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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    • vic on November 14, 2007 at 12:18 am

    And for family with Children, one, dozens, adapted, natural and with same sex parents or your normal everyday papa and mama , nobody should get the blame, not the mother, not the father (Father or mother who ran away from responsibilities maybe), not the government, not even the church, but if something gone wrong with the child, all of them. No one should be spared.

    That is why in our case (here I go again) mothers with numerous children, some from different fathers, don’t get the blame, but instead welfare and housing and more children allowances and if possible courts orders to garnish their children’s father wages (if they bother to work) to satisfy the children’s supports arrangements. And usually a special attention from the social services to make sure that the children are not left out and feel unwanted in their environment because of the circumstances not their own faults.

    Blaming the parents, the government, the church and still not doing anything constructive like proper upbringing of children, no matter how they were brought in this world will again keep repeating the cycle…

    And by the way, regardless of religious belief, a freedom of choice should also be available to all women and publicly funded…

  1. “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.” — Dodong

    Well, you are among the lucky ones Dodong. Not all can be deemed as lucky as you to have the brain, the determination not to fall in the same trap as others.

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 12:33 am

    jao on, “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.”

    Jao, please let me educate you from your obsessive ranting of poor and uneducated Filipinos. I have been there and done that, you know. I grew up from poor family of eight with one died because we cannot get the needed medicine (you figure out). All of us have to walk 2 kilometers back and forth to the nearest public school in Mindanao. You tell me, how many kilometers did I have from 1st grade to highschool? So please don’t try to tell me sensational stories, it won’t work for me.

    • H a r i o n on November 14, 2007 at 12:39 am

    “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.”

    dOdOng, contrary to govt claims, education is NOT free here in the Philippines. ask any parent and they’d tell you how much public school administrators ask of them for “voluntary” funds at the beginning of each SY.

    anyway, thank you for accepting that the church is blocking an important program as serious as family planning. but you have to contend that govt can again be blamed for the failure of its family planning program. the church has its own stand, but why does the govt play toady to the church

    • H a r i o n on November 14, 2007 at 12:40 am

    “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.”

    dOdOng, contrary to govt claims, education is NOT free here in the Philippines. ask any parent and they’d tell you how much public school administrators ask of them for “voluntary” funds at the beginning of each SY.

    anyway, thank you for accepting that the church is blocking an important program as serious as family planning. but you have to contend that govt can again be blamed for the failure of its family planning program. the church has its own stand, but why does the govt play toady to the church? lack of political will.

    • H a r i o n on November 14, 2007 at 12:51 am

    “Blaming the parents, the government, the church and still not doing anything constructive like proper upbringing of children, no matter how they were brought in this world will again keep repeating the cycle…

    And by the way, regardless of religious belief, a freedom of choice should also be available to all women and publicly funded…”

    Vic, thank you for saying it for me. couldn’t have said it better myself.

    sadly, the church wants to keep us in this rut with their illogical phobia abt an imagined sexual immorality going loose when contraceptives are used. and has the nerve to impose this beliefs even on non-christians by derailing govt efforts at family planning.

    if you abhor contraception so much, tell it to your faithful. but otherwise, don’t meddle in govt efforts to improve other people’s lives. that’s why govts are supposed to be secular. bec some religious beliefs are just too illogical to base governance solely on it.

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 12:52 am

    “Well, you are among the lucky ones Dodong. Not all can be deemed as lucky as you to have the brain, the determination not to fall in the same trap as others.”

    I don’t believe in luck. I was not smart either coz there are persons who are always better than me. I believe in hardwork. I don’t believe in blaming without direct cause and effect relationship.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 1:03 am

    “All of us have to walk 2 kilometers back and forth to the nearest public school in Mindanao. You tell me, how many kilometers did I have from 1st grade to highschool? So please don’t try to tell me sensational stories, it won’t work for me.”

    dOdOng, in that case, you aren’t uneducated. you have been poor, ok. but precisely bec you were educated you knew the consequences of not planning your family. and precisely bec you were educated, opportunities opened up for you. including the means to provide for your family.

    now if you were educated and still had kids left and right with nary a thought abt where to get funds to feed them, then i can rightly say you only had yourself to blame.

    why? bec you were already educated, yet still made the wrong choice.

    you can’t say the same abt many of the uneducated. which is why i took exception to you saying they only have themselves to blame. for what? for being poor and uneducated? no one chooses how they will be born into this world, dOdOng. and your opportunities in life are severely limited depending on which side of the social divide you were born into. some kids go on living luxuriously simply on the virtue of being born into a rich family. and they have only themselves to blame for being that filthy rich? is that the case then? simply just an unlucky roll of the dice?

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 1:06 am

    “That is why in our case (here I go again) mothers with numerous children, some from different fathers, don’t get the blame, but instead welfare and housing and more children allowances and if possible courts orders to garnish their children’s father wages (if they bother to work) to satisfy the children’s supports arrangements. And usually a special attention from the social services to make sure that the children are not left out and feel unwanted in their environment because of the circumstances not their own faults.”

    thanks, Vic. This is an clear illustration that the fathers were NEGLIGENT in providing care, so the Court intervenes to garnish wage to support state services of providing care. However, this is far from happening in the Philippines which is not structured like in Canada.

  2. “I don’t believe in luck. ” — Dodong

    As soon as I finished typing what I said, I knew you’d write that. heh!

    Then you are one in thousands of poor folks, lucky enough not to believe in luck. As I said, you were lucky (my thought) to realize early on that you need the education, etc. to get out of the trap the other poor folks find themselves in.

    “sadly, the church wants to keep us in this rut with their illogical phobia abt an imagined sexual immorality going loose when contraceptives are used.” — Harion

    No need to blame church for that. Didn’t Imelda once spread her family planning programme across the board? Church probably condemned her (don’t know) but she went ahead.

    Nothing to do with the church when govt cannot impose genuine political will to surge into a very sensitive program as birth control aka as family planning.

    When you have the majority of a population that’s destitute, hovering between desperation and illiteracy and this is compounded by growing unwanted births or whatever, govt has got to impose some kind of genuine political will and to forge ahead even against Bishops’ or Cardinals’ wishes. God’s sakes, just do it!

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 1:15 am

    “you can’t say the same abt many of the uneducated. ”

    Jao, there is no excuse for being uneducated if the government provides free education like in the Philippines. However, going to school is your free choice.

    • vic on November 14, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Harion,
    thanks, again we had debated these issues hard and bitter. it was divisive, especially the “abortion on demand” and the churches also participated, but in the end the courts had to refer back to the parliament and repair all the laws that the courts found not in line with the Charter and that was through their decisions in every case that came before them to decide.

    And for the Children, until they become adults, that is the age of 18, the government still has the authority and a lot of “say” regarding their future.. we even have a truancy law that requires a child has to be in school until that age or face the punishments or sanctions (usually meted to parents) like refusal to grant them drivers licence at 16 (yes, if they stay at school, they can start driving that young.)and many more. maybe boot camps? no, that would be dictatorial…

    But since age of consent for sex is 14, (plans to move it up to 16 to be in line with most in U.S. and in G.B.) then contraception at that age are available at public expense, or they can start having children (again that is too young).

    of course those who are religious can always follow their church teachings and hospitals who are run by religious boards are not forced to perform abortions, like the St. Joseph, St. Michael. so it is still a free country…

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 1:21 am

    “govt has got to impose some kind of genuine political will and to forge ahead even against Bishops’ or Cardinals’ wishes”.

    Only if you are strong enough stand against the Church like Imelda did. Politicos are hesitant to antagonize the powerful church that diminish their voting power to get elected into office.

    • vic on November 14, 2007 at 1:33 am

    thanks, Vic. This is an clear illustration that the fathers were NEGLIGENT in providing care, so the Court intervenes to garnish wage to support state services of providing care. However, this is far from happening in the Philippines which is not structured like in Canada

    welcome dodong, but i do believe there is the same law in the Philippines about spousal and children supports, but just like other law, it is the enforcements that is lacking or the will to enforce. If this law is enforce religiously, there will be less abandon fatherless children without support. That is one social problem that has to be addressed by the congress and the judiciary.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 1:38 am

    dOdOng, your notion of “free educ” here leaves much to be desired. good if public schools nationwide are as accessible and as “free” as the one you went to when you were a kid.

    going to school is a free choice indeed. consider this:

    a kid, let’s call him Ben Kardo, has a dad who is down with TB, his mom, a drug addict. he wants to go to school badly, after all, some unemphatic guy name dOdOng said going to school is a free choice. but he needs to eat as well. and the only way to do that is to work. well, that certainly decides him abt where his “free choice” lies.

    do not believe in luck? at least believe in divine providence then. thank God He gave you parents understanding and wise enough to know that sending you to school is the way to break you and your family out of poverty. hardwork? yes. that is one factor needed to break out of poverty. but hardly the only factor you will need.

    how abt our hardworking Ben Kardo here? he’s breaking his back just to subsist and according to you, he only has himself to blame. poor guy. he doesn’t believe in luck either. but damn it to hell, if he believes in divine providence, it’ll break his faith to believe in a God that will give him a drug addict mom and an incapacitated father. where can he turn to then? (that’s why God has given us who have the ability to help, the charge of helping those like Ben Kardo. bec. blaming the likes of Ben Kardo bec. “they only have themselves to blame” is a callous way of looking at things, not to mention un-christianlike, and a selfish guilt-absolving trip.

    going to school is a free choice eh? tell that to those kids forced to work by their own parents. oh, i could regale you with many more examples why your “the poor only have themselves to blame” belief is faulty.

    the least of which, all of us share this blame. that poverty is still alive even though we’re technologically advanced and knowledgeable enough to eradicate it if we only pursue it hard enough.

    to whom much is given, much is also expected.

    • Willy on November 14, 2007 at 1:45 am

    It is interesting to note from the foregoing discussions that the concept of responsible parenthood is narrowed down to a question of financial capability. Education being secondary to that. Certainly that is a very valid consideration for planning the number of children. But what about psychological capacity? While Congress in bent on passing another version of a “Reproductive Health” bill (for the third time) I suppose it is about time they plan on a contraceptive that will prevent the rich but psychologically impaired couples to limit their offspring, that is if they do not have the psychological capacity to rear upright citizens who will not rob our pitiful country blind, deprive the poor of food and education, and blame the poor and uneducated for breeding and bleeding to death our economy. Legislate contraceptive that will prevent the birth of future corrupt politicians that pockets millions upon billions of pesos that should have gone to decent public services and education. While they are at it, legislate the sterilization or castration of our current breed of politicians to ensure they do not propagate the genes of exploitation, indifference, greed, and contempt for the irresponsible poor.

  3. Willy,

    I think it’s best to start one step at a time… complications are bound to arise when you mix everything in the same broth, i.e., one single issue that requires genuine political will.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 1:57 am

    MBW, actually, both govt and the church are to blame. govt for lacking political will. and the church for actively campaigning and taking actions against govt population control programs. it’s not like they couldn’t help. so ok, they don’t believe in contraception. but for godsakes father, please help us in educating the poor that they are not exactly helping themselves by being human gerbils. as it is, the church is not even actively teaching their natural family planning method.

    “of course those who are religious can always follow their church teachings and hospitals who are run by religious boards are not forced to perform abortions, like the St. Joseph, St. Michael. so it is still a free country…”

    exactly my point abt seperation of church and state. let the state do what it thinks is the best in helping the country, and let the church observe what it thinks is the best for its faithful.

    though, i am strictly agst abortion. so even if that is legalized here, that doesn’t mean i’d go aborting kids left and right. the church has to let its faithful have that choice. the best it can do is teach God’s commandments. unless the church sees itself better than God as to deny others a choice God freely gave mankind.

  4. I believe in this one Jao: “to whom much is given, much is also expected.”

    We cannot on the basis that one worked hard, had the talent, the brains to get out of the ghetto and succeeded, believe that those he left behind are responsible solely for their sorry lot. A sense of understanding that not all are born with the same degree of ‘intelligence’ by the one who managed to get out of the ghetto is expected at the very least.

    (Mind you, when I was in my early 20s I used to be that hard, i.e., same as Dodong, to those who were homeless in Paris but as I got older, I began to understand that not everyone is ‘blessed’ with foresight, with luck, etc., etc.)

  5. Agree, Jao coz I’m of the same thinking (against abortion): “though, i am strictly agst abortion. so even if that is legalized here, that doesn’t mean i’d go aborting kids left and right. the church has to let its faithful have that choice.”

    The least both institutions can do is to live and let live, i.e., allow govt to institute educational programmes geared at curbing birth growth.

    • rego on November 14, 2007 at 2:00 am

    Like Dodong, I also came from a very big family ( 10 siblings with two sets of identical twins). Although I did not go through his ordeal. I too dont believe raising so many children even if you can afford it. Becuase every child has other needs than just financial. There is emotional and other needs that teh parents has to take care of. In my case, I believe our parents has taken care of us finacially well but it just impossible for them to take care of the all the special attention that each of the siblings need. I even believe that special attention is much more important than the financial support.

    • rego on November 14, 2007 at 2:06 am

    “the present copy cat opposition is obviously hoping to ignite a spark but i think their matches are wet. the defense lawyers’ walk-out is a blatant defiance of their oath and should be dealt with accordingly.”- bencard

    Thats how I feel too. The opposistion is not really coming up with orginal and creative ideas to deal with the Gloria. And worse they are always outsmarted.

    They they complained of a sham impeachment complaint. Eh babagal bagal sila eh. Kaya lagi silang nauunahan ng admin….

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 2:06 am

    my god! another advocate of pop sterilization!

    and who gets to decide who will play God and pick which attributes to breed out of the human race?

    upbringing has a lot to do with psychological devt. and before you even contemplate on gene sterilization, contemplate first on social engineering.

  6. Re Harion’s “remember, remember, the 14th of November. gunpowder, treason, and plot. I know of now reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”

    Hehehe! Guy Fawkes would be very happy to know that Filipinos are following in the tradition of bombing Parliament. (There’s one poor Catholic bloke caught between religious war, i.e., protestants v catholics.)

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 2:18 am

    “A sense of understanding that not all are born with the same degree of ‘intelligence’ by the one who managed to get out of the ghetto is expected at the very least.”

    Precisely!

    “as I got older, I began to understand that not everyone is ‘blessed’ with foresight, with luck, etc., etc..”

    same with me MBW. when I was in HS, i thought only lazy people remained poor. i thought anyone who really wants to get out of poverty can work hard enough to do so.

    it had to take a friend who told me this: pano kung ikaw ang pinanganak sa lansangan, salat sa pag-iisip, salat sa kakayahan, salat sa kagandahan?

    to wake me up to the truth, that no – not everyone can be blamed for their lot in life. there are uncontrollable forces that put us into certain circumstances in our life, and the best that we can do is make the best of it with what God has given us.

    do not be too harsh on people whose circumstances you don’t even know made them poor the way they are. help them. not judge them.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 2:28 am

    “I even believe that special attention is much more important than the financial support.”

    me too. job or family? family always. board meeting or my son’s bday? son’s bday always. a weekend with family or a weekend buried in work? i am not a workaholic like my dad. who loves his business more than us.

    “Thats how I feel too. The opposistion is not really coming up with orginal and creative ideas to deal with the Gloria. And worse they are always outsmarted.

    They they complained of a sham impeachment complaint. Eh babagal bagal sila eh. Kaya lagi silang nauunahan ng admin….”

    which makes me think sometimes that we have no true opposition nowadays. the side masquerading as opposition now must already be co-opted, just playing its part in the moro-moro.

    i mean, ilang beses na ba sila naunahan sa impeachment complaint na yan? it’s not like after the first time, they didn’t have the time to get ready for the next one. pangatlong beses na to! ampucha naman. katangahan pa ba yan?

  7. “which makes me think sometimes that we have no true opposition nowadays. the side masquerading as opposition now must already be co-opted, just playing its part in the moro-moro.” — Jao

    That’s been clear to me as daylight during the assignment of committee chairs in the Senate after the recent elections.

    To my mind there are only 3 bona fide members of the opposition with a big O; all the rest are fencesitters leaning towards Gloria’s allies in the Senate.

    The real opposition is found not in the halls of Congress but in the streets, in media, in Tanay, and from among the population in general.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 2:52 am

    MBW, care to name them? i can’t think of one genuine politician oppositionist.

  8. Lacson is one of them, gosh, can’t remember the two others but Equalizer I believe has got the sorry very short list of 3 considered to be real Opposition; hang on, I think Biazon may be qualified too but as for the last one, geez — my mind is blank, wait, Trillanes.

    (All three are PMA grads.)

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 3:10 am

    well, only Trillanes fits my idea of a true oppositionist.

    uncompromising. even Lacson and Biazon are not above cutting deals.

  9. Jao, I think Lacson knows he cannot attack “head bowed” all the time that’s why some have this perception that he’s cutting deals. Politics is different from soldiering as can be gleaned in the after election scenari, i.e., those who run on the opposition ticket are into balimbingan, not an iota of opposition firebone in their political being.

    • supremo on November 14, 2007 at 4:04 am

    No bomb parts found according to PNP. Must be another gas explosion.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 4:18 am

    no supremo. Akbar had just a case of instantaneous combustion. it’s a verified, documented scientific phenomenon. i’m sure we’ll have no trouble sifting that through the rubble.

    well, at least that’s how PNP divines explosions nowadays. much like reading tea leaves extracts on teacups.

    • supremo on November 14, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Let’s move on to the next explosion.

    • ay_naku on November 14, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Lacson is one of them [genuine oppositionist], gosh, can’t remember the two others but Equalizer I believe has got the sorry very short list of 3 considered to be real Opposition; hang on, I think Biazon may be qualified too but as for the last one, geez — my mind is blank, wait, Trillanes. – MBW

    How about Pimentel? I think he’s a genuine GMA oppositionist.

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Jao on ,”how abt our hardworking Ben Kardo here? he’s breaking his back just to subsist and according to you, he only has himself to blame. poor guy. he doesn’t believe in luck either. but damn it to hell, if he believes in divine providence, it’ll break his faith to believe in a God that will give him a drug addict mom and an incapacitated father. where can he turn to then? (that’s why God has given us who have the ability to help, the charge of helping those like Ben Kardo. bec. blaming the likes of Ben Kardo bec. “they only have themselves to blame” is a callous way of looking at things, not to mention un-christianlike, and a selfish guilt-absolving trip.”

    Jao, now I understand you have problem with Bencard. Of course, he doesn’t believe in luck unlike you when things go wrong you blame the government when running out of luck. The 8 yrs in law (including prelaw) plus passing the bar exam is not by chance luck, it is hardwork. By the way, Bencard doesn’t need your help. If you believe that God has given you the ability to help, why not help the government find a solution or run as a lawmaker so you can be part of solution and lessen your un-christianlike guilt absorbing trip.

    • Bencard on November 14, 2007 at 7:09 am

    what? no gloria-hater is blaming gma for the explosion? what’s the world coming to?

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Jao on, “Your notion of “free educ” here leaves much to be desired. good if public schools nationwide are as ACCESSIBLE and as FREE as the one you went to when you were a kid.”

    You haven’t gotten I said two (2) kilometers walk for each trip to school from 1st grade to highschool. It just showed that you never went to public school in the Philippines. So, that is hard to see how can you have solution to public education in the Philippines.

  10. Why don’t you do or say something exciting, less boring for a change Bencard and start the blame game?

  11. “How about Pimentel? I think he’s a genuine GMA oppositionist.” — ay naku

    Right! I forgot that one.

  12. Good night folks — hope you have fun with predictable Bencard! Cheers!

  13. “Something tells me the President herself is getting confused.” – mlq3

    Manolo is of course referring to Arroyo’s speech before the Philippine-Chinese Chamber of Commerce where she told the traders: “I ask you to call on the legislators you support in the elections to stop partisan wrangling . . .” and those “relentless political noises.”

    Recall that the Palace had delivered the same line to PCCI after the opposition trounced the administration bets in the senate race: “It’s like fathers telling their children: ‘I’ve given you your allowance because I wanted you to do these things. Now if you don’t do them, you won’t have an allowance,’”

    Arroyo is lost.

    Marcos, schooled in the tradition of American Democracy and constitutionalism, would probably cringe at the mere thought of making a public appeal to moneyed minority interest-groups or lobbyists to leverage their financial clout in reining in what they consider their proxies in Congress and thereby mock supposedly the majority’s will that placed those representatives into public office.

    Arroyo, if not totally clueless about how a democracy works, is unabashedly crude and rude in her chosen methods to survive politically. So, even by her apparently innocuous public acts, she poses a clear and present danger to Philippine democracy or whatever gasping remnants of it.

    What a little, limited character.

  14. Manolo at his best!

    “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.”

    • cvj on November 14, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Jao (at 2:18am) and MBW (at 1:58am) i agree. It takes a combination of intelligence and humility to believe in luck.

  15. This entry of Anna (MBW) should be read many times too:

    __________

    Farcical procedures everywhere. One could only shake one’s head in disbelief. Even in the military where one expects the form of discipline within the rank and file, we see that there’s no more of that.

    n a democracy, the military is the guarantor of a Republic’s independence, the protector of its citizens and the guardian of its Constitution but the walkout is a veiled threat to the powers that be, i.e., “You treat us right, we obey, you treat us shit, we walk away!”

    In spite of the many coup attempts against Cory Aquino, she was able to DEFEAT the military because she was coming from a “higher moral ground”. During the time of FVR, the military went back to its institutional role, fighting rebels and the enemies of the Republic instead of fighting the ordinary citizens of the nation. But Gloria has none of that moral high ground.

    Our military is far from being perfect – it is highly politicized, many of its elements are corrupt, it has no real esprit de corps. Like it’s civilian counterpart, the military is disunited and dispirited.

    Having said that, the military had hopes of becoming professional but Gloria single-handedly destroyed the last fiber of professionalism in the military institution.

    Not content with having urged and organized a mutiny after which she led a coup d’état in 2001 to topple a duly Constitutional government, she decided to further corrupt the military – am not speaking of money here – to the bone by treating it like a band of merceneries.

    Because of this, Gloria will find that she has created a monster which she will not be able to control pretty soon; that in order for her to curb some ambitious folks in the military, she will have to corrupt the rest some more.

    Esperon knows this too damn well he can’t even sign the Pre Trial Advice because the his own investigators, the OJAG said in its Pre Trial Investigation Report that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge these officers with the military crime of mutiny.

    Everything is farcical in this enchanted kingdom of Gloria’s.

    __________

    My apology Manolo.

    • cvj on November 14, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Abe, those quoted passages were by Randy David from his column that Manolo linked to above.

  16. Oh, sorry Professor Randy. But as formatted it didn’t look that way. Anyway, it behooves every Filipino to ponder on it. It is a great piece. tx cvj.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 8:37 am

    dOdOng, FREE and ACCESSIBLE doesn’t just mean no tuition and a place you can get to so long as you have feet. if the public school system here is really so free, then why do public school students still need money to study there? from “voluntary” contributions, to “school projects,” to school supplies – none of these things are covered by your stinking free education. and just because you can reach the school doesn’t mean it’s already “accessible.” it can be under the ocean and if you swam to get there, you’d call it accessible. accessibility connotes more than just temporal distance. it also means availability to any who wants admission. are you aware of public school administrators who make unnecessary requirements on students for them to be admitted? (buy your uniforms from me or don’t study here, no contributions – no enrollment, projects are made a business – if you refuse to buy, you fail)

    you have so much faith in hardwork i bet you don’t even recognize any God except your very own self.

    and running for office or being a lawmaker is not the only way to help. and im not the one doing the guilt-absolving trip here.

    • d0d0ng on November 14, 2007 at 8:48 am

    “It tells us that the choices offered by our present political parties, including those that purport to represent the poor, are false.”

    Then those especially the younger generation who have the genuine desire to change the offered choices should run in public office so that the composition of congress will change, however, slow but into the right direction so that in the future it cannot be bought like it did today, budget will be allocated for greater good and that rule of law can be applied up to the President who is a public servant that should have served public interest.

    • J a o on November 14, 2007 at 8:51 am

    cvj, dOdOng doesn’t need humility. he has enough hardwork to fill its absence. as you can read, he succeeded purely on his own. his parents doesn’t even have anything to do with it. his teachers, merely a footnote of his success. even the fact that he is healthy, whole of body and mind, has nothing to do with luck or divine providence. that is pure hardwork that he was born not a cripple, mentally disable, or psychologically ill. people who were born that way have their own selves to blame for being too lazy too look for healthy bodies.

    talk abt pride! this guy doesn’t need God. he can do it all on his own with hardwork.

    of course the magtataho is hardworking too. so are fishball vendors. so many poor people working very hard and they all have themselves to blame for their lot in life. dOdOng has only this to say to them: suck eggs suckers for being too stupid not to avail of your free choice at education.

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