Nov 16

The undecided

A new signature rodeo in the House begins.

Tycoons out to bid for national power grid.

Newsbreak on a local government that chose build, lease, and transfer over build, operate, and transfer when it needed to rebuild a public market.

My column for today is The undecided, a reaction to Doronila’s Overconfidence bugs opposition parties, which came out yesterday. Surveys have been on my mind because of the US midterm elections and my recent show with surveys as the topic -for which Philippine Commentary was a great help -and I’m glad he had a good time- on the show. (The World is an Apple, however, thinks my show on ANC is record-breaking, somehow: “one of the worst made talkshows in the history of planet earth.”). Anyway, in his entry for today, Dean Jorge Bocobo takes a look both at Doronila’s and my column and further discusses the undecided figures in surveys.

The senate slate as it stands -uninspiring, and just a little less disreputable than anything the administration can dream up, because at least many of those on the list have experienced public rejection at the polls- could help achieve a tremendous, short-term solution (impeaching the President) but would guarantee that what comes after will be more of the tiresome same. No alternative list has been proposed that has a fighting chance. The problem is one that fractured civil society and the reformist elements of the political class have had since Edsa Dos. They are unable to mobilize what counts in mainstream politics, which is, the vote. They are necessary for any administration to man the bureaucracy with a semblance of competence, but when reforms become painful, they cannot cushion the government they serve from the backlash of public opinion.

My column points to the problem a very large constituency -to my mind, at least half of the country- faces. If something was worth rallying against because the Marcoses or Estrada did it, then the same should apply if the President does it -or does her being a workaholic and being able to use a fish knife with aplomb excuse what was unforgivable in her predecessors? A quarter, or half of this reform-minded constituency, has decided it’s better to stick with the lady who can speak like an educated person. because the alternatives are too uncouth to be considered. Another quarter is exasperated with everyone and prefers the devils in power to past devils or even new devils. And really, the choice now becomes, hold your nose and vote the opposition senatorial ticket or what,vote a mixed administration-opposition ticket which will achieve nothing but prolong the agony.

Not that I’m drinking Emil Jurado’s Kool-Aid, because the administration is genuinely short of viable national candidates, and furthermore, a showdown is inevitable between Lakas and Kampi for the President’s endorsement (and funding). Diosdado Macapagal spent the first two years of his presidency raiding the opposition because he was elected without a majority in Congress. The President needs a dominant party in the legislature that is loyal to her and no one else. So her people have to go for broke before the price of buying support becomes too high, or the many contests to referee overwhelms her capacity to turn her patronage into an effective means for keeping power. An OFW in Hong Kong thinks something fishy is up, because of the absence of any administration slate.

Still, we can dream.

Iloilo City Boy has a list of people he’d like to see in the Senate, and it got me thinking about who’d comprise a senatorial “dream team” for me. If the ability to win isn’t a factor, I’d want to see these twelve in office. The three main purposes of a senator are: as an advocate, as a sensible lawmaker, and as a competent person to exercise oversight over government.

Note that quite a few happen to be bloggers or write in the papers, which I think is a big help since one of the things we need more of, are people willing to let others see what makes them tick and how they think. Also, policy and oversight require different skills than the managerial requirements of executive positions. Health, education, technology, sensible administration and policies, and jobs are what matter to me, so there are some (Prilles, Ilagan) whom I’ve never met in person. And of course I have a natural bias for people I can claim to somehow understand, and this list is probably more of a reflection of my impractical attitude towards politics than anything else.

1. Randy David, who understands the people.
2. Filomeno Sta. Ana III, an economist whose heart and brain are in the right place.
3. Willy Prilles, Jr. (I’d keep Jesse Robrero where he is, for now, as he needs to be a local executive long enough to ensure a change that lasts), for education reform and regional development advocacy.
4. Gail Ilagan, from Mindanao, an educator.
5. Silvestre Afable Jr., for oversight on the armed forces, and someone who knows how government can -and should- work.
6. Michael Tan, he understands health, education, and minority rights.
7. Dean Jorge Bocobo, because we need someone who understands science.
8. Alex Lacson (“12 Little Things You Can Do For Your Country”).
9. Edwin Lacierda, because not just the letter, but the spirit, of the law needs to be upheld.
10. Yoly Ong, who knows the ins and outs and the good and bad of the communications industry.
11. Rene Azurin, who, like Randy David, has his brain and heart in the right place, too.
12. Federico Macaranas of the AIM Policy Center.

Moving on… There’s Tony Abaya taking Jose Ma. Sison to task. And John Mangun says there’s hope for the Philippine Stock Exchange.

In the blogosphere, Bulletproof Vest asks me 10 questions.

Achieving Happiness’ unhappiness over Rep. Beltran spending his 50th wedding anniversary in detention.

village idiot savant on the Cambodian experience with localized software. Why no word processors in Tagalog, Cebuano, etc. until now?

Leon Kilat on media ethics and blogging -can you accept payment for reviews, for example? MediaShift on how difficult it is to judge blogs in a contest.

New Economist on the French experience with outsourcing.

Mamutong’s son pens an eloquent brief for third party politics in America.

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  1. Jon M

    Plugging the critic? That’s first class …

  2. Bokyo

    This could be a good start, giving list of good people who we wished to be in the Senate. I wish there are more responsible people who are respected in their fields give more endorsements like this so that people are better educated into who should be voted in for the election rather than the candidates themselves outdoing each other in elections.

  3. Janette Toral

    On localized software, perhaps a lot of us are comfortable in English. In addition, most of the reports/projects in school are reported in English. Even our laws, policies, contracts are written the same. Therefore the need to type anything in the national language or local vernacular is very limited. Like in this blog, you post your insight in English and your reactors do the same. Perhaps when we all decide to correspond formally in our native language/dialect, then the demand for localized software will increase.

  4. Arbet

    Maybe we need to campaign for a third plank/flank/whatever. Give the people a better choice; and for the apathetic middle class to no longer have any excuse that there is no better choice.

    As for lack of localized software: it is just not profitable to localize. There is no need as of now, as Ms. Toral have stated.

  5. Iloilo City Boy

    My primary criteria for drawing my Senate wish list is the person’s capacity to inspire other people. Intellectual capacity, of course, is a requisite but I tend to give more premium on whether that person practices what he preaches or lives by his advocacies. Incidentally, Roco attempted this experiment during the last elections. Remember Atty. Gatmaytan, the blind lawyer (he passed away last year) or Bong Coo our most bemedalled athlete? We tried to project them as apostles of hope, agents of change, a fresh blood transfusion into our already incestous political system. But as I said in my blog, how can you capture people’s minds when you cannot even attract their attention, what with Leon Guerrero and Panday also running? How do you raise the level of debate when people come to rallies not to listen but to ogle at the moviestars?

    BTW I thought about including you (and the blind summa cum laude Atenean) in my list but I think both of you are not yet 35 years old. Alex Lacson I want to run in Negros Occidental (6th District) because I believe he is needed more there at the moment than in the Senate.

  6. Carl

    mlq3 said: “And John Mangun says there’s hope for the Philippine Stock Exchange.”

    The description of the Philippine Stock Exchange as an old boys’ club applies to the entire sector of Philippine business and industry, and even to Philippine society in general. There is an attitude of exclusivity and sense of entitlement which the privileged possess. And this narrow-minded, if not selfish, outlook discourages vitality, innovativeness and, most of all, the creation of a level playing field. Disclosure of information regarding corporate plans and finances is selective (sensitive information is often withheld) and unreliable. Insider trading is not frowned upon and, would probably be more of the norm than the exception. Minority stockholders are ignored and often kept in the dark. And those in control of management often lavish themselves with perks and financial windfalls. This “tayo-tayo” mentality is such that, even in publicly traded corporations, it is not unusual to see a company run as a family fiefdom by those who are in control.

    While these abuses also sometimes happen in advanced markets, there are laws and safeguards which are properly enough implemented so that it doesn’t happen too often. Insider trading has been very severely punished. Stock ownership is usually so dispersed that minority stockholders are not left out in the cold and are often represented in the board by outside directors. And the normally high degree of professionalism exercised by managers is enough to invite trust and confidence in the market. While the more advanced markets are not fail-safe, they are not the crap shoot that markets like the Philippines are. Because, like in a casino, the odds are stacked against the bettor from the beginning, it takes extremely good luck or tremendous wiles to come out ahead in our scenario.

  7. hvrds

    Re your list for the Senate

    Apart from DJB you do not have Spartans. It would do the country good to have ideologues like him. He should run for public office and come out and spout the same liberation theology that the neo cons spout. I am not kidding. Of all the people you have there DJB has an ideology. The rest are pansies (no offense meant). Opposite him you need a guy like Walden Bello. It has to clearly be a fight between the neo-colonials vs the nation builders.

    A clear ideological contradiction. That would make for interesting debates and discussions.

    DJB could then influence the likes of Panfilo Lacson to be his muscle. This guy would really crack heads and break bones. You know ‘stuff happens.’

    There is already ongoing a creeping tit for tat in the insurgency war. The scorecard is probably in favor of the government. The government has simply widened the war. Secondly the Senate must be changed to represent regions or provinces and not be elected nationally. Equal representation. The Senate has become too focused plainly on who will become President. They should be focused on issues that are more national in character rather than billboards on Edsa. Edsa a 17 km roadway is not the Philippines.That immediately gives power to the different provinces/regions with that kinds of solid representation. Congressman tend to be district oriented. Oversight over the national executive becomes easier. The Senator will fioght for his province and not be interested in the garbage problems of Manila and billboards that fall after typhoons.

    The situation in the Philippines calls for the sharp contradictions to be in focus.

    It is too bad about Gringo as he is way past his time. When he attempted the 80’s coups this guy if he had succeeded would probably have put people in front of the firing squad. I do not know whether that would have been bad or good. DJB and Lacson would make a terrific combination for the Senate. A no nonsense crew. From that mindset a Franco type could emerge. In times of ferment th extremes will always rise. The Philippines is no exception. If Enrile were younger he would be the prototype.

  8. anne of paris

    hvrds, your analysis – what a laff but so spot on!

  9. baycas

    in evidence-based medicine (EBM), there is such a thing as a critical appraisal.

    critical appraisal is the process of systematically examining research evidence to assess its validity, results and relevance before using it to inform a decision. it is an essential part of evidence-based clinical practice that includes the process of systematically finding, appraising and acting on evidence of effectiveness. it allows us to make sense of research evidence and thus begins to close the gap between research and practice. (www.evidence-based-medicine.co.uk)

    randomized controlled trials (or the so-called RCTs) are the “IN” thing in research because medical journals employing such trials can minimise bias and use the most appropriate design for studying the effectiveness of a specific intervention or treatment.

    systematic reviews are also particularly useful because they usually contain an explicit statement of the objectives, materials and methods, and should be conducted according to explicit and reproducible methodology.

    both, however, are NOT AUTOMATICALLY of good quality and SHOULD BE appraised critically. so, in clinical practice, we are assured of excellent patient care availed to us by our EBM-advocate doctor.

    in relation to mlq3 and djb’s dissection of public opinion polls, it is really very important to APPLY CRITICAL APPRAISAL on all surveys done by the known pollsters. djb’s blogposts and the explainer last tuesday paved the way to uncover the hidden in published surveys.

    if only the public opinion surveys are TESTED for their PROPAGANDA VALUES (or unworthiness) then, pretty sure, the public will no longer be misinformed.

    …how to disseminate widely and make people understand the LIES from these polls is another thing…but mlq3 and djb’s endeavor is certainly a start…

  10. cvj

    I think the role of the undecided is smaller when it comes to electoral exercises as opposed to people power events. In elections, if the undecided stay that way, or at least, if they do not decide as a group, then they won’t be a factor.

    Too bad the people in your above list are not viable as opposition Senatorial candidates. The only hope for any of the above to win is if they join the ruling party slate and rely on GMA’s hardcore supporters, the anti-trapo elements among the undecideds and GMA’s electoral machinery. If offered, they would then have to wrestle with the same dilemma as JP Laurel and the other collaborators during the Japanese occupation.

    For the coming elections, I’m against third force candidates put up by the middle forces as we have to stay focused on the immediate goal. Anyway, after inflicting Arroyo on the people, it’s best for the middle to stay on the outside, reflect on its mistakes and concentrate on rebuilding its credibility. Perhaps in 20 years things will be different.

  11. paeng

    manolo, i thought Sonia Roco is in your list?

  12. UP student

    It seems silly to elect in 2007 a Michael Tan to the Senate for the reason that power corrupts and I do not know how swiftly Michael Tan (or Rene Azurin or Sonia Roco) will fold and bend to the will of the powerwielders, be they our local oligarchs, or worse, foreign influence-peddlers. I prefer to see Senatorial candidates with public-administration track record, at minimum some tenure at the city-mayor or congressman level.
    Not only is it cheaper to run for city-mayor or congressman, such a step before Senate- or President-level gives me a better chance to know the money-sources, too, and I want to know if it neocon-USA-money funding XXX or religious-Saudi-money funding YYY before anyone gets elected into the Senate and obtaining senatorial immunity.

  13. Amadeo Dela Cruz


    “one of the worst made talkshows in the history of planet earth.”

    I tend to agree. Content is very good but the set is terrible. I suggest you put in some comfortable lounge chairs and maybe you can sit while talking to your guest.

  14. UP student

    cvj… I will now label you an isolationist, despite you being an OFW. You’ll make a bad politician (or a divorced parent) — you let the hurt (of losing) get in the way of negotiating and bartering (to win). There is less of sadness and more of anger (and vengefulness???) when you tell the middle forces to get out of the way with “… after inflicting Arroyo on the people, it’s best for the middle to stay on the outside, reflect on its mistakes and concentrate on rebuilding its credibility.”

  15. Jeg

    after inflicting Arroyo on the people, it’s best for the middle to stay on the outside,

    And here I thought we were the middle, cvj. ‘We’ meaning most of us who comment here in MLQ3’s site, and even MLQ3 himself.

  16. cvj

    UP Student, on my being an ‘isolationist’, ‘bad politician (or a divorced parent)’ – you’re right on all counts:-) Just the same, regardless of any underlying motivations, my recommendation for the middle forces to stay out of national electoral politics is for its own good, and if you would care to notice, is also in sync with your comment (at 10:23pm). Just like the Left twenty years ago, it first has to learn humility by spending some time in the political wilderness. The Middle assumed power prematurely on the back of EDSA 2 and has been corrupted in the process. At this stage, staying out of the State, and working through advocacies as part of civil society would make for a healthier and more balanced democracy. I’ll be content with letting the Estradas, Marcoses and Gringo win (if the people so will it) so Gloria Arroyo (who is one of our own) can be driven out. Our duty would then be to temper their excesses as part of an involved public.

    Jeg, yes i consider most of us here as part of the ‘middle’.

  17. Jeg

    At this stage, staying out of the State, and working through advocacies as part of civil society would make for a healthier and more balanced democracy.

    Mother of pearl, I’d never thought I’d see the day… 😉

  18. The Ca t

    The advantage of being in the middle is the ability to see both sides.

  19. The Ca t

    Amen to Doronila. That overconfidence thing is the reason why they cannot topple GMA.

  20. realist

    Manuel, two in your list, R. David and F. Macaranas, I believe I have met in the 60’s at UPD as students. If I remember correctly, Randy was then a bit of a chubby, amicable, be speckled fellow, and Macaranas(I am not sure if this is the same “Poch” Macaranas that I met) was a serious fellow with a shy smile, always neat and well groomed, in his polo barong.

    Both have a presence about themselves, then. I had not heard much about them since, except for Randy on rallies in the papers, and, of course, the articles he writes. As to F. Macaranas, (again if this is the same fellow I met) it was about his academic career I heard about. If I am not mistaken both of them never left the campus.

    Running for an elective office at this point in their lives, in their 50’s ? Probably, closer to 60? I don’t think so.

  21. UP student

    Not on politics, but on labor : The “New Economist”-blogger mentions a report from the French National Institute of Research/Statistics : “…that French unions who flex their muscles in the face of greater trade competition make things worse, by encouraging firms to outsource more jobs.” Companies with strong labor unions with higher wages for their 35-year-old and older workers with the result that there are less available jobs for 25-year-old and younger new college graduates. Heartless French!!!!

  22. camry

    The line up of the senatorial slots for the 2007 elections mentioned above are persons of integrity, however, I have reservations on their electability. For the educated, I do not have problems, but, how about the “masa” which is the majority of the population? Do they know these persons? If Willie Revillame of wowowee will run for an elected post, his chances of winning is 95%.

    This is the problem in RP, the politics belongs to the rich, famous, and for those who have political dynasties and goons. Let us accept it. If we have elected officials who belong to the “masa”, most of them are Barangay Leaders. Isn’t it the current congress is a millionaires club?

  23. Carl

    camry said: “This is the problem in RP, the politics belongs to the rich, famous, and for those who have political dynasties and goons.”

    Those are the people the “masa” look up to and the people they would emulate if they had good fortune. Decades of poor education and exposure to bad taste (as in radio and entertainment, etc.) have taken their toll. It will take years to reeducate the people. It is not hopeless, but it will take much planning, work and reallocation of resources. Unfortunately, the elite continue to feed the masses with these values by encouraging the cycle of bread and circus.

  24. james

    That is the reason why all political wannabes are lining up to Erap because he holds the masa and the money too but beyond these, Erap has nothing more to offer.

    Yes, why not David and Dequiros. And once up there they will realize how difficult it is to contend with the talanka problem.

  25. anna de brux

    Agree with Carl.


    Time to END Patronage POLITICS … Why do you think a lot of people are trying to be POLITICIANS when they can CONTRIBUTE just the same as a PRIVATE CIIIZEN, Answer: The POWER that we give to these POLITICIANS, as of today, the KIND of Politicians we have is NOT DESERVING of RESPECT … They should LEAD by EXAMPLE – We VOTE for them as PUBLIC SERVANT and NOT The other way around.

    Why don’t we OPEN our EYES, we are just ACCEPTING the DOUBLE-STANDARD way of this FAKE Administration. The LAW for ERAP or the LAW for the Destabilizer’s as they call it SHOULD BE the SAME for those who support the FAKE GMA. Just like ATONG ANG

  27. Bencard

    mlq3, if Im reading you right, you seem to limit the Arroyo supporters into (1) those who “stick with the lady” because the alternatives are too “uncouth”, and (2) those who would prefer the “devil in power” over both the old and new devils.
    Under your classifications, you are implying, rather presumptuously, that there is not a soul in the entire nation who genuinely supports, admires, or loves GMA in recognition of her own merits and exceptional qualities as a leader. I think you are wrong!

    I don’t know if your omission is deliberate since you are an avowed anti-GMA, or it was just pure oversight. In either case, you cannot go on pretending these individuals don’t exist at all, or that they can be ignored because they are “insignificant” in number (another presumption?) anyway.

    Whatever caused the omission, you owe these “ignored” people an apology lest you be regarded as just another “spinmeister” with a personal agenda, i.e., to discredit Gloria by all means and tricks.

    Journalism is one of the few unregulated professions. In the name of freedom of expression, this activity proliferates, even abused, in the Philippines and elsewhere (where such freedom is rcognized) with hardly any restraint. Its strength is sustained by its integrity and credibility and its weakness lies in its irresponsibility, arrogance and dishonesty.

    With a historical name such as yours which evokes honor, integrity, nobility, and sense of fair play, I believe you have a special responsibility that sets you apart from the run-of the- mill opinion makers and political analysts. It is worth preserving.

  28. hvrds

    More on why the DJB model of governance will probably prevail.

    The Vulcan/Romullan/Kling-On mindset is on the rise.(Kling-Ons are sociopaths/crazies needed in any armed effort most especially in an anti-insurgency war or pre-emptive war.) Hitler had his Totenkopf Divisions (Deaths head) and Gestapo for pacification.

    The left has had probelms with fights amongst themselves and purges.

    Col. Valeriano’s Nenita Unit together with Edward Landsdale formulated the template for the anti-insurgency fight in the Philippines, Vietnam and Latin America. The foremost head of U.S. National Intelligence is Negroponte, head spook in Vietnam in 1964. ‘Death squads’ are effective tools in any anti-insurgency war. The KB issue hounding Lacson is one such issue.

    Please note the last sentence in DoD Gates piece below. Conquest, changing history is a long process. The line of DJB exactly about the U.S. conquest of the Philippines. His entire blog is along the same line. You have to give the guy credit. He sticks to his guns. Now all he has to do is run for public office so more people will learn of his ideas.

    The U.S. is still today trying to solve the problem of Muslim Mindanao. Reason the Philippine military is distintegrating is the top is getting rich by joining the executive and becoming the protector of the executive. They are now part of the elite.

    Here, for instance, is Robert Gates’ thinking eighteen months ago in a seminar at the Panetta Institute at California State University in Monterey on “phased troop withdrawals” from Iraq:

    “But Mr. Gates qualified his comments, noting it sometimes takes time to accomplish your goals. Sixty years after the end of the Second World War, ‘there are still American troops in Germany,’ he noted. ‘We’ve had troops in Korea for over 50 years. The British have had troops in Cyprus for 40 years… If you want to change history, you have to be prepared to stay as long as it takes to do the job.”

    The U.S. has been active here for over a hundred years.

  29. mlq3

    ben, the presumptuousness is in assuming i don’t know what i’m talking about. remember, i worked for the president and i think i’m in a fair position to distinguish her hard-core, loyal, admiring supporters from her other supporters who grudgingly do so, or are in it just because there’s something in it for them.

    of course there are people who genuinely admire the president. but not many. there are many more who engage in various degrees of rationalization to justify their continuing support.

    i get the impression you genuinely admire the president. that’s your prerogative. just as it’s mine to state my views on the characteristics of her base of support, and i’ve been doing that for some time, so readers have a very clear idea of my thinking on the subject: i’ve been attempting to figure out the president’s base of support even before the elections and you are welcome to review my columns, etc. over the past two years.

    i’d invite you to read my column again. in fact what i’m saying is half the country, by omission or commission, supports the president. but only half of that half can be considered hard-core supporters. and of the other half that opposes the president, it’s far more cohesive in what it dislikes -the president- but extremely disunited in what it actually supports. the president is a master of political logistics and knows that her hard core support still trumps the public that is opposition-minded, even if her loyalists are outnumbered two-to-one, because she can rely on the other half of her half, which by its being undecided, ends up in her camp by default. this was nixon’s silent majority strategy and is the carl rove playbook.

    so in effect, the president enjoys the tacit support of half the country, which is a far greater percentage than most oppositionists are willing to concede. and benjamin, i at least am at pains to explain over a period of time, the reasoning behind my thinking.

    you challenge my reading of the surveys, or my analysis of the base of support of the various camps, that is your right -so pray do show the basis for your counterthoughts?

  30. Tony

    hvrds… are you saying that DJB is part of the ongoing US strategy in the Philippines?


    BENCARD, Spare Mr. Quezon …

    Of coure there will ALWAYS be an ASS-LICKING, DIE-HARD fan of
    a FAKE and EVIL GLUERIA … Because there are those who
    BENEFIT and will always be a BLIND-FOLLOWER of the FAKE and WORST President

  32. Carl

    hvrds said: “The U.S. is still today trying to solve the problem of Muslim Mindanao.”

    At present, I believe the U.S. is more concerned with thwarting Islamic terrorism than going to the roots of self-determination, which the Philippine government should be more concerned about. And I believe it would be a mistake to trivialize the problem as a “Muslim” problem. It is much more than that.

  33. Abe N. Margallo

    mlq3 says: “. . . this list (of senatorial ‘dream team’) is probably more of a reflection of my impractical attitude towards politics than anything else.”

    If by “impractical” he means not “not practical” but notional, mlq3 is probably aligning himself with those who are critical of the dominant order of Philippine society. There is radicalism in such a notion, but it seems still reformative (mlq3’s stated purposes of a senator being “as an advocate, as a sensible lawmaker, and as a competent person to exercise oversight over government”) rather than transformative which is to challenge why despite the ‘dream team’ status of his list senatorial candidates, their winnability is virtually out of the question. Notwithstanding, mlq3’s reflection is several notches higher than that of Fr. Bernas whose primitive (but not ancient) conception of republicanism denies a people’s initiative the authority to propose complex changes to the constitution or of Justice Carpio who in Lambino reads into the “constitution of sovereignty” the requirement of deliberative body for the people to initiate such changes.

    “Too bad,” cvj laments, “the people in your above list are (simply) not viable as opposition Senatorial candidates.” This, I guess, is what handicaps the so-called Western-style democracy (a labeling DJB considers derisive) in the classical republican and liberal-democratic traditions. But there are other notions of democracies beyond the electoral model, one or two of which are taking place daily in the public sphere of quezon.ph where the dream team would have the fair chance of winning over the privileged politicians, the trapos , in deliberative discourse. Dryzek whom cjv often quotes refers to one as “discursive democracy.” It is in line with Dryzek’s democratic model (or style), for example, that what mlq3 has taken note of becomes relevant. mlq3 said: “quite a few happen to be bloggers or write in the papers, which I think is a big help since one of the things we need more of, are people willing to let others see what makes them tick and how they think.” What Randy, DJB, Willy and Edwin think, or how they think (discourses) are probably their real constituencies, not the habitually gullible Filipino electorate across the political spectrum.

    If the media was once called the Fourth Estate, and rightly so, the public sphere, aided by the wonders of technology, is now the fourth branch of government. In the Philippines, DJB, Willy and Edwin have already won their senatorial seats in this sphere by the mere fact of exposing their politics to the crucible of public cross-examination. Randy must immerse his feet likewise in this forum, otherwise not only that he will lose his top position in the mlq3’s dream team list, but he soon will become as archaic as Bernas or Carpio.

  34. hvrds

    No, he is a supporter of the mindset that produced the Philippines as a neo colony of the States. Please note the Philippines ia firstly a Spanish then American colonial construct. He is a supporter and you have to give him that due.

    Please note building a state is a messy business.

    On another note re: the Chinese so called miracle of recent years. Here are more fact for people to ponder. Foreign investments in China related to exports. Its effect on employment. Take a good look at the numbers.

    “The unusual nature of the Chinese economy and its export-led growth are laid out in a paper by economists John Whalley of the University of Western Ontario and Xian Xin of China Agricultural University published in May by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

    “Whalley and Xian found that what they call Foreign Invested Enterprises — usually joint ventures between foreign companies and Chinese companies — accounted for more than half of Chinese exports and 60 percent of its imports in 2003 and 2004. And even though the FIE’s produced more than 20 percent of Chinese GDP — and accounted for about 40 percent of its growth in those years – – they employed only 3 percent of its workforce.”

    “FIE’s production is geared to exports with the foreign partners providing “both distribution systems abroad and product design for export markets,” they say.”

    “It doesn’t seem likely that revaluation of the yuan in any reasonable measure would disturb this entrenched arrangement.”

    (John M. Berry is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

  35. UPn student

    Abe… to kind of suggest that the blogworld is key to instituting changes in Philippine politics is nonsensical at this moment. Surely you have read the frequent lament by the participants in Q3’s blogsite about the wrong politicians being elected into power because of the inability of the enlightened thinkers to reach the masa. Inability to reach the masa. Term technology-based media is an even worse platform (internet-access costs money), so in no way can blogging be the solution to obtaining a consensus from all (including the class-E folks), and you can ditch discursive democracy.
    cvj’s words, though, has wisdom, and I will repeat it here. “Working through advocacies as part of civil society” becomes a better vehicle to get known by the masa and for an entry into public service positions.

  36. john marzan

    This is the part of the population that watches idly by, for example, if there’s a rally where those rallying outnumber by 2 to 1 those theoretically willing to stand up for the administration: but since the government has the army and police, and doesn’t hesitate to apply force, numbers no longer cut it. The ralliers are dispersed, government is in possession of the field, and when even a small number of the bystanders cheer because they were inconvenienced, their cheering amplifies the Palace propaganda.

    Doronila’s warning, it seems to me, is that the undecided 1 in 4 — a huge percentage, electorally — is more likely to make a difference in the administration’s favor come election time, precisely because the opposition has neither reached out to them, nor recognized them as a huge constituency up for grabs. And it’s the Palace doing its utmost to keep the undecided, at the very least, where they are — and where they can do the least political harm. This is the Republican playbook and the opposition has done next to nothing to learn the lessons of how such a playbook can be foiled.

    is ms. veneracion and bong austero part of the “undecided” too? and how much of the 25% “undecideds” do the admin need to win the election? some of them? or all of them?

    and actually, the opposition is trying to reach out to those people who used to support the arroyo administration.

    or how else could the arroyo’s support group be down from 2001-2004, o diba?

  37. john marzan

    kuya Manuel, nabasa ko na yung mga senatorial candidates mo, and they are all good.

    pero paano naman sa House? can you or anybody here help suggest or recruit candidates for House seats para ilaban sa administration?

  38. john marzan

    i’ll start with this suggestion kung sino ang dapat itapat kay rep. miles roces sa manila.

    i’d like to see someone around 28-30+ years old. A FEMALE candidate. medyo kilala o may name recognition. Charismatic at high achiever. and being Chinese-Filipino is a plus.

  39. john marzan

    Sino kaya sa 5th district negros occidental at lubao pampanga ang attractive candidates na pwede nating kumbinsihin para tumakbo laban kay iggy at mikey arroyo?

    sana, merong Dailykos (dems) o Redstate blogs (GOP) sa pilipinas. these blogs monitor and help repubs and dems win their House and Senate seats, right?

  40. john marzan

    Amen to Doronila. That overconfidence thing is the reason why they cannot topple GMA.

    dapat talaga, hindi overconfident. as prof. reynolds like to say “Don’t get cocky.”

    but “overconfidence” has nothing to do with Arroyo’s getting away with a stolen election. having the military, the COMELEC and her allies na in the House “noted, noted” help keeps arroyo in power.

    and you can’t discount the people who make apologies or people who think it’s okey for arroyo to steal the election are the attitudes that help allow arroyo to get away with anything.

  41. mlq3

    john, i’m still struggling to put together an election analysis/strategy wiki:


  42. john marzan

    Manuel, the names you mention in your senatorial lineup like prilles, gail ilagan, michael tan, tito dean, ed lacierda, and yoly ong, have a better chance of winning if they ran for the House seat in their districts.

    siguro sa lahat ng nabanggit mo, si prof. david lang ang may magandang chance na manalo nationally ng isang senate seat.

  43. john marzan

    send DJB to Congress!

  44. Jeg

    cvj’s words, though, has wisdom, and I will repeat it here. “Working through advocacies as part of civil society” becomes a better vehicle to get known by the masa and for an entry into public service positions.

    That’s why I found cvj’s statement so remarkable. He used to advocate recruiting the middles to effect change in society thru government. (Correct me if Im wrong, cvj.) This way, working thru advocacies as part of civil society, is more practical, more doable for the reform minded middles.

  45. cvj

    Abe, thanks for pointing to Dryzek as his notion of discursive democracy is what gives theoretical basis to ‘people power’ (in its national and globalized manifestations) as opposed to the more traditional liberal constitutionalist variant of democracy which does not allow much room for this concept. In his scheme, it is the quality of interaction between the State and the Public Sphere that determines the health of a democracy. Civil Society’s entry into the State (via Arroyo, her cohorts and former cohorts now with the Hyatt 10) has had a double negative effect, first in reducing the vibrance of the public sphere because of their withdrawal from this arena, and second by being corrupted by the trappings of State power.

    UPn student, i think you’re right in pointing out that blogging is not yet there in terms of reach. However, just like egroups, it still has a role to play as an incubator of memes (whether good or bad) as well as a clearinghouse for facts. These have a way of seeping out into the wider world. An example is the “let’s move on” meme as embodied in Austero’s open letter.

    Jeg, just a clarification. My recommendation was specifically geared towards the middle not putting up its own candidates for elections. As far as i remember, i have not advocated anyone from the middle running for office. Our proper place is in the public sphere where we have to actively participate. As far as today’s advocacies are concerned, we in the middle have an overriding obligation to kick-out our very own Arroyo so we can restore stability in our society.

  46. anna de brux

    Re John Marzan’s question, “Sino kaya sa 5th district negros occidental at lubao pampanga ang attractive candidates na pwede nating kumbinsihin para tumakbo laban kay iggy at mikey arroyo?”

    The half sister of Gloria perhaps?

  47. Bencard

    “the presumptuousness is in assuming i don’t know what i’m talking about.” mlq3, 11:03a.m.

    Did I ever assume that? What you wrote, Manolo, you wrote and its there for everyone to see, and no amount of clever word-play can alter that unless you expressly retract. I’m glad you concede that there really are people who give unqualified support for GMA (“but not many”, you say). The fact, remains,however, that for some reason, you ignored them by
    essentially saying, in your opening statement, that all those who support GMA actually don’t like her but still go with her because there is no better choice.

    There may be just one or two of us who are in the same page and who visit your predominantly anti-GMA blog, but that is no excuse to deny our existence. Its not that we need your recognition, nor value it. Its just that I expect a little more open-mindedness from you, but if that is not possible, so be it. The sun will still rise tommorow, and GMA will still be President!

  48. Bencard

    p.s.: “the basis for my counterthought”.

    I don’t believe in surveys. I think they are subjective and contrived. I do believe in election results (even if its almost always contested by the sore losers). In both the official and NAMFREL counts, GMA won by over a million votes above her closest rival. About 40% of those who voted favored GMA, whilst 60& divided their support to FPJ, Lacson, Roco and Villanueva, with FPJ getting 36.51% and the others, 23.49%.(source: wikipidia). A great majority of the 60% anti-GMA vote wants to undo the 2004 election, and maligns her for not resigning. Their continuing saga is still playing without much success, except perhaps, in this blog.

  49. justice league

    Miles Roces never did show significant intellectual prowess before he was in Congress and still hasn’t shown much.

    Back when he was still a councilor; the “I love you Virus” done by a Filipino was unleashed and damaged many computers worldwide.

    Roces was one of those who went to “Debate With Mare and Pare” to defend the action of the virulent creator.

    He mentioned that we should be proud of the virus because it felled the Pentagon etc…

    He further stated that the economic cost of the virus was contrived stating that putting back all the data lost was just “pawis lang yan”!

    With the price of a re-format alone at about 300 to 500 Pesos back then; I certainly don’t think that its just a matter of sweat to bring those computers back to usefulness.

    Though I will concede that Miles Roces is NOT a TOTAL IDIOT!

    For one, he wasn’t stupid enough to give out his e-mail on the same show!

    But though I wasn’t victimized (I’d rather think that I was lucky rather than no one loved me) I do feel peeved about the Virus thing.

    And I do think that the 3rd District of Manila would be better served if this Not Total Idiot doesn’t get re-elected to Congress.

    BTW, his run was assured as his only rival got disqualified before the vote.

  50. mlq3


    I’m sorry you feel slighted, but the way I see it, in the political scheme of things, your admiration and support for the president at this time are inconsequential. that’s not to say neither the president nor the rest of the administration don’t appreciate your support. it’s just that it’s not their biggest priority at present. let me suggest why.

    whatever happens, you will support her, and indeed, the greater the adversity she faces, the higher your admiration. were it possible, if push comes to shove, you might even die for her and all things being equal, it is for your high opinion of her, and faith in trust in her that the president probably works and does what she believes is good for the country -just as she does it despite of the rest that she probably believes is to incompetent, crooked, deluded, etc., to know better than to oppose her.

    but let me further propose that even within her administration’s ranks -that is, within the political circles she operates in- only a minority work for or with her out of admiration and loyalty to her. there are many reasons for this. but she learned a huge lesson at edsa tres: all the genuine admirers, supporters, etc. don’t count when push comes to shove, when the mobs have been unleashed and the rhetoric heats up. first of all, that is not her kind of fight and it isn’t a fight she’s equipped to win. just as civil society, and even her political allies were useless at that time and only the police and afp saved her government, so too, at the present time, are supporters like you useless to keeping her in office and in power (as you and she believes, to do good for a country unable to appreciate it).

    what matters now, as july 2005 reinforced, is a combination of keeping politicians on a tight leash by means of patronage, and everyone else at bay through the application of force. yet she came very close to throwing in the towel last year, it was fvr who rescued her, together with chavit singson and then jdv. in december last year then february this year, not even fvr or jdv could save her. the pnp and afp did and they have exacted their pound of flesh just as fvr and jdv tried to do, and are still trying to do.

    go back again to edsa tres. what i decribed in my column was the case, in a very real sense, during the attack on the palace. her politico enemies could stoke up the crowd, lacked the courage to lead it, but unleashed it. they outnumbered everyone else arrayed against them two to one. civil society and her lakas-kampi operatives tried to come out but were reduced to huddling in san beda as the mob attacked the palace. but having been incompetently led, the mob dissipated its strength and energy throwing themselves against the palace gates until provincial reinforcement from the afp arrived and dispersed them. the rest of the president’s constituency at that time was reduced to:

    a) making a beeline for the airport and the yachtclub
    b) frantically calling home
    c) praying
    d) locking their doors and hoping the afp and pnp would hunt the rabble down

    and the president’s government was saved, and at least half the country (not all of whom ever liked her) breathed a sigh of relief.

    the president, let us assume, gained 40% in 2004. yes, 60% were against her, but like i said, of that 60% another 30-40% were hard-core estrada-poe supporters but that still leaves 20-30% who were against her but probably willing to live with the results if honestly achieved because they would prefer her to the poe-estrada combine. but that 20-30% is back in play since july, 2005.

    so again, if you feel slighted or scorned, i regret that, because it’s not my intention to insult you. but it is my intention to explain how i see things. now if that offends you, again that is unfortunate but i can only apologize for unintentially hurting your feelings but never for describing a situation as i see it.

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