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Nov 06

Freedom’s marching off to prison in Pakistan

In his blog, Jove Francisco gave an account of the situation as the weekend broke: an administration distracted so that it forgot to blow its own trumpets for a change:

I will wait for Secretary of the Cabinet Ric Saludo to once again blame media for the administration’s woes because we only cover political intrigues and conveniently snub good news stories like their economic strides.

Hey sir, there we were, trying hard and “risking our lives” (muntik kami maaksidente eh hehe) covering the good news about the strong peso because we all wanted to get the President’s reaction and official statement about this particular economic development … look at what we got… nothing.

Anyway, no horn-blowing at the Palace because the President was tending to her garden:

But despite her calls for a halt in politicking…palace insiders believe that the administration is doing its own brand of politics again.

Vehicles of local government officials from Pampanga were seen outside the Palace this afternoon.

No palace official would like to explain the presence of these officials, which is unfortunate because the visit came at a time when known pangalatok leaders FVR and JDV are at odds with Mrs. Arroyo.

While Scribbles Etc. points to the activities of the President’s Living nightmare, her predecessor. But was there a deal between the ex-con and the incumbent future con? Randy David, on Saturday, wrote,

The reality is that despite his detention and conviction, Estrada is far from being a spent political force. Ms Arroyo knows this. In detention, the ex-president could continue to sponsor destabilization efforts against her. Pardoned, he could be persuaded not to lend his name to any attempt to oust her.

This is political realism in a society where roughly 60 percent of the population remains under the spell of traditional political patrons and mass media celebrities. Ms Arroyo will pass into political oblivion after 2010, but not Estrada. He will be a force to reckon with, a figure to court for those with presidential ambitions, so long as the majority of our voters are rendered politically vulnerable by extreme poverty.

Realizing its marginal role in Philippine elections, the middle class, the harbinger of modernity, has favored non-electoral modes for effecting transitions — people power, impeachment, coups, calls for resignation, etc. It is this class that gave the country its two women presidents: Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of them the beneficiaries of people power.

But people power is caught in a paradox, which limits its potency. Its spontaneous and unorganized character, driven by a strong moralism, is the source of its vitality. It is also its fundamental weakness. Middle class activism seldom leads to anything sustainable, like the formation of mainstream political parties. Even when, to its own surprise, it scores electoral victories, as in the case of Fr. Ed Panlilio’s successful run for governor o fPampanga province, the engagement tends to stop at the polls. Without a party on which to anchor itself, the middle class espousal of modern governance is quickly drowned out by the pragmatics of political patronage. No wonder, in the end, “trapo” [traditional politicos] like Ms Arroyo and Estrada will always find it easier to deal with one another.

One thing is sure: both the President and her predecessor, don’t care about the lot of most prisoners, which Sunday’s Inquirer editorial tackled.

I attended a meeting over the weekend of various opposition groups, to discuss what to do about the Pulido impeachment and so forth. The lawyers, many of whom stayed home and gave up family time to try to put together a fortified impeachment complaint, were glum over the prospects of their legal labors amounting to anything.

Rep. Ronaldo Zamora discussed the case filed with the Supreme Court some years back, challenging the impeachment restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court when then Chief Justice Hilario Davide was facing an impeachment attempt. According to Zamora, in the case they filed, they predicted what has come to pass, today: that to head off a proper impeachment, potential targets of an impeachment would cause weak or bogus complaints to be filed, to innoculate them against genuine impeachments. Zamora said that while the Constitution grants the Congress supremacy in cases of impeachment, in reality, because of the Francisco case, the Supreme Court intervened, tied the hands of Congress, and along the way, violated a fundamental tenet of law: that no man may be a judge in his own case (the Supreme Court, in this case, intervening in a case involving the potential impeachment of its own Chief Justice).

So he said, their case predicted what has come to pass, but when they asked for oral arguments, the Supreme Court refused, and the case continues to mold away in the dockets of the Supreme Court. Until the previous ruling is overturned, he said, there is no point fussing over impeachment, the moment an official causes a bogus case to be filed. My sense is that he was speaking from the point of view of a pretty thorough lawyer, who is professionally affronted when a half-assed case ends up substituting for a case which can’t be rushed, if completeness is to be achieved.

He also had some pretty interesting things to say about how political math works in the lower house, the magic number being 60. With 60, an impeachment is in play; anything below that, and don’t even bother. He was also prescient in suggesting that the President would refrain from trying to oust the Speaker, at least until the impeachment complaint was formally junked, and not earlier than January. But in the meantime, he said (to comfort the lawyers, I think) he said it was a good exercise to put together a meaty impeachment complaint, and draft articles of impeachment.

Anyway, he told the group, and as it emerged in the discussion (animated, even heated, at times), we would see what happens when amendments or supplements or what have you are filed. But he and other opposition congressmen like Roilo Golez are of the opinion that at the very least, the moment the administration-controlled Committee on Justice shows no inclination to even consider amendments to the complaint or supplements to it, then the opposition should simply boycott the proceedings.

Why dignify a farce? Why legitimize a mockery of the process? A wise tactic and one I hope the opposition will stick to. I’d love to see the administration coalition reduced to arguing among themselves about a bogus case of their own making.

On the sidelines of the meeting, a congressman went up to me and made an observation I found particularly intriguing. He said, one should not over-plan things, but rather, work out a scenario for every eventuality, including a sudden, unexpected favor from Lady Luck. Such as what, I asked. The congressman replied, well, it makes sense for the President to hold her fire with regards to the Speaker, but if she decides to topple him, the Speaker has one last master-stroke left.

And what would that be, I inquired.

The Speaker, according to the congressman, upon seeing one of the President’s men taking to the floor to make a motion to declare the leadership vacant, and knowing at that instant, that it was now war to the death, could then suspend the session indefinitely. Chaos would ensue, the congressman said. I asked, suspend the session, as in, simply end the session, for ever? Not for ever, the congressman replied; the Constitution actually imposes a limit to such moves of three days. But imagine that, the congressman said. Three days of furious jockeying and wheeling, and dealing, of confusion and recriminations.

Why so, I asked. Because, the congressman said, the moment the President makes it known she wants a new Speaker, do you know how many candidates would arise? You would have to make each one happy. And if you topple the Speaker, you must replace all the senior leaders of the House, that’s 20 instant allies turned disgruntled enemies. In such a situation, things could change very fast and suddenly, a suitable number for impeachment could possibly be within reach.

But, the congressman remarked, while we should be prepared for such moments of divine intervention, one shouldn’t actively work for it, or even expect it.
What the President and her people, were up to, is covered by Uniffors and who kindly adds the blog’s voice to the call I and other made in my column for today, Save the day. We’re going to get together on Friday, at lunchtime, to walk together to the Makati Central Post Office to send the President a postcard.

Here’s the postcard design (click on the front and back design to enlarge and save to your desktop).
Or, if you want to save postage, you can email the President.

For information, see The Black and Whire Movement blog for additional details, including simultaneous protests in Riyadh, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, Cambodia, and Hong Kong.

But of course over the weekend the really big news took place overseas: ‘Desperate’ Musharraf declares martial law. Or was it? A “state of emergency,” he said, and as his own prime minister said, “definitely extraconstitutional.” Global Voices Online has a roundup of online reactions; the blog Teeth Maestro, established by a Pakistani gentleman I met in the regional blogger’s conference held a couple of years back in Manila, has a blow-by-blow account of the creeping martial law in that country. It is, as commentator Ali Eteraz puts it, Musharraf’s mini-martial law.

For Americans, concerned over their own economy (see Asia Sentinel’s report on window-dressing by the US Federal Reserve) as Prarie Weather points out, the Pakistani president’s declaration left Washington looking impotent. As for everyone else, as Rising Hegemon eloquently put it, instead of a new dawn of democracy in the Islamic world thanks to Uncle Sam, George W. Bush’s legacy is the opposite: it “Looks like Freedom’s Marching off to Prison.” Instead of a brave new world, it’s more apocalyptic by the day. As History Unfolding points out,

When the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, many of us, I think, thought tha the Bush era was over and a change would begin. The voters in particular had clearly rejected the Iraq war–as had Washington’s traditional establishment, embodied in the Baker-Hamilton commission–and we now expected de-escalation to begin. The resignation of Don Rumsfeld (who was actually fired, we can now see, because he opposed escalation in Iraq) encouraged this illusion. But that was not what happened. Nearly a year after the election we have more troops (but less casualties) in Iraq than ever. More importantly, it seems that the course that the Bush Administration set us on five or six years ago–a futile attempt to rule the Middle East, if not the whole world, by force–may be so firmly entrenched that even another election will not reverse it.

I am glad that I managed in 2002 to recognize how revolutionary the new foreign policy was, and to reject it on fundamental grounds. (Anyone who is interested can find what I had to say on the H-Diplo internet list archives for the fall of that year.) Our new National Security Strategy had proclaimed that we had the right and the duty to overthrow any unfriendly regime that was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and that we would do so alone if necessary. Meanwhile, President Bush announced that Israel would (in effect) keep whatever land it had settled and wanted to keep in any peace with a new Palestinian state. Each of those stands, in different ways, repudiated critical provisions of international law and flung the door open to international anarchy. Both were far, far more important than the President’s attempts to promote democracy. Indeed, it is partly because the President has proclaimed that both the United States and Israel will take, and keep, whatever they want, that elections in the Middle East have turned out so badly for us.

One blogger, Naeem, is so discouraged about the whole thing that the views of the blogger sound eerily familiar.

Incidentally, my column today quoted a phrase from The Economist editorial, which bears reading in its entirety.

A synopsis of a Newsbreak report on the ill-fated NAIA3 Terminal, by Torn and Frayed. Oddly enough, the President’s two predecessors came across better than the incumbent:

However, since NAIA 3 is a major public works project, history will also judge the three presidents who oversaw the project: Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.

The building of the terminal did not start to unravel until after Ramos’s term and he escapes relatively unscathed. Ramos had the foresight to realize that the country needed a new international terminal, invited the six taipans who constitute AEDC to bid for it, and, when a better bid was proposed by Piatco, oversaw its acceptance.

Perhaps surprisingly, Erap also comes out of the story quite well. Concerned that the AEDC suit against Piatco would derail the project, in his best Don Corleone fashion Estrada tried to reconcile the warring parties: “Among the new president’s moves within two months of assuming power was to call AEDC and Piatco to a meeting in Malacañang. In that meeting held September 3, Estrada made an extraordinary request: for AEDC to drop the civil suit pending before the Pasig RTC against the award of the Naia 3 contract to the Paircargo group, now Piatco.” There’s a time for Don Corleone and I think this was it–AEDC did indeed drop its civil suits and for a while the project proceeded, shakily, but it did move forward…

The president who comes out dreadfully from the debacle is Gloria. Admittedly, the airport was already a problem when she assumed office, but through her characteristic indecisiveness and lack of political will she made it into a catastrophe. The strap line of one of the Newsbreak articles sums it up perfectly: “Incoherent policies and failed quick fixes mark Arroyo’s response to NAIA 3″. Here is one example. The Office of the Solicitor General filed an expropriation suit (meaning that the government would attempt to take the new terminal into public ownership) before the Pasay regional trial court on 21 December 2004. As Newsbreak points out, the timing was “unfortunate”, since “just a day before the Philippine government’s lawyers in the ICSID arbitration proceedings in Washington, DC, had made a filing stating that Manila had not taken acts amounting to expropriation.”

Speaking of the President, Stella Arnaldo’s Blogspot says her former professors are, well, embarrassed.

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182 comments

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  1. Manila Bay Watch

    (It worked! Hah!) Here’s the next…

    I’ve read ‘extensively’, i.e., read a great number of books, on or where Elizabeth I figured – she is my favourite woman leader, perhaps Golda Meir next and then Maggie Thatcher.

    Now, I understand why you have a penchant for Gloria, it’s because you “like brave, strong and powerful women.”

    I will concede to two of your adjectives of Gloria: strong and powerful but unfortunately, I don’t find her brave in the absolute meaning of the word. True, she has a physical braveness about her as when she goes and meet with the “masa”, the electorate and the public at large but to me that is not what bravery really is in the absolute… to me bravery is synonimous to resolute courage.

  2. Manila Bay Watch

    (Hah! It worked again! S here’s the next and last portion:)

    Very early on in Mlq3’s blog some 3 years ago I think, I had posted that I would have been very supportive and she would have admirative of Gloria despite my belief that she ascended to power by breaching the Constitution in 2001 if only she had been more resolute, i.e., been courageous and put the generals in check or back to where they belonged, to the camps and to the barracks and by putting political discipline in government instead of back-pedalling at every turn and putting many tom dick harry crooks in government to pay off her “political debts” left right and center… the presidency is a powerful and potent tool. Full stop! I believe she did not use that tool wisely and instead she continues to use it to this day wrongly. And for that she has earned (at least from me) the strongest scorn.

    Strangely enough, I would liken her to France’s own Ségolène Royal, the unfortunate highly educated Socialist Party candidate in the recent elections in France whom I genuinely believed to be strong, intelligent, hardworking but not courageous or even bold enough to be able to institute needed reforms in France.

    And if I’m not being too inquisitive, pray could you tell me then, because you ” like brave, strong and powerful women. i really do.”, will you vote for Hillary Clinton?

  3. Manila Bay Watch

    (Bloody ‘ell! the thing got sunk… I will nosedive this time and try again.)

    Very early on in Mlq3’s blog some 3 years ago I think, I had posted that I would have been very supportive and she would have admirative of Gloria despite my belief that she ascended to power by breaching the Constitution in 2001 if only she had been more resolute, i.e., been courageous and put the generals in check or back to where they belonged, to the camps and to the barracks and by putting political discipline in government instead of back-pedalling at every turn and putting many tom dick harry crooks in government to pay off her “political debts” left right and center… the presidency is a powerful and potent tool. Full stop! I believe she did not use that tool wisely and instead she continues to use it to this day wrongly. And for that she has earned (at least from me) the strongest scorn.

  4. Manila Bay Watch

    (Hahahha! It worked! here’s the next and last portion:)

    Strangely enough, I would liken her to France’s own Ségolène Royal, the unfortunate highly educated Socialist Party candidate in the recent elections in France whom I genuinely believed to be strong, intelligent, hardworking but not courageous or even bold enough to be able to institute needed reforms in France.

    And if I’m not being too inquisitive, pray could you tell me then, because you ” like brave, strong and powerful women. i really do.”, will you vote for Hillary Clinton?

    (End of blogsubmarine operation!)

  5. Manila Bay Watch

    (It worked! here’s the next and final portion:)

    Strangely enough, I would liken her to France’s own Ségolène Royal, the unfortunate highly educated Socialist Party candidate in the recent elections in France whom I genuinely believed to be strong, intelligent, hardworking but not courageous or even bold enough to be able to institute needed reforms in France.

    And if I’m not being too inquisitive, pray could you tell me then, because you ” like brave, strong and powerful women. i really do.”, will you vote for Hillary Clinton?

    (End of subblogmarine operation!)

  6. Manila Bay Watch

    Bencard, that’s not the end of the subblogmarine operation but will post final portion which is actually a question later on when Manolo’s minesweeper runs out of steam.

  7. Bencard

    in 2005, when pgma was being attacked from all directions, e.g., the media, lower house and senate opposition (cayetano, escudero, et al., lacson, pimentel; the “hyatt 10”, cory, drilon, roxas, the clergy, some “civil society” turncoats; the erap loyalists; the leftist/communists; the extreme right coup plotters, i didn’t think she could withstand what appeared to be an irresistible force arrayed against her. her small stature was deceiving. it was hard to believe that she could endure the onslaught and not surrender. she faced every challenge, every attempt at power grab, every threat to her personal safety, every attack on her personal morality. now, her vision for the country’s economic future is beginning to bear fruit. and she perseveres with head unbowed.

    that to me, mbw, is “resolute” courage.

  8. Manila Bay Watch

    Bencard,

    But your view of her ability to withstand what you say as the onslaught by an “an irresistible force arrayed against her” or endure it, to me is only heavy political infighting.

    I didn’t view it as resolute courage because those incidents that you named were a consequence of her own underhanded political gambit, i.e., first when she chose to deceive people sometime on a Rizal Day to tell the nation by declaring solemnly that believing she was the ultimate cause of the divisiveness in the country decided not to run for the 2004 elections only to break her promise, and second when in 2004 she was caught ‘en flagrant delit’ (don’t know how to translate it in English), speaking to a notorious Comelec dagdag bawas official about dagdag-bawas, therefore to me her subsequent reactions were born not of resolute courage, although her demeanour then could give an appearance of physical bravery but on the contrary, of a meaner trait and lack of moral courage also known as cowardice.

  9. Manila Bay Watch

    Allow me to correct the first paragraph with: “But your view of her ability to withstand what you say as the onslaught by an “an irresistible force arrayed against her” or endure it, to me is only a reflection of her great ability to waddle through heavy political infighting.

  10. Bencard

    but she ended up the winner, mbw, didn’t she? and still the winner up to now. the point is her enemies never gained any ground and are still on the outside looking in, and she never budged an inch. she could have just gave up if she were faint-hearted but she was not so she didn’t.

    the way it looked, not enough people thought changing her mind about not running for president was such an unpardonable sin as the opposition wannabees would want to portray it. also, the alleged phone conversation did not cause enough outrage as to drive people, in sufficient number, to whip up a successful “people power” imitation. not even the mythical popularity of cory aquino, the “famas” award dramatics of susan roces, and the fire and brimstone exhortations of e. villanueva and other religious characters, could do the trick.

  11. cvj

    yeah, like those who conclude that gma cheated in the 2004 election based solely on the perception arising from an illegally-wiretapped conversation – Bencard

    What does the illegality of the wiretap have to do with the reality of the conversation?

  12. Bencard

    it is not the illegality of the wiretap nor the reality of the conversation that is the issue. it is the PERCEPTION that gma cheated that is being portrayed as FACT by your so-called post-moderns, whatever that means.

  13. cvj

    Bencard, if you listened to the tapes or read the transcript, i’d be interested in your interpretation.

  14. Manila Bay Watch

    Bencard,

    RE: “but she ended up the winner, mbw, didn’t she? and still the winner up to now.”

    Winning does not always equate to resolute courage in my book as I’ve said time and again. Winning is simply the result of having quashed one’s opponents. The winner could have used one or two or both types of tactics to win, i.e., evendhanded or underhanded tactics and so to my, Gloria’s winning over her oponents does not determine her possessing resolute courage.

    Resolute courage pre-supposes a strong element of moral courage and not just physical courage, the ability to say the truth whatever the cost, to fight for what is just and right however people may judge her or her capacity to accept defeat knowing that in the end, the truth is on her side. I believe she failed at all of these levels.

    There’s one woman leader in the Philippines and although I can’t qualify her as the be all of the greatest of leaders, I still believe that she is admirable for her resolute courage, i.e., moral courage, something which Gloria lacks and will always lack in that department, the one element that sets and defines great leaders in this world.

  15. Bencard

    mbw, an appeal to an accused’s sense of morality, or fear of hell, is a classic tool of inquisition to extort involuntary confession, or cajole him/her into incriminating him/herself. overzealous cops/investigators, or those who are plain lazy to do their job, thus resort to shortcuts to extort “confession” by subtle promises of leniency or even absolution. why do you think there is constitutional ban on self incrimination?

    in my practice of criminal law, my first advice to clients who are suspected of having committed a crime is to remain silent. whether or not he/she is guilty, it’s not his/her obligation to provide evidence against him/her in any manner, shape or form. i don’t think it’s cowardice to be silent or to refuse to incriminate oneself. rather it is cowardice to wilt like a shrinking violet at the first sign of trouble.

    i don’t fault pgma at all for not giving her enemies the satisfaction of nailing her to the cross, and providing the nails for the purpose.

  16. Manila Bay Watch

    “i don’t think it’s cowardice to be silent or to refuse to incriminate oneself.”

    Bencard,

    Agree but in the same vein, speaking with the intention of obfuscation the truth while deploying underhanded tactics and all for the sake of weathering a storm does not amount to courage either.

  17. Manila Bay Watch

    Ooooops, “Agree but in the same vein, speaking with the intention of obfuscatiNG the truth while deploying underhanded tactics and all for the sake of weathering a storm does not amount to courage either.”

  18. Bencard

    mbw, i think we both made our points. let yours be the last word on this exchange though.

  19. ay_naku

    in my practice of criminal law, my first advice to clients who are suspected of having committed a crime is to remain silent. whether or not he/she is guilty, it’s not his/her obligation to provide evidence against him/her in any manner, shape or form. i don’t think it’s cowardice to be silent or to refuse to incriminate oneself. rather it is cowardice to wilt like a shrinking violet at the first sign of trouble.

    i don’t fault pgma at all for not giving her enemies the satisfaction of nailing her to the cross, and providing the nails for the purpose. – bencard

    Let me just copy-paste one of my previous comments here (posted November 2nd, 2007 at 1:52 am in post “On official allowances”):
    Let’s take GMA’s cheating. Some people may still insist that she needs to be somehow legally proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, before the people can judge her to have cheated. Well, it’s not like this political crisis is being played out in a court of law with a private “plaintiff” and a private “defendant” but rather, it is the people demanding honest answers, proper action and public accountability from our highest public official, because fairly credible evidence (the “garci tapes” and subsequent evidences and testimonies) has come out strongly suggesting her knowledge and involvement in electoral fraud, i.e., that she cheated in the elections. It is GMA’s duty to face such allegations fair and square. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people. That’s enshrined in our Constitution, isn’t it? If she is innocent, then she could have properly rebutted these. God knows that she has all the resources to do so. But what did she do? She initially tried a cover-up, courtesy of Bunye’s criminal “I have two tapes” tall tale. And when that fizzled out at once because it was so stupid that no one believed Bunye, the cover-up was quickly abandoned and GMA instead decided to just clam up, maybe hoping that if she continues to ignore the issue, it will just go away. All her subsequent actions have been evasive, to say the least. She can’t do that. Again, she’s not just some private “defendant.” She is the highest public officer of the land, tasked to defend the constitution and execute all laws faithfully. She should act in good faith, let the truth come out and ensure that there is public accountability in the face of wrongdoing.

  20. Bencard

    ay-naku, any proceeding, be it impeachment, judicial, or administrative, is adversarial in nature. there is an accuser and there is a respondent. the primordial inquiry is whether there is a complaint sufficient in form and substance as determined by pre-set rules. once a prima facie case is determined, both the complainant and respondent are subject to the same rule of fairness, i.e., he who asserts something against the other must present admissible proof of its “truth”. the accuser always has the burden of proof and until he successfully come forward with admissible evidence, the respondent would have the opportunity to rebut it. a defendant has the option of relying on the “weakness” of the complainant’s evidence. so he/she is not required to present rebuttal or counter evidence if he/she decides it is unnecessary.

    btw, a prosecutor’s finding of “insufficiency in form and substance” in accordance with the pre-set rules thereby requiring dismissal of a complaint is in keeping with the rule of law.

  21. Watchful eye

    I’ll say this again Bencard, Arroyo is not just a litigant “in any proceeding, be it impeachment, judicial, or administrative, that is adversarial in nature” who could conveniently hide behind the technicality of some “pre-set rules.” For Almighty sake, she is also the president representing more than 80 million people, and the reality is that up to this very point, the country is still waiting for some modicum of decent explanation from a president (not a litigant) so that if the perception is not a fact, every one who PERCEIVED the FACTS incorrectly would owe her the apology she deserves and thereafter the nation could move on.

    Rule of law is not simply about proceduralism. It is also the embodiment of our morality as a people.

    Bencard, don’t you see the situation is getting febrile? You really have to remove your legalistic straightjacket.

    The Philippine society is a complex system which cannot simply be reduced to a miniature courtroom where you find comfort with your legalese. Isn’t that basic enough?

  22. USpace

    .
    A nasty and flammable situation indeed…

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    KILL all the lawyers

    if they dare advocate
    for freedom of speech

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    suspend free elections

    set back democracy
    light fire under extremists

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe thinks
    take all girls out of school

    they can not be allowed
    to achieve more than a man

    http://citizenwarrior2.blogspot.com

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    🙂
    .

  23. Bencard

    ay_naku, you make intelligent observation that’s why i’m engaging you in this conversation. please don’t think i’m patronizing you in saying that.

    our government exists and continues to exist because of the rule of law. in fact, our nation’s very existence depends on law. without it, there will no philippines as a state but a geographical place populated by millions of independent, self-governing families whose relationship with each other relies chiefly on their respective weaponry and killing machines. you survive by eating what you can produce and protect from covetous neighbors who will take it if you were not strong enough to resist. you cannot sell anything because the only payment you can expect are bullets from a gun’s barrel. your wife, your children, are easy prey unless you have the force to defend them.

    we cannot escape law in our life. it is as essential as the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat.

    if you think you have no redress for your anger and dissatisfaction with pgma following the rule of law, just be patient and wait for the right process to take its course. her “unwillingness” to help her accusers prove their case(s) against her is not unlawful. if you think it is politically incorrect, let her face the verdict of history. she will not be president for all her life.

  24. Watchful eye

    There goes our hypothetical again: an armed stranger who broke into your house, abused your wife while you, totally overwhelmed by fear, was made to watch the dastard act, did not commit any crime simply because you are so damn a coward to report what happened to the authorities. No accused, no prosecution, no trial, no conviction, no crime and no criminal. There being no crime of rape, the sex between the stranger and your wife, witnessed by poor Benny boy, was consensual. That’s rule of law for you buddy.

  25. Watchful eye

    But you’re right “your wife, your children, are easy prey unless you have the force to defend them.” Some people only understand power, either by brute force or by sheer number and they equate might with right, or rule of law for that matter, without any compunction even if they know only they, or their sycophants, believe their own pretenses. Why, they have the power or the numbers anyway. Rule of law? Yeah right, tell that to the victims of power, like your wife in our hypothetical. My sincere apology for it, by the way. I just really want to drive home the point because you are getting hopeless Benny.

  26. Bencard

    you are being so insolent making your “hypothetical” too personal. “sincere apology” for what? i told you, it could only happen to cowards like you. didn’t i say you would not find me cowering in fear if that happens to me? it looks like you are too dumb to understand my last posting after all, i.e. what would happen if there were no laws that you despise so much? you ought to be living in darfur or rwanda.

  27. Bencard

    i should not be debating with trolls like you. it’s demeaning. i know just the right place for you!

  28. Watchful eye

    The equation could be that you are the Filipino People, your wife is our democracy, and the rape is the abuse of the electoral process by cheating and betrayal of trust.

    As you can see, so aggrieved you won’t even wait to engage in the niceties of evidence presentation pursuant to the Rule of Law but you would simply take the law into your hands. Would you take that as something equivalent to people taking to the streets because angered by rank abuse of power?

    And yet, what many Filipinos are simply patiently asking is an opportunity for the operation of the essence Rule of Law, no more, no less. Why should that be denied by the formalities of your rule of law?

    Without the impeachment trial, GMA will continue to claim legitimacy by the Comelec count. Without the rape trial, the sex is consensual by account of your cowardice to come out.

    There’s no cheating and betrayal of public trust despite that the whole country heard the president’s voice in the Garci tapes and there is no rape despite that you saw it committed in front of you. If it is not proven in court it is not true.

    Am I a coward? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m 100 percent certain of one thing. If I go by your rule of law, I am NOT unless otherwise you prove it in court.

  29. Bencard

    if you know anything about law, self-defense and defense of relatives are complete justification for killing a person UNDER THE LAW. why would anyone watch his wife being being molested in front of him “waiting” for the cops to arrive unless he is a spineless coward. if that’s what you think is happening to you, why don’t you do something in defense of your wife instead of cowering in fear?

    applying your “hypothetical” to your “problem” with respect to pgma, if you think you are justified to take the law into your own hands, go ahead. let’s see if you don’t end up in jail, or dead in the confrontation with the law, at worst.

    please please don’t put me in a malicious “hypothetical” and be “sincerely sorry” for it as though it actually
    happened . i think that’s the reason why there’s so much cases of killings arising from deliberate provocations in political discussions in the philippines. can you not argue intellectually without personally infuriating your opponent and then say “sorry” for it at the same time?

  30. Watchful eye

    I reiterate, my sincere apology again for the hypothetical.

    But as you see the purpose of it is to drive the point closer to home because I think you are losing it Benny, allowing yourself to be reduced to one track-mindedness which is not good for someone who claims to be a good trial lawyer. As a trial lawyer, you should be flexible enough to take both sides, shouldn’t you? What happens if “I take the law into my hands” and I hire you as my attorney? How easily could you reprogram your perception of the issues now if your loyalty is to personalities and not to ideas?

    You see, just an aggrieved husband in the case of the hypothetical, a society is also entitled to self-defense against those who would undermine its institutions like, well, the Rule of Law.

    Think of the Pulido trickery at this juncture. Aren’t you sickened by it at all? Aren’t we letting go a political rapist here because of a technicality, of your rule of law, the law of numbers and brute power? Wouldn’t that be enough provocation in the law of self-defense in the larger context of political competition?

    Benny don’t be too hard on yourself. Only fools don’t change their stands. cvj, manolo and others did when called for by their conscience. I honestly don’t believe you are one of the lower forms.

  31. Bencard

    you have to have your eyes checked. you are seeing things that aren’t there. the difference between you and me is that you see “rape” in what is happening to the country but too weak, gutless and cowed to do something about it besides yakity-yakking. on the other hand, i see no such rape and so are the majority of the people who just are sick and tired of your rantings, trouble-making, rabble-rousing, and belly-aching with no tangible result except, perhaps, give senate seats to mentally-challenged characters.

    right now, you are living under the protection of the very “rule of law” that you despise, otherwise you would either be in jail or dead.

    don’t you patronize me. i have no reason to “be too hard on myself” and i never would. why should i subscribed to your line of aberrant thinking? believe what you want to believe but i’m absolutely certain i’m not “one of the lower forms” that you are, and love to associate with, sore eyes.

  32. Watchful eye

    That’s what I’m talking about, Benjie, you can’t comport yourself like that even in a mock trial because you would just sound like arguing for a lost cause.

    Any way, Your Honors, I rest my case for now (hand extended to Mr. Advocate).

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