A new majority

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The last few weeks have been like a time warp. i remember when I visited Lucena in August, Atty. Sonny Pulgar described to me how even local politics had changed, reflecting national attitudes that have been obvious for some time. He said that the old era of the stump speech and the miting de avance, on a provincial level, was gone. Why would families want to sit through boring speeches, when they could watch teleseryes on TV? The era of the miting de avance predated the concept of TV prime time, and so, even in provincial elections, people preferred to decide on candidates according to their ads, while candidates looking for support had to go house to house, retail on the most minute scale.

But it seems the last bastion of traditional politics is the baranggay. I had’t encountered marching bands and the whole panoply of traditional campaigns in 2004 or 2007 (May), but the last couple of weeks had the old trappings on display. Bands banging away, processions, posters, streamers… Over the weekend, as the photo above shows in my baranggay, processions became quite elaborate: the tricycle procession I snapped above was followed by a procession of Mercedes-Benzes and vans, all sporting blue balloons.

Saturday, too, featured a round-the-clock battle of the bands, with drums and xlyophones, literally on the hour, every hour, from morning till evening. As I said, I saw similar bands in all sorts of baranggays, rich and poor, in the metropolis.

I don’t know if I agree with [email protected] who thinks the problem is keeping baranggay elections nonpartisan. The problem, it seems to me, is that everyone knows the baranggay is the bedrock of party politics, and you might as well remove the bogus effort to keep it nonpartisan and make it partisan within effective limits.

The effect of today’s baranggay election will be to entrench the ruling coalition.

Anyway, on to the national scene.

Estrada is now to the opposition what FVR is to the ruling coalition -a decoration, a receding symbol of past mistakes but not a key to a better future or an obstacle to more meaningful change.

Meanwhile, as yesterday’s Inquirer editorial put it, we are an even more deeply divided nation, and that the pardon was an act of political suicide, as today’s Inquirer editorial puts it. While Amando Doronila thinks pretty much the same thing:

The President’s strategists had thought that by removing Estrada from the picture, the pardon would allow her to rebuild her defenses that were crumbling under the pressures of corruption scandals over the broadband contract with the Chinese telecommunication company, ZTE Corp., and the cash payoff to congressmen and governors to bribe them into killing new impeachment complaints against her.

The ZTE deal has opened a dangerous rift between Ms Arroyo and Speaker Jose de Venecia, whose son, Jose de Venecia III, has denounced the President’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, for intervening in the deal by telling him to back off from pressing his bid to review the contract.

This rift has opened cracks on the façade of the Lakas-led coalition in the House of Representatives. De Venecia can no longer be depended upon to rally the numbers to kill new impeachment moves. There are also plots to unseat him as Speaker…

The opposition members in the House, including Rep. Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan, are treating new impeachment complaints on the strength of the evidence backing these. They are not taking cues from Estrada and, Zamora has said, his fellow opposition would not be influenced by the pardon. The impeachment threat remains.

There are no tectonic shifts in alliances in the House as a result of the pardon. It cannot save the President from a crumbling coalition. She gained nothing but more scorn.

(in light of the above, see JDV seen as on brink of ouster: Showdown expected next week)

My column today, The price of power, is almost entirely based on an earlier entry on this blog, except for this updated part:

What happens next? A free man, Estrada is now just another ex-president. He can begin investing, quite heavily, in the political futures of his sons. However, his starring role is at an end. His allies among the political leaders must now attend to their own futures, because Estrada now belongs to the past. Jejomar Binay is now the true leader of the traditional political opposition.

And as for the President, it’s back to the War Room because so many other fights still need to be fought, and any relief she obtains always proves increasingly temporary.

To those who were at Edsa Dos, but who wouldn’t budge in 2005 and 2006, and who are suddenly filled with outrage over Ms Arroyo pardoning Estrada, what did you expect? You made this not only possible, but inevitable. Edsa Dos was not betrayed by this pardon, it was betrayed when the President tried to steal the 2004 election, when she refused to be held accountable by means of the impeachment process, and when she very nearly imposed martial law in 2006 but was foiled by Nonong Cruz. I am glad you now see what others saw–years ago.

To be sure, these thoughts aren’t unique, as discussed by the razor-sharp Placeholder:

True, because of Civil Society groups’ protest activities, just like the human body, our Society may run a fever, but it would be foolish to mistake the fever itself as the problem and lash out and make fun of these groups as Geo and like-minded members of the Philippine Middle Class have done. Now it’s their turn to wake up and smell the coffee. They (and we) are now reaping the rewards of such expediency. We have now arrived at a point where the State, which is supposed to protect our way of life, can no longer be excluded from the list of prime suspects*.

Or as observed by Ricky Carandang:

After all, Estrada was the only president since 1965 whose election to the presidency was not marred by accusations of electoral cheating. And despite his ouster in the 2001 coup de etat that history calls EDSA 2, he remains generally popular…more popular in fact than the woman who ousted him from office and took his place.

But there were few protests when the Sandiganbayan convicted him. I believe this is because despite the affection that people felt for him, they generally believed that the verdict was fair.

This is also the reason why I believe so many people are angry over the pardon. Lawyers who helped prosecute Estrada say that the six years of effort showed that despite all the shortcomings of the justice system, in this one instance, the system actually worked. The pardon undermined that message. The elites and middle classes who showed up for EDSA 2 to help oust Estrada and stood behind Arroyo despite Hello Garci, ZTE, extrajudicial killings, cash in paper bags being handed out to politicians, charter change, EVAT, and all her other sins, could always fall on Estrada’s guilt as a rationalization for their apathy. The pardon has removed that excuse and now those that will continue to stand by her after this have to find a new reason to continue supporting her. Someone told me that allowing Estrada to be convicted was the only good thing Arroyo ever did for this country and now she undid it.

The prospects opening up, however, are expressed best of all by Ang Tambayan ni Paeng, who pens an open letter to the President:

Thank you, Madam President, for taking the ghost of Joseph Estrada off our shoulders. For so long, we in the anti-GMA camp had to suffer the blanket label of being pro-Erap in our actions. Now, we can oppose your unconstitutional actions without being accused of being “mga bayaran ni Wristband.” Now, we can call for your resignation without being asked “Bakit, gusto mong ibalik uli sa kapangyarihan si Erap?”

Thank you, Madam President, for giving us the opportunity to clean the ranks of the opposition. Finally, we will get to see who is really fighting the principled fight and who is fighting for the control over the sharing of the spoils. Finally, we can purge from our ranks the corrupt people who’d like to impeach you for your rape of the government coffers, the martial law agents who’d like to impeach you for your human rights violations, and the vote-buyers who’d like to impeach you for saying hello to Garci.

Thank you, Madam President, for vindicating our fight against the 2004 movement to vote for the lesser evil. You have shown that there’s no point in toppling an administration ran by a corrupt gambler if we’re just going to just replace it by an administration ran by a lying and cheating thief. The fight against the forces of evil can only be won by fighting with the forces of good. To think otherwise is sheer idiocy.

Thank you, Madam President, for slapping the faces of the middle force who supported you for the sake of “moving on” despite your numerous crimes to the country. What a tragic irony it is to see their favorite whipping boy Erap now freely partying in Polk Street upon command of their anointed savior. What a tragic irony it is that by chanting the mantra of moving on, the country took a step back in the fight against plunder, corruption and bad governance.

Thank you, Madam President, for uniting behind your administration the Estradas, the Marcoses, your various kaKAMPIs and cronies, and the other forces fighting for the preservation of the corrupt status quo. Now, the battle lines are clearly drawn. And it is time for the true opposition who believes in the fight for genuine societal change to unite and take the fight to your door. Tama na, sobra na, palitan na…KAYONG LAHAT!

As The Philippine Experience further explains, critics of Edsa Dos miss the point:

The elite, they call us. Me, rich? I am another member of the working class who tries his best to feed his family. No, I don’t own a newspaper like Niñez does, I’m a lowly blogger who does not even have his own domain.

The people I went to EDSA with back in 2001 were ordinary folks. I saw countless individuals who obviously were not well-off. Sure there were the rich group but I could tell that they are a very small group. I did not see dole-outs but I did see people just like me who shared the little food we brought along. There were no catering trucks that handed out mineral water and food in Styrofoam containers. Even the old balut vendor I stood beside “gave” away his balut for free.

I went to EDSA not to install Gloria but to show my disgust at how the numbers game was played in Erap’s impeachment. I too am appalled by the same situation in GMA’s last two impeachments were the majority relied on their numbers to dump the impeachment complaint. Aside from being one with those who denounced his way of running the country, there was a personal side to why I joined EDSA 2. I had to teach my kids that we all have to make a stand sometime in our lives. If the people who joined EDSA were rich, they wouldn’t be working during the day and then going to EDSA after work. Maybe the Tribune did not notice how thin the crowds were during the day only to swell in the afternoon and into the night.

I laugh at how the Tribune’s editorial pointed to different groups and lumping them into one box. Calling EDSA 3 the revolt of the masses is quite incorrect. EDSA 3 showed us how the poor can be easily manipulated by the rich. It showed us how the elite can exploit the suffering of the poor to their advantage. The Tribune should look at itself and those who see Erap as an aggrieved party and examine themselves closely.

Erap’s undoing was his own. The private prosecutors found evidence to link him to the crime for which he was charged. He was acquitted of those he obviously did not commit. I too defended him against the obvious injustices this administration handed him. Maybe the Tribune has to understand what morality and justice is. The editorial was quite reckless in its opinion. I am not a member of the Black and White movement. I must agree though that certain personalities were accommodated by the UNO but that is to put some credibility to their slate. UNO cannot claim that these personalities were forced upon them. If UNO stuck to their favored candidates, I doubt if those would match up to who GMA had.

Page 111
In Hungry Enough to Devour a President, Sylvia Mayuga ties the threads of the past with the unraveling ties that bind the administration to power:

Point is: the Republic of the Philippines is not starting from scratch. It won a victory for people empowerment at a very high price after 20 long years under Marcos, the way Manuel L. Quezon and the independence movement won back our sovereignty in 1946, the way the Katipunan decided to take the plunge for revolution in 1896…

…A panorama of recent history — for that is all it is in the life of a mystical race with all its faults — emerges now in major landmarks of a reigning Kapampangan queen’s dismal failure to become a President of all Filipinos. If Inday, our bookworm OFW domestic, called these landmarks “major blocks to Filipino evolution erected by a pushy, super-competitive Filipina without sufficient self-knowledge, and for her own regressive psycho-historical reasons,” I would agree.

As A Jaspitz’s World puts it,

GMA mentioned in her speech, when she announced the pardon, that part of her legacy agenda is healing the wounds of EDSA 1, 2 and 3. If she could only be honest for once, she should have admitted that the pardon was intended to preempt an EDSA 4. She knew that all the previous EDSAs were simply a numbers game. By buying the Erap crowd with the highly-praised executive pardon, GMA was effectively betting that she could already afford to play Russian roulette with House Speaker Jose de Venecia III (JDV) and the still silent middle-class.

Torn & Frayed thinks Estrada lost out:

Erap was guilty of criminal acts, but that’s not why he ended up in the dock. He was deposed, tried, and convicted as much for his criminal stupidity as for his plunder.

As Erap’s supporters have said repeatedly over the last seven years “why just Erap?” I think that is a reasonable question. Erap’s crimes were probably no worse than those committed under the present administration, but he lost out in a political power play. The fact that he had been so careless, decadent, and profligate was a convenient way of justifying his ouster but I don’t think it was the main reason he went.

If Erap had spent less time boozing and more time building his coalition, he would have sailed through to 2004 without any bother. As it was, being a typical mummy’s boy and surrounded by sycophants in the palace, almost to the end he was convinced everyone loved him. He paid for that complacency for the next seven years.

As Machievelli observed, it is better to be feared than loved.

smoke thinks Estrada has made a net gain:

It’s a chess game. Well, sort of. Maybe a Greek drama or something. Anyway, Gloria was threatening checkmate with the conviction.

Estrada – the black king – moves into a more vulnerable position which, while it increases the possibility of a checkmate, also brings to bear a threat from an intrepid black knight and a coterie of pawns – the Erap rabble and its leaders.

Gloria is flustered and withdraws the threat from the black king in order to shore up her weak side against the black knight and pawns. All without realizing that the newly liberated black king – by diverting the buck-toothed queen’s attention – has managed to bring up his other troops on the other side. An enfilade in the offing. Mate in three or less – years.

the bystander is more cautious:

By asking for pardon, Erap in effect has recognized the legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency. Not only that, his role as the de facto leader of the opposition is now highly suspect. I doubt if he or even his sons Jinggoy and JV will still have the nerve to criticize Mrs. Arroyo the way they used to.

And because of the perception that Erap has struck a deal with the administration, this will ultimately lead to the break-up of the loose coalition of anti-Arroyo forces composed of former pro-Gloria civil society, religious and militant groups on the one hand and the pro-Erap group on the other. If that happens, then Gloria will definitely have the last laugh.

As always, let me point to Mon Casiple as a sure-footed guide to these contending ideas:

GMA wants to have a political hold on Estrada even after the grant of a pardon, thereby preempting possible revenge in the post-GMA period. The GMA camp wants a conditional pardon restricting Estrada from running in 2010. The nightmare here is an Estrada presidency avenging itself on its former vice-president, EDSA 2 nemesis, accuser, arrestor, jailor, and political judge.

What broke the impasse? Two things happened almost at the same time that, I think, opened the door to a hasty request for a presidential pardon and an equally hasty granting of it.

Estrada saw a failed motion for reconsideration and a Supreme Court sitting on his appeal, continued incarceration amid a political transition, and possible irrelevancy in the nation’s favorite game of politics. GMA, for her part, saw the first signs of a ruling coalition self-destructing, the specter of a successful impeachment, and the inexorable march towards a lameduck presidency.

GMA has only three options facing her in the waning days of her power: to reconcile with the opposition and agree on the rules for the post-GMA period (particularly on guarantees for her survival), to gamble and exact the same guarantees from presidentiable(s), or to maneuver to extend her term.

She tried the first option on her terms–it failed. She tried to play off the presidentiables against each other–they unified against her. She tried redoing the Cha-cha caper–she is failing. The political battlefield is littered with her various bungled initiatives. The strategy that saved her so far was the creation of diversionary issues marked by a cynical use of the short attention span of the mass media.

However, the clock ticks, and having ticked, moves on. Today, she stands in the endgame, with threats of a checkmate from within and outside her defenses. Her trusted people–one by one–had already left or are ravaged by time and the political war. The window of opportunity for a favorable outcome to her crisis–or even a merely survivable one–is fast closing.

The Estrada pardon is a decisive political stroke but its effectiveness is diminished by it being a forced move. It is also an ambiguous signal, indicating either a reinforcement of depleted political ranks or a genuine gesture of reconciliation. GMA has to do more to extricate from a closing attack and clearly signal her intentions–by undertaking specific actions for political reforms that can unite the body politic for the post-GMA period. Or embark on a perilous gambit that only a Marcos dared use before.

New Philippine Revolution takes a reading of the public pulse:

I believe at this time, the accounting of forces have already been made and both camps know their true strength. The question is–will we see a change of government this November?

Observation on the online petition

Based on a reading of the People’s Pulse, this online petition will amount to nothing. The people does’nt want a snap elections. Its a waste of time and money. What they support though, is a caretaker government. The concept of a caretaker government seems to resonate loudly among the people and I believe that should this happen, it will be supported by the people.

The caretaker government should rule this country until 2010. By that time, everything would have calmed down and a new constitution would have been in place. That’s the way to go. The only question is–are these forces really determined to go all out against Arroyo? We will see in the coming weeks.

Interesting entries, too, in theraveneffect, in My Point… Exactly! and Mad Musings of a Matabang Mama from Muntinlupa.

Relevant readings, from the West and the East: The Rockefellers and the Angry Commoners discusses how the millionaires of America’s Gilded Age staved off class warfare.

Blogger History Unfolding expresses dismay over how American politics seems incapable of heading off disaster:

Last fall’s election certainly seemed to show that the country had turned against the Bush Administration and most of its works, but the Republicans have bizarrely managed to remain on the offensive and the Democrats seem to cower more every week. The Mukasey confirmation hearings present the latest and perhaps most dramatic challenge to the Democracy (as it used to be called): the Senate is now called upon to confirm a new Attorney General who claims absolute executive power in time of war, and if they do so–as it seems they surely will–it will amount to an admission that Presidents may in fact establish a modified dictatorship if it suits them. The drumbeat for war against Iran continues, and the President’s CHIP veto has been sustained. Even more alarming, however, is the tenor of the debates among the two sets of Presidential candidates.

How so? Well, our Constitution has in effect been suspended, we may face an impending economic catastrophe, and we have destroyed the postwar world order that our parents spent half a century building up, all under President Bush. Yet the Republican candidates are projecting more self-confidence and self-assuredness than the Democrats! One hears no more talk of them distancing themselves from the President–they are falling all over each other (and this includes Rudy Giuliani) promising that they will out-Bush Bush. They are ready to attack Iran and foresake the UN, to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent, appoint yet more extreme right wing judges and make all the Bush tax cuts permanent. So vehement are they that I will be genuinely surprised if the eventual nominee makes a real move towards the center in the general election. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, the Democrats are once again failing to articulate any broadly different foreign policy (even though Obama has made a few tentative steps in that direction), and the front runner, Senator Clinton, seems eager to pursue the confrontation with Iran, if her vote on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is any indication. Perhaps the electorate still wants the most muscular foreign policy possible and an abridgment of civil liberties to fight terror because it sense how detested we have become around the world–a sad commentary, if true, on the Republican capacity for turning policy failure into political success.

Another article, Resign, Retire, Renounce, ponders what the American military should do, if Bush embarks on a lunatic war with Iran; King Duck Goes to His Taiwanese Reward shows how Taiwan’s Kuomintang is weaning itself away from its mafia connections (see Hong Kong’s market collapse of 20 years ago is worth recalling during the present turmoil for an insight into how governments bail out businesses).

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152 comments

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    • ronin on October 29, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    New Philippine Revolution’s idea of a caretaker government only asks more questions than offer answers to the current dilemma.

    Would such a caretaker government be the result of an extra-Constitutional political exercise? If so, would the majority of Filipinos support it? Who would choose the members of this caretaker government? What would be the criteria with which to select them? What political mechanism will lend such a government with legitimacy? And most important, what guarantee would we have that such a caretaker government would not spawn bigger problems later?

  1. Manolo – Can you share with us what tool you use to compose your blog posts. I’m astounded at the amount of material you collect, organize and comment on. Surely you use some kind of holding tank and writing tool for the drafting and finalization of posts. Maybe you could elaborate on the procedure you use.

    • mlq3 on October 29, 2007 at 4:46 pm
      Author

    ronin, if my understanding is correct, NPR views a combination of people power/public pressure or impeachment to get the president to go, but after that, for the constitutional succession to kick in, with the veep viewing his main role as ensuring the 2010 elections are credible.

    nick:

    i use a clunky method. i have folders of bookmarks, mainly for news sites and some favorite blogs. then i also use an rss reader but it’s unwieldy as i’m not very organized. that helps me keep tabs on other blogs i like. to get a broader sense of what people are blogging about, i alternate between google blog search and technorati to find out what people have to say on estrada or, say, glorietta.

    the end result is several firefox and safari windows with various blogs/news items up.

    then i fire up ecto:

    http://infinite-sushi.com/software/ecto/

    which i use as a word processor for my blog entries. this lets me use my blog entries as a scrap book, and i can then organize my thoughts, etc.

    it’s a very inefficient and time-consuming method that i use, though. but it helps me organize my thoughts and lets me use my blog as a scrapbook, a means for sorting out ideas, a filing system of sorts.

    • ronin on October 29, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Manolo, that’s clearer, thanks.

    Adhering to the Constitution in the aftermath of Arroyo’s ouster (or resignation for that matter) would provide a stabilizing factor. I may not like the current VP (I didn’t vote for him) but at least a de Castro administration (which is legitimate) is better than a free-for-all among pretenders.

    • The Equalizer on October 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    After all my fury and anger over the pardon,I have reflected on recent events and realized the following:

    1)I always had an uneasy feeling siding with the political opposition because of Erap being its”de facto leader”.I can now forget all about Erap being part of the real opposition.Thank God!

    2)The new Gloria /Erap tandem has become the unholiest of political alliances.I doubt if it will really last (is there honor among thieves?)

    3)We can now forget all about EDSA DOS.It was turned into a BIG FARCE by the pardon(after the “Big Fart” last week).

    4)Gloria and Ronnie keep “raising the bar” each week to divert the public’s attention from the mega scandals. Can they sustain this level week after week?

    5)We shall observe the realignment of political forces in the coming weeks.Imagine Villar/Cory/Escudero praising the pardon while FVR/Gordon/Joker critizing it.

  2. Hi Manolo! As always, that was a very good analysis of the country’s political situation. However, may I remind everybody that we should not forget some specific issues like Erap’s well deserved jail term and the 3 billion Jose Velarde account that is almost empty, at this point.

    There are millions of hungry Filipinos that needs the money.

    Regards,

  3. The Dots are getting connected veryFAST…

    -Jarius writes expose…
    -Mike goes abroad(day before Senate hearing on ZTE)…
    -Joey DV reveals details of ZTE mega scandal…
    -Neri confirms Abalos bribe attempt…
    -Abalos resigns…
    -Impeach me filed…
    -ZTE deal suspended/junked…
    -Congressmen received bribes…
    -Governors received bribes…
    -GMA immunized…
    -JDV under ouster threat…
    -Ayala mall “big fart”…
    -Erap pardoned …
    -The realignment of political forces:Gloria and Erap versus the emerging Real Opposition

    What’s NEXT to divert our attention from HER scandals(note:one headline-grabbing event per week now!)

    • mlq3 on October 29, 2007 at 5:30 pm
      Author

    presto, the palace’s comelec nominees:

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=97425

  4. Manolo: Only Howard Calleja looks credible to me now(Rufus and Rene are Erap’s defenders of the faith).

    • mlq3 on October 29, 2007 at 5:36 pm
      Author

    by himself, howard will be another rene sarmiento. worse than useless.

  5. The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
    – Sun Tzu

    GMA,Ronnie Puno and their Kakampi gang look just like a bunch of brawlers.”Mga siga siga” who cajole,bribe and/or bully others forgetting that they are antagonizing and creating more powerful enemies week after week.

    • vic on October 29, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    “I don’t know if I agree with [email protected] who thinks the problem is keeping baranggay elections nonpartisan. The problem, it seems to me, is that everyone knows the baranggay is the bedrock of party politics, and you might as well remove the bogus effort to keep it nonpartisan and make it partisan within effective limits.” …MLQ

    Actually I would suggest further that Municipal and City elected officials should be non-patisan for the reason that these posts hav nothing to do with ideology or party programs or principles but mostly managing local issues which are mostly providing essenial services like sanitation, fire and police protections and mostly those that are managerial in nature. We can compare them to School Board Trustees and by law even here Party Politics is illegal for Munincipal and City Officials, as Municipal and City councils are empowered to raise funds thru property taxes and user fees if their allocation from higher Governments are not enough to support the services rendered. This will somehow eliminate the tendency of candidates for joining the parties, especially in the case of Philippines politics just merely to have more campaign funds available than the next candidate. And the winning candidates will always be forced to deliver their Barangay voters to the National party they are inline with and now that will be another problem of voters having a free will..

  6. “Is he joining the Arroyo syndicate in Malacañang either openly or discreetly as part of the exchange deal with [President Gloria Macapagal] Arroyo? Or will he remain a staunch critic of the corrupt and brutal ruling syndicate despite the presidential pardon granted by Mrs. Arroyo?” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked in a statement furnished the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net).”

    Ronnie Puno inducted him as Chairman Emeritus of the “Kakampi ” gang in Erap’s Tanay resort after Eraps’signing of the “unconditional pardon” contract with the Palace syndicate.

    • cvj on October 29, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Manolo, thanks for the link!

    Equalizer, i’m also glad that Howie Calleja is on the list of nominees. We were batchmates in high school and i see him as a good person. (At least he was good to me.) However, perhaps Manolo is right that he cannot be useful on his own.

  7. mlq,

    your column today in the PDI precisely said whats on my mind. You really hit the nail on its head. I hope your message has reached across the EDSA Dos crowd. They should have moved and helped during 2005. I hope they feel what I felt in 2005 when what we have is indifference from EDSA Dos crowd to the Hello Garci issue.

    Thank you for writing it.

    • ramrod on October 29, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
    – Sun Tzu

    Equalizer,

    Whoever is making the strategy of GMA and company should heed your Sun Tzu quote, it means the battle has to be fought first in the mind, using the imagination, consider possible scenarios, attacks and possible counter attacks, calculation of damages, impact on morale, terrain advantages, timings, duration, costs, benefits, etc. The battle should be won first in the mind…

  8. The Nobel Peace Prize 2008

    We respectfully propose to The Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008, in alphabetical order, to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada and Ronaldo Puno for their efforts to create peace and national reconciliation in the Republic of the Philippines.The three nominees have worked hard to establish a political democratic atmosphere and firm repect for majesty of the Law (following the dictum of “justice delayed is justice denied”)

    For the past decade, the conflict the “Pro Erap” forces (the “masa” ) and the “Pro Gloria” (the ruling elite), has been among the most irreconcilable and menacing in Philippine politics. The parties have caused each other great suffering.

    By negotiating the The Presidential Pardon For Erap , and subsequently following it up with the quick pardon after six (6) weeks from the conviction of Erap by the Sandigan Bayan, Arroyo,Estrada and Puno have made substantial contributions to a historic process through which peace and cooperation can replace a bitter political feud and possibly a dangerous civil war and hate among Filipinos.

    In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel wrote that the Peace Prize could be awarded to the person who, in the preceding year, “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations”.

    The proposed award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Arroyo, Puno and Estrada is intended to honor a political act which called for great courage on both sides, and which has opened up opportunities for a new development towards fraternity in the Philippines.

    It is our hope that the Committee will give the award to these great Filipinos to serve as an encouragement to all the Filipinos of different political persuasions who are working to establish lasting peace in this important country in the strategic ASIAN region.

    The Profiles of the Proposed Nobel Peace Prize Awards for 2008

    1) President Gloria Arroyo: She has declared the Philippines as the most democratic country in our region. “We have no tolerance for human rights violations at home or abroad.” GMA Speech in the UN General Assembly;Sept.28,2007

    2)Ex- President Joseph Estrada:He served more than six years in detention — six years and six months to be exact. First in an air-conditioned suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, and then at his own well-appointed rest house in Tanay town, outside Manila .

    3)Secretary Ronaldo Puno :The Peacemaker between President Gloria Arroyo and President Joseph Estrada. He isis arguably one of the most successful campaign managers in Philippine politics. He supported the presidential bids of eventual winners Ferdinand Marcos,Fidel Ramos,Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

    PS:JOKE only (trick or treat !)

  9. Mlq3 — The pic is either blurred or it was foggy when it was taken. Was it foggy in your baranggay?

    • BrianB on October 29, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    “There are no tectonic shifts in alliances in the House as a result of the pardon. It cannot save the President from a crumbling coalition. She gained nothing but more scorn”

    More wishful thinking. What would this scorn will do to her?

    • ramrod on October 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    mlq3,

    Speaking as an EDSA 2 veteran and one of those who did not budge in 2005/2006, admittedly everything really looks clearer in hindsight. My first reaction to the Garci tapes was disbelief, I really thought it was manufactured or “spliced” or maybe taken out of context. Here was our new president, hardworking, intelligent, and a small woman, naturally the first impulse is to somehow protect her from the big bad wolf Erap and the EDSA 3 mob. Unfortunately, the image of Erap and the violent mob overshadowed the other voices, the B&W Movement, the civil society, and others. I had the impression that Dinky S. was an opportunist and the lady leader of the civil society was probably not given what she asked for, money or maybe position. Here we were, our economy poised for takeoff and in comes all this commotion (I was in Singapore then). Honestly, I bought the destabilization angle to this situation. It was not until I had firsthand knowledge of continued corrruption in customs, BIR, and lisencing departments that I began to doubt the sincerity of GMA’s administration. Of course, we always tend to ignore the warnings of danger until it reaches your doorstep.
    I believe that the aged EDSA 2 crowd is more suspicious of removing a sitting president prematurely or unconstitutionally. Just as I believe that EDSA 1 was like opening “Pandora’s Box” letting loose all the evils as well as the good that can be brought about by “People Power.” The EDSA 2 crowd’s “surprised” reaction is more of “I can’t believe it” than shock considering what GMA went through plotting with former generals, conniving with big businessmen, and working with the left. Its quite unbelievable and downright difficult to accept that after all the exchanged hostilities, they could still “kiss and make up.”

    • ramrod on October 29, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    “More wishful thinking. What would this scorn will do to her?” – brianB

    brianB,

    The more people who scorn her, the more people will not respect her, to include people in her administration. Whatever motivation people still have working for her will be replaced by pure material compensation not some deep seated love for a leader. With continued outside pressure and in fighting within the palace, eventually something will give, and those people who have come to scorn her (people still working for her) will be the ones to sell her out.

    • ramrod on October 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Mlq3 — The pic is either blurred or it was foggy when it was taken. Was it foggy in your baranggay? – mbw

    mbw,

    Its not fog, its SMOG, you know thick smoke coming out from the bus exhaust, tricycles, trucks, its quite common in Manila, we can’t live without it…

    • Ka Rusty on October 29, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Malaya na ang mandarambong ng Bayan, ang mandurukot sa Quiapo nakakulong pa.

    • Chabeli on October 29, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    MLQ,

    How perfect you say it: “Estrada is now to the opposition what FVR is to the ruling coalition -a decoration, a receding symbol of past mistakes but not a key to a better future or an obstacle to more meaningful change.”

    FVR was interviewed on the news just a few minutes ago regarding his recent comments on GMA. FVR said he is not joining groups who are asking GMA to resign because the alternative will be anarchy & he will never be for anarchy.

    FVR was the one who saved GMA’s Titanic from sinking. Now, he’s at it again. I have lost my respect for this man. He should just focus on chewing his tobacco.

    • BrianB on October 29, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    “With continued outside pressure and in fighting within the palace, eventually something will give, and those people who have come to scorn her (people still working for her) will be the ones to sell her out.”

    Nah, she’s got only two more years left.

  10. CHAB:let’s relegate to the dustbin of Phlippine history the following infamous Presidents:Marcos/Ramos/Estrada/Gloria.

    As far as I’m concerned,there were only two Great Filipino Presidents:MLQ and RM.

    • cvj on October 29, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Speaking as an EDSA 2 veteran and one of those who did not budge in 2005/2006, admittedly everything really looks clearer in hindsight. My first reaction to the Garci tapes was disbelief, I really thought it was manufactured or “spliced” or maybe taken out of context. – Ramrod

    That was my reaction as well. Here in Singapore back in 2004, i queued up for 3 hours to register and another 3 hours so i can vote for GMA. I honestly believed that we needed 6 years of stability so our country can develop. After Hello Garci came out, i started surfing the web on this issue and stumbled upon Manolo’s blog. I was looking for some word from him to the effect that we should continue to support Arroyo, but when he made a stand that she should resign, then that’s when i realized that i have to reconsider my position. Subsequent interactions with Anna de Brux and Joselu solidified my position.

  11. Mlq3’s minesweeper is active again…

    • mlq3 on October 29, 2007 at 11:37 pm
      Author

    ramrod, as i’ve said for some time, we have to trust the people, and while some of us may march ahead or others lag behind, in the end why bother unless you trust the whole to sort things out best of all.

    as long as you take a stand, no regrets. you learn and personally what i’ve come to learn is, perhaps it worked out for the best that indeed, people refused to budge and move any faster than they were willing. as someone who looks at the past to understand the present, i came to see that the public, as a whole, has been remarkably consistent in establishing the parameters it’s comfortable operating within -and this cuts across class lines. first is, elections are still the best way of sorting out leadership issues; next, constitutional processes offer the best means to keep the risks of change within manageable proportions; third, that military adventurism is a no-no but people also respect people who stick by their principles, even if they disagree.

    as it is, a long, drawn-out process of elimination has served to prove to people who they’re willing to trust and that their giving leaders the benefit of the doubt has its limits, too. personally, i think those who may have reached certain conclusions regarding the president can find vindication in what others have come to realize, now. on the other hand, the period of relative isolation also opened up avenues for dialogue and communication among oppositionists divided along the edsa dos and tres fault lines.

    now estrada can fade away, and everyone’s attention can focus where it should be focused: on the president.

    chabeli, patsadakarajaw, thank you very much.

    mbw: that was exhaust from the tricycle motorcade.

  12. Agree with mlq3’s take “now estrada can fade away, and everyone’s attention can focus where it should be focused: on the president.”

    Unfortunately, Estrada will not allow that to happen while the masa shouts his name. If only he would go away -his resignation would have been ‘constructive’ in that everyone can focus on the task ahead — bring down Gloria.

  13. MLQ3:Do you think the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee will accept the proposed nomination of GMA,Erap and Puno for the Nobel Peace Prize ?

    The Office of the Press Secretary could obviously write a better spin than me but the gist of the monumental significance of the pardon for the country is basically reflected in my nomination(9:39 pm).

    The possibility of three Filipinos winning the Nobel Peace Prize is staggering.

    Your views pls.

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 12:27 am

    “as it is, a long, drawn-out process of elimination has served to prove to people who they’re willing to trust and that their giving leaders the benefit of the doubt has its limits, too.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Especially this one: “giving leaders the benefit of the doubt has its limits, too.” he he he he.

    Come On! What limits. everybody already doubts Gloria a long time ago. It’s a question of principles, morality, ethics versus the Filipino “peace of mind.” It’s the elite that is dragging their feet. The lower classes look to them, to the business leaders, the military leaders, the religious leaders to make a move and they ain’t moving. Why the lower classes cannot lead this? Because they know it’ll be chaos when they do.

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 12:30 am

    “FVR was the one who saved GMA’s Titanic from sinking. Now, he’s at it again. I have lost my respect for this man. He should just focus on chewing his tobacco.”

    I wonder what deal he struck with GMA. I think the past analyses on why he went to her aid was all wrong.

  14. Re Brian’s “Why the lower classes cannot lead this? ”

    Or maybe they don’t know how to do it? Maybe as you say, they were looking up “to the business leaders, the military leaders, the religious leaders to make a move?”

    Or maybe because most of them (from the ‘lower classes’) are so busy trying to make ends meet they don’t have the time to devise ways and means to move?

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 12:38 am

    “Do you think the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee will accept the proposed nomination of GMA,Erap and Puno for the Nobel Peace Prize ?”

    Isn’t it Swedish? Why Peace Price, why not the Physics Price, or even the Chemistry Price?

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 12:39 am

    I mean prize. Hm, you think this Freudian slip means something?

  15. “Conservatives Now Control CBCP; Bishops Won’t Join Resign-GMA Calls:NEWBREAK”

    Neocons everywhere!

  16. Thanks mlq3 & ramrod. I realize Manila is always shrouded by smog but wasn’t sure in the province.

    cvj — my first reaction to the Hello Garci tape when Toting Bunye announced it and after coming across some of its immediate contents, I told myself Gloria was dumb to have allowed herself to be caught on tape. Somehow I believed even then the tapes were real.

    Why? Because as early as 1999, there were police and army folks who had come to Europe to purchase cell phone trackers. A Dutchman demonstrated the paraphernalia in Manila sometime in 2000; the police and army guys subsequently placed the orders for a few units.

    Anyway, what left me gobsmacked was how the Filipinos allowed Gloria to get away with her incredible indiscretion aka “‘yong dagdag, dagdag.”

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 12:47 am

    “Neocons everywhere!”

    I’m wary of people who don’t like porn. There’s just something about them.

  17. my blog post today says it all

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Democracy is Greek to Bush.

  18. ERAP appeared in a lot not-so-memorable B movies.

    These are some of his more famous ones:

    1)Kung Hindi ka Susuko (1963)
    2)Kapit sa Patalim (1962)
    3)Ako’y Magbabalik (1966)
    4)Machonurin (1983)
    5)Tama na, Erap (1974)
    6)Tatak: Double Cross (1968)
    7)Blood Compact (1972)

    Which is the one most apt for a movie title for the Gloria/Erap Pardon Me Movie?

    my personal choice:no.7

    • cvj on October 30, 2007 at 1:26 am

    MBW, i think my (and others’) initial disbelief at Hello Garci was due to cognitive dissonance. After all, i invested a lot to support Gloria. I think it’s the same cognitive dissonance that Erap’s die-hard supporters are going through right now. Many of them are still hanging on to the hope that their hero has not capitulated and is somehow just acting. Perhaps they’re right. At the level of GMA, Erap, FVR and JDV, a well-timed betrayal is the name of the game.

    • BrianB on October 30, 2007 at 1:40 am

    You know it’s cognitive dissonance when you find yourself not believing the truth.

    • d0d0ng on October 30, 2007 at 2:28 am

    “But there were few protests when the Sandiganbayan convicted him. I believe this is because despite the affection that people felt for him, they generally believed that the verdict was fair.This is also the reason why I believe so many people are angry over the pardon. Lawyers who helped prosecute Estrada say that the six years of effort showed that despite all the shortcomings of the justice system, in this one instance, the system actually worked. The pardon undermined that message.”

    The pardon is a political power provided to the President under the Constitution. If you are angry with presidential pardon, too bad. You have to change the Constitution. Another reason, Gloria is ahead of the political game. She is inviting you to change the Constitution.

    • d0d0ng on October 30, 2007 at 2:42 am

    “now estrada can fade away, and everyone’s attention can focus where it should be focused: on the president.”

    And the opposition, so disappointing too wasted on political war that it cannot win because individual personalities are too invested in positions instead of bringing tangible results to their constituences. Tell me about bills that made any significant difference to the lives of Filipinos. Nada.

    • cvj on October 30, 2007 at 2:49 am

    The pardon is a political power provided to the President under the Constitution. If you are angry with presidential pardon, too bad. You have to change the Constitution. Another reason, Gloria is ahead of the political game. She is inviting you to change the Constitution. – D0d0ng at mlq3 October 30th, 2007 ,2:28 am

    I mentioned of two justice system, one for the “mga anak ng Diyos” and the other one for the rest of us.

    The first one (for convicted Plunder President Estrada and convicted Pedophile Rapist Congressman Jalosjos) is an exercise of political power while the other one is natural course of justice.

    I am so disappointed with political dispensation as brand of justice. It should have been better if justice is left entirely to Judiciary. The Philippine Constitution which is a US copycat on presidential pardon, is so exploited for self interest rather than national interest. It is time to discard political justice and useless congress creating instability by changing the Constitution. – D0d0ng at Sassy Lawyer – Oct 26, 2007 at 2:55 AM

    Is the Hamlet-syndrome peculiar to Fil-ams? You should compare notes with Bencard.

    • d0d0ng on October 30, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Glad you bring it up cvj.

    Because of my dissappointment, I am for to change the Constitution to scrap away Presidential pardon. Removing Gloria by mob will not cure political pardon available to any president. That is critical thinking.

    People power solution is appropriately Hamlet’s sydrome.

    • d0d0ng on October 30, 2007 at 3:17 am

    This is to highlight differences for critical thinkers vs Hamlet’s syndrome afflicted bloggers.

    Critical thinkers – disappointed but pro-active, seek alternative peaceful solution.

    Hamlet’s syndrome bloggers – angry, and destructive , seek radical solution like People Power that will spin-off more chaos, typical of mobster character. That is why it is taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

    LOL!

    • Watchful eye on October 30, 2007 at 3:59 am

    Oxymora of the day:

    1) CJ Puno said he does not want the judiciary to get involved in politics, and the Court should be free from any political influence since it is handling several cases that are political.

    2) Barangay and SK polls are generally peaceful with 23 dead.

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