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Dec 15

If you can’t beat ’em, scare ’em

In Bacolod City and neighboring areas, protests are being held, accompanied by the usual statements from the military and police.; today, forces that usually ignored each other join forces to protest in Makati City. Apparently even the Speaker’s province mates will be rallying.

Tomorrow, journalists, the public, and officials will be adding up the numbers in the provincial rallies and engaging in trying to predict whether the Sunday rally at Rizal Park will be a shocker -or a dud. If attendance does not meet media expectations (or the public’s) expect this Palace trial balloon to become the official party line and even campaign platform.

Banning the usual suspects from the stage can only help attendance, though [email protected] thinks it’s all about power, period.

The President is certainly doing her best to deflate expectations for this coming Sunday. What she expected to do prior to the Speaker’s ultimatum to the Senate she’s finally done, which has led to her to drop even the idea of a convention, something being characterized as folding and which has apparently upset her allies in the House. The Palace has always believed in surveys, regardless of what it says in public (which is aimed at setting aside surveys it doesn’t like).

Is there anything significant in the Voice of America publishing a story on the President’s retreat, while world media has mostly ignored the story? Well, Time Magazine had a brief story.

Official hostility to the rally seems another exercise in brinkmanship. For example, going beyond saber-rattling about soldiers or government workers attending the rally, and suggesting there might be a terror threat (not just in Metro Manila, but elsewhere). The police have had to contradict the military (literally a good-cop, bad-cop routine) since the country’s gotten a black eye from terrorism jitters as of late.

In the punditocracy, yesterday’s protests royally pissed off columnist Dan Mariano.
Wishlist! Ho, ho, ho!

In the blogosphere, Uniffors lists the latest government saber-rattling versus the Sunday rally. As Ellen Tordesillas recounted, the Palace wanting to join in made people’s toes curl, and not with pleasure.

Rally details from Black & White Movement, from One Voice, and Toots Ople. For an alternate views, see Organized Chaos and Ecce Ego.

A Nagueño in the Blogosphere recounts some interesting comments on constitutional change by people who live under the parliamentary system.

Jove Francisco recounts a surly cabinet secretary reacting to the Christmas Love story.

Newbreak’s statement on the latest suit filed by the President’s husband.

And because ’tis the season: Wishlist! Ho, ho, ho!

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121 comments

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  1. cvj

    Evil has a way of being defeated perhaps not exactly by ‘our efforts’ but by the rest of the good people in the country when one least expects it.” – Anna

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Looking at the composition of yesterday’s rally attendees and talking to some of them, i also agree with your suggestion in Ellen’s blog on Susan Roces (a-la Sonia Gandhi) being able to unite the opposition against Gloria . I hope she steps up to that role for May 2007 and beyond.

    Carl, your analysis on the local nature of congressional elections (for the house) is one of the best arguments against a unicameral-parliamentary system i’ve seen.

  2. Ben

    Dear anna de brux,

    You said: “Hahahah! I wonder what Msgr. Pepe Quitorio meant by “quality of the crowd”.”

    I wasn’t there but if I may venture a guess, it was the prayerfulness of the crowd — the focus on the sanctity of the occasion. Had I known it wasn’t going to be so big, I’d have gone, too. (Slapping my forehead and saying Doh!)

    Of course, I wouldn’t put it past the bishops to do some face saving too. All the world’s a stage. 😉

  3. Ben

    Manuel,

    You said: “Gloria and her cabinet take a six month leave. All comelec commissioners and their designated regional directors take a leave for the same period. Then let’s have a snap election with new faces supervising.


    How about it?”

    I’d like to understand your proposed scenario. I’m taking it at its face so please tell me if I’m taking it too literally:

    1. Can we legally have a snap election if incumbents are just on leave? Is your suggestion equivalent to resignation? Who will act as caretakers?
    2. I agree that a trustworthy COMELEC would be crucial. In fact I think my idea of statesmen might just be related to your “new faces”, in the sense that they are more to be trusted (Although by statesmen I would prefer those who are beyond accepting or running for positions). But since you used “new”, do you think that Filipinos will be more inclined to trust really new people? I know you don’t like the name game but could you indulge me and just mention a possible new face COMELEC Commissioner and why this person appeals to you?

    I’m guessing that thinking of such people would be like thinking of CONCON delegates so this could be a useful exercise.

    Does anyone else want to propose scenarios moving forward?

  4. krik2

    so…

    this is what these guys are saying- the public outrage against cha-cha, short of 450,000!
    let me say again that what this blog is refering to as the public is but 50,000(maybe less) gathered at luneta yesterday. few noisy guys indeed.

  5. vic

    There is nothing wrong with Parliamentary system of governement per se. As proposed as I noted before, the Philippines model has so many defects other than that the Pilipino do not trust the current politicians to even tinker with the current constitutitions because of the belief that the politicians are up for something sinister. Most Parliamnetary system form are bicameral. Take the Canadian system for example. It is bicameral compose of the upper house known as the House of Senate, represented by a total of 104 senators apportioned to each province or region according to each other population and area and the Lower House known as the House of Commons. The original idea of the Senate, who in order of precedence and heirarchy is ahead of the Commons is a sobering check for the excesses of the House of Commons where the Executive power emanates. All legislations have to pass vote houses, although as of the present, the Senate functions more of just perfunctuary and very rarely rejects legislation passed by the house.
    There is debate and proposal going on to reform the Senate, and the first order of proposal is to make it an Elected body instead of Appointed as in the past. Our Senate has become a Patronage retirement for ex-Politicians who could no longer win an election to the House of Commons. And Senators are a bunch of lazy bums, just waiting to get to the compulsory retirement and get their citation or some a place to the Order from the Queen.

  6. cynical

    cvj, I have nothing personally against her but what makes Susan Roces special that makes her able to unite the opposition?

  7. cvj

    cynical, i believe Susan Roces being FPJ’s widow, can galvanize the support of his supporters in the same way that Cory was able to do so with Ninoy’s supporters in the 80’s. The opposition needs to engineer an electoral tsunami to swamp Gloria’s cheating operation in May 2007 as well as for any snap elections (with or without a run-off), and for this, it needs to energize its base, which is the masa. The votes will not come from the middle class who are comfortable with the status quo, and too cynical for their own good and therefore largely irrelevant at this point. Since Erap is still in jail, I don’t see anyone else of similar stature

  8. pinoy_gising

    I originally posted this comment in Ellen’s blog wherein the idea was raised that Susan can step up and lead the opposition, I’m reposting it here:

    Susan Roces became very vocal and visible last year in the efforts to remove GMA from office, she and Cory even joined forces at some point and marched together, but to no avail. She didn’t automatically inherit the masa’s popular support for Erap and FPJ. (Not yet anyway.)

    If we are to go by recent surveys, Pulse Asia’s Nov 2006 survey on senatorial preferences has Loren Legarda very much in the top position. She was FPJ’s running mate in 2004, so some of his masa support probably rubbed on her, plus she seems to be acceptable to a large portion of the middle class as well.

    So far though, Loren hasn’t been in the forefront of the anti-GMA efforts, preferring instead to concentrate on her electoral complaint against Noli. By the way, what’s the latest news about that?

  9. Carl

    cynical said: “I have nothing personally against her but what makes Susan Roces special that makes her able to unite the opposition?”

    That is more of wishful thinking by some sectors rather than the reality. I know Susan Roces, unlike some people who are grasping at straws. While she is a very kind and decent woman, she has no stomach whatsoever for politics. And she is smart enough to know that, that is why she never ventured into the deep end of political adventurism. Although she has publicly castigated the administration, she has not gone all out because she knows that it is unfamiliar territory and doesn’t suit her private nature. She has seen how politics doomed her husband who, unwittingly, forayed into unchartered territory. FPJ was always a reluctant candidate and it showed. He only ventured into politics out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to his good friend, Erap.

    As for comparing Susan Roces to Cory Aquino, the analogy doesn’t wash. First of all, there was pent-up outrage against Marcos after 20 years of his rule.

    Secondly, Cory Aquino was exposed to politics for the greater part of her life through a political family and a political husband.

    Thirdly, the opposition faced a sick and dying man at that time. The outcome may have been very different if Marcos had full control of his faculties.

    Fourth, Cory didn’t even win that 1986 election. She was installed via a coup, thanks to Ramos and Enrile who ignited it. And thanks to the millions who marched on EDSA. Cory was hiding in a convent in Cebu when EDSA broke out. She didn’t show up until the shooting stopped. Of course, to the victor belong the spoils and it became academic whoever won that election.

    As for the coming 2007 elections, I read in today’s Inquirer Sen. Edgardo Angara’s analysis on the congressional elections:

    “Sen. Edgardo Angara, however, doubted that public outrage over the administration lawmakers’ attempts to fast-track constitutional amendments would spill over into next year’s midterm elections.”

    “The main proponents are territorial representatives. Many of them are holding safe seats and a national issue may have a marginal impact on their election or reelection.”

    Many of these congressmen may not be disliked by those in their ivory towers. But they are duly elected (with no need of cheating, mind you) and they do represent their constituencies at the grassroots. And, like it or not, the grassroots are the real Philippines.

  10. cvj

    pinoy_gising, thanks, I’ve subsequently read through your and your other comments in Ellen’s blog. Perhaps my assumption that Susan will automatically inherit FPJ’s mantle does need some verification. For the reasons you have stated as well as other commenters’ reactions over there, i agree that Loren may be viable, although for me, the fact that Susan does not have any taste for politics is something i consider a plus in that she is a less threatening figure than the former as far as the other ambitious opposition politicos are concerned. (The fact that even Carl has put in a good word for her above is a double plus.)

    Also, while Loren has to run her own race for the Senate, Susan will be the one with more time to campaign for opposition candidates in local elections. She can follow Sonia Gandhi’s successful model of opposition leadership in India back (from 1998 to 2004).

    As for Loren’s electoral protest, I haven’t been following that closely (in part because i believe that Noli actually won). The latest i’ve read is the Newsbreak story that manuelbuencamino has pointed to above (the same one that Bencard refuses to read).

  11. Shaman of Malilipot

    I cannot accept Carl’s statement that Cory didn’t win the 1986 election. If Marcos won in the official tally, it was because of massive cheating. Even Enrile admitted that he cheated for Marcos in Region II. And it was precisely this cheating that enraged the people and gave them courage to support the Ramos-Enrile mutiny that led to the EDSA revolution.

  12. anna de brux

    Shaman,

    It’s really difficult to know with finality if Cory won or not in the 1986 election. But in any case, the Edsa 1 sort of ‘plebiscited’ her win and Marcos did flee, he vacated Malacanang so with his escape as the final arbiter in the contest, Cory’s election to presidency should no longer be in doubt.

  13. anna de brux

    cvj,

    She could’ve been the charismatic leader the opposition needed to unite them. But as Carl pointed out, it seems Susan Roces has no ‘stomach’ for politics and I don’t blame her. Even if her role would be only to do a Sonia Ghandi, uniting the opposition is still going into politics.

  14. anna de brux

    Realist,

    What you say about the moral dwarf in Malacanang is an understatement, “she is not shy to retreat when it is to her advantage”.

    I attribute her efforts at “retreat” to flipflopping, backtracking, backpedaling – she’s made them part and parcel of her presidential policy because she’s greedy, she’s incompetent, she’s unreliable and she’s trustworthy.

  15. cvj

    anna (at 6:34pm), i can only hope that she reconsiders at some point, but in any case, i respect her choice.

  16. anna de brux

    cvj,

    Ditto.

    But again, something that Yuko said in Ellen’s blog about Susan Roces’ sort of battlecry which if read at face value could mean that Susan is not all that unwilling to lead:

    “…she actually said in a televised interview, “Umpisahan ninyo, tatapusin ko!”

  17. vic

    Just my thoughts; I believe Ms Roces has realized what has became of those who get involved in Philippines politics. Usually, if they ever get out of politics, their names are already sullied and most decided might as well stay in the game and became so thickskinned that nothing seems to penetrate their senses. She is still in the sense of the world a proper Lady, well-respected and I bet that could change or maybe not, but politics, Philippines style had turned saints into what we have the current crops.

  18. Bencard

    cvj: just noticed your post at 11:pm (12/17). Logic is not proof of fact. Good logic is a tool for fact finding. But logic is only good if the premise is right.
    A fallacious premise results in a fallacious logic.Thus, a I explained to you before, your premise that one who had a phone conversation with a comelec official was guilty of lying, cheating and stealing, is ludicrously false resulting in the equally absurd conclusion that GMA was guilty of those crimes because she supposedly talked with a comelec official. Again, bad premise equals bad logic. I hope you don’t repeat your misleading argument again.

    Also, statistical probabilities may be used as tool for deciding an issue of fact, but it is not determinative of its existence. Therefore, it is not, standing alone, a substitute for proof of truth.

  19. cvj

    Bencard, please read manuelbuencamino’s comments above (starting with the one at December 17 at 1:21am). As he suggested, look at the timeline. No matter how much you pepper your comments with dismissive terms like ‘ludicrous’ and ‘absurd’, the premise and context still stands. As a species, we choose to ignore reality at our peril.

    Regarding your second paragraph above, i don’t understand what exactly you’re arguing against. Everyday life provides few opportunities for absolute certainty, which is why probabilities are often taken into account in making determinations of fact. Even the language of the courtroom e.g. ‘probable cause’, ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt‘ is structured around the use of probabilities (instead of certainties), in this case, in the form of the judge’s (or jury’s) degree of belief.

  20. Bencard

    cvj: I ignored manuel’s “timeline” because to me, it was pure hogwash, not evidence. Obviously, you as well as Manuel, and the guy who authored it, see it the way you all want it to be and, unless your so-called timeline withstand scrutiny in a court of law, I will continue treating it as just a pyramid of unsubstantiated propositions.

    Probabilities, whether “epistemic” (your term) or “statistical” (my word) are just that: probabilities or, to use a simple term, possibilities. Don’t make me lecture you again on the difference between “probable cause” and “proof beyond reasonable doubt” and how they are applied. In deciding cases, especially criminal cases, courts aim for certainty (as humanly possible), not mere probabilities.

    Of course, you wouldn’t understand what I’m arguing about, would you? As the trite saying goes ” a little learning is a dangerous thing”.

  21. cvj

    bencard, it does not require a court of law to establish that the events in manuel’s timeline took place in public. since the events themselves are not in question, we are free to take the next step, which is to determine what conclusion a reasonable person would arrive at in light of these facts. of course, it is your prerogative to ignore the timeline, but in doing so, you still can’t make these events go away.

    mathematically, probability is assigned a value between 0 (impossibility) and 1 (absolute certainty). in a vast number of situations in life, probabilities are all we have to work with. as a practical matter, we cannot function if we always have to wait to determine whether something is impossible or absolutely certain.

    as for lecturing me, you have to realize that in this world where BS is commonplace, experts have a duty to explain themselves. Putting on an attitude is not a substitute for a well reasoned argument.

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