In the news, State visit not a junket, say legislators:Deputy Speaker: ‘I’ve not been inside a store’ while the Inquirer editorial says most congressmen were there as a presidential perk.
Earlier today a very instructive dialogue took place, which ended up being broadcast despite government’s (typical) preference to keep it all hush-hush. In the end, the two parties had to agree to disagree, since Media will still be arrested if police are defied–Puno. I hope a transcript of the whole thing ends up on line.
Main points were three. Jake Macaset pointed out that media and government are classic adversaries. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro pointed out we belong to a “codal culture,” but that the codification of behavior on both sides isn’t a practical goal. Maria Ressa pointed out whichever way the government slices or dices what took place at the Peninsula -a “hostage situation,” or “terrorism,” or whatever- she can find an identical scenario covered just as aggressively by media abroad, and no democratic government anywhere did to journalists what our government did here at home.
My Arab News column resumes this week with Impatience With Colonial Legislation, comparing the reliance of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore on colonial laws that are incompatible with more modern notions of the relationship between the governors and the governed (two slight errors: autonomy was in 1935, independence in 1946, not both in 1946 as somehow crept into the article; and the Revised Penal Code dates back to 1930 and not 1933). I’ve been thinking about this since 2004, see my September 12, 2004 column Dangerous articles .An Inquirer editorial from June 24, 2007 explains why, and see, also, past entries in Peryodistang Pinay, San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet, and Red’s Herring.
And his interesting conclusion(s), reached after examining surveys and what they can tell us. In his column Nery says,
The lesson for regime-changers: Corruption scandals do not prematurely bring down an administration, but proof of something else entirely – brazen fraud, gross impunity, lewd dancing in the halls of the Senate.
And in the blog, he points out,
This also suggests that suspending the high-profile Senate hearings on the ZTE case, where revelations not only of corruption but of obvious duplicity or gross arrogance were a real possibility, was a strategic mistake on the part of the opposition.
My entry in the same blog is A new battle of the epistles, where I put together open letters and statements from students and teachers from the Ateneo and De La Salle, on the Peninsula caper.
In his column, Manuel Buencamino argues that,
The argument about means and ends does not apply to the exercise of a people’s sovereign will. The universally accepted principle and practice in that area is “by any means necessary.” Witness the American and Philippine revolutions and the struggle of the Israelis to establish their own country, to cite a few examples…
Thus, it’s a waste of time to argue over the righteousness or immorality of the course of action chosen by Trillanes and Lim. They had a right and a duty to act. And they did.
Agreeing on the form of government that will replace Gloria Arroyo and uniting behind that vision will better serve the public welfare.
I didn’t go to the Peninsula Hotel that Thursday because I saw Trillanes and Lim surrounded by junta advocates. I am against juntas.
An unelected government run by a coalition of ideologues and men in uniform, no matter how pure of heart they may be, is not my idea of a democracy.
Besides, ideologues have no qualms about sacrificing the principles that set apart civilized societies from barbarians–the rule of law, due process, human rights, and civil rights and liberties–on the altar of doctrine…
It would have been nice if Trillanes and Lim called for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo followed by a snap election. That would have erased all doubts about their commitment to a democratic way of life. Unfortunately, they chose to be vague about the type of government they envisioned.
Be that as it may, I applaud Senator Trillanes and General Lim for their courage and patriotism. They may not have triumphed, but they didn’t lose. There are no losers among those who fight fearlessly for what’s right.
Gloria Arroyo can bully cowards and weaklings, but the courageous and the stouthearted will always remain defiant, undefeated and unbowed.
As for my thoughts on where we are and what to do, please take a look at this comment I posted earlier today.