Nightmare scenario

A call came in from Channel News Asia which wanted my take on the hostage taking in Manila. I referred them to a colleague in instead. The folks at CNA serve as a kind of guide, to me, as to what Philippine news really matters overseas, and this is the first time they’ve called in a very long time (to my recollection, the last time I heard from them was during the arraignment of the Oakwood mutineers some months ago).

It’s when every parent’s worst nightmare -their children ending up in a danger, in this case, in the hands of a group demanding free education for 145 kids at the Musmos Daycare Center- happens that, however briefly, media’s and the public’s focus telescopes and everyone ends up peering at what is, fundamentally, a family tragedy (multiplied 32 times in this case: and representing, too, the despair, perhaps, of the kids at that daycare center). Media competition is fierce, updates are minute-by-minute. See’s coverage, that of GMA News.TV (with a cameo appearance by Sen. Bong Revilla) and ABS-CBNNews. The Associated Press and other wire services brought the story to the world’s attention.

The blogosphere here and abroad is abuzz: abroad, Corporate Engagement wonders why the hostage-taker, who’s done this before, isn’t in jail. Interesting observations and discussions in RedBlue Thoughts (who focuses on the hostage taker’s past activism and the symbolism of the current hostage-taking) and in idle eidolon who says its difficult not to take a cynical approach to the whole thing. Perpetual Malcontent finds the whole thing wierd. Tanuki Tales says something I agree with completely: whatever your motives, you don’t mess around with the safety of kids, period.

In the news, ABS-CBNNews reports party list seats allegedly being peddled by the Palace. Danto Remoto sort of, kind of, drops his senate bid. Personally, I’m very happy Dr. Jose Abueva showed up to manifest support for Remoto; Abueva and I have crossed swords in the past, but a few weeks ago when he guested on my show, we made our peace with each other.

News, in quick succession of what will be some controversial candidacies: Gen. Jovito Palparan, as a party list candidate; Virgilio Garcillano and Dato Arroyo also for the lower house.

There’s no need to worry that the boom in LPG for automobile use will affect household consumers. The number of LPG for cars filling stations popping up in Metro Manila is remarkable (I understand in Cebu, they were the first to use it for taxicabs), though a friend says smokers like me should stop smoking on the road as every time he rides an LPG taxi, it reeks of gas fumes and an idiot smoker like me might end up blowing him up due to a carelessly-tossed cigarette butt.

the brewing confrontation between the US Congress and the White House has Slate Magazine saying there’s a 75% chance the US Attorney-Genertal is going to quit. For an analysis of what the confrontation is about, see this article by By Walter Dellinger and Christopher H. Schroeder. Also, Burma has a new capital.

In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Command and Control (regarding the AFP and issues concerning command responsibility). On a related note, Davao Today provides a thorough report on Philip Alston presenting his report to the UN. The Inquirer editorial looks at the recent goings-on in the Hague, and what they signified.

Jarius Bondoc rather gleefully notes the handicaps of the opposition campaign but does note that the administration slate is headed for disarray, too, once the local races start and Lakas-CMD and Kampi start cannibalizing each other in earnest. Amusing tidbits on the campaign courtesy of Efren Danao. Marichu Villanueva takes a look at the political rehabilitation of the Senate.

Amando Doronila says the government has a problem on its hands with the Asian Development Bank and its skeptical attitude towards government’s claims of achievements. For the Palace’s rebuttal, refer to Rick Saludo. Speaking of Saludo, his pointing to typhoons as the cause of the hunger problem leads to a lighter, but pointed look, at “hunger as a lifestyle choice,” courtesy of Manuel Buencamino. The best passage:

Your secretary’s words must have inspired street urchins not to wait for the “ideal job to fall on their lap” for they ignored the political noise and took advantage of the strong peso, the stable political situation, and the investor-friendly climate to go into the sampaguita business.

Their profits will be reinvested in the stock market and soon, as a pundit said, they will be trading in their paper boats for yachts.

You can tell the whole world, “We have no child labor. We are a nation of child entrepreneurs.”

And you can add that investor confidence, as shown by the great number of street-urchin entrepreneurs, disproves the perception that your regime is the most corrupt in Asia.

Overseas, the People’s Daily Online looks at a survey detailing the consumer choices of Chinese aged 17 to 26 (who have no memory of either Mao’s rule or the Tiananmen Square massacre). Tulsathit Taptim pens an allegorical debate between democracy and corruption.

In the blogosphere, History Unfolding has a must-read entry on America, the confrontation over war aims between the White House and the House of Representatives, what American attitudes are towards war and why the war in Iraq has lost popular support. The latest showdown is in the US Senate, which has also held a vote to put forward a timeline for an Iraq pullout. Details in The Washington Note.

Here’s an interesting thing: a father and a daughter who both blog. The father, blogs at and pens a clear, concise, list of criteria he intends to follow in deciding whether or not to vote for certain candidates. He brings a lawyer’s precision to defining the issues he considers important, and ends his entry with the possibility he might not end up voting at all. His daughter, in crazy4this girl, suggests that to fight injustice, one must be willing to commit suicide.

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    • cvj on March 28, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Just saw the CNA ticker about the hostage taking in the TV here in the office.

    • kiko on March 28, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    first learned of the news at work while surfing the net. been glued to cnn europe for updates. heard sec. cabral talk on tv with cnn. apparently, the hostage taker was involved in another hostage taking incident some years ago. wtf?!? eh kung may record na pala, bakit siya nagkaroon ng permit to operate a day care center? talaga naman, onli in da pilipins!

  1. Ang solusyon: Bong Revilla, in an act of heroism, trades himself for the kids. Once the exchange is done, someone blows up the bus. We get rid of two birds with one stone.

    Yan ang win win!

    • manuelbuencamino on March 28, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    is the hostage-taker a terrorist?

  2. You need a therapy.

  3. I am referring to missing points. Dark thoughts, dark wishes. You got a problem, boy.

    • rego on March 28, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    eh kung may record na pala, bakit siya nagkaroon ng permit to operate a day care center? talaga naman, onli in da pilipins!–


    Hay naku very typical….

    If do a little are search this doesn’t happen only in the Philippines.

    Tayo talagang mga Pinoy,ang bilis bilis at napakadali para sa atin na husgahan mga mag sarili na tin. And most of the time negative pa!

    • manuelbuencamino on March 28, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    let’s pray the crisis ends without violence.

  4. And the news says that hostage taking focuses on the SHABBY RP education.(rolleyes) Sus na mga balita. Isang surot, ginawang dragon.

    Ano naman ang kinalaman nito. Daycare pa lang ito ah.

    Ano ang espesyal sa mga batang ito para bigyan ng housing?

    There are public elementary and high schools for free education.

    Sa College, maraming mga scholarships na ibinibigay ang foundation para sa mga financially challnged and deserving students.

    The hostage taker needs help. Kailangan niyang psychiatric attention. May pagkaKSP and whether the grenades are faked or not, these hostage takers should be punished.

    • vic on March 28, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    The record shows that 20 years ago this hostage taker did the same stunt and was convicted but released, because as former Manila Mayor Lim said the Grenades he used for committing the crime were fakes. What a stupid rationale for releasing a sick man. The sentenced should had been a pcychiatric treatment until he is safe to be released into society.

    Lukilly the incident was resolved without injuries or loss of life to the children and their teachers, and this time no matter what the Hostage takers agenda, the full force of the law should applied. And don’t give us that fake arms, or grenades or for the welfare of the children bulls, a crime is a crime and whoever commits it should pay the consequence and that is without exemptions….

  5. The hostages were freed thru the intervention of Senatoriable Luis Chavit Singson. I hate to say this but his awareness index is going to shoot up. May kasabihan, minsan daig ng maagap ang masipag. Good timing. A few minutes before the surrender. Ahhhhh

    I am relieved that the children are free and safe.

    • rego on March 28, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    LOL….as expected…

    Mga politiko talaga….

    pero di ba matas naman talga ang awarenes rating Chavit. Yun nga lang hindi na itatranslate sa boto…isang positibong development na nag -iimprove din naman ang mga pinoy voters..

    • justice league on March 28, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    The children are undergoing stress debriefing right now.

    Hope most of them have not realized what they were put through.

    • realist on March 28, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Mlq3, matanong kita: ano ang kuro mo tungkol sa mga reporters from gma news na nag cover ng hostage taking kahapon – nagtatawanan at ginagawang fieta ang pangyayari? Itong isang nagyayabang na kumpare siya ng hostage taker at pinagmamalaki pa na tanyag at hinahangaan itong hostage taker sa tondo. Parang gustong i-martir o gawaing bayani?

    Wala bang sumusubaybay diyan ukol sa kaugalian ng mga reporters? Bakit walang modo ang mga iyan?

    • UPn student on March 28, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Vote for Chavit Singson, the saviour of the day, willing to risk life and limb for .. cynics will say photo-ops, and some will say Chavit did take risks, but that the gambler-blood in him knew that the odds were in Chavit’s favor and that the idiot was “safe”.

    So should we expect a similar stunt in 2010? Maybe some candidate will save a chapel full of high school students (praying for peaceful elections) from a hostage-taker with three fake-grenades.

    • UPn student on March 28, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    manuelB… yes, the hostage-taker should be charged as terrorist, “…putting innocent civilians at risk in order for him (the terrorist) to affect government policy”. [His defense may say “crazy as a loon”, but yes to the terrorist-tag, even though he apparently acted alone (unless he has a split-personality).]

    BUT WAIT!!! He can’t be charged as a terrorist in the Philippines since elections is week away.

    • mlq3 on March 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    realist -di ko napanood coverage nga gma7. pero nairita ako -actually, di lang ako nairita, naalarm ako- na masyadong maluwag yung security sa area. may pulis officer, miranda ang pangalan, na nagsabi na dapat may holding area ang media sa mga hostage situation. sinabi din ni vergel santos sa anc na di yata narealize ng media na ang job nila, mag report, hindi making impromptu negotiators, for example, di dapat inair ang usapan nila sen. revilla at ni ducat. ang media mismo dapat nagisyu ng warning sa mga usisero na lumayas sa lugar.

  6. This is not a case of desperation. This is just a case of attention-grabbing and mockery of our laws.

    Sa States, ang mga hostage takers ay either patay o kalabuso pag nabuhay at nahuli. Diyan ang hostage taker ginagawang hero.

    Terrorism or not, I want him jailed. That is child endangerment in multiple counts.

    • UPn student on March 28, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    That “People’s Daily Online” article that Q3 pointed to is very significant in what it does not even mention. Neither Mao nor Tianamen (2 items Q3 alluded to) were not even mentioned in the article.

    Soon enough in my lifetime, Mao (along with his credos and the “land-for-the-landless” and “warlords” and other themes) will be forgotten by the billions of people of China, except as topics-for-high-school exams. I dare say the same thing will happen in Vietnam, in India, and for sure in Singapore and Malaysia. Wow!!!!

    • manuelbuencamino on March 28, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    UPn stude,

    “TERRORISM is organized crime to achieve the political and ideological end of overthrowing the legitimate government by illegitimate means. –DJB”

    • cvj on March 29, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Soon enough in my lifetime, Mao (along with his credos and the “land-for-the-landless” and “warlords” and other themes) will be forgotten by the billions of people of China, except as topics-for-high-school exams. – UPn Student

    Which could be taken as an indication of Mao’s success in dealing with this problems. Unfortunately for us, here in the Philippines inequality in land ownership and warlords continue to be a problem.

    • manuelbuencamino on March 29, 2007 at 12:42 am

    UPn stude,

    “Soon enough in my lifetime, Mao (along with his credos and the “land-for-the-landless” and “warlords” and other themes) will be forgotten by the billions of people of China, except as topics-for-high-school exams. I dare say the same thing will happen in Vietnam, in India, and for sure in Singapore and Malaysia. Wow!!!!”

    Are you a Maoist communist? Why are you praising Mao?

    • vic on March 29, 2007 at 1:11 am

    And my question is, why are some of the Children identified? It doesn’t matter, the identity of a minor should always be protected, unless its publication is relevant to the case, its resolution or public assistance. What happens if the case goes to court for trial, minors were already identified and parents and children could be subjected to either media harrassments or worse witness tampering. And we’re complaining our justice system is not working as we want it, the media is not co-operating…

    • testing on March 29, 2007 at 1:32 am

    are revilla and singson running for some government office? if so, would they have done what they did (in the ducat hostage drama)?

    • UPn student on March 29, 2007 at 2:13 am

    manuelB… I want Mao to be dead, buried AND FORGOTTEN, which seems to be his destiny (as it is for Trotsky and Lenin, and even Jose Rizal, except for the yearly Rizal Day celebrations, or George Washington, except for the yearly Presidents’ Day sale).

    Actually, I always want Mao remembered for the millions of death he brought upon the countrymen he avowed he loved.

    Mao’s lesson (and there are many Mao’s in this world), is that should always be vigilance against leaders who preach “… sacrifice…. for the greater good!!!”.

    • realist on March 29, 2007 at 2:42 am

    mlq3, marahil sintomas ng pagka walang batas o sinusunod na patakaran ang nababasa sa ugali di lang ng ilan sa media, ngunit lahat ng umaakalang may puder. Lahat gustong maging bida. State of de facto anarchy na yata ang umiiral sa pinas.

    • Bencard on March 29, 2007 at 3:10 am

    Not only GMA 7 but also ABS-CBN should be taken to task for irresponsible “journalism”, bordering on blatant arrogance.

    The malicious publication of rumors, conclusory but unsupported statements, half-truths, false imputattions and fabricated “evidence” should never be tolerated even under a claim of “freedom of expression”.

    A one dimensional media outlet cannot last. I think Newsbreak has died or is dying of natural causes brought about by its anti-GMA crusade. It appears that its mission for the downfall of PGMA did not resonate on the majority of its readers who have gotten tired of its obsessive negativism.

    • Bencard on March 29, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Alex Magno’s column, “Primal Scream” in today’s issue of Philippine Star is a must read piece about broadcast media abuse. Fawning on a KSP (kulang sa pansin crackpot), or grandstanding politico, is a natural proclivity of broadcasters looking for the sensational. Despair is one of their staple diets, competing among themselves as to who can paint the gloomiest picture of the country, and pushing vulnerable people to the edge.

    • baycas on March 29, 2007 at 5:56 am

    just learned of the hostage drama a few hours before it ended when i turned my AM radio…some sidelights:

    radio “journalists” from the 2 media giants hounded the clinic secretaries (@ st. luke’s and asian) of ducat’s cardiologist to get a scoop. apparently, they’ve learned of the recent (?) angioplasty done on ducat. perhaps, the “journalists” want to know ducat’s mental status prior, during, and after the heart procedure. nothing beats a medical opinion…even from a cardiologist…hahaha!

    (but who’s in his right mind to endanger several children’s lives? not to mention the past history of hostaging a priest and placing a grenade as pendant on the priest’s neck just because he (the priest) wasn’t able to pay ducat’s professional/construction fees! may sayad talaga…as one will easily surmise…)

    while “journalists” of the 2 media giants are head over heels trying to out-scoop one another, little did they know that rey sibayan of dzrh had an exclusive phone line with the hostage taker. that’s when the politicos from TU were mentioned…mike defensor and chavit…forgot the others…pichay yata. noli boy the VP was also patched through ducat…education and housing for the kids were talked about and even the “20%” hunger rate was mentioned by ducat. then the latter made an appeal to the politicos to respond to his call…even as bong revilla (ducat’s kumpare) and amable aguiluz (AMA colleges) had already promised scholarship for the kids…

    after an hour of interruption of my listening to the radio, voila!, chavit was already inside the bus!…the ever ready hero talking nonsense with robin hood! hahaha! it’s no wonder one texter thought that the whole drama was staged…for the politicos’ glorification in aid of election! if this is true…this happens onli in da Pilipins!

    btw, amidst the swelling crowd (the UZIs who are unmindful of the danger) at the hostage drama incident were few opportunists from the camp of hulog ng langit MJ distributing t-shirts as campaign giveaways of MJ’s sis who’s running for mayor in Manila…this, i would say, could happen anywhere in the world…not onli in da Pilipins!!!

    • DJB on March 29, 2007 at 7:11 am

    May I suggest the line of discussion opened up by MB?

    Is this a terrorist act?

    • Mita on March 29, 2007 at 8:04 am

    if this man doesn’t go to jail this time, we’re all screwed…

    you can file your complaints against broadcast media with the KBP or the NTC (in GMA’s case)….radio and TV have program, advertising and technical standards they should be following. no cases filed, no action for misdeeds.

    • Bencard on March 29, 2007 at 9:15 am

    djb, it looks like ducat’s lunatic misadventure cannot rise to the level of “terrorism” under the so-called “Human Rights Protection Act” or something. It seems it would be terrorism anywhere else but in the Philippines, thanks to our in-house protectors of terrorists in the senate.

    • rego on March 29, 2007 at 9:20 am

    To me its a more of a psycho-political case than a terrorist act…

    • Jeg on March 29, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Was he a terrorist? Well he was making unreasonable demands of the government. Imagine he wants the government to stop its corrupt practices? The nerve!

    (Seriously, making a hero out of this disturbed individual for putting 5 year old kids in danger is a bit much.)

    • vic on March 29, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Terrorism: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    Under the above defination, yes, jun ducat is a terrorist, but under the defination of anti-terror law, no he isn’t.

    But under the Criminal Code, he is a common criminal, that could be charged for multiple endangerment of minors, a very serious criminal offense, possesion of dangerous and illegal weapons, extortion, threatening and a lot more that could subject him for maybe a hundred years in jail altogether.

  7. In his recent two columns, Alex Magno has found another scapegoat – media practitioners.

    In the first piece, he sees supposedly “modern” journalists plying unsound journalism. His prescription to curb the bad habit: Don’t’ treat facts and figures in isolation; editorialize them.

    Well, I agree with the observation that Filipino journalists who do not do their homework are aplenty but the solution is not for agitpropists like Mango to take over or for propaganda ads (at taxpayer’s expense?) as substitute for news and analysis.

    In the second, he singles out the Philippine media even when CNN and major US networks were carrying live the Ducat hostage-taking. If Ducat’s scream is primal, Magno’s is as spurious and adulterated as a paid hack’s. By wishing to shoot Ducat for the circus, he was shooting himself in the foot for his broadsides at every opportunity against anything the media pursue that may have unintended negative reflection upon the powers that be that he serves.

    • taipan88 on March 29, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    IF Ducat is really concerned with the kids [as he claims he is…] why then USE the lives of innocent civilans [kids, mind you!] as pawns?
    In my book, his means to get what he wants is a big NO-NO!
    Wala silang pinag-iba sa mga taong dumukot at nagpa-disappear sa mga taong nagsasalita ng totoo….

    Instinct tells me that there is something going on behind the scene….Look how chavit, da sabit appeared as if on cue.

    Meron nga ba?

    • Mita on March 29, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    was the bus parked legally??

    • hvrds on March 29, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Whew! The last major hostage crisis involving children was in Chechnya. We all know what happened there. The extremists fired on kids and blew up some.

    One of the Chechen rebel heads is living in the U.K. and the British refuse to send him back to the Russians.

    Based on what the real definition is of terrorism, yesterday that was an act of terror.

    A tactic where non-combatants are targeted to gain political advantage is terrorism. Warfare is after all extreme political action. This however was done it seems by a couple of men. Arming a grenade in the midst of children is an act of terror. It is inexcusable. This man is a Timothy Mcveigh in the making.

    Extreme political action done by non-state actors always presage major problems.

    When institutional formats fail to resolve valid greivances extremists usually come to the top and they eventually lead. Hitler after the failure of the Munich coup became Chancellor almost ten years later. With Goering and Himmler and their band of crazies. Usama Bin Laden another case. The unending violence over Palestine and the failure of resolution in the Middle East led to 9/11. Now we have crazies in Washington who believe in their own jihad.

    Here we have extremist voices and actors like Ducat, the jihadist Bocobo, Palparan and the past purges by the left and their continuing death sentences vs. their former comrades have left any semblance of institutions moribund.
    The state is becoming irrelevant. Where was the head of the PNP? They were not in control of the situation yesterday. Singson took command yesterday. Right in front of City Hall.

    Electoral fiefdoms with their private militas, criminal fiefdoms with their own armed groups and the left organizations with their armed groups make for a volatile combination. Plus idealist nuts like Ducat.

    The AFP and police here directed by their U.S. counterparts are already invovled in black ops here directed vs. groups branded as terrorists. This is not new as it is part of every counterinsurgency ops. It is called takedowns. Negroponte was and is still a black ops takedown policy maker.

    Like a seething volcano we have just seen a minor outburst of steam. Each country will have their own model of struggles. Each country is unique.
    War on Terror
    “The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.”Brzezinski

    • Shaman of Malilipot on March 29, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Terrorist? Ducat looks more like a crackpot to me.

    Having said that, Ducat, being into education, knew what he was talking about when he railed against the way education is being handled in this contry. IBON Foundation, analyzing the 6-year performance of the GMA Administration, reported, “The government’s neglect of education, coupled with worsening economic and social conditions, means that millions of children are unable to obtain a decent schooling. Out of every 100 children who enter Grade 1, only 66 percent will finish elementary school, 43 percent high school and only 14 percent will graduate from college.”

    • UPn student on March 29, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Shaman… you make a good point when you repeated that report from IBON Foundation. Would you support the opposition should it propose to raise money to fund public schools with an additional P10.00-per-text-message tax plus an extra P100.00-per-person yearly “cedula” tax (for all persons between the age of 10 and 75)? I’ll add additional P10.00-per-liter of gasoline, but GMA will not support this gasoline-tax because the increased transportation cost will slow down all sectors of the economy.

    • Bencard on March 29, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Abe Margallo, I don’t know you nor Prof. Alex Magno but it seems to me that you despise the man’s guts because he is on the opposite side of competing ideas. Like Manolo said in effect, we are all free to be partial or unbiased according to our personal agenda or sense of right and wrong.

    My own assessment is that Alex is one of the most convincing analyst of Philippine contemporary life, whose persuasive viewpoints are powerfully presented without embellishment of pseudo-intellectualism. Pragmatic reasoning resonates better with results-oriented people than “beautiful” concepts expressed in
    pretentious prose.

    Your defense of the media, while paying lip service to “the journalists that do not do their homework” is understandable. But to claim that they have “unintended negative” purpose in publishing unverified gossips and half-truths, is downright insulting to this commenter.

    • cvj on March 30, 2007 at 12:17 am

    I agree with Rego.

    • UPn student on March 30, 2007 at 12:41 am

    Here is a question for cvj or rego (who, to my perceptions, says that Ducat’s actions was NOT a terroristic act)…

    would the action be a terroristic act if, instead of a schoolbus of Filipinos grade-school kids, Ducat had instead held hostage:
    (a) a bus full of American or Filipinos-now-American tourists;
    (b) a bus full of Filipino-soldier recruits;
    (c) a commercial airplane with passengers that included Korean tourists as well as Filipino OFW’s;
    (d) a campaign-bus with 3 of the Team-Unity senatoriables (plus 5 or 6 of their campaign advisers and chu-chu-was);

    Your answer may remain the same and I’ll agree to disagree. If your answer changes, does it mean that Filipino-children are worth less, or worth more?

    • cvj on March 30, 2007 at 10:42 am

    UPn Student, that’s what i don’t like about this debate on on whether something is or isn’t a ‘terroristic’ act. It’s basically a distraction. Regardless of the classification, what Ducat did (endangering the lives of children) was horrible, and a crime that should be punished to the full extent of the law, full stop. If we find the existing laws too soft, then the proper remedy would be to increase penalties for hostage taking instead introducing blanket classifications that would cater to someone’s (neo)conservative ideology that will just be misused to pursue those who use legitimate means towards legitimate ends.

  8. Bencard,

    I’ve posted somewhere here while debating with Upn that he really didn’t have to agree with me or with other commenters like cvj because well-meaning discussants in a discourse are not supposed to negotiate or compromise on what’s the truth; they try hard to find it, much like for instance a scientific community pursuing for the cure of certain disease.

    I happen however to agree with DJB with “this truth” about certain media practitioners and journalists that they “aren’t REALLY free to do journalism as it can be done . . .wouldn’t touch some of the juiciest stories . . . except within a very constrained and narrow range, (since they) are actually gagged and compromised . . . .” (DJB was then addressing Philippine Inquirer editor John Nery when he wrote the foregoing in Newsstand, John’s blog.)

    DJB actually didn’t pull his pinch and said a lot more but here’s how I’ve tried to sum up his criticism that exactly suited mine: When media ministers to private power, it loses its true office – basically that of telling as truthfully and ethically as possible what the emperor is wearing or not wearing.

    Unlike Magno’s selective fault-finding, I’ve been egregiously critical of the media in general and the Philippine media in particular and accordingly lament the consequent insult and assault to free speech. It is in that context that I call the un-primal “screams ” (about the media’s treatment of the Ducat hostage-taking) of Alex Mango as “spurious and adulterated as that of a paid hack’s.” Honestly, I also consider Magno to be “one of the most convincing” political analysts in the country but whose “persuasive viewpoints” while “powerful” are not without nuanced mischief or “embellishments.”

    Some illustrations may be needed to drive home my point. At one time Alex has appealed to the notion of “public tenure” to deride the first impeachment of President Arroyo as whimsical and based on “passing scandal.” Bencard, as a lawyer you know that there’s a duty to impeach on the part of congress when a prima facie case exists that an impeachable offense has been committed by the public officers enumerated in the Constitution. This constitutional duty of Congress overrides a claim to public tenure, if any, by an impeachable public officer. The argument was therefore legally farfetched but he advanced it any way to defend President Arroyo.

    Magno was at a different time recklessly hyperbolic about what he thought was the “epidemic” attendant to the congressional inquiry “in aid of legislation” on the Jose Pidal controversy that as he described was “(harming) all institutions.” In a post at PCIJ, I have pointed out that for a former activist like Alex who has slipped through the cracks to become, in many ways, as one of the community’s elites (at least in political punditry, anyway), it is easier to discern how the elite value system has been brought to bear upon his political perspectives nowadays.

    My supposition was that if Alex had not forgotten (or suppressed) his “mass” perspective on politics, one would expect him to articulate that the antithesis to a “public tenure” claim is frequent elections, or in the case of an elected president, the process of un-election through impeachment. But the woeful partisanship of Alex apparently prevailed over his obligation as a political scientist to pursue the good political order as a natural scientist would to find the cure of a dreaded disease.

    More recently, Alex has conceived of a “firewall” to keep “the sane economy protected from our insane politics.” The hidden analogue: GMA, the politician, may a deadbeat, but not Arroyo, the economist.

    In refutation, I wrote the following in this website: Alex Magno is either naïve or bogus. How can one who styles himself as some highbrow political adviser dare to insinuate publicly that the government be severed from the national economy? Isn’t the chief business of politicians to secure the resources for the subsistence of all the inhabitants of a society, or otherwise to provide subsistence for the people and produce revenue for the state. As early as 16th century that business was called political economy. It still is now. So, what is this firewall between the economy and politics Magno is talking about?

    I saw Alex as engaging in deceitful hairsplitting (of the political economy of GMA) but this time from a reverse angle since instead of a fissure he calls the split a standing firewall.

    Then came Magno’s exercise in tautology as regards the PERC report finding the Philippines as being perceived the most corrupt country in the region. Since this post is getting too long already, I will stop at this point. But if you don’t care being “insulted” any further, you may check here for my reaction to Magno’s attempt to deflect the perception of corrupt governance attributed by the PERC report to the Arroyo regime.

    • tagabukid on March 30, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Mita, Ducat should be charged with illegal parking.

    I thought Bayani Fernando would issue the ticket. Lito Atienza was busy campaigning for his son to even take charge
    and clean his own backyard. So Chavit seized the moment, upstaging Bong Revilla in the process. Ilocano grit is better than Caviteño’s anting-anting. Can anyone here imagine if the grenades slipped from the hands of the senatorial-wannabe?

    What a bizarre country we have, eh?

    • inidoro ni emilie on March 30, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    why should the terrorism act apply on ducat? the hostagetaker is already charged with serious illegal detention. why do we have to insist on charging him with terrorism if only to test the palatability of this law?
    just hurl him to jail, we have more than enough laws to convict a multitude of crimes. with the fiesta atmosphere surrounding the crisis, makes one wonder who this terrorist was trying to terrorize?

    • Shaman of Malilipot on March 30, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    UPn student,

    I agree with Dr. Martin Bautista (Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate) that the best way to raise money for education is not to further tax the overtaxed Filipinos but to amend the automatic debt appropriation act and put a cap of not more than 25% of the budget on debt repayment. Why should the government pay 52.7% of the budget to the rich international bankers when our children are not getting the education that will equip them to become productive citizens and catapult the country forward, or when 19% of Filipino households are experiencing hunger, or many poor people are dying for lack of proper health care? Our debt repayment policy is immoral.

    • watchful eye on March 30, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Our debt repayment policy is immoral.

    It is a form of terrorism. Poverty and hunger kill more. And who are dictating the policy to make us a creditor of good behavior?

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