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Feb 05

The three new Speakers of the House

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(L to R) 1. Bank armored car: last minute delivery? 2. The Arroyo’s corner 3. Dato surveys his domain

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(L to R) 1., 2. Audience in the galleries 3. JDV’s last moments presiding over the session

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(L to R) 1. Kampi huddle 2. Admn Reps. talk to reporters 3. JDV perorates from the floor

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(L to R) Two scenes from the media frenzy after JDV finished his speech

My coverage of events from the Bastusan Pambansa was in the form of Twittering, you can see them here, and here, and here and here and here.

As I suspected, the announcement from the Palace, that there wouldn’t be fireworks in the House on Monday but instead, hopefully a tidy handover of power on Tuesday, was a ruse. The Palace was hoping that the galleries would be empty, the media absent, and public attention unfocused, so that it could minimize the risks if de Venecia decided to go down fighting.

In his blog, Rep. Ruffy Biazon (who went against his party’s decision to support Nograles) has an interesting account of the maneuvering behind the scenes:

A few days before the session resumed, both sides, the pro- and anti-JDV camps, conducted meetings one after the other. Some congressmen gave commitments early while some attended meetings on both sides. Signatures on manifestos were gathered, and there are even reports of congressmen signing on manifestos from both sides.

Both sides claimed they had the numbers and for a time, it was seen as a bluffing game. But it became clearer after the majority caucus held in Malacanang. It was a make or break caucus for JDV, where he was expecting (probably more accurately, hoping) that the President would step in and advise everyone to uphold the status quo.

According to information I gathered, the President instead tried to craft a set of procedures on how the showdown would happen, which was seen by others as the final nail on the coffin of JDV’s Speakership. On its face, it is a neutral act, but Congressmen saw it as a withdrawal of support from JDV and a blessing to the initiative of her sons to oust the Speaker.

After the adjournment of that caucus, word already spread out among congressmen about the position of the president and as expected, tides began to turn in favor of Cong. Prospero Nograles. The two camps held meetings after the caucus, the JDV camp in Rembrandt Hotel and the Nograles camp in Luk Foo, a Chinese restaturant near Congress.

There, the numbers and warm bodies were finally seen. At around 3:30 PM, thirty minutes before session was to begin, there were 47 congressmen in Rembrandt and 123 in Luk Foo. 121 votes were needed to oust De Venecia.

Jose De Venecia’s fate was sealed.

As it was, since no one really believes the Palace or trusts it, everyone due to show up on Monday showed up on Monday. At first things looked like they were headed for business as usual until Rep. Abraham Mitra of Palawan, soon after the referral of bills, rose and threw down the gauntlet.

He moved that the speakership be declared vacant. Ronaldo Zamora tried to derail the motion by rising on a point of inquiry but fellow minority member Plaza then rose and derailed Zamora’s inquiry. Datumanong, who was presiding, suspended the session. At that point, two hours of furious caucus-holding and negotiations began.

The two hours were spent basically hammering out two issues between the Nograles and the de Venecia camps.

The Nograles, or Palace, camp wanted to deny de Venecia the opportunity to demand nominal voting where each and every congressman would have to rise and put their vote for or against the motion, on the record. Furthermore, the Palace wanted to deny de Venecia the opportunity to make a valedictory speech.

Along the way, de Venecia clung to the hope he could, somehow, preserve his office and at one point, inquired with Rep. Tanada of the Liberal contingent whether, if he came out strongly enough against the President, the Liberals would reconsider their pledge to support the Palace’s candidate. Tanada responded by going out to the lobby and telling media they were foursquare behind Nograles (later on, after de Venecia’s peroration, Rep. Jun Abaya, great grandson of Emilio Aguinaldo and member of the LP, had the decency to try to register his vote on the motion by nodding; but Rep. Fuentebella, presiding at the time, insisted, rightly, that every congressman rise from his chair, go the mike, and state clearly what their vote was; Abaya sheepishly went to the mike and mumbled “Yes”).

At a certain point, about a half hour before he returned to the floor, de Venecia apparently knew his game was up and summoned his wife and son to his office. They returned to the gallery about ten minutes before the soon to be ex-speaker reappeared on the floor -there was an audible gasp from the galleries when he took his place by the rostrum. All the while, Rep. Mitra had hovered by the microphone repeatedly asking that the session be resumed and his motion carried out. The Arroyo brothers at various time surveyed the scene with proprietary interest and from time to time, Mikey Arroyo would disappear.

So when de Venecia returned, the question became, would he be permitted a swan song? Villafuerte and Pabling Garcia’s blustering were foiled by the intervention of Rep. Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Rep. Dilangalen, and the father of Chiz Escudero; in a nuanced and quite interesting ruling from the chair, Rep. Fuentebella said that a congressman has a paramount right to free speech, by means of making a privilege speech, after which the division of the House on the question of Mitra’s motion could then take place.

As for the speech of de Venecia, the various press reports will suffice: see The Speaker speaks — And How; and how De Venecia goes down fighting. See also Nograles is new House Speaker and Gonzalez: ‘He has burned his bridges with the President’.

The great defect of de Venecia as a politician was revealed for all to see, when his often rambling speech kept returning to a complaint that he was speaking off the cuff, because he’d been assured -and believed- that he’d have until Tuesday to state his case to his peers. Obviously the Palace was not inclined either to keep its word or do him any favors, yet the man thought that a pledge was a pledge. In a nutshell, that is the great defect of truly traditional politicians -they believe that there are some lines no one will cross.

To be sure, presidents can’t tolerate disloyal speakers. After Manuel Villar, Jr. transmitted the articles of impeachment against Joseph Estrada to the Senate, the ruling coalition deposed him and elected Rep. Fuentebella speaker instead. This time, de Venecia had to go, and hardly anyone sympathized with him.

Now, he is on probation: opponents of the administration will more likely than not, wait and see if he will fill in the details of the official chicanery he only painted in bold strokes in his valedictory. People inclined to be neutral, will be watching, as well, as INKBLOTS puts it,

As an ordinary citizen, I am more interested with his expose. While it may be too late a hero to expose the Presidency and its allies in its alleged lapses and involvement in various controversies, I realized something good was coming out of it, after all–that is the unveiling of some hidden truths and burning issues that the Filipino nation must face.

What will happen in the coming days is for us to see. As JDV said, it is just the start and the Filipino people would expect more in the coming days. That is for us to hear and see.

After some period of stabilization, we are again riding a political roller-coaster. I just pray that this move to expose the Presidency’s alleged shortcomings would do good for the country. Definitely, this move by JDV will turn tides. I just hope that many Filipinos would become more vigilant of those turncoat politicians who would take advantage of this situation, and that the people behind it would not resort to violence.

Returning to Ruffy Biazon’s blog, he states, clearly enough, I think, what the whole exercise was all about:

I believed that the ouster move was not motivated by a desire for change and reform in the House. It was never a secret that the primary movers of this move were the two sons of the President, who were hurt by the testimony of JDV’s son Joey against their father regarding the ZTE scandal. In the House, congressmen complain about JDV’s tendency to make promises and not make good on them, but there wasn’t any drive to remove him from office because of this. Issues about transparency in the House expenses were raised, but nobody ever really made a move to scrutinize them. During the budget deliberations, where the golden opportunity to ask questions about the House budget is there for everyone to take, no one grabbed it. The Commission on Audit annual report on House expenses is always ready for anyone interested to go over and review.

Some have said that the Speaker was responsible for the plummeting ratings and deplorable image of the House. But the House of Representatives is a collective body. The Speaker is said to be only the First Among Equals. The image of the House is the responsibility not only of the Speaker but by all congressmen as individuals and the entire House as an institution. Even if we have a Speaker with impeccable character, if a majority of congressmen still abuse their power, act arrogantly in their distrcits, involve themselves in questionable deals and transactions and perform their duties poorly, the House will remain a house of ill repute. It can be redeemed through extra spending in publicity and public relations, but those will never reform the House.

I have due respect and admiration for him as a colleague, but Cong. Nograles couldn’t have made it on his own. As the current head of the House contingent on the Commission on Appointments during this Congress, he is often not in the House, understandably because of his duties as head of the contingent. For the past months of the 14th Congress, he was concentrated on his duty instead of campaigning for change and reform in the House. Besides, going for the Speakership involves the mobilizing resources which I don’t think he has on his own. It had to take someone else with more clout and resources to organize and convince the congressmen to support him.

The House of Representatives elected three Speakers last night: Rep. Nograles to represent the castrated Lakas-CMD; and the brothers Dato and Mikey Arroyo through whom all public works flow.

And as I mentioned in my column, yesterday, the signal sent by this move is that Kampi is now the real mover and shaker in the House. It hatched the plot to oust de Venecia, a party man and leader with stature equal to, at least, the President; it sustained that plot and accomplished it; in other words, it is the party that matters, and its gaining the greatest numbers is merely a matter of time. As will be its deposing, in turn, Nograles the moment, say, the President decides that he has become a liability.

For example, the enmity between Nograles, a third termer out of the House by 2010 anyway, and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is famous. By all accounts, Duterte isn’t going to take Nograles’ election as Speaker sitting down. Who will the President need more, in the coming years, if there are efforts to accomplish Charter Change? After Nograles delivers in the House, the effort will sink or swim depending on how local governments marshal their forces. At which point the President will need Duterte more than she needs Nograles. And his being a member of Lakas-CMD will matter little by that time.

I received this text message, today, which for now will have to be in the caveat emptor, scuttlebutt department:

Per Palace insider, Lakas convention set this week has been deferred to another date. Press con for FVR being arranged. They’ll next try to oust Villar. JPE is coy to be Senate Pres. but Angara agreed. ConAss preferred over PI which can’t change form of govt. Plan is for unicameral with PGMA as PM. JDV chopping is a 3-pronged plan: Revenge related to ZTE, reduce his influence in the House vis-a-vis ConAss, and break the Lakas which is not PGMA but FVR and JDV. Ermita is also in chopping board. Bunye asked to be moved to Monetary Board. Esperon to DND.

There will be easy ways to refute or prove this and previous scuttlebutt, much of which has ended up being verified publicly by the Palace, anyway.The EQualizer, on the other hand, makes some bold predictions.

Mon Casiple, in his blog, offers up this reflection:

We are witness to the final act of GMA’s current crisis of presidential legitimacy. In so doing, he has thrown the gauntlet at GMA’s feet, accusing her of orchestrating his ouster and hinting of stormy days ahead.

GMA has no choice but to pick up this gauntlet — issues are already joined. The fuse was lit by de Venecia and the clock is ticking. If taken to its logical conclusion — and if no major damage control is taken, however remote its possibility — the crisis of legitimacy has entered its final act. Jose de Venecia cannot be permitted to speak of living, breathing demons in the Malacañang closet.

GMA faces the specter of serious political opposition with the present and future JDV revelations. In a situation of negative presidential popularity, this is an explosive situation. The possible scenarios basically are open-ended. They certainly include a shortened GMA term or a possible desperate declaration of an emergency situation.

Malacañang’s political strategists miscalculated on this one. It may cost all of them their heads.

Reactions in the blogosphere can be found in The Philippine Experience, in smoke, and The Warrior Lawyer and Rebelmind. Also, there’s Ideological Soup and Tongue In, Anew.

See also I will BE and Manila Boy and chakringg…=) as well as Let’s go, IN! and Nomadic Thoughts.

And Iloilo City Boy proposes something I’ve pondered upon, too: perhaps the best thing would be to have a permanent, single-term limit for officials, without any possibility of ever returning to the same office.

245 comments

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  1. Madonna

    his view of current history is anachronistic – from the time of Thomas Carlyle.

    I like Thomas Carlyle. I Like his prose.

    On mlq3, but course, I think he loves history first and foremost and historians speak on a different level or angle. He loves politics the next, but only the the subject, not the practice of it. Ha! As De Gaulle said, politics is too serious to be left alone to politicians.

  2. inodoro ni emilie

    (

    1) did “gloria” admit she “cheated” in the 2004 election by saying she talked to an election official? (2) did she admit she “doled out cash”? if your answer to either is “no”, put up or just shut up!

    bencard, you think a greedy highly ambitious politician will admit doing to ever doing those things? if you can cite one, then put up or just shut up! let’s stop all these pretensious naivete. that’s why lawyers thrive, either one if for or against gma, they have the talent to twist reality based on semantics.

  3. nash

    ewan ko ba kay atty bencard, as if naman kasi gma (or anyone who knowingly commits a crime) will incriminate herself. of course you deny deny deny. bakit siya aamin?

    yang mga kasalanan ni gloria, sisiw yan compared sa kasalanan nina prodi or the japanese pm. once they lost the trust and support of the parliament, they resigned agad. kahit mismo sa mahal na estados unidos ni mang bencard, yung mga kalokohan na yan hindi pinapalampas. si bill clinton nga nagpa-tsupa lang (at no cost to the taxpayer) ikinaso na agad.

    i admit i’ve been living in first world countries for the past couple of years. i can see how seemingly minor lapses are not tolerated. Nordic ministers are asked to resign for just spending tax money on ONE non-gov’t function related dinner. these are standards we should aim to emulate. here, you can’t buy a gov’t minister lunch or dinner. siempre meron ring corruption pero pag nahuli, aba expelled agad.

    but anyway, i should learn to accept that some people will have different standards. there is a reason we are confident to ride german-built cars, and not so much on chinese made cars.

  4. Bencard

    inodoro i.e. & nash, in the scheme of things, you first have to show there is wrongdoing; then you show that the person you are accusing did it. you do that by producing (a) proper evidence, or (b) voluntary confession. failing in all that, every conclusion you make is speculation, fantasy or wishful thinking. i don’t care what your “threshold” is. you cannot remove a constitutional officer simply by conjecture. and you have no right to demand of her to prove herself innocent. that’s your job, not hers.

    when the person you are accusing denies your charge, then you have the burden of proving it. in fact, if your charge is about a criminal offense, the accuse doesn’t even have to deny. you must prove it.

  5. hawaiianguy

    Bencard: “when the person you are accusing denies your charge, then you have the burden of proving it. in fact, if your charge is about a criminal offense, the accuse doesn’t even have to deny. you must prove it.”

    But then, even the opportunity to prove is denied. How’s that? Before one states the case, it’s already “case dismissed”! (Thanks to Gloria’s gang of brilliant lawyers and complicit congress.)

  6. inodoro ni emilie

    bencard,

    “i-am-sorry.” whether this is an outright admission of guilt or not, a person who holds herself with a great sense of delicadeza doesn’t have to hide behind the skirt of legalism to justify her act of impropriety. one need only resign–and that would have made her greatly magnanimous, not magnanakaw.

  7. nash

    but i am not accusing GMA. she admitted calling that election official.

    this is already unethical and improper. this is the wrongdoing.

    now it seems you disagree with me that this is a wrongdoing. Oui? Non?

  8. Bencard

    inodoro, sorry but ours is a society of laws and not of “moralist” pretenders and hypocrites. when you are hauled to jail on a vague accusation of “wrongdoing” you will thank the law for regaining freedom. ask the batasan 5.

    nash, in case you were born yesterday and clueless about it, a charge of unethical or improper “wrongdoing” is not a ground for removal. you can call for resignation till your voice becomes an inaudible croak but you cannot force a constitutional office holder to resign. comprende?

  9. Kabayan

    Ours is a society of laws… just as Saddam claims his is a society of laws as he gassed thousands of Kurds … As Hitler had a society of laws as he put millions of Jews in death factories … As devils have its own society of laws … We must remember that a society could be a society of law – of Lawful Evil

  10. nash

    “ash, in case you were born yesterday and clueless about it, a charge of unethical or improper “wrongdoing” is not a ground for removal”

    exactamento. and i’m saying it should be, and if you had any decency you would know that after such a monumental lapse, your position has become untenable.

    this is when i say our standards are different. you are willing to let this pass.

  11. nash

    and stop this ‘charge’ already. no one needs to charge anyone. she herself admitted the act.

  12. inodoro ni emilie

    when you are hauled to jail on a vague accusation of “wrongdoing” you will thank the law for regaining freedom

    hauling was made in abuse of the law; setting them free was made in the moral spirit of the law (i.e., it was the right thing to do).

    see, bencard, the law is a neutral human construction. what you should fear is who exercises it.

  13. Bencard

    nash, but your “standard” doesn’t work in the real world, and never would just because you think “it should”. grow up, man.

    btw, how does my position become “untenable”? do you understand the meaning of the word?

    kabayan, i think you are comparing our imperfect society and hell. chew on that one!

  14. Bencard

    inodoro, human laws are applied first based on their explicit provisions, not on some vague “moral” notions. you want true morality? you first have to die and face your maker, the ultimate, infallible judge of morality, not some hypocrites who claim “moral ascendancy” (words i detest).

  15. Kabayan

    Bencard said:
    “kabayan, i think you are comparing our imperfect society and hell. chew on that one!”

    Perhaps … I may also be comparing those who espouse and promote it’s evils “at all costs” as devils … who knows. 😉

    BTW Bencard, where do you belong, an apologist for those doing evil or are you with those who wish a moral society to prevail?

  16. inodoro ni emilie

    “true morality”? what’s false morality? certainly, whether this call is made by hypocrites or not, a mondicum of morality is expected from a leader. hey, we’re talking politics here–where the implications can stretch between heaven and hell, not some court laws (like as if this is the only thing that matters in governance). hello?

  17. Bencard

    kabayan, you are begging the questions, pal. who is “espous(ing)” and “promot(ing)” evil. couldn’t it be you and your kind? why should you be holy and i should not? who is doing “evil” to whom?

    inodoro, you disappoint me. false morality is that kind imposed and adjudged by hypocrites and sinners. true morality comes from, and adjudicated by, God. you better believe it, in this world, man-made laws are the only thing that matters in governance. hello yourself!

  18. inodoro ni emilie

    bencard, believer as i am in higher force, i do not want to force in the issue of morality as something theological as it basically a human universal law. thus let’s level off the definition here, and not bring in biblical aspersions: hypocrites and sinners. there are moral standards known to humans that cut across even in governance. that’s all am seeking, a mondicum of delicadeza.

  19. Kabayan

    Bencard:

    Umm, I am not your pal. I’ve noticed that corrupt people in power often call someone they barely know as “kumpare”, “kaibigan”, “friend”, or “pal” before they stab them in the back.(Not that I say that you are a corrupt person in power, but who knows)

    You haven’t really answered my question “where do you belong, an apologist for those doing evil or are you with those who wish a moral society to prevail?” However it may need better qualification and explanation. Let me make it simple, regarding evil, for starters, like the principle “Do not steal”, do you agree with this moral principle?

  20. Kabayan

    “…in this world, man-made laws are the only thing that matters in governance…”

    This statement reminds me of Lucifer, his pride and fall from grace.

  21. inodoro ni emilie

    “Do not steal”, do you agree with this moral principle?

    do we need a god to tell us the human imperative nature of this command?

  22. Bencard

    inodoro and kabayan. i know this is beyond your comprehension but “do not steal” has only sanction in this world if there was a legislation (man-made law) punishing it. take out the force of law and it will be nothing but impotent admonition.

    kabayan, i will answer your question if you will first answer mine. my answer will depend on your’s because your question presupposes a wrong premise; ergo, fallacious logic.

    btw, over here where i live, “pal” is an expression. it looks like i need you to be a pal like i need a hole in the head (lol).

  23. inodoro ni emilie

    thing with you bencard, even stealing for you requires a man-made law when in fact stealing is a natural universal human law. whether it requires legal sanction or not is irrelevant to one who knows that a transgression is done hence you get some form of punishment; in this case, lost of trust. i-am-sorry does not require civil or criminal repercussion, only a moral imperative to do what’s commensurate to such false remorse: resignation.

  24. inodoro ni emilie

    “stealing is a natural universal human law”

    i meant not to steal is a universal human imperative.

  25. inodoro ni emilie

    and in case this is still within your comprehesion, the natural universal law does not need to be written down, legislated, and promulgated. it just goes–by being simply human. it’s a ‘bulaga’ experience.

  26. fisball

    inodoro, kabayan

    leave the poor old geezer to his lawyerly logic. hard to teach an ole dog new tricks. besides, he adores gloria like his own bebe. the adoration has clouded his logic. and kabayan, your pal here is a not living in our soil. he’s ober the rainbow, the great US of A at di na nsa sye pinoy citizen pero kung umasta kala mo pinoy pa sya -feeling ba

  27. nash

    @bencard

    “btw, how does my position become “untenable”? do you understand the meaning of the word?.

    – not YOU, I meant the person in my example: GMA’s position became untenable when she called that election official

    and now

    “nash, but your “standard” doesn’t work in the real world, and never would just because you think “it should”. grow up, man.”

    well, what can I say to that one, but maybe bring out your passport and travel a little to countries where such standards exist? I say it “SHOULD” not because it came to me as a vision one night, I say it “SHOULD” because I’ve seen such high standards and those that stick to such high standards are better off.

    I just hope, sir, that you are not a Quality Assurance Manager of any sort. If you are, kindly tell me the products/services which have passed through your QA mark and I will steer clear of them.

  28. Kabayan

    “fisball said:

    inodoro, kabayan

    leave the poor old geezer to his lawyerly logic. hard to teach an ole dog new tricks. besides, he adores gloria like his own bebe. the adoration has clouded his logic. and kabayan, your pal here is a not living in our soil. he’s ober the rainbow, the great US of A at di na nsa sye pinoy citizen pero kung umasta kala mo pinoy pa sya -feeling ba”

    —-

    Excellent suggestion fisball, Bencard truly makes a good rendition of SiRaulo Gonzales though, but this time with a twist of philosophical masturbation. Poor sod, he cannot even answer of which side he belongs, whether an apologist for those doing evil or if he wish for a moral society to prevail.

    In any case Bencard’s statement to “inodoro ni emilie” tells it all: “… in this world, man-made laws are the only thing that matters in governance …”

    Say hi, to Pareng Luci for me Bencard… oh, or is it “Pal” Luci(***hilarious canned laughter***)

  29. Bencard

    go f… yourself, or each other. what a waste of time talking to both of you!

  30. anthony scalia

    to whom it may concern:

    blame the bright boys of the opposition for the dismissal of the previous impeachment complaints

    up to now, they still can’t agree as to who will lead the charge against gloria

  31. hawaiianguy

    Sabi ko na nga ba, eh. Basta nagsimula sa babuyan at insultuhan, sa babuyan at insultuhan din hahantong ang lahat ng usapan. I blame nobody but those who don’t observe the golden rule.

  32. nash

    @bencard

    Did I say something rude?

    Pikon talo.

    Kumbaga sa toma sa kanto, meron ng nagsuntukan. 😀

  33. Bencard

    o.k. lang nash. pero ayaw ko sana ng bastusan kahit puede rin naman at sanay tayo diyan. naging istambay din tayo sa balic-balic nuong ating tee-age years, at sa quezon avenue kasama ng “kabataang makabayan” during early marcos regime.
    i can take it and i can dish it out. pero hindi maguumpisa sa akin ang gulo.

  34. Kabayan

    Yawn … In any case, it is soon to be expected that the supposed DOJ (Or perhaps DOI as in Department of Injustice) investigation tasked by Gloria to Sir Raul(o) will actually be designed to lynch Lozada and those who dare touch the “dignity” of Mike Arroyo.

    The next step for the administration would be backdoor moves through the use of their ubiquitous praetors. All of Gloria’s “assets” (paid for by our taxes of course) will be ordered to move to discredit and threaten, Lozada and downplay this usual crass corrupt activities of those who surround her.

    It will be more or less the same SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) that was used in covering her tracks in the Garci scandal and other malfeasance designed to destroy our democracy to be replaced by either a de facto or real dictatorship, and perhaps even a de facto oligarchy (by establishing a rubber stamp Parliament of course.)

  35. anthony scalia

    Bencard,

    “i can take it and i can dish it out. pero hindi maguumpisa sa akin ang gulo”

    preach it bro, preach it! amen!

  36. grd

    Ramdam namin ang pagasenso ng kapitbahay namin, nagpapa-party lagi, may BMW pa, but of course he is believed to be involved in corrupt government transactions… Kabayan

    you seem to be a morally principled guy. so, what did you do about it? you want corruption to be eradicated, right? why didn’t you report your neighbor (lifestyle check)? send him to jail. or you’re merely speculating.

  37. Kabayan

    grd wrote:

    “you seem to be a morally principled guy. so, what did you do about it? you want corruption to be eradicated, right? why didn’t you report your neighbor (lifestyle check)? send him to jail. or you’re merely speculating.”

    —-

    Ahh, since now you mentioned it…

    In Congress, AFP and PNP itself, a lot deserve lifestyle checks and what had happened so far? Ziltch. This is the period of darkness overshadowing good, systemic change must first be widely proved, otherwise the one who has the money and power easily tramples the one who has a little money and no influence, that is the shadow that the Gloria administration has created.

    Even the Senate (Loren can’t even get the investigation for the hijacked ballot boxes done), Generals and officers (like the courageous Gudani and Balutan), supposedly protected persons (The witnesses against Garci, Lanao and Cotabato election cheating…this list is long, some are dead like Musa Dimasidsing, many folded or are now abroad) and even civil society itself could hardly make substantial progress against this darkness (Black and White movement constantly being threatened and harrassed by the PNP Praetors and a Siraulo in administration). Meanwhile what happened to the Gambling Lords, the COMELEC “Komisyon(ers)”, Gang of Pidal etc.? Yes, they’re prancing around basking in the protection of the Praetorian Guard.

    However all is not lost grd… Patience… it is on file, we will remember, his time will come.

    Meanwhile I also encourage all those who have neighbors with questionable lifestyles, engaged in crime protected by the powers that be, and those easily getting away with crimes; to create a database and for the moment observe and note their movements.

    I also encourage the Black and White movement to make redundant and scattered secret data bases (both electronic and hardcopies) and make a repository of these reported questionable lifestyles and suspected politician-protected syndicates so that the ordinary citizen can have a centralized mechanism to submit their reports which can be later be acted upon when the day of reckoning is upon these wicked people.

    This must be done so that we do not make the mistake of EDSA 2, forgetting the political and bureaucratic crooks when change of power comes. They must be identified and when necessary charged so that they would be disqualified from entering public office, either elected or appointed (Yes, this includes JDV among many). We must learn to wisely harness the Power of the People both in time of darkness and in times of light.

  38. mlq3

    kabayan, could you flesh out that scheme a bit more? it’s interesting.

    tongue, thanks for the tip.

    jmcastro, i discussed the point you raised in a previous column:

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view_article.php?article_id=111383

  39. Kabayan

    mlq3 wrote:
    “kabayan, could you flesh out that scheme a bit more? it’s interesting.”

    —–

    Hi mlq3, the details of my proposal can be quite long so I’ll attempt to stick to the basic structure without compromising much of the principle and would divide this in several parts.

    The Watchdog (Part 1)

    The premise of my suggestion basically is that under the current social system, anyone who enters governance in the Philippines will be immediately swallowed by the existing structure of corruption. The rank and file just newly employed in government is obliged to follow their bosses. This is more pronounced in the PNP and the AFP where command and control structure (An established system wherein those in the lower ranks are obliged to follow their superiors, no questions asked) is an intrinsic part of their institution.

    Newly appointed high ranking officials such as Department Secretaries and other members of Cabinet, even if not corrupt, would still encounter a host of resistance even if they have their newly granted power. Those in the middle management of the department can still get away with corrupt practices as oftentimes the new appointee does not know the nitty-gritty aspect of what in the world is happening within their departments. A department whose system is united in creating corruption can actually intentionally muddle their work if the Secretary is unable to give them the privilege of “extra curricular earnings (i.e. lagay).” The Secretary will then compromise his principle just to “get things done.” This is also present in other branches and agencies to such an extent that the “I scratch your back you scratch my back” practice also applies to dividing the spoils of corruption and compromising one’s principle. This practice (or malpractice) is none more evident as the relationship between the Executive (who controls the release of Pork Barrel funds) and the Lower House (who would sell their souls just to get these funds.)

    Where am I getting at so far? The basic premise is that, A. You can’t trust government when it comes to radically uplifting moral standards in governance, and B. Even if a new set of people (even good people) are put in government, the corruption structure, standards, and belief (i.e. like the 20% moderate corruption rule) are so strong and well entrenched they will likely be swallowed or persecuted by the existing system.

    So what then would be our hope if time and again, we are continually stuck in the mire of corruption and base human desires which fuels the greed of those in government? Create a strong third party, a non-government organization whose aim is to be a watch and record the corruption, connections, comings and goings, in government; even in local government – a Watchdog. It’s members must be principled (This is may sound cliché but; must be willing to sacrifice and even die for a good cause), independent (would never be dependent for funding or even be part of any government institution except perhaps as a free volunteer consultant), financially independently (no dependencies here, must be willing to push their work through even with limited funding), non political (okay, some might want to run for office but they must resign immediately from the organization.), must always vibrantly expand (non static, always seek to recruit their member base), and a severe check and balance within the members (i.e. no trapos allowed, ferret out infiltrators, good counter-intelligence etc.)

    Given a strong organization, the next step is Get Organized. The corrupt powers that be are well funded and organized but their god is greed; a Watchdog’s power is the people, properly using brains, their heart, their conviction and their fervent belief that what they do is good and one way or another will be rewarded in the end. Members with the belief that God helps those who help themselves with an unshakable faith in what they do would more than offset the strength of conviction of those who moves only because their faces and pockets were stuffed with money.

    I may have dallied in the basic premise, but these are important, just as foundations of buildings are important. (End of part 1)

  40. Kabayan

    The Watchdog (Part 2)

    Next premise is that the Filipino people generally lack the sense of keeping records, a log of history and a list of what happened, what is happening, and records of analysis of what may happen (projections). Our history, even as recent as the past hundred or so years, is convoluted, lacking proper records and even our people have a penchant of discarding historical artifacts (which to sons of previous owners just thought of it as so much junk). It is so bad that only a decade ago our history was largely based on the point of view of our conquerors and colonizers. Much of our researchers even have to go abroad just to have a look at our artifacts in foreign museums. Many of us disdain to keep records, stories and analysis of what is currently happening so that the next generation is ignorant of the mistakes and lessons of the past. What does this have to do with the duties of a Watchdog? The Watchdog must make a historical database (related to corruption and good governance) of what is generally happening in society and governance; make a list of the people involved; the critical event unfolding; who are the “balimbings”; who are the Congressmen who pushed a self-serving bill and who blocked good ones; who are involved in cover-ups; who among the lawmakers voted to cover-up crimes; who are principled stalwarts and statesmen; the criminals involved; their modus operandi … in short, the list would actually look similar to the basics of an Interpol database but only this time what we monitor are people in government, the untouchable syndicates, and the opportunistic vultures in society. Consequently those who are reliable people, allies, and principled and useful non-government organizations will also be listed as potential groups to be tapped in bringing about good governance.

    Files of the profiles, conditions and status of these people and organization will be kept in different databases all over the country (A good personal computer per database would do) and should not be connected to the internet to prevent hacking (yes, even flashdrives may have to be screened or even banned if compromised). DVD disks of the database would be renewed or added every month and copies are sent to secret stashes among trusted people and members all over the country. I would leave the security techniques and measures to the imagination and skill of the Watchdog organizations.

    The Watchdog does not solely research and create the data files themselves. Files of illegal activities especially from people protected by government, police, soldiers, syndicates and other powers that be, may also come (or requested) from cause-oriented people in the different provinces and localities (this does not necessarily mean that the term “cause-oriented people” are leftist; cause-oriented people may refer to members of the middle and even upper class who is sick and tired of this evil system.) These people will be screened and a system must be made so that they remain anonymous and protected from vendettas from powerful criminals. No contributors know other contributors in the area so as to compartmentalize knowledge and limit the dangers of infiltration and being compromised. As an example, Watchdogs and members in far-flung areas may even use forums and blogsites for passing down information with a previous one-time meeting arrangement that they use a particular name and embedded verbal code for identification (be careful of hacking though. This government is pretty adept in that). They may even use the traditional pasa-mensahe system. There are other more effective means but I would not delve on that, again I leave the security mechanism measures and system for the Watchdog to formulate.

    In essence, the masses of Filipino people will be the sea in which the Watchdog groups will swim. The information and support will be from them and they are given support in return. (End of part 2)

  41. Kabayan

    The Watchdog (Part 3)

    In this wired world, a person with a computer, a cellphone, a digital camera, a landline phone or even a pen, paper and a good memory can easily track down and monitor the evil that moves around them. For evil is dependent on darkness, on the fact that they remain anonymous and hidden while they do their dirty deeds, crime has become so organized that they can easily infiltrate government and be PART of government. In the past years, how many local officials are actually gambling lords? How many are illegal loggers? Fabricators of dynamite for fishing? Shabu and prostitution operators? Robbery masterminds? Somewhere out there a good person knows what is happening and would like to divulge them, unfortunately he or she does not know whom to turn to. They do not trust the police, they do not trust the soldier, they do not trust the government official, they do not trust their governor, mayor, congressmen, and President. Thus, as such, evil prevails and expands while the individual willing to do good cowers in the corner, forcing himself to believe that he should be concerned only for his family, not society. Some however still want to help, but the question is how and who.

    The Watchdog could provide that need, the need that people who may not yet wish to expose themselves but willing to provide intelligence and information of the wicked powers that be. They could be a conduit, a repository of information, and a record of the hidden histories in one’s community. With this, evil will cease to be hidden in darkness. Involved people will be known and if properly exposed, when the right time comes, will hopefully be brought to justice.

    To conclude, The Power of the People comes from individuals from each community, monitoring, seeking, observing, and passing the information to different organized Watchdog groups. They are organized yet formless, they can strike out individually or band as a group. They can divide and re-form at the time and place of choosing. They can opt not to face the wicked until the time is ripe, or conversely they may strike when they are strong. The combinations are endless. For now we must first start out the basic of all principles when fighting evil, that is to Know thy Enemy. This is the next evolution of People Power. (End of part 3)

    There are other mechanics and details not described, both for the sake of practicality and security. We cannot telegraph the moves to these wicked jerks in power. I am sure however once the principle is understood, the watchdog movements could get creative and start establishing the basic structure themselves. As a good spin-off, this would also help in making people realize the value of history, even recent history, so that we would not go through EDSA 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. and make the same mistakes of installing crooked men and women in power over and over and over again.

    Feel free to ask me for any clarifications Manolo.

  42. hawaiianguy

    Kabayan,

    You got some idea there. Maybe it’s better discussed somewhere, by email maybe?

  43. Kabayan

    hawaiianguy said:

    “Kabayan,

    You got some idea there. Maybe it’s better discussed somewhere, by email maybe?”

    Thanks for the interest, however emails are also compromised, but I guess it’s better than an outright public posting. 🙂 The basic structure can be readily understood however and they could email me using another one of their address which is not compromised using an outside PC.

  44. Kabayan

    hawaiianguy,

    …Or better yet, the existing watchdog groups can just organize direct using principles discussed above as they see fit. Less electronic discussion the better. I have confidence in the intelligence, resourcefulness and conviction of many watchdog groups. They should simply look back at pre-EDSA 1 days and improve on it. As a Department of Health official once said; “Just do it!”

  45. Estudyante

    Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mga Pipz. Saan niyo nabili ang art of war by ralph d sawyer? di ko mahanap dito sa mga bookstores?….

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