Same walk, different caption. A sign of the state of confusion at the Palace. Is it just me, or or are these pictured (from yesterday, the so-called “solidarity walk,” swiftly retitled “unity walk” at the Palace; by the way, see abashet joey on the President and PhotoShop) too creepily reminiscent of the End Days for Estrada, when he, too, tried to show his administration wasn’t beleaguered, by trotting out his cabinet?
Trot, trot, clip-clop, tick-tock. What do you get?
A horse gone wild: Adviser calls Arroyo ‘luckiest b*tch’.
That’s just karma for what must surely have been a Palace factotum-released tusongbaboy YouTube video, featuring what seem to be wiretapped conversations between Jun Lozada and Joey de Venecia.
The Financial Times reports the President may be losing her fondness for playing the China card. I’ve begun rather interesting scuttlebutt of an intriguing kind, involving a government commitment to relinquishing our claims to the Spratley Islands in exchange for investments. But nothing firmer than that.
The ancient Chinese believed that the “mandate of Heaven” was revealed by tangible signs, such as flood or famine. Such misfortunes were indications that the legitimacy of a ruler was waning. Confucius elaborated the idea further, and taught that the “mandate of Heaven” was dependent on knowing the moral order of the universe, and demonstrating it in the six relationships that govern superiors and subordinates (i.e. minister to prince, friend to friend, teacher to student).
These relationships are evident in the various groups bestirred by recent events.
The Action for Economic Reforms is holding a presscon-forum on “The Godmother and the Philippine mafia” on Friday, Feb. 22 9:30 am to 12 noon at the Sta. Ana Room, 3rd Floor, U.P. College of Law. On the same day, February 22, The Law Student Government Coordinating Council, composed of the Student Councils of the Ateneo Law, UP, UST, FEU-La Salle and UE Schools of Law will be holding various activities (see i’m NOT a stop along the way. i’m a a DESTINATION for details). And Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan has a forum on Feb. 23 (with regards to the Ateneo, read the concrete steps proposed by Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan in their statement, as well as those proposed by the Ateneo’s Department of Political Science in its statement (the question then becomes, of course, what if government refuses to do anything?). On Feb. 25, there will be a “Concert for Truth, Accountablity and Reform” at the Ateneo from 4-8 pm (for information contact Ms. Reese Fernandez Programs Head, Team RP Tel: (02) 426-5657 <reesefernandez@ yahoo.com>)
Starting February 24, it seems Masses “for Truth vs. Corruption” are going to be held, sequentially, in Adamson University, the University of Santo Tomas, de la Salle University, and then Miriam College.
In recent weeks, the political landscape of the Philippines has been shaken because of one man, Rodolfo Noel Lozada, Jr., and his past proximity to Romulo Neri, Jr.
Both are of Chinese extraction; I have even heard that Romulo Neri, Jr. practices a form of divination, the I Ching. At this point it seems to me, whether consciously or not, both consider themselves Mandarins.
The Analects of Confucius, L. Giles translation.
The first two extracts concern definitions of good government. The first involves the “five excellent things” and the “four evil things”:
Tzú Chang asked Confucius, saying: What are the essentials of good government? — The Master said: Esteem the five excellent, and banish the four evil things; then you will become fit to govern. — Tzu Chang asked: What are the five excellent things? — The Master replied: The wise and good ruler is benevolent without expending treasure; he lays burdens on the people without causing them to grumble; he has desires without being covetous; he is serene without being proud; he is awe-inspiring without being ferocious. — He is benevolent without expending treasure: what does that mean? — The Master replied: He simply follows the course which naturally brings benefit to the people. Is he not thus benevolent without expending treasure? In imposing burdens, he chooses the right time and the right means, and nobody can grumble. His desire is for goodness, and he achieves it; how should he be covetous? The wise and good ruler never allows himself to be negligent, whether he is dealing with many men or with few, with small matters or with great. Is this not serenity without pride? He has his cap and robe properly adjusted, and throws a noble dignity into his looks, so that his gravity inspires onlookers with respect. Is he not thus awe-inspiring without being ferocious? — Tzú Chang then asked: What are the four evil things? — The Master said: Cruelty: — leaving the people in their native ignorance, yet punishing their wrong-doing with death. Oppression: requiring the immediate completion of tasks imposed without previous warning. Ruthlessness: — giving vague orders, and then insisting on punctual fulfilment. Peddling husbandry: — stinginess in conferring the proper rewards on deserving men.
The second related extract involves the tangible signs of good government, and the things that can be dispensed with, and the thing that absolutely cannot be dispensed with:
Tzú Kung asked for a definition of good government. The Master replied: It consists in providing enough food to eat, in keeping enough soldiers to guard the State, and in winning the confidence of the people. — And if one of these three things had to be sacrificed, which should go first? — The Master replied: Sacrifice the soldiers. — And if of the two remaining things one had to be sacrificed, which should it be? — The master said: Let it be the food. From the beginning, men have always had to die. But without the confidence of the people no government can stand at all.
Then two extracts in a similar vein, on the means to maintain public confidence, and the means to instill harmony in the people.
A simple rule of thumb concerning the hiring and firing of officials:
Duke Ai asked, saying: What must I do that my people may be contented? – Confucius replied: Promote the upright and dismiss all evildoers, and the people will be contented. Promote the evil-doers and dismiss the upright, and the people will be discontented.
A similar reiteration concerning promotions:
Chi K’-ang Tzú asked by what means he might cause his people to be respectful and loyal, and encourage them in the path of virtue. The Master replied: Conduct yourself towards them with dignity, and you will earn their respect; be a good son and a kind prince, and you will find them loyal; promote the deserving and instruct those who fall short, and they will be encouraged to follow the path of virtue.
And then, an extract pointing to the importance of precision on the part of policy makers:
Tzú Lu said: The Prince of Wei is waiting, Sir, for you to take up the reins of government. Pray what is the first reform you would introduce? — The Master replied: I would begin by defining terms and making them exact. — Oh, indeed! exclaimed Tzú Lu. But how can you possibly put things straight by such a circuitous route? — The Master said: How unmannerly you are, Yu! In matters which he does not understand, the wise man will always reserve his judgement. If terms are not correctly defined, words will not harmonise with things. If words do not harmonise with things, public business will remain undone. If public business remains undone, order and harmony will not flourish. If order and harmony do not flourish, law and justice will not attain their ends. If law and justice do not attain their ends, the people will be unable to move hand or foot. The wise man, therefore, frames his definitions to regulate his speech, and his speech to regulate his actions. He is never reckless in his choice of words.
And what about wrongdoers?
Chi K’ang Tzú questioned Confucius on a point of government, saying: Ought not I to cut out off the lawless in order to establish law and order? What do you think? -Confucius replied: Sir, what need is there of the death penalty in your system of government? If you showed a sincere desire to be good, your people would likewise be good. The virtue of the prince is like unto wind; that of the people, like unto grass. For it is the nature of grass to bend when the wind blows upon it.
In sum, then, in the face of wrongdoing on the part of officials, considering the things that make for effective government, and which weaken it:
Confucius rejoined: Ch’iu, an honest man hates your hypocrite who will not openly avow his greed, but tries instead to excuse it. I have heard that the ruler of a state or of a clan is troubled not by the smallness of its numbers but by the absence of even-handed justice; not by poverty but by the preresence of discontent; for where there is justice there will be no poverty; where there is harmony there will be no lack in numbers; where there is content there will be no revolution. This being the case then, if outlying communities resist your authority, cultivate the arts of refinement and goodness in order to attract them; and when you have attracted them, make them happy and contented. Now you two, Yu and Ch’iu, are aiding and abetting your master; here is an outlying community which resists your authority, and you are unable to attract it. Partition and collapse are imminent in your own State, and you are unable to preserve it intact. And yet you are planning military aggression within in the borders of your country! Verily I fear that Chi-sun’s troubles will come, not from Chuan-yú, but from the interior of his own palace.
Do you need someone else to tie this all together for you? Including the abstract at the end of this entry? Thank you, Left Flank.
The question then… as my column for today is titled, is for people to see what the Minimum and maximum goals they want achieve from hereon up to 2010 will be. (someone who takes the court of public opnion seriously is Chances in the Starlight).
Blogger un suplemento metafisico a la realidad de mi existencia slices and dices things very well:
The administration shall be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. However, its actions do not allow me to do so. The anti-truth mafia has scribbled so much manipulation of evidence, information, and facts that the presumption of innocence has been vaporized. Instead of testifying for the “truth” the co-conspirators of the anti-truth mafia has been hiding behind what they call “executive privilege.” The administration has pushed the envelope too far. It is now at the edge of a cliff and is desperately holding on by trying to cover-up all pieces of evidence that may eventually lead to its demise.
Thanks to the anti-truth mafia’s propaganda, Jun Lozada has been accused of harboring nothing but hearsay which they claim is inadmissible in courts. However, he does say these statements under oath, thus he has with him what is called testimonial evidence. “A woman who has been raped can send a man in jail just with her testimonies.”(Escudero, 2008) In addition, he seems to be very consistent with his statements unlike some of the anti-truth mafia. Jun Lozada was also accused of being corrupt – which he admitted with a smile, and I think this makes him all the more credible – He was part of the project, he was an insider, he knew the goings-on of the ZTE-NBN deal.
Jun Lozada is neither a saint nor a hero but he has with him the truth. Whether he came out to tell the truth for the sake of truth or for some other ulterior motives – which is hard to think of considering that his testifying in the Senate has put him in a very precarious situation. If he were to lie, what motive was so great that he was willing to put himself out of the pan and into the fire almost voluntarily? Testifying has put Jun Lozada between the legendary monsters Scylla and Charybdis. He is currently between hell and the deep blue sea. In whatever perspective I try to view the course of events for Jun Lozada, I can’t seem to find any advantage that he might gain in testifying. In fact, he was “forced” to do so – as with the summons, this implies that testifying is not advantageous for him. On the other hand, he might be thinking of a career in showbiz. If that is so, then he is making a good start. We are probably watching one of the best soap operas ever made.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the bringer of truth has been tainted with wrongdoings in the past. What is more important is that he has the truth with him and so his voice shall be heard. The substance lie in the statements, not in the personality. An honest man will voluntarily take off his clothes to show that he has nothing to hide; while a thief would wear layers upon layers of clothes just to hide whatever it is that he has stolen.
In the rest of the blogosphere, the Ateneo Mass last Monday was covered by Don’t fight darkness. Bring the light, and darkness will disappear and by Mahal ko Pilipinas!!!!! and …strawberry-filled donuts… (Lozada’s nephew) and with photos by Blahg, Standing in Motion, neo saicon, sj while thatniceboy gives an insight into the minds of those who remain detached. There were other activities, too: it’s a yummy world recounts attending a Mass at the Redemptorist Church. highwayse7en8 doesn’t like Masses with political aims. Neither does priest-blogger Bangor to Bobbio. On the other hand, Postcard Headlines in Cebu describes the first glimmerings of people bucking the view that the city is “GMA Country”.
As for Lozada, lifelong learning compares what he’s doing to debriding dead tissue; pine for pine compares folksy Lozada and Abalos stories; as for views, there are the pro: there’s lecheplan, and four-eyed joie’s thoughts as well as Verities of a Writer’s heart; con: you can’t be more straightforward in expressing skepticism than under deconstruction; and neutral: preMEDitated wants to believe, but doesn’t yet. dino! dedicates poetry to the man. rl_829 thinks he’s a dead man. My Mirror to Reality undertakes an interesting experiment: what if Lozada is 100% good, or what if he’s 100% evil?Law and ICT and mga kababalaghan sa buhay ko take opposing views on whether Lozada’s phone being hacked is believable or not. Vincula points out we should give thanks for the demolition team assembled by the Palace.
There are, of course, continuing views on what’s going on. Katataspulong some time ago, wondered if people really want decent officials, or whether the tangled web of corruption makes for a comfortable pigsty for everyone. jmtaylor has a bone to pick with politicians in general. Romwald’s Realm tackles the dynamics of corruption: subtle rebel runs down a list of the ironies of life (politics-wise).
Lawyer notes of marichu c. lambino points out that the government keeps corroborating the testimony of Lozada (tart comments on Gaite’s admitting he gave Lozada half a million in Alleba Politics and Bong Montesa’s weblog ). The Mount Balatucan Monitor is certain of the outcome of government efforts at damage control. The Warrior Lawyer takes a similarly skeptical look at the Ombudsman, etc.
And yet… there are those who prefer to stick it out with the administration because they continue to loath those who oppose her more. In a sense, the “same-same” message track of the Palace continues to work, as Walk This Way echoes:
I mean, yes, the First Gentleman is a little piglet. No doubt about that. But please don’t tell me that all the politicians pursuing this issue aren’t little piglets either (below). Getting little greasy slices of pork from projects like the NBN is modus operandi in ANY administration – it’s no secret to us and it’s no secret to the senators doing the grilling. It’s been the modus operandi for decades! Where else would ANY administration get money to do things like, oh, give to senators and congressmen for their election campaigns? Senators and Congressmen don’t come for free, ya know. Tip: instead of looking at the noisy ones, let’s try and count who are the quiet ones in Senate and Congress. Perhaps they are quiet because they already were given their pieces of the pork. And it’s only the squealing ones that are upset because they didn’t get theirs. Hence, if it’s all just piggies fighting piggies over pieces of pork that they just pass on to other piggies, then it’s just politics in the end. Period. Philippine politics and governance is sick, that is as obvious as obvious can be. But will this Jun Lozada scandal be the catalyst for the great changes that need to be made? Ha! Great changes will be done in this society through small ways and on a person to person basis. Paradigm shifts don’t happen through Senate hearings. Trust me, this “moral revolution” WILL NOT be televised.
Do I think corruption should be addressed? Yes. Do I think getting rid of Gloria will solve this issue? No. Do I agree with JDV that a moral revolution in government should be pursued? Yes. But will that revolution come from Senate and from Congress or from JDV himself. Hell no. Parehong baboy silang lahat. So that’s why I’m ignoring the politics and protests. And judging by their sad rally last week (Please. Makati Business Club, Black and White Movement, Cory Aquino et al. More people attended the Beyonce concert than your rally), I think others are too.
A senior citizen, My Life in the Philippines, is ambivalent about removing the President from office but for different reasons:
I consider GMA having lost the “Moral Authority” to continue on as President until Yr2010. Granting PGMA credit for a resurging Philippine Economy does not justify Moral Bankrupcy. While our kind of Democracy has made ours a “Country-of-Laws” (where Public Issues ought to be decided in the heirarchy of our Courts), a collective judgement of a fully-informed Citizenry (by a Free Press) in the Court-of-Public Opinion does carry a strong moral value.
…On the other hand, I believe: (1st) That People Power I & II have not brought about a “Better Philippines”. I consider “Graft & Corruption,et.al” as an Ethical Problem which have not and could not be remedied by street-mandated Political Solutions – i.e. People Power Change-of-Presidents; (2nd) That the Church (visibly represented by the Religious Priest & Nuns in the Streets, in Congress, in the Courts) have failed in its Pastoral Work of enlightening and encouraging Political Leaders to move away from the evil of Greed-for-Money – thus necessitating “Graft & Corruption”.
…Given all of the above, I contend that it would be good for our country for PGMA to continue in office until Yr2010. But, she must take the lead for all in Public Office in a “Moral Crusade for Good Government”. She (together with all who would follow her example) could redeem herself/themselves in the Public Eye and erase all doubts about “Hidden Wealth” by a public demonstration of giving-up 90% of their respective Family’s Private Wealth accumulated during their entire Political Career. I liken this “Moral Crusade” to a “National Cleansing” following the Korean Example – not too long ago.
The senior citizen blogger isn’t alone: UST student james_cartmire says something similar:
i got into some debate though when i opened that my position, no matter where investigations lead, was for gma to definitely finish her term in 2010. i said that even if everything leads to impeachment, the impeachment process, being a political process, will just muddle and broker ties with old faces, further preventing genuine reform efforts, and that the whole gma vendetta might even ruin the promise of a new start in 2010. i also echoed what neri purportedly said (based on the supposed lozada document i received trhough mail) that an impeachment buzz would just increase government spending (i.e. malacaÃƒÂ±ang diverting public funds to buy out representatives, opinion leaders and power brokers) and that all these crises could lead to another economic slump. after almost breaking to a 39-level before the nbn hearing resumed, just yesterday, the peso-dollar exchange rate was again P41 to $1.
And so, some are ambivalent about resignation or People Power (see paperchimes.net). Or the Catholic Church: Brown SEO asks some tough questions, as does Philippine Commentary opposes People Power. On the other hand, Ceci Da Supastar reproduces the soul-searching appeal of a member of the Left, who says they can’t afford to miss the bus again:
Why should we work with them? Because we all want the same short term goals, which are the end of the GMA administration, the reform of a corrupt system, and free and fair elections. We may disagree on our broad ideologies, but we agree that these are the immediate obstacles to our various long term goals.
But, perhaps more importantly, if there is anything we should have learned from our EDSA experiences, it is that we want bargaining chips when this is all over so that we can influence the future. And those bargaining chips only come in the form of weight of our participation and the numbers we draw.
And yet… Lunasandwich says people are increasingly interested, but still stumped on what to do:
I take this as a good sign, of the keen interest of the people to know how others feel or think about the issue. What has really struck me though is the disenchantment and shared distrust for almost all people in government…
It seems the enormity of the problem — graft and corruption (which does not end with Arroyo’s removal from office) and the deeply rooted social malaise — is not lost on the people. Sadly, while the problem has long been identified, at the moment, people still seem to be at loss on what to do.
Marvelous photos of the Senate hearings taken by Bro. Ceci of La Salle: Ceci’s Corner.
Thank you to the reader who sent me a copy of this paper: The Integrity of Corrupt States: Graft as an Informal State Institution by Keith Darden. Interesting abstract:
This article argues that corrupt practices such as bribery and embezzlement, which scholars have previously assumed to be evidence of the breakdown of the state, may reinforce the state’s administrative hierarchies under certain conditions. Drawing on a cross-national analysis of 132 countries and a detailed examination of the informal institutions of official graft in Ukraine, the article finds that where graft is systematically tracked, monitored, and granted by state leaders as an informal payment in exchange for compliance, it provides both an added incentive to obey leaders’ directives and the potent sanction of criminal prosecution in the event of disobedience. Where graft is informally institutionalized in this way, it provides the basis for state organizations that are effective at collecting taxes, maintaining public order, and repressing political opposition but that may undermine the development of liberal politics.