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Sep 12

A trap of his own making

I was on standby for a quick interview on Channel News Asia (Singapore). They asked three questions.

Was the verdict a surprise?

No. Estrada himself leaked what the verdict would be, and in general, the scuttlebutt prior to the reading of the verdicts indicated the eventual ruling (I didn’t go into this, but the scuttlebutt was this: some sources said, conviction for perjury but acquittal for plunder: this was actually the scuttlebutt for some time until yesterday; others, acquittal for perjury but conviction on all counts of plunder; the most accurate came late in the day yesterday, and it was: acquittal for perjury and conviction on two out of four counts of plunder, which proved exactly right).

The thing is, the verdict is still the next to the last step, since the former President can still appeal to the Supreme Court. Not that anyone expects the Supreme Court to overturn the graft court’s verdicts.

As it is, Estrada’s Supreme Court appeal might take 1-3 years; meanwhile, he does have a kind of new lease on political life by refusing administration offers of a presidential pardon or a congressionally-sanctioned amnesty; we have a scheduled presidential election in 2010 and he can then ask for or receive a pardon from the next president (I didn’t go into how his ability to extract a pardon might be improved by his backing a candidate in 2010). Until the appeals process is exhausted, it seems the confiscation of Estrada’s bank accounts and New Manila property will be on hold, and he won’t be deprived of his ability to sign contracts and checks before then.

How are Estrada’s urban supporters taking it?

Asking around, I was surprised to hear that many of his supporters were in shock. But beyond that, the main thing is that while Estrada has the support of a third of the population, emotions peaked in May, 2001 when his supporters attacked the presidential palace. Affection for Estrada doesn’t necessarily translate into many people being willing to risk life and limb for him: they did that in 2001 and it failed (I didn’t have time to go into this, but it also means that it could still result in his supporters voting for candidates Estrada endorses).

The Club Filipino press conference at 1 and the rally in the financial capital, Makati, later today will show their clout in terms of numbers. As it is, they announced 5,000 protesters at the Sandiganbayan but only 500 showed up (I didn’t go into whether or not talk of cloud-seeding last night and the announcement by the Left that they won’t participate in the rallies had anything to do with this). I also didn’t have time to mention a strong hunch I have, which is that most people simply don’t care anymore: the political tension was primarily the Palace’s and media’s making.

Is this a boon for the opposition?

Estrada’s stuck in a trap of his own devising. He submitted to the court, saying it was a kangaroo court doesn’t cut it. Again, I didn’t have time to point out that basically, Estrada’s shield and sword is his popularity: but what if he made a summons, and nobody showed up? A call to arms would reveal, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what the real numbers (and resources) of the Estrada camp are. But then, this is based on my belief that the Bastille moment for Estrada’s cause was in 2001, and when that failed, you can’t recreate it again. Too much time has passed.

I did say that one handicap the opposition will have is that no one wants to be responsible for turmoil on the streets -and being accused of sabotaging the economy; as it is, the stock market and the peso improved immediately after the verdict. I didn’t have time to suggest that things getting out of hand (presuming this is possible) would also have a negative impact on Estrada’s appeal.

So that’s that. Let the analysis begin. The lawyer-bloggers will be in the front line in trying to make sense of the decision, whether it’s a legally-sound or disappointing one. An early opinion is that the court was too kind to Estrada.

What irks me is Chavit Singson going on TV to gloat. Talk about playing with matches while perched on a fuel drum. So far, he’s been the last man standing, but who will end up having the longest lease on political life? My bet’s on Estrada.

Inquirer.net and www.soriano-ph.com link to the Sandiganbayan decision. Atty. Soriano’s also made the PDF of the decision available on his site. I’ve also decided to include it here. It will take some time for non-lawyers to digest the 200-plus page decision.

Erap

As a member of the Black and White Movement, here’s our group’s statement.

Blogger reactions have been interesting. Let’s start with a broader look at the continuing historical debate on Estrada’s fall (as Carlo’s Site points out, for an entire generation, the fall was the defining moment in terms of a political coming of age). Philippine Commentary argues that the Supreme Court made it impossible for justice to be upheld, while The Sassy Lawyer points out there is sufficient evidence to indicate Estrada relinquished his office, as well as the blunt realpolitik argument that success legitimizes rebellion. My own views are somewhere in between: I don’t think enough attention was paid by the Supreme Court to Estrada’s statement (on paper) upon leaving the Palace, and too much was paid to then Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara’s interpretation of events; it seems clear that while the public demonstrated out of frustration with the impeachment trial, a politico-military conspiracy also took place.

I don’t buy Paguia’s insistence on the constitutional clock being frozen, either. While I continue to hold that People Power is enshrined in the Constitution, I do believe that the logical ending for Edsa Dos should have been the proclamation of a revolutionary government: the problems since then have been along the lines of trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I also don’t think that People Power, per se, has been invalidated since then; but its limitations have been exposed and unless specific conditions exist, efforts to get it rolling will fail.

A prediction was made by Inner Sanctum. Anyway, Diego K. Guerrero says the decision was crap. Mabini Hall (columnist Geronimo Sy, who privately expressed dissatisfaction with my comments on his column praising the president; he said to please distinguish issues from personalities), expresses great satisfaction over the verdict, calling it a triumph of institutions. Patsada Karajaw Nation thinks the case is an exception and won’t set a precedent (something blog@AWBHoldings.com thinks, too). An OFW in Hong Kong takes a more detached look at the verdict: people are simply going to move on. pmaniego is frankly ambivalent, while bits and pieces says different people wanted different outcomes, but in general, there’s a positive lesson to be learned. Mommy Talks, Wife Stories, Girl Speak says the entire political leadership’s been indicted and convicted. Zwischen Immer und Nie has little patience for those asking for leniency for Estrada.
The Perpetual Malcontent remarked acquittal might have been nice, if only as a slap on the face of media. ExpectoRants says the President at least, apologized, while Estrada remains unrepentant. EJ’s Site makes a different comparison between Estrada and the President.

Of Law and Badminton, on the other hand, points out there were other defendants and their prospects aren’t bright at all. The Silent Relief was amazed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s acquittal.

tonyo took the business community to task, while those of a different orientation, like pinoymoneytalk.com pointed to the boost in the markets after the verdict was handed down. i love the playing field takes school authorities to task, saying if they can set aside time for students to watch basketball games, they should have let students follow the proceedings.Stella Arnaldo points out the American solution for Watergate was a pardon for Nixon: and that a pardon for Estrada is inevitable.

So far, at least (not least because of the rain?) the sense of foreboding of Ilongga in Manila, of muffled solitude, and When Thet Speaks, among others, may prove unfounded. There were those, like Postcard Headlines, who were sure nothing major was going to happen. Most remarkable, to me, are the expressions of sympathy for Estrada, simply as a human being. Pity for Estrada was felt by The Chronicles of Ardee, and from what I see scanning the blogosphere, many others. From Dubai, Slap Happy recounts an early confrontation between Erap, newly-elected president, and people in Subic; and yet, how Estrada, now an ex-president, deserves a little consideration. Another rewind and fast-forward look’s taken by Bluepanjeet.net, and a quote is called for at this point:

Now six years later, the verdict finally arrived. The same battle cry that we used to chant in EDSA six years ago together with all the people of God has just been made into a realization, just an hour after this post was written.

I never regretted the fact that I became an instrument of history’s ousting of a corrupt president. It was a matter of national principle and moral ascendancy even though I myself and the rest of the Filipinos have our share of moral transgressions. What I regret is the fact that the person who replaced the former president is more corrupt and deceiving.

It is like an evolution: the more time flies, the more corrupt they become. No wonder many Filipinos these days are Atheist because Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has proven true of these self-evolved supposed leaders of the Orient Pearl. In some point of my catholic perspective, I agree with some of my Atheist blog friends’ belief in Darwin’s Theory because they have proven correct in terms of our leader’s political evolution. Look at Gloria now… This is the only time that my catholic view of Darwin’s theory will fully reconcile on the atheist’s perspective of evolution.

In a recent SWS survey, Erap was found to be trustworthy than Arroyo and believed that the former is far better than the latter (Read the full SWS report). But the bottom-line is, justice is not dictated by public opinion. He committed acts of unbecoming of a president, which only deserve such penal discipline. Of course the sympathy outpours on the convicted, but be reminded that our acts towards men has consequences that has to be faced. And it is now time that Erap should face his’.

Now the Irony, if Erap’s minions six years ago did open the envelope, would he face this same kind of political “harassment” or dilemma in the first place? This kind of “What-if-question” will just remain as is that will haunt Erap for the rest of his life behind bars.

The other Irony, the situation for Arroyo is a lose-lose situation: Now Erap is convicted, Arroyo will soon face the charges filed against her and her hubby. Now that the court has proven that, no one is above the law even if you are a former president. With this, Erap’s minions will also work hard in trying to charge the president of mistrust. And if for instance, Erap was acquitted, still the same enthusiasm of getting Arroyo and her hubby behind bars will still prove potent for her enemies motivated by such intentions of getting back at her. This is the situation that Arroyo cannot escape. Whichever way her administration treat the case of Erap (which was recently concluded) she will still earn the ire of many Filipinos around the world, both inside and outside the realm of public surveys, just because like her predecessor, she failed to live up to her August’s office name.

Goliath has fallen, and the Estrada Case is only the beginning of a much heated ousting of a leader. Erap was found Guilty as expected and as common sense dictates. The next chapter is Gloria’s turn to caress the cold steel bars with her hubby with much help from most of the Opposition Senators.

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148 comments

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  1. pinoy

    Taga,

    Gloria is running away with the table !

  2. Anton

    beNIgno

    Thanks for the link on the article. Hits the nail right on. To think, Erap was one of the senators then who voted the Anti Plunder Law into office. Now he cries, injustice! Ang pulitika talaga sa Pilipinas.

  3. Just A Girl

    Did anybody ever heard of “THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES?” Philippine politics is spinning out of control. Please remove your blindfold before it’s too late..

  4. taga de cebu

    PINOY :Sayang,I sincerely believe that her father was a good,decent man!

    To inspire you:”Now I ask you to make your sacrifice. Take a gamble. I took the plunge and I’m glad of it.”
    Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

  5. taga de cebu

    “Did anybody ever hear of “THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES? just a girl”

    YIKES!!! I dont want to see the Empress naked…!

  6. DevilsAdvc8

    taga, i thought the french kiss WAS down under. lol. maybe the aussie kiss IS down under while bent over? rofl.

    “C’mon folks. Come 2010 elections, it will be either lacson, loren, mar or manny as president. Ganun talaga.”

    frombelow, I bet you were one of those who voted for GMA just bec you thought Roco wasn’t winnable, and you didn’t want an FPJ presidency. it’s people like you who makes such defeatist attitudes self-fulfilling.

    “Wag na lang tayo magsikap, tutal di naman tayo uunlad.”

    As a result, di nga umunlad. Eh tanga eh.

    Eh ano kung ganon talaga, di ka na lang ba aasa at maghahanap ng pagbabago? Maraming tulad mo. Di sumasali para baguhin ang sistema kaya ayun, di talaga mabago-bago. Ganun talaga eh. Mas marami ang tanga. Kaya ganun talaga, sumusuko na lang sila ng walang laban. At syempre, magkakatutoo ang sentimyento nila na wala na talagang pag-asa. Ayun. Dun na sila masaya na nagkatutoo ang paniniwala nila na wala nga talaga pag-asa. Syempre, tumulong sila para maging ganon eh. TANGA!!!!

    Pero kahit ganon, di ako kelanman sasali sa kanila.

  7. taga de cebu

    Devil 8 ADV:I also admire Jesse Robredo,a Ramon Magsaysay awardee.Heard his speech some years back in a graduation exercise in Katip..Too bad ,he is notwell known outside of Bicol.

    BTW,on a more serious topic(lol):In Australia and New Zealand French Kissing is most commonly known as “pashing” or “lashing”. This term is expected to have originated from the word ‘passion’, so as to kiss passionately, is to “pash”.

  8. talabisbis

    List of Presidents of the Philippines in the “Gallery of Presidents”in Malacanang Palace

    1)Emilio Aguinaldo
    2)Manuel l.Quezon
    3)Jose P.Laurel
    4)Sergio Osmena
    5)Manuel Roxas
    6)Elpidio Quirino
    7)Ramon Magsaysay
    8)Carlos Garcia
    9)Diosdado Macapagal
    10)Ferdinand Marcos
    11)Corazon Aquino
    12)Fidel Ramos
    13)Joseph Estrada
    14)Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

    My nominees for the Presidential Rogues Gallery:

    1)Ferdinand Marcos(died in exile)
    2)Joseph Estrada(convicted)

    any other suggestions(lol)

    taga cebu..

    shoudn’t Gloria be 14a…
    FPJ is the 14th, i believe… ehehehe

  9. Jeg

    Speaking of elections, here’s something I found regarding the US system, which could probably also apply here even though we have a multi-party system. (I use ‘party’ loosely.) It’s called ‘Why Your Vote Will Never Matter.’

    It’s here: http://www.counterpunch.org/rothenberg08202007.html

  10. Arbet

    Anton, history: what triggered EDSA 2? A decision was made by an institution, and what did they do? Simple as that.

  11. mlq3

    rego, may point ka. yan ang isang dahilan kung bakit nag fizzle out ang people power against gma (besides yung kaliwa at yung erap forces dismaying the middle). yung ibang may ebidensya kay gma natakot lumantad ng husto.

  12. Anton

    Arbet

    I see now what you’re saying. guess in the end, sad to say, institutions are made of human beings too.

    Unfortunately, we may not be able to find the Philippine version of Messiah in our lifetime. Joining Philippine politics is really a moral hazard problem. Only the people who have evil intentions (not all mind you) join Philippine politics. The good ones will never join.

  13. BrianB

    “Unfortunately, we may not be able to find the Philippine version of Messiah in our lifetime. Joining Philippine politics is really a moral hazard problem. Only the people who have evil intentions (not all mind you) join Philippine politics. The good ones will never join.”

    We should be practically about our politicians and idealistic about ourselves. Strengthen the checks and balances, the people’s input need to be louder and have inherrent political effect. Our main enemy is mental fatigue. Many of us just don’t want to be worrying about politics and politicians all the time. We’re not used to the kind of mental strain being a democracy requires. Then, there are the moral blackmail that hypocrites in politics are so fond of throwing around: hwag nyo daw silang husgahan, kailangan daw due process. The people doesn’t need due process to kick an official out of office, in the same sense that a boss doesn’t need due process to fire an incompetent employee.

  14. manuelbuencamino

    The question is whether the public believes justice was rendered.

    If the public agrees with the sandigan verdict then the case and Erap is history.

    if the public did not buy the verdict, then what the Gloria and the country gain by erap’s prosecution and conviction?

  15. BrianB

    “Goliath has fallen, and the Estrada Case is only the beginning of a much heated ousting of a leader. Erap was found Guilty as expected and as common sense dictates. The next chapter is Gloria’s turn to caress the cold steel bars with her hubby with much help from most of the Opposition Senators.”

    And wouldn’t it be great that another good would come out of another good? Not because of well-meaning politicians but because of the very pinoy and very politico quid pro quo. If this happens, will this be the first time the opposition will have done its job, peaceably?

  16. BrianB

    “The question is whether the public believes justice was rendered.

    If the public agrees with the sandigan verdict then the case and Erap is history.”

    Maybe media can make up the public’s mind for itself, like it always presumes it can.

  17. Beancurd

    I must agree with Bencard’s rule of law and due process logic because I think he would also agree with me that the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sang Su Kyi of Burma is also the triupmh of the rule of law just as the Tiananmen Massacre was also a triumph of the law. Thank you for the unassailable legal logic. I remember what I heard before regarding Marcos that since he is the dictator, he is the law. Maybe that is why Bencard, the promoter of the rule of law doctrine, fled to the U.S. of A — he did not want to be the subject of the rule of law according to Marcos.

    As for you MLQ3 saying “besides yung kaliwa at yung erap forces dismaying the middle,” well that is a very good excuse that played right into the script of Gloria. Well, that was very disappointing also on the part of the middle. You have a huge boulder in the middle of the road that you need to move over the cliff in order to move on and you have the left and erap as the only tools that you have in order to be able to shove it aside but you would not use them because they dismay you? Some egos must be more important than … well what can I say?

  18. Francis

    Ecclesiastes 3:1: World English Bible
    For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

    GMA’s time is nearly up, 2010 is nearly hear. Without any viable candidate from her coaliton, divine retribution will exact its heavy toll. Let the wheel of justice roll on. Erap may well as well be guilty as charged, but the constitutional process was never followed to begin with, Speaker VIllar railroaded the impeachment process, the prosecutors walked out of the impeachment trial, the AFP High Command committed grave treason by “withdrawal of support”, the 4 ways to remove a sitting President wasn’t followed. Where in it does it contain the words “constructively resigned”?
    Erap had the numbers in the Senate to acquit him, wether we like it or not it was for the good of the nation, The Constitution was recklessly trampled upon. Sorry Manolo, but Allan Paguia hit it on the money. The arguements he raised with the SC ( that eventually got him is license to practice law suspended ) was really brave of him, because he believed in the process, which the sitting and illegal regime, whichever way the SC spins and make a mockery of the laws of the land and of the Constitution, has shamelessly weaken and set the precedent of ousting of a President duly elected by the people just by a simple withdrawal of support.

    Again, their time will come. Barring any last ditch manipulation ( which can never be discounted up until the very last moment knowing by this admin )
    I just hope that she and her evil cohorts do not flee the land and trust the justice system that they have so assiduously been saying to the people. Let’s see they invoke EO 464 again.

  19. Beancurd

    What is that talk of justice? If anything the erap trial and verdict were exemplars of injustice that indict the criminal justice system in this country. And I thought that aside from death and taxes, conviction of a crime and the the resultant incarceration are the next great equalizers. Might as well make convicts pay according to what they can afford if they cannot be put to the same stinking jail that the faceless person living in the streets will certainly be put in (or maybe let them pay for the services of persons who will clean the jail if they want to be put inside a clean 4×4 cell).

  20. manuelbuencamino

    BrianB,

    “Maybe media can make up the public’s mind for itself, like it always presumes it can.”

    This is one case where I think the media can only do so much. Surveys will be done on the public’s reaction to the verdict and media will report it but other than a show of numbers. the unconvinced will remain unconvinced and so too will the convinced.

    The erap case was handled sloppily in court and more importantly in the court of public opinion.

    Erap succeeded in portraying himself as an underdog and that’s where the government’s ship floundered.

    It’s not anymore about what the court said. it’s what the people believe.

    Was justice served or not?

    Erap’s conviction should have put that question to rest. But it did not.

  21. mlq3

    beancurd, on a minor point of self-defense, i participated in efforts that brought together left, right, and middle pro and anti edsa dos groups, to oppose the president. but among the many reasons those efforts failed, was the presence of estrada forces and the left in people power efforts, a reality we have to acknowledge. a significant number couldn’t get past seeing edsa 1, edsa dos, and edsa tres leaders arm-in-arm.

  22. taga de cebu

    “shoudn’t Gloria be 14a…
    FPJ is the 14th, i believe… ehehehe.talabisbis”

    Seriously,Garci made sure that FPJ would not be the 14th president…The law of KARMA will be felt by Garci and his powerful phonepal one day…that’s for sure.

  23. BrianB

    “I must agree with Bencard’s rule of law and due process logic because I think he would also agree with me that the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sang Su Kyi of Burma is also the triupmh of the rule of law just as the Tiananmen Massacre was also a triumph of the law. Thank you for the unassailable legal logic.”

    I’m reminded of what priests used to say when they don’t agree with the law: it may be legal, but it doesn’t mean it’s moral. I think Burma’s and China’s failing is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which most countries in the globe have signed. Manolo can give a link to this (me being presumptious).

  24. BrianB

    “I must agree with Bencard’s rule of law and due process logic because I think he would also agree with me that the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sang Su Kyi of Burma is also the triupmh of the rule of law just as the Tiananmen Massacre was also a triumph of the law. Thank you for the unassailable legal logic.”

    I’m reminded of what priests used to say when they don’t agree with the law: it may be legal, but it doesn’t mean it’s moral. I think Burma’s and China’s failing is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which most countries in the globe have signed. Manolo can give a link to this (me being presumptuous).

  25. BrianB

    MLQ3, sorry for the double posting, misspelle presumptuous on the first one, saw it too late.

  26. Bencard

    beancurd, never mind burma and china. bad or unreasonable laws are declared void in our legal system. that’s why part of e.o. 464 & 1017, among others, have been pronounced invalid. you, see we have a reasonable constitution upon which any governmental action must conform.

    brianb is right. while human concept of “morality” plays a major part in making and enforcing laws, who is presumptuous enough to be a moral” arbiter – a priest, the whole clergy, the b& w movement, the npa? you? marcosian law, or the bad part of it, lingered a while but not for long. whether or not it was changed for the better is a question of what kind of a people we are.

    in any event, the law and its processes do not become bad just because you don’t agree with their result.

  27. Bencard

    rego, yes. i think the sandigangbayan’s verdict is appealable, as a matter of right, due to the gravity of the offense, which should ave meted out a penalty of death were it not for gma’s abolition of the death penalty.

  28. Bencard

    btw, beancurd, mwb, are you guys saying that it was an “injustice” to convict erap, following all rules of due process and with protection by the best legal minds money could buy, not to mention the “masa political pressure”) for stealing gargantuan amounts using the office of the presidency? i cannot believe anyone (apparenty sane) could call that unjust.

  29. justice in waiting

    Verdict on erap maybe just, but it is still perceived as “unjust” because it was handed down under the administration of the President who is alleged to have use extra-constitutional means of taking power from the convicted deposed President, which had she not been successful could have been put on Trial for High Treason. To some or Most of the Pilipino Masses it was a conviction under Duress, perceived or reality…

  30. rego

    inodoro ni emilie :

    i want jocjoc’s head on the platter, too. pronto!
    ——————–
    How about Yolanda Ricaforte, Jaime Dichaves, Alma Alfaro, Eleuterio Tan and Delia Rajas And oh there is Michael Ray Aquino and Mancao too who killed Bobby Dacer and his driver during the Erap Impeachment on order of somenoe I sure you know very well. .

    I dont know how you do it. Open one eye so wide and totally sealed the other……..

  31. inodoro ni emilie

    How about Yolanda Ricaforte, Jaime Dichaves, Alma Alfaro, Eleuterio Tan and Delia Rajas And oh there is Michael Ray Aquino and Mancao too who killed Bobby Dacer and his driver during the Erap Impeachment on order of somenoe I sure you know very well. .

    rego, oh sure. get them all. then we’ll have a sumptious feast. hurry, am hungry.

  32. inodoro ni emilie

    “Open one eye so wide and totally sealed the other……”

    i am not rego, i am not. the government had the means to run after jocjoc, a rotarian who abides by the 4-way truth test. let’s level the playing field here. by all means, let’s hurl in all the scalawags. but first let’s begin with the big fishes. those you mentioned are supporting roles.

  33. inodoro ni emilie

    anchovies kung baga. appetizers are easily digested. let’s go for the main course.

  34. Beancurd

    Bencard,
    Last time I looked, laws are declared invalid or void in this country not because they are bad but because they are, based on the viewpoint of the justices, contrary to the provisions of the fundamental law.
    And why not mind buram and china? Is is because they are best argument against the rule of law? Because the rule of law is only as good as the law giver as much as it is dependent on the executioner?
    On “injustice” for the conviction of erap, you may want to read my post again. It was not about erap, it was about the country under your president.

  35. the bystander

    “yan ang isang dahilan kung bakit nag fizzle out ang people power against gma (besides yung kaliwa at yung erap forces dismaying the middle). –mlq3”

    –this only shows how some of the members of the so-called “middle class” think highly of themselves as if the success of any political undertaking depends on their participation or non-participation. where were they during the martial law years? either they licked the ass of marcos just to please him or they scampered for safety abroad out of fear. in the meantime, the above-ground and underground Left were mainly the ones who resisted the dictator’s regime until a few years before Edsa 1.

    it’s high time that we expose and disprove this myth about the “political importance” of the middle class. they’re nothing but opportunists who take the limelight away after the smoke has gone down.

  36. Bencard

    i think it was the left who tried to grab full credit for edsa 2 and put its people in high places of the government they despise. failing in that, it bowed not to rest until gma was toppled, forging a modus vivinde with the disgruntled estrada flotsams, and the run-of-the-mill opportunists from here, there and everywhere. that’s why they had eggs on their faces each time they try for power grab.

  37. DevilsAdvc8

    bystander, contrary to your opinion, this is not a myth. the middle class is the bridge that links the elites to the masses. without this connection, we might as well have the Bastille right now.
    do not believe it? watch as the middle class disappear as they all leave for abroad.

  38. mlq3

    devils, what’s interesting to me, since i have a theory that the old middle class, patterned after the old upper class, is leaving our shores like the elves leaving middle earth, while a new middle class, straight from the ranks of the masses, is being formed, and it has very much less in common with the upper class than at any other time in our history.

  39. DevilsAdvc8

    MLQ3, yes, there is a new middle class being formed. it remains to be seen whether they will be the same as the old middle class, or will be different.
    they have to realize at least, that if they don’t fight for their own Philippines, they might as well leave for good.
    And since this new middle class will be larger than the old one, its power will be formidable.
    formidable enough to destroy the old elites and put themselves in power. with the old elites gone, they have to concentrate in making the old concept of being an elite, gone for good.

  40. mlq3

    devils, my own belief is elites are inevitable, in any organization, in any circumstance, in any field of human activity, regardless of ideology. so, the question is whether it will be a meritocracy, an aristocracy, or degrees in between (earned or inherited). what i’m interested in is widening the opportunities for social mobility.

  41. the bystander

    “the middle class is the bridge that links the elites to the masses. without this connection, we might as well have the Bastille right now.
    do not believe it? watch as the middle class disappear as they all leave for abroad. –DevilsAdvc8”

    –no, i don’t. that may have been true during the Spanish era or probably 40 years ago but not at the present time. except for those living in imperial manila or maybe cebu, the distinction between the so-called middle class and the masses has been blurred by the same economic hardships suffered by both these two “groups”. in other words, the economic gap between the two has narrowed, such that the middle class nowadays no longer have that altruistic motive of “leading the masses” or “bridging the gap” between the elites and the poor. Those who identify themselves with the middle class have become more individualistic and selfish, thus making themselves less critical of the powers that be.

  42. the bystander

    just to straighten out twisted facts, gloria macapal arrovo never put leaders of the Left (both the affirmists and rejectionists) in high places in government after Edsa 2. in fact, the bogus president never bothered to implement the “reforms” desired by the Left after helping her become “president” in 2001. instead, she with her murderous generals preoccupied themselves assasinating one activist after another.

  43. cvj

    Bystander, the obliviousness of the middle class to the plight of the masses is not unique to the Philippine middle class. The middle classes of India and China have been observed to exhibit similar callous behavior. It’s a consequence of the belief (encouraged by the ideology of globalization that has superseded the ideology of the welfare state) that the poor have only themselves to blame for their own poverty. Any charity (via GK locally or Bill Gates’ foundations abroad) is seen as coming from the goodness of the charity givers’ hearts which in turn encourages more self-righteousness and sense of entitlement.

  44. DevilsAdvc8

    Manolo, I am aware of that, and I have no illusions that perfect equality between men can ever be achieved. What I am pointing out is destroying a kind of old elites (the landed aristocracy) that a new middle class might achieve. As we all know, men just move up (or down) social classes. You pointed out widening opportunities for social mobility. And how?
    What my hope is, that we can erase old notions of elitism or ideas of it as it stands today. You can be filthy rich and still connect with the less fortunate, you know.
    I can’t explain it really well, except that there’s a faint idea in me somehow, that social class lines might be blurred just enough so that the gap won’t be so glaring as it is today.

    Cvj, perhaps the middle class is not really oblivious to the plight of the poor. They only force themselves to look away. Men are not evil by nature. Even the most evil has a heart. To say the middle class are not moved by the poor is not right. As you have pointed out, the main reason the well-to-do (and the somehow OK) refuses to help the poor is that they believe in the school of thought that charity promotes mendicancy. I believe in that as well.
    Another reason the middle class doesn’t help the poor is they themselves are probably busy working to keep them and their family remain middle class! Just a bit more of selfishness to keep their heads above water. There is anger in this 2nd grp of people. Kung ako nga nagpapakahirap maghanapbuhay para lang kumita, ba’t kayo di rin gawin yon?

    But the idea that the poor only have themselves to blame for their poverty is wrong. Any schmoe who says that should try being born as one. And then let them find out the range of opportunities a poor person can get to lift themselves out of poverty, and still shout that ideology. You know, sometimes, the poor are only poor bec of fate.
    Consider: if you are born dirt poor, you have less chances at education. Less chances of acquiring employable skills. Less chancing at knowing the right people to help you. Less chances at everything! And to compound that, if you are born poor, you’re automatically gifted with a whole set of environment conducive to keeping you poor! Exploitation at every turn bec you are ignorant, bad influences everywhere, allure of crime just around the corner. Should I continue? All it takes is a little imagination, and a little common sense to know that not all poor people have only themselves to blame for their poverty. There are some of them who do only have themselves to blame, but not everyone.
    And we should be interested in helping these people. You know, GK has started a different kind of charity. It’s a charity that isn’t one way. For the charity workers to help them, the poor has to agree to help themselves. Not a free lunch, but a helping hand. It isn’t a quick buck. An effortless acting pitiable, and then some coin, but a real effort to give opportunities.
    Yes. The key to “social mobility” is not really to flood the poor with money. Money can only get them so far. The key is to help open up opportunities for them. With opportunities, they themselves can do the work and lift themselves out of poverty. Sometimes I think charity should be more about giving one’s time and abilities rather than just a guilt-absolving trip of money giving. What if there’s a foundation that doesn’t accept cash, and only accepts those who are willing to part with a little of their time, and expertise? An NGO that is pure volunteer work. An NGO that facilitates volunteership. Welcomes anyone wanting to help, and identifies where these people can help the most, and then teach these people how. What I’m envisioning is an organization that is like just being middle-men for buyers and sellers. A well-to-do individual wants to help. He goes to this organization and signifies his intention to do so. He is not asked for cash. He is asked for his schedule. He is not asked for a check. He is asked for his skills and expertise. Perhaps the individual says he is a banker, or perhaps a businessman. He is then asked how long he intends to offer his help. Perhaps the man was just taken by a flight of fancy and says he’d just like to try it out for a few days. His schedule is taken and matched to a database. Somewhere near his area, a benificiary group is in need of his skills and expertise. This group have just finished classes equivalent to that of HS (also given by volunteer teachers) and are wanting to learn abt business. Perfect match. If the man decides to continue with his volunteer work, then its just another convert for this organization. If not, then the organization has set-up a system covering the relief of temporary volunteers with permanent ones.
    What we have is a one-stop-shop charity arbiter. Welfare is so outdated. And foundations who bank on them equally so.

  45. cvj

    Devils, from what i have read above as well as in your previous posts, i believe you have the right instincts to be a good economist (in the classical sense) or at least a social reformer.

    As for elitism, i believe the very concept itself is incompatible with the way modern society is organized (i.e. functionally differentiated, and not hierarchical as it was in pre-modern times). Modern society cannot survive without specialists and it sorely lacks good generalists, but it can do well without elitists, especially the self-identified ones.

  46. DevilsAdvc8

    “Devils, from what i have read above as well as in your previous posts, i believe you have the right instincts to be a good economist”

    aw shucks, cvj. and i was plannin’ to study how to be a wall street hippie..

    “in the classical sense”

    is that good or bad? or ambivalent?

    “or at least a social reformer”

    except when you encounter my hyde pro-revolution character
    isn’t it? i took the test as well, cvj. was on the dot as you. a left leaning liberal somewhere bet Gandhi and that other guy. I’d prefer to be called a socialist democrat except I dnt know what the hell that means. My personal motto is: decide with reason, act with conviction. And yet I show my schizophrenia by not hewing to Ayn Rand’s objectivist theory fanatically. (as my “the poor isn’t the sole reason to blame for their own poverty” rant shows) My bipolar political views shows even more when a part of me somehow agrees with the likes of Benigno, Bencard, and Rego (all objectivist fanatics, it would appear). And I only somehow retain my “sanity” in the views of the liberal majority, by showing that I value my heart more
    than my mind. Perhaps reason should be tempered with
    compassion in order not to go down that road of madness and egomaniacal tendencies, eh?

    But of course, if one were reasonable enough, one should’ve understood that dispensing with ethics and adhering only to legalistic and objectivist views, would only lead to more anarchy, not less of it.

    Ah hell, what do I know? Am just a budding political commenter who’s just learning to view the world through other’s theories. Duh. And all along I thought my ideas were original.. gaah. lol.
    —
    Specialists are different from elitists. Sure, they maybe the elite in their field, but if they don’t think so highly of themselves, and remain down-to-earth, they can hardly be elitists don’t u think? jz ur regular ’spert on their chosen field.It’s the self-proclaimed elitism I’m railing abt. The elitism that enslaves. People striving for excellence can do so without all that shit abt being better than anyone else. Sure – in the natural course of events, hierarchy would develop so that everyone can determine their pay grade. But can we do it in a way nice? Ah well, there goes my bleeding liberal heart bein’ exposed and all. Perhaps, in the near future Jekkyl would take over, when bouts of hopelessness envelop me again. Until then, keep ur nice impression of me, won’t you cvj?

  47. ay_naku

    any one can make up charges against any one. a thousand alleged anomalies (in addition to djb’s list, as recited by mbw,) are all non sequitors as far as pgma is concerned without judicially admissible evidence directly involving her. if there is an iota of such damning evidence, do you think panfilo, cayetano, etc. (with their protective privilege), or erap’s minions (with their seemingly bottomless pockets), would not have already shouted it to any one who would care to listen, even if they could not make it stick in a court of law or any other proper forum?

    Actually such damning evidence has already been shouted out, and the great majority has already concluded that GMA is indeed damn guilty of cheating, lying, and stealing. Others have just chosen to condone it, look the other way, or just give up trying to make GMA accountable. Pero may mga mang-ilan-ilan pa din na patuloy na nagtatanga-tangahan at nagbubulag-bulagan. Damning evidence are already staring them in the face and they still continue to go, “Huh? What evidence?” At this point, these GMA die-hards are pretty much hopeless, they’ll only see what they wanna see and disregard evrything else.

  48. ormocanon

    Here’s a fitting epitaph on Erap’s gravestone when the time comes:

    “He got caught with his hands inside the cookie jar…”

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