The big news remains the recent pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, which is critical of the ongoing amendments effort.
As the Speaker confidently announces No stopping Charter change , amendments proponents say ChaCha groups get ready to file petition to submit their proposal to a plebiscite. RG Cruz reports the Secretary of the Interior’s insisistence he’s an innocent, misunderstood man, and that he’s against the “people’s initiative”. Puno’s statement and that of the bishops has led to what I believe is premature celebration on the part of some opponents of amendments at the present time.
There’s also Davide proposes two-party system. Noted.
The rumor-mill in overdrive: US mum on drive to oust Gloria: Sign of weakening Washington support? And also, Ties unaffected by Times piece,says US envoy.
Malaya and the Daily Tribune both point to Joseph Estrada’s relatively high ratings in the answer to the question, “who is the best person to lead the country now,” though of course noting later on there’s someone slightly more popular than he: the Vice-President. The Inquirer also reports on the survey results. The findings are:
Q. Who is the best person to lead the country now?
Noli de Castro 23%
Joseph Ejercito Estrada 22%
Panfilo Lacson 18%
Corazon Aquino 16%
Susan Roces 14%
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 11%
Fidel V. Ramos 8%
Eddie Villanueva 6%
Miserable numbers all around, but interesting. big mango has a very thought-provoking entry on the leadership question.
Overseas: Immigration-policy protest rages in US (why don’t they go home and let the government move forward with helping the economy?)
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Tax wittheld, which explains the origins of the withholding tax (it’s income tax season, after all).
Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. explains he is not against amendments, but opposes the manner in which they are being pursued. He supports the letter of the bishops. Atty. Rita Jimeno defends the amendments effort.
Jaime S. Ong has a brilliant synopsis of the reasons there’s a political crisis, and pens a devastating critique of the administration’s main propaganda lines.
Manny Valdehuesa has a summary of his arguments pointing to the barangay as the basis for rebuilding democracy in this country. His book makes for provocative and interesting reading, definitely worth checking out.
1. Both Edsa 2 and Edsa 3 were genuine People Power events to my mind. But both were also aborted People Power events. By this I mean that People Power is the instrument of last resort, politically, if a peaceful change in regimes is desired, but that it also must result in the overthrowing of the existing Constitutional order and its replacement with a new one. At Edsa Dos, this was prevented when the march on the Palace was opposed by Cardinal Sin and Cory Aquino and the intervention of the Supreme Court (after the intervention of the armed forces) was solicited precisely to prevent a possible Mussolini scenario. At Edsa Tres, the effort failed because at the crucial juncture, the leadership of Edsa Tres, unused to the ways of People Power, led from the rear instead from the front; and abandoned the protesters to adopt violence, and having done so, made it easy for the police and armed forces to crush them.
2. An interesting thing to remember, in retrospect, is that attempts to mount People Power prior to the second envelope incident, failed, and kept failing because, as surveys showed at the time, the public, whether pro or con, insisted they wanted an impeachment to push through. The same feelings have been apparent in the current crisis -instinctively, we can say, the public wants the constitutional process to work. Legal niceties aren’t important; the process is, and the process being thwarted has led to an escalation of the crisis and the pursuit of other means.
3. Someone reminded me recently that after Estrada’s victory in 1998, the National Democrats were devastated, politically. Estrada’s victory was the triumph of populism versus ideology. Estrada’s political woes energized the Communists and made them an important player in mainstream politics. Ironically, this has helped Mrs. Arroyo: one of her remaining props in power is the fear of the National Democrats which has helped rally support from all classes of society. Her neutralizing their leadership has, with equal irony, helped energize the opposition which now has to deal with them less compared to last year.
Read also what Red’s Herring has to say about the above.
An OFW Living in Hong Kong says: attend to enforcing discipline in Metro Manila!
Demosthenes’ Game reacts to reactions. On this we agree: I am generally anti-boycott.
After Holy Week: Manila Conference on freedom of expression in cyberspace.