Ghost in the machine

The new airport in Manila is too shaky to use, for now. Vilma Santos will run for governor of Batangas.

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Fitch sez: no upgrade for now, things are simply stable. Inflation at a new low, which is great (except read the reasons given why, and ask if they will last or not: see this article in Slate on how the American housing bubble has burst, and ask yourself what the fallout globally will be).

The opposition was correct, I think, in refusing the attempt by the President’s pet businessmen to rig a debate. Conrado de Quiros explains why. Naturally, the administration’s upset.

Yesterday, Amando Doronila analyzed the unraveling of the opposition, and how Serge Osmeña could possibly turn things around.

But it’s both sides that are adjusting and making at times abrupt efforts to react to the public pulse. Fel Maragay points to the survey findings in Manila as a cause of unease and reshuffling in the administration campaign team (Maragay also has interesting scuttlebutt concerning political goings-on in Manla: the Palace is lukewarm to Ali Atienza and at one point approached Imelda Marcos to support her if she’d run for mayor). In his column, Billy Esposo gives additional details concerning the moves of both sides’ campaigns, and finally publishes what was only discussed in private: the opposition’s Iloilo City sortie (read Iloilo City Boy’s post on how the bumbling of the opposition not only led to lost opportunities, but hurt feelings in Iloilo City) didn’t take place because a measly 50,000 pesos necessary for logistics wasn’t sent.

This, I think, explains Doronila’s point that Osmeña’s appointment as campaign head indicates a weaning away from the Estrada domination of the opposition: whoever has the money in a campaign calls the shots (whoever has the gold, makes the rule, that’s the golden rule, eh?). The opposition is scrambling because it’s starved of funds. Estrada obviously isn’t sharing any of his loot. Observers like Doronila say he’s also lost his electoral charm. But businessmen, who in general have learned to leave the country or be unavailable during election time, even if willing, aren’t able to give because government has warned them of consequences if they help finance the opposition.

So the point is no one has the clout to end the squabbling in the opposition because no one is financing it. On the other hand, the President has been a master of the power of the purse. See Jove Francisco’s account of how the President is wining and dining leaders, despite her claims she will focus on governance and not the campaign. She is simply too much of a micro-manager to do that, even if it were wise (her Waterloo is her micro-management of everything; it evades a cardinal rule of politics for presidents, which is to always establish plausible deniability).

The President’s strategy from the start (when she came to realize in the wake of Edsa Tres that a large chunk of the population would never come to like her, and that her loyalists would never constitute an electoral majority), was to keep the incumbent’s advantage -in electoral machinery- pumped and primed. That all things being equal, she could master logistical challenges, and use every institution and sector on the principle that they may not like her, but they dislike the Estrada crowd more, and that even her deepest admirers would rather not think of an administration headed by her Vice-President. Again, read Jove’s entry to see how the combination of logistics and not practicing what you preach, works. But the problem, the ghost in the machine, is that even when well-oiled, the President tends not to leave well enough alone.

Doronila in his commentary, says the issue of political killings and militarization must be seized by the opposition, if it wants to gain traction with the public -too many of the old school politicos in the opposition ranks are living in the past harping on former president Estrada.

Certainly, as today’s Inquirer editorial and the Manila Times editorial point out, if the military has been active in squatter colonies since November, it has to be asked if this is a really valid counterinsurgency effort, since it involves frightening people into not voting a certain way. It seems the government is alarmed by the strength in the surveys of radical party list groups. The question is whether the armed forces have any business telling voters -at the point of a gun- whom to vote for, when they are supposed to be neutral during elections. More troubling still is the refusal of the AFP to cease and desist: on the simple argument that no, the military presence has nothing to do with the elections.

The President’s signing of the anti-terror bill today would be a good opportunity to raise the issue, if only members of the opposition hadn’t voted for it.

In the blogosphere, Edwin Lacierda pens an eloquent response to the open letter du jour, Harvey Keh’s. Overseas, Politico.com on the frantic lobbying in the US Congress over a global climate change bill.

Overseas news: riots in Denmark greet the demolition of a historic building.

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  1. Claudio: “I think we are expecting a very good showing on the part of the administration ticket, kung hindi 8-4, baka 9-3.” (from Jove’s)

    Ain’t he the same guy who predicted a 1M+ winning margin for GMA in the last election? Either he’s got prescient powers or he’s making a wild guess or something else… it’s the “something else” part that is worrisome– what do they intend to do with their political machineries to turn the tide. When a political operator says “we have the advantage of machinery” what comes to mind? Is it that amazing, all-powerful machinery that operates in a garcifically bolantic way?

    • manuelbuencamino on March 6, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    The symbolism is too good to pass up.

    Manila Hotel vs. Plaza Miranda.

    Gloria Arroyo against the people of the Philippines

    • Aames on March 6, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    ricelander said, “Ain’t he the same guy who predicted a 1M+ winning margin for GMA in the last election?…”

    Is this a fact?

    • Paeng on March 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    ^ yup, that’s him.

    • realist on March 6, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    ricelander: Is it that amazing, all-powerful machinery that operates in a garcifically bolantic way?

    Yes, that’s it!

    • Paeng on March 6, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    si Chavit nagpa-raffle ng pera habang nangangampanya. in front of national TV pa.

    and nobody’s makling a big fuss about it?

    • manuelbuencamino on March 6, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Paeng,

    We should make a fuss. Tell Chavit to make his raffle prizes bigger, Right now they are only a trickle. We want money gushing out of Chavit and TU’s pockets so we can share in the economic boom they’re enjoying.

    • DJB on March 6, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Estrada was the best thing that ever happened to the elites. They never want him to go away because he’s the only thing that actually unites them and keeps them in power. In fact, if the Opposition loses big it’s because the stupid “middle forces” have never seen through what really happened at Edsa Dos. To the extent that they even tolerate Chavit Singson!

    He’s untouchable because he is the guy who helped get rid of Erap, for which those middle forces are willing to ignore Davide and Joker’s dereliction of duty and violation of the Constitutional order, beside which Chavit’s criminal activities are really small potatoes.

    • watchful eye on March 6, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    djb, you mean the Makati elites and the peninsulares and the insulares …

    • baycas on March 6, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    although probably not partymates, vilma and christopher will be together again…but not in reel life…

    straight from their mano po 3-starrer in 2004, they will surely hold stellar roles in Batangas this year. what a treat…and this might be the best for the province…

    abangan…if coc’s will be filed.

  2. The President’s signing of the anti-terror bill today would be a good opportunity to raise the issue, if only members of the opposition hadn’t voted for it.

    Well, the democrats (hillary, kerry, edwards) too voted for the war in Iraq before they were against it. and i didn’t know na pwede palang gamitin ang anti-terror bill sa party list groups.

    are they now listed as terrorist organizations too by arroyo, katulad ng NPAs at Abu sayyaf?

    • benj on March 6, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Im a Batangueño so I sure hope that Vilma Santos runs. Ricky Recto is just as vile as Sanchez, imho.

    Where did the Claudio link come from? 9-3 for the admin?! So everyone save for Magsaysay, Kiram and whoever will win? That’s a tall order, but as long as Escudero and Cayetano loses, I’m fine with that.

  3. Estrada was the best thing that ever happened to the elites. They never want him to go away because he’s the only thing that actually unites them and keeps them in power. In fact, if the Opposition loses big it’s because the stupid “middle forces” have never seen through what really happened at Edsa Dos. To the extent that they even tolerate Chavit Singson!

    I do believe na if Estrada is given temporary liberty (yung trial balloon ni Mike Defensor) and allowed to campaign for the Opposition bets across the country, I believe na makakatulong ito sa mga Opposition candidates (unlike Arroyo).

    But you can’t really rely on Erap’s so called “magic” if he’s cooped up in Tanay.

    • Mita on March 6, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Gee, instead of coddling local government contacts they are insulting them with their little white lies? unbelievable…

    I thought the opposition had a chance with all the discontent with the administration going around…but now…even that is doubtful. Mahina talaga…

    Better wean, wean, wean…and wean some more before a win is even within sight!

    I’ve always admired Serge Osmena and am looking forward to what he can do. This campaign has got to be the most boring I’ve ever witnessed!

    • inidoro ni emilie on March 7, 2007 at 5:34 am

    “si Chavit nagpa-raffle ng pera habang nangangampanya. in front of national TV pa.” –paeng

    which is illegal.

    and this person, ladies and gentlemen, is running to become become a lawmaker.

    • inidoro ni emilie on March 7, 2007 at 5:37 am

    but then again, what does he know about anything legal?

    • DJB on March 7, 2007 at 6:01 am

    The Anti Terrorism Law was signed yesterday but it is NOT in force and wont be until June 14, 2007. It is automatically suspended for three months around EVERY election. It will chill the police and PREVENT arrests of possible terrorists because of the 500,000 reward money per day for lawyers and play-acting terrorists. It is a dumb law made lame and weak by the left’s comrades in the Congress, like Jamby Madrigal.

    As for Erap, Doronila, GMA, and the rest of the Edsa Dos Boosters are secretly in love with the fact that he is still in play to kick around, to scare all the lil boyz and girlz that he might come back, to act as a foil for their own power grab and continued domination of an issue that it seems only the poorest of the poor truly understand: that nothing changed despite an age of moralism. They’ve sainted folks like Davide and Joker, who’ve never been punished for their own towering crimes against the Constitution and simple duty.

    The reasons they can tolerate Chavit Singson is because they know deep inside they tolerated even greater crimes by those two. In some sense Chavits crimes are “ordinary” for politicians. Joker and Davide proved that the “good guys” are capable of doing even greater harm!

    • Bencard on March 7, 2007 at 6:47 am

    One doesn’t have to be a political genius to know the motives of the opposition in insisting on a “debate” in Plaza Miranda. C.de Quiroz describes it as “the most inspired thing” they have done. If it wasn’t de Quiroz writing, I would say he must be joking. The strategem is as plain as a half-closed eye could see.

    The opposition obviously wants a verbal brawl, not a high-level and civilized debate. They want a public airing of their charges against PGMA (as if she herself was a candidate), unfettered by rules of evidence and standards of truth, hoping thereby to persuade the gullible to their side. I am certain that infantile muckracker, Cayetano, will have a ball.

    Team Unity is too smart to fall into this charade. Poor Tamano, he is fast learning the way of cheap politics.

  4. MLQ3,

    You said “…when she came to realize in the wake of Edsa Tres that a large chunk of the population would never come to like her, and that her loyalists would never constitute an electoral majority”

    Wonder why she’d think that? After all she’s always denied that she had lied, cheated and stolen her way to Malacanang? So why on earth shoudn’t a large chunk of the population not like her?

    • manuelbuencamino on March 7, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Bencard,

    Aminin mo na – Takot ang TU mo humarap sa taong bayan. Ang dami mo pang ek-ek

    Bakit, pwede din naman sabihin ni Cayetano kung anu man sa harap ng mga pet businessman ni Gloria. Hndi takot ang GO sa kanila. Payag naman ang GO na mag-debate din sa Manila Hotel, after Plaza Miranda.

    You can run but you can’t hide. We can still smell the stench of fear.

    • inidoro ni emilie on March 7, 2007 at 9:06 am

    djb on 6:40 pm.

    bull’s eye.

    • james on March 7, 2007 at 9:23 am

    whew! you still think cayetano is credible? accuse first then ask for a waiver from the accused? nuts

    what happened to iloilo is what the oppositiona(anti-gma forces-not true opposition) is doing all along. they are going to use all tactics without regard to its conseauences to the place or to the country.
    bomb threat in iloilo?!
    Ililo mayor now wants the camp of tupas to apologize for the wrong picture that they are portraying Iloilo.

    • Mita on March 7, 2007 at 9:40 am

    cayetano…LOL! hindi nga siguro takot mag-akusa sa harap ng camera pero hindi naman nya mapatotohanan mga pinagsasabi nya. hindi ba’t importante din na panindigan mo ang mga akusasyon mo?

    buti na lang pogi sya…

    • manuelbuencamino on March 7, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Mita,

    Di hayaan mo husgahan si Cayetano ng taong bayan sa Plaza Miranda!

    Bakit ba pinagpiilitan ninyo magpaliwanag siya sa Manila Hotel kay Framcis Chua, Donald Dee, at Mike Varela?

    Magpunta sa Plaza Miranda ang TU. Mga nanghahamon tapos uurong din pala.

    Ano yan TU – TEAM URONG?

    • Bencard on March 7, 2007 at 10:24 am

    buencamino, hindi boksing ang debate. Hindi rin ito labanan ng mga dalahirang siopao o bungagerong mestizo.
    Labanan ito ng utak at abilidad sa pangangatwiran. ni hindi dapat ditong nanonood ang mahilig kumain ng shit.

    • Mita on March 7, 2007 at 10:29 am

    pinagpilitan ko? kelan?

    c’mon…anyone, whether pro or anti-opposition, just has to admit cayetano is all show and no bite! sino ba ang napaurong nung natapos ang expulsion hearings nya?

  5. buencamino, hindi boksing ang debate. Hindi rin ito labanan ng mga dalahirang siopao o bungagerong mestizo.
    Labanan ito ng utak at abilidad sa pangangatwiran. ni hindi dapat ditong nanonood ang mahilig kumain ng shit.

    hahaha

    tapos pag natalo , palalabuin lang ang isyu.

    • Bencard on March 7, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I have been wondering where plunder respondent Estrada is getting all the dough to bankroll the “GO” campaign while maintaining the lifestyle of his broods, both legitimate and illegitimate. Now that his GO team is floundering and strapped for cash, its either his “inexhaustible” stash is depleted or he got wind of the fact that the candidates he was pouring money on are nothing but a bunch of losers and he has to close the spigot to stop the waste.

    • mlq3 on March 7, 2007 at 11:35 am
      Author

    bencard, unlike the losers happily drinking from the tap attached to our national treasury, eh?

    • inidoro ni emilie on March 7, 2007 at 11:48 am

    “Labanan ito ng utak at abilidad sa pangangatwiran. ni hindi dapat ditong nanonood ang mahilig kumain ng shit.”

    bencard, are you referring to the masa as “mahilig kumain ng shit?” kung ganon, kahit inidoro ko can’t take this condensceding attitude. it is these shit-eaters who have to wallow with the ineptitude and manipulations of these politicians, and you don’t want to involve them in the debate?

    • Bencard on March 7, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    iniduro, i don’t care how you interpret my post but the reference is to Buencamino who is on record in this blog as shit connousieur and finds it “delectable”. Ask him and give him some from your rim.

    MLQ3, yeah but COA is watching, and if you can find proof, why, prosecute them! No one will stop you, I think.

  6. Now that his GO team is floundering and strapped for cash, its either his “inexhaustible” stash is depleted or he got wind of the fact that the candidates he was pouring money on are nothing but a bunch of losers and he has to close the spigot to stop the waste.

    All out sana ang gastos niya kung nandiyan ang anak niyang si JV Eh umurong. Ang tunay na dahilan daw ay pag nagwithdraw si JV sa banko niya. Makakuha ng atensiyon.

    Masyado sigurong napakalaki ang pera doon anoh?

    • bogchimash on March 7, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Why is there a premiss here that Erap amassed so much wealth with a tone that he got it through illicit means? How long was he in power anyway? From what I remember, Erap’s policies were killers of the traditional modes of getting rich in high places. He was averse to government loans and contracts with soveriegn guaranty. Just how did he become rich?

  7. Why is there a premiss here that Erap amassed so much wealth with a tone that he got it through illicit means?

    The reason I do not want algebra and trigo removed from the high school curriculum is because i do not want to read this kind of question.

    if x is half of y
    and Y is 10
    then x cannot be 6.

    but then, these statements need only the basic 3r’s, reading, reading and reading.

    He was averse to government loans and contracts with soveriegn guaranty. Just how did he become rich?

    • Mita on March 7, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    why? maybe because he’s charged with PLUNDER in our courts….

    • bogchimash on March 7, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    wow! i thought the 3r’s are reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic. if this is an exercise of poetic license, then i am sorry because you completely lost me. on the other hand, if it is a figure of speech to emphasize the importance of reading, implying that i should do more research, then shame on me for being a stickler to rules. if this is indeed the case, would you get off your high horse and direct mortal me to the things i missed? maybe i have been wasting my time reading the works of my favorites who are mostly old or dead.

    btw, to be dragged to the courts has the same stigma of being found guilty only in jurisdictions where institutions work.

    • Mita on March 7, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    ngek…parang baliktad ata. The premise is always INNOCENT until proven guilty….

    But in Erap’s case, there is a premise of guilt because of the very public displays of Clarissa Ocampo, Chavit Singson, Jueteng, Tobacco and now more than ever before, Atong Ang.

    But of course, alam natin na walang mangyayari kasi mahirap magkaroon ng precedent na nakukulong na ex-president…

    So now the question, based on the premise, is: Whose got the dough??

  8. direct mortal me to the things i missed?

    what you need is new prescription glasses.

    • bogchimash on March 7, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    geez! thanks for raising that. if my words sounded as though i threw out the window the presumption of innocence of the accused, i suppose i was misunderstood. all i wanted to say was that the stigma or the public’s perception of guilt when one is brought to court is more justified in countries where institutions work.

    • bogchimash on March 7, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    new glasses? how about getting laid while i’m at it?

    • Bencard on March 8, 2007 at 12:25 am

    bogchimash, you sound reasonable enough. But think about these: Erap could not have amassed gargantuan amounts of wealth as a B movie actor in the black and white film era where even the highest paid entertainer was paid a few thousands, if not hundreds of pesos (FPJ was far more popular, better and longer star but he died relatively less wealthier if not poorer); though his father was a minor cabinet member in the days of Pres. Garcia, his family was not known as “wealthy”; he maintains multiple families living in the style of the “rich and famous” without visible means of support;
    while he probably won in gambling occasionally, I bet he lost more than he won; normally, I doubt if he could have amassed a fortune for being mayor of San Juan even for an interminable length of time (except that he was the perrenial mayor during most of the Marcos dictatorship and he was a known Marcos loyalist). If he made his fortune during his failed presidency of three years, then he was better than Marcos who did it in more than 10 years of rule.

    And how did his sons themselves became multi-millionaires?

    • Bencard on March 8, 2007 at 12:33 am

    bogchimash, could he be the real finder and keeper of the “Treasure of Yamashita” and the Golden Buddha? Sometimes life imitates art, you know.

  9. hindi siguro marunong mag-add.

    • james on March 8, 2007 at 8:51 am

    sus maryosep!

    you still listen to cayetano’s big mouth? guapo parang labia majora!!

    accuse first but please give me a waiver….hehehe galing na abogado itong is labia…

    why.he can’t stand to his own accomplishment in congress because there is NONE

    • bogchimash on March 8, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    thank you bencard for your explanation. believe me, i am not blind to the improbable proportion of his assets and known personal sources of income.

    his younger kids attend brent which, according to a friend, is $4000/yr or /sem. add to that the way his older children live despite the persecution of government (with all its might) and the freezing of his known assets, erap must really be worth a lot.

    previously, people in high places, as i have intimated earlier, rake in the most money from “under the table” commissions of lending houses and foreigners who provide services that we can’t do ourselves adequately such as power generation. during his time, however, contracts and loans were availed of selectively.

    so where did he get all these money, jueteng and tobacco excise tax kickbacks? that is the prosecution’s case and it is weak. clarissa ocampo’s testimony is no longer important as the illegal use of alias charge had been dropped. without it, the remainder of the entire package stands on loose ground.

    i do not belittle the testimony of gov chavit based on his character. personally, i think that it has no relevance. if you do a crime, who else would be involved and later testify but your fellow crooks. what he had to say should be heard. unfortunately for erap haters, chavit’s testimony was full of holes. he said that he, together with just one person (his driver), delivered money in a sack weighing around 120 kilos. it fails on the merits and not the character of the witness alone.

    going back to the start, the question remains: just how did he become rich?

    admittedly, i am sympathetic to the ousted leader but it is not difficult for me to have a change of heart if the prosecution has something better to offer. a solid case against erap, after all, will put to rest a big economic bane, something far more worse than the unpredictable cost of oil in the world market, our national disunity.

    • bogchimash on March 8, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    makasakay na din nga sa high horse para gumaling din ako…pipiliin ko yung maliit lang…may magaling na nakasakay sa high horse at ang paborito niya ay high horse na bansot…sandali, paano magiging high horse yun kung bansot? ano yun, pantasya? baka peke?

    • bogchimash on March 8, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    bencard, that last msg is not for you ok? you are too generous and i am sincerely grateful. ‘just making things clear. hahaha 🙂

    • justice league on March 9, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Ex- Pres. Estrada did give 1 million Pesos each as “balato” to the “balato Twins”.

    Which makes you wonder how much he won in the first place.

    And makes you wonder how much he had money to bet with in the second place.

    • bogchimash on March 12, 2007 at 2:31 am

    Where does your wondering lead you?

    • justice league on March 13, 2007 at 7:56 am

    Bogchimash,

    To an idea that he had much to bet and “won” much too.

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