Farcical procedures

A business paper reports, Net effect of peso rise negative: Majority say well-being unchanged, but more report being ‘better off before.’ The column of Cielito Habito, On fearless forecasts, is instructive. First, he points out that,

When economic analysts made their 2007 projections about Philippine economic performance late last year or early this year, three things were not quite anticipated enough in formulating their projections or forecasts.

One, most had assumed that the foreign exchange rate would average near P50 to the dollar. The government had assumed it to be in the range P51-53 in drawing up the 2007 budget that was approved by Congress. Two, crude oil prices had been expected to be softer, following earlier episodes of above $70-a-barrel prices that had provoked near-double digit inflation in 2005. The government’s assumption was around $63-67 a barrel. And three, world economic growth–especially in the US, the world’s biggest economy and a dominant trading partner to most countries–was expected to moderate somewhat, but not differ substantially from the 2006 performance.

And then he tries to explain what’s happened since:

What happened? In the case of the exchange rate, the dollar turned out to slide more steeply than had earlier been anticipated. For the most part, it has lately been influenced by the US subprime housing loans crisis that hardly anybody anticipated (although there were some isolated voices warning of the problem even early on, and who are now able to say “I told you so”). Major central banks are also turning away from the dollar as a reserve asset, and unloading large amounts of it (China has reportedly done so recently). For us, it is also because the surge in OFW remittances continues to surprise, especially in the face of the apparent slowdown in the numbers of workers actually deployed overseas.

Surging crude oil prices are attributed to declining US petroleum product inventories, anticipated supply disruptions due to recent bombings in oil-rich Afghanistan and an oil pipeline in Yemen, continuously surging demands from rapidly growing Asian economies, and the continued weakening of the dollar. Meanwhile, the impacts of the subprime crisis on the real US economy are just unfolding, and most authoritative analyses as exemplified by that of Bernanke point to a short-term outlook that does not look good.

Now of course there is always something good and something bad in whatever’s going on, and the weak dollar means the peso helps absorb what could otherwise be a nasty oil shock; but it does mean adjustments are required all around and the citizenry isn’t seeing any adjusting among those in official circles. The result is a cranky population and a government (both administration and opposition) unable to appeal to the public to pull together for -what? The administration seems more stumped, since after all, it has the resources and the opposition does not, and it has the numbers in the cabinet and the congress which the opposition does not, so obviously, the burden of proof is on the administration.

And since it’s preached from day one that everything is a numbers game, then it ought to be given plenty of rope to hang itself with.

Hence my column for today, which was Don’t engage or dignify it. You can read the documents I mentioned over at my entry for today in Inquirer Current.

It was good to hear that the attitude towards the ruling coalition was the one adopted by the opposition. Read (UPDATE 6) Pulido complaint sufficient in form–House panel:

The committee’s approval of the motion came a little past 3:00 p.m. or before opposition members walked out after Arroyo’s allies rejected the supplemental complaint filed by lawyer and United Opposition spokesman Adel Tamano to strengthen the Pulido case.

Deputy Minority Floor Leader Roilo Golez said the opposition would not participate until the committee accepted the supplemental complaint as an “integral part” of the one filed by Pulido.

“It would be very awkward on the part of the member of the Minority to be part of the proceeding because precisely we don’t feel that this is an honest-to-goodness impeachment complaint,” Golez said.

“We don’t wish to do disrespect the committee but we’ve already made our position very clear Mr. Chairman — we don’t think it will be meaningful, it would be useful for this committee to deliberate upon what we feel is a sham complaint whose objective is to frustrate an honest-to-goodness impeachment complaint within one year,” he said.

“And therefore, Mr. Chairman we’d like to state that members of
the Minority don’t wish to participate in this proceeding for as long as the addendum and the supplemental submitted by Attorney Tamano is not part of it,” Golez said.

But Golez asked the committee to allow a member of the opposition to observe the proceedings.

Bravo! Additional details here: House justice panel rejects supplemental complaint.

I only wish TV would then cover the further deliberations of the administration coalition as it takes its own Punch and Judy Show to its absurd and inevitable conclusion -leaving the House ruling coalition being the sole source of the political noise the President herself provoked. And really, the main source of the noise is the President’s camp, not that of her critics.

Something tells me the President herself is getting confused. When she says (see Arroyo to Chinese-Filipino traders: Help me with detractors), I wonder how effective she think it’ll be. She wasn’t making a speech to a business organization known for opposing any president, ever, at any time, over anything serious. And at the same time, I don’t think Filipino-Chinese businessmen are different from any other kind, in that they’ve learned how to say “no” to politicians, including making themselves scarce during campaign season -the ability of governments to put the squeeze on businessmen has diminished, though not entirely disappeared, and in many ways it only makes sense for businessmen to assist local, and not national, politicians, except for those in industries (say power generation, or the operating of ports) that are highly susceptible to presidential and congressional intervention in, say, franchise renewals.

The President’s problem is that her own allies are getting greedy (see: Danding lays down terms for JDV ouster: Tells GMA he wants Fuentebella as Speaker), cranky, and demanding (see: Enrile turns up word war with De Venecia: Senator threatens more exposés against Speaker), and disobedient.

And so, the result is self-created scandals that no opposition worth its salt can ignore, much as I do believe that the political class would much rather let sleeping dogs lie and plan ahead for 2010. A kind of truce had resulted in May this year, when the body politic was relieved by the pressure valve known as elections, and where the public derived satisfaction by voting an opposition senate but kept the pork flowing through an administration-dominated House; the President would be kept on her toes until 2010 but otherwise, everyone could start planning for life after GMA. This explains, quite adequately, I think, Amando Doronila’s observation (which I think is true) that Resign-snap poll bid has no critical mass.

But no. Look at every controversy since, and it’s been a case of the administration shooting itself in the foot. Over and over.

Read this recent entry in the blog of Jove Francisco, for an insight into the continuing tensions within the administration coalition:

Ermita denied that Mrs Arroyo has any knowledge of what Villarosa revelead.

Which is quite interesting because the lady solon is a known and consistent companion of the President in her trips abroad. (I always see her joining the entourage whenever hinahatid namin si PGMA sa airport and kapag sumasama kami sa biyahe ng Pangulo).

Puno… supposedly one of the “RING LEADERS” of KAMPI distanced himself from the cash gifts revelation saying pa nga that he’s very hurt with what his party mates did, especially because HE WAS THE LAST TO KNOW.

And because Villarosa’s revelation made it clear that the cash gifts came from KAMPI and not from LAKAS as PUNO claimed weeks ago, he apologized to House Speaker Jose De Venecia’s for all the things he said.

Shades of PGMA’s “I AM SORRY!”

And then read this reflection, by Randy David, from last Saturday:

It may well be that the only thing that distinguishes the Arroyo presidency from any other is the manner in which cash-giving has become so much a part of the standard operating procedure of her office. No other administration has been known to resort to buying political favors so literally, as brazenly, and as routinely as Ms Arroyo’s. If this is what it takes to awaken us to the glaring discrepancy between the laws we profess and the dirty practices by which we conduct our national life, then surely we have her to thank.

In our quest for reform, we tend to ignore the realities that constrain our politicians and our electorate to behave in particular ways. We are engrossed in the easy moralism that permits us to express our disgust for the failings of our leaders in government. We cling to the belief that if only we can rid the nation of the present bunch of politicians, the country will surely be better. I think we forget that our leaders, like many of our voters, are no more than actors in a political stage governed by the hidden scripts of social inequality and dominance. We expect great things when we replace old actors with new ones, unaware that without a fundamental revision of the script, the performance will not be very different.

That script, the one that animates what we call traditional politics, provides not for the roles of government and opposition, as in the modern stage, but only for a set of patron and client roles. Under its terms, political power in our society is to be contested not by alternating majorities and minorities, but by a very small ruling class. Unchallenged in its dominance, this class creates the illusion of plurality and choice through the constantly changing composition of its factions.

What does all this tell us? It tells us that the modern institutions by which we are supposed to conduct the governance of our nation will never function properly so long as the masses are trapped in poverty. It tells us that the choices offered by our present political parties, including those that purport to represent the poor, are false. It tells us that political parties that are not themselves financed by their members are a sham. It tells us that public officials who buy their way into public office are no more than merchants or agents; they are not the leaders. It tells us that voters who are hungry and needy cannot be political subjects in a democracy.

This political culture is bound to change, albeit slowly, as more and more of our people get out of poverty, largely by finding work abroad. The change is becoming visible in our growing intolerance for money politics and in the impatience with which we scan the horizon for new leaders.

But even as that talks place, and even with Doronila’s observations in mind, what to make of New Philippine Revolution who argues,

The people don’t want snap elections. It is costly a solution for the people to even consider. What most of the people want, based on a survey which I conducted during the past 3 weeks is for the military to break out from the totalitarian grip of Arroyo and stage a coup. I say again–the people are ready for a coup. They are sick and tired of Arroyo and De Castro and they have realized that it is futile to give these two officials more time in Malacanan.

Will a coup solve these problems?

It will because it assures the people of the downfall of Arroyo and De Castro. Look, what we need today is for government to regain the trust and confidence of the people. Obviously, the people don’t trust the civilian politicians. It’s clear that the people HATE or even LOATHE their present set of leaders and what this country needs right now is a fresh infusion of new blood, of new idealists that would fight the grafters and buckle down to work afterwards. If the idealistic soldiers don’t realize this, that they have now the chance, the opportunity to succeed in their mission of ousting Arroyo, then, they must stop whatever they are doing right now and just, remain masochists.

As for myself, I think February 2006 showed how the public mistrusts any military adventurism, while it sympathizes with the emotions that drives soldiers to mutiny; I recall observing at the time that there seemed a general consensus, crossing the political divide among politicized officers, that they viewed themselves as inappropriate for actually governing the country.

This is part of a process dating back to the fatal day when a group of Gringo Honasan’s troops attempting a coup mowed down ordinary citizens who heckled and jeered them, back in the 1980s. Since then, even military rebels have adopted more of a peaceful, People Power orientation to their adventurism, than say, the Thais. In 2001, it was the military top brass joining the protesters; in Oakwood, it was an armed sit-down strike; and the ringleaders submitted to trial and incarceration. In 2006, frustrated Marines were going to march to join rallyists, but with their weapons pointed downwards and by informing their superiors they wanted to protest, first.

Such as it is, a certain amount of chivalry has been demonstrated, but those who’ve submitted to the legal process are getting short shrift. Read Ellen Tordesillas to see why -and how the soldiers have reacted:

The exchanges in the morning session, just like in the past three hearings, centered on the unsigned pre-trial advice which is supposedly one of the basis of the charges against the 28 officers. The prosecution headed by Trial Judge Advocate Col. Feliciano Loy pushed for the resumption of the peremptory challenges and called on Capt. Isagani Criste, one of the six officers who have not exercised their right for peremptory challenge.

(When a member of a panel is challenged peremptorily by the accused, he is automatically ejected from the court.)

Criste’s lawyer, Alex Avisado, objected and moved that the proceedings be suspended until the PTA is signed by AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon. The PTA, submitted by Col. Pedro Davila, staff judge advocate, to Esperon recommended the disapproval of the of the Pre-trial Investigation report (PTIR) prepared by the team headed by Col. Al Perreras, which recommended the dismissal of mutiny charges against all the 37 accused officers and the filing of the lesser charge of conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman against some of the officers.

Just like in the past hearings, the defense lawyers argued that the PTA constitutes the information sheet and unless it is signed, it’s merely a scrap of paper. As Frank Chavez, Miranda’s lawyer said, “I shudder at the thought that in a civilian court, a man is charged with murder based on an unsigned information sheet.”

The court instructed the trial Judge Advocate to write the Chief of Staff and get a written comment on the matter. At past 12 noon, the court went into a lunch break.

When the court resumed at 1:30 p.m., it ruled that it was denying the motion for suspension of proceedings until Esperon signs the PTA.

The court said Esperon’s Nov. 17, 2006 memo referring to both the PTIR and the PTA in creating the special general court martial to try the officers, suffices as basis for the trial.The panel’s president, Maj. Gen. Jorgy Fojas ordered the resumption of the challenges.

Chavez stood up and declared: “I cannot take part in these sham proceedings. Sham because the accused are not legally charged. I have advised my client that he has the right not to participate in these sham proceedings.” Then he walked out.

One after another the other lawyers followed with their own stand not to participate in the proceedings until they are given a copy of a signed PTA. I remember Attorneys Rolando Cipriano, Vicente Verdadero, Rodrigo Artuz, Alex Avisado, Nole Panganiban, Jose Miguel Palarca, Ronald Ubaña, Ma. Cristina Garcia, Johnmuel Mendoza, Dante Xenon Atienza, Ian Pangalangan. They all walked out.

Outside the courtroom, I saw troops with red armbands and shields arriving and scurrying to secure the place.

Attorneys Gilbert Gallos, counsel for Col. Orlando de Leon, and Trixie Angeles, counsel for Capt. Ruben Guinolbay initially stayed and moved for a reconsideration of the panel on their motion to suspend the proceedings until a signed PTA is produced. “The career and life of my client are at stake,” Angeles pleaded.

The court denied their motion. Col. Loy moved to appoint the two as counsels for the accused. At this point, Angeles stood up and said, “As a member of the legal profession, I fear of lending my presence to the validation of this illegal proceedings. I asked to be excused.” Then she walked out. Gallos made the same manifestation and also walked out.

The only one left was Maj. Pooten, the military lawyer. The court appointed him counsel for the accused. He told the court that the accused officers have a right to counsel of their choice. He said, “I am an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and at the same time a lawyer. I will not allow myself to trample upon the rights of the accused gentlemen officers and be a party to the denial of their Constitutional rights. And by these, your Honors, I ask to be excused from these proceedings.”

Pooten was ordered to stay in the court room. The court ordered the resumption of the peremptory challenge. Loy called one by one the officers that have not exercised their right of peremptory challenge. First was Capt. Criste, who underscored three points: “I am not availing of the services of the military counsel. I am not waiving my right to peremptory challenge. I will only exercise it in the presence of counsel of my choice and when I’m given a copy of the signed PTA.”

Next to be called was Capt. Allan Aurino who made the same manifestation as Criste. Same thing with Capt. Frederick Sales, 1Lt. Ervin Divinagracia, and 1Lt. Jacon Cordero.

I saw 1Lt. Homer Estolas raising his hand as the court was giving its decision saying that the six have been deemed to have waived their right to peremptory challenge. They didn’t know that there is still one who have nor done so. The TJA and the panel ignored Estolas, who has not exercised his right to peremptory challenge.

At this point, Col. Ariel Querubin stood up. Then all the officers stood up and followed Gen. Miranda to the door. Col.Arnulfo Marcos, the commanding officer of the custodial management unit, tried to stop the officers: “Huwag kayong lumabas. Balik kayo sa upuan. Cool lang.” (Don’t leave. Back to your seats. Stay cool.).

Maj. Jason Aquino told him, “Nakita mo nang binababoy kami. Manindigan ka naman” (You see that our rights are being trampled. Make a stand.)

Miranda ordered: “Padaanin nyo kami, kaso namin ito (Get out of our way. This is our case).” Marcos had to give way.

Unaware that they have not called Lt. Estolas to exercise his right to peremptory challenge, members of the court went on with their oathtaking. Afterwards, Lt. Col. Marian Aliedo told reporters, “The court is now duly-constituted.”

The manual for court martial, however, states that the court becomes fully constituted once the peremptory challenges shall have all been exercised by the accused.

Outside the court, Col. Segumalian saluted Maj. Pooten: “Basil, I’m higher in rank than you but I salute you for standing up for your principles.You know of course that what you did won’t please the military leadership.”

Pooten replied, “I just did what I believe is right. What ever happens, I would still be lawyer.”

The one thing an officer expects, I think, is to be treated honorably by fellow officers. But when that stops happening… When a court martial begins to behave like the House of Representatives, and when military judges start resembling the majority members of the Committee on Justice, the ability of the system, to define what is permissible political behavior and what is not, breaks down.

Now I don’t think a coup is imminent, and I won’t support one; neither do I think civil war is about to break out; it seems more logical, to me, that we will all simply stagger along until 2010 at which point the country will really see if the President decides to stay or go. But this belief of mine rests on nothing unusual taking place -because, if something unusual took place, say a War in the Middle East, I really don’t know if our society will be capable of surviving the repercussions without serious, and class-based, civil unrest.

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    • Bencard on November 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    levi or whatever you are. you are 32? you sound more like 92 with a mind of 2. anyway, i don’t know why i’m wasting my valuable time with a troll like you. where’d you come from? tordesillias’ blog? better stay there, your natural habitat. i’m not gonna waste my time with you any longer. scram!

    • qwert on November 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    “can someone from the opposition, or from anywhere think of the country for once and move from rhetoric to hard, factual evidence? if there is any evidence to begin with.”- tonio

    In my opinion, the reason why the Lord did not give Pontious Pilate the answer when Pilate asked him: “What is truth?”, is because Pilate was a politician.

    • Diego Torres on November 13, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Marcos won over Macapagal because the pan de sal , then, has shrunk , Mrs. Eva Macapagal was featured buying jewelries amidst a population that was complaining of hunger, the peso dollar rate deteriorated, corruption was an issue, the peasant sector was getting agitated, inflation was robbing , especially the poor, blind…looking back, we knew the pendulum has swung.

    It is so eeriely familiar. One will argue that thepeso and inflation are running in a different direction. There is the spin. The peso is strong because the dollar is very weak. The peso compared to the asian currencies that have almost recovered lost ground , is not anywhere within cheating distance of its pre-1997 value.Tell the poor souls that prices have remained stable and see if you went get haunted by glazed looks.

    • cvj on November 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Tonio, maybe you and Manolo are right that nothing will happen but verifiability in court is not the issue. That’s part of the farce. If you play Gloria’s game, what matters is balance of power. The day GMA loses power is the day calls for legal evidence against her will stop.

    • cvj on November 13, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Harion/Devils, very well said. FWIW, i believe there will a collapse in belief in the Catholic Church. There’s just too much contradictions.

    • Mike on November 13, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I really have to react to this diatribe of Harion. The Catholic Church’s position is not an easy one to follow, but so are many of Christ’s teachings. For instance, Jesus explicitly stated that there should be no divorce, but how many Christian countries follow that?

    You cannot cherry-pick what you like from the faith and call yourself Christian. You are Christian if you believe in the truths He revealed. Remember: “You are my friends if you follow my teachings.” He also said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.”

    Have you even bothered to read Humanae Vitae? The Church teaches that sex is an awesome expression of love between two married people, and this love begets love. It is not a toy or a sport as pop culture is selling it. Now, which attitude is more responsible? Which attitude, if adopted, is more likely to produce happy families and less likely to spread HIV and STDs?

    Many have been wondering why our country’s HIV numbers are so low compared to, say, Thailand where condoms are everywhere. I think it’s because people are still listening to authentic Church teachings on sexual morality, which results in less risky behavior in the first place.

    If you want to blame someone for the poverty this country is experiencing, you would do better to start with those handing out and receiving P500,000 bags of cash rather than with those who are trying their best to follow the authentic teachings of Christ.

    • qwert on November 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    “…nothing will happen but verifiability in court is not the issue…”- cvj

    cvj,
    I agree, one goes to court to seek justice and justice presupposes punishment. The wheels of justice is not yet the issue in the case of GMA, the wheels of governance is. When you’re a passenger of someone behind the wheel of a vehicle and that someone disobeys traffic laws, hits people left and right, and continues to up the speed, you don’t think of filing a case in court more than you would like him/her to stop driving. Stop the driver first then sue afterwards.

    • cvj on November 13, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    qwert, unfortunately too many are stuck in a lawyer-like mindset and think that Society is one big courtroom. that’s why we don’t have the rule of law.

    • Willy on November 13, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    “FWIW, i believe there will a collapse in belief in the Catholic Church. There’s just too much contradictions.” – cvj

    Throughout the centuries, the Catholic Church has persevered through Nero’s persecution, the excesses in Constantines time, the trials of the middle ages, the reformation, and todays New Age. Christ promised to protect his Church always, and that “the gates of Hades will never prevail against it”. But we must make a distinction between the infallibility of the official teachings of the Church and the fallible interpetations and actions of some men of the church. Seeming “contradictions” can best be researched through the numerous Catholic Apologetics sites or by simply referencing the Catechism, I don’t think this
    blog is a fitting venue to debate each of those supposed contradictions.

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    jao, subversion of the rule of law carries sanctions that don’t go stale or sterile on account of non-application at a given time. guilty parties will not go unpunished provided they are found so under the rule of law and upon due process.

    Bencard, do you agree Erap is guilty of plunder? Do you agree he was found guilty under the “rule of law” and was given due process?

    Then why is he going unpunished under your purported rule of law and due process? And if subversion of your rule of law carries sanctions that don’t go sterile, then why is Gloria still not being sanctioned?

    I’m afraid the sanctions you were talking abt have gone sterile, or gee, IMPOTENT to use a more appropriate word.

    those are the key words: rule of law and due process. one is ineffective without the other. outside of these principles, everything is tyranny and/or chaos.

    Bencard, THANK YOU. you have just summarized what’s going wrong with the Philippines’ “rule of law.”

    be careful about labeling every loss “gaguhan”. that’s why nothing ever gets conceded and settled in the philippines. i know of several pinoy organizations in the u.s. whose election results are, more often than not, contested because the loser just can’t accept defeat. in politics, kung wala kang boto, wala kang panalo.

    of course there’s a difference bet being just a sore loser and being made a fool of. and i wouldn’t generalized that nothing gets conceded and settled here. where did our colloquial term “areglo” come from after all? uso rin dito ang settlement Bencard. local disputes are settled at the brgy level.

    I have a more apt idea abt the relationship of the rule of law and anarchy coalescing in my head right now. give me time to collect these thoughts and put it into writing and then i’ll give u the link.

    it pretty much sums up why the law, even though it is THE LAW, must not be worshipped and put on a pedestal above common sense and decency. and i’ll get to that anarchy you so fear when the rule of law collapses, as u imagine it might be when people blithely disregard it.

  1. “those are the key words: rule of law and due process. one is ineffective without the other. outside of these principles, everything is tyranny and/or chaos.” – Bencard

    I don’t think anyone will dispute those principles.

    So, let’s bring them on — Gloria, you listening?

    • cvj on November 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Willy, such a collapse has already happened in Europe and Latin America. Over here, it will happen largely because of the actions of the clergy (as described above by the appropriately named ‘Devils’) and its high profile patrons (like the current First Couple). Each photo-op of Gloria praying in Church is a reminder of such contradictions. It would take a lot more than apologetics to erase these images.

  2. “Each photo-op of Gloria praying in Church is a reminder of such contradictions.” – cvj

    Tell you what, cvj each time I see a “…photo-op of Gloria praying in Church”, it does make me wonder if she goes to confession before she receives Holy Communion; if not, there’s your “contradiction” of sort but at the same time, the Church has no business telling Gloria not to receive Holy Communion. She has to decide in all conscience whether she should cherry pick from among the Church “rules” or not.

    As we all know, a person can go to confession on Saturday then receive Communion on Sunday but for the rest of the week, could be business as usual, i.e., lying, cheating, and thieving and the Church or one’s father confessor (does that one still exist?) can do nothing about it. If Gloria does this, then Church in theory cannot tell her anything.

    If she were doing this sort of practice, one could very well say, it’s all hypocritical. To me, it’s between her and her creator.

    Now, as for the ordinary mortals who haven’t the treasury to loot, we can just watch in amazement and yes, wonder if Gloria is not at all being hypocritical with regard the teachings of her religion. (I personally don’t tell my Catholic priest details of what I’ve come to confess to him — he either absolves me or not if he doesn’t, tough, I don’t get to receive Holy Communion.)

    I personally would refuse to enter this “earthly” ‘debate’ (save for this one here and now) coz at the end of the day, I believe God is good, God is love and God is all forgiving. I don’t believe in a punishing God like in the Old Testament. He will forgive if we ask for forgiveness, Gloria included.

    • Willy on November 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    cvj, then we should not allow our keeping the Faith to be dictated by the hypocritical actions of some. Indeed any other faith for that matter is not guaranteed to contain impeccable followers. There is no reason in religion-bashing based on the actuations of some of its followers or even misguided leaders. Some actions of the Catholic clergy maybe questionable depending on one’s private interpretation (debatable) , but to repudiate wholescale the faith they represent (or claim to represent, as you wish) is indicative of a belief that is not well-grounded in the first place, it is a faith built on sand, and “when the storm comes, it falls mightily”.

    • Mike on November 13, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    CVJ, the Church may not reign supreme over Europe as in the days of the Holy Roman Empire, but even after the bloodshed of the French Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, WWII, & the Iron Curtain, it remains a relevant voice in Europe. When John Paul II died, the non-stop news coverage of Benedict XVI’s election is an indication that the world still takes the Vicar of Christ very seriously.

    As for GMA praying in Church, well, He did come to save sinners.

  3. I tend to go Willy’s way, “But we must make a distinction between the infallibility of the official teachings of the Church and the fallible interpetations and actions of some men of the church.”

    I’m a Roman Catholic, maybe not a good one but I do believe it’s some of the “interpreters” of the Church doctrine that are somehow at fault.

  4. “I personally would refuse to enter this “earthly” ‘debate’ (save for this one here and now) coz at the end of the day, I believe God is good, God is love and God is all forgiving. I don’t believe in a punishing God like in the Old Testament. He will forgive if we ask for forgiveness, Gloria included.MBW”

    Amen:No one is beyond redemption.

  5. WHEN I WAS HUNGRY….

    “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    For I was hungry and you gave me food,

    I was thirsty and you gave me drink,

    a stranger and you welcomed me,

    naked and you clothed me,

    ill and you cared for me,

    in prison and you visited me.’

    Then the righteous 16 will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

    And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “

  6. Rep. Joel Villlanueva told dzBB that he was at the south lobby when he heard a “very loud explosion” that came from the north lobby of the House of Representatives. He said he saw at least four hurt, who were brought to the clinic inside the building. – GMANews.TV

    • tagabukid on November 13, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Casualties as blast rocks House of Representatives

    What the hell is going on?! Ano yan, pwersahan na ba?

    • tagabukid on November 13, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Siguradong hindi na LPG blast iyan!

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Hey Mr. Bean who-does-not-want-to-be-called-lolo,

    This is a blog zone and you’re not a blog tyrant, are you?

    Again,

    There is politics and there is lawyering. Reserve your lawyerly thing-a-jing when finally Gloria Arroyo will have her day in a proper court of justice or if she will not bastardize the impeachment case filed against her. As of now Gloria Arroyo is playing and is subjected to the rules of politics.

    • tagabukid on November 13, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Levi,

    Matuto kang gumalang sa mga matatanda…

    The times are getting more interesting, now that even Congress has just been bombed.

    Why talk about Bencard?

  7. Is this “bombing” the counterpart of the 1972 Enrile hoax to justify something nasty?

  8. LEVI: leave the old gizzard out of the loop.

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    has anyone been arrested, indicted or convicted, or are people who claims to know about this alleged bribery (such as you, obviously) just don’t have the cujones to come forward to testify under oath against a specific perp?

    You really must be from pluto Lolo Ben, er, Mr. Ben.

    Heven’t you heard of Ed Panlilio?

    Oh i’m sorry, his testimony wasn’t just good enough for you nga pala because of his lapse in legalese judgment.

    • levi on November 13, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    tagabukid/equalizer,

    yes, time is running out for gloria and her canine blogger.

  9. MARCOS and His Cheap Copycat

    1) Slogan:

    Marcos: “This nation can be great again. This I have said over and over. It is my articles of faith, and Divine Providence has willed that you and I can now translate this faith into deeds.”

    Gloria :“Now I will lead our country towards the strong Republic … In the end , we are one nation under God , one people , with one aspiration : a country as good as it can get!

    2)Vision:

    Marcos:had a vision of a “New Society”—similar to the “New Order” that was imposed in Indonesia under dictator Suharto. He used the martial law years to implement this vision.

    Gloria : had a vision “ Strong Republic” and craft a new Constitution that is neither leftist nor rightist to ensure the realization of a fully modern and developed Philippines in the 21st century.

    3) Presidential Proclamations 1081/1017:

    Marcos:

    *Presidential Proclamation No. 1081 :it placed the entire country under martial law .
    *Letter of Instruction No. 1 – Marcos ordered the Secretary of National Defense to take over and control of newspapers, magazines, radio & TV facilities.

    Gloria:

    Presidential Proclamation 1017:This Proclamation gave Gloria the power:to issue warrantless arrests to take over private institutions that run public utilities.
    Gloria declared a National State of Emergency on February 24, 2006.

    4)What will be the trigger point for MARTIAL LAW Declaration?

    Marcos: Johnny Enrile,per his own admission , staged managed his car ambush hoax .

    Gloria: What’s in her mind ?(batasan bombing?)

  10. The Equalizer,

    The news has already hit France (breaking news 14h30 Philippines/attentat : 1 mort):

    Une personne a été tuée dans l’explosion d’une bombe mardi dans le bâtiment de la chambre des représentants philippine à Manille, a annoncé la police.

    ¤¤¤

    One person was killed in a bomb explosion in a building in the House of Representatives in Manila, police announced.

  11. Nothing in the British press on line yet.

  12. on BBC on-line

    • justice league on November 13, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Real tragic.

    Hoping all the rest of the wounded recover.

  13. Must be BBC Asia because I can’t see it on BBC news international version.

  14. Here’s the rule of law in Pinas:

    Panlilio, 8 more charged with bribery over Palace handouts

    By Jocelyn Uy
    Inquirer
    Last updated 08:07pm (Mla time) 11/13/2007

    MANILA, Philippines — They spilled the beans and now they are being haled to the Office of the Ombudsman to face criminal complaints.

    The Philippine Trial Lawyers Association (PTLA) charged nine government officials who admitted receiving “cash gifts” in Malacañang after separate meetings with President Macapagal-Arroyo on October 11 with direct bribery and violating both the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and the anti-graft law.

  15. Briber goes scot free?

    • vic on November 13, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    The “rule of law” will only reign over in a functioning society, whether democracy, or even authoritarian as we can see in an authoritarian government of Singapore, even Hongkong which is under the watchful of the Mainland and even the tiny sultanate of Brunei, nobody seems to be complaining of the breakdown of the rule of law.

    But most of us here agree that the Philippines Governance is somewhat dysfunctional, (if not, reread each of your own comments) starting from disbursements of Government funds, arranging multi-millions contract (what has Abalos got to do with the Broadband that cost him his Comelec Post?) and JVD father and son, doing big government business while dad is a big time government official, now don’t tell me that it was before or after the provision of the law, it is a conflict of interest no matter how you look at it, upside down, rightside up.

    Another favourite line, “file your charge if you got evidence”, well most big time corruption cases i have known started with Media Allegations and the “evidence came up after the Auditor General was called to take a look and in return the Auditor General after seeing some evidence called upon the Police to take further look to gather more evidence, then file the charges before the court with enough evidence for convictions… not so hard to follow I guees?

    Then usually the Government, that is if not dysfunctional will call an Independent Public Inquiry why these type of Shenanigans happened during its watch (wink, wink)and then promptly resign when the inquiry pointed out that the leader was asleep while his or her men were busy helping themselves with the taxpayers dough..then (the leader) with teary eyes apologize to the public and if given another chance in the next election, his party even without him or her as the leader will implement all the recommendations the inquiry put forward so the same will not happen again… but chances the party is not going back to govern for a while and the rest that eventually were squeezed by the so-called evidence.. some may spend a little vacation in jail and have to pay back the monies plus penalty of course as they will be sued on top of their criminal convictions..that is the rule of law…

    preamble..this land is founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…

  16. “Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar passed away following the blast that took place at the Batasan Pambansa Complex Tuesday night in Quezon City.

    Negros Oriental Rep. Henry Teves, meanwhile, is in critical condition after sustaining severe blast injuries and burns following the explosion.ABSCBN”

    May GOD save our country!

    • vic on November 13, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Equalizer, sad news to hear irregardless, but what do we expect when the Rule of the MOBS is taking over?

  17. Re The Equalizer’s “May GOD save our country!”

    Right on! Can’t very well count on Gloria in these very difficult and trying times.

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    I really have to react to this diatribe of Harion. The Catholic Church’s position is not an easy one to follow, but so are many of Christ’s teachings. For instance, Jesus explicitly stated that there should be no divorce, but how many Christian countries follow that?

    First, the Catholic church, is not Christ. well, not the church we know today anyway. as i’ve said, they’ve lost their way, much as the pharisees had. and second, you have to distinguish catholic states from individual catholics. it is the state that legalizes divorce. and the state is secular. now, it is up to individual catholics to keep to their faith and follow God’s commandments.

    You cannot cherry-pick what you like from the faith and call yourself Christian. You are Christian if you believe in the truths He revealed. Remember: “You are my friends if you follow my teachings.” He also said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.”

    If you would look closely, it is the catholic leadership today who are doing the cherry picking. deciding on their own “infallible” selves to misinterpret God’s commandments. Yes, I am more a Christian bec I believe in the truth HE revealed. HE, not the church leadership. Peter is Peter. But many of the succeeding leaders of the church have not exemplified him.

    Have you even bothered to read Humanae Vitae? The Church teaches that sex is an awesome expression of love between two married people, and this love begets love. It is not a toy or a sport as pop culture is selling it. Now, which attitude is more responsible? Which attitude, if adopted, is more likely to produce happy families and less likely to spread HIV and STDs?

    No. But since you mentioned it, I will google it sometime. Perhaps you’d also like to read St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings. Best proof that faith does not have to be illogical or mystical for people to follow it blindly.

    If sex is such an awesome expression of love, then why does the church not want married couples to experience it as often as possible? Why exalt abstinence vs love?

    which attitude is more responsible? siring kids even if you can’t feed them or siring only a number of kids you can support?

    which attitude will produce happy families? bahala-na-si- Lord-kung-gusto-niya-ako-bigyan-ng-sandamakmak-na-anak-at- nang-magutom-kami-lahat attitude or sane family planning?

    God helps those who help themselves.

    have you seen a family of twelve starving to death happy?

    and your swipe at HIV and STDs per contraception is non-sequitor. unprotected sex spreads HIV and STDs. not contraception. and if you’re a faithful spouse, why worry abt them at all? again, you are swerving away into adultery, multiple partners, fornication, etc; not contraception. we are debating allowing contraception bet married couples aren’t we? and jz to make my stand clear, i am only for contraception bet married couples.

    Many have been wondering why our country’s HIV numbers are so low compared to, say, Thailand where condoms are everywhere. I think it’s because people are still listening to authentic Church teachings on sexual morality, which results in less risky behavior in the first place.

    again, you touch on this subject which has no bearing at all abt contraception. you see, the misconception abt contraception is CONDOMS. but condoms are just one way. there’s IUD’s, pills, patches, and if you’re really decided you don’t want any more kids – there’s ligation for women and vasectomy for men. and the Church’s idea abt sexual morality is so warped i wonder if they even have any moral ascendancy at all re this subject. (and i will diverge on this topic only if you provoke me) HIV numbers in our country are irrelevant. and even then, our numbers are lower than Thailand’s not bec people here are still listening to the church, but bec Thailand has more tourists coming in. They bring HIV and spread it. and again, risky behavior is irrelevant. if you’re only fucking each other (spouse), where is the risky behavior in that? again, you have to note that I am only for contraception bet married couples. why can’t the church see that by prohibiting wholesale use of contraceptives, even on legitimately married couples, it brings more suffering than it averts?

    do not equate contraceptive with instant fornication.

    If you want to blame someone for the poverty this country is experiencing, you would do better to start with those handing out and receiving P500,000 bags of cash rather than with those who are trying their best to follow the authentic teachings of Christ.

    I have condemned them as well. But churchmen abetting in poverty – that is unconscionable. And I wouldn’t call prohibiting contraceptives as Christ’s authentic teaching. please do quote scripture where Christ says: Thou shalt fuck thy wife only by thine prescribed methods…

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Jao on, “Oh, so now the parents are to blame. Of course! remind me to slap this to your face when in your next lifetime you are born dirt poor. then let us see how you claw out of that poverty when society and the church conspires against you.”

    You barely can feed you and your wife because of poverty and then you raised 7 children? What the heck comes into your mind? That gives you reason to blame the government. Excuse me. Blame yourself for raising kids without providing for the future.

    • d0d0ng on November 13, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Jao on, “the best antidote for asinine statements like these is karma. you won’t be mouthing such things if you’re the one in the parent’s shoes.”

    Exactly, I can speak because I came from large family and I know how hard it was. Never again. So I raise only one kid even if I can afford a dozen.

  18. Re: “Excuse me. Blame yourself for raising kids without providing for the future.”

    Easy to blame poor, half-illitirate or hardly educated people among the population for the unreasonable number of children couples from this sector produce. Both government and people need to be aware that many mouths to feed is lethal for poor families. Govt cannot pay lip service to a program as serious as family planning.

    It is imperative that govt set up an education program about family planning and to help the poor from whom many are hardly educated with the tools necessary to achieve objective (provided govt has an objective of course) of stagnating runaway population growth.

    It is Govt duty to “enlighten” those Filipino couples even before they embark on family building, i.e., marriage or concubinage and to accompany this education program with real resources, i.e., family planning clinics, door to door instructions, general awareness program. But this can hardly be done if govt and its agencies do their work haphazardly or if govt doesn’t have a serious program to curb population growth.

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    then we should not allow our keeping the Faith to be dictated by the hypocritical actions of some. Indeed any other faith for that matter is not guaranteed to contain impeccable followers. There is no reason in religion-bashing based on the actuations of some of its followers or even misguided leaders. Some actions of the Catholic clergy maybe questionable depending on one’s private interpretation (debatable) , but to repudiate wholescale the faith they represent (or claim to represent, as you wish) is indicative of a belief that is not well-grounded in the first place, it is a faith built on sand, and “when the storm comes, it falls mightily”

    in which case, I am not repudiating my faith. I am repudiating its leaders. thereby reaffirming my faith.

    I’m a Roman Catholic, maybe not a good one but I do believe it’s some of the “interpreters” of the Church doctrine that are somehow at fault.

    somehow at fault? these proud men took upon themselves and assumed divine provenance to twist Christ’s teachings into their own idea of faith. indulgences, statues of saints, selling of religious items within church premises, prohibition for priests to marry, discrimination agst women as having no right to administer sacraments… none of these things have been envisioned or even taught by Christ. and yet, they’re all within church dogma.

    • manuelbuencamino on November 13, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Bencard wants to punish those who do not wish to participate in shams.

  19. “somehow at fault? these proud men took upon themselves and assumed divine provenance to twist Christ’s teachings into their own idea of faith.” — Jao

    So, repudiate them… I certainly won’t stop you.

    • J a o on November 13, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    You barely can feed you and your wife because of poverty and then you raised 7 children? What the heck comes into your mind? That gives you reason to blame the government. Excuse me. Blame yourself for raising kids without providing for the future.

    I’d love for you to be born dirt poor. let’s see how you blame yourself when that happens.

    as MBW said, easy to blame others when you have no idea how it is to be in their shoes. illiterate, uneducated, jobless – you won’t be smart enough to think about the consequences of sex when you’re this poor.

    to open your eyes, i wish you’d suddenly lose your job while your wife is pregnant – with quadruplet, lose all your savings, properties, and then be unable to find a job and then i’ll come up to you as you’re crying when your kids are sick and dying and say: you have no one to blame but yourself for not providing for their future. cruelty of fate is not an excuse.

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 12:14 am

    manilabaywatch on, “Easy to blame poor, half-illitirate or hardly educated people among the population for the unreasonable number of children couples from this sector produce. Both government and people need to be aware that many mouths to feed is lethal for poor families. Govt cannot pay lip service to a program as serious as family planning.”

    That will hold water if education is not free in the Philippines. I came from public education in Mindanao where materials are not as available as in Manila. Like you are saying easy to avoid free public education and be an illiterate and blame the government. Instead you should tell the Church that it needs to be aware that many mouths to feed is lethal for poor families. Because the Church is the blocking an important program as serious as family planning.

    • H a r i o n on November 14, 2007 at 12:14 am

    remember, remember, the 14th of November. gunpowder, treason, and plot. I know of now reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

    on the south wing of the House of Representatives

    talk abt symbols…

    if indeed this attack is directed solely on Gov. Akbar, why’d do it inside Batasan premises where security is tighter instead of just laying in ambush for him?

    answer: bombers had access to Batasan where killing him would be easier as his bodyguards would be lax in contrast to ambushing him from outside where his bodyguards would be on full alert. whoever had masterminded this is a Batasan insider, or insider of its security group anyway.

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