I’m off to Bacolod, so no blogging for the next few days, I must confess, good riddance to Metro Manila for now. Manila Bay Watch knows why I’m happy to get out of town. As the best headline of yesterday put it, Neri shields Arroyo from ZTE mess, gags self through ‘464’. Exactly.
Yesterday, the crackdown in Burma began. The Guardian published an eyewitness account by a young protester, ‘The middle class are now poor, the poor are destitute’. It also reports Burma bloggers keep one step ahead of junta. A Guardian reporter has been blogging updates, see Burma Protests.
And see the online paper by Burmese exiles, The Irrawaddy News, for updates on the goings-on in Burma.
Meanwhile, Cracks Showing in Burma’s Junta:
Sources say that foreign diplomats are heading for Rangoon, perhaps on a chartered flight, to seek a way out of the worst crisis the country’s ruling military junta has faced since seizing power in 1988 in a bloody crackdown on democracy protesters.There are signs that a diplomatic initiative to find a solution to the crisis in Burma is underway as splits may be developing in the ruling junta.
At least some of the ruling junta’s generals are reported to be “in shock” at the uprising of the nation’s revered clerics. With monks in play, the crisis is worse than the junta could have imagined and some military leaders are reportedly deeply worried that the situation may already be out of hand.
A source informed Asia Sentinel that some regional commanders have sent word to their superiors that they will not attack monks. They will reportedly guarantee the safety of the monks.
The wild card in the crisis is the role of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. The generals despise “the lady,” as she is known, sources say, and some alternative to her may need to be found.
Blogger Bangkok Pundit compares whats going on in Burma to the Philippines in 1986:
Not to go over the top with analogies with the People’s Power movement, but there were two key events at that time (1) the very public defections of 2 key Marcos supporters/advisers Enrile and Ramos which weakened the powers of the state over the citizenry, and (2) the US providing Marcos with an opportunity for a clean break.
On (1), we will have to wait and see whether there are any key defections and this would be a real tipping point. It might not be so public as it was in the Philippines and it might be done in private, but unless there are some defections I can’t see how the people can overcome the state’s monopoly of force. On (2) I support such moves as providing an incentive for a dictator to leave office can help ensure a clean break without much or any bloodshed – something which is being tried in Zimbabwe. Obviously, you need to make sure there is a new government which is democratically elected…
Personally, I hope to God columnist Carmen Pedrosa is rethinking her recent endorsement of those with a collaborationist (and relativist) attitude towards the Junta:
Like other more aware Burmese, he rejects western media’s attempts to simplify its problems. That simplification has misled many to think of Burma as an — isolated country ruled by a military dictatorship; and that the solution is to remove the ruling junta, recognize the election last May 1990 and install National League for Democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi in its place. The ASEAN foreign ministers are equally captive of this kind of thinking and makes for the impatience about the democratization of Burma to give the group a ‘better image.’
How many of those who sat around the ASEAN table, or the larger audience who read newspapers, know for example that Myanmar (Burma) is much more complex than they make of it. Ambassador Thaung Tun speaks for his government and many of his countrymen when he agrees to enshrine human rights in the charter albeit not through a shame and blame rights body. Like a true Asian, Thaung Tun, talks about ‘consultations’ rather than the more Western ‘confrontations’.
Yes, much more complex, indeed, in need of a more pragmatic way forward. Like truncheons and tear gas? Asian values indeed!
Here, at home, no bravery’s to be found. A lot of Dutch courage in official circles, perhaps. The Palace has managed to hold the line and can take a breather. The Philippine Star editorial yesterday was prescient:
Those hoping that Neri would have something more substantive to say Wednesday may be in for a disappointment. If the initial reports are accurate, Neri could provide a direct link between the questionable deal and President Arroyo herself. But Neri has given no indication that he is about to provide the noose for the President’s hanging. He was reportedly set to join the President last night in her trip to New York for the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. But amid the furor generated by news reports identifying members of the presidential delegation, Neri was ordered to stay behind and face the Senate. The man is loyal to his boss, and it is bound to show in his testimony Wednesday.
See Marichu Lambino for a lawyer’s take on what the President has basically had to stipulate. Philippines Without Borders pens an op-ed piece thinks Neri’s part of the whole mess. As Parallel Universe thinks, the plot thickens. Slap Happy seems to think so, too. Postcard Headlines found some humor in the whole thing.
By running away from the truth, Neri has singlehandedly destroyed the credibility of NEDA, a government agency tasked to assess all major government projects and monitor the implementation and use of overseas development assistance. He even allowed his Presidentita to take over its oversight functions. (A text message from a former DG: “Deliberate ‘yan: Destroy NEDA’s oversight function so the plunder agenda would meet no resistance.”) I can imagine the frustration of all the hardworking good people over there.
But Uniffors, who pens an eyewitness account of being at the Senate yesterday, says Neri was a rat:
The little shit hid behind executive privilege all day, refusing to reveal any more than that he reported the bribe offer to Gloria.
I must admit I was too distracted, enjoying too immensely, the skewering of Abalos I did not catch on to Neri immediately.
It was Ping Lacson who finally exposed Neri.
Lacson realized that Neri was not going to budge from his executive privelege position so he offered Neri a way out. If he couldn’t talk because of executive privilege then maybe Bondoc could do it for him, considering that he was a source of many of Bondoc’s information.
So Lacson asked Jarius Bondoc how many times he talked to Neri and if he was willing to reveal what they talked about.
Jarius replied, ‘yes but I have to ask Neri’s permission first.’
Lacson then asked Neri if he would permit Jarius to reveal the contents of their conversations.
Neri replied, ‘I will not grant permission.’
That’s it, I told myself. Neri was sent to rat on Abalos. He didn’t go to the Senate to tell the truth. He went there to throw Abalos to the wolves…
The worst character in any criminal enterprise is the gang member who rats, the one who acts as the pawn to protect the capo de tuti capo by sacrificing another loyal consigliori.
I thought Neri was an eagle. He is a bat. A rat with wings.
If that was too much, console yourself with this puff piece.
This comment in Ricky Carandang’s blog was also shrewd and on the button, I think:
I believe Romy Neri has two things in his mind. He wants to fight corruption and the best way to show it is to expose Abalos. On the other hand he does not want chaos by exposing GMA, he knows that it will trigger street protest, bring down the economy, create a crisis, usher in the uncertainties of a De Castro presidency. Maybe looking at some of the opposition senators he might tell himself “dito ko ba sa mga ito ipagkakatiwala ang katotohanan, they can’t handle the truth”.And maybe if the senators eliciting the truth were Ninoy Aquino, Lorenzo Tanada, Jose “pepe” Diokno, and Jovy Salonga kaninang umaga pa natin alam ang katotohanan.
But nonetheless Romy Neri is not the judge of who deserves the truth. Poor guy, he’s playing God.
So there. Theoretically, there was much to admire in Neri on Regulatory Capture. But he’s been captured and he can’t even say he’s a prisoner of conscience.
You know, a few days ago, Atenean friends forwarded me this picture:
And fair being fair, I think the LaSallians ought to email all their Ateneo friends this picture:
Cuz yu ken alwayz larn haw tuh spayl but if yu dunt knoe rayt frum wrowng bah noe, iz two layt.