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Sep 10

The Long View: Light and darkness

The Long View

Light and darkness

By Manuel L. Quezon III

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 00:56:00 09/10/2009

So it begins, where martial law ended 23 years ago: at Club Filipino, with its aptly-named Kalayaan Hall – knowing full well, there’s another Kalayaan Hall, in Malacanang.

It’s also appropriate that Sen. Benigno Aquino III declared he’s running for president not only on the 40th day after his mother passed away, but on the birth anniversary of Sergio Osmena, that statesman of whom the late Teodoro M. Locsin once wrote that he “was mad- mad for fairness,” in one sentence that describes what serves as the ultimate and essential check and balance on presidents.

As “meilarnee,” a rehabilitation medicine practitioner, said on Twitter Wednesday, “Our long-standing battle against corruption can never be won by credentials but by character.” Although Ricky Estrada (“RickyEst”) also on Twitter, suggested, “maybe NoyNoy’s best credentials are clean hands after 3 terms in Congress and one in Senate and trained by Ninoy/Cory on the job.”

My personal view is that until our institutions can be nursed back to health after the sustained browbeating and abuse they’ve sustained under the present dispensation – until, once more, an impersonal law can draw the line which no official should dare to cross – we have to have a president whose private conscience will draw that line. We’ve seen how, if that privately-drawn line does not hold, all other lines can be easily moved. Over and over again.

The moveable nature of everythin – past precedents ignored, checks and balances disregarded, accountability not even given lip service – enabled the Arroyo administration to be a moveable target, except that it now faces the very immovable object that enabled it to survive, and even flourish, thus far: the end of the terms of the President and her people.

The administration’s Frankenstein coalition is in the peculiar but not unexpected situation of a well-groomed kennel of poodles that discovered their fluffy loyalty cannot make them men or women of national standing. Instead, it leaves them with nothing but their canine lack of stature. But then they know what it’s like to be all bark and no national bite: similarly entrenched coalitions composed of pretty much the same people went down in defeat in 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2004 (unless you still believe the President truly “won”).

Still, until Wednesday they had probably hoped that machinery would count in ensuring the delivery of votes in 2010 up and down the line. And until Wednesday, the fight was being viewed by nearly all sides (except that of Francis Escudero) as a battle of machinery, of well-oiled logistics, in the absence of the machine candidates being able to fire up the public imagination.

It was all set to be a battle of command votes, ranging from warlords, both from the Left and the Right, and their captive populations, to religious voting blocs, all taking advantage of an overabundance of presidential candidates who lacked broad national constituencies but who, with enough wheeling and dealing, cobble together enough to eke out more than the next rival. The well-ordered, even predictable, universe of the political operators has been shaken up by the Aquino candidacy.

That candidacy has all the makings of a bonafide insurgency: against the Frankenstein coalition and its allies in the military and the bureaucracy; against the command vote brokers in the Left and Right, and so forth. That candidacy also has the dangerous potential of getting bogged down, ironically, by the enthusiasm and volunteerism of people vowing to flock to Noynoy’s campaign. It could become a chaotic mix of frantic dreamers, all energetic exertion but lacking in true forward momentum.

Because of this danger, the first litmus test of Aquino’s fitness for the presidency, after having passed the first hurdle of presenting himself to the people, will be how he manages his campaign. It helps that his announcement was greeted by increased interest in scrutinizing the positions he has taken, politically. It also helps that – anecdotally, at least – I hear many people asking to see his campaign platform.

That platform can provide the shared goals that will unite Aquino, as a candidate, with his volunteers, and at the same time, to borrow his father’s words, provide a basis for “reconciliation with justice.” An election is much more about the future than it is the past; and it is a cohesive yet understandable vision for governance that people deserve to see and scrutinize.

It’s a tribute to the electorate that even among those greeting the Aquino candidacy with expressions of good will, you also hear that many intend to ask tough questions of all the candidates.

Still, since no one can predict the future, elections are also about the public deciding who deserves its trust. A candidate marked by personal integrity, who embraces transparency and flees neither debate nor investigation, and yes, one with concrete ideas as to what constitutes good governance not only on the future chief executive’s part, but for those who want to be on his ticket is a formidable one to start with. But it is not enough to start off that way, one has to finish the race that way.

Particularly since this is now a race where the only real antidote to the Aquino campaign is cynicism. It was cynicism that melted away when Cory Aquino died, it is cynicism that must be brought back if the crafty calculations that have been in play are to remain relevant. It is cynicism that can validate all the compromises that have excused the goings-on that have brought the country to the point it’s at now: with every institution tarnished, and with deep divisions in society.

And that, at the heart of it, is the real referendum this election will be about: to care so mightily about the country one can still dare to hope, or to surrender to the past while cloaking it in appeals to pragmatism.

50 comments

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  1. sinisterspark

    Apparently Aquino is the only available vessel for hope. Is that it?

    I too hope, but my hope is not going blindly with just any person. I put my hope in all of them. If people can disregard Aquino’s lack of credentials and hope that his character and integrity would be enough, I can hope that Villar can transcend his loose morality and be honest for once and use his business acumento push economic progress; I can hope that Escudero can act with the maturity of a more experienced statesman and use his tenacity in ways more productive than just criticizing existing institutions; I can hope that Estrada would bow out of the race and acknowledge that he is not the best man for the job; I can go on an on with this.

    Corruption is not the only problem that we are battling here. We are battling poverty. We are battling inefficiency in institutions that, even when made clean, remains inefficient because of being old and archaic. We are facing a complex economic environment. I am not going to be easily convinced that we are going to hoist all of this on the shoulders of someone who only has “character” and “bloodline” behind him.

    I am undecided and researching my choices but this expectation of blind hope is exasperating.

  2. Valerie Parreno

    The fact that people are asking about Noynoy and his platform of government is a good thing. Even if a lot of people have a lot of respect for Noynoy, people want to see his credentials. Maybe, we are finally maturing as a nation. I’m hoping that this will bring an end to “personality-driven politics”.

  3. Kevin Cabanban

    “And that, at the heart of it, is the real referendum this election will be about: to care so mightily about the country one can still dare to hope, or to surrender to the past while cloaking it in appeals to pragmatism.”

    And we do dare to remain hopeful.

  4. ricelander

    If he wins, Noynoy vows he will go after the alleged unexplained wealth of the Marcoses to give it a closure. Good, but we’ll see. His mother’s very first act precisely for that purpose was to create the Presidential Commission on Good Government(PCGG). Today, look at PCGG, the embodiment of all that a good government should not be.

    Speaking of unexplained wealth, will somebody please explain the origins of Hacienda Luisita, the crown jewel of a family whose pedigree they say gives Noynoy a sort moral mandate to set things right in this country.

  5. The EQualizer

    The key lesson from the Cory presidency is that high integrity is NOT enough.

    We need high integrity plus high performance!

  6. VSB

    Somebody should point out to all who care to listen that the much vaunted “machinery” that Ermita, Villar and even Estrada mentions is nothing more than plain and simple patronage. Pang mudmod sa mga lider, bayad ng watcher, panggastos ng barangay chairman. One thing ordinary filipinos hopefully still value is their kahihiyan (even if the government officials dont). it has to be drilled and shouted to high heavens the insidious nature of “machinery politics” In effect it institutionalizes mendicancy & patronage or in masa parlance- ginagawang Busabos ang botante. How can we trumpet and spread the word on this cancer called machinery politics? Even the masa should cringe if they are referred to as “busabos” as they allow themselves to be herded like goats to the polling place. The youth is a good place to start.

  7. BrianB

    The majority of Filipinos are like sheep. Give them a good shepherd and you’ll have your moral institutions glitteringly vertical in no time.

    “The key lesson from the Cory presidency is that high integrity is NOT enough.”

    Cory didn’t do everything with integrity. She was able to manipulate her own conscience in the interest of her family and also of her stomach–she can stomach the suffering of the peasantry but couldn’t bear her family to suffer.

  8. baycas

    A marcos-made-worse situation
    should best be treated with
    an Aquino-made-better one.

  9. AdB

    Excellent piece Manolo!

  10. SoP

    “ricelander on Thu, 10th Sep 2009 3:39 pm
    Speaking of unexplained wealth, will somebody please explain the origins of Hacienda Luisita, the crown jewel of a family whose pedigree they say gives Noynoy a sort moral mandate to set things right in this country.”

    The area known as Hacienda Luisita is Aeta forest ancestral domain which, after driving away the aborigines, was cleared and farmed by Pampangos through the Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas, a Spanish company, which was bought by the Cojuangco family in the 1950s, with government guaranteed loans.

    In my humble opinion, the Aetas are the only ones with legitimate claim to the land. My fellow Pampangos, who according to our supreme court should be given chunks of the land via CARP law, in my view aare nothing more than squatters. Basically, it was a land grab by the Spanish, which is just another way of saying it was stolen land. Thus, the Cojuangcos effectively bought “fenced goods” from thieves.

  11. Carlito

    It’s sad that we’ve come full circle from 1986 when we were so desperate to grab on to anything that floats – it was Cory in 1986, it will be her son in 2010.

    It is true that we need to restore political and civil liberties through the institutions that foster it. It was truly the gift of Cory to us all. But as we have experienced these liberties come hand in hand with economic and social freedoms. If a leader cannot promise Filipinos a “sense of unlimited possibilities” then that leader is not good enough.

    I have a sinking feeling that things will be the same with Noynoy. He’s got integrity, fine. But do we have to swallow incompetence?

    Wala na bang iba?

  12. SoP

    With that in my, I’m sick of all the Cojuangco/Hacienda Luisita leftist bashing and accusation of theft.

    Hacienda Luisita is like a golden egg sold by a thief (Spanish) to the Cojuangcos, who later gave it to a Kapampangans to shine and polish. After many a years of shining and polishing this golden egg, the Pampangos decided that the golden egg should be melted into numerous bullions and given away to all those people who shined and polished it. To legitimise this, the legislators dreamed up this theory that 1. Any gold bullion, if shined and polished for many a decades, will eventually belong to the shiner and polisher, 2. that the numerous gold bullion parts are more valuable than golden egg sum, and 3. the allocation of gold bullions to Pampangos will be paid for by the tax payer (Tagalogs, Bisaya, Ilocano, etc) to the Cojuangcos to the tune of 15 billion pesos.

  13. ramrod

    The task of nation building does fall on one man’s shoulders alone, we are all responsible for this. NoyNoy is not a saint, not even Cory, they are just ordinary people like you and me given the unfortunate expectation of performing extraordinarily…if we meet with the same situation after choosing a new president, its our fault, we can’t blame one single person…even Gloria was installed to power by so many. So whateve the outcome is, campaigning should stop immediately, and a moratorium to people power put in place, until such time we can get our institutions up and running the way they should, the economy genuinely improved, and firmly draw the lines that must not be crossed.

  14. baycas

    From PCIJ:

    Introducing Noynoy Aquino

  15. ramrod

    Dividing large tracts of land and giving them to untrained, uneducated farmers will never work. Elsewhere in the world, its the large, integrated, mechanized and efficiently run farms are doing well. We have been fighting since time immemorial, clashing the rich landowners against the poor…if we were in their place, are we willing to part with inherited lands, which were also fruits of hard work? I believe no one became rich overnight, it takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and hard decisions.
    Why not allow the rich landowners to get richer but encourage them, no, force them to compensate their workers properly, and provide other needs? Surely, sustainability would be good for both parties in the long run?

  16. SoP

    My solution to the agrarian problem in Tarlac is for the Cojuangcos to pay rent to the Aetas, ad infinitum, or they can offers the Aetas a price, which, if accepted by the Aetas, will grant true ownership of the land to the Cojuangcos.

    The 6000 Kapampangan farmers have no more claim to Luisita than a factory worker in a San Miguel plant has claim to the machinery, building, or land in a San Miguel factory.

  17. The Cusp

    You have hit the nail on the head, Manolo, when you state that our institutions need to evolve, to provide greater restraint on the part of publicly elected officials. Great personal wealth has not made past presidents immune from the temptations of “taking” vs “making” while in office.

    The previous investments in the form of self-sacrifice in the name of restoring democracy that the Aquino forebears have made, make reneging on his obligation to serve with integrity too great for Noynoy.

    This may be the only way to enforce effectively a check on executive avarice and rent-seeking.

    Other commenters have rightly pointed out that honesty, while necessary, is not a sufficient quality for a successful president. I would put to them though the idea that competence is useful only when political and economic markets are operating normally. For them to function a certain level of assurance that players will abide by the rules needs to prevail. What we have currently is a market failure in politics.

    There is so much distrust of government initiatives because every time a new program gets funded, say fertilisers for farmers, cash transfers for the poor, textbooks for schools, etc, they get raided by those who run them. The underlying incentive structure prevents even those with noble intentions from fulfilling them. Restoring trust in government through integrity may allow these programs to function properly and lead to better outcomes for all.

  18. ramrod

    My solution to the agrarian problem in Tarlac is for the Cojuangcos to pay rent to the Aetas, ad infinitum, or they can offers the Aetas a price, which, if accepted by the Aetas, will grant true ownership of the land to the Cojuangcos.
    ——————————————–

    As usual SOP, you have a very accute sense of what is sustainablea and fair…interesting insights without being a nutball. 🙂

  19. SoP

    Even I, as a Kapampangan, find it morally reprehensible and a daylight theft, to pay 15 billion pesos in taxes to buy this land for 6000 Kapampangan farmers.

    I’m surprised how you non-Kapampangans can tolerate this highway thievery by 6000 farmers of our hard earned tax money.

  20. ramrod

    Other commenters have rightly pointed out that honesty, while necessary, is not a sufficient quality for a successful president. I would put to them though the idea that competence is useful only when political and economic markets are operating normally.
    ————————————————
    Competence without integrity usually breeds double standards, impunity, and exploitation…

  21. SoP

    “Surely, sustainability would be good for both parties in the long run?”

    Thanks to you ramrod, I have now come full circle and found the last jigsaw piece in the formulation of the agrarian land reform platform of my political party:

    “Agrarian land shall be the property, subject to verification by historians, of aboriginal people who shall be paid by rent Hacienda Corporations, which will be owned 70% by the original cacique owners and 30% by farmers (with flexibility for proportional percentage of ownership subject to agreement by both parties).

  22. taxj

    Legislation is one thing, execution another. If your concern is the law, go to your congressman or senator. If you want it done go the Presidency or the agencies concerned.

    So, we need a president who can lead or make people move. This calls for dynamism and decisiveness, not a pussy foot nor a sisters’ man. High performace in the senate do not guarantee inspiring leadership. Would a non-performer fare better? Well… maybe if he’s an Alfredo Lim which Noynoy is not.

    Honesty and integrity is not just about being clean. It is also about doing your job. Did Noynoy earn his keep in Congress?

  23. BrianB

    SoP, sabi ko na nga sa inyo tagal na, dapat confiscate lahat ng lupa ng mga tisoy na land owners, unless they can proof they bought the land from a native. Sa Mindanao binili nila yan sa mga may-ari talaga, kaya walang karapatan ang mga Moros magsalita sa kanila.

  24. The Cusp

    In the previous incarnation of the Philippine Republic under the US Commonwealth, local landed elites or caciques were able to enforce a system of property rights that recognised their sometimes illegitimate means of acquiring wealth through their proximity and access to power in the representative government.

    The demise and revival of the old order under a more open society has led to a greater decentralisation of power, which in turn has led to greater transactions costs in any traditional campaign to reach the presidency. This and the low intrinsic rewards of office have meant that the incentives to use the instruments of power to repay old political and campaign debts and to amass personal wealth have become too appealing. Even those who rise to power with good intentions end up being swallowed by the system.

    The Aquinos represent a reform of this system from within. Will it succeed? Only time will tell.

  25. taxj

    Hacienda Luisitas are spilt milk. Confiscation? Joma Sison for President, or dictator! The more prudent thing to do is prevent more such spillages. This is the intent of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. We must protect and promote the rights of “Aetas” throughout the land. It is the only way to lasting peace in Mindanao, not war nor talks. It is also a formula for economic growth.

    Would Noynoy take the cudgels for our less privileged brothers? He might want to, but can he? The Mendiola massacre, Hacienda Luisita and the mass dismissal of protesting teachers under Cory are hardly grounds for optimism. Nor is his record as a legislator. Nor are the people behind his thrust into the fray.

  26. benign0

    If you really want Noynoy to step up to being a symbol of the future rather than a symbol of the past, then tell his mouthpiece Conrado de Quiros to shut up as he is doing more damage to his manok than good.

    de Quiros likened the 2010-2016 presidency as a janitorial job rather than a job fitting for a true executive:

    The job at hand is not CEO of a company, it is janitor of a building. What this country needs today is not someone to manage things, it is someone to clean up things. What we need today is not someone to make a business flourish, it is someone to make a dwelling place habitable, one whose previous tenant left it in a condition only cockroaches, rats, and real-estate speculators, in ascending order of predation, can appreciate. Who better to do this than Noynoy?

    What lies beyond 2010?

    What’s next?

    Those are the questions befitting a people that are truly destined for greatness.

    Those who are stuck in the romanticism of 1986 belong to a museum.

  27. ramrod

    The job at hand is not CEO of a company, it is janitor of a building. What this country needs today is not someone to manage things, it is someone to clean up things. What we need today is not someone to make a business flourish, it is someone to make a dwelling place habitable, one whose previous tenant left it in a condition only cockroaches, rats, and real-estate speculators, in ascending order of predation, can appreciate. Who better to do this than Noynoy?
    ———————————————————

    Yo, hold on for a minute there! De Quiros was probably describing his own kitchen, its not that bad really, its just politics…I have to agree with benigno here, we have to be grounded, and not put so much stock on drama, as this will only lead to serious disappointments. Noynoy can’t possibly clean up Philippine politics by himself, not even if he stays 20 years – by then he could be adding to the problem also.
    Looking at Noynoy’s past, he had a stint in Mondragon in sales, now that brings him closer to being human than most politicians who were born with silver spoons…he knows how to plan at least, and work the plan…set objectives and work to meet them but this time, he has us to rely on (if he wins)…
    Of course, knowing how local politics works, an element of romance usually sells the message well, so does dancing, and singing on stage. I doubt if he knows how to do both anyway…

  28. The Cusp

    Both the Communist and Indigenous people’s struggles are rooted in the weak or unjust enforcement of property rights over land. Despite the enactment of laws that supposedly redistribute these assets, the agencies tasked with their implementation either lack the capacity or have been captured by vested interests. This is why Noynoy nearly stumbled by averting the Mindanao question altogether at his press conference. There is no simple solution.

    Yet, the same weakness in property rights could bedevil reforms in other areas of the economy and impede valuable investments from materialising (NAIA Terminal 3 is a glaring case). This brings us back to Manolo’s point about strengthening institutions and having an impersonal governance system that does not depend on connections and patrimonial relationships.

    The Philippines does not need at this point a managerialist president who negotiates deals (a la NBN or C5). It needs an honest steward who can ensure impersonal transactions, the integrity and enforcement of contracts. Political and economic markets are not performing efficiently because of this lack of transparency.

  29. Carl

    “And that, at the heart of it, is the real referendum this election will be about: to care so mightily about the country one can still dare to hope, or to surrender to the past while cloaking it in appeals to pragmatism.” – Manolo Quezon

    *************************************************

    Ganun pala ka simple. Those who blindly support Noynoy Aquino dare to hope, while those who question his competence are surrendering to the past. Manolo’s logic is mind-blowing.

    Pwede naman siguro maging objective while asking hard questions about very real concerns about competence. Even assuming that Noynoy passes the litmus test of integrity (his limited experience indicates very limited exposure to tests of his integrity), integrity alone is not enough. After all, they say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    And, as Samuel Johnson once remarked: “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful”.

  30. taxj

    “Even assuming that Noynoy passes the litmus test of integrity (his limited experience indicates very limited exposure to tests of his integrity)…” – Carl

    – Isn’t his stint as a legislator enough exposure to such tests? For years he obviously either can’t or didn’t even try to do his job well enough as a legislator yet he clings to it as though the phrase, no work no pay, is only for underlings. How far do we have to bend our yardstick just to accommodate him in the exclusive and elusive realm of honesty and integrity?

    Inaction where action is needed should be equated with plunder. It robs us of opportunities for a better life that a meaningful legislation could otherwise offer. Being weak and useless where strength and performance is called for is also dangerous and dreadful. But what if you have neither integrity nor knowledge? What if you’re a Noynoy?

  31. The EQualizer

    “I cannot understand why you would call it a euphoria.It’s euphoria when you have one million people rejoicing in the streets. But it’s not when you have only 5,000 people wearing yellow shirts.” Prospero Pichay

  32. ramrod

    No one here can really judge NoyNoy’s integrity as no one knows him that well, worked with him, saw him make decisions, or take a leak… just look at the other options? Career politicians/media personalities/businessmen, with a common denominator – ambition, blind enough to step on others’ careers, pride, and rights. Performance as a legislator, he’s doing as well as Cayetano, perhaps better than Bong Revilla, and probably had more legislative experience than Erap.
    I dare say not one of us here even holds a candle to Noynoy, what have we done for the country really, blogged patriotically, blogged to the point of shedding blood, sweat, and tears? Perhaps blogged to death?
    Let the people decide, eventually after all thats being said and done, its the choice of the majority that counts…and whoever he/she will be, I hope gets a copy if SOP’s platform…:)

  33. SoP

    I hate to rain on you parade ramrod, because of all the posters here, I feel we have the most similar political views.

    To be honest, I only want incremental changes. I have an ulterior motive for this. My family, from parents to uncles to aunties and siblings, are all in the states. Being a bunso, I decided to stay here in the Philippines. I get an allowance from all my relatives, on top of the dollar saving I had as a young man working in the USA.

    Revolutionary changes could mean dollar parity vs the peso will decrease. I don’t want that. I favor a high dollar exchange rate because my seniorito lifestyle is sustained by dollars. Although I want Philippine inflation to be reigned in. This means I get the best of both worlds, dollars which can be converted into mucho pesos that will buy a lot.

    At the moment, I feel like whatever dollar advantages I get are being eroded by too much inflation. Which is why I support extreme anti-inflationary measures (high interest rates, decrease deficits), coupled with high oil-consuming economy, even if their bad for the country or the poor.

    I guess my point is, we all have ulterior motives. Kung tayo ngang mga ordinaryong mamamayan, sarili lang ang tinignan at gusto ang easy way out, pano pa kaya ang mga politiko?

    Which bring me to Noynoy. I look at him, and I see a guy who wouldn’t grow up. He traded Korina for a younger, thus more fertile, cuter woman. He couldn’t handle a well-accomplished older career woman for who knows what reason. Maybe he feels his personal achievements pale in comparison to Korina’s. So he had to downgrade to a girl who is of no stature (though cute and educated) in the Philippine sense, where a last name is still a big deal. Add to the fact that he’s old and half the age of his girlfriend, who has the potential to be the first lady of the Philippines. And he’s also balding. And he’s not exactly the most charming and good looking of people, especially compared to his father.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m just trying to psychanalyze Noynoy before I make a decision. I’m trying to imagine him as a President. The presidency can change people.

    Maybe you could help me out with my psychologizing of Pinoy presidentiables.

  34. ramrod

    SOP,
    Believe me, I want the Usd to strengthen more than anything else as I work for “dayuhans” also. Noynoy strikes me as the typical nerd type, low key, just content on working quietly, not make waves, and the type who gets underestimated just by first impression alone. I saw him at the Podium just last week, he entered, wearing a black, short sleeved polo, jeans, receding hairline, and a shy demeanor. Certainly not the “look straight in the eyes” crowd I roll with. He looked liked the type of employee you like to boss around, scold, insult, and he’ll take it quietly and still smile and greet you the next day. Bottomline, he looks reliable, in a slow but sure kind of way. Definitely not flashy, he could be the peoples’ choice, but I don’t think the middle class will let him win – he doesn’t look very presidentiable and if he wins and doesn’t get the military reigned in, he’ll be in for a surprise. Personally, if Korina was my girlfriend I’d dump her after a few vigorous Hayden moments, mostly just to get back at her for bitch slapping me around. She’s a talking head, and thats all she’ll be good at, I wouldn’t know about the other stuff, but she looks selfish.
    I’ve been looking for a Ferdinand Marcos aura, the bearing, the intelligence, the speeches, reminds me of the Hitler speeches where everybody gets inflamed with patriotism all of a sudden, but in a good way.
    Like you, I would like our president to be the image of the best of us, tall, looks like he knows where he’s going, strong, smart, well dressed, talks sense, inspiring, and because we’re Filipinos (who at times behave like children)- someone who can be bossy at times. Noynoy can do with a bit of makeover, brute stength and native talent won’t do, he needs help, like from an image consultant.
    I’m not totally sold out on Noynoy, but at the moment, there’s not much choice. Can anyone convince Mr. Soriano to run for president? I’d vote for him in a heartbeat or anyone from the Ayalas. You’ll be surprised at how the people will just toe the line if that happens.

  35. SoP

    Noynoy: “Kasi there will always be that tendency to experiment either by backsliding or going back to a rightist government or a leftist government. Di ba parang we’re centrist; we agree that this is the best possible form of government and all we need to do is fine-tune it and make it really work.”

    This was 2003. Hopefully, he’ll stay centrist. I’m content with a centrist government.

    http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/ht/ht003667(dot)htm

  36. SoP

    Noynoy: “Kasi there will always be that tendency to experiment either by backsliding or going back to a rightist government or a leftist government. Di ba parang we’re centrist; we agree that this is the best possible form of government and all we need to do is fine-tune it and make it really work.”

    This was 2003. Hopefully, he’ll stay centrist. I’m content with a centrist government.

    http(colon)//www(dot)newsflash(dot)org/2003/05/ht/ht003667(dot)htm

  37. taxj

    The steering wheel is centrist. It veers towards the left or the right with ease. Leftists and rightists can lean towards only one direction: the center. Yet the center could be as stifling or frustrating as the rest. Vigilance can only go so far, not beyond the net.

    I participate in analyzing candidate as a kind of mental exercise only. Who knows that I’m trying to shake up Noynoy a bit ro ward off the urge to vote for him? The people’s choice, not mine, will win anyway unless the machines say otherwise. Or says something incredible. To the losers it will always be so, true or not. What then?

    Manolo, something weird or disturbing is going on. First pensioners get paid on day one of the month. It was moved to the 9th. Now GSIS moved it to the 23rd, with a notice of reduction in rate. Teachers are advised to reconsider their retirement plans. GSIS, it seems, has some money problems. Please look into this. I am a pensioner because my wife is. Hehehe.

  38. J_AG

    It was Drucker who postulated that civil society is a metaphorical phrase that referred to the institutions of the rule of law and financial regulation. Every student of history since the Roman Empire are aware of the strategic importance of the system of laws and financial regulation (debasing currency) that allowed the Empire to grow and decay based on the overreach.

    Unfortunately many here were not avid students of English literature. de Quiros is a brilliant writer. His use of the word janitor refers to the urgent need to repair and clean up what will be left of the severely damaged institutions of the real civil society. They are human institutions affected by the natural tendency to be wicked.

    We used to be a state with a strong tradition of civil society left by the Kano’s. Yes it was a colonial structure. It started to crumble soon afterward. Marcos changed the entire equation.

    It is simply amazing how ignorant so many of the young are.

    Based on the present situation it would appear that the most wicked of the men seeking the presidency would be Villar.

    I think he will be the man to beat. We should all be happy and allow this type of wickedness to prevail. He is embarking on the establishment of a new type of dynasty. Unknown to many the taxpayers have already been subsidizing his material gains. Now let him give back in the form of his spending huge amounts for getting elected. Between him and the government there will be a lot of funds put back into the economy. It is not productive but nevertheless at least they will spend.

    Our brand of participatory democracy is more market driven than anything else. Mahirap ibenta si Noynoy. My suggestion for the youth around the country is to organize volunteers for Villar and try to get funding from him. His ego is as big enough for the whole country. He will be spending billions… Try to get a piece of it. Make it a business.

    In the U.S. there are more lobbyists than there are people in Congress. The ratio is more than 3 to 1. That is the heart of participatory democracy.

    This is a great time to be wicked… Just look at the posts of SOP, Ramrod and many others. Ang tatanga nila.. Pero they are advocating for something that they do not even understand.

  39. Carl

    I don’t usually agree with the guy, but Billy Esposo makes plausible points in his article in today’s Star:

    ” Now, the charlatans are setting this fallacious standard that the Opposition must unite behind a single candidate if it is to win in the 2010 presidential election. Whoever is mouthing that line, you can liken that person to an anal ‘sphincter’ specializing in the distribution of ordure.

    Why? It is because their conclusions do not conform to ground reality like the following:

    1. The administration does not even have a top rating candidate. Their best bet is Vice President Noli de Castro who is now lagging behind as third placer and there is no saying how much lower he’ll fall once he runs as the administration candidate.

    2. Bad as the terrain is for the administration, it should worsen with the resurgence of the Yellow Fever which produced the Noynoy Aquino factor. Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is largely seen as the antithesis of Cory C. Aquino and the rise of the leader inheriting the mantle of Cory Aquino will naturally galvanize the anti GMA forces, easily over 65%.”

    ****************************

    I do think Noynoy is the man to beat, despite serious doubts about his capability to lead. Quite simply, the stars are aligned in his favor. Contrary to Cassius’ admonition to Brutus, our fate is in the stars, not in ourselves.

    However, as Brutus later states:
    “There is a tide in the affairs of men
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”.

    The gods deal out the cards, yet how we choose to play our hand will depend entirely upon each us. For the sake of all of us, let’s hope that Noynoy is a better card player than his mother!

  40. SoP

    I’ve asked that question before. Why coalesce? Mar and Among Ed would have had a fighting chance if they ran. Think about it. Mar, Noynoy, Erap (if allowed), Villar, Among Ed, Gilberto…the votes would have spread out evenly. It would have been a super minority president that would win sure. But still, miscalculation on the part of Mar and Among Ed to think they didn’t have a chance of winning the highest seat for themselves.

  41. SoP

    “Their best bet is Vice President Noli de Castro who is now lagging behind as third placer and there is no saying how much lower he’ll fall once he runs as the administration candidate”

    But Noli finds it in bad taste to be the standard bearer for Gloria. It would erode whatever goodwill and popularity he culminated in the decades he was a show host. I don’t think he’s that stupid to throw it all away. Same goes for Villar. He wouldn’t want to be associated with the pandak. Nobody wants the poisonous endorsement of GMA, except for Gilberto, who, to begin with, is already unpopular anyway. Whatever votes can be stolen using the administration machinery won’t be enough padding for the very thin base of Gilberto’s supporters and the “negative endorsement” of GMA.

    How stupid is Philippine politics? When a united opposition was much needed during the Erap and GMA victories or 1998 and 2004, one cannot be found. Now that there isn’t a need, the presidentiables want to coalesce. Fuck. It boggles the mind.

  42. The Cusp

    The reality is that while it is a great advantage for a nation to have an incorruptible president, it is not enough. Beyond serving as a moral exemplar, a modern leader is expected to be a statesman whose function—said the political philosopher Hannah Arendt—“was not to act but to impose permanent rules on the changing circumstances and unstable affairs of acting men.” In short, to build institutions. – Prof Randy David, The Inquirer.
    ———-
    To those who have been raising the question of competence: competence in what?
    What Prof David’s is saying, is that we need someone who is competent in building the right institutions. In this regard, I do not think any of the other presidential contenders have an advantage.
    At least, the Aquinos have a record of ushering in political and economic reforms peacefully. As Dodong Paderanga, Cielito Habito and Ben Diokno have pointed out, the growth experienced under Ramos and Arroyo, the resiliency of the Philippines in weathering the Asian and Global Financial Crises has much to do with the structural reforms initiated under Cory (it takes years before the benefits of these policies come to fruition).
    If Noynoy is simply able to preserve these advances, wind back some of the damage caused by successive administrations, and make some incremental improvements, the country would fare much better than it has.
    The biggest challenge will come in institution building. Our informal norms and customs of patrimonialism have not evolved with the times and no longer suit the structure of our open economy. Creating better governance in applying the rule of law and greater transparency in government will usher in greater business confidence and stability.
    In assessing competence and performance, it is in these areas that we should be assessing the candidates, personality issues aside.

  43. taxj

    Noynoy for president. Either our bench is shallow or we are. We peddle him on the basis of hope: hope that he will deliver, hope that he will change. On what is this thrust anchored on? Nothing, except his progeny, wishful thinking and the sinister thought that he could be manipulated to serve our ends, as was Cory.

  44. ramrod

    I think he will be the man to beat. We should all be happy and allow this type of wickedness to prevail. He is embarking on the establishment of a new type of dynasty.
    —————————————————

    JAG, in his usual benigno-like charm, has a point here. Simplified, its just like saying “nice guys finish last” at first it sounds like a nugget of wisdom, but no cigar, its defeatest and downright servile – but very pinoy also. Thats right, yield to the big bully, its futile to resist anyway, and just lie down, enjoy being raped and afterwards, act as if it was a favor.
    Yes, if all things go as it should, seeking the path of least resistance, Villar will be president. Then again why be wicked? We’re supposed to yearn for good, to fight for good, to live for good, or just be good right? Otherwise Joker will go after us.
    Its easy to use the facade of markets, management jargon, etc to cloud things up, especially if you’re a non practitioner, they say, those who don’t do – teach. Most of us have probably overshot our economics/business management/mba professors by a mile a long time ago, but at the time they were all knowing gurus…too bad they were just that, gurus, not doers…
    De Quiros, though a known literary achiever, but he’s far from being right all the time. He may believe that he is spreading wisdom, but he’s not…like all of us bozos, he can be irresponsible at times, and this is one of those times.
    Like when Erap blabbered “the country is bankrupt” before, he tried to make a point by dramatizing the situation – the result was unintended, nevertheless, for someone supposed to be smart, he’s talking stupid.
    There are too many gurus, but not so people who would actually roll up their sleeves and get things done and dare to hope that things will be better…

  45. ramrod

    The shooting incident involving government troopers and militant farmers during Cory’s time is always bandied around like a sword of Damocles, what happened really? Why would trained professionals, steeped in rules of engagement, unilaterally shoot down innocent people in broad daylight? If the details of the incident were not brought to light earlier, why not let the ground commander speak, what were the circumstances? Were the farmers(?) really victims? or aggressors? were they penetrated by forces that will ultimately benefit because of the incident? Did they show aggression? Its easy to condemn when you are not directly involved, talk is cheap.
    Its like shooting a burglar you caught entering your house afer midnight, the guy tries to go at you, you yell stop, he’s still coming, what choice would you have but to shoot? Of course there’s the trouble with friends, family, of the burglar, later on asking for justice, never mind that he entered your childrens’ bedroom, never mind that he scared them to have nightmares in the months after.
    One lesson when confronted with a man/men with loaded guns, stay still, talk gently, and by no means do not attack – if you’re not Steven Segal…

  46. SoP

    “The Melo Commission already recommended Jovito Palparan as culpable for the leftist killings and that the military were acting unilaterally in the murder of leftist activist. As the head of the Armed Forces, GMA should have taken action against Palparan and these officers.”

    This is how Noynoy should respond to question about Luisita Massacre.

  47. SoP

    “J_AG on Sat, 12th Sep 2009 6:21 am
    My suggestion for the youth around the country is to organize volunteers for Villar…This is a great time to be wicked… Just look at the posts of SOP, Ramrod and many others. Ang tatanga nila.. Pero they are advocating for something that they do not even understand.”

    First of all, I didn’t fail to notice that cheap shot.

    Re: Villar-the Philippines never really had a president that was already super rich before coming to office. I’m trying to look for a precursor to Villar to see what the temperament of pre-office mega-millionaire president will be. I couldn’t find a Philippine example. Cory was rich, but didn’t desire presidency. She was forced and cooed into it. Though she did an ok job, the accusation of enriching the family stuck.

    The closest that I can compare Villar with is Thaksin Shinawatra. If you look at Thaksin, he did some pretty good pro-poor programs for the Thai. But in the end, his undoing is his immense wealth. He was accused of, among other things, tax evasion and enriching himself. Those two were what stick most. He was deposed by coup.

    I can foresee a scenario where Villar will be bogged down with the same problems if he ever wins the presidency. Because of his immense wealth, there will be probes and accusation of wealth-building in office. Though I think he will generally do a good job with the poor, it will ultimately be the middle class who would point an accusing finger just as was done to Cory and Thaksin. And the military. The military hates rich presidents for some reason. Cory was bogged down in coups. Thaksin was removed by coup. I don’t really understand it. I’m still trying to get my head around it.

  48. taxj

    “Its like shooting a burglar you caught entering your house afer midnight, the guy tries to go at you, you yell stop, he’s still coming, what choice would you have but to shoot?” Ramrod

    – The comparison stinks. The setting was Mendiola bridge in broad daylight. Nobody was exposed to danger except the demonstrators themselves. The soldiers who outnumber them were armed and deployed. To whom will the untrained civilians point their guns, assuming that they were armed? In such an open situation, a wimp poses no threat to an armed thug.

    At that time people could still be ecstatic about their newly found “freedom”. At least this one would be softer on protestors than the deposed regime. Alas it was not to be so. Teachers airing just demands were summarily dismissed. Something which never happend in the long years of the dictatorship.

  49. SoP

    “The Cusp on Sat, 12th Sep 2009 11:22 am
    What Prof David’s is saying, is that we need someone who is competent in building the right institutions…The biggest challenge will come in institution building.”

    Take the issue of birth control. By all accounts and purposes, our institutions have done right by this.

    The constitution emphasizes the right to life. The supreme court continues to uphold it. The majority of voters are against abortion and maybe against contraception. Thus, the electorate voted a pro-life president in GMA. GMA fulfilled this will of the people, enacting laws, or the lack thereof, against contraceptives.

    In none of those instances did the institutions fail.

    Strengthening institutions is not enough. More important is the underlying theory implemented by those underlying institutions.

    What’s Noynoy’s, or any other presidentiable’s, underlying theory or platform?

  50. taxj

    Noynoy Aquino, honest? What’s so honest about drawing your salary, allowances and other perks for nine years as a legislator without doing anything? Would an ordinary employee last for a month or so without being kicked out?

    BF got a “gift” from MMFF for a job well done. Somehow he too has to account for this. But, which is the lesser evil? Light and darkness? Yes, it’s all in a day.

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