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Dec 03

War freaks (updated)

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My column for today (after a long absence due to illness) is War freaks. It features this photograph courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (update: so this is who he was!). Talking about photos, there are truly amazing panoramic shots (from right after the end of the whole thing) here (note the curious sight of bananas and a water bottle hidden in the wheel well of a Philippine Marines APC), and here (with everyone, media, cops, and soldiers, texting with wild abandon), and here (with Ricky Carandang looking dazed), in Inquirer.net.

Two stories I heard:

First, an anxious Filipino called up Singaporean business contacts who were in Manila, expecting the Singaporeans to be freaked out. The Singaporeans were, apparently, nonplussed: “We went into a meeting when it began and when the meeting ended, it was all over.”

Second, one person apparently overjoyed over the mayhem was someone who, a few months back, had had his laptop stolen out of his car while it was parked in the Peninsula parking lot. Upon inspection of the CCTV film, the person determined that the break-in into his car had been taped from beginning to end. The hotel refused to reimburse the man for his stolen laptop. So when the APC smashed into the hotel’s lobby, the person and his lawyer exchanged gleeful texts.

Let me repeat what I’ve said often enough in this blog and elsewhere. After the Marine standoff in Fort Bonifacio last year, a colleague said to me, “the country can’t afford more of this.” Much as it involves consciously tying one’s hands when officialdom feels no such qualms, I do think a national consensus of sorts exists. It’s a simple one: whatever resolution to the political problems of the country takes place, it can’t involve force of arms. The corollary to this is that even if it places an unfair burden on the opposition, the public’s expects that if the President is to go (and no, I don’t think many will really weep for her), she must be made to leave according to constitutional means. If that can’t be achieved, then by all means, hem her in, keep her on her toes, and narrow her options so that even if she wants to prolong her stay, she can’t. Anything beyond these parameters and a national consensus not only doesn’t exist, but no one will budge (the consensus being built on the understanding that the majority of people think they have better things to do than be engaged actively on either side, anyway).

You can either be impatient and rail over the limits this consensus has imposed, or take the longer view that well, maybe we have to wait until 2010 when the President will either leave no room for doubt she intends to stay, or she’ll go, and that relentless pressure on the president and her people will make it much more likely she will go in 2010 than try to stick around. In which case after six years of lost opportunities maybe the country can actually accelerate its improvement. That’s the price of democracy, no? Some may want to move faster, others, slower, but in the end we all must move at the pace the majority dictates.

So my first reaction to Trillanes’ move was, we can’t afford this sort of thing, again. I understand why he did what he did and why it may be that he had to do what he did -think of the scorpion and the frog. As Ricky Carandang wrote in his blog,

In the above cases, the systematic suppression of mechanisms to peacefully resolve legitimate grievance led people to look for extralegal solutions. As the grievances accumulate, the demands for restitution escalate. In cases where the processes provided resolution quickly within the law, the public was largely appeased and extralegal solutions were not resorted to.

But I don’t like it, I think he betrayed his mandate as a senator, which was to take his fight from the periphery into the heart of government, and I think he was foolish and those with him did the President a favor instead of doing anyone else any good. But I am equally upset with the fire-breathing statements of people who refuse to see why the clusterfuck was inevitable, and that the whole thing could have ended up far worse, if some cooler heads somewhere hadn’t prevailed.

I think the Inquirer editorials had it right: in saying Trillanes committed political suicide, but also, that the administration’s proven itself incorrigible. In his blog, Mon Casiple points out something interesting:

Oakwood has now come a full circle. However, the political context of the present Manila Pen is different than the one in 2003. Then, GMA was at the height of her power, with a comfortable positive public opinion, the support of the majority of the middle class, and with considerable international goodwill. Now, she is facing an increasingly lameduck presidency, a deep distrust of her government among significant sectors, including the middle class, and buffeted by accusations of human rights violations abroad.

The country has entered the period of the transition to the post-GMA political situation. The immediate struggle revolves around the question of who will manage this transition. Logically in our democracy, the president–holding the reins of power–presides over this transition. However, in GMA’s case, this is forfeit because of her political weaknesses.

The Manila Pen incident follows closely on the heels of dramatic and violent events such as the Batasan bombing. A case can be made that incidents such as these fit into the present context of the political transition. Including nonviolent political events such as the LP and NP mediamatic non-proclamation of presidential candidacies, these collectively affirm that relevant political forces in the Philippines are on the march and are staking out their various positions.

I do not think the Manila Pen incident itself meant the end of the military rebels’ own plans; it may be the beginning. However, a much more interesting possibility is the use of their movement for political maneuvering vis-a-vis the contest for the role of transition manager.

On hindsight, what Senator Trillanes and company did in Manila Pen was either a stupid and unrealistic bid for a people-powered downfall of the GMA administration or a brilliant probing attack in a much more complicated strategy. There were simply many disconnects in the event that prevented the achievement of the announced objective to topple the current power in Malacañang. Firstly, there was no evident pre-synchronization of various potential or actual sympathetic forces. Secondly, there was no provision–either in warm bodies or logistics–for a long-drawn siege. It seems, they want to end the drama as it actually did–when the government forces started its counterattack in earnest. Thirdly, there were no observable mobilization of sympathetic military forces beyond the small group that accompanied Senator Trillanes to the Manila Pen. AFP chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon’s assertion of having prevented this from happening cannot simply be be taken at face value given the extent of discontent and ferment in the camps (as shown in the Trillanes protest vote in the last elections).

Let me jot down some notes about what took place last Thursday. A good digest of the day’s events, and various reactions (official and private, including the statement of Manila Peninsula’s PR guy; what no one will say on the record, is that the hotel only got control of the property back on Friday morning, and there are allegations of the cops looting the hotel and partying it up in the rooms: the rebels had occupied only one function room and brought along their own provisions of bread and sardines; it would help if the authorities could debunk these shocking allegations) can be found in Wikipedia’s Manila Peninsula mutiny page. Entertaining live blogging took place at Uniffors. Minute-by-minute account in The Philippine Experience. A journalist’s account is over in Newsbreak.

1. WTF?

So, as reason is the reason eloquently asked, WTF was Trillanes thinking? After the fact, it’s easy to think it was a cockamamie scheme, but I’m not so sure it was, at least from the start. Definitely, it unraveled quickly.

The whole thing could have been nipped in the bud but it wasn’t. A week before (November 20, page A18 of the PDI and also, in the Star) , full-page ads had been taken out in the papers by a certain “Filipino Democratic Nationalist Reform Movement” which has a website and which basically urged the armed forces to rise up; and ominous statements were issued the day before. So no one can doubt there was premeditation here, but that unlike previous efforts, the whole thing was cooked up by a relatively small group, which managed to remain uncharacteristically tight-lipped until the walkout actually began.

Definitely, what Trillanes and Lim were after was the tearing down of the constitutional order, and its replacement with a junta. And they seem to have done pretty complete staff work in that regard (see also Transition group eyed had Trillanes succeeded, says document). The problem is, their plan scared the bejeezus out of people in 2006, why wouldn’t it scare the bejeezus out of people in 2007? And it seems obvious enough that if they wanted to score publicity points for taking something over, why didn’t they take over the Batasan Pambansa? Or hole up in the Department of Justice? See The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile with regards to the tactics (or lack of them) demonstrated that day.

Anyway, as I wrote in my column, the moment I saw that guy with a wig, I knew it would fail, and when some friends texted me at the time, I told them as much. But there were two or three things that made me wonder if Trillanes and Lim actually had some sort of method behind their madness.

The first thing that struck me was something virtually unprecedented, and that was, the eery silence on the part of the military’s top brass. Never mind Esperon seemingly being caught by surprise, and having to rush back to Manila (the President, too). It was the hours that passed without the expected parade of generals vowing loyalty to the government taking place on TV. At the height of it, the best that government could do was allow reporters to broadcast from an unusually quiet Camp Aguinaldo to basically say, the armed forces could be counted out of the whole thing.

This was something Randy David caught onto, in his Saturday column:

But, if indeed they were alone in this doomed and foolish adventure, how do we explain the fact that, at the height of the standoff, no military commander, apart from the chief of staff, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., came out or was presented to reiterate support for the Arroyo government? Why did the government rely exclusively on police forces to deal with what was openly declared as a bid to remove the existing government? Was Ms Arroyo afraid that, if compelled to declare their loyalty, a good number of the nation’s soldiers might actually side with Lim and Trillanes?

In short, what did the silence of the camps during this six-hour siege signify? I doubt if General Esperon or Ms Arroyo knows. Perhaps if they know anything at all about the state of mind of the soldiers in the camps today, it might be something that is likely to give them sleepless nights in the next few weeks or months. Could this be the real reason for the sudden imposition of a midnight curfew — that they are seriously spooked by the possibility of troop movements quietly taking place in the coming days?

For it is hard to believe that the soldiers barricaded in their barracks would not care less about what was going on in Makati City last Thursday. If they saw what the rest of the nation saw, and they remained silent, I would consider that a meaningful silence. In a time like ours, when images from live media pack more power than the most stirring statements, what might the silence of citizens and soldiers possibly indicate? Are their senses stunned and their will paralyzed? Or are their souls shaken and courage awakened in their hearts? Who knows?

Whenever an event of this sort takes place, the public takes a wait-and-see attitude, but what’s unexpected is for the military to so obviously adopt the same posture. And it was a posture that, on the whole, they maintained: permitting the military to do so betrayed the disquiet and unease the government felt. Loyalty checks are par for the course; what’s not is that no obvious result could be announced until crucial hours had passed. This is significant because of something I’ll get into, in my next point.

2. War freaks

The President herself is reported to have insisted the hotel should be invaded by 2:30 pm; I can only surmise that people within the administration undercut their commander-in-chief and calmer heads prevailed. Utak pulbura is objectionable whichever side succumbs to it: if you will castigate Trillanes and Lim, then castigate, too, all the chest-beating people demanding that the whole thing should have ended in gunfire. For if it had reached that point, then a vicious spiral would have been the inevitable result. We should recognize that if reports are true, that the President was demanding a swift and violent end to the whole thing, the armed forces declined to do so, and that the police, despite their bravura, also held off using maximum force and allowed things to deflate on their own.

As Roby Alampay, a Filipino journalist based in Bangkok wrote,

Trillanes is not the charismatic personality that the international media may have perceived. For someone who graduated near the top of his Philippine Military Academy class, he’s perceived by many Filipinos as reckless, unthinking, and – worst yet for someone who holds hotels hostage just for the moral victory of having a press conference – he’s fairly inarticulate.

It takes everybody who appears around him – priests, actors, the media, activists – to express the moral campaign that Trillanes offers himself up for, but ultimately cannot lead. Given this assessment, the government made a quick call based on the bet that, even in the worst case scenario, Trillanes, who may have the sentiment of certain junior officers, has never been able to muster crowds, was not going to be martyred…

…Trillanes on the campaign trail represented pure unadulterated contempt for her administration and everything that makes people exasperated with her presidency: corruption, ambition, a thick hide to criticism.

To this day, that’s what Trillanes stands for, and in the aftermath of Thursday’s events that’s all he still represents. Regardless, however, of how small a player Trillanes really is in the grand scheme of things – at best, he’s been seen as an unwitting pawn – what he does symbolize is nothing to totally scoff at. Indeed what makes him dangerous is that he’s the stubborn voice for what people have frankly gotten tired of wailing about.

And yet most Filipinos are now simply resigned to riding out her term until the next elections are held 2010. Two impeachment attempts against her have failed thanks to the corrupted politics and politicians she’s co-opted – some say threatened – in Congress. Last week former president Fidel Ramos, formerly an Arroyo supporter said for all to hear: “Nobody likes Gloria, but what choice do we have?”

Many Filipinos grudgingly take that as a valid point. There are indicators that Arroyo has the economy – or at least the business community – on her side. The Philippine peso is the second strongest performing Asian currency this year, next only to the Indian rupee. The day after Trillanes was arrested, the government announced that Philippine gross domestic product growth for the whole of 2008 would likely hit 7%, overshooting all predictions at the start of the year.

What festers, however, is the feeling that democracy-crazy Filipinos are selling their souls for long-missed stability. Trillanes will never be the center or leader of any new People Power movement. But whenever he’s on the news, Filipinos are reminded that as inconvenient and unsophisticated as this soldier is, the people’s bigger moral issue will still be with Arroyo: the president who they believe was caught red-handed rigging her own election; whose husband they believe was caught red-handed rigging his own multi-billion-peso government contracts; whose government has shown contempt for free expression, human rights and, yes, democracy.

To be sure, it was appropriate and necessary, from government’s point of view, to keep up the pressure, and it was a brilliant move to send in the APC’s to trundle around the Peninsula lobby while refraining from spraying the lobby with high-caliber bullets. The use of tear gas was, tactically speaking, absolutely correct, too: if you can smoke ’em out, why expend ammo? Not least because, if anyone had died, the fence-sitters in the military might just have decided to move, either way.

Yet the inconclusive results of the government inquest also points, I think, to insecurity on the government’s part, it’s still feeling its way to see how far public opinion will let it go. To be sure, I think even during the whole snafu, attempts were being made to lay the case for the prosecution: the firing of warning shots complete with claims the rebels fired back, established the basis for charges of rebellion and not just sedition to be filed.

What was truly frightening was that on one hand, Trillanes and Lim obviously believe a junta is desirable, but also, that the pressure to bomb the rebels to Kingdom Come or have sort of slaughter to end the whole thing, was so intense on the government side. Even more discouraging is that at the moment of success, the administration set about skillfully snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It flexed its muscles, against easy targets (the media, by rounding them up; the public, by imposing a curfew) when the lesson of the day was how a senator, a general, some loyal soldiers and some geriatric fans, had the entire country guessing if the government might fall like some overripe fruit from the tree.

Amando Doronila I think has it right, when he wrote, today,

The Peninsula insurrection may have collapsed, but the grievances that drove the rebels to desperate action remain smoldering underneath unless addressed seriously. The crisis has revealed Malacañang had lost control of coping with emergencies to security forces which determined how to crush rebellions their own way.

There are more than enough grievances to feed plots inside the military to seize power. The more serious plotters have learned the lesson that they can’t seize power by turning their guns at hotels. The next time around, the guns will be blazing at Malacañang.

That’s what the failures of Trillanes and Lim at the Oakwood and Peninsula mutinies have taught us. Ms Arroyo is hostage to the guns of her praetorian guard which she had unleashed at Peninsula.

Doronila’s warning can be made, because cooler heads prevailed and prevented a blood bath; had any killings taken place, there wouldn’t be time or opportunity to even make such a warning, an insurrection would already be taking place. And it’s worth pondering just how eagerly not just some officials, but members of the public, wanted it to come to that. Though Torn and Frayed says maybe the hard-liners have a point:

Yet, although I’m glad that Ayala didn’t run with blood yesterday, maybe the “hang ’em high” mob at Carlos Celdran’s blog has a point. If life in the Philippines was more “serious”, if people faced real consequences for their actions, perhaps they might think twice before doing these things, and surely you wouldn’t have to think more than that to realize the how absurd and ridiculous yesterday’s events were.

Tales of a Backpacker said it well:

The Manila Peninsula siege has elevated civil rights violations to a higher degree, and we all forgot to raise our voice against it because we were so busy demanding a state-sponsored human rights violation – the killing of Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his supporters. We even heckled the media for crying foul over their arrests. Crybabies! Wimps!

We all lost our freedom to travel for five hours (or imbibe alcohol till the wee hours on a Friday night), and none of us complained.

3. On the media

Everyone loves to hate ABS-CBN and nothing riles up the public more, than to be reminded by the media, how essential media is. All the grousing about how media overreacted -or that government overreacted to media’s stubborn refusal to vacate the Peninsula- is essentially an insular discussion. Even if ABS-CBN had left, there would have been, at the very least, up to ten journalists affiliated with foreign news organizations who’d have stuck it out to the bitter end. They included, the Philippine correspondent of the Japanese NHK, of Bloomberg News, a member of a TV news crew of the Associated Press, etc. This is a crucial point: even if the natives had fled, the natives working for foreign media outfits would have remained, which only goes to show their staying was, from a newsman’s point of view, anyway, the legitimate thing to do. By all means, if you have a bone to pick with media at home then what about those who operate according to international standards of the profession? They stayed. See Torn and Frayed’s thoughts on this score:

The original response to the latest stunt from Trillanes and his Magdalo group could easily be justified–meeting violence (and despite what Trilllanes claims, armed men taking over a hotel seems like violence to me) with overwhelming force. If the government had allowed Trillanes to dictate terms–as Gringo Honasan has so often tried to do during similar capers–it would have been disastrous.

Ramming a tank into the hotel entrance and firing off rounds of machine gun fire that could be heard a mile away seems over the top, but the officers charged with ending the siege had to make a lot of difficult on-the-spot decisions so perhaps they deserve the benefit of the doubt, especially as the three main objectives–the end of the siege, the arrest of Trillanes, and no bloodshed–were achieved.

However, the government’s reaction since the ending of the siege a couple of hours ago seems loopy. What is to be gained by arresting and handcuffing a bunch of journalists and members of the ABS-CBN technical crew and carting them off to Bicutan? No-one on TV has come up with a plausible explanation for why such an apparently counterproductive move might be a good idea. As Maria Ressa just said on air, these arrests were illegal and inconsistent with democracy.

If that was bad, Interior and Local Secretary Ronaldo Puno’s announcement of 12 midnight –5am curfew is incomprehensible. All it will achieve is to invest Trillanes’s weak and self-centred band with much more importance that they deserve and to add to the feeling of uncertainty in the capital, rather than helping to dissipate it as soon as possible.

But did media cross the line, in going from covering the story, to becoming the story? And what about the obvious sympathies held by some media people there, for the rebels? Here’s a memo Hunter S. Thompson wrote in 1972, and recently republished in Harper’s Magazine (November 2007):

I still insist “objective journalism” is a contradiction in terms. But I want to draw a very hard line between the inevitable reality of “subjective journalism” and the idea that any honestly subjective journalist might feel free to estimate a crowd at a rally for some candidate the journalist happens to like personally at 2,000 instead of 612–or to imply that a candidate the journalist views with gross contempt, personally, is a less effective campaigner than he actually is. Hubert Humphrey, for instance: I don’t mind admitting that I think sheep dip is the only cure for everything Humphrey stands for. I consider him not only a living, babbling insult to the presumed intelligence of the electorate, but also a personally painful mockery of the idea that Americans can learn from history. But if Hubert meets a crowd in Tampa and seventy-seven ranking business leaders each offer him $1,000 for his campaign, I will write that scene exactly as it happened-regardless of the immense depression it would plunge me into. No doubt I would look around for any valid word or odd touches that might match the scene to my bias. If any of those seventy-seven contributors was wearing spats or monocles I would take care to mention it. I would probably follow some of them outside to see if they had AMERICALOVE IT OR LEAVE IT bumper stickers on their cars. If one of them grabbed a hummingbird out of the air and bit its head off, I think it’s safe to say I would probably use that-but even if I did all that ugly stuff, and if the compilation of my selected evidence might persuade a reader here and there to think that Humphrey was drawing his Florida support from a cabal of senile fascists, well, I probably wouldn’t get much argument from any of the “objective” journalists on the tour, because even the ones who would flatly disagree with my interpretation of what happened would be extremely reluctant to argue that theirs or anyone else’s was the flat objective truth. On the other hand, it’s also true that I will blow a fact here and there.

That being said, was media being petulant? Yes. But only if past precedents shouldn’t matter; not in 1987 or 1989, or in 2001 or 2003 was media rounded up in this way. But of course government can change its mind, the way it’s kept scrapping all the past conventions on what was permissible behavior -but since it unilaterally scrapped the old rules, don’t expect anyone from the profession to thank government.

Might, after all, makes right. That’s the only lesson here. It would be wrong, I think, to confuse that with the “rule of law,” because the official excuses were insulting to the intelligence (much as media’s screeching was offensive to the law-and-order types who later hailed the curfew because, God darnit, it kept them thar people from goin’ a drunkin’).

If the idea was, as proclaimed by the police, to separate the rebels from the everyone else, then by all means round up all the men, but there was really no reason to round up the women and confiscate everyone’s cameras and tapes. Again, obviously the government was frustrated it couldn’t control information, and part of it was it’s own ambivalence over what to do. A kick-ass president would have sent shock troops to the stations to deliver an ultimatum, and quite possibly the public would have cheered; a more sagacious president would have thanked her lucky stars and crowned victory with sending biscuits to the reporters; a flip-lopping president leaves the law-and-order types frustrated that the media simply weren’t exterminated, and the media with its hackles raised: and, in terms of government p.r. purposes, the story being sidelined by media’s very public exploration of its navel.

Anyway, with the New Order it’s just as well Gov’t, media to meet over ‘rules of engagement’ in coverages.

4. My personal view

Something I quoted from Rizal in my column on May 1, 2006, comes to mind:

All the petty insurrections that have occurred in the Philippines were the work of a few fanatics or discontented soldiers, who had to deceive and humbug the people or avail themselves of their powers over their subordinates to gain their ends. So they all failed. No insurrection had a popular character, or was based on a need of the whole race, or was fought for human rights or justice; so it left no ineffaceable impressions … when they saw that they had been duped, the people bound up their wounds and applauded the overthrow of the disturbers of their peace! But what if the movement springs from the people themselves and based its causes upon their woes?

What strikes me is not that the enterprise ended up failing, but that there seemed a moment when they actually seemed poised to carry it off. Personally, much as my instincts were that it was doomed, in retrospect I think the thing wasn’t doomed to failure until it became obvious that what Gen. Lim et al. had in mind was a junta. At that moment -when Gen. Lim made cryptic comments about a new leadership arising- the scheme’s chances for success, already slim, swiftly collapsed. If national salvation, as Lim and Trillanes saw it, would be in the vanguard hands of the armed forces, then no one had any further incentive either to risk their necks or offer support: live by the sword, die by the sword. As far as this is concerned, I think Uniffors said it best:

I didn’t go rushing to Makati to demonstrate my support for the group because I don’t support juntas. And both Trillanes and Lim were strangely quite about what sort of government would replace Mrs. Arroyo had they succeeded in overthrowing her yesterday.

The presence of junta advocates like former UP president Dodong Nemenzo at the scene turned me off.

The most dangerous threat to democracy is a coalition between ideologues and men in uniform, no matter how pure of heart they are.

When a group like that takes over government, civil liberties and human rights take the back seat…

Trillanes and Lim could have drawn the crowds if only they used the occasion to call for a snap election following the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo and Noli de Castro. Unfortunately, they chose not to.

Of course this is just my opinion, but my column stemmed from my belief that there’s a lot of after-the-fact chest-thumping from born-again supporters of the administration: born again, because they were shitting in their pants when things seemed unclear. Kudos to those who made up their minds for or against, early on, and have stuck to their guns, whether in derision or admiration for Trillanes and Co. But I don’t think they represent, either way, the majority view. And that was: while no one moved to support the rebels, no one moved to defend the administration, and for the hour or so things could possibly have gone either way, the overwhelming public response was a deep ambivalence.

As The Economist commented,

In hindsight the mini-coup seems ridiculously ill-considered, but its failure to pose a real threat was mostly due to public disinterest rather than any dramatic improvement in the government’s popularity….

But it would be a mistake to interpret the failure of the mini-coup as a popular vote of confidence in the government. The problems facing Ms Macapagal Arroyo have actually increased significantly over the past couple of months, largely owing to allegations of corruption surrounding the negotiation of a contract for a national broadband network. For reasons that have not been fully explained, an agreement between the governments of China and the Philippines awarded the contract to the ZTE Corp of China–even though companies from the US and the Philippines submitted substantially lower bids. Ms Macapagal Arroyo cancelled the contract in October, but the negotiations raised questions of possible graft that still have the potential to trigger her removal from power.

The failure of what was probably their final bid to remove the president from power using legal means has also infuriated the president’s opponents. In October a third attempt to impeach Ms Macapagal Arroyo fell at the first hurdle–as did the two previous ones, in 2005 and 2006. The administration, through the dominance of pro-government parties in the House of Representatives (the lower house), has a comfortable majority on the justice committee that vets any impeachment file before it is presented to the full lower house. Owing to the fact that the constitution bans consideration of more than one impeachment charge within a 12-month period, the president will not face another charge until October 2008.

With their legal avenues of opposition now effectively blocked, increasingly frustrated opposition groups may be more likely to take to the streets. Eventually, one such attempt could pose a serious threat to the government. For now, though, the failure of Messrs Lim and Trillanes to spark a popular rebellion suggests that the country is far from being a dry tinderbox of discontent.

Disquieting, too, are murmurs that the problem was not what Trillanes did, but that he literally jumped the gun. As Asia Sentinel reports,

But as silly as seizing power via hotel lobbies may seem, it was not a spur of the moment action, but rather a well planned move, political analyst Earl Parreno told the Asia Sentinel, judging from the fact that the detained soldiers found quick access to high-powered guns.

“Their goal was the same as their goal during the mutinies of 2003 and 2006 — a military action supported by civilians to topple the government. People power, in other words,” says Parreno.

However, “the move was premature.” The analyst says that, based on his informants, an action such as what took place Thursday was being planned for the first quarter of 2008. This would have given the opposition time to create further social unrest so that their move would generate sufficient civilian support, which would, in turn, encourage the military top brass to withdraw their support from the government — the tipping point in Philippine-style uprisings.

Oh?

5. Other views

And there’s a kind of raw nerve the failed caper struck: my choice for book for the week suggests that we’re not far off from the Japanese, in at least admiring those who fail but go down, guns blazing. In a country starved for heroism, Trillanes couldn’t even commit hara-kiri, and I think quite a lot of people are madder about that than over anything he specifically did.

Tongue in, Anew, however, takes a different look at the whole thing (and a fascinating exploration of the military mentality, too):

Any marketing professional knows his AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The four stages are carefully designed, complete with fall-backs, auto-responses and scripted pitches very much like those annoying telemarketers who drive you crazy because they are saying all the right things you are left with just all the lame excuses, if not buying their products right then and there! In the end, you may not realize it but you find yourself agreeing with them.

This is the pattern I read in these activities. Why repeat where you failed before? The idea is not that you are expected to act immediately, the Trillanes-Lim plan works much like a raingauge. It is a method of measurement, at the same time it rubs in, or more significantly, nails in, in a calculated manner the ideals of the movement, what it aims to achieve, how it plans to get there. Later, it provides the details how your personal involvement will make it necessary for the movement – the social transformation of the country – to succeed with everybody else in. Not just the elite politicians.

The reactionary government saw it the way I did, they know the unheeded call to gather at Manila Pen was not the end of it. They knew the act had to be sustained by forces not limited to the incarcerated officers or the commands they previously held. The “A” has been achieved and the “I” is about to begin. What keeps Malacañang guessing is the timetable of the execution. Is the “Interest”-soliciting group coming out hours after Peninsula? Or the next day? Or the next month? They didn’t have many choices so they took the more conservative option, also the less-riskier one: to assume that the next wave will happen in the next hours or probably coincide with the next day’s Bonifacio Day rallies, hence, the declaration of curfew and setting up of roadblocks and intensified checkpoints.

It would be foolish to assume Trillanes and company didn’t know how gov’t would react, blockade of absolutely all roads leading to Manila Pen IS the elementary response!

What they didn’t know is that, in the ongoing word war between the incarcerated officers in Fort Bonifacio and Tanay on one hand versus Esperon and his camp on the other, it was jellyfish Esperon who will turn sissy first and hide his tail between his legs.

A few weeks ago, Esperon had been provoked by the Tanay group of Querubin, Miranda and Lim to tell all about Hello Garci and his cheating participation as a response after he tried to scare them that he will come out with the video of Lim’s supposed announcement of declaration of their withdrawal of support in February of 2006. Nakakalalaki na ang hamunan. Who will blink first?

Lim did it again, this time live on national TV while clueless Esperon was watching (adoring?) his new recruit, Manny Pacquiao, on the latter’s first military service day somewhere in Mindanao. Lim’s act in Peninsula, therefore, was a continuance of their challenge to Esperon to come clean with the charges of cheating in Hello Garci. Lim et al have done their part, it was now up to Esperon to do his. Esperon defaulted. As far as Lim and Trillanes are concerned, their score with Esperon has been settled, they are the macho soldiers, Esperon was the weakling. And they did it even if they were under heavy guards. A big open-palm slap on Esperon’s face.

Anyway, a roundup of other bloggers’ opinions is in Global Voices Online.

And for those upset with Trillanes, here’s not one, but two, online petitions: Expel Tonyo Trillanes From The Senate (42 signatures) and Condemn the Mutiny at the Manila Peninsula (132 signatures), via Now What, Cat?. Get clickety-clicking if you’re mad, because so far many more signed the Calling for the immediate resignation of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Noli de Castro and for the Holding of Special (“Snap”) Elections within 60 days petition (3,469 as of this posting; apparently. Ang Kapatiran added its voice for resignation around the time of the Peninsula Caper).

And a student leader’s view: Ateneo de Manila Sanggunian President: Statement on the Manila Peninsula Siege.

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257 comments

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  1. The Equalizer

    “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.” — Dr. Joseph M. Goebbel, Nazi propaganda ministe

  2. alden

    Mita,

    enough of those samahan….I really really had enough of it.there is so much hypocrisy about.

  3. alden

    there so much hypocrisy about it!

  4. cvj

    disagree. i think more in terms of what Randy David wrote in his column sometime back. that if all NGOs do is blunt the ravaging effects of an icompetent govt, then they might as well be more effective in entering politics, rather than insist on continuing to be a marginal factor in politics. – DevilsAdv8

    Devils, i remember this as being our very first point of disagreement. This was our exchange then: http://www.quezon.ph/?p=1387

    The BnW should make a clear choice, does it want to be part of the State or does it want to remain part of the Public Sphere?

    providing a list? what in effing hell can that do if you can’t even fill that up with names? good leaders have always been present in our country. the problem is in finding them, convincing them to run, and then providing the logistics to give them enough exposure to win. – DevilsAdvc8

    You’re right. The list should be part of a comprehensive set of political actions that you mentioned above.

  5. Carl

    just a question brought by manolo’s insider story on BnW’s efforts to ammend the Pulido complaint:

    how come the administration (assuming they were behind the Pulido complaint) was able to file that complaint faster than one that would have genuinely been supported by the opposition? Certainly both sides knew when the immunity from the second impeachment complaint would expire. Was the opposition waiting for more evidence to come from the senate hearings on the ZTE scandal before filing their complaint? Or was there any opposition plan at all before the ZTE scandal broke out to file a third complaint once the immunity period expires? I just find it weird that the opposition got hoodwinked for a third time.

  6. Silent Waters

    BrianB

    The winners of the Robot Olympiad is from my high school alma mater…Grace Christian High School in QC

  7. BrianB

    Silent, I really think we’ve wasted decades of engineerings and scientific talent in this country. To the mukhang pera this is at least worth several hundred billions (dollars). To the nationalist this is pride that we dearly need nowadays.

  8. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    comments well-taken. i hope you saw the closing paragraph of my post – that i also noted the other ‘undeniables.’

    “The common element among the East Asian tigers including China and now Vietnam is that the State applied its authoritarian powers towards forming a more equal society”

    what could “more equal society mean”? China? if we apply the ‘trickle-down effect’ on China, its not yet prosperous. nor ‘equal’. Taken as a whole, China is still poor. 900 million in poverty, 300 million from the middle class up. Unequal! But these 300 million is pulling the country to be an economic powerhouse. China is poised to overtake Germany as the 3rd biggest economy in the world.

    for Pinoys, authoritarianism is a no-no. even if used in an attempt towards a ‘more equal society.’

    I don’t know how Vietnam will have a ‘more equal society’

    “After this stage one was complete, then that’s the time they introduced market reforms which led to their economic takeoff.”

    i don’t know if that was the case. as far as i know, in South Korea’s example, the dictator Park Chung Hee had effective policies. it was not a case of ‘equal society’ first then market reforms. they were simultaneous.

    “The problem with Washington Sycip’s call is that he does not address the issue of inequality. This will leave power in the hands of the existing elite and will just result in more of the same for the majority.”

    well i don’t see the connection of ‘less than too much democracy’ and power being left in the hands of the elite. the problem with critics of his statement is that they focus on what was allegedly omitted. these critics don’t deal squarely with the issue of ‘too much democracy’. take note he did not say ‘democracy’ but ‘too much democracy.’

    i’ll say it again. he’s been around for decades, having lived through many presidents and observed Pinoys through the decades. he is speaking from experience.

    how do you define inequality? power? is it limited to the exercise of freedoms? his statement does not imply the continued entrenchment of the elite. didnt it occur to you that for SyCip, ‘too much democracy’ could be the obstacle for a ‘more equal society’? Singapore, even if a little repressed, is a ‘more equal society’

    if we just focused on job and value creation, rather than exercising freedoms, then many people will benefit economically, which could expand the number of the middle class leading to a ‘more equal society’

  9. Bencard

    mlq3, in application, there can be no conflict between the constitution and the penal code. the former is the fundamental law and, therefore, superior to any legislation. a penal code provision that contravenes the constitution has no validity and legal effect.

    in a society where the Law is supreme, you cannot create a super class of persons or entities that are immune from its majesty and punitive power. you just cannot pin a label upon any joe or joanna blow that says “journalist”, or “media rep.” and automatically invest him/her with invincibility and immunity.

    in every civilized society, every right or privilege has a corresponding responsibility. there’s no free ticket. while you can breath the air or drink the water freely, you are responsible not to pollute it. but how can society make sure that responsibilities are observed and enforced.? it is only by Law that no one, but no one can disregard.

    democracy can only work where everyone is treated equally under the law. even the government, and all its officers and employees, from the highest to the lowest, and all its agencies and instrumentalities are subject to the Law.

    i now live in a jurisdiction where libel is not a crime but a civil liability. but i don’t agree that it should be decriminalized. to me, the malicious destruction of somebody’s reputation through falsehood is equivalent to premeditated destruction of one’s life.

    in any event, the media’s alleged undue interference in police work and it’s apparent complicity with the rebels are entirely different offense from libel.

  10. DevilsAdvc8

    I just find it weird that the opposition got hoodwinked for a third time.

    don’t worry Carl, you’re not the only one. in fact, this third time’s the charm made me think we’re watching a moro-moro. everyone is co-opted, for if there was even one genuine opposition, he could’ve filed and beaten Pulido to the punch.

    everyone was expecting the admin to pull the same Lozano trick this year. so why was the opposition caught so flat-footed?

    it’s the same question that arise, when senators chose to go on vacation, instead of continuing the investigation abt ZTE when it was at the height of public scrutiny.

    and is the same reason why I’ve made my stand re the 2010 elections. no vote for old faces. unless his name is Jesse Robredo.

  11. grd

    devils, bias ka naman masyado re the 2010 elections. paano taga bicol ka. if that’s the case, kanya-kanyang manok, i’ll only vote then for duterte.

  12. mlq3

    i don’t think, that if one were conscientiously compiling the evidence esp. as coming out of the zte and related matters, one could have put together a meaty complaint and beaten the deadline. it would have been jumping the gun prematurely. a coscientious lawyer would not have filed for the sake of filing, because only the palace considers it proper law to file a bogus complaint merely to get the constitutional clock ticking.

  13. Silent Waters

    ANthony

    I so so agree with your statement below

    “if we just focused on job and value creation, rather than exercising freedoms, then many people will benefit economically, which could expand the number of the middle class leading to a ‘more equal society’”

  14. cvj

    what could “more equal society mean”? China? if we apply the ‘trickle-down effect’ on China, its not yet prosperous. nor ‘equal’. – Anthony Scalia

    Inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient. Before it embarked on market reforms in 1978, China’s society was more equal as seen by their Gini coefficient of 21.20 (rural). (The comparable figure for the Philippines around that time period is at 45 – the higher score indicating greater inequality.)

    Today, as a consequence of the uneven pace of growth within China, it is now more unequal than the Philippines. By this time however, the initial condition of greater equality already served China’s purpose.

    for Pinoys, authoritarianism is a no-no. even if used in an attempt towards a ‘more equal society.’ – Anthony Scalia

    Tell that to Washington Sycip.

    i don’t know if that was the case. as far as i know, in South Korea’s example, the dictator Park Chung Hee had effective policies. it was not a case of ‘equal society’ first then market reforms. they were simultaneous. – Anthony Scalia

    As Sparks mentioned in my blog, land reform was key to the economic takeoff of Korea. The resulting equality in South Korean society was the basis for its Chaebol-driven industrial policy. As per Alice Amsden:

    The country with the fewest economic divisions, whether by class, race, or ethnicity, was Korea. It was also the country with the largest private business groups and the greatest number of national leaders – Alice Amsden, The Rise of the Rest

    Going back to Washington Sycip’s comments…

    well i don’t see the connection of ‘less than too much democracy’ and power being left in the hands of the elite. the problem with critics of his statement is that they focus on what was allegedly omitted. these critics don’t deal squarely with the issue of ‘too much democracy’. take note he did not say ‘democracy’ but ‘too much democracy.’ – Anthony Scalia

    That is because, just like Benign0, he is committing an attribution error, blaming our underdevelopment on ‘too much democracy’ instead of persistent inequality. That’s a failure of analysis. (How can he say that we have ‘too much democracy’ when he sees that the current occupant of Malacanang cheated her way into office and holds on to it there via bags of cash and the military?) A more glaring error is that in the same speech, he wondered why there is lack of unity. If he reflected more deeply, he would realize that the lack of unity is driven by elitists like him who would want to take away democracy from the majority.

  15. cvj

    if we just focused on job and value creation, rather than exercising freedoms, then many people will benefit economically, which could expand the number of the middle class leading to a ‘more equal society’ – Anthony Scalia

    That’s the main attraction of a popular dictatorship. If we took away the freedom of the elite to abuse the majority and let them focus on ‘job and value creation’ instead, then more people will benefit economically. That has been shown by the experience of our neighbors (both communist and non-communist).

    On the other hand, an elitist dictatorship where you retain or expand the elite’s freedom and take away what’s left of the majority’s freedoms, would only be of benefit the elite and their private army (or armies).

  16. Abe N. Margallo

    Trillanes today stands trial for various “political crimes” against the Arroyo regime. But unlike larger-than-life Rizal and Ninoy Aquino, both convicted of similar crimes, the rebel soldier, although now a senator, is still a bit player in the grander scheme of things. This question therefore needs an answer: Is it fair demanding at this stage for Trillanes to have done a Rizal or a Ninoy to serve as the agent of change?

    I too salute Mr. Trillanes (as well as General Danilo Lim) for the singular courage and patriotism he has exhibited anew. I believe the Philippines will remain unsinkable if more men like him continue to thrive in our land.

    My thesis however is that beyond the risk of political decapitation for a promising boy wonder in mainstream politics, martyrdom at this stage on the part of Trillanes would either be wasteful or foolhardy: wasteful, because his martyrdom is not even necessary to rally a critical mass of supporters behind his cause if only such cause in fact reflects the people’s true aspirations; foolhardy, because it could even generate the contrary effect of being perceived as a careless assent to the claim by certain quarters dismissive of “people power” – that of it having supposedly sunk to a “fatigued” state (which might then require the fresh blood of martyrs to nourish and invigorate it).

    The Great Beast did not come out of hibernation but I have no doubt it is not enfeebled by overexertion, much less, defanged. On the contrary it is much more potent, even sophisticated because of the invaluable lessons learned from the first and second exercises of its sovereign powers. If it’s not easily or precipitously stirred to rise, it is simply because people power has already passed its testy and heady days, and has grown to be more patient and calculating than when first awakened from long stupor.

    What this situation translates into is that after two people powers (and EDSA Tres), the nation is now in earnest pursuit not merely of a change of personnel (from among the ruling elites playing their usual game of musical chairs or, to be different, from some messianic soldiers gladly marching to the same music) but of real and meaningful alternatives to the organic structures that have sustained our flawed experiment in nation building. In other words, the Filipino people want some believable answers to the question of how their lives will actually change if they opt for another people power.

    For instance, keeping the peace or containing graft and corruption are laudable ends but even real gains on these spheres would be seen as illusory if there’s no equity because the advancement of the economic and social well-being of the people has only been given short shrift or otherwise left to the vagaries of the self-same forces that by design are supposed to be deliberately indifferent to it.

    For newfangled reformist like Trillanes, there’s yet plenty of room for learning to recognize for example the distinction between the Arroyo regime and the long-standing oligarchy. Whereas, we should pause to reflect, the former could be grasping for last breaths, the latter is robust, well-entrenched and will survive Arroyo.

    A fragile regime whose vital signs are failing can be rattled by a walkout of some indicted soldiers from a court hearing and followed by a walk-by to a luxury hotel to announce their intentions. Not so when it comes to a 12-headed hydra like the Philippine oligarchy. To tame this brute, it would require motivating masterfully to action a worldly-wise Great Beast of superior power.

    In the final analysis, the Filipino people will reciprocate the call of trustworthy and honorable leaders who, being fully conversant with the new strain of cancer afflicting the polity and the society at large, would not just die on them in martyrdom, but will work with them in life: first, to retire the beast of prey and the old forces abetting it, and then, politically willing as well as able to re-invent the wheel, transform the nation. More specifically, this will require forming, communicating and coming to a consensus on new ideas about how to confront objectively the real conditions of inequities of wealth and power distribution in our society and to find the means for a continuing rediscovery towards the task of nation building.

  17. Beancurd

    Carl,

    simply put, no one from the opposition congressmen filed an impeachment complaint, whether to beat a sham complaint or not, because they did not have the numbers. they are much like the writer of the manifesto, not liking the present set up but unwilling to do anything about it unles forced to or unless they are sure that it will bear sweet fruit. In short, the classic pinoy, sigurista.

  18. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “That’s the main attraction of a popular dictatorship. If we took away the freedom of the elite to abuse the majority and let them focus on ‘job and value creation’ instead, then more people will benefit economically. That has been shown by the experience of our neighbors (both communist and non-communist)”

    how then is this ‘freedom of the elite’ taken away? wait, how do these elite ‘abuse’ the majority?

    based from what you’re saying,it still depends on the elite, letting them focus on job and value creation. that the elite will pull the rest of the country.

    the majority can also engage in job and value creation. they can leverage the bayanihan spirit, cooperatives. whole communities can be the collective owners of businesses

    “On the other hand, an elitist dictatorship where you retain or expand the elite’s freedom and take away what’s left of the majority’s freedoms, would only be of benefit the elite and their private army (or armies)”

    i think the Singaporeans don’t mind being a little repressed

  19. Bencard

    abe, with the kind of society we have, every “regime” will always be fragile. there will always be groups with competing interests that will try to tear each other apart. losers will always find fault with the leader who stymies their own ambitions and hunger for power. the current electoral process for president is at the root of the problem. with 6 or 7 candidates vying for the presidency, no clear mandate is ever possible for the winner who wins by mere plurality. this creates a situation where the losers can coalesce only for one thing – the undermining of the incumbent with the objective of deposing him/her, but divided in all aspects of governance and with divided vision for where the country should go. this is where we are now and this is were we will be until the constitution is changed to remove its counterproductive provisions.

    the way i see it, the country has been lucky to have a strong president that has proven time and again her ability to withstand and survive the darts and daggers thrown at her by her enemies from all directions. she is a credit to womanhood, not merely a brilliant “geek” but a pragmatic, efficient and courageous workaholic. she is the kind of leader the country needs in these trying times.

    your faith in the filipino people to “retire the beast” is admirable. but realistically speaking, under present circumstances, your aspiration is a little far fetched. until the majority of the filipino people begin to really love their country rather than just themselves and their families, they would not have the inspiration and ability to “transform the nation” from what it is now.

  20. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “Tell that to Washington Sycip.”

    he already knows that. im just reacting to your statement on the good use of authoritarianism. for Pinoys, whether for good intentions or not, authoritarianism is out of the question.

    “Inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient. Before it embarked on market reforms in 1978, China’s society was more equal as seen by their Gini coefficient of 21.20 (rural). (The comparable figure for the Philippines around that time period is at 45 – the higher score indicating greater inequality.)”

    actual numbers please. real figures. (no offense meant, but by 1978 all Chinese could be equally poor, and hence, technically, an equal society, at that time)

    i stand by the figures – 300 million middle class up, 900 million in absolute poverty.

    “As Sparks mentioned in my blog, land reform was key to the economic takeoff of Korea. The resulting equality in South Korean society was the basis for its Chaebol-driven industrial policy”

    i differ, again. land reform was not even a proximate cause of the take-off. korea’s economic take-off was credited to its companies and entrepreneurs, who of course benefited from effective economic policies.

    “The country with the fewest economic divisions, whether by class, race, or ethnicity, was Korea. It was also the country with the largest private business groups and the greatest number of national leaders – Alice Amsden, The Rise of the Rest”

    well i have no problem with that. please note that the ‘fewest economic divisions’ is just the by-product of a rich economy. saka what could she mean by ‘few economic divisions’? dito there are only two – rich and poor. or maybe three – rich, poor, middle class.

    “That is because, just like Benign0, he is committing an attribution error, blaming our underdevelopment on ‘too much democracy’ instead of persistent inequality. That’s a failure of analysis. (How can he say that we have ‘too much democracy’ when he sees that the current occupant of Malacanang cheated her way into office and holds on to it there via bags of cash and the military?) A more glaring error is that in the same speech, he wondered why there is lack of unity.”

    1. okay lets discuss this – why is there inequality in the fist place?

    2. that has been his observation even before erap became president

    3. are you linking ‘stealing the presidency’ to ‘economic mismanagement’?

    why don’t you do an Al Gore – concede the presidency even if it stinks? Bush has lots of problems, but at least he never had to deal with distractions on his legitimacy.

    FVR was able to achieve some degree of economic success because Miriam never pestered him on his ‘legitimacy’.

    “If he reflected more deeply, he would realize that the lack of unity is driven by elitists like him who would want to take away democracy from the majority.”

    i wonder why you insist in using ‘elitists’ in describing him. why? what was his fault for being an ‘elitist’? what interest was he trying to protect? did marcos confiscate his well-known auditing firm? was his firm in danger of closing shop because of “too much democracy”? you are not appreciating his invaluable contributions to Philippine business and eventually, the country’s economy. he is not called the grand old man of Philippine business for nothing. no other businessman can approach his integrity or duplicate the regard given to him by the Philippine business community.

    looks like you branded him ‘elitist’ by default. and you made a hasty generalization that all elites are like that, wanting to take democracy away from the majority.

    former DepEd secretary Butch Abad is advocating an ‘enabling elite’ a group of people that would enable the majority to flourish.

    if SyCip is an ‘elite’ he could well be one of the ‘enabling elite’ mentioned by Butch Abad

    i think you misunderstood SyCip. i dont think he meant taking away democracy.

    uulitin ko – he did not say ‘democracy’ he said ‘too much democracy’

  21. anthony scalia

    Silent Waters,

    ewan ko nga ba sa mga kababayan nating puro ‘rights’ ‘democracy’ and ‘freedoms’ lang ang focus. sometimes kakainggit nga ang mga Singaporeans eh. kahit medyo repressed, well-off naman.

    lets remember Sen. Gordon’s famous saying during the height of the bases controversy – ‘you can’t eat sovereignty’

    the bases were kicked out, but Gordon was able to transform Subic into what it is today. what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic?

    if only all of us can be as proactive with the country as Sen. Gordon was with Subic…

  22. cvj

    how then is this ‘freedom of the elite’ taken away? wait, how do these elite ‘abuse’ the majority? – anthony scalia

    You can get a glimpse of how the elite abuses the majority by studying the NBN/ZTE deal. Who do you think would have profited from this deal if it had pushed through? Who would have ended up paying the loan?

    For an example in a rural setting, you can read up on the case of the Sumilao farmers.

    The above are just two examples of how the existing oligarchy abuses the majority. You take away the elite’s freedom to abuse by emancipating the majority and making sure that the government is there to look after their welfare and not just conspire with a few businessmen whose preoccupation is rent-seeking and not actual productive work.

    the majority can also engage in job and value creation. they can leverage the bayanihan spirit, cooperatives. whole communities can be the collective owners of businesses – anthony scalia

    With property reform and given political, infrastructure and financial support, yes.

    i think the Singaporeans don’t mind being a little repressed – anthony scalia

    I’ve met enough Singaporeans to know that’s not true. Besides, in terms of love of country and quality of governance, you cannot compare Lee Kuan Yew with GMA or any of the other Filipino oligarchs so under our circumstances, self-repression by ordinary citizens is not exactly the wise thing to do. Bong Austero volunteered his freedom in order to give Gloria Arroyo a chance to redeem herself and he ended up regretting it.

  23. cvj

    actual numbers please. real figures. – Anthony Scalia

    Those are real figures. (Look up ‘gini coefficient’.)

    (no offense meant, but by 1978 all Chinese could be equally poor, and hence, technically, an equal society, at that time) – Anthony Scalia

    The greater equality in China at that time paved the way for economic takeoff. The oligarchs were not there to get in the way.

    well i have no problem with that. please note that the ‘fewest economic divisions’ is just the by-product of a rich economy. – Anthony Scalia

    Amsden was talking of the time when South Korea was still poor.

    i differ, again. land reform was not even a proximate cause of the take-off. korea’s economic take-off was credited to its companies and entrepreneurs, who of course benefited from effective economic policies. – Anthony Scalia

    The equality that Alice Amsden cited in South Korean Society was a consequence of land reform. Since the Korean business leaders can no longer make money off the land, they had to shift their focus and invest their capital into industrial activity. That’s an integral part of the ‘effective economic policy’ of the Koreans.

    the bases were kicked out, but Gordon was able to transform Subic into what it is today. what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic? – Anthony Scalia

    Funny you ask that. How could Gordon transform Subic if the US Bases were still there? It was the anti-bases Senators, exercising their democratic rights to reject the treaty, that kicked out the bases in the first place.

  24. grd

    until the majority of the filipino people begin to really love their country rather than just themselves and their families, they would not have the inspiration and ability to “transform the nation” from what it is now.

    agree with you bencard. quite difficult and enormous task for filipinos but the better alternative than too much talking (this is what we need) and blaming game (it’s their fault) which is leading us to nowhere. just sows more divisiveness and hatred instead of unity among the people.

  25. inodoro ni emilie

    lets remember Sen. Gordon’s famous saying during the height of the bases controversy – ‘you can’t eat sovereignty’

    the bases were kicked out, but Gordon was able to transform Subic into what it is today. what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic?

    ha? and you’re soley attributing the transformation of subic to the vision of gordon? excuse me, anthony. i was fervent in my support to the baselease termination. but never did i despair as to its loss. in fact, and contrary to the position taken by my pro-base fanatic friends, i thought its expulsion would attract its transformation to a singapore-like trading hub with its infrastructure already in place.

    “we can’t eat sovereignty” that’s what gordon said. now tell me if his statement was full smack of optimism? you’re misread him a great deal.

  26. anthony scalia

    inidoro ni emillie,

    “”ha? and you’re soley attributing the transformation of subic to the vision of gordon?”

    ha! yes!

    “excuse me, anthony.”

    be my guest.

    “i was fervent in my support to the baselease termination. but never did i despair as to its loss.”

    if you support the termination, you should not despair over its loss. you don’t have to say that you don’t despair to its loss because you wanted the lease terminated in the first place.

    “in fact, and contrary to the position taken by my pro-base fanatic friends, i thought its expulsion would attract its transformation to a singapore-like trading hub with its infrastructure already in place”

    noted. at present, its far from being singapore-like. but compare it with Subic immediately after the base left. it has to meet its full potential yet, but a start has been made, jobs have been created.

    “we can’t eat sovereignty” that’s what gordon said. now tell me if his statement was full smack of optimism? you’re misread him a great deal”

    no i didnt. thanks for the concern

    its true – we can’t eat sovereignty (in the same vein that we can’t eat freedoms). thats why when the bases were gone, he did something about it.

    did the anti-bases people help him out in transforming Subic? we didnt hear from them after their departure.

    from 1991, up to 1998, who took charge in the transformation of Subic? who took the initiative to transform Subic from abandoned base to a freeport/economic zone?

  27. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “Those are real figures. (Look up ‘gini coefficient’.)”

    Right. Real figures,like the figures from SWS and Pulse Asia surveys

    “The greater equality in China at that time paved the way for economic takeoff. The oligarchs were not there to get in the way.”

    Right again. yes, the 300 million middle class up Chinese are equal. fact remains 900 million are poor

    “Amsden was talking of the time when South Korea was still poor.”

    oh really? at present, poor philippines has two or three economic divisions. few also, right? big deal

    “The equality that Alice Amsden cited in South Korean Society was a consequence of land reform. Since the Korean business leaders can no longer make money off the land, they had to shift their focus and invest their capital into industrial activity. That’s an integral part of the ‘effective economic policy’ of the Koreans.”

    True, but the ones that brought home the bacon are the Korean businesses! they are the proximate cause of the Korean economic miracle! please dont diminish the contributions of companies like the chaebols.

    “Funny you ask that.”

    Funny also that you wrote that way.

    “How could Gordon transform Subic if the US Bases were still there? It was the anti-bases Senators, exercising their democratic rights to reject the treaty, that kicked out the bases in the first place.”

    Gordon did not want the bases to go. but when the base left, he did something about it, not wanting Subic to remain abandoned.

    again, what did the anti-bases people do after the bases left? did it ever occur to them that the abandoned bases shouldn’t be left in such conditions?

    I dont know what you are driving at when you wrote that paragraph. definitely i wasnt saying that Gordon could something with the bases still there.

  28. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “You can get a glimpse of how the elite abuses the majority by studying the NBN/ZTE deal. Who do you think would have profited from this deal if it had pushed through? Who would have ended up paying the loan?”

    not enough. and what democratic freedom was compromised by the NBN/ZTE deal?

    “For an example in a rural setting, you can read up on the case of the Sumilao farmers”

    the farmers can say all they want, rally all they want, march all they want. what freedom could the ‘elite’ take away from them?

    “The above are just two examples of how the existing oligarchy abuses the majority.”

    sorry, but not enough reason. and SyCip is in a whole different league. he wasnt linked to any corruption or scandal

    “You take away the elite’s freedom to abuse by emancipating the majority and making sure that the government is there to look after their welfare and not just conspire with a few businessmen whose preoccupation is rent-seeking and not actual productive work.”

    how do you emancipate the majority? by giving them more freedom? you give the majority jobs, then they become part of the mainstream. you give them power if they have jobs, purchasing power

    “With property reform and given political, infrastructure and financial support, yes.”

    government, though helpful, is not really necessary. the private sector can do it by itself. why wait for government?

    “I’ve met enough Singaporeans to know that’s not true.”

    and I’ve met Singaporeans who say it is true!

    “Besides, in terms of love of country and quality of governance, you cannot compare Lee Kuan Yew with GMA or any of the other Filipino oligarchs so under our circumstances, self-repression by ordinary citizens is not exactly the wise thing to do.”

    true

    “Bong Austero volunteered his freedom in order to give Gloria Arroyo a chance to redeem herself and he ended up regretting it”

    did he regret it? where did he express his regret? i’d like to know

    like many businesses, my business is not affected, in any way, by gloria’s continued stay in malacañang. i just do what im supposed to do – guide foreign investors to start businesses here, help provide jobs. i think i can help the country better that way, rather than waste my time echoing anti-gloria rhetorics which do not create jobs anyway; they even scare potential jobs away!

  29. cvj

    Right. Real figures,like the figures from SWS and Pulse Asia surveys – Anthony Scalia

    All you need to do is to look up ‘gini coefficient’ to understand that it’s a measure of economic inequality in the same say that GDP is a measure of national income. You can get the figures i quoted from here:

    http://www.developmentdata.org/about.htm

    Look under ‘Inequality’.

    Right again. yes, the 300 million middle class up Chinese are equal. fact remains 900 million are poor – Anthony Scalia

    Again…to emphasize, i was referring to equality at the point of economic takeoff (in China’s case, in 1978). The 900 million vs. 300 million figure you keep quoting is inequality in China today which i already addressed in my response to you above (at 10:11am) as being beside the point.

    oh really? at present, poor philippines has two or three economic divisions. few also, right? big deal – Anthony Scalia

    Amsden was specifically referring to the degree of inequality. Read the book so you’ll understand.

    True, but the ones that brought home the bacon are the Korean businesses! they are the proximate cause of the Korean economic miracle! please dont diminish the contributions of companies like the chaebols – Anthony Scalia

    It was joint effort between the government, chaebols and the consuming public as follows:

    1. the chaebols produced products that are good enough for export.
    2. government provided incentives and penalties to guide the chaebols via reciprocal control mechanisms. Further explanation here:

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2007/03/export-promotion-vs-import-substitution.html

    3. the public provided a viable domestic market for the locally manufactured goods. See Spark’s explanation in her comments over here:

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2007/03/land-reform-inequality-and-economic.html#c8506830015335729092

  30. cvj

    i dont know what you are driving at when you wrote that paragraph. definitely i wasnt saying that Gordon could something with the bases still there. – Anthony Scalia

    In your previous comment, you specifically asked “what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic?” The Americans did not just get up and leave by themselves. You should at credit the anti-bases folks for kicking them out and paving the way for Subic’s transformation to a free port.

  31. cvj

    and what democratic freedom was compromised by the NBN/ZTE deal?…the farmers can say all they want, rally all they want, march all they want. what freedom could the ‘elite’ take away from them? – anthony scalia

    i cited nbn/zte and the Sumilao farmers as an example of the elite’s abuse. Now you’re trying to change the question. As far as the issue of freedom is concerned, the above examples show that it is our political and economic elite that have too much freedom relative to the rest of the Filipinos. If there is anyone in our society whose freedom has to be restricted, it would be this pathological minority.

    sorry, but not enough reason. and SyCip is in a whole different league. he wasnt linked to any corruption or scandal – anthony scalia

    You’re arguing to the wrong point. I did not accuse Washington Sycip of corruption. I said that he is an elitist.

    If you want a more comprehensive history of the elite’s abuses (and to understand what kind of democracy we have), for a start, you can read Benedict Anderson’s “Cacique Democracy in the Philippines”.

    http://www.public-conversations.org.za/_pdfs/anderson_12.pdf

    how do you emancipate the majority? by giving them more freedom? you give the majority jobs, then they become part of the mainstream. you give them power if they have jobs, purchasing power – anthony scalia

    Emancipation is both economic and political. For example, Land Reform gives property rights to farmers. Political emancipation means eliminating guns, goons and gold from the electoral system so that the poor majority will finally be able to choose their leader(s) freely. This places them in charge and makes them an active part of the mainstream. Of course, the elitists don’t like this because they don’t see the poor as equals and subscribe to a paternalistic approach.

  32. cvj

    did he regret it? where did he express his regret? i’d like to know – Anthony Scalia

    Upon learning of the ZTE anomaly, Bong Austero said:

    Damn it, damn it, damn it!

    Just when you thought people have learned their lesson and mended their ways while people were in a forgiving mood, you get slapped with this new revelation that is simply stupefying beyond words.

    Some people are simply, incorrigibly beyond hope and redemption. – Bong Austero September 18, 2007

    Read the whole thing here:

    http://www.bongaustero.blogspot.com/2007/09/lets-not-bungle-this-up.html

  33. mlq3

    cjv. i think a discussion on land reform is in order, soon.

  34. Carl

    “FVR was able to achieve some degree of economic success because Miriam never pestered him on his ‘legitimacy’.” – anthony scalia

    oh miriam did. she filed a case in the electoral tribunal but it became moot when she decided to run as senator, thereby implicitly conceding defeat. she had strong evidence that FVR cheated, legally acquired evidence, mind you, but not as sensational as the wiretapped conversation of GMA.

    methinks miriam’s unsucessful battle to prove FVR’s cheating in both the public and the legal system changed her into what she has become now. it makes me sad because i used to admire her.

    so yeah, allegations of illegitimacy are not new. the only thing new are the wiretaps and the subsequent ringtones and disco music inspired by it.

  35. cvj

    mlq3, ok.

  36. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “In your previous comment, you specifically asked “what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic?” The Americans did not just get up and leave by themselves. You should at credit the anti-bases folks for kicking them out and paving the way for Subic’s transformation to a free port”

    if you read my entire post, i was referring to Subic after the withdrawal. i wanted to know if the anti-bases people lifted a finger (after the base left) to at least do something good out of Subic.

    let me re-post that:

    “lets remember Sen. Gordon’s famous saying during the height of the bases controversy – ‘you can’t eat sovereignty’

    “the bases were kicked out, but Gordon was able to transform Subic into what it is today. what did the anti-bases people contribute to present-day Subic?

    if only all of us can be as proactive with the country as Sen. Gordon was with Subic…”

    too bad you didn’t see the contrast – Gordon opposing the termination, the bases leaving Subic, Subic left abandoned, yet Gordon did not leave Subic in its abandoned state. of all people, it was the pro-bases Gordon who initiated the transformation of Subic!

    giving credit to the anti bases people? they’re no different from those just wanting to kick out gloria but have no idea what happens next. at least Gordon did something, making the most out of a base-free Subic

    “All you need to do is to look up ‘gini coefficient’ to understand that it’s a measure of economic inequality in the same say that GDP is a measure of national income. You can get the figures i quoted from here:”

    No, there are real figures behind the gini coefficient. i want to see the figures behind the figures.

    there are 3 kinds of lies, right? plain lies, damn lies, and statistics

    “Again…to emphasize, i was referring to equality at the point of economic takeoff (in China’s case, in 1978). The 900 million vs. 300 million figure you keep quoting is inequality in China today which i already addressed in my response to you above (at 10:11am) as being beside the point.”

    lets trace where it (the discussion) all began:

    1. i wrote that authoritarianism prevailed during the hypergrowth years of the East Asian tigers

    2. you replied to that saying that such an authoritarianism was effective because it was used towards the goal of equality, citing that by 1978 China had accomplished equality already
    3. to which i replied that there is no equality yet in China because of the 300-900 figures
    4. to which you said that you relied on a gini coefficient, implying its accuracy
    5. to which i replied still that i wanted figures
    6. to which you said that by themselves the gini coefficients are figures by themselves
    7. to which i said that there are real figures behind them and i wanted to see them

    equality at the point of take-off in 1978? they were all poor at that time! technically, yes, thats equality

    if the economic took off in 1978, then it shouldn’t be 300-900 today! the number of poor should have been drastically reduced. thats equality! wealth distributed a little widely.

    so what happened? how come the 1978 ‘equality’ became ‘inequality’ today?

    to borrow a favorite phrase of the opposition – the economic gains of China has not yet trickled-down

    “Amsden was specifically referring to the degree of inequality. Read the book so you’ll understand”

    no need. i already understand. you said Amsdem found out that Korea had fewer divisions when it was still poor. what were those divisions? present-day poor Philippines may even have fewer divisions than poor Korea. no difference.

    “You’re arguing to the wrong point. I did not accuse Washington Sycip of corruption. I said that he is an elitist.”

    the problem with that your view is that you are lumping all elites together! that all elites think alike. SyCip is not your typical ‘elite’

    i never said you accused him of corruption. i said that to inform you that SyCip is a cut above everyone else – not your typical ‘elite’ that ‘abuses’ the majority

    and let me remind you that you have cast some doubts on his person:

    1. you branded SyCip as part of the ‘elite’
    2. according to you, these same ‘elite’ deny the freedoms of the majority and abuse them
    ergo, SyCip is part of the elite that abuses the majoritty and keeps them from enjoying freedom. you considered him part of the oligarchy!

    may i remind you that in an earlier thread, you have made value judgments on SyCip’s character – a part of the elite that wants the status quo maintained

    that led me to say “…SyCip is in a whole different league. he wasnt linked to any corruption or scandal”

    with his invaluable contributions to Philippine business, i seriously doubt if he qualifies as an ‘abuser’ and ‘preventer’ of ‘freedom enjoyment’. how many poor but deserving graduates had been given job opportunities and opportunities for advancement by SyCip, among other things?

    “If you want a more comprehensive history of the elite’s abuses (and to understand what kind of democracy we have), for a start, you can read Benedict Anderson’s “Cacique Democracy in the Philippines”.”

    no, thank you, i already know what kind of democracy we have. we have too much of it. a western-style democracy crammed into Asians.

    and besides, i doubt the credibility of the findings of an outsider looking in, when it comes to Pinoy politics

    “Emancipation is both economic and political. For example, Land Reform gives property rights to farmers. Political emancipation means eliminating guns, goons and gold from the electoral system so that the poor majority will finally be able to choose their leader(s) freely. This places them in charge and makes them an active part of the mainstream.”

    true

    “Of course, the elitists don’t like this because they don’t see the poor as equals and subscribe to a paternalistic approach”

    not the ‘enabling elite’ of Butch Abad. and certainly for you, SyCip is one of the ‘elite

    “i cited nbn/zte and the Sumilao farmers as an example of the elite’s abuse.

    “Now you’re trying to change the question.”

    no im not. im the one making the query. because you earlier claimed that the ‘elite’ abuses the majority, taking away their freedoms, and an example of these abuses are NBN/ZTE and the predicament of the Sumilao farmers. how then did the ‘elite’ abuse the Sumilao farmers and NBN/ZTE? what freedoms were taken away from ther sumilao farmers and NBN/ZTE? i was asking for specifics of your generalizations!

    “As far as the issue of freedom is concerned, the above examples show that it is our political and economic elite that have too much freedom relative to the rest of the Filipinos. If there is anyone in our society whose freedom has to be restricted, it would be this pathological minority.”

    same query – how do these ‘elite’ abuse the majority? since you define ‘abuse’ as curtailing freedoms, what freedoms were denied the majority by these ‘elite’?

    “It was joint effort between the government, chaebols and the consuming public as follows:

    1. the chaebols produced products that are good enough for export.
    2. government provided incentives and penalties to guide the chaebols via reciprocal control mechanisms. Further explanation here:
    3. the public provided a viable domestic market for the locally manufactured goods. See Spark’s explanation in her comments over here:”

    no, the chaebols were the catalysts. it was the export market that put Korea on the economic map.

    as for the bong austero link – thanks. but i don’t think he regretted forgiving gloria. he’s mad, but he didn’t make a 180-degree turn from his famous open letter. he just wanted the

  37. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “oh miriam did. she filed a case in the electoral tribunal but it became moot when she decided to run as senator, thereby implicitly conceding defeat.”

    take note that she limited her remedy to the legal process. she never did anything close to what the opposition was doing after 2004.

    “she had strong evidence that FVR cheated, legally acquired evidence, mind you, but not as sensational as the wiretapped conversation of GMA.”

    oh really? not as sensational? so the cheating of FVR is different from the cheating of gloria? that there are levels of cheating? for all you know, Miriam kept the evidence to herself and to a limited few because at the hands of other people his protest might be put in jeopardy. just like what Alan Paguia did. thanks to him, the opposition lost a golden opportunity to leverage the Hello Garci tapes.

    “methinks miriam’s unsucessful battle to prove FVR’s cheating in both the public and the legal system changed her into what she has become now. it makes me sad because i used to admire her.”

    your opinion is noted. but no, she had already bouts with ‘brenda’ and ‘rita’ as early as law school.

    “so yeah, allegations of illegitimacy are not new.”

    to quote Joan Osborne – yeah, yeah, yeah yeah yeah.

    “the only thing new are the wiretaps and the subsequent ringtones and disco music inspired by it”

    you said it

    could be

  38. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    please disregard the last phrase ‘could be’ at the bottom of the post

  39. Silen Waters

    cvj

    am confused with your statement below, to wit:

    “Inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient. Before it embarked on market reforms in 1978, China’s society was more equal as seen by their Gini coefficient of 21.20 (rural). (The comparable figure for the Philippines around that time period is at 45 – the higher score indicating greater inequality.)

    Today, as a consequence of the uneven pace of growth within China, it is now more unequal than the Philippines. By this time however, the initial condition of greater equality already served China’s purpose.”

    Are you saying then that it is more unequal to the Philippines, as in higher than 45? Then why would one agree to that scenario. If I read correctly somewhere here…you’re telling us kasi na having 900M na poor people is ok since 300M is now middle class and rich. Unlike before na only say 10M are rich and the rest are poor??? Parang di ako agree diyan ah. If you’re telling us that everybody SHOULD be more or less equal, then that means at least 2/3 to 3/4 of the population should be in the middle class…not what china has now. In fact, new oligarchs have srpung up to replace the old ones.

  40. cvj

    anthony scalia, i think you should address your post at 12:27 am to my tocayo Carl (not me).

  41. Silen Waters

    Anthony Scalia

    CVJ always has a pet peeve with the elite and the middle class kasi. For him, sila ang salot sa Pilipinas. So I guess lets make everybody poor na lang. 😉

    Actually, all these talk presupposes that everybody thinks in the same way, like robots. My argument has always been that people become rich, middle class or poor (broad categorizations by the way) because each individual will have different levels of personal contentment, abilities, willingness to work and aspirations. Ergo, different end results in terms of economic prosperity, di ba? Proven na nga yan with his China argument. Di talaga mawawala ang elites and middle class. And as I reminded CVJ, elites includes the intellectuals like him and MLQ3 (not me).

    So it begs the question then, can you control how people think and work? Kasi, for me, his proposal stinks of idealism. Not everybody will be kind and generous. Not everybody will believe in society’s total good. SO do we jail them or shoot them down, as CVJ says, I spring cleaning natin? Do we confiscate their properties even if they worked hard for it kasi para mabigyan yung iba na walang ginawa kundi maging mendicant sa gobyerno and any other charitable institution?

    They way CVJ thinks, parang kasalanan ng mga may pera kung bakit ganun ang Pilipinas. Sa akin, each individual makes their bed. If ythey want to get out of their rut, they have to do their share. CVJ will argue that they don’t have the tools. Well, what do you do, just sit down and cry? You learn what these tools are and use them!

    Gusto ni CVJ kasi, free ride sa mga downtrodden kuno. Ang dami na nga nag free free ride sa ating mga poor OFWs. Their spouses and children don’t work and wait for their manna from heaven (am not saying all pero quite a few). Most OFWs I talk to say as much.

    Suwerte lang ni CVJ and his fellow professionals. Their spouses may be more productive. Di siya nagkakaproblema. Pero for the majority, lahat umaasa sa biyaya ng OFW.

    I challenged CVJ before, give away any property you have for redistribution. You really have to walk the talk.

  42. cvj

    Are you saying then that it is more unequal to the Philippines, as in higher than 45? – Silent Waters

    I just re-checked the Gini figures from the World CIA Factbook 2007 and it says that the Gini coefficient of the Philippines is 46.6 while that of China is 44.0. Based on that figure, it seems that the Philippines is still more unequal than China although the latter is more unequal today than it was in 1978. That is a consequence of 30 years of rapid, but uneven economic growth where the coastal provinces grew faster than the interior.

    As i was telling Anthony Scalia, it is the inequality at the start of market reforms that matters whether economic takeoff will take place or not.

    If you’re telling us that everybody SHOULD be more or less equal, then that means at least 2/3 to 3/4 of the population should be in the middle class…not what china has now. In fact, new oligarchs have srpung up to replace the old ones. – Silent Waters

    For now, the growth momentum of China means that the trickle-down effect has kicked in such that millions continue to be lifted out of poverty and into the middle class. However, there is merit in your line of argument on the dangers of this rising inequality in China and this is what is being used by the real Communists (among others) to say that China might be due for another social explosion.

  43. cvj

    Gusto ni CVJ kasi, free ride sa mga downtrodden kuno. – Silent Waters

    By labeling what i advocate as giving a ‘free ride’, you are assuming that the downtrodden does not work as hard as you. It is typical elitist mindset to blame the poor for their condition.

  44. Silen Waters

    No, I am saying they should work their ass of more instead on relying on getting the goodies from the so called “elites”.

  45. Silent Waters

    Let’s put it this way na lang…if you’re willing to give these people their land, are you willing to pay the people who have worked hard to acquire said land their just dues? Hindi di ba? I will give you na lang the fact that you can invoke eminent domain.

    Pero from your explanation from prior comments, you’re telling me it’s going to be confiscation, right?

  46. Silent Waters

    And think about it, since you want to give them these land for FREE, isn’t it just fair to call it a free ride??

  47. Silent Waters

    This is exactly the crux of the problem CVJ, I for one believes that people should be responsible and disciplined to be productive citizens and prosperous.

    For you, it’s not their fault they are not responsible and disciplined enough. It’s in their genes to be irresponsible and undisciplined. So we should help them by giving them the goodies.

  48. ramrod

    Hooters

    The hooting was made by “hooters,” men with fake breasts or men trying to be women, in other words “pansies!” I can only categorize those who pretended to be have the nerve to criticize Trillanes and Lim as “yagballs-less”, “gutless”, “spineless” squeeling mice, not men. I doubt if they ever held, fired one, and get fired upon by a gun in their whole pathetic cowardly lives.
    If you can run 150Kms a week, in combat boots, shirts, and shorts, carrying a rifle, in the cold Baguio weather, bench press more than your body weight, solve differential equation and thermodynamics problems, crawl 30 yards with live bullets zinging 6 inches over your heads – then you can even begin to wish you are “worthy” of cheap words (from cheap men/women). I believe thats all they’re good for – cheap words. Easy to say hiding behind the anonymity of a handle. If these people dare show their faces, give full contact details, and clearly state where they can be found everyday, I will give them the benefit of the doubt, but what can you expect from mice? Bottomline, you know it, deep down in your belly (an empty space where a gut should have been) you’re not worthy, so better keep doing what you’re good at – eat, sleep, and pretend to be men…So enjoy, reading your own words and admiring them, its probably the only thing you can do…bunch of vermin!

  49. Silent Waters

    ramrod

    I for one never questioned their politics. I question the means they took. It’s like, it was a bunch of fireworks that did not even achieve anything, and in the process, they did something criminal. Yun ang problema. I think that’s the reason why people hooted.

    I suppose the mindset Trililing and co. had was nurtured by the Baguio air..and that’s why he never could offer any other solution than to take over hotels and scare people away.

    Di mo ba napansin? It was just another day in the life of the FIlipino? Wala na kasing effect yung ginawa niya? People are already tired. Everybody just wants to get on with their daily lives, unfortunately. Think about it, remember the boy who cried wolf…yun ang naging effect…sa kakaulit ulit …nagsawa ang tao.

    It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protest any injustice and bad governance, it just means we should be more circumspect about it. Sa dami nang accusations, di na rin alam ng tao ano ang paniniwalaan and it became more of nagtitirahan lang sila.

  50. cvj

    welcome back ramrod! i was hoping the word hooters would lure you back.

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