«

»

Nov 19

The Long View: Back to the future

The Long View
Back to the future
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:32:00 11/18/2009

THREE THINGS stand out in the latest Social Weather Stations Pulse Asia survey.

The first is that Benigno Aquino III’s numbers represents the highest percentage for a candidate since the multiparty system was introduced in 1987, surpassing the record set by Joseph Ejercito Estrada in the 1998 surveys. The second is that he almost has a 2-to-1 lead over the next strongest contender, Manuel Villar Jr. The third is that both Aquino and Villar’s numbers puts them way ahead of all the other hopefuls, meaning that in the public’s mind, the two are the main contenders for the presidency.

The time-honored conventional wisdom is that politics is addition, though of course elections are also about division: you have to choose sides. While political analyst Ramon Casiple believes it’s a stretch to think that the two-party system is back, since the consensus seems to be the two serious contenders are the Aquino-Roxas and Villar-Legarda tandems, I’ve been arguing for some years now that 2004 signaled a return to the voters perceiving the presidential contest as a two-man race. I would add that elections since 1987 have become about subtraction. Since we’re still under a multi-party system with no runoff elections, the minor candidates still matter, in their ability to whittle down the votes of one or both of the leading contenders.

With slightly under six months to go before election day, the 2-to-1 lead of Aquino over Villar presents a problem. Aquino’s candidacy has overturned the conventional wisdom that the one who postures best as a patron has more appeal to the mercenary instincts of voters.

A leader devoid of credibility, such as President Macapagal-Arroyo, has to appeal to mercenary motives and the lowest common denominator to defuse the appeal of idealism. Thus that favorite tag line of the administration, with reference to its opponents, is that “they’re all the same, after all.” If you cannot deflect accusations of wrongdoing, then you might as well argue that you may be a crook, but you’re a crook that delivers.

To appeal to pragmatism or to chest-thump as the patron par excellence is a winning strategy if you’re competing in a field of aspiring patrons-to-be. But if you are faced with a candidacy anchored on the belief that the public aspires for a government that insists on integrity and which refuses to be ruled by cynicism, then you have a problem.

The patron doles out goodies on the basis of grace and favor and reciprocal rewards for loyalty. A leader crazy enough to believe that one can be honest and so serve as an example can put crazy notions in the voters’ minds that as citizens they can expect benefits from government, not as a result of a transaction, but because it’s the right thing for government to do and for them to expect.

How to counter this? Foster the impression that everyone else is a crook. Or if that is too patently a lie, resort to some other form of creative fiction. The best defense is a good offense, and a confluence of interests means there are plenty of temporary allies able and willing to mount a sustained assault – even if one of the collateral victims is common sense.

The tone of one such campaign was set by Ernesto Maceda (so old and still so much the same as when he was young) when he put forward the idea that Noynoy Aquino is autistic, which was gleefully picked up by a minor broadsheet, and then embroidered further by columnist Butch del Castillo. Unfortunately the campaign fell apart when Raissa Robles decided to do an internal consistency check on Del Castillo’s column. The results were hilarious.

Among other things, Del Castillo painted a picture of a hyperactive Noynoy literally on a leash in his toddler days, because he’d had a near-fatal run in with a Doberman on the loose, adding the only reason he wasn’t mangled was due to the timely and courageous intervention of an even younger Kris Aquino. Robles pointed out that the problem with the Super Kris story is that it supposedly took place when Noynoy was three. Since Noynoy is 11 years older, for Kris to have saved her supposedly hapless brother, she would have had to have traveled back in time to eight years before she was even born!

And it gets better: Del Castillo wrote darkly of Noynoy being put in a “special school” when he was five or six, implying it was a specialized institution for autistic kids. But it turns out, after Robles consulted the official record, that the school in which the young Aquino was placed at that time was the Ateneo de Manila.

There were other problems with the Del Castillo attempt at fiction, revolving around internal inconsistencies in his tall tales. In one paragraph, the baby Noynoy is portrayed as catatonic and drooling, in another, he’s hyperactive. Robles tartly wondered if Del Castillo had a stint working for Marcos propaganda czar Greg Cendana (perhaps she should ask Juan Ponce Enrile).

We forget that politicians are people, too, and there are times when their aspirations don’t deviate from that of the electorate, precisely because they’re psychologically needier than most in that they crave public approval. Leaders who promise them patronage are commonplace, but a leader who will welcome them without benefit of under-the-table deals is not only refreshing but also liberating.

You saw it on the face of Vilma Santos who hasn’t done badly playing the usual political game. For once she could hold her head high with her choice of candidate. In every politician, as Christian Monsod says, lurks the potential to be a statesman, and it begins with recognizing that logistics and money aren’t everything.

44 comments

2 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. mountain top experience

    stories like those of del castillo are very much expected to come out.

    what else is new in philippine politicking and mudslinging?

  2. Brian_B

    It’s up to Noynoy. He didn’t exactly react in the best way when the subject was first broached. One could easily turn this black propaganda around. If he confronts the issue in a serious manner, I’m sure voters will see such low blows for what they are… unfair.

  3. The Equalizer Post

    “How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by dedication and faith.” Archibald MacLeish

  4. Carl

    “In every politician, as Christian Monsod says, lurks the potential to be a statesman, and it begins with recognizing that logistics and money aren’t everything.”

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

    It may not be everything but, in the Philippine setting, it’s almost the only thing. C’mon, Manolo, you’re being patronizing.

    Noynoy-Mar will have the logistics and the money coming out of their ears. They have most of the oligarchs backing them up – the Lopezes, Manny Pangilinan, Tony Boy Cojuangco, the Ayalas, the Concepcions, probably even Tito Danding Cojuangco (who has held back on initial bet Chiz Escudero and on the NP’s Manny Villar). This isn’t mentioning that the Aquino-Cojuangco-Roxas-Araneta clans are part of the oligarchy and have deep pockets their own. And, as the bandwagon rolls, expect the coffers to swell and the “balimbings” to pile on.

    The Chinoys have not yet made their move, but they will surely hedge their bets by putting their money on the perceived winner which, if the present scenario holds, seems to be Noynoy-Mar.

    If there is a danger, it would be for Noynoy-Mar to become victims of their own success. They could be overwhelmed by the flood of “supporters” and logistics coming their way. This will water down their agenda and cause them to lose control of their agenda. This happened to Cory Aquino. And Serge Osmeña could be probably be thinking déjà vu.

  5. The Equalizer Post

    Carl:

    “Gagawin nila ang lahat para mapatid si Noynoy dahil sa lahat ng tumatayong pangpresidente, si Noynoy langnag hindi nila makakausap (They will do everything for Aquino to fail because he is the only presidential aspirant who will never enter into a compromise deal).” Mar Roxas

    I know it for a fact that the Aquino sisters do not want any contributions with “strings attached”.

  6. Carl

    “I know it for a fact that the Aquino sisters do not want any contributions with “strings attached”.”

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

    OK, so are the sisters running the show? So the candidate isn’t his own man? It would only give credence to the “autistic” and “weak” references.

    Besides, are the sisters knowledgeable enough to detect tainted money or tainted intentions from the real thing?

    Noynoy-Mar, along with Manolo, can try to do their best to play down expectations and portray themselves as the underdogs. However, the facts speak for themselves. They are overwhelmingly “llamado” at this point. The administration party is a ghost of its old self. It can’t even put up a complete senatorial slate, as Ermita mentioned in today’s press release. And funds won’t be forthcoming. Nobody bets on a loser. The best Gibo and Edu can hope for is to gain enough name recall to become viable senatorial candidates in 2013.

    Obviously a handicapping game is going on, and Noynoy-Mar don’t want to be portrayed as the top dogs, which they are. But they cannot continue to play the role of underdogs anymore, it just won’t wash.

  7. The Cusp

    Besides stating the obvious about the seeming inevitability of a Noy-Mar administration, I was hoping that maybe we could focus on the results of the senatorial polling and what implications this might have.

    The results seem to indicate that the Senate will not be controlled by the dynastic duo. This means that in terms of pursuing their agenda, they could face challenges from their former rivals who will return to the Senate. It also means that the mandate from the people does not seem so clear. If not being tainted by corruption was the frame adopted by those polled, why did they select a person implicated in plunder as first in their senate line up.

    As for Recto, his addition to the team is so important not simply because of his and his wife’s drawing power and political clout, but because of his policy smarts. People with expertise in economic and fiscal policy are sorely needed in my opinion to counterbalance the vacuousness of celebrities. We should distinguish between the technocrats who helped steer the country from the abyss from the partisan politicos in the GMA cabinet.

  8. tomfernandez

    I don’t know of any controversy that Noy and Mar’s opponents can use against them. Both of these candidates have clean political records, they are the anti-trapo tandem in an election full of trapo candidates.

    for example, the second most popular candidate Villar and his team mate legarda, cannot boast of a campaign characterized by integrity and principle. just look at the earlier squabble between these two and wonder how they were able to bridge their differences to make a presidentiable tandem: http://www.lorenlegarda.com.ph/article-1248936897.html

    backdoor dealings and lure of money is all i can guess.

  9. earl

    OK, so are the sisters running the show? So the candidate isn’t his own man? It would only give credence to the “autistic” and “weak” references.
    ————————————————————–
    The sisters are not running the show but I believe they are running the coffers. I believe that was part of the press release when Aquino decided to run. Not his own man? Since when did listening to your sisters (or any woman) make you a lesser man? And as to being knowledgeable enough to detect tainted money, I do think that being a part of the “oligarch” can you buy you enough education to do that. Don’t underestimate the sisters however silent they may be.

    Underdogs or not, I believe people will vote for them because they are the only ones perceived to be non-TRAPO. Between a politician who will brandish his name on relief goods, a GMA-clone, an old corrupt president, I believe the choice is easy to make.

  10. d0d0ng

    Carl on, “Noynoy-Mar will have the logistics and the money coming out of their ears. They have most of the oligarchs backing them up….This will water down their agenda and cause them to lose control of their agenda.”.

    That is something expected from oligarchs who have business to run. Big corporations in the US and in the world does that. But it does not mean such contribution can buy you a President. The medical business contributed to Obama but they were not able change his policy today.

    There is no sense of tailor fitting a policy when you get contributions from everybody and you know those contributions may not there at all times.

  11. UP n grad

    I agree that “Underdog” does not apply given the 44% survey number. Villar/Gibo/Erap now hope that the sympathy-votes from Cory death quickly fritter away. Scary thought for them — when the Aquino-Roxas election machine (using the massive donations pouring in) monopolize the media channels.

  12. d0d0ng

    Carl on, “Obviously a handicapping game is going on, and Noynoy-Mar don’t want to be portrayed as the top dogs, which they are. But they cannot continue to play the role of underdogs anymore, it just won’t wash.”

    This is just another characterization of the candidates in the same way that the high numbers are told to be sympathy votes from Cory’s death. At the end of the day, the votes will still be there despite various characterizations.

  13. d0d0ng

    Carl on, “It can’t even put up a complete senatorial slate, as Ermita mentioned in today’s press release. And funds won’t be forthcoming. Nobody bets on a loser. The best Gibo and Edu can hope for is to gain enough name recall to become viable senatorial candidates in 2013.”

    The salvo from General Ermita who is loyal to President Arroyo is a desperate call for fix. Ermita told Gibo to speak up and be visible. At stake is the Senatorial seats. The administration can pour resources to get majority of the house seats. Also, Arroyo has no problem winning a congressional seat. But being a speaker of the House is not enough if they don’t get enough seats at the Senate to future hold of administration.

  14. The Cusp

    Perhaps we can break down the analysis of “the backers” behind Noy’s campaign. These are the Aquinos, some of the Cojuangcos, Lopas, members of the B&W movement. Add-in Mar’s backers the Araneta-Roxas clan. These might form the core.

    First of all what are the incentives of these families/groups for participating? What are their business interests? business associates? advocacies? personal stake in it? what grudges if any do they hold against other parties in the field?

    Secondly how different are these from the backers of other candidates? in terms of patronage/clientelism? in terms of engaging in corrupt activities? in terms of pursuing personal interests? We would have to go by their previous conduct.

    Lastly, given the preceding are they bound to continue in their old ways? have any intervening events caused them to change their views, interests and provided new incentives for reform? How does the conduct of their campaign signal their intentions once in office?

    I honestly do not think any of the tar being slung around is going to stick on the son of the “vaunted, sainted couple”. We are headed for a landslide. The question is how will “these backers” influence the next admin.

    As they assemble a coalition, whose interests are likely to conflict with the “core” and fall out. It is still early days, but it should be interesting to watch how this saga unfolds.

  15. Carl

    “We are headed for a landslide. The question is how will “these backers” influence the next admin.” – The Cusp

    “I’m fed up with the inside fighting, with the Mafia in the Liberal Party,” – Serge Osmeña

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

    While the pursuit of the Presidency continues, inherent contradictions among motley supporters will smolder, but will be largely overlooked while they are temporarily allied in the quest for the Holy Grail. A gradual, but continual, implosion will follow after the mission is accomplished, as surely as success breeds many fathers.

  16. mlq3

    Carl, it’s early days. Having a surplus of donations is every campaign’s dreams, but the dynamics of donating simply isn’t there. At most those who might be inclined to give will only give 5-10% of the total they’re willing to commit at this point; regardless of personal feelings the big donors do not commit until usually three months before the elections, and on the basis of the numbers. you also have to take into account the changing habits of businessmen, fewer and fewer give and give big during elections, particularly with the attendant risks of giving to the wrong the side. hence the exodus of businessmen during holy week and election season. this means the really lavish givers become even more crucial among the businessmen (razon remains the last of the mestizos known for lavish funding, of the new taipans there’s lucio tan, and there’s danding cojuangco who gives less in cash and offers more in terms of smc’s logistics for candidates). the ayalas too are not known for giving lavishly and the use of branch logistics for intelligence and campaigning that EZ or Jaime Zobel might have offered past candidates isn’t part of the business culture of JAZA and Fernando (and Inigo Zobel is for Chiz); the networks will offer, most likely, discounts on ad rates up and down the line to early birds and as for the so-called old money again their standards of giving to campaigns is a far cry from the lavish bankrolling of yesterday and certainly pales in comparison to the really big sources of funding for campaigns today, smuggling syndicates, druglords, gambling lords, though trying to detect this is difficult, obviously.

    But if that’s your perception, then so be it. The politicians themselves increasingly bewail the tightfistedness of big and medium business.

  17. Carl

    Manolo, that is not simply my perception. When you are the top dog, money comes in droves. They come from all walks of life, hoping to own a piece of the winner, or to at least claim a share in the triumph. Not all will claim their share of flesh. What smuggling, drug and gambling lords share in common with all human beings, including big and medium businesses, and the tightfisted old rich, is that they all want to want to back a winner. That doesn’t mean that all will claim their pound of flesh, but that doesn’t cancel out the fact that horse trading is a fact of life, and that it does occur.

    It comes from a supposedly “friendly” source, but Serge Osmeña’s warning shot across the bow is a reminder of the seamier side of politics. Coming from a political family himself, and having gone through various campaigns, the fellow knows a thing or two about tit for tat.

    The fact, Manolo, is that you are playing a handicapping game, playing down your candidate’s chances, his logistics and resources, when it is already so obvious that he is the man to beat. Masquerading as the underdog only makes you look like the Emperor in his new clothes.

  18. The Cusp

    To address part of the perception problem regarding tainted money, I suppose a key question would be whether the campaign intends to publish the sources of campaign contributions of say more than 50,000 pesos. This includes their own personal contribution so that the responsibility does not just fall on the Aquinos to screen their donors.

    It will also lend some transparency so that as in the case of Obama, the fact that it was made public that he received contributions from pharmaceutical firms caused him to be extra vigilant in his healthcare policy not to be seen as towing their line.

    Apart from this, a list of campaign advisers, staff and expenses should be forthcoming. The Aquinos in trying to portray their cause as the people’s should go beyond what election laws mandate them to do. This would signal to the public how they intend to conduct themselves while one of their own is serving in the highest office of the land.

  19. mlq3

    there are many ways to read serge and that includes what serge himself has said. the first is his extremely low opinion of recto and how all other alliances may be equal but ralph is a line he refuses to cross. but one line he has not quite crossed yet, is to say he will not support noynoy, though the logical implication of his denouncing ralph is to not just bolt the lp ticket, but to go against noynoy himself -which he hasn’t yet done. among the many options still left open and i’m sure serge is aware these options are there with he himself leaving them open to exploration for some more days at least, is to run as an independent guest candidate. but sometimes we overcomplicate things and it’s as likely that among the factors that made serge -the living definition of a renegade in politics- is that he wasn’t consulted or listened to to his own satisfaction. personally i think his bolting is a great loss and intend to vote for him whichever side he takes eventually, including running on the slate of chiz as a senatorial candidate with chiz as an independent veep candidate, one option serge himself has mentioned. then again after his initial fury his rhetoric has been dialing down and it may be possible he and noynoy will maintain their association without serge having to associate himself with the lp leaders he dislikes.

    again, i don’t see how a handicapping game exists when the handicap is there; if on one hand a mastery of logistics does not guarantee victory as marcos in 86, mitra in 92, hdv in 98 discovered, neither can popularity be iron-clad or assumed until election day itself because things can happen. noynoy is the man to beat in terms of popular support, which hovers between levels unprecedented since the 1930s and 1950s, and levels unseen since the mutliparty system started in 1987. but that’s against rivals who will stop at nothing knowing there is so much to lose, and so much in their appreciation of things being overturned. so it’s a matter of what you think are his strengths and how those might be neutralized. among other realities to confront, the situation being what it is, is someone or other exercising the ultimate veto by simply liquidating an unbeatable candidate. that can be pooh-poohed as paranoia but the stakes are high enough that it would be lunacy not to take into account overturning a well-established convention in national politics isn’t worth it -or worth exploring.

  20. mlq3

    yes i agree, it could be ground-breaking if full disclosure of funding is made.

  21. d0d0ng

    Carl on, “It comes from a supposedly “friendly” source, but Serge Osmeña’s warning shot across the bow is a reminder of the seamier side of politics. Coming from a political family himself, and having gone through various campaigns, the fellow knows a thing or two about tit for tat.”

    Yep, Serge the son of a Japanese collaborator Sergio Osmena Jr knows the seamier side of politics very well. He learned it too early from a lifestyle well provided by his colloborator dad who amassed fortune during wartime while Filipinos starved. He could not even win a congressional seat from his own district in Cebu (lost in 1992).

    But thanks to Ramos who resurrected his career (on the national image of the illustrious grandfather Sergio Osmena who served under Quezon), he bolted from NUCD and joined Ramos Lakas to become a senator.

    Serge must have learned something from his grandfather Sergio too. Sergio did not even save Sergio Jr from the Bilibid prison for collaborating with the enemies. But the principled man turned against his mentor General Douglas MacArthur upon learning that the US priority was political stability right after the war depended on restoring the prewar elites to their former political dominance especially the colloborator Manuel Roxas. When Sergio returned from the US trip on rehabilitation effort, he found that Roxas bolted from his own dominant Nacionalista Party and formed a Liberal Party for the 1946 Presidential Election. Sergio left with anemic Nacionalista party, did the unthinkable and seek political support from the MacArthur’s enemy, the communist Huk based Democratic Alliance (naturally Sergio lost to Roxas). Tit for tat as Carl rightfully said.

    Serge bolted his benefactor Lakas in 1997 and joined the Liberal Party in 1998 as vice presidential candidate and lost to Gloria Arroyo. Since then Serge became critical of GMA.

    Of course, Serge think highly of himself as being the founding director of Justice for Aquino-Justice for All (something that he believed Noynoy owed him), that he felt slighted that his old friend Recto (who defected to GMA’s camp) was accomodated without his knowledge. Seems like the old Sergio ghost is coming back.

    But Recto is a man of his own. Recto disclosed that his old friend Serge Osmena being critical of GMA especially the Value Added Tax bill as oppressing the Filipinos actually signed the bill which a slap to Serge’s face as hypocrisy.

    Serge is critical of everything except the Lopez Meralco (he married Isabel Lopez), Maynilad Water Services, SkyCable, Manila North Tollways and ABS-CBN where his family has stakes.

    Osmena, what a political family so to speak.

  22. d0d0ng

    The options for Serge Osmena?

    Serge has very little options left. The Osmena family had been fighting the Garcia clan in Cebu for power and they are not dominant there anymore. With Recto’s defection, he can no longer embrace Gloria Arroyo’s machinery supporting the Garcia family and after how Arroyo used GSIS Garcia to raid Lopez Meralco (he married a Lopez). There is always family dynamics behind those headlines.

    He is reduced to become independent which is weak to give him any seat. From position of strength, he can maintain his cultivated political image by his opposition of Recto’s defection which he did but after that, he will run under Noynoy’s ticket.

    He will decide for his family like his dad during wartime.

  23. d0d0ng

    Or Serge can go back to his grandfather roots -Nacionalista Party which is funnier than strange cartoon characters. Satur Ocampo is surprised to wake up today and found out that being guest candidate under NP party list will be collaborating with the dictator’s son Bongbong Marcos after the NP-KBL coalition was announced. Strange bedfellows indeed.

    Omigosh….BayanMuna, Gabriela and Marcos together! Hahaha!

    Under a pauper-to-rich leader Manny Villar, an SGVean who cooked his realty company books to engineer 10times-size-loan and bankrupt his bank, all are welcome to raid the country’s treasury – from ex-commies to dictators’ son!

    Only in the Philippines!

  24. The Cusp

    In interpreting the mandate that huge poll figures in favour of Noynoy imply, many seem to be falling into the error of over reach.

    Cause oriented groups of civil society (call them “purists”) see this as a manifestation of the people’s desire to uproot the system of family based politics of patronage and opportunism. They want this replaced with party based politics of principles and ideas.

    The other members of the coalition (call them “pragmatists”) don’t see it that way. They want a continuation of the same type of politics (of ruling elites) but which exhibits moral probity and a genuine concern for the plight of the people.

    Once you side with the pragmatists, though it becomes a slippery slope in terms of deciding who to include/exclude from the broad coalition that will be needed to win the election.

    Within the pragmatist camp you find the likes of Serge Osmena who believes that certain “elites” should be excluded for their sins of ommission for failing to object as members of the administration to GMA’s lack of probity. Others on the other hand are more lenient pointing to the apparet lack of sins of commission.

    History shows that it is always the pragmatists that win out. The Revolution eats its children, and the “purists” are always the first to be served.

  25. The Cusp

    “They want a continuation of the same type of politics (of ruling elites) but which exhibits moral probity and a genuine concern for the plight of the people.”

    I meant to add that this was something that Cory Aquino herself demonstrated was possible, and which legitimised the revival of the pre-martial law order and weakened the case for radical change espoused by the left.

  26. Carl

    d0d0ng, you are correct about Serge. He is all you say and more. He is a poseur, a dilettante who never mastered anything, a person who has lived off his illustrious family name all his life. He masquerades as a technocrat, when in fact he attended several universities but never finished anything. Because he has been exposed to glib minds all his life, including his war-profiteering father who possessed a sharp mind, the gift of gab comes naturally to Serge. And people often confound glibness for profundity.

    Serge can fool lots of people most of the time, except those who know him best, the people of Cebu. That is why he can’t get a leg up in Cebu. Your nickname sounds Cebuano, maybe that is why you are aware of who Serge really is. Serge couldn’t even fool his first wife, who left him and once had an affair with Iggy Arroyo. That is why Serge cannot forgive the Arroyos. It has nothing to do with principles, personalan lang iyan. Kung baga, galit siya kasi Iggy dipped his pen on Serge’s inkwell. Of course, that doesn’t diminish the fact that public anger against the Arroyos is justified. But with the elite, it’s pataasan ng ihi, and the public realm and the personal are often blurred.

    Serge found his redemption when he befriended Geni Lopez, when they were both jailed during Matial Law. After Marcos left, thanks to Geni’s access to mass media, their escape from prison became a hit movie and the stuff of legend. That propelled Serge to the Senate, where he assumed the role of technocrat, kuno. Serge sealed his ties with the Lopezes by taking Albertito Lopez’s daughter as his second wife.

    Be that said about Serge, it doesn’t diminish the fact that he knows the seamy side of politics only too well. And when he raises a warning about Mafiosi inside the campaign, it is very credible. A poseur and a trickster knows one when he sees one. And everyone knows that shenanigans aren’t limited to the top of the ticket. Especially when you are the frontrunner, and everyone wants a piece of you, the campaign machinery can get unwieldy and, often, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. This clearly happened during the Cory Aquino campaign, when, to the surprise of the originals in the yellow movement, many dubious and unsavory characters took prominence in the division of spoils after the smoke cleared, and the din of battle died down.

  27. d0d0ng

    Carl, the cliche it takes one to know one is good in abstract personalities. The lives of Gen Douglas MacArthur and of Noynoy Aquino are open book.

    The good intention of Gen MacArthur to provide stability did not make him a mafiosi. Neither does the good intention of Noynoy to bring Recto to the party made him a mafiosi.

    But you cannot blame the reaction of Serge just like how his grandfather Sergio reacted with Gen MacArthur’s plan. But what one does is entirely different matter. Sergio embraced the communist Huk in a different era after a miscalculation, while Noynoy give Serge a chance to make good of his grandfather’s name.

  28. Carl

    d0d0ng, the absurdity of your logic is comical. Pati sina Gen. MacArthur at ang Hukbalahap sinasama mo dito. Why are you so defensive, to the point of being ludicrous?

    The cases of Chavit Singson and Jun Lozada were hailed, even by civil society groups, as instances of taking a thief to catch a thief. These were flawed, sleazy characters who turned witnesses against their alleged patrons. And the public generally believed them. Serge Osmeña knows when a campaign is being infiltrated by Mafiosi because he has had sufficient experience to know. Even Cory Aquino’s campaign in 1986 was swamped with the most dubious hangers-on. And many of those dubious characters took prominent roles later on in her government.

    Are you one of those Mafiosi being alluded to? Why are you so defensive? 🙂

  29. UP n grad

    May it not repeat :

    …clearly happened during the Cory Aquino campaign, when, to the surprise of the originals in the yellow movement, many dubious and unsavory characters took prominence in the division of spoils after the smoke cleared, and the din of battle died down.

  30. thenashman

    Noynoy Aquino’s Senatorial line-up is getting to be a big joke.

    First, there’s that obese trapo Frank Drilon, then Gloria Arroyo loyalist Ralph Recto who claims he is unstained by corruption but then, like Neri, facilitated GMAs corruption by being spineless, then there’s Sonia Roco simply because she was Raul’s wife, then the new dynasties of Biazon and Guingona…

    That is not to say the other senatorial line-ups are any better. Villar’s is ridiculous, then there’s Gibo’s line-up of the clueless, and then Erap’s army of delusionals.

    Yet, we await Chiz “Boy Laway” Escudero. What is he up to lately? Maybe his senatorial line-up will be packed with his frat bros who are selling their houses and cars to finance his campaign.

  31. The Cusp

    Even if we assume that somehow political parties got strengthened to the point that their internal discipline approximated that found in mature democracies, it still would not eliminate the need for backroom deals and side payments in order to push through essential pieces of legislation.

    We saw this in the US where an inordinate amount of pork barrel was needed to pass the Obama stimulus budget through the Democrat controlled Congress.

    Some would even say that arriving at good legislation becomes impossible without the possibility of horse trading. These side deals do not necessarily have to involve corrupt acts.

    Due to the legitimacy question that has dogged GMA since 2001, she has had to engage in this form of transacting in order to deal with impeachment attempts. A big waste of resources for something that has not increased the welfare of society. This is why I think the public has come to regard it with such disdain.

    But all the current presidential contenders and their parties despite what they say are really going to preserve the same set of practices, albeit use them for addressing genuine needs of the country (so they promise).

    Thus the tussle over who represents traditional politics and who doesn’t is really more about manipulating public perceptions than it is about making a true break with the past.

    Wars, martial rule and people power revolutions have not been able to cause a rupture in this system, what makes us think that an election will?

  32. ramrod

    But all the current presidential contenders and their parties despite what they say are really going to preserve the same set of practices, albeit use them for addressing genuine needs of the country (so they promise).
    ———————————————————

    We have an expression back home that best describes whats happening now – MUJAPON…meaning its the same thing.
    After all thats said and done, we’re in for more of the same thing with the next administration, all our fiery words and opposition adventures were just to show we have a semblance of democracy here…or is this the real democracy in action?
    So we have more material for political blogging in the years to come?

  33. Carl

    “Thus the tussle over who represents traditional politics and who doesn’t is really more about manipulating public perceptions than it is about making a true break with the past.

    Wars, martial rule and people power revolutions have not been able to cause a rupture in this system, what makes us think that an election will?” – The Cusp

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

    I totally agree. This is not to say that we are completely cynical and jaded. But, all our lives, we Filipinos have seen nothing but empty and broken promises from our leaders. Hope, of course, springs eternal. We continue to hope for the best, but experience has taught us to prepare, if not for the worst, at least for more of the same.

  34. SoP

    “If there is a danger, it would be for Noynoy-Mar to become victims of their own success.”

    Why won’t they just stab everybody in the back once they get the office? If I were Noynoy, I’d just take all the monetary and logistical contributions and win the elections. Then, once president, I’ll just do whatever the heck I please. I’d fuck the Lopezes, Aranetas, Concepcions, Ayalas, and even the Aquino family up in the ass so fast that they’ll be bleeding so hard from not having time to loosen up their sphincters.

    I’ll do what’s economically and politically necessary but unpopular among the oligarchs. At the end of six years, I’ll be so revered by the masses that not having familial and oligarchic ties won’t matter anymore.

  35. kamoteboy

    from SoP
    [quote]
    “If there is a danger, it would be for Noynoy-Mar to become victims of their own success.”

    Why won’t they just stab everybody in the back once they get the office? If I were Noynoy, I’d just take all the monetary and logistical contributions and win the elections. Then, once president, I’ll just do whatever the heck I please. I’d fuck the Lopezes, Aranetas, Concepcions, Ayalas, and even the Aquino family up in the ass so fast that they’ll be bleeding so hard from not having time to loosen up their sphincters.

    I’ll do what’s economically and politically necessary but unpopular among the oligarchs. At the end of six years, I’ll be so revered by the masses that not having familial and oligarchic ties won’t matter anymore.
    [/quote]

    I dont think Noynoy can even achieve that without getting impeached or forced out of the office ala erap.

    In reality the oligarchs can almost do anything here in our country. They made a move against erap before the election but he got votes that are very hard to tamper with. So they did the next best thing by offering free beers and foods at edsa2.

    Noynoy and Mar is part of the oligarchy. They are not as you say common as you and me. Even a quezon surname cannot guarantee a friendship with those guys. These guys came from families that shall we say sana makapagasawa ako ng araneta o kaya cojuanco para maging sobrang yaman din ako.

    Yes they are benefiting from Cory’s death. There’s a momentum going on in their favors. If they could just maintain it until May then they can win this election.

    But but but.

    Being part of the oligarchy doesnt guarantee you being supported by the people who you nod every game of polo at Manila Polo Club. You also have to remember your business competes with their business. That being said and done you run the risks of being controlled by them if you asks for their monetary and logistical support.

    Also dont be blinded by lots of lots of exposure on the national level. When election time comes in, its the mayors and the barangay captains you should be attending to. They are actually the one who are in control what the national level see.

    The key to this election or any other election is how well you are connected on the local level. If you can control the local level, then you can do magic on the national level.

  36. grd

    SoP, you missed taking your pill again.

  37. The Cusp

    Having stated that transactional family dominated politics is here to stay, I still appreciate the huge disparity in governance that can occur within this domain.

    It is still possible within this framework to have a benevolent president as we did under Cory and Ramos pushing for reforms and using patronage in Congress to achieve it.

    That is hugely different from a corruptible president extending patronage to his or her cronies as may be said was the case under Marcos and Erap.

    GMA was a cross between the two. Having addressed the budget deficit and delivered strong economic growth, her leadership was weakened due to lingering questions of legitimacy. This weakness was exploited by her financiers and political allies.

    The next president wants to win with a large enough margin to gain legitimacy for his reform mandate, but in doing so needs to establish strong local networks which entails some kind of reciprocity.

    The one who maximises electoral success with the least amount of political debts will be in the best position to lead the country. Assuming that his intentions are noble, a lot can be done.

  38. SoP

    Is oligarchic support a figment of our imagination? If we evaluate our last four presidents:
    GMA – 2nd term was won by cuddling congressmen and mayors, 1st term by happenstance
    Erap – so popular didn’t need one despite Lucio Tan’s support
    FVR – support came solely from payback from Cory for supporting EDSA 1
    Cory – stamp of approval came from masses

    Are we giving oligarchs too much credit for shaping our national politics? Will Noynoy be the exception to oligarchic support, rather than the rule?

  39. mlq3

    under normal circumstances the political class dictates the short list from which the public has to choose. rare exceptions when public clamor dictates the short list or top contender and everyone else used to calling the shots have to scramble to adjust when it represents general inconvenience all around for those used to calling the shots. one veteran observer suggested to me has happened only thrice: magsaysay, cory, and noynoy.

  40. SoP

    Seems to me that the masses and the incumbent administration are the main drivers to anointing leaders, with the oligarchs courting these leaders after the fact, not before they become president.

  41. SoP

    How could that veteran observer not include Erap as mass anointed? The oligarchs certainly didn’t put him up there, nor were they happy that he was in the shortlist. Fact is, the oligarchs deposed Erap.

  42. mlq3

    SoP difference between mass anointed and anointed by broad cross section of the public. And another dynamic was at work, as much reconfiguration and reunion of Marcos and disgruntled left as it was his own charisma.

  43. d0d0ng

    Carl on,

    “d0d0ng, the absurdity of your logic is comical.”

    “Are you one of those Mafiosi being alluded to? Why are you so defensive?”

    ===============================================================

    Carl – obviously your demolition job of Noynoy as Mafiosi based entirely on Serge Osmena absurd accusation cannot fooled anyone. Even your personal attacks showed how desperate your are, which is something I truly enjoy, no offense however. 😉

  44. d0d0ng

    “And another dynamic was at work, as much reconfiguration and reunion of Marcos and disgruntled left as it was his own charisma.”

    ==============================================================

    Fun 1:
    I never imagine the excommies and Marcos would be on the same bed, covered under the same cozy blanket of books-schemer-extraordinaire Manny Villar.

    Fun 2:
    The rule of division with Erap and Villar as spoilers is hurting more on Arroyo’s Gibo party (pushing it farther down the list) than of Noynoy’s. The economic doctorate Gloria Arroyo is more appreciative of Murphy’s law at works now than ever before.

    Fun 3:
    The septuagenarian Erap (Mr Bionic)and Binay are free to pursue their political fantasy as champion of the poor as long as they dole out some of their wealth to the poor. Makati has not been exactly a sanctuary for the poor.

    Have fun!

  1. Noynoy Aquino Attacks Get Nasty As He Maintains High Survey Ratings | The Best Of Philippines : We Provide Travel Destinations and Tourism, Travel Promos, News, Events, Showbiz, Politics, People And Culture

    […] issue became viral. Manuel L. Quezon III took up Robles’ arguments in his November 19 column, Back to the future. He said the campaign against Aquino, whose tone was set by Maceda, “fell apart when Robles […]

  2. The Long View: Opportunities hidden in the numbers : Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose

    […] the People: How Candidates view The People as Electors, my columns Brains without bodies (2) and Back to the Future, and Pulse Asia’s February 2009 Survey on the May 2010 Elections: The Undecided in […]

Leave a Reply