Monday’s Mass at Baclaran (where the Comelec encoders had sought refuge after walking out of the canvassing of votes in the PICC) pictures, where people from all walks of life came together to recall Edsa I:
Approach to the Church; banner at the front of the Church
Church begins to fill up; reminder behind pulpit, placed by Redemptorists
Amb. Howard Dee and friends; media takes up its stations
Church fills up; preliminary security sweep
overflow crowd; FPJ’s daughter
FPJ’s daughter; Boy Blue arrives
Cory and Lozada arrive
Mass begins; processional
Processional; clergy before the Altar
Gospel; Cory lights Truth Candle
Cory; Offertory led by lead convenors of BnW and leaders of Ang Kapatiran
Two gentlemen in white T-Shirts are the Ang Kapatiran leaders; after mass, “Bayan Ko”
After Cory, Jun Lozada’s remarks
I recently read an article (in a book) by a foreign correspondent who observed that one of the President’s problems is that she engages in fights she cannot win (e.g. after Estrada’s macho posturing, she tried to be “Ina ng Bayan”). I was reminded of this by a couple of things in Jove Francisco’s latest blog entry. First, there’s the scene of the Loyalty Rally organized by the President’s sons in the Liwasang Bonifacio yesterday :
And let us not forget that her allies conducted their own noisy (festive) rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio. She wasn’t there, but her allies from the lower chamber were seen having lunch (or were assembling themselves) at the Macapagal Blvd restaurant of her son, Rep. Mikee Arroyo (reportedly his)… before going to the Liwasan. And as if that’s not enough, the 100 or so congressmen even trooped to Malacanang shortly before seven in the evening for some chit chat with PGMA. While there, some congressmen, led by House speaker Propsero Nograles continued to lambaste the president’s enemies, like JDV (he called on PGAM to resign), Senate president Manuel Villar (the impeachment quote) and yes, even Erap (for being Erap).
Yup, the president just wanted herself shielded from politics on this people power holiday. But as we’ve seen, she actually surrounded herself with politics today.
(Inicidentally, Pressure Points wasn’t amused by Dato Arroyo’s quoted remarks) And then, here’s Jove’s account of how the President tried to summon up one of the last remaining viable counter-arguments of her administration: that, somehow, Filipinos outside of Metro Manila have different values and that she continues to represent them. So the President, yesterday, went to Cavite. Was it a spontaneous or pre-prepared visit? Jove recounts,
Based on the number of passenger jeepneys (I saw more than 20) and buses (about a handful) that occupied a vast lot beside the provincial capitol of Cavite…one can say that the Cavitenos really “came in droves to pour out their support to PGMA”
The sight of those vehicles parked in that lot was in a word: overwhelming. It was like seeing a vast field where a flock of tamaraws rest. Rolling steel moving around, causing the dust to envelope the area. Pero sige lang ang lakad ng mga tao na naka color coded attire at may dalang lobo sa isang kamay nila. From afar they seem quite happy and excited about being there.
My team waited for the folks who rode the said vehicles near the entrance of the event area. PGMA has yet to arrive so may time kami mag-“man on the street” interview. Pasalubong ang direction namin, eager to talk to some of them.
Turns out… some of the people who trooped to the event were clueless about why they were asked to be there, in the first place.
You have to watch the clip to listen to some of them.
After about talking to a handful of people, and getting the same answer (Hindi kami andito para kay Gloria, Hindi ko alam na para sa kaniya ito, Di ko alam bakit kami pinapunta dito etc etc) I told my crew (Armand and Luther) “Pano ba ito? Bakit wala tayong makuha na supportive sa admin, baka masabihan tayo na hindi fair.” So we tried interviewing some more, but we got the same soundbytes. (Hence, during the final edit, I asked my VTR editor to include the pro PGMA banners, placards plus the shouting of real fans of PGMA (they were seated in front) in my report. Para fair.
Cavite leaders admit… they were the ones who mobilized their kababayans so they’ll attend the rally and so that they can show Mrs Arroyo that the feelings in Metro Manila doesn’t necessarily reflect the sentiments of those in the provinces.
PGMA arrived via chopper. Then she motored to the provincial capitol.
Some residents may not be aware that the event is for PGMA…but as soon as the guest of honor arrived, they still gave her welcome fit for a VIP.
Strangely… the palace disclosed that the president will just GATE CRASH the event. In fairness, she didn’t have a teleprompter with her on stage and we saw her organize her thoughts/speech kodigos in between listening to the ‘small talk” of her seatmates on stage and listening to the seemingly endless profession of support by “almost everyone who mattered in Cavite”. (They were under a tent, the people were not, the reporters were not. It was one warm day, napakataas pa ng araw. Nagdusa kami lahat.)
But at the start of her supposedly “impromptu” speech, the president had a slip of the tongue. Nasabi niya na INIMBITAHAN siya ni Governor Maliksi, pero ooops, di pala siya invited, wala silang kinalaman sa rally na iyon, nag gate crash lang daw sya. Okay then.
When life gives you flags that can’t be raised and potentially lethal clumps of confetti, as well as today’s Inquirer editorial, At least you have that noble prelate, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who will surely come in handy in that episcopal gabfest today. And there’s the return of the President’s husband to be thankful for, well, hey, hey, the gang’s.. and there’s always Bel Cunanan.
So Bel Cunanan presents the party line, as is well her right and indeed, her duty at a time like this. But something was in the Cool-Aid when she wrote,
Some schools are also reported to be planning to join Friday’s rally and will bus their students rain or shine. This has drawn protests from many parents who don’t want their children to be used and involved in the politics of hatred. So concerned have some parents become that they have set up two blog spots where other parents can air their sentiments: www.pulitikangpinoy.blogspot.com and www.8sallpolitics.blogspot.com. Anonymous bloggers are welcome.
Anonymous bloggers, huh? Commenters, I guess she means…
To be sure there are parents who feel worried, but really, can someone say someone was so concerned they set up a blogspot to air sentiments, when one of the blogs was set up in 2005, has entries for only two months, entirely about Constitutional issues. See Pilipinas: Pinoy, Buhay at Pulitika. Here’s a screenshot, as of 1:12 AM February 26, 2008:
I mean, is it just me, or isn’t “So concerned have some parents become that they have set up two blog spots” supposed to mean they’re fresh, spankin’ new blogs, for a cause? Seems like a relict of the “Our Name is Legion for We Are Many” Days.
The continued manipulation of public opinion is so outrageous to the point of hideousness. One of these days, history will catch up with all of you, heroes and traitors alike.
Then we’ll bury you all deep in goat shit.
Continuing on that (goat) theme, there’s the entry for February 24:
Overpriced goats, reckless dispersal of public lands to relatives and friends, kickbacks from previous government projects he had been involved with, and more… all these have slowly eroded Lozada’s credibility. But the most damning thing he ever did was to dance to the tune of his new marching band(his patrons)…and go around schools convincing kids (as young as pre-schoolers) to support an uprising against the government. Such blatant manipulation reeks of goat-shit. Unable to convince the masses to join them in renewed bid to grab political power, the political opposition (a friend calls them the disgruntled opposition) are trying to mobilize the youth by USING the religious sector and the media and just about everybody else who dares falls into the trap of their Jun Lozada script.
I agree that it is the duty of every citizen to be concerned with the affairs of government but we must NEVER fall into the trap set by politicians who have shown no qualms of using public opinion in the furtherance their selfish ends. The danger of Jun Lozada is not in the exposure of seemingly unbridled corruption in government: It is in manipulating the political power of the people and abusing popular will in order to serve self-serving interests.
Enlisting kids to join in subverting authority is one example.
This we cannot allow.
Leave it to the alumni, I guess? Those less interested in goat-poop can, instrad, go on explaining ,as Filomeno Sta. Ana III does, what The Fight for our Children’s Future is about.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping Bel familiarizes herself more with space. Cyberspace.
Now this extract from Space Bel’s column will, I’m sure, get someone’s goat:
There’s inaccuracy regarding the ZTE document signed in Boao, China, last April, and peddling it shows the opposition’s intellectual dishonesty. President Arroyo went to Boao mainly to deliver a speech before the biannual gathering of international leaders there. Afterwards she planned to spend a week in China, but First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s condition forced her to cut her visit to only 12 hours. Before flying back, Ms Arroyo witnessed the signing of several agreements by various government officials, among them the ZTE deal.
What was signed, however, was not a contract, but only a memorandum of understanding on a supply contract, which is only Step No. 3 in a 17-step process that includes multi-department reviews. The Department of Finance late last year circulated an enlightening graph showing this long process. The many steps could be the reason the cancellation of the deal took five months. But this graph was ignored by the media, which chose instead to strengthen the perception that the ZTE “contract” was consummated at Boao.
I leave it to Uniffors, though, to chew on in. If anyone can get her goat, that blogger will. Perhaps Bel has no diplomatic experience and so needs to be informed what it means when a head of state witnesses the signing of any sort of official document.
And so, the debate on what to do, what not to do (or simply, to be left alone, as A Simple Life prefers), or perhaps whether what should be done is worth it it all, continue. Pinoy Potter’s Chronicles is filled with misgivings at the scale of the problem. And yes, ambivalence about People Power, see The Warrior Lawyer.
He’s not a blogger but Juan Mercado’s Fond illusion looks at the same problem, too:
The crisis, meanwhile, dismantles unnoticed one of our fondest illusions: that before midnight, someone on a white charger, will dash in to banish enemies. They’d rebuild plundered institutions while we slump back to business-as-usual.
This ZTE scam instead tells us: Look beyond discredited pretenders to ordinary people. Leadership is not an office. It is life lived and, in the on-going process, brings change. Academics, parents, students and barangay officials seeking truth will usher in tomorrow. They continue to do that with Governor “Among Ed” Panlilio in Pampanga province. People Power is a weapon of last resort. A stray “hinge factor” may yet see that unsheathed.
“Much of what is new and innovative is not initiated by governments,” Indonesian thinker Soedjatmoko wrote. “Their source is ‘movements from below’: expressions by ordinary people of their aspirations for a decent, secure and equitable way of life.”
Or, as big mango asks, should we aspire for a continuing revolution?
As John Nery points out, what people overlook is that a People Power moment just materializes, though it’s the tug-of-war over public opinion that creates a situation in which People Power can manifest itself. Two years ago I quoted Teodoro L. Locsin Jr.’s dismissive remark on the first impeachment effort, that the opposition was “trying to manufacture a People Power moment,” and agreed with him; there is a more conscious appreciation of the need not to force things forward but trust the Fates to let them unfold in their own good time (which is why those who argue the recent gatherings are an effort to force that moment, are completely wrong).
Returning to Neri:
I think it is fair to say that, for many who are now outraged by the abuse of power and immoderate greed revealed by the ZTE-NBN scandal, the analogy for today’s crisis is that turbulent 100-day period between October 2000 and January 2001. If true, then taking to the streets should quickly lead to a decisive People Power moment.
But it is also possible that the real analogy goes farther back in time. The highly esteemed Torn and Frayed blog, for instance, posits the idea that Lozada is today’s Perfecto Yasay — the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who dueled with Estrada a year before Singson saw the light (the headlight, that is, of an unfriendly police vehicle). We should remember that the road to EDSA People Power II wound through Ayala Avenue too; in August 1999, over 100,000 people thronged the famous intersection to denounce Estrada’s attacks on press freedom.
I think the real analogy may be to that even more turbulent 1,000-day period between the Ninoy Aquino assassination and EDSA People Power I. We took to the streets almost every week then, driven by the need to confront the evil in the system, but acutely aware that the dictator’s fake-hero persona would not allow him to cede control peacefully. People Power as we know it now was not even a dream then.
So, yes, we should take to the streets; we should repair to our churches; we should fill the public square. But we should let People Power take care of itself.
Meanwhile, it’s up to the citizenry to figure out their personal level of engagement, and define what their participation ought to look like, as caffeine_sparks suggests. Blogger-citizens like Don’t F**k with a Ninja!! are under the impression that political questions require “proof” beyond reasonable doubt. This has never been the case whether for impeachment or elections, a moral certainty is what’s required, precisely because proof beyond reasonable doubt is what’s required for a criminal conviction; in political matters what suffices is simply a preponderance of evidence (as in civil cases). Does it exist? c0nfoUnd aMbigUity seems to think so.
What interests me though are those who support the President because they are uneasy about the Vice-President. But the President hand-picked de Castro to be her vice-presidential candidate; he was her choice, and she knows as well as anyone else that a veep is literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, it’s happened three times to us. Therefore, in her mind, the person best qualified to succeed her should the unthinkable ever happen, is the Vice-President. So you trust her wisdom, then you must accept her choice. If you didn’t accept her choice, you should’ve voted for someone else for veep (for this reason, I voted to Hermie Aquino in 2004).