What to do? (concluded)

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The President has announced she will not attend the Philippine Military Academy homecoming this weekend (because of a startling coincidence involving assassinations plots) . She is in a mess of her own making, and which requires loyalty at a time when her officials have to wonder if it’s worth it to lose all, for her. Read Tony Abaya’s column to understand why Jun Lozada has engaged the sympathy of many people and why government’s resources have failed to impeach his credibility.

As Mon Casiple muses,

The instruction of the president for government to work with private business sector, academe and Church in the anti-corruption work and the sudden interest of the Ombudsman and DOJ in the ZTE-NBN case aim to seize initiative in the issue. The NBI raid on Lozada’s office, on the other hand, is more in the same league as the failed discrediting of Lozada for corruption.

Many top officials in the GMA administration have been put on the spot, had their reputation besmirched, or are in danger of prosecution themselves because of their actions in defense of the Arroyo family. They are under intense pressure from their own families, friends, and peers to stand for truth and decency on the issues confronting the First Family.

The signal role of the Lozada case is in bringing forth these pressures. In turn, the pressure on the president to resign will intensify. Ironically, the effective pressure may come from her own official family and camp rather than from the outside.

The Palace has also had to backtrack on its attempt to divert public attention by means of prematurely launching it’s amendments scheme. The Vice-President, for obvious reasons, has begun to grow a spine.

Yesterday, the Inquirer editorial pointed out that what is undeniable, is that the administration’s engaged in a Conspiracy. One that entailed a whole roster of officials collectively insulting the intelligence of the public, as Manuel Buencamino sardonically demonstrated in his column.

The group Action for Economic Reforms, in calling for the resignation of the President, puts it this way:

Criminal justice will come, but now is the time to take political action……

The first family is the capo di tutti capi, the boss of all bosses. The Macapagal-Arroyo family has turned the Philippine government into a mafia family, with Cabinet men, congressmen, and other functionaries as their mob lieutenants. We have state capture not by the elite but by a Filipino mafia headed by the first family.The Philippines is not lacking in laws and institutions against corruption and plunder…

Much effort has been undertaken to address chronic corruption…

Despite all this, what is missing is the simplest answer to the problem: Fighting corruption is a question of leadership.Since the leadership itself is brazenly engaged in plunder, corruption remains unabated. Under the leadership of a non-corrupt president, anti-corruption programs and institutions will be effective. Under a corrupt presidency, the same programs and institutions only become a protective veil for corruption itself…

With GMA’s repeated betrayal of the public trust, she has no right to sit as President a minute longer. All other officials involved in the ZTE-NBN deal, including Secretary Romy Neri, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, and members of the NEDA-ICC must step down from their government posts. The officials involved in the abduction of Jun Lozada and its cover-up in the media, such as PNP Chief Avelino Razon, Secretary Lito Atienza and DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, must likewise step down.

We must expunge the Philippine Mafia.

And yet even as more and more people add their voices, from Harvey Keh to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (perhaps, taking its cue from the national lawyer’s association, and perhaps statements such as Jovito Salonga’s, the law school governments of the Ateneo, UP and other law schools are reportedly meeting and are expected to call on the President to resign) to the Makati Business Club (and if there were any divisions in its ranks, they’ve closed ranks over Secretary Favila’s threat to unleash the BIR on businessmen; as Boy Blue replied, “bring it on!”) except for that old Palace reliable, Vivianne Yuchengco, the debate goes on and on about the President. The debate is distilled to its essence by this quote from the play, A Man for All Seasons:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Yet we know that in real life as in the play and film, More ended up imprisoned and put on trial, charged with treason: bearing the full brunt of “Man’s laws,” because the King wanted him forced to publicly recant his private opposition to the King’s divorce and remarriage, which More found contrary to God’s laws. The world remembers him as a man who submitted to the law, to prove his fidelity to a higher one. Recognition the laws of man can be flawed, and man’s justice profoundly unjust.

There is another gripping scene where More is undergoing trial (“betoken,” as used in the dialogue, means “be a sign of; indicate”) and his refusal to publicly take an oath as demanded by the king is taken as proof positive of treason:

Cromwell: Now, Sir Thomas, you stand on your silence.

Sir Thomas More: I do.

Cromwell: But, gentlemen of the jury, there are many kinds of silence. Consider first the silence of a man who is dead. Let us suppose we go into the room where he is laid out, and we listen: what do we hear? Silence. What does it betoken, this silence? Nothing; this is silence pure and simple. But let us take another case. Suppose I were to take a dagger from my sleeve and make to kill the prisoner with it; and my lordships there, instead of crying out for me to stop, maintained their silence. That would betoken! It would betoken a willingness that I should do it, and under the law, they will be guilty with me. So silence can, according to the circumstances, speak! Let us consider now the circumstances of the prisoner’s silence. The oath was put to loyal subjects up and down the country, and they all declared His Grace’s title to be just and good. But when it came to the prisoner, he refused! He calls this silence. Yet is there a man in this court – is there a man in this country! – who does not know Sir Thomas More’s opinion of this title?

Crowd in court gallery: No!

Cromwell: Yet how can this be? Because this silence betokened, nay, this silence was, not silence at all, but most eloquent denial!

Sir Thomas More: Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is “Qui tacet consentiret”: the maxim of the law is “Silence gives consent”. If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.

Cromwell: Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?

Sir Thomas More: The world must construe according to its wits; this court must construe according to the law.

In More’s case he submitted, as a believing Christian, to the secular power precisely because he was obedient to a higher authority: one that compelled him to bow down before the laws of man because they are as nothing compared to the laws of God, which required fidelity to the death.

The law, he recognized, could serve as defense for certain things but there come points when the law compels obedience even when the law itself is unjust; yet compels that submission because the law’s limitations are clear, it cannot intrude into the distinctions a person’s conscience creates between what is legal and what is just.

A similar question was tackled by the scientist Stephen Jay Gould, when he discussed how the debate between those who believe in science and those who look to a supernatural authority are engaged in a futile debate. See his essay Nonoverlapping Magisteria:

I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving concordat between our magisteria — the NOMA solution. NOMA represents a principled position on moral and intellectua] grounds, not a mere diplomatic stance. NOMA also cuts both ways. If religion can no longer dictate the nature of factual conclusions properly under the magisterium of science, then scientists cannot claim higher insight into moral truth from any superior knowledge of the world’s empirical constitution. This mutual humility has important practical consequences in a world of such diverse passions.

By all means the law is often our shield against injustice, but there are certain forms of injustice our laws are impotent to address.

What is at stake is the position held by the President of the Philippines. A position not hers by right, but by grace; a position only temporarily hers and not her inalienable possession like her life, for example. What she can claim a right to is a fixed term; but the term is hers by virtue of certain assumptions, among them her receiving a popular mandate that is genuine and not so marred by controversy as to make it suspect; or that she continues to enjoy the confidence of the people who consider her fit to continue in office.

The supreme law, the Constitution, gives her the opportunity to declare herself unfit to hold office at any time (resignation); it grants the power to declare her unfit for office not only to Congress, by means of a prosecution begun by the House and a political, not judicial, trial in the Senate; and even to her subordinates, the Cabinet, who can declare her unfit for office and who can even force a vote in Congress; and it grants the public at the very least the right to petition government for the redress of grievances and enshrines the citizenry as the ultimate arbiter of what is legal: for, if need be, the public can overturn the fundamental law of the land by means of revolution (if it succeeds).

Her critics do not call for the murder or assassination of the President, or that she should be denied the chance to adequately defend herself in court; but what they assert is that the President may continue to enjoy the presumption of innocence as far as the courts are concerned but no longer enjoys that assumption as far as the public is concerned; that in a sense, in the face of the President’s acts of commission and omission as well as those of her henchmen, a significant portion of the population has what lawyers call a moral certainty of her guilt; this moral certainty does not meet, as of yet, the requirements of the courts when it comes to depriving her of life, liberty, or property; but it is more than enough in the political sphere, to justify citizens calling her to relinquish her office.

Because, as Joker Arroyo in a previous incarnation declared, we cannot afford to have a country run by a thief. Whether it was run by thieves in the past or will be run by thieves in the future is absolutely irrelevant and immaterial, if your honors please. We are talking about the incumbent President and no one else. We can deprive only the incumbent President of office and no one else; the punishment is specific because it can only apply to one person at a time.

What is the law’s is the law’s; what is the people’s as a political entity is entirely something else.

The question is how the people, as a political entity, should dispense with political questions, such as the fitness of their head of state and government for office. Public opinion and the threat of impeachment drove Nixon from office; de Gaulle, facing student protests and a lost referendum vote, resigned. Politics recognizes force majeure when it comes to the terms of its highest officials: when a party loses the US House of Representatives, traditionally the Speaker from the party that lost Congress resigns his seat; it is not just in parliamentary systems that there can be votes of confidence -whether in elections or in mobilized public opinion.

Oliver Cromwell embarked on his dictatorship by dismissing the Long Parliament with these famous words on April 20, 1653:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, andenemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye haveno more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a denof thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone!So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!

And this is the warning that echoes down in history: in face of wrongdoing or plain incompetence, the longer people confuse procedures for actual government, the greater the temptation to banish those fussing over procedures to restore what’s right. But one needn’t embark on the path of dictatorship to realize that an essential attribute of the democratic system, is the opportunity it affords to discard a discredited leader, rather have the whole system go down in flames to preserve one person’s political life.

As the British parliament agonized over the question of whether to continue its fight against Hitler or surrender, one MP, Leo Amery, quoted Cromwell in urging Neville Chamberlain to resign:

Some 300 years ago, when this House found that its troops were being beaten again and again by the dash and daring of the Cavaliers, by Prince Rupert’s Cavalry, Oliver Cromwell spoke to John Hampden. In one of his speeches he recounted what he said. It was this:

‘I said to him, “Your troops are most of them old, decayed serving men and tapsters and such kind of fellows.” You must get men of a spirit that are likely to go as far as they will go, or you will be beaten still.’

It may not be easy to find these men. They can be found only by trial and by ruthlessly discarding all who fail and have their failings discovered. We are fighting today for our life, for our liberty, for our all; we cannot go on being led as we are.

I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation:

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go”

Chamberlain resigned; Churchill became Prime Minister, despite the great misgivings, even obvious mistrust, of his peers. When Chamberlain died, Churchill, in turn, paid tribute to his predecessor:

It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.

At stake, let me repeat, is the President’s political life; as to the sum total of her life we can’t pass judgment, yet, though it is, of course, possible that in retrospect, when that time comes, she may come off better than she seems, today; or worse. But it is not too soon, to pass judgment on her fitness for office. This is a judgment call in which the law is only relevant in terms of our layman’s appreciation of what it’s spirit ought to be, and whether under her leadership, the government has proven itself faithless to that spirit.

The question however, settled in many minds, remains unsettled in the minds of others; it hinges, in those minds, on whether the dangers of an aroused public are so grave, as to justify denying the public their sovereignty; it is a question involving fears as old as Edmund Burke’s condemnation of the French Revolution:

Were all those dreadful things necessary? Were they the inevitable results of the desperate struggle of determined patriots, compelled to wade through blood and tumult, to the quiet shore of a tranquil and prosperous liberty? No! nothing like it. The fresh ruins of France, which shock our feelings wherever we can turn our eyes, are not the devastation of civil war; they are the sad but instructive monuments of rash and ignorant counsel in time of profound peace. They are the display of inconsiderate and presumptuous, because unresisted and irresistible, authority. The persons who have thus squandered away the precious treasure of their crimes, the persons who have made this prodigal and wild waste of public evils, (the last stage reserved for the ultimate ransom of the state), have met in their progress with little, or rather with no opposition at all. Their whole march was more like a triumphal procession, than the progress of a war. Their pioneers have gone before them, and demolished and laid everything level at their feet. Not one drop of their blood have they shed in the cause of the country they have ruined. They have made no sacrifices to their projects of greater consequence than their shoe buckles, whilst they were imprisoning their king, murdering their fellow citizens, and bathing in tears, and plunging in poverty and distress, thousands of worthy men and worthy families. Their cruelty has not even been the base result of fear. It has been the effect of their sense of perfect safety, in authorizing treasons, robberies, rapes, assassinations, slaughters, and burnings, throughout their harassed land. But the cause of all was plain from the beginning.

But we are heirs, not to Burke, but to the Frenchmen he condemned; even Rizal was convinced, if not of the desirability, then at least of the inevitability, of revolution; else our national narrative would still be that of a province of Spain or State of the Union. We can detect at least a familiarity with his arguments, by way of Rizal: who ultimate advice was, you cannot force events, they will unfold in their own good time (see my disquisition on Rizal’s Pilosopiya ng Pagtitiis).

Well, things are unfolding, but it would be wrong to assert they will unfold in a precise, pre-determined manner. But they are unfolding in a manner that is demolishing the arguments used, so far, by those who wanted to keep rationalizing their implied or overt support for the administration.

This is just political noise? The increasing decibels of public protest are preferable to the silence of the tomb or the cold vaults where even colder cash is piling up for the President’s favored few.

They are all the same? Perhaps when they could moderate their greed; but the greed is unmoderated, it is accelerating, and along with the avarice is an out-of-control contempt for every Filipino, rich or poor, educated or not, urbanite or rural dweller, who dares defy the administration.

What will it achieve? An end to the insanity, closing a chapter to the hubris, restoring the enfeebled democratic muscles of the electorate, reviving the dulled sense of right and wrong of a public.

What about the economy? For those who believe in trickle-down, removing the dam that has held captive the people’s money; for those who wanted prudence and professionalism in the management of our natural and financial resources, the chance this will finally happen and not be feigned.

It boils down to the administration’s scale of greed at the very least matching, if not exceeding, that of the government that preceded it. And a public realizing that it must stand up to it, end it, punish it, for now it sees its your style, or lack of it, but your performance while in office, that must be the sole, standard, measure of a leader’s fitness for office. The mafiosi in slippers and the mafiosi in an expensive suit are both plain thugs.

The President overturned her policy of preferring BOT deals, to add to the debts of the country, to obtain foreign funding for a project whose cost was bloated by the demands of her family and allies. To consummate this deal, she left the bedside of her potentially dying husband to please her allies. She would have pursued it, if the public hadn’t opposed it. Yet she has kept trying to find more and similar deals. This is just part of the pattern, one that consists of her recklessly spending government finances, then figuring out a way to blunt the effects of her spending, only to find new ways to spend that involve accumulating unnecessary and indefensible obligations.

Minguita Padilla asserts that the inflated commission demanded by Abalos equals the annual budget of the Philippine General Hospital: multiplied five times. I’ve heard another assertion that the amount equals the annual budget of the Department of Agriculture.

A few weeks back, a dispirited critic of the President asked another critic (an agnostic if not an atheist), “Do you think God put her here to teach us something?” And the agnostic/atheist critic instantly replied, “Yes, to teach us freedom isn’t gained so easily.”

The long road began, for some, in 2001, for others, in 2004, for others, in 2006 and so on. They have come together, taken time to understand each other, hammered out consensus, taken stock of past mistakes and appropriate things to do; all the while hounded by those united in support for the President because she dressed better, spoke better, was better-educated and showed better executive control, than her predecessor.

But when, as now, she’s revealed as nothing better than him, and in many ways worse because if he was slothful, she has been industrious in undermining institutions, intimidating any organization critical of her, and corrupting the various petty crooks and mulcting officials who have always been there, but who have grown fat, proud, and left stupefied by her drowning them in money and in stripping them of whatever self-control and professional values they had left.

The result is that the enemies of the people should really be named Legion -for they are many; the ones in the cabinet who serve her with enthusiasm and no scruples; the soldiers she has infiltrated into sensitive civilian posts; the business communities she has turned into her propaganda organs; the rank-and-file who have lost even the nominal prestige their positions should accord them.

The line of men and women who have abandoned all pretenses to serving the public, who are reduced to serving the President and her family, according to their humiliating whims, has grown so long that the President’s leaving office will only be the first step in a process that will many of the formerly well-connected turned potential social and political pariahs.

But it’s that first step that can and should unite us. It unites those who wanted it years ago, with those who have come to see as a necessary thing, only now. We are together now, having seen not only the best, but the worst, in each of ourselves; but collectively, better for coming together now.

What to do? Make a list. Those who can no longer deserve a position paid for from the public coffers, and who must resign immediately. Those who supported the government to the extent they advocated means no genuinely democratic government would have conceived of adopting in the past. Those whose perks and power are made possible by their closeness to the President, who cast aside their own reputations in her service.

And make a list of the things that failed to work: impeachment, presidential commissions, appointments to departments and the judiciary, the military, only to cause those institutions grave scandal and the gutting of professional pride and esprit de corps.

And make a list of the things you want, and not the things you hate; for it is easy to hate but difficult to be for certain things. Clean elections? Greater or less party discipline? Efficient and honest tax collection, social services as a right of the people and not personally-bestowed patronage? The list is yours, but armed with similar lists, there we will have the chance to come together with a truly meaningful reform agenda.

But until then: march.

Until then: make noise.

Until then: write, call, text, to share what you feel.

From now on, forget your past mistakes, or disappointments, and focus on the task at hand.

They say: they represent public opinion.

We must say: we do!

You must say, I have had enough with feeling helpless, or fearful, or embarrassed over past loyalties; instead, I will stand, not someone, but for me; and if there are many like me, I will link arms with them; and whatever happens, let it not be said that at the country’s present opportunity for redemption, you were will trying to find excuses to postpone the inevitable.

The Black and White Movement gives you three opportunities to register your protest:

1. Log on to our website — www.blacknwhite-movement.com and register your name to declare your support for Jun Lozada.

2. Send text “Sa Totoo Tayo” to 0915-3296830 to be counted. Also, text this message to all of your friends and relatives: “Kung naniniwala kayo sa sinasabi ni Jun Lozada, text “Sa Totoo Tayo” to 0915-3296830. Visit www.blacknwhite-movement.com for latest count and activities.”

3. And if you’re in Metro Manila, join us on Sunday, February 17, 2008, 10 AM at La Salle Greenhills for a Mass organized by President Cory Aquino and the La Salle brothers in support of Jun Lozada and his family.

The time to act is now. Sa Totoo Tayo. Now na!

509 comments

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    • ramrod on February 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

    For people who are directly involved in the business of th economy, we are still bullish about it. The economy will pull through INSPITE of an idiotic president and equally money-grabbing government officials.
    The Philippines, owing to its slow response to everything, technology, investments, speculation, etc. is experiencing a delayed manifestation of symptoms. Unfortunately, thanks to people who are involved, we are going to get through any crisis. Political awareness doesn’t mean miserable people spreading misery, it means putting a stop to corruption, calling a spade a spade, transparency, accountability, making sure the money is spent wisely.
    So what are these jokers like benigno, jude, et al talking about? If the money that goes through your offices or are approved with your signature breaks the 3B barrier in year – maybe, we should listen to you, if not, shut up, you’re just a bunch of wannabes na wala namang sinabi actually, or worst, somebody paid you to act this way? Shame on you. Get a job guys and help out with the economy, talk is cheap and so are you obviously.

    • ramrod on February 17, 2008 at 11:19 am

    “He’s no hero!! they way he calls his assistant at first forest ‘hudas’ for giving the authorities papers needed for investigation characterizes this man. Maybe atienza can call him hudas also.” – james

    So, whats you’re point? Maybe Lozada can just clam up and enjoy life anyway pare-pareho lang naman sila?
    Come on Abalos este James, you can do better than that!

    • Bencard on February 17, 2008 at 11:21 am

    mukhang nababoy na naman ang usapan. ano ito? personalan na naman. hirap sa ibang pinoy, walang alam kundi mangatake ng personal. nagsesermon pa, na akala mo may autoridad. tsupe!

    • Danielle on February 17, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I was disappointed when Lozada called his colleague a “judas” because you can’t really blame the guy for turning over the documents to the very enthusiastic NBI officers.
    I am curious to find out if there were any government officials attending the Mass at La Salle. Did Secretary Gonzales get wind that there were going to be some Cabinet members attending. Is that why he issued that warning?

    • John Christian Canda on February 17, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Lozada’s accusations may be true or may not be true, but the problem is that the Genuine Opportunists are taking him for a ride.

  1. When businessman saw (the movement) gelling they poured the funds necessary to keep it going.

    It was the activist church that Sin inadvertently created with his collaboration with Marcos that eventually with the progressive blocs created Edsa I.

    Naturally Sin and Cory the symbols of the movement became the heroes. The hundreds of named and unnamed people were forgotten who were killed and disappeared.

    The so-called revolution simply became the changing of the guard to the keys of the treasury in the Palace.

    The state went back to its usual model of cannibalizing its own citizens. hvrds

    EDSA I (or People Power I) had a limited goal: to end the Marcos dictatorship that had essentially dismantled the traditional inner circles, the “old money” elites. The new trustee, Cory Aquino, thus represented the restoration of the old power. But the rise of Joseph “Erap” Estrada, a Marcos lieutenant, and of the “Binondo intsik behos” threatened anew the old elite power structures. The command center could not possibly permit an “outsider” to wield too much political power or for Erap’s midnight buddies to consolidate considerable economic power. Hence, through the media of mass communication the higher circle controls, the demonization of Erap: sugarol, babaero, lasengero at bobo. Consequently, Erap was ousted from the presidency by the EDSA II stratagem of “withdrawal of support” and “constructive resignation.”

    Make no mistake about it: during both EDSAs people power and elite power rode upon each other’s back, with the latter keeping as expected the reins of the command center. There’s one notable contrast. Whereas Cory Aquino of EDSA I, at the inception of her administration, was open to wider spectrum of meaningful reforms, GMA of EDSA II was quick to announce on the first day of office her deep-rotted conservative agenda: conserve the system for the “market-dominant minority” of economic elites.

    Necessarily a part of a larger problem, Arroyo is not the economist she claims to be who sees a problematic political economy she is willing to solve. She comes out first and foremost a politician adroitly capable of being Marcosian sans martial law, prematurely thrust into power as the elites best wager to protect their interests and power structures. Now, as Arroyo shows signs of waning, the elites are again ready to double-bet on the People Power III crowd, hoping to package a surrogate as the people’s next champion.

    • Kabayan on February 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    My only comment in the La Salle mass was the venue was just too small, it can only accommodate several thousand people.

    Oh well, next step … organize, consolidate and ******. I guess this will be the last time I shall have to post suggested operational details. And of course not to forget a more important step, consolidate a list of “renowned” people who now start joining in. True enough, we cannot allow criminals in government and the corrupt to be part of us again.

    • ptt on February 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    “If the money that goes through your offices or are approved with your signature breaks the 3B barrier in year – maybe, we should listen to you, if not, shut up, you’re just a bunch of wannabes na wala namang sinabi…Ramrod”

    Wow!! You the man! napaka bigat mo pala! hanep! ang galing mo! idol kita bossing!! (That’s what you want to hear right) Lead us, all mighty Ramrod. Maybe the grenade idea will fix non believers.

    • anthony scalia on February 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    ace,

    the ‘dead’ refers to the NBN-ZTE project.

    you know why ‘resurrected’ is the most apt term? the Senate ran out of witnesses, until the supposed ‘star witness’ surfaced.

    at the end of the day, Lozada isnt a start witness, but at best a corroborative witness. his only claim to glory is being at the receiving end of an abduction

    as to prioritizing – the Senate has shown it isnt good at prioritizing

    as to ‘complicating the situation’ – the first investigations were made in 2007, right? No Lozada yet. Gloria pulled the plug. No more new witnesses. The repeated testimonies of Neri and JDV3 were no longer novel to be given front page headlines.

    then came Lozada, and another round of investigations were began this year 2008, and media have another front page material

    • cvj on February 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Anthony, as the others have already said, the cancellation of the 329 Million USD loan that would have been passed on to the Filipino people is a tangible achievement of the Senate investigations. (That’s a lot of lechon manoks.) However, the investigations have to continue because the NBN-ZTE type of deal is by no means a one-off event. It is just part of systematic plunder by those in power. This kind of plunder is the worst kind because it mortgages our future to a foreign power to whom we have to repay these loans. Not only is this corruption, it is also treason. Surely that merits the attention of our representatives over and above some business-as-usual piece of legislation.

  2. (emphasis mine)

    Most of us can relate with Lozada, we don’t say we are better or cleaner or holier than anyone else, we’re just ordinary imperfect people, we make mistakes but the difference is, unlike some – we don’t make a career out of it.

    pucha. this has gotta be the most quotable quote ever!

    ramrod, you rock!

    • Bert on February 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    “as a little boy, i remember traveling by train with my family from iconic tutuban station all the way to sorsogon. train travel was reliable, comfortable, safe and affordable.–Bencard

    Ben, oragon ka nanggad! The railroad from Tutuban to Bicol is up to Legaspi only. Sorsogon is far, far, farther, and hours away by car from Legaspi over mountainous road. The train you travelled in could be the maglev airborne train which I have yet to see in all my years of travel on the same route. Or, unless I was not born yet when you did your travel. If it’s the maglev train, sure it’s comfortable.

    • Mike on February 17, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    CVJ: Don’t forget to mention that the NBN project was transformed from Build-Operate-Transfer – which would not have cost the government anything – to an outright loan for $329 million. This mysterious violation of the government’s own policy by itself already stinks to high heavens, and lends credence to the allegations of massive kickbacks.

    • Bert on February 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    “Most of us can relate with Lozada, we don’t say we are better or cleaner or holier than anyone else, we’re just ordinary imperfect people, we make mistakes but the difference is, unlike some – we don’t make a career out of it.”

    Come on, ramrod, don’t be coy, what you mean is, we don’t feed our children with the product of our immoderated greed, that correct?

    • cvj on February 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Mike, thanks for pointing that out. (I mentioned the same over at Smoke’s blog.) I think that’s where the treasonous aspect comes in. It is in China’s economic and geopolitical interest to saddle us with a loan. They currently have too much dollars in their treasury and they are looking for other investments besides US Treasury bills. As they are doing in Africa, they are also looking for ways to project their newly acquired economic power. Those in our government, who are suppose to work for our country’s interest, have chosen to uphold China’s interest instead.

    • grd on February 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    true enough, we cannot allow criminals in government and the corrupt to be part of us again… kabayan

    like jdv? oh yeah, his now with the opposition, right?

    • cvj on February 17, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    grd, as with JDV, even you are welcome to join the Opposition. it’s for a good cause 😀

    • anon on February 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Let us find in ourselves
    The bits of heroes
    The faults and fears
    The humor and honesty
    And the guts to speak
    When it matters most
    Let us find in ourselves
    The bits of jun lozada
    So we may stand
    With dignity and honor
    Once more

    • Jeg on February 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    The ‘opposition’ is one of those Filipinisms that I still dont get and I dont think Ive ever used it (except to make fun of the word). It’s an attempt at reductionism. Those opposed to GMA’s regime arent a monolithic block. In fact, when we succeed in forcing GMA to resign (for her own good and for the good of her own soul — I hope she sees that), we better prepare for the ‘Opposition’s’ fragmenting back into its component parts. We better prepare for victory, as Jose Rizal said. Winning the peace is more difficult than winning the war.

    • JMCastro on February 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu

    Ramrod just gave us a peak at how the big boys think. If you cannot look at the interplay of personalities, trends and external factors in relation to the whole of Philippine society, you’ll just end up the same as those generals and politicians who use bureaucrats, lawyers and technocrats to come up with “scenarios” to achieve their self-serving goals.

    Lozada placed himself in the middle of these forces, hoping to ride it out towards an outcome favorable to his own conscience. He fought a hell of a fight, standing by his principles, no matter how flawed it might seem to the self-righteous bastards among us. At the end of the day, can we say the same thing about ourselves?

    • cvj on February 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Jeg, ‘Opposition‘ to me means ‘Resistance‘. Resistance is not only not futile, it is also necessary especially in these times.

    JMCastro, i think just like many in the middle class, Lozada thought he can play Machiavelli and he found out almost too late that his refuge lies with the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, Neri still thinks that way.

  3. no matter how flawed it might seem to the self-righteous bastards among us

    The guy, Lozada who criticized the civil service system of the country admitted that he was able to get his position due to knowing certain people in the government. This is the same guy who appointed his brother in his office was claiming that he saved the soul of the nation? Sheesh.

  4. The DEAFENING SILENCE of ATENEANS

    “Lord, teach me to be generous.
    Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to seek for rest,
    to labor and not to ask for reward,
    save that of knowing that I do your will.”
    St.Ignatius

    I just read “Living and Dying” In Memory of 11 Ateneo de Manila Martial Law Activists by Cristina Jayme Montiel.

    Did Ateneans die for activism? Aside from Rizal,Aquino, Colayco and Evelio Javier, were there other students and alumni who sacrificed their comfortable lives to fight for a cause?

    I got my questions answered with this book.

    Dr. Montiel celebrates and honors activism with the highest degree in writing the lives of the 11 Ateneans who fought for justice in the dictatorship. Some of these Blue Eagles were banned by the administration because they were ‘disrupting classes’.

    But I ask the question now:Why is there a deafening silence among Ateneans about the Lozada expose?Where are the “Men For Others”?

    Is is it because of sheer embarrassment that some of the major players in the Lozada Expose are Ateneo alumni?

    *Mike Arroyo
    *Ronnie Puno
    *Romy Neri
    *Ignacio Bunye
    *The Arroyo Kids
    *Nograles

    It is personally so painful to accept the fact that most Ateneans are now so APATHETIC!!!

    In contrast, tne LA SALLIAN community has shown COURAGE in providing refuge to Lozada.

    • vic on February 17, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    First it was the battle of Evidence, which one have more weights, the witnesses had, but the administration had the tools to dismantle them one by one, some they did, some they didn’t..

    Now comes the Extras. The cast is getting much bigger each day, the plot a changing and the script is written as the plot progress, still the drama is getting interesting and the ending is nowhere in sight..

    Yet unlike in novels and movies, hard to figure out which is which, the bad guys and the good guys, everyone wants to Play the Good guy part, though most of them deserve to be playing the Bad Guys, yet the audiences or spectators or the readers expect that among the villains will rise their Hero or maybe a couple if one of them (maybe Neri) will just get out of his Memorized part and come extemporaneous…yet their could be more if Men (including adorned with Stars) would rather choose Honour instead of Gold….

  5. The mass and the clenched fists

    I saw this photo before. Cory with Dinky Soliman. Cory with Susan Roces. Cory with other people who suddenly developed megalomania and felt anointed that they’re going to save the beloved Philippines. Clenched fists symbolize anger. I wonder what was the homily all about.

  6. True enough, we cannot allow criminals in government and the corrupt to be part of us again.

    You’ll end up with zero personnel. The problem is in the system. Remove the people and retain the system will never eradicate corruption. You will be changing the faces of the corruptors.

    Parang kotseng sira. Kahit sinong driver ilagay mo kung hindi inayos ang kotse, sira pa rin.

    • Kabayan on February 17, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    “grd :
    true enough, we cannot allow criminals in government and the corrupt to be part of us again… kabayan”

    like jdv? oh yeah, his now with the opposition, right?

    ————-

    If you ask my personal opinion… yes, JDV may join those who oppose the government even as you can join the opposition, but personally for me, I would NOT give JDV ANY appointed position if the current powers that be are removed from their respective positions.

    BTW, there are varying meaning for “Opposition”, one is the traditional Opposition in Congress and government while the other are the ordinary people who Resist the abusive powers that be(as cvj pointed out) and those who Resist the corruption and darkness this existing administration upholds.

    I have always been wary of politicians, but that doesn’t mean that we just stop and dither while the Executive goes on unchecked with corruption, cover-ups, and abuse power to name a few. Now Opposition does not only apply to politicians, it also applies to people sick and tired of the shenanigans of the corrupt in government.

    • grd on February 17, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    grd, as with JDV, even you are welcome to join the Opposition. it’s for a good cause 🙂 … cvj

    Cvj, well, that’s a very Filipino trait (remember this line?). you do have a very short memory. no wonder why this country is stuck. as for that smiley, now, you are sounding like your brother. 🙂

    Opposition‘ to me means ‘Resistance‘. Resistance is not only not futile, it is also necessary especially in these times.. cvj

    until that opposition, err “resistance”, becomes the administration (and those turncoats reap their rewards). just like edsa 2? yes, i remember those times… and who created that monster? who will be next one? it has become a cycle. just like two opposing teams playing and sharing the same players. palipat-lipat lang. while the spectators love it. well, only the reds are consistent in this country.

    • JMCastro on February 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    cvj:

    As Machiavelli said in his book, “Discorsi” —

    “Doubtless these means [of attaining power] are cruel and destructive of all civilized life, and neither Christian nor even human, and should be avoided by every one. In fact, the life of a private citizen would be preferable to that of a king at the expense of the ruin of so many human beings.”

    • anthony scalia on February 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    cvj,

    “Anthony, as the others have already said, the cancellation of the 329 Million USD loan that would have been passed on to the Filipino people is a tangible achievement of the Senate investigations.”

    True.

    “(That’s a lot of lechon manoks.)”

    oo nga, ang dami nun!

    isipin mo napakayaman ng may-ari ng mga outlets kung saan binili yun! no need to be an OFW in Singapore, no need to migrate to a first world country anymore!

    “However, the investigations have to continue because the NBN-ZTE type of deal is by no means a one-off event. It is just part of systematic plunder by those in power. This kind of plunder is the worst kind because it mortgages our future to a foreign power to whom we have to repay these loans. Not only is this corruption, it is also treason. Surely that merits the attention of our representatives over and above some business-as-usual piece of legislation.”

    ehem, ****clears throat****

    may i remind you, that the supposed primary purpose of the Senate investigation is ‘in aid of legislation’. If you want an investigation that leads to prosecution, then the Ombudsman is the venue.

    thats why you cant blame people for saying ‘wala rin kahihinatnan yan’. all the best you can hope for is a committee report. new legislation? im still waiting for the new legislation that was supposed to come out of the Jose Pidal investigations

    by the time the committee report is out, the concerned Senators have already compiled invaluable media mileage, pa-pogi for 2010.

    by themselves, the testimonies given in the Senate investigations are not proof beyond reasonable doubt.

    Oh, the Ombudsman isn’t impartial? Then any private citizen can file a complaint before the prosecutor’s office.

    Part of systematic plunder? the NBN-ZTE deal? Di nga natuloy!

    Im really surprised by your statement “Surely that merits the attention of our representatives over and above some business-as-usual piece of legislation.”

    It sure reflects your attitude on what should be prioritized in the Philippines. Any committee report will not result in increase in family income, will not result in job creation, will not give housing to the homeless, will not make urgent pending bills into law…

    The committee report will just boost the image of some senators for 2010.

    • vic on February 17, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Now, that we all somewhat agree that the truth in the country is subjective, let us examine the Process.

    In my observation, the process should have been, firstly, the allegations should have been dealt in the country Judiciary Systems first and foremost with its layers of Processes, like Appeals up to the Final Process the SC

    Now, if the Process already in Place, found wanting and not Effective Enough to deal with the Current Situation and the demands of Time, then that is the Time the Legislature known as the Congress to get off their collective butts and do their jobs to Remedy the Situation with the so-called Aid of Legislation..now if you look at the countries where these proper sequence of resolving crisis are done, its not Rocket Science or Advanced Political Master Degrees, mostly doing what is proven doable stuff..

    But I stick to my always preference the Public Inquiry, Judicial for Criminal Cases, in which reports and recommendation should be the basis for the Plans of Actions and maybe enactment of Legislation to remedy the defect of law that had let the wrongdoings gone tru the cracks. And for Negligence in Utilities and Public Safety, A Coroners Inquest and for the House or Senate let us say maybe the only one thing left for them is let us say, Ethics, the members always think that the have the monopoly on the Subject…

    • anthony scalia on February 17, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Vic,

    “In my observation, the process should have been, firstly, the allegations should have been dealt in the country Judiciary Systems first and foremost with its layers of Processes, like Appeals up to the Final Process the SC”

    You better ask the Honorables Villar, Cayetano. Roxas, Legarda, etc. why they chose the legislative forum

    “Now, if the Process already in Place, found wanting and not Effective Enough to deal with the Current Situation and the demands of Time, then that is the Time the Legislature known as the Congress to get off their collective butts and do their jobs to Remedy the Situation with the so-called Aid of Legislation..now if you look at the countries where these proper sequence of resolving crisis are done, its not Rocket Science or Advanced Political Master Degrees, mostly doing what is proven doable stuff..”

    Actually, if prosecution is the end in mind, a legislative ‘inquiry in aid of legislation’ isn’t necessary!

    Again, ask the Honorable Senators who initiated the whole thing this 2008

    • vic on February 17, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Actually, if prosecution is the end in mind, a legislative ‘inquiry in aid of legislation’ isn’t necessary!

    antohony,
    I still believe an inquiry done by an Independent Body other than the Legislature, is still necessary to find out why the wrongdoings was still possible despite all measures in place.

    We don’t have much cases of corruption to cite as example escept that Sponsorship Scandal, yet after the Criminal Investigations were concluded by the RCMP, a Judicial Inquiry was called to find out what role the Bureaucrats and Cabinet Members played in the Scandal and to Plug the Loopholes and as a result about 100 amendment was done to the Accountability Act including some in the Electoral Law to strengthened the Accountability and Transparency and of course the Criminals were Justly Punished. Prosecutions alone won’t stop the bleeding even if all suspects are convicted..

    • justice league on February 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Ca T,

    If you’re recommending that both system and personnel be replaced; I’m sure a lot of people will agree with you.

    However since you have obviously implied your disgust with corrupt people; why does your comment of “You’ll end up with zero personnel” coming across that all personnel are corrupt yet you keep zeroing in on Lozada?

    Shouldn’t you be advocating that the “corrupt” Lozada be “used” to get rid of the other “corrupt” personnel and then later get rid of the “corrupt” Lozada as well?

    • UP n student on February 17, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    @ The Equalizer, who asks Did Ateneans die for activism? Aside from Rizal,Aquino, Colayco and Evelio Javier, were there other students and alumni who sacrificed their comfortable lives to fight for a cause? You’ll have to add Edgar Jopson — dead and buried.
    And there should be an Allan Jasminez, still alive, I hope, who has been up in the hills several times and on some Government List 👿 and charged with rebellion (never convicted) a couple of times.

    • UP n student on February 17, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    … and then later get rid of the “corrupt” Lozada as well. Where is the charity in your hearts? 😀

    • justice league on February 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Ca T,

    Last statement should have been:

    Shouldn’t you just be advocating that the “corrupt” Lozada be “used” to get rid of the other “corrupt” personnel and then later get rid of the “corrupt” Lozada as well?

    UPN,

    Its not my heart.

    • UP n student on February 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Justice League:
    I suppose the underlying principle is :
    … you fool Lozada once by using him, shame on him. You fool him twice by getting rid 🙁 of him later, shame on him. So the ending becomes Lozada’s fault and the Judases can wipe their hands clean of the aftermath.
    And peace 😉 will reign in the land.

    • cvj on February 17, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    JMCastro, thanks. It would be good for students of power to go beyond Machiavelli (which is almost 400 years old) and study the advances that have been made since then particularly in the area of Game Theory.

    Anthony, are you serious about your recommendation to refer the matter to the Ombudsman? As Britney would have said, i’m not that innocent.

    The systematic plunder that i’m referring to is not limited to NBN-ZTE but all the contracts that the Arroyo Admin has entered into involving loans from China.

    • Bencard on February 17, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    bert, i stand corrected. tama ka nanggad. bako ning palusot pero garo nalingaw na ako. sabi ko ngani sadit pa ako kadto. haloy haloy na.

    • justice league on February 17, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    UPN,

    I have no problem with the basic idea of a “state witness” coming from the accused.

    In the same way I had no basic problem with Singson NOT being prosecuted with his involvement in ex-President Estrada’s Jueteng collection operation nor with his (Singson’s) admission of the diversion of the tobacco funds (of which Estrada was not convicted of).

    My post that you quoted was my idea of what should actually be Ca T’s position instead because of her stand on Lozada, Singson, and corrupt personnel.

    • justice league on February 17, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Benigno,

    We don’t have the power of recall over Congress members, the VP, and the President.

    Could you please clarify what you meant by

    “(3) Persistenly holding ourselves to account for the characters we VOTE for.”?

  7. However, the investigations have to continue because the NBN-ZTE type of deal is by no means a one-off event. It is just part of systematic plunder by those in power. This kind of plunder is the worst kind because it mortgages our future to a foreign power to whom we have to repay these loans. Not only is this corruption, it is also treason. Surely that merits the attention of our representatives over and above some business-as-usual piece of legislation. – cvj

    may i remind you, that the supposed primary purpose of the Senate investigation is ‘in aid of legislation’. If you want an investigation that leads to prosecution, then the Ombudsman is the venue.

    thats why you cant blame people for saying ‘wala rin kahihinatnan yan’. all the best you can hope for is a committee report. new legislation? im still waiting for the new legislation that was supposed to come out of the Jose Pidal investigations

    by the time the committee report is out, the concerned Senators have already compiled invaluable media mileage, pa-pogi for 2010. – Anthony Scalia

    That Congress basically only makes laws and nothing more is a narrow conception of our constitutional system. cvj therefore, as on economic matters, evinces a sophisticated understanding of our system and its problems.

    If you are interested in one fuller discussion on this issue, you may click on my handle. But here are some relevant excerpts:

    The people send their representatives to Congress not just to make laws but also to see to it that the laws they make are not useless, wasteful or harmful and are being applied according to the purposes intended. The first congressional function is called legislation and the other is known as oversight.

    The scope and complexities of modern government provide a compelling argument today for the oversight function of Congress assuming greater significance than mere lawmaking. Congress, in the performance of its oversight role, is understood, among other things, to make sure:

    1. The policies or laws so made are executed according to the congressional intent and that any rulemaking authority lawfully re-delegated to the executive branch is used in pursuance of such intent

    2. Every expenditure of public money counts (by preventing abuse, dishonesty and waste on the part of the executing agency)

    3. There are ample and flexible opportunities for midcourse assessment of legislative or policy goals and priorities so as to allow for corrective actions

    4. Individual rights are not transgressed by the execution of the laws

    5. Grievances, feedbacks and criticisms (such as by the constituents, the media and the academes) of policies made are appropriately addressed. xxx

    U.S. President Woodrow Wilson wrote as a young scholar in his 1885 treatise Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics (in the first known use of the term congressional “oversight”) in this manner:

    “Quite as important as legislation is vigilant oversight of administration. It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function. (Italics mine)” xxx

    Versus “executive privilege” this is what I have submitted:

    Now, given that “in republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates” (James Madison, Federalist No. 51), one wonders why the congressional committees easily backed off (unless of course the committee members have been clueless what’s in their wallet) when President Arroyo upon a claim of executive privilege issued Executive Order 424 and the Senate itself immediately repaired to the Supreme Court to complain as if its subpoena and contempt powers were suddenly whisked away by the order like candy bars snatched by a “schoolyard bully.”

    Policymaking on the part of Congress is well-nigh plenary. It is then axiomatic that the presumption of acting responsibly and constitutionally is strongly in its committees’ favor precisely because of the equivalent breadth of the oversight function in the policymaking process. This function preponderates over against the possible invocation of the so-called “executive privilege” – one that has yet to find expression in the explicit language of the Constitution.

    Very clearly, executive privilege can only be invoked by way of exception. So when the executive officials fail to show that the privilege is “of such high degree as to outweigh the public interest,” . . . in the disclosure of the supposedly privileged information, congressional oversight, as a general rule, will trump an appeal to the supposed privilege. In that event, contumacious defiance and refusal to disclose the information sought or needed by Congress for legislative purposes renders the withholding official liable to its contempt process and the attendant punitive measures. Indeed, Congress, acting through its committees, need not rely upon the all-too-measured judicial pace to exercise the ultimate power of oversight and thereupon employ the necessary enforcement tools. As to those so covered, respect for the Rule of Law demands reciprocal engagement at the minimum. On the other hand, the traditional media (and the cyberspace) ought to encourage an open and spirited discourse on the issues to secure a political system that is based on a regime of constitutionalism.

    During the Jose Pidal controversy, I have also shared the following thoughts:

    If thoughtfully reflected on, we should find without question that the investigatory power of Congress is as broad as its power of policymaking itself. On the other hand, the duty of all citizens to cooperate with the function of Congress to obtain information about any matter that may be the subject of potential legislation or of proper legislative purpose is equally unquestionable. xxx

    The scope of policymaking by Congress, the most representative of the three branches of the government, is exceedingly immense. National security and defense, economic development, environmental protection, health, education, foreign relations, world trade, peace and order, social justice, terrorism, insurgency, public morals and ethics, social welfare, poverty alleviation, graft and corruption, and many others.

    In the name of legislation, Congress can also examine power and resource distribution such as the proper role of civil society and progressive groups, and the clout of well-entrenched factions in governance or, under pressure of the loudest, go as far as to strike at the core of the system and the ideological assumptions upon which it is based.

    In sum, the purpose of legislative power or policymaking is the preservation of the commonwealth itself and of every person in it, which is the first and fundamental natural law. The entire legislative process thus provides an avenue where the conflicts of public life or of society itself are debated and deliberated in public view even without making laws . . ..

    There is no question that as an express grant of constitutional power, legislative inquiries “in aid of legislation” are subject to the requirement of due process. However, legislation per se could also be an exercise of the “power of doing public good without a rule” except, possibly, the law of preservation of the society. In the latter instance, it is in the nature of the Lockean prerogative “in aid of the nation.” xxx

    Indeed, the informing functionof Congress has manifold salutary purposes (if only its context is properly communicated by the media), e.g., to inform itself in order to effectively carry out a legislative task, or pursuant to the speech and debate clause (Article VI, Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution) for the legislators, as in the exposé of the Jose Pidal accounts, to inform and educate their constituents about matters supposedly affecting the affairs of government; in the process, the whole exercise is then expected to allow voters to learn firsthand how effectively and competently their representatives have been performing their jobs. If differentiated from the technical aspect of enacting laws, the informing function of Congress has assumed greater significance as a result of the rather “popular” character of the 1987 Constitution. xxx

    With all the “bickering,” the “grandstanding,” or “the poisoning of the air,” the undeclared winner in the “circus” atmosphere, I suppose, is People Power democracy because the vitality of the political process has allowed the citizenry to exercise its liberty to participate (whether as an active player or passive onlooker) . . . through the “telenovela” of livingroom politics or the public forum, now more commonplace in the Philippines than ever, of text messaging performing in some way the task of public cross-examination. xxx

    On the other hand and quite unfortunately, Joker Arroyo – one of the few remaining quixotic senators (then) – has expressed fears about the supposed perception of the people (and perception could be managed as will be argued later) that the Senate is “neglecting the law-making part of our job.”

    I believe Congress is a public space for exchange, a debating society first and foremost. And laws are just the end products of the majority views.

    mlq3, sorry for this long post again. But it seems that that only certain of our heavy intellectual hitters here are missing on this one. Even the SC justices and some members of Congress themselves, unfortunately, are culpably liable.

  8. I mean …. “But it seems that NOT only certain of our heavy intellectual hitters here are missing on this one, even the SC justices and some members of Congress themselves, unfortunately, are culpably liable.”

    • Bencard on February 18, 2008 at 12:22 am

    abe margallo, my compliments on your usually well-thought piece on the function(s) of the legislature. recognizing the primary function of our lawmaking body to be legislation – the power of enacting laws consistent with the constitution- the fundamental law also provided “oversight” as an added power. be that as it may, the oversight function, i believe, is not meant to enable the legislative department to encroach upon the prerogatives of the executive which are the control, supervision and management of the affairs of the state in implementing duly-enacted laws and lawful decisions of the judiciary. i think the oversight power of congress is limited to seeing that laws are properly implemented, and make changing or additional legislation should it be found necessary. i think the function is akin to the powers of the general auditing office vis a vis disbursements of public money. any wrongdoing discovered in connection with gao’s audit, or congress’ oversight, still has to go through the executive for prosecution and execution of penalties meted out by the courts. should the prosecutors decide the evidence is not enough to warrant bringing a case to court and use public resources for the purpose, that’s the end of the matter, subject to judicial review of the prosecutor’s finding of no prima facie case.

    in our scheme of government, the three departments are co-equal and inter-dependent with each other, and each is superior within its own sphere, as laid out by the constitution.

    • UP n student on February 18, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Abe: I’m betting that you will (again) choose not to respond to questions, but does your post above also mean that you have bought into REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT as opposed to direct democracy EDSA marches/people power?
    Some sentences/phrases I noticed include:
    The people send their representatives to Congress not just to make laws but also to see to it that the laws they make are not useless, wasteful or harmful and are being applied according to the purposes intended.

    The scope and complexities of modern government…

    …co-equal and inter-dependent with each other, and each is superior within its own sphere, as laid out by the constitution.

    • cvj on February 18, 2008 at 1:37 am

    UPn, why does it have to be either/or?

    • kimosabe27 on February 18, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Hookay, so much for the long weekend…

    @Bencard:

    “so, where is bicol now as a region?”

    In terms of what? Quality of life? Rural development? Keep in mind that Bicol is in the pathway of typhoons and that any upswing in the local economy is always stunted by the devastation brought by the weather (Reming, Milenyo etc.). Nevertheless, the optimism and the resilience of Bikolanos always keep the region afloat and thriving.

    “…bicol is a vast, economically depressed, territory despite its rich gold and iron mines, fishing grounds, geothermal power sources, copra and hemp…”

    Focusing on the issues of geothermal power plant in Tiwi and the gold mines in Paracale, these local resources have been exploited by a national agency and private mining companies. They draw out the wealth from the region with only a thimblefull of revenue being returned for the Bicolanos.

    And not to mention the heavy militarization of the countrysides which chokes the local initiative for development. You can’t make business in a warzone!

    “…it has never produced a president compared to ilocos (2) and mere provinces like pampanga (2) tayabas (1) zambales (1), bohol (1), capiz (1), pangasinan (1) and tarlac (1)…”

    Is there a direct correlation between producing a president and the betterment of lives of the community? Last time I passed Pampanga during my vacation in the Philippines just this December, I still have to squirm my way on potholed, two-way lanes filled with pedestrians to the brim. Nothing has changed since my “immersion” days during the 90s. This is not to say because there was the lahar and the Lapids, plus of course the Macapagals…

    “i don’t think we can advance by just being contentious or “oragon”. we also have to be smart. a lot of good opportunities are lost by too much obsession with politics and divisiveness. what more comprehensive project are you talking about? it so happened that this “diminutive kleptomaniac” you so despise is the only one who has taken interest, and has present ability, to make things happen in a positive way for all bicolanos (including those who hate her).”

    Gov. LRay Villafuerte and Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City will bitchslap you to Timbuktu for such arrogance!

    • kimosabe27 on February 18, 2008 at 2:04 am

    @ Manong Abe,

    “I believe Congress is a public space for exchange, a debating society first and foremost. And laws are just the end products of the majority views.”

    Indeed, but wannabe Pinoy neocons who infest this blog also carry the discredited Hamiltonian perspective of a stronger presidency; a president who is above the scrutiny and accountability of a people’s congress. Just a rehash actually of the debates for a “strong executive” during the Roberts and Alito confirmation hearings.

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