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. GEO: protect your capital in these uncertain times.

  2. GEO:I hope and pray that I am 100% wrong for the sake of many.

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    You can bet on a downturn as much as an upturn.

    It’s not IF martial law, it’s just WHEN…right? March 2008, you say? Cool.

    Hey…how much are you betting?

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    You “hope” you are wrong?

    Have you predicted this before? Were you wrong then? How many times have you been wrong?

    If it’s good for you to be wrong (since you hope and pray you are wrong), why are you predicting this again? Is this “forewarning” somehow helpful to us all? Even if it proves to be false…again?

  3. GEO:I don’t play in the stock market THAT way.I am not a gambler.

    I take a long term position on the stocks in my portfolio.

    Suggest you do the same.

    The market is always wrong as Warren B.would say.

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Actually, equalizer, I don’t play the stock market at all. I actually create or invest directly in a budding business.

    Unfortunately, there are those who run around and constantly yell about how the sky is falling. Not helpful. “It’s martial law, it’s martial law!” isn’t good for business. So I hire less people. So I invest less money. So I pay less performance-based bonuses.

    In my opinion, entrepreneurship is the way forward for this country. Outsourcing and exporting are key drivers (as is the rapid improvement of farm-to-market infrastructure). But…these avenues for growth are being blocked.

    By people yelling BS and making everything more difficult.

    But, hey — Thanks for your contribution.

  4. “Can you pls advise me when this martial law thingie is supposed to happen? I can make a killing on the stock market with that kind of advance info…..GEO”

    Here’s some serious advice on the stock market:

    Think of buying stocks as buying fractional interests in whole businesses.

    Construct a focused low-turnover portfolio.

    Invest only in what you can understand and analyze.

    Demand a margin of safety between the purchase price and the company’s long-term value.

    Most importantly,dont invest in the stock market based on the latest political vagaries.

    cheers! thanks for asking my advice.Good Night.

    • Willy on November 6, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Just now read the story under today’s Inquirer headline “US aid tied to RP action on killings”, wherein one incredible item caught my attention:…
    “He (UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston) also criticized the Ombudsman for its failure to act on even a SINGLE case of the 444 complaints filed before it between 2002 and 2006 regarding killings attributed to public officials”.
    (caps mine).

  5. GEO:

    There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots – suspicion.
    Demosthenes

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Equalizer — I agree wholeheartedly with maintaining a healthy level of “suspicion”. No government should be blindly trusted.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t have anything to do with pronouncements from people that martial law is imminent…or any other such unsubstantiated garbage that ultimately results in a negative for this country.

  6. GEO:the real negatives are coming from the administration
    itself.

    Since the start of the GMA administration in January 2001, it has been one scandal after another.

    They generated all these “GARBAGE”

    *the hasty pardon of ERAP
    *attempted briberies of governors
    *attempted briberies of congressmen.
    *ZTE/NBN deal.
    *Hello Garci election cheating
    *The Diosdado Macapagal blvd.overpricing
    *etc.etc.etc.

    The great destabilizer of this country is Gloria herself.

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    So you are saying that it is OK to spew unsubstantiated garbage — to the detriment of the nation — because you are convinced that someone else did something wrong?

    Makes no sense.

    If you think some woman is hurting your brothers and sisters, then you’re going to go ahead and hurt some more people?

    Is this a contest to see who can destabilize more? What kind of game is that?

  7. “If you think some woman is hurting your brothers and sisters, then you’re going to go ahead and hurt some more people?

    Is this a contest to see who can destabilize more? What kind of game is that?GEO”

    non sequitur.

    i think I know who you really are.

    Enough!

  8. “My father thought that with the end of martial law, things would be better for all Filipinos. He would have been upset with, but challenged by the recent worsening of events in the country,” said Maria Socorro Diokno, sixth child of Senator Jose W.Diokno and FLAG secretary general.”

    The more things change, the more they stay the same in this country.

    • sparks on November 6, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    …unsubstantiated garbage that ultimately results in a negative for this country – GEO

    Maybe you’d care to explain how citizens airing their speculations about what could be attempts for the Arroyo administration to assume “emergency” powers “result in a negative for this country”?

    A “negative” for whom exactly? I, for one, see it in a positive light. It means citizens are watchful, which means, they give a shit.

    So back to my question, a “negative” for whom?

    • rego on November 6, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    To me it become negative when it produces negative thoughts, feelings and action, such as anger, paranoia, panic, rumor mongering, hate mongering, etc etc etc

    Its positive when it produces proactive reaction such as preventing Martial Law to happen.

  9. “By people yelling BS and making everything more difficult.

    But, hey — Thanks for your contribution.GEO”

    DEAN:thanks for your contributions and indulgence.your student

  10. “To me it become negative when it produces negative thoughts, feelings and action, such as anger, paranoia, panic, rumor mongering, hate mongering, etc etc etcREGO”

    I detest Martial Law to the very core of my being.NEVER AGAIN!

    • triolosbogus on November 6, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    By Maila Ager
    INQUIRER.net
    Last updated 03:12pm (Mla time) 11/06/2007

    MANILA, Philippines — The money that was given to congressmen in Malacañang last October came from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Partner of the Free Filipino),
    A party official admitted to INQUIRER.net Tuesday.
    Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita Villarosa of the House of Representatives and regional head of Kampi, issued the confirmation shortly after Manila Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr. identified her as the source of the fund that was given to him during the legislators’ breakfast meeting with the President at the Palace last October 11.

    there you go, right off the horse’s mouth, finally someone admitted where the “bribe money” came from. expect denials from all corners…again.

  11. “To me it become negative when it produces negative thoughts, feelings and action, such as anger, paranoia, panic, rumor mongering, hate mongering, etc etc etc”

    You seem to have described Gloria’s ‘presidency’ very well.

  12. Triolosbogus, “there you go, right off the horse’s mouth, finally someone admitted where the “bribe money” came from. expect denials from all corners…again.”

    Problem is tomorrow, she might change her tune and deny she ever said that.

    • ay_naku on November 7, 2007 at 1:21 am

    So the opposition doesn’t have the numbers for impeachment right now. Anything we the people (civil society, business groups, church, NGOs) can do to increase those numbers? How do we apply the right kind of pressure/lobbying to our congressmen?

  13. I refuse to compare Gloria to Musharraf (insult to the latter).

    Most of Pakistan’s population still live in the feudal world, half illiterate and virtually caught in the stone age of Islam. – MBW

    But the “analysis of Pakistan,” according to hvrds, is “so close to home,” the Philippines being more (of) a construct of empire with a very short history of people . . . very much somewhere between the stone age and the bronze age.”

    If we follow hvrds’ logic, we could claim quite plausibly that “most of Philippines’ population still live in the feudal world, half illiterate and virtually caught in the stone age of Catholicism,” with one notable distinction – Philippine warlords sometimes carry US Ivy Leave schools diplomas, an added negative against Filipinos, since by such credentials they ought to conduct themselves a bit more “civilized” (i.e., Westernized or Americanized).

    Relative to relationship with US, I will agree that the comparison between Marcos and Musharraf is closer than the one between GMA and Musharraf (simply because GMA, to her credit unfortunately, appears more cunning than both dictators for, instead of being just macho, GMA exhibits amazing reflexiveness: she adroitly “backs off” when called for whether what’s on the table is charter change, exercise of executive privilege, the ZTE deal, strong stance on former president Estrada’s incarceration or a showdown with FVR or JDV.)

    Now, if we remember the “Kirkpatrick doctrine” (Jean Kirkpatrick served as UN ambassador in Reagan administration) during Marcos time, by which US supported authoritarian governments as long as they were pro-American irrespective of the regimes’ human rights or governance records. The US saw no need to press dictatorships to move toward democracy if it feared that communists groups might triumph. That the conjugal dictatorship survived in the Philippines for two decades is largely attributable to Kirkpatrick’s tenet.

    The foreign policy of containing communism is now dated. Following the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush reconfigured the neocons’ professed goal about global defense of freedom and democracy by infusing into the rhetorical mix his “war on terror.” The definition of convenience of democracy however remains the same: it means being pro-American (with free-enterprise capitalism a necessary add-on) regardless of whether on the hand the US dogs are cheating in elections, plundering the treasury and torturing or killing extra-judicially their opponents and on the other, economic growth is benefiting only a privileged few, as long as they are on board on the “war on terror” and advancing the cause of democracy. When it comes to US allies, in the in the so-called Third World anyway, the institutions of substantive democracy such as fair and honest elections, active citizenship, public trust, the rule of law, and accountability of public officials are frosting on the cake or play second fiddle.

    So, even 1) Dubya’s call to Musharraf for parliamentary elections (recall that Musharraf came to power eight years ago via coup d’etat, however like Bush senior who had been lavish at praising Marcos’ “adherence to democratic principles,” Bush junior at the White House in 2006 unabashedly paid tribute to Musharraf as “a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan”), or 2) the US Senate’s condition that continued military aid to the Philippines must be tied to improvements in human rights, should be taken as mere lip service to the true cause of freedom and democracy.

    On the same score, cvj seems equally prescient: a Democrat in the White House would (not) result in a policy change towards Gloria and/or the Philippines.

    Meanwhile, wily GMA will not hesitate to play her China card against tougher US foreign policy, when it suits her ambition, an option that was not available to Marcos.

    • BrianB on November 7, 2007 at 2:44 am

    Martial Law is impossible.

    Gloria will fear the consequences of a Martial Law declared by her. One of these consequences is that she and her family’s life may be put to extreme danger. The military will get ambitious, realizing they have an unpopular commander in chief who isn’t going to make the grade even among foreign leaders and opinion makers. What do you think will happen?

    • rego on November 7, 2007 at 2:57 am

    It is imossible for Gloria to decalre martial law by herself. need approval of congress. Though we all know this

    • d0d0ng on November 7, 2007 at 3:09 am

    “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.”

    -While this is a negative picture, still this is true to its substance. This is anchored on section 5 of article XI of the Constitution that no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year. Zamora’s statement showed how the opposition had not made any progress since 2003 Supreme Court ruling on initiation. That is already 5 years or 5 chances to head off any might be bogus complaints. It just underscore the weakness of opposition to be a cohesive force eversince.

    “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”.

    Davide is an escapegoat for apparent conflict of interest. The current Supreme Court is different from the Davide’s Supreme Court in 2003. It can overturn the previous decision. In reality, it cannot overturn a clear statement that is based on section 5 of article XI of the Constitution. That is how you can see that Davide’s Court did not made an error.

    • Bencard on November 7, 2007 at 3:45 am

    kudos to you, geo, for putting this “prophet of doom and gloom” where he belongs. these kind of people are so consumed by hate for gma that they eat, drink, sleep and wake up wishing the worst for the country. like the mechanical monsters and ghosts in a carnival, they do things to scare and terrify except, in this case, they are hoping to frighten the rest of the people into getting rid of gma by hook or by crook.

    • David on November 7, 2007 at 3:46 am

    “note that the two predecessors according to torn, aren’t saints, but still come across better than the incumbent. and these are background events not necessarily covered by, or interepreted according to the law, by the supreme court.”

    mlq3,

    I can’t see how Estrada comes across better than Arroyo when the NAIA-3 contract was rendered inutile during the former’s administration (which led to the whole debacle in the first place), unless, we ignore or turn a blind eye to the Estrada administration’s culpability in the matter. Entering into contracts grossly disadvantageous to the government is still a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, isn’t it? If this aspect is ignored completely, my question is why? Is it deliberate? Is it due to some bias? My position is we give an informed interpretation or opinion based on the complete facts. And fact is, the Supreme Court found that the NAIA-3 contract was modified making it grossly disadvantageous to the government during Estrada’s watch. Where is this in the analysis?

    • viking on November 7, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Not all is lost in regard to the opposition’s impeachment bid. A UP professor might yet boost the effort.

    • rom on November 7, 2007 at 4:29 am

    mlq3: you wrote “better the devil in the duster you already have, to any other devil waiting in the wings.” so who exactly is waiting in the wings? Who will benefit most from this? Renato Constantino once wrote that the halo of righteousness only changes heads; that corruption never really vanishes. Who among those wearing halos now is most likely to trade it in once the halo passes to the fallen?

    • d0d0ng on November 7, 2007 at 4:45 am

    equalizer on, “The issue about martial is not “IF” but WHEN”.”

    This is the good news in the Philippines. We don’t have the conditions (when) to impose martial law. The Glorietta explosion showed the paranoia of the opposition (Trillianes, et al) and equally overreaction of the PNP. The Supreme Court is also ready to strike down excess powers of the president as in EO464.

    • grd on November 7, 2007 at 4:55 am

    manolo, please allow me to post here this message, an appeal to help save a kababayan. for those who have not signed the petition yet, please do sign and ask your circle of friends to do the same and help Marilou Ranario. No to Another Flor Contemplacion. thanks.

    Subject: PLS HELP: Online petition to save OFW in Kuwait

    Friends,

    Perhaps we could extend our help by spreading this email through-out
    your network in order to appeal for the life of Marilou Ranario, an OFW facing death sentence in Kuwait. Below is the link to the article being published by GMANews.tv

    www. gmanews. tv/story/67027/Online-petition-to-save-OFW-in-Kuwait-launched

    The appeal for Marilou Ranario can be accessed at:

    www. PetitionOnline.c om/marilou/petition.html

    • d0d0ng on November 7, 2007 at 5:19 am

    thanks, grd.

    i signed #469. We have low numbers unlike the DH petition. We urge those who read this to sign regardless of what you think.

    • d0d0ng on November 7, 2007 at 7:28 am

    “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.”

    This is the huge void in the Philippine society.
    No connectivity between the elected political leaders and the voting public. There is no vehicle like a parent’s organization (who can demand change in education funding & policy or better garbage disposal or mobilize election recall) or business community group (who can leverage incentives and file court action) that can pressure and produce political action. These groups are anathema to elected politicians in congress who can diminish their power of self interest and threaten clever personal political arrangement.

  14. grd, am #476

    still believe charter change will be GMA’s way to hold on to power. and yes. still believe she’ll stay past 2010.

    also believe Bush will stay past 2008. and yes, the whole world is inching dangerously close to full blossoming of authoritarian governments due to Bush’s opening of pandora’s box.

    well, all of this is in line, and keeping with bible prophecy. so what the heck?

    • Harion on November 7, 2007 at 7:43 am

    grd, am #476

    still believe charter change will be GMA’s way to hold on to power. and yes. still believe she’ll stay past 2010.

    also believe Bush will stay past 2008. and yes, the whole world is inching dangerously close to full blossoming of authoritarian governments due to Bush’s opening of pandora’s box.

    well, all of this is in line, and keeping with bible prophecy. so what the heck?

    • HarionV on November 7, 2007 at 7:44 am

    grd, am #476

    still believe charter change will be GMA’s way to hold on to power. and yes. still believe she’ll stay past 2010.

    also believe Bush will stay past 2008. and yes, the whole world is inching dangerously close to full blossoming of authoritarian governments due to Bush’s opening of pandora’s box.

    well, all of this is in line, and keeping with bible prophecy. so what the heck?

    • inodoro ni emilie on November 7, 2007 at 8:09 am

    “Kampi gave cash gift to solons–party exec” – pdi

    baboy.

    • qwert on November 7, 2007 at 9:04 am

    grd,
    #483

    • sparks on November 7, 2007 at 10:27 am

    ….they are hoping to frighten the rest of the people into getting rid of gma by hook or by crook. – Bencard

    Did I miss something? Geo was merely saying speculations about declaration of Martial Law are “negative” for the country. I don’t think s/he said anything about getting rid of anyone.

    …these kind of people are so consumed by hate for gma

    There’s hating the person, then there’s hating the office. I don’t think Filipinos who are sick and tired of her administration necessarily “hate” her. Most of them probably don’t know her in person at all. She is, however, the most powerful (at least symbolically) public figure in the land. She is the head of State. She represents US. She symbolises our best and our worst.

    Apparently, what WE are, are a bunch of corrupt, greedy sods who are willing to wallow in our own filth. Apparently WE are more than willing to fuck everyone over to make a quick buck. So much for hard work and merit. So much for responsibility and accountability to our fellow Filipinos. The past few years, her office has cast down the Filipino’s dignity and pride and peed and shat on it like someone suffering from incontinence.

    If we have continue to have this line of thinking, if we sit down and do nothing, we deserve what we get.

    • hvrds on November 7, 2007 at 10:31 am

    Advice from Alexander Hamilton to Bush, Musharaff and our own Big Mike/GMA and our fourth branch of government the Armed forces
    From Federalist #8, “Consequences of Hostilities Between the States:

    Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free….

    They [these institutions] would, at the same time, be necessitated to strengthen the executive arm of government, in doing which their constitutions would acquire a progressive direction toward monarchy. It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority”…

    The perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government [of a localized confederacy] to be always prepared to repel it; its armies must be numerous enough for instant defense. The continual necessity for their services enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionally degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil. The inhabitants of territories, often the theatre of war, are unavoidably subjected to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors, but as their superiors. The transition from this disposition to that of considering them masters, is neither remote nor difficult; but it is very difficult to prevail upon a people under such impressions, to make a bold or effectual resistance to usurpations supported by the military powe

    • hvrds on November 7, 2007 at 10:34 am

    By the way even the Iraqi Dinar is gaining strength versus the U.S. dollar in Iraq.

    • cvj on November 7, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Sparks, correct me if i’m wrong since you’re more familiar in this area – i think GMA and her apologists are hung up on negativity because her regime is made up of and supported by Postmoderns who believe that perception is reality.

    • sparks on November 7, 2007 at 11:19 am

    chuck,

    Its pretty easy to separate reality from perception. I think there’s plenty of hard data to illustrate how miserably her administration has performed. The lowest measure would be subsistence living. If 1 in 4 is “involuntarily” going hungry, then we can probably all agree she has really royally fucked up.

    • Watchful eye on November 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Come to think of it. Percentage wise, there are more hungry Filipinos than hungry Pakistanis.

    Just wondering if Bencard considers the lawyers’ protest in Pakistan as laudable.

    Would he take to the streets too assuming he’s in the Philippines if Ate Glue declares martial law?

    • cvj on November 7, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Sparks, that’s true, but that is not the reality that Geo is experiencing and by refusing to admit such reality by avoiding any negative talk, s/he is ensuring that this remains the case. I think Arroyo and her political strategists are banking on this kind of mindset from the otherwise decent folks of the middle and upper classes to sustain her. The only reality that matters is the one that is perceived (aka constructed) by the docile public. Puno, Remonde et.al. are postmodern in that way.

    • cvj on November 7, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    This is the huge void in the Philippine society. No connectivity between the elected political leaders and the voting public. There is no vehicle like a parent’s organization (who can demand change in education funding & policy or better garbage disposal or mobilize election recall) or business community group (who can leverage incentives and file court action) that can pressure and produce political action. These groups are anathema to elected politicians in congress who can diminish their power of self interest and threaten clever personal political arrangement. – d0d0ng

    I’m glad you also see it as a void. That is why i believe you were being simplistic when you claimed earlier that Congress is the ‘voice of the people’ which cannot be the case given the existence of this void. These are the same groups that make up the Public Sphere and drive People Power which you mistakenly conceptualize as a mob.

    • mlq3 on November 7, 2007 at 12:23 pm
      Author

    david, we’re arguing apples and oranges. what i pointed to was one blogger’s take on the article(s) of newsbreak, where he pointed out that the problems started with fvr, that jee tried to hammer out a deal in the style of a mafia don, and the president bungled things.

    but that blogger points to the various articles and your particular bone to pick is really apropos of them, so you are free to subscribe and see if the point you consider so essential was overlooked or not:

    http://newsbreak.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=88888990&Itemid=88889310

    • hvrds on November 7, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Do not mistake “market economies” under a plutocracy and under a democracy.

    Under a plutocracy the Cult of GDP growth is superficial. It plainly goes to the top 10% of the population. The most to less than 1 %.

    In the Philippine scenario there is no fundamental difference in the administrations of Erap and BigMike/GMA. It is imply the top fighting amongst themselves for pole position. Erap a popular right winger who never had an iota of progressivity. GMA a former so called “progressive” who still does not get what economics really is.

    Why Plutocracy Endangers Emerging Market Economies
    By Martin Wolf

    Published: November 6 2007 19:56 | Last updated: November 6 2007 19:56
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9d372b7e-8c9e-11dc-b887-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1
    “Yet concerns remain. A capitalism that generates vast wealth, partly on the back of political connections, and rewards those who resist competition is likely to generate the social and political drawbacks of the system without many of the offsetting gains. Not all capitalisms are created equal. Those who support the market economy must never forget this.”

    • qwert on November 7, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Arroyo, De Castro resign campaign launched
    Snap polls pressed

    By Thea Alberto
    INQUIRER.net
    Last updated 11:49am (Mla time) 11/07/2007

    MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro should resign and a snap election be called in 60 days, incumbent political, former military, and media personalities declared in a manifesto they released Wednesday.

    Among those who signed were Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr.; Senator Antonio Trillanes IV; Former senator Serge Osmeña, Lieutenant General Romeo Dominguez, former chief of the Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces; Renato Constantino Jr; film producers Armida Siguion-Reyna and Bibeth Orteza; Bishop Leo Alconga of the Philippines for Jesus Movement; former ambassador Roy Señeres; columnists Conrado de Quiros (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Ellen Tordesillas (Malaya); and lawyer Harry Roque of the University of the Philippines-College of Law.

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