, in effect, that whoever signed it was in favor of the “people’s initiative.”
The PCIJ Blog has a roundup of events, with a focus on the orchestrated assemblies in Antipolo City, as well as links to the documents carefully prepared by the administration and its allies. Citizen Watch reports administration justifications for mobilizing government resources for the effort.Ellen Tordesillas and atty-at-work and Peter Laviña in Davao see striking similarities between what’s underway, and the manner in which Ferdinand Marcos got around the 1935 Constitution’s requirement for a formal plebiscite to approve any new constitution (Interesting tidbit: Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was offered, and declined, the defense portfolio).
Quotas are being met: Arroyo bats for Charter change; signature drive intensifies. Also, Palace body steps up info drive on Charter change. The Manila Times reports, 170 House members sign for Cha-cha.The Manila Standard-Today trumpets 4 million signatures secured for ChaCha while Malaya says 2M ink Cha-cha bid; Palace hand scored. Either way, Sec. Ronnie Puno should take a bow for a remarkable logistical achievement. As my entry yesterday pointed out, there’s a way to derail it, but as Serging Osmeña said bitterly in the wake of the 1969 elections which he lost to Ferdinand Marcos, any opposition can be simply “out-gooned, out-gunned, and out-gold.” Still, signature drives to counter the administration-sponsored one have begun.
My column for today is Rule of the lawless. I recognize there are those in favor of the President’s initiative not because they love the President or have anything personally to gain, but because they believe it’s the only way to move forward. I think they’re being taken for a ride, and their going along with the President’s strategy is doing a colossal disservice to their advocacy of federalism, parliamentary government and a unicameral legislature. The President and her party wants federalism, unicameralism, parliamentarism as defined by the House? Then pledge neither the President nor any member of the House who approves it will hold office once the amendments are approved. You would have overwhelming enthusiasm for their proposals then. But not under any other way. And since the President’s game plan is anchored on selling it to congressmen as a means for abolishing the Senate (to which their chances of election are slim), and to governors who now have no reason to fear either opposition from third termers in the House needing new jobs, and since the end result is that the President will get a get out of jail card free, then even those who are sincerely for the President’s plan will get tarred and feathered by the public. And rightly so.
And everyone seems to have forgotten the perfectly reasonable counter-proposal by the Senate: you want to change the Constitution? Then call for a constitutional convention, which the Senate would support.
[email protected] proposes bloggers come together to debate constitutional change. Anyone interested?
Coffee with Amee has a Fr. Bernas story. Raul Gonzalez has baptized him “guru of destabilization.” In his column today, Fr. Bernas writes on the various, and it seems, presently improbable, ways to achieve a presidential election before 2010.
Keeping tabs on Thailand: the Nation’s editorial is Titanic struggle to save democracy. In Not a Pretty Picture, there’s a great -and applicable- analogy to bear in mind:
When Thaksin Shinawatra alleged recently that his political opponents and critics had resorted to “mob rule” in trying to oust him, Bangkok Senator Kaewsan Atibhodi shot back with a couple of hard-hitting analogies that may have unnerved the embattled caretaker premier.
“I think what has happened is more like a mastermind hijacker taking control of an airliner. When the passengers cry foul and loudly disapprove, this guy announces that everyone on board should behave and should not resort to mob rule. It’d be better for them to sit down and fasten their seatbelts, because this is a critical situation and the journey will be quite rough,” says Kaewsan, an outspoken and non-partisan member of the current Senate, whose term expires next month…
As a non-partisan senator, he has consistently charged Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai Party of parliamentary abuse.
“The checks and balances in Parliament did not work at all because the Thai Rak Thai abused its power via all the parliamentary committees,” he says. “For Thaksin, democracy is only the means, so Parliament is meaningless. That’s why the premier likes to have a big central-government budget with little or no details to be checked by Parliament or why the Lottery Bureau [after the legalisation of once underground lotteries] has been able to have multibillion-baht revenues at its own disposal without any parliamentary scrutiny.
“The mass media too have failed to make enough investigative reports to dig up dirt. Even the Federation of Thai Industries and Board of Trade have been heavily influenced by the government and its allies, so they’re afraid of taking a controversial position,” Kaewsan says.
In other people power news, Slate reports on government violence in Belarus.
After All thinks consolidating the government’s ad placements might just be good for provincial media. PCIJ suggests it might be a way to hit the media where it hurts -in their bottom lines. That may be so. As this Philippines Free Press editorial from 1909 points out, using government advertising to punish the media is an old, old trick. After Edsa, as a way of democratizing things, publishing laws and government ads for things like bidding for contracts was encouraged. That was before the days of the internet, and in the two decades since Edsa, the placement of government ads, notices, and announcements has become a way of subsidizing friendly media and punishing unfriendly media.
My personal view is that government advertising, as experience has shown, is too tempting to be permitted to continue. I have long been an exponent of fortifying the presently anemic Official Gazette as a means of promoting both transparency and accessibility to government issuances and records. I find it scandalous that I can find virtually every single executive issuance from Quezon to Macapagal with relative ease, and that includes finding out the various people appointed to government positions, and even track the day to day activities of the presidents as well as their important correspondence, but the same cannot be done for presidents since Marcos. Marcos wasn’t keen on the Official Gazette because an undemocratic government has no interest in providing -and publishing, for posterity- its own orders and acts. Presidents since Edsa have either been disorganized or unaware of the usefulness of the Official Gazette.
baratillo books [email protected] takes Winnie Monsod’s column and transforms it into an elegant, and informative, series of charts and graphs. Both make the point that with anti-Arroyo people so divided and fragmented on what they want (besides the President stepping down), the real majority in this country remains those inclined to letting her finish her term. This is an important thing to point out. Though my view of course is that even that group will be hard-pressed to remain cohesive, since between now and 2010, more and more people will see that the 2010 is a false deadline. Though of course, we will only see once June 30, 2010 passes and the President remains in office, or not. Uniffors reprints a Walden Bello opinion piece which says military intervention is “definitely a cure worse than the disease.” Newsstand takes a slightly different look at surveys.
livingplanet has a curious point to make when hitting opinion writers:
The fact is the media and newspaper columnists are both generally biased and malleable. To get a clearer picture of an event, one needs to read the reporter’s probably biased account, the pro-administration columnist’s viewpoint, and the oppositiion columnist’s version. By triangulating these three versions, one hopes to get a clearer picture of what is happening. This is too much effort and is unfair to the paying reader. In this aspect, media has failed its most important constituent, the reader. Thus, there is little sympathy when an opposition newspaper is invaded by the police or a columnist is arrested during a rally.
What I find out is that the age-old role of writer and reader has now become an unfair burden on the reader? Then reducing this to its basic level means: don’t read, it’s too tiring. Ignorance is bliss. Information requires too much effort. The entry is, if you read the whole thing, a variation on the “let us move on” set of arguments (based on a flawed premise: after four decades, including the Marcos era, the Hacienda Luisita people had managed some kind of modus vivendi with their unions; the Communists decided to stir up trouble at a time when Cory Aquino seemed inclined to support the President; their are serious accusations that they sacrificed some of their people in a series of confrontations, which even if not true, also brings up the question of an over-eager military anxious for its own confrontations with the Communists; and howling over it gets my goat because if you really care about land reform, there’s reason for as large and even a larger, howl over the haciendas of the President’s husband and in-laws and many others firmly in the administration camp -so why the selective outrage?). The outrage is selective because it plays right into the hands of the administration propaganda line. I agree Cory Aquino has been tarnished permanently for not summoning the will to deprive her relatives of their land; but you don’t see even a token stock-sharing option in the haciendas of the Arroyos, do you? And were you to implement urban land reform, in a country increasingly urbanized, the middle class would be baying for blood.
H. Marcos C. Mordeno on why the support of some officials for the President is surprising and the support of others isn’t.
Asuncion David Maramba explores why the middle class so far remains divided -and says things will not be resolved politically until its mind is made up.
But I’d counter the above and everything else peddled by those stuck in the “let’s move on” mental trap, with what Veenarat Laohapakakul’s written in the Nation:
Here’s how to tell if people are under a spell of illusion. First, they fail to listen. They always think they can do no wrong. No criticism, no matter how loud or how often, can make them see their faults.
What’s more, they will retaliate with strong words and actions, such as filing defamation and libel lawsuits, but never ever answer any questions that have been asked. Silencing their critics is one classic tactic that they know very well.
Second, they lose their conscience. In their illusive world, all they care about is personal gain and not what would benefit the country. Indeed, the concept of “conflict of interest” is totally alien to them. They will always cite the law as a legitimate basis for their decisions but fail to look at issues of appropriateness and what’s morally right.
And finally, there’s no such thing as showing responsibility for one’s own actions. They are exceptional in their ability to come up with loads of excuses. Believe it or not, the recent court ruling on the selling of national assets can’t even make them repent. They still insist what they are doing is right.
Please be aware that those who fit the above description are not practising voodoo, because even black magic cannot compete with the power of illusion. What is scary is that followers of illusion will try to create an illusory world for everyone else too. They will project the most beautiful picture of the economy, promise grand projects and insist that the country’s development scheme is on the right track. But they will never say who gets the most out of all this.
At times it’s easy to believe these illusions, and a large number of people are still caught under their spell. The good news, however, is that more and more people have come to realise the truth. It’s an amazing phenomenon that brings people from all walks of life, young and old, together for a single purpose.
Of course, illusion loyalists hate it. What they fear most is facing the truth, and that’s why the most spellbound person today has resorted to playing hide and seek. He says he doesn’t want confrontation, so he’s been acting like a ninja lately, popping up here and there without prior notice, in order to avoid all of those pesky questions being hurled at him.
How can we break free of this illusory world? The only way is to stand united against corruption and wrongdoing. Some say the current political crisis has driven a wedge into society, but having different opinions is what democracy is all about. We should accustom ourselves to speaking out and not remaining quiet on controversial issues.
The path may be long and tiring, but we must never compromise over misconduct. Otherwise Thailand will always be cast under a dark spell in which people become indifferent to morally wrong and selfish actions.
Let’s not be bored, let’s not give up, and let’s keep in mind that only people with something to hide have to be afraid.
Randy David expands a point he made at a talk in the Polo Club: the time has come to ostracize collaborators and supporters of the President. This idea is nothing new. The late Sec. Jaime Ongpin pointed out in his time change would be impossible if Filipinos didn’t take it upon themselves to make support for the Marcoses socially unacceptable. Ellen Tordesillas was at the talk and describes ostracism as political action further.
Red’s Herring examines American criticisms of French “barricade power.”
Rational Choice has some choice words for those proposing a ban on certain professions finding work abroad. Over lunch with a retired diplomat and some other people, the topic came up. Why, someone asked, with Filipino doctors dying to become nurses just to go abroad, do you have hundreds of Indian doctors willing to come here to work? The retired diplomat said, well, we have more social mobility than in India; if you think our class system is bad, imagine being trapped in the caste system; they like our society because it allows them to flourish and do well for themselves. Another person said: yes, but then the law does not permit foreigners to practice their professions here, and so, we cannot even replace with foreign brains, the Filipino brains that decide to go abroad.
livingplanet points to Green Map Philippines (in the Beta phase), which is part of the Business and Environment Portal. The Green Map is an exciting project: check it out and link to it, if you like it.
In blogkadahan.com, a powerful entry in the series on poverty by the partner of a blogger.
Whispers in the Loggia not only has a blow-by-blow account of the Consistory in which 15 new Cardinals were created, but also runs down what cardinals are, and aren’t. Check out his various entries, complete with photos. Cardinals are the historical successors of the clergy or Rome, which is why Guadencio Cardinal Rosales has been made titular of the church Santissimo Nome di Maria on the Via Latina. What’s interesting is that according to Vatican Watcher, he did not get the church given to his predecessors (a notch down in prestige for him or the archdiocese, since Rosales is at best, a transitional archbishop?) By now, Cardinal Rosales has probably taken possession of his titular church:
The possession-taking has a series of rituals all its own. And it allows each cardinal to have an impressive Roman ceremony all his own for his friends, colleagues, and anyone else who wishes to show up.
The new cardinal, wearing his choir dress (the red cassock, mozzetta, rochet and biretta) is received at the door of the church, where he is given a Crucifix to kiss and the aspergium to bless himself and those around him with holy water. By custom, the cross is always offered on a red silk pillow. He then processes up the aisle toward the altar of reservation, at which is a predieu which, again, is swathed in red silk.
After spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament, he goes to vest and Mass proceeds. After its conclusion, he signs the requisite documents which confirm his reception of the church.
Also via Vatican Watcher, a link to In the Light of the Law, which asks, if the Pope has dropped the title of Patriarch of the West, could it also mean the patriarchates will find new life? What if there’s a Patriarch of Manila, for example?
Download some of the oldest recorded music in existence. Free. Here are three I found from the collection: Belle of the Philippines (1905: this particular song has survived, I have a recording from a few years ago), Manila (1910), Manila (1920), In Old Manila (1921). And ever heard the voices of William Howard Taft, or William Jennings Bryan or Teddy Roosevelt?
Carlos Celdran describes an interesting art project involving call center workers.
Thanks to Banketa Republique for posting the alliterative manifesto of V:
This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-a -vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me.
I’m turning into a big fan of captainaqua’s comics:
And the Mischievious Boys have broken up.
Technorati Tags: constitution, media, military, people power, Philippines, politics