An immoderate threat when representatives fail the people

Yesterday, the Inquirer editorial asked if People Power represents An immoderate threat in the face of unmoderated greed. Besides Fidel V. Ramos’s stinging rebuke to the President last Friday, on Saturday, GMA News broke the following story: Arroyo: I know ZTE contract tainted but can’t cancel deal (see also Arroyo admits NBN deal was flawed ), which has raised more questions than it’s answered: not least, because in one fell swoop, the President’s own statement proves her officials have been lying all along.

The question remains whether it will temper the “reply or resign” call made by people like Martin Bautista. In her blog, smoke makes a decision flow chart and, well, the best that could be said was a negligent President (but maybe enough to keep the loyalists stouthearted).

Atty. Edwin Lacierda, in an email to me, put it this way:

The difference I think between the Garci tapes and the ZTE confession is that in the Garci tapes, there was this legal grey area of the admissibility of the wiretapped tapes. And so, GMA could legally wiggle out of it even if we know that the accent and inflections were distinctly GMA. In the ZTE deal however, her admission opens up more cans of worms.

In the first place, she lied as to when she knew of the irregularities. I think the first documentary proof of her knowledge of the irregularity would have been when NEDA changed the investments that could avail of the loans from the People’s Republic [of China] when the [military] housing units and the Angat water project were removed from the list and the NBN deal was inserted. I may be wrong but [isn’t it that the] President [alone] can change the Neda policy.

Orally, the testimony of Romy Neri informing the president that Abalos offered him a Php200 million bribe would also constitute knowledge of wrongdoing. Inspite of that information, the president told Neri to approve the project. So, I think we know she lied when she admitted she knew of wrongdoing only on the eve.

But be that as it may, her admission runs counter to the many pronouncements of those who defended the ZTE deal, as pointed out in the Inquirer editorial. Laglagan na is the order of the day just to save the president. I dont know how long will the factotums continue to defend her at the risk to their own life and liberty. But this strategy will have unintended consequences and I am not sure the president’s men thought this out well. It started out with releasing the Jun-Joey conversations in YouTube. We dont know what Abalos is thinking but I am sure he was not pleased with the revelation. His credibility has been further eroded, if there is any ounce of credibility left in that man.

Her admission also puts into question the statements of Formoso who the government has constantly paraded as the point man in the ZTE deal. I would love to see him wiggle his way out of this mess.

The lies and the cover-up continue and it is getting harder and harder to put out a credible yarn.

And so, as Mon Casiple points out, it’s a case of the fortress showing cracks in its walls even as the administration recycling its old scripts:

Within the Malacañang fortress, there are rumors of the heightening suspicions among the key players — with the First Couple directly handling all tactical decisions, trusting no one. Whispers of last-ditch plans for a “palace coup” keep on leaking out as well as the opening of succession negotiations with the vice-president. The FG unscheduled trip to Hongkong is being interpreted as either a cover-up for a major palace counter-offensive this week or the preparation for the GMA exile to Spain.

GMA’s admission of knowing the ZTE-NBN contract problems is reminiscent of her famous “I’m sorry” speech. It may have been directed to the bishops but it only added more fuel to the fire of disenchantment with her regime. It may be the last argument to convince the fence-sitters.

The President’s people accelerated something most people didn’t want to think about, just yet: the post-Arroyo maneuvering that most people continued hoping would take place, as scheduled in 2010. Now the maneuvering has taken on greater urgency as the President’s own people have bungled things so badly. The scandal just keeps getting wider and wider and people have started to think the previously unthinkable.

And so, my column for today is When our representatives fail. It makes reference to some of my past pieces, including my Manifesto on the Tapes, and my columns,Redemption and ‘Half a People Power’. Also, it’s a response to Solita Monsod’s People Power IV? No, thank you! and, in a way, Randy David’s Bonfire of institutions (which reminded me of my column, Scorched-earth governance from 2005):

The damage to government institutions has been the most extensive. Far from being a neutral arbiter of disputes and a source of normative stability, the justice system has become a weapon to intimidate those who stand up to power. Far from being a pillar of public security, the military and the police have become the private army of a gangster regime. Instead of serving as an objective referee in electoral contests, the Commission on Elections has become a haven for fixers who deliver fictitious votes to the moneyed and the powerful. Instead of serving as the steady backbone of public service through successive changes in administration, the government bureaucracy has been turned into a halfway house for political lackeys, misfits and the corrupt. Instead of serving as a check on presidential power, the House of Representatives has become its hired cheering squad.

The erosion of these institutions, no doubt, has been going on for a long time. But their destruction in the last seven years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency has been the most comprehensive since 1986. This is due not only to the particular gifts of Ms Arroyo as a politician – her survival instincts, her callousness, her readiness to set aside higher goals and principles for short-term personal gains. It is also due to the peculiar confluence of events that attended her rise to the presidency…

…But the damage is not confined to government; it has fanned out like a shock wave from the epicenter to the periphery. We have thus far only seen the debris of government institutions that have lost their standing in the public esteem. Now we are seeing how the tension is passed on and threatens other institutions. This happens when issues that are left unresolved by the institutions of law, politics and government spill over to other spheres of society.

The tremor spreads out and tests the strength of the remaining credible pillars of our society: the churches, the media, the universities, the business community, the family. Each one of these institutional spheres has their own unique operational system, code and medium. They are not organized, nor are they suited, for the processing of legal and political questions. Yet, they are compelled by the developing situation to address these questions from their own specific standpoints. Their members are called upon to lend their minds, their voices, and their bodies to a movement whose trajectory is still uncertain.

It is this uncertainty that needs to be addressed. And so, returning to today’s column, I’d like to start by reproducing, in full, the reflection by Bishop Francisco Claver, S.J. that I quoted in my column (sent to me by Billy Esposo):

An Infinite Series of EDSAs
(Ramblings of a retired bishop)
Is it possible to avoid firming up an extremely dangerous, if still inchoate, tradition?

EDSA I was about restoring a system which had been destroyed by the introduction of a dictatorial system of governance. That is why most of us bishops had no qualms about taking part in putting an end to President Marcos’ stolen power.

EDSA II was the momentary failure of the restored system–it carried a sense of desperation that the system wasn’t working as it should. (The dancing lady senator was a perfect metaphor of its dysfunctional operation.) The Supreme Court’s act in confirming GMA, for all its disputed constitutionality, was basically aimed at stabilizing a dangerous situation?

EDSA III, if it happens, promises to be the institutionalization of an infinite series of EDSAs. This is what is scary about the present situation and I’m wondering if a vague fear of it is behind the apparent unconcern of most of our people today about all the agitation to come up with yet another EDSA rebellion.

_______________________________________________

Is the question a “purely” political one? Or precisely because the danger is there that, with another EDSA ousting of an incumbent President, we help firm up a tradition of unstable governments, the question becomes a deeply moral one?

For bishops in regard to this development: Is it a moral duty incumbent on them to see to it that we do not go the way of institutionalized instability? Or at least to speak on the problem and show how we must be aware of the possibly deleterious implications of whatever option we make in the solution people give it? As one of Philippine society’s basic institutions, is the Church being called today to be the–or at least a–stabilizing force in our society?

In a very true sense then, our problem comes down to this: how to correct the aberration that is the present administration without destroying the stabilizing structure that is our democratic system of government? We keep the structure but correct the aberration? But if the correcting destroys the structure–or weakens it immensely–what then?
People power was born to bring back stability. I think it should be used now to protect it, not to destroy or weaken it. The way things are now, it is being invoked again in the effort to correct what I called above an aberration, but I’m afraid its repetition in the present crisis will only lead to that unwanted world-without-end-series of EDSAs.

If we do not go the way then of that infinite series, we still are left with what I call the aberration. We haven’t put our heads together yet to see how we go about correcting it without bringing the whole house crushing down on us. This is what we should be doing now?

____________________________________________

I wonder if the system of four-year terms for presidents and the possibility of another four is not after all the best for us. Suffering through six years of a bad presidency (more, if he/she comes in to fill the term of an ousted one–as we have now) is intolerable, and that is why it is easy for people to succumb to the temptation of using extra-constitutional means to end the present one. This is an argument for charter change?

In more established and mature democracies: In the United States, for instance, the Bush presidency is bad enough and highly unpopular, but somehow nobody there is thinking of doing something like an EDSA uprising.

__________________________________________

For some reason some folk proverbs keep intruding on my thoughts as I write this thing–like the one about lying on nests that one has feathered? (We tolerate corruption–and rigged elections–but we do not blame ourselves for their consequences too?) Or changing horses in mid-stream? (It’s akin to the principle in spiritual life: “In desolation, don’t change” — but that’s what we do with every EDSA?) I guess we haven’t really learnt yet what these homely proverbs mean!

Francisco Claver, S.J.

February 19, 2008

ph4-022408Esposo says the piece is an attempt to clarify what the Catholic hierarchy meant by “communal action”. It is a reflection that to my mind reflects the unease with which people view the escalation of political tensions. However at this point, it leaves a lot, perhaps everything, in the hands of the President who has gambled on the fear of the unpredictable consequences of People Power vetoing any widespread support for it as the instrument of last resort.

But the best-laid plans of mice and men… they also tend to go unexpectedly awry. The most unexpected development is how young people have decided, in increasing numbers, to get engaged.

Inday Espina-Varona tackled this development in her blog, scaRRedcat:

Dirty tricks unleashed in airports are embedded in our collective psyche. With apologies to that once great human rights champion, Joker Arroyo, there are some things you do not mess around with.

It’s a bit sad really but then all great lessons of history often come with a certain sadness. Barely a month ago, I wrote of how young Filipinos would rather roll up their sleeves to solve a problem than break out into song and prayers as is their elders’ wont. They’d still rather do that. But, as did good men and women when the Nazis were on the ascendance, Filipinos now see what they missed when they looked away as hundreds of activists were murdered or “disappeared” or when they accepted that cheating at the polls is preferable to getting another actor elected to the Presidency: Wait too long and there may be no one around to hear your cries for help. Now, Everyman is faced with the barrel of a gun…

…Ousting a corrupt and despotic leader is a right of every people as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights underscores. Revolutions are not, in the strict sense, short cuts. They take time to wage and often come with messy results; that is why they are seen as a people’s last recourse.

But if we are to revolt in the name of democracy then there is no other way but to hew as closely as possible to constitutional change, as we did at EDSA 2. The fact that Mrs. Arroyo has grievously betrayed our trust is no excuse to shortchange ourselves more by anointing leaders outside of constitutional succession terms.

I do not know Vice President Noli de Castro. But he was elected by vast numbers of our people to that post, which comes with the responsibility to take over the Presidency if and when the incumbent Chief Executive can no longer fulfill the duties of that office. Whatever we may think of De Castro’s capabilities or lack thereof, we cannot simply sweep away a mandate conferred by the people.

If we can’t stomach him then we take our lumps and just give Mrs. Arroyo hell until her term runs out or until she institutes a belated regime of reforms, whichever comes first. We cannot decry corruption and officialdom’s penchant for playing fast and loose with the laws of this land and yet do the same in the name of democracy.

Agree! By the way, see another entry, He Said, They Said, a piece of Inday’s originally published in the Philippine Graphic, for a brilliant summary of why the government’s gotten itself into so much hot water. Well done, as well, is Patricia Evangelista’s She said. Over at Placeholder, you can see the La Salle Brothers’ chronology of the Lozadas seeking sanctuary in their school.

And indeed, that was the gist of my column for today: a last-ditch effort to kick-start our institutions into functioning properly might require the threat of People Power.

But people are wracking their brains (and searching their hearts) for ways not to have to resort to it, yet. Though there are those, as reproduced by onomatopoeia, who don’t think the threat should be invoked at all. Disagree!

While the threat of revolution that makes possible a return to the way things ought to be, such a threat, once made, risks having officials call the public’s bluff.

Which means the coming days and weeks requires even more soul-searching to take place.

How far will you go? Should we go? Even Business divided on another ‘People Power’ revolt.

tatsquiblat has some useful advice on what to do: or rather, a prudent approach to take. And review the emerging consensus on concrete steps to take, and the debate on the things that remain unresolved, in Sylvia Mayuga’s Firm Steps to the Light.

One proposal that’s gained wide currency, is for the President to immediately revoke her own Executive Order 464, but as one of many conditions; however,what Joaquin Bernas, S.J. proposes is that revoking the order is enough and all he really wants:

What do I support therefore? I favor attempting a rehabilitation of the presidency. To start with, I favor the complete dismantling of EO 464, the notorious gag which the President has clamped on the mouths of executive officers who are in a position to reveal incriminating truth.

True it is that the objectionable portions of EO 464 (Sections 2b and 3) have been declared unconstitutional. But the executive department continues to behave as if Senate v. Ermita never happened. You will notice that, whenever executive officers are called to testify in an investigation, rarely do such officers claim the lame excuse of executive privilege. They simply say that they are prevented by EO 464. EO 464, although constitutionally dead, remains the biggest obstacle to the discovery of truth. Its dark spirit remains.

How dismantle EO 464? The most efficient way would be for the President and the executive secretary to forget it. Easy, no; difficult, yes. Nevertheless this is a more viable goal than trying to persuade the President to resign and effectively jump into the fire. Moreover, the total abandonment of EO 464 can be the beginning of the rehabilitation of her ailing presidency. E.g., she should now allow the exposure of those who were involved in the corruption that caused her to cancel the ZTE contract. It would be a very concrete way of substantiating her loud cries against corruption. With political will, between now and 2010, much can be achieved toward rehabilitation of the presidency.

The kinds of minds he’s molded are best exemplified by this Ateneo blog. The Arroyo Presidential Library planned for the Ateneo will definitely be a suitable monument.

But what’s at stake and why, despite attempts by the good Jesuit to focus attention on asking for rehabilitation, or even the Senate President’s trying to propose an eventual impeachment, things seem to be coming gingerly to a point of no return, is best explained by Writer’s Block:

In light of all this, we are still obliged to be vigilant. Many people would ask: why continue? The elections are two years away; like her counterpart George W. Bush, she has only this one term left. But remember that we are talking about an “Arroyo government”. How are we to know that Czarina Arroyo would not control the Philippine government from the sidelines, the same way Lee Kuan Yew did in Singapore? There are also the earnest efforts among elements of her government to push through “Charter Reform”, to ensure their continued tenure in power. The point is, two years is two years away, and a lot can still happen in that span.

That’s why the Opposition continues to resist her, and find ways to overthrow her. Not only for the sake of vindication; it is also to ensure that they could sooner dismantle the “Arroyo government” and make sure that the next elections would indeed represent the people’s voice. No one can get her to quit. She, like Hitler before her, can always claim “divine appointment”.

The D Spot worries about her kids, what happens if they decide to join rallies. But Noralyn Mustafa puts the choice in stark terms:

We fail to do this now, the wages of our apathy will be Charter change forced down our throats; we will never see an election ever again in our lives; and we will have the Arroyos and Pidals and Abaloses holding our souls in their hands to the end of our days. And even beyond.

This is the ultimate danger of trying to ease the pressure. It won’t strengthen institutions. It will give the President a second wind. Liling Briones says the economy shouldn’t be an excuse for inaction. Cielito Habito reviews economic prospects for 2008.

As for today’s commemoration, I’ll be at Baclaran, where the Comelec computer operators found refuge after their historic walkout from the PICC. Review The Road to Edsa I, and the events in The Edsa Revolution Website. And do some Reading up on Edsa. And looking back, a mere year ago, to Edsa at 21. And doing his own looking back is Lito Banayo.

And Life’s a Beach has that video that will make all the small-minded mean and sour people angry. Interesting tidbit, too, from One Hundred Eighty Degrees, on an attempt to censor the video.

Postcard Headlines says the real challenge of Edsa is sustaining public vigiliance. Philippine Commentary insists on impeachment or nothing. It will take at the very least a national strike to get that past the House. JB Baylon waxes eloquent:

As I type this while once in a while peering out of my Hong Kong hotel window to watch a gathered mass of Filipinas outside, I feel a rollercoaster of emotions as memories of Edsa 1 flash before me interspersed with images of a weeping Lozada, a grinning Estrada and a still-missing Joc Joc Bolante. I think of Francisco Tatad and how he went public with the declaration of martial law; then I think of Ignacio Bunye and how he went public with his “I have two discs” spin. I focus on how Enrile was “forgiven” his sins in recognition of his key role in Edsa 1, and wonder whether Chavit has been forgiven, too. I think of Clarissa Ocampo and remember Jun Lozada and then I think of Mike Defensor and Mawanay, Garcillano and Bedol. I think of Macapagal Avenue, and then I remember the Centennial Expo scam. I muse about Imelda’s glamor and greed, and think of FG and wonder where the glamor went. I remember Manny Villar’s maneuverings on the impeachment, then recall JDV’s maneuverings and also the maneuverings that led to his own ouster. I think of Fabian Ver and I wonder about Hermogenes Esperon; I think of Fidel Ramos and his relationship with Ver, and wonder who is the Ramos to Esperon. I recall a young and idealistic Gringo, and I imagine a new crop of young officers replacing the ideals of Trillanes and Company. And all of these come to a dead stop like a roller coaster car does when I think of the Filipinas outside my window, huddling under open umbrellas in the cold drizzle that is gripping Hong Kong, and I wonder how their lives will ever change if, at home, years go by and yet everything but the faces of power and greed stay the same?

And good news for all people who like to read: Pete Lacaba has a blog! He has an article on names derived from Martial Law, Edsa, etc. (hat tip to my lil’ red book for noticing that particular article). Another blog to check out is Republic of Pundits.

239 comments

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    • Mike on February 25, 2008 at 3:41 am

    But, Fr. Bernas, how can GMA revoke E.O. 464, when it was that same order that prevented Gen. Gudani from revealing the involvement of the military in the election fraud that enabled GMA to obtain the presidency? If she revokes E.O. 464, methinks she may as well resign.

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Mike: Fr. Bernas is not asking GMA to revoke E.O. 464. The Jesuit is asking civil society to exert pressure on their representatives and on any other front so that Government revokes E.O. 464.
    I agree with Fr. Bernas’ perception that a mob storming the gates of Malacanang will not force GMA to leave office, and the scenario of “withdrawal of support” is not likely. [That — that a government should show steadfastness against thousands of people storming the gates — is a lesson that political leadership learned from Tianamen.]
    The military swears by the Constitution and will support whatever result is obtained from a July2008 impeachment.

    • magdiwang on February 25, 2008 at 6:15 am

    It seems like the opposition are backing away from driving GMA from power. What gives? After stalking the flames for her ouster, why the sudden change of heart? Did they just suddenly realize that a serial revolution is not good for our country? They should focus on getting her out of office through constitutional means instead of crucifying her in the court of public opinion.

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 6:28 am

    Can’t EDSA be an immediate options when elections are stolen and politicians refuse to do their job, as the Congress under JDV refused to do after Hello Garci?

    I understand the fear of such an anti-systematic and mob-like solution to the country’s problems, but such massive actions cut through the mafia culture and the systematic looting of officials and their cronies. Edsa is the bane of the politicians and the oligarchs and therefore give the people genuine power. Realistically, considering that elections can be rigged, easily, EDSA or People Power represents the true democratic spirit in the Philippine context.

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 6:56 am

    BrianB… Monsod’s point is that it is less the people but more a group of PowerSeekers (oligarchs in sheeps’s clothing) that benefits from EDSA IV.

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Who is Monsod?

    • magdiwang on February 25, 2008 at 7:12 am

    BrianB

    Its because the leading protagonists are all cut of the same mold, the current crop of leaders who are positioned to take over are products of the same system we all disdain. Why change in the middle of the game when there will be no real upside, the consequences if it goes out of control will be significant.

    • benign0 on February 25, 2008 at 7:14 am

    “Can’t EDSA be an immediate options when elections are stolen and politicians refuse to do their job, as the Congress under JDV refused to do after Hello Garci?

    I understand the fear of such an anti-systematic and mob-like solution to the country’s problems, but such massive actions cut through the mafia culture and the systematic looting of officials and their cronies.” — BrianB

    Don’t you see the IRONY in what you say here?

    You say that it is this ‘mafia culture’ you want to combat with hare-brained street “revolutions”. But then it is the very nature of these ‘mafia cultures’ being OUTSIDE the framework of the law that we detest, right? So why combat it with a process that is also outside the framework of the Law?

    We’ll be no better than the very bozos you detest at the end of all this.

    It’s simple, really.

    Btw, here is the transcript in words of our brilliant YouTube video (for the poor schmoes in the Third World who don’t have access to broadband — ayan kasi, sa kaka-kurakot! 😀 ):

    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/agr-disagr/12-7-msg_to_cory.html

    Happy reading (or viewing)!

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Mafia is systematic, benigs. Never heard of “organized crime.” That is synonymous to mafia. Street protests are noble, they are open forums in motion (a la poetry in motion).

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 7:28 am

    magdiwang, because we are not business people or pols who also have to go on risk assessments before we react. This is not about cost-effectiveness but about ending the long-term and escalating corruption by some of our people.

    Benig0. So you’re a woman, big deal.

    • benign0 on February 25, 2008 at 8:02 am

    “Mafia is systematic, benigs. Never heard of “organized crime.” That is synonymous to mafia. Street protests are noble, they are open forums in motion (a la poetry in motion).” — BrianB

    Yeah. But they still operate outside the Law. That was the point I was ORIGINALLY making, dude.

    And yes, they are systematic — which is a credit to them compared to the chaotic, nostalgia-driven, and appeal-to-emotion infested nature of moronic street “revolutions” incited by The Inquisition. 😀

    And by the way — EVERYTHING is about RISK ASSESSMENT. We are all at heart risk managers. The decision to revolt or not is always an assessment of the risks involved.

    You say this is about “ending the long-term and escalating corruption”. Well guess what, allowing “long-term and escalating corruption” to endure has a risk associated to it. Using the proper channels to change leadership also has a risk profile.

    See, it is all about measuring which option poses the most risk to the society and to our personal interests. Good risk managers take a long-term outlook. Which obviates the reality that Pinoys collectively suck at it (referring to our ape-like addiction to this ‘people power’ thing).

  1. Teach EDSA to the youth- Cory.

    After reading several books about the conjugal dictatorship of FM and Imelda, about edsa 1 and the powerful personalities both in politics and “civil society” that emerged from the so-called people power I can say that the only good thing in EDSA1 was the bloodless transition of one form of government to another and the people who converged with good intent had been tricked and used.

    I can not say that it was patriotism that moved the key players in the people power to unseat the dictator.

    JPE was afraid for his life because of Ver and Imelda. Ramos joined him not because, he’s condemning corruption of Marcos but he knew that he was also not in the favorite list of Imelda who had made Ver and his men as her own loyal army.

    The two surrounded themselves with media people. Then multitude came. Perhaps due to the call of Cardinal Sin or to the plain curiosity of the people.

    I got afraid for those computer operators who walked out from PICC. I was thinking whatever happened to them, only to find out later that one of them was related to a
    military and it was planned after all.

    There must be genuine concern for freedom from some groups because for twenty years their rights especially that of expression were curtailed. So many activists have died for the democracy they’re advocating for.

    These days, those rights were never denied nor restricted. The people can call the President Bitch, Pandak, Evil without the fear of being arrested.

    The civil society rode on the triumph of the person they put in the government. Thus born the Kamag-anak Inc. Tarlac was governed by Cojuangcos. A set of new cronies was born. This time, these cronies were wiser. They put their businesses in other countries so that in case of another crisis, their investments are safe.

    No new project was ever implemented because of the lack of stability of the government. COup d’etats were dime a dozen. A critic was sued for libel and was imprisoned. Freedom of expression, my foot.

    Buildings that were put up by Imelda were rotting. Kaniya-kaniyang agawan sa mga naiwang business interests.

    The two people who initiated the revolution became disgruntled.

    Former Ramos was saying that corruption is back.

    When did it ever leave the country? Not even in his admin perhaps.

    • Kabayan on February 25, 2008 at 8:24 am

    For those who wish to know why this administration has to go, check updated list at bayanikabayan.blogspot.com under Blogswarmers of our race Unite! Gloria Resign! dated Feb 24, 2008 or Google “Gloria Arroyo Resign” and search. The Gloria Resign Blogswarm movement grows… thanks Jen.

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 8:47 am

    To BrianB: Solita Monsod is one of those Bachelor of Arts graduate of Diliman-University of the Philippines.

    • benign0 on February 25, 2008 at 8:54 am

    It’s quite amusing (and, actually encouraging) that there is now a lot of this PeoplePower?-no-thanks! attitude nowadays.

    It’s amusing because it took three years for this idea to become a mainstream thought amongst the chattering classes.

    Look back to 2005 when I wrote:

    “So, in effect, Filipinos would have not accepted their duly constituted institutions and duly elected officials as the official authorities on the “Truth” yet would have easily relied on a street mob in yet another Fiesta Revolution to dictate and uphold said “Truth”. This is tantamount to arbitrarily voiding Congress and allowing street mobs to call the shots from hereon. That it seems is what many Filipinos want. However, Filipinos have a track record of never going the whole nine yards when it comes to “revolution” (or anything else for that matter). Thus we have nothing more than Fiesta Revolution — so much hate and tunnel-vision, but none of the conviction and wherewithal to go for the gold. The fact is, even in the happy sport of “revolution”, Filipinos exhibit their world-renowned mediocrity.”

    See the full article here:
    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/agr-disagr/18-6-majority.html

    In that article I also cited some insightful observations from:

    Belinda Olivares-Cunanan:

    “Said this lady from the Visayas: ‘Cory was our icon at Edsa. Now, she marches arm-in-arm with the relics of the Marcos era, the ultra rightists and the leftists who sought to rabble-rouse the striking workers at Hacienda Luisita.’ In a recent column, Star’s Max Soliven also mourned Ms Aquino’s call to her ‘friends’ in the military to join their protests.”

    Amando Doronila:

    “[People Power’s] potency has been depleted by frequent use. The sputtering of protests after the House vote [on the 2005 impeachment bid] should be a rude reality check to Cory Aquino. She has been deserted by people power. And nothing could be more pathetic.”

    Think again folks. Too much chicharon and lechon tends to divert precious fluids from the brain. You’re best to dance the ocho-ocho instead to get a bit of fitness in the system.

    Did I just say that??

    – 😀

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 9:04 am

    UP n,

    Solit Monsod is pro-Gloria because she is a woman and anti-EDSA III because she is afraid of men… the Junta. Doesn’t she have a Phd?

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 9:21 am

    BrianB: Now I know a little bit 😕 more about you. Cheers!

    And no, you are not cvj.

    • Mita on February 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Wait, wait…isn’t Edwin Lacierda Jun Lozada’s lawyer? I thought Jun Lozada said he doesn’t want to get political?

    I’m not just asking…I’m trying to say, I think it would be really prudent of him if he refrained from making political comments at this time – for his high-profile client if not for anything else.

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 9:23 am

    She does not have a Phd?

    • JMCastro on February 25, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Ca T:

    “These days, those rights were never denied nor restricted. The people can call the President Bitch, Pandak, Evil without the fear of being arrested.”

    Politicians corrupt the leaders of peoples’ organizations (POs) when they can. Those POs which are not coopt-ed by the establishment are then profiled and oppressed through covert operations by the military and the police, which they justify as counter-insurgency operations against communists. One PO I personally know of is considered communist. Their crime? Providing sustainable medical services to poor barrios in the provinces.

    And what about those media critics which are permanently silenced through killings and assassinations? GMA’s continuing police and military operations against POs, maintaining a facade of democracy while oppression is carried out in the dark, is hardly the sort of freedom your statement implies.

    If you want to know, check out the Alston report in this link: http://www.pinoypress.net/uploads/2007/10/16/alstonreport.pdf

    • Que Sera Sera Philippines on February 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

    So be it!

    • justice league on February 25, 2008 at 9:33 am

    BENIGNO,

    I’M TYPING IN CAPS SO THERE IS LITTLE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU’LL MISS THIS!

    THIS IS ABOUT THE 3RD TIME I’VE READ OR HEARD ABOUT YOUR PROPOSALS WHICH I HAVE ALREADY INQUIRED OF YOU.

    I LOOKED UP THE EARLIER THREAD BUT YOU HAVE NOT BOTHERED TO REPLY YET YOU STILL GO ON WITH YOUR UNCLARIFIED PROPOSALS.

    IF YOU CAN’T CLARIFY THEM, I SUGGEST YOU ASK YOUR LADY FRIEND. MAYBE SHE’S MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE!

    AND DON’T BOTHER MISREADING FR. BERNAS TO ME (JUST IN CASE)

    BTW, THERE’S THIS BLOGGER/FORUMER WHO ADMONISH PEOPLE FOR DOING THE SAME THING YET EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS. YOUR ARGUENTS ON THIS INSTANCE HAS BEEN PRETTY MUCH THE SAME.

    IT’S EITHER YOU ARE SPAMMING, FORUM SHOPPING, THREAD SHOPPING, RUNNING AWAY FROM ME OR WHATEVER….

    JUST IN CASE YOU ARE RUNNING AWAY; TAKE YOUR ARGUMENTS WITH YOU!!!

    • rego on February 25, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I totally agree with Solita Monsod. No people power is necessary this time. And Cory should just stop deluding herself she can make another people power to happen again. She is even one the reason why people like doesn’t want power anymore.

    • Kabayan on February 25, 2008 at 10:16 am

    All this talk is very interesting, but there are duties to keep,… blog ya later, oh btw Gloria Resign!

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 10:16 am

    People power is necessary, especially when elections ARE stolen.

    • Kabayan on February 25, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Uh before leaving for a “stroll” during this Original People Power celebration, from the blog of Paeng at akosipaeng.blogspot.com/

    Electronic
    Data
    Swarm
    Against Arroyo
    wave 1.0

    =EDSA 1.0

    • rego on February 25, 2008 at 10:39 am

    “People power is necessary, especially when elections ARE stolen.”

    But there is an existing system thats address electoral fraud and other and pther form of cheating. . There is an PET, SET, COMELEC and SC and supreme court. Loren Legarda went to PET to contest the results of Vice Presidential election. But she lost. FPJ unfortunately died before his case is resolve.

    And if this system is still not enough them the most proactive aproach woudl be the creation of laws or offices that would better address all these election related issues.

    I really cannot see how Peopel power can resolve election related disputes. With so many complaints of election cheating how can we do peopel power everytime there is an allegations of stolen election? How????????

    • Que Sera Sera Philippines on February 25, 2008 at 11:00 am

    hear! hear!

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Why do we have to overthink everything? Gloria cheated, corruption continues with her consent.

    People Power is because the people need to the validation that they have power.

    • supremo on February 25, 2008 at 11:21 am

    ‘I got afraid for those computer operators who walked out from PICC. I was thinking whatever happened to them, only to find out later that one of them was related to a
    military and it was planned after all.’

    I have verified this with my friend who was one of those computer operators/programmers. I’m sorry but Cat is wrong as always. Keep up with your BS Cat!

    • jcrs on February 25, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Unfortunately Monsod is in the leagues of Cunanan, Magno and others.

    • Bernardocarpio on February 25, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Hohum, tara tulong tayo sa mga kapatid natin na nasalanta ng bagyo. Kaunting barya lang po. Dasal lang po para sa mga namatay.

    • benign0 on February 25, 2008 at 11:34 am

    justice league, apologies for the oversight and I meant you no grief.

    Presumably you refer to this whole thing about the multi-party nature of Pinoy elections and if I recall right, you cited the example of, say, five candidates and how one in such a contest need only to garner a 20% mandate to win the race, which is a possible tragedy if the other four happened to have the right solution or approach. Let’s call that example of yours Scenario 1

    I can think of the opposite scenario where the four out of your five hypothetical candidates would be thinking of the RIGHT thing — in which case we’d have an 80% chance of the right candidate being elected (all things being equal). Let’s call my take on this Scenario 2

    Firstly, my question is quite simple. Which scenario is the more PROBABLE scenario?

    In that scenario you postulated, what would be the probability of four out of five candidates espousing the wrong solution? If you ask me I’d say that Scenario 1 is an improbable scenario in the first place.

    And even if THAT were the case, that is not really the issue.

    The issue I highlight is Pinoys’ ability to discern good and bad politicians DURING ELECTIONS by understanding their platforms.

    The factor at work during elections is more the dysfunction of Pinoys’ ability to vote for the right candidate — not the nature of our system as being multi-party as you argue. Case in point is the triumph of Erap and FPJ in the polls. You could have had a hundred candidates running for President and Pinoys will still vote for the bozo.

    So I find it a bit of a waste of time focusing on the nature of the system when the reality is that Pinoys have a talent for screwing up ANY system whether it is bad or good.

    Second, if you go by the idea that Scenario 1 is the more probable scenario (i.e. that the person with the RIGHT idea is generally in the minority), then why would one advocate entrusting the fate of the nation on a mob-like entity? Fans of Edsa “revolutions” build their case around the idea that a “people’s mandate” is formed when a reasonable number (we can’t even agree on what constitutes a “reasonable number”) of warm bodies dance the ocho-ocho on the streets of Manila. Kung baga popularity determines rigteousness according to these hollow-heads.

    It’s simple, really.

    • Jon Mariano on February 25, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Gloria exported to Spain? Wow, so that state visit to Spain was of benefit after all.

    • rego on February 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

    jcrs :
    Unfortunately Monsod is in the leagues of Cunanan, Magno and others.
    ======================================================
    Even more unfortunate becuase you did not read her column and argue on the points and desseratation that she raised. It has nothing to do with Cunanan and Magno at all.

    MLQ3 did the right thing when he wrote a response to that column. But I dont agree with him though.

    • Silent Waters on February 25, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    BrianB

    Solita Monsod is at Present a Professor of UP Diliman and if I remember correctly, used to be head of NEDA. SHe also hosts a number of public affairs program. DI ka ba nakatira sa Pilipinas at di mo siya kilala????

    She’a a good professor of economics. If you don’t know who she is, you should not disparage somebody just because her opinion is different from yours.

    Ay siyanga pala, marami pala ditong ganun. Tyranny in the form of Patriotism due to Superiority complex. (TPS SYndrome)

  2. Student protesters at the University of the Philippines commandeered the campus radio station and broadcast a looped tape; soon the entire nation was listening in astonishment to President Marcos begging Dovie Beams to perform oral sex. For over a week the President’s hoarse injunctions boomed out over university loudspeakers. (The Marcos Dynasty, p. 225).

    Si Marcos noon DOVIE BEAMS…SI Gloria naman LASER BEAM…

    Every major scandal of Gloria Arroyo is followed by the “LASER BEAM” excuse.Expect the “Let’s Move On” Excuse “afterwards….

    (2005)At The Height of The “Hello Garci”Electoral Fraud Scandal….

    Jun 16th 2005
    From The Economist print edition(UK)

    GLORIA ARROYO, the president of the Philippines, claims to be focusing on economic reform “like a laser beam”.

    (2008) At The Height of The ZTE-NBN Mega Scandal….

    Arroyo won’t resign, to focus on economy like a ‘laser beam’
    GMA News

    • justice league on February 25, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Benigno,

    Apology accepted. And please do pardon my so very angry post.

    Unfortunately I have little time right now so I just scanned your reply.

    At which I already have some issues to state which unfortunately I will have to do later.

    But first
    “Case in point is the triumph of Erap and FPJ in the polls.”

    I may have held suspiscions of my own (whether earlier or later) on the outcome of the 2004 elections but I didn’t know you actually held that FPJ won.

    I stated possibility; you stated probability. Nevertheless I feel I still have a good chance of bringing up examples of my issue later.

    And lastly for now, are you by any chance under the assumption that Erap won as a majority President?

  3. Buyer’s Remorse – Did We Make a Huge Mistake with Gloria Arroyo?

    We still remember those heady days of People Power II in 2001 when we felt that Gloria Arroyo was going to be a much better leader than Joseph Estrada.

    We were so excited again about the future of this country.

    After all, we were replacing a man with no real qualifications for the presidency with a person who was diametrically opposite of Erap.

    Who would not be excited about Gloria Macapagal Arroyo back then in 2001 if you examined her credentials?

    -A daughter of the “poor boy from Lubao” :We expected her to preserve the legacy of her great father by being honest and pro-poor .We expected her whole family to maintain a simple lifestyle even as “Temporary” occupants of Malacanang Palace.

    -A person who had an impressive career as a Senator and as a Vice President. She was willing to accept the relatively less glamorous Cabinet position of Secretary of Social Welfare in Erap’s cabinet to directly help the poor.
    -A person with impressive academic credentials: Undergraduate studies in Georgetown,Masters’ degrees in Ateneo and UP. College professor in Economics at the Ateneo.

    HOWEVER…we started worrying. Did we make the right decision? Anxiety and stress set in. Were we deceived? Did we make a big mistake?

    WHY the “Buyer Remorse” about Gloria Arroyo?

    From overpriced highways to secret bank accounts, to gambling lords and thoroughbred horses, controversies have hounded the Arroyo administration long before wiretapped conversations implying election fraud and the ZTE-NBN mega scandal hogged the headlines. And it is not only the president who has more than once been asked to account for charges of improper behavior; so too have husband Mike, eldest child Mikey, and brother-in-law Ignacio Arroyo.

    • Que Sera Sera Philippines on February 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I was in EDSA 1! At Radio Veritas…Was BrianB there?

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Silent, I know her, read her almost every week. But there are other Monsods.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I replied to UP n’s rather non sequitor namedrop

    She a very influential economist and have a direct hand in the new Vat, I believe. I made the comment about her being paranoid about the Junta because she is.

    On another matter, as an economist, do you know for a fact if she is published? I mean in a journal, where her ideas could be peer reviewed, and when I say peer I don;t just mean her UP friends.

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Que Sera,

    OK, I admit, you have more right than me and are definitely superior because you were at Radio Veritas. Were you working there or just happened to be hanging out with friends?

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Silent,

    Tyranny? hat are you talking about. The only person who can be a tyrant here is MLQ3 and thank God he isn’t and he is publishing everyone.
    And for the record, this was UP n’s comment

    BrianB… Monsod’s point is that it is less the people but more a group of PowerSeekers (oligarchs in sheeps’s clothing) that benefits from EDSA IV.

    Now how was I supposed to know it was Solita Monsod he was talking about? In fact, I immediately assumed it was another Monsod. Probably not Christian Monsod. S. Monsod’s column was about the Junta probably taking over not a bunch of oligarchs, which the pro-Edsa people are against.

    • BrianB on February 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Heck, I even watched Debate religiously when it was on, especially before it turned out she was a Gloria loyalist. I think this was until late 2005.

    She fancies herself capable of talking to the masa. Well, she isn’t and probably was tolerated like most gassy upper-middle-class types who really love lecturing the masa about stuff they know about and the masa isn’t supposed to know about… like voting well. Geez! Types who sincerely love to patronize their lessers.

    • benign0 on February 25, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    justice league, no problemo. I’ve had that effect on people for ages.

    I don’t hold that FPJ won. Quite frankly I don’t care who won in 2004. The fact that a character like Erap already blights our history books as one of this country’s presidents already resigns one to the likely possibility that another one like him will probably be occuping Malacanang within the next 10 years or so.

    My point is more around the fact that NO ONE IS REALLY QUITE SURE who really won in 2004 or to what extent Arroyo’s alleged cheating contributed to her margin. For me it simply means that FPJ won enough votes to make the allegations sufficiently debatable (even to this day).

    The poor sod is dead anyway and it seems everyone is CONVINCED that Arroyo cheated. So, who gives a sh1t what the facts are. The processes in place for establishing facts (remember those? the ones we pay taxes to maintain?) don’t seem to be the choice tool for shedding light on anything at the moment.

    As to your last question, Erap probably followed your 80-20 rule — garnering enough votes to win. Whether it be 5 or 10 presidential candidates he competed with at the time, the fact is enough Pinoys voted for the man to win. simple. You read into it any further than that and all you get is trapped in circular arguments that skirt the invevitable truth about Pinoys.

    But what does it matter? For many schmoes, the people’s “mandate” it seems lies in a street mob. It’s difficult to argue with people who’s minds are imprisoned by such a concept. 😉

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    BrianB: The Monsod article that Q3 linked to has the following:

    …one would think that the expressions of outrage, through rallies, demonstrations, prayer services, should focus on support for the whistle-blowers and the demand to bring the malefactors to justice, starting with Abalos and whoever else can be shown (not just assumed) to have helped him one way or another. …… That’s part of the search for truth.

    But they couldn’t leave well enough alone. By “they” is meant those from the Left, Right and the opposition (politics does make for strange bedfellows), who decided to insert their pet political advocacy to the mix: a Resign Gloria or Oust Gloria scenario. They can’t hack it on their own, so they ride on the clamor against corruption, hoping to start a People Power IV. The result? Where there were a people united against corruption, there are now a people divided — including the bishops — regarding the “extra-constitutional” removal of the President.

    I heard some young students over the radio talking about how “sovereignty resides in the people,” and they want to exercise their power to remove the President. Well, the Constitution outlines the process by which the people may exercise that power (e.g., election, impeachment through their elected representatives and “servants” who are subject to checks and balances).

    But you — (you’re Ateneo business graduate, right?) — know all this, at least the part about election and impeachment through elected representatives.

    • UP n student on February 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    BrianB: How did your congressman vote in the last impeachment attempt?

    • Madonna on February 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    BrianB,

    Re: Winnie Monsod. Just wait. She’ll come around. I surmise she is only against the usual people power (i.e. forcing the President to resign with street rallies, seeing of course ATe Glo can’t be forced, for one, unlike Erap, she doesn’t give a damn with what the people feel or think). Apart from giving a thumbs down on Lozada’s version on the Fely Arroyo meeting, Solita basically believes Lozada’s testimony as a whole.

    Don’t be too hard on Solita. I think she’s really a cool person. In Diliman, she would smoke in an overcrowded room (as many students would outdo each other to be able to enlist in her class) while telling studes, “now kids, don’t be like me.” My friends and I then would look up to her then, including her fashion statement. She would wear high high heels in school, unlike other many female profs and the usual aktibista types who thought wearing make-up and heels are indications of stupidity and the unliberated female.

    • John Christian Canda on February 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Erick San Juan mentioned in his book “Marcos Legacy Revisited: Raiders of the Lost Gold” that: “Representatives from the Philippines and Indonesia went to (Jonathan) May and disclosed that agents from Chase Manhattan Bank and other banks would ‘forgive’ the loans and interest payments if they would (1) eliminate their National Currency; (2) dollar-denominate their new money system; (3) use a debit card system instead of a currency system; and (4) grant the International Bankers (the Raiders) perpetual rights over all natural resources. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines refused to accept these conditions, and was deposed shortly thereafter.”

    • John Christian Canda on February 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    It is not at all surprising if Marcos felt betrayed by his longtime friend and all the U.S. when he told then-Senator Paul Laxalt that he was “very, very disappointed.” The same thing happened to China’s Chiang Kai-shek and Korea’s Park Chung Hee. Whether you believe it or not, the takeover of mainland China by the Communists in 1946 would have been impossible without the full aid of U.S. President Truman and General George Catlett Marshall. Meanwhile, the U.S. CIA is believed to be behind Park Chung Hee’s assassination by his KCIA Director and closest friend Kim Jae-kyu.

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