Discernment is my column for today, further explaining some of my reasons for concluding the President must resign. As I blogged yesterday, De La Salle has made news along with other organizations (such as the Jose Diokno Foundation, whose president is my aunt), that have decided to call for the President to resign. In its editorial, the Inquirer suggests what the public really wants is a Truth Commission. A German with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation suggests charter change at this time is a waste of time and worse, intellectually dishonest.

The columnist roundup this morning is quite juicy. Jarius Bondoc is all praises for the House, particularly as it’s poised to implicate the opposition in the Garci tapes; Ellen Tordesillas delves into the appointment of Tomas Alcantara as Presidential Chief of Staff, which she says signifies a weakening of the position of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita (she further dissects the pro-reform and hard-line factions in the Cabinet); Billy Esposo is upset over Cory Aquino.

Last night, I arrived at ANC early in order to watch Sec. Mike Defensor and Poe spokesperson Susan Tagle get grilled by Ces Drilon. Tagle made a few intriguing comments: conciliatory and respectful toward Cory Aquino, saying her call to prayer was correct. Seems officially, at least, there is no antipathy between the two (I also noticed, in Roces’s press conference and Cory’s a day later, both wore white, which may or may not mean something in our color-conscious political culture). Mike Defensor let loose a trial balloon, in which he says he’d suggest that the President call for the opening of the ballot boxes to prove she won fair and square. Behind the scenes, everyone, from the makeup lady to various people hovering behind the scenes, expressed sympathy for Defensor’s difficult job of being spokesman for the administration. Etta Rosales, my co-guest, thinks that the administration is inclined to wrap up the hearings at the House sooner rather than later. A quick word with political analyst Benito Lim indicated that in his view, the President can tough it out for some time to come, as the military remain loyal to her.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

18 thoughts on “Discernment

  1. were the ballot boxes secure? it has been
    a year since the elections. and weeks since
    Gloriagate burst on the scene.
    knowing what we now know, it is not inconceivable they have now be made to also ‘correspond’.

  2. What you have said today on the Inquirer is quite reasonable. There is a clear indication that the idea of dictatorship/authoritarianism for our country is becoming popular amongst quite a lot of people.
    I am waiting for the emergence of the new KBL–because, some could claim, at least Marcos had a clear set of ideas.
    But I will not allow this dictatorship to happen. My freedom, and that of so many others, should not be taken from me again.

  3. all the branches of govt have been coopted
    including the armed forces.

    the only chance we have is the free press.

  4. colors mean a lot.
    observe: what is pgma’s usual color when she’s in crisis mode? (clue: look at my “buying time” blog)

  5. I watched ANC last night and Susan Tagle reminded the viewers of the harassment they experienced (charges of kidnapping against H. Demetriou and R. Rodriguez) I had forgotten that ugly episode.
    Please read Ducky Paredes column, “Has to be karma” in the Malaya today. I agree there is in a sense some poetic justice with what is happening now.

  6. Sir MLQ3,

    What a fitting title of the article in relation to what we are experiencing right now. Indeed, discernment.

    This might be of late Sir but I want to commend you for making a strong stand (GMA to resign now) and the manner you have explained it. Susan Roces was successful in expressing what is in the heart of many Filipinos. We want our honor and pride back! Like her and the rest, I am fervently hoping that the Lord help us to discern the next steps that we need to take to regain our dignity as a nation.

    In your past articles, you have expressed a strong belief that Susan can help this country, that what you see in her now is what you want this country to be. I have the same feeling. However, I hope you could indulge us and explain what you see in her and how on earth can we reconcile the articulate widow we hear to the saccharine movie queen that we have admired. It seems that you know her well, at least on a personal level that you have come up with that conviction. Don’t you have the fear that some of the self-serving opposition members can take advantage of her? She has a powerful command because she is very respected and loved by the people.

    I hope this crisis will end soon. I hope PGMA will find discernment too and sacrifice her political ambition in exchange for the restoration of people’s trust in the government.

    Hoping you can enlighten us as you have done in your past articles.

    Thank you.

  7. james, then perhaps it will be the certificates of canvass.

    Ren: I hope others resist a dictatorship, too.

    jove: yeah, I’m intrigued by the choice of the color white, can’t be a coincidence naman siguro?

    Kristine, I’ve only met Susan Roces twice, a long time ago when our family wanted her to play I think she and her husband profoundly distrust the Estrada camp, although they view the man with affection. I also wrote often that FPJ and Susan are very much attached to the concept of private property, and that people can amass wealth for themselves. So: their big fear, as property owners, is the mob running amok in the streets. This means their instincts are conservative, and that’s reassuring. Could she lose it? Yes, she came close the other day; but she’s pulled back, and so far, her statements have been conciliatory towards Cory. Also, she appeals to an instinctive part of people, and she was good at communicating that, even if you disagree, like I do, with some of her views.

  8. Susan roces is maybe a good choice to lead us for a while. IE Transitional governance until such time that we as the people elect the leader who really want to lead us. I mean Susan Roces can inspire people to do good and thats a trait of a true leader. You cant just be a leader if you cant inspire people to do what you want. Even if we disagree about the people who surrounds here but can we tell if she accepts all their advices? I dont think so. as I will emphasize again and again she is as her own boss. she have the integrity that we seldom see from our horrorable politicians, she have her own conviction to do what it isright and she maybe have the intelligence to move us forward.

    maybe she can help us find what we truly need.

  9. IMHO, Susan Roces isn’t be a viable choice for chief executive of the country. Even if she’s sincere, has the higher moral ground, has the integrity, has the competence, has the support of the populace, etc.

    She’s not the legitimate successor to the office under our constitution. That position is reserved for the Vice President.

    Ms Roces can advise, can consult, can serve as outside moral beacon, sure. There’s nothing to stop her from exercising those rights as a private citizen. And I don’t discount that she will be very, very effective.

    But our constitution is clear about who should succeed if the office of the chief executive President is vacated.

    Why am I pressing this point?

    You see, to my mind it’s not just a case of who is perceived to be more honest, more admired, more ethical, more respected, more popular, more apt to be supported by the people, etc.

    It’s also about following our laws. Laws that we made for ourselves. We have a law that clearly outlines executive succession. We should adhere to what it says, especially during difficult situations like we are in now.

    Opting for an extra-constitutional alternative like Ms Roces (or anyone else outside the constitutionally allowed succession ladder) signals that we are willing to disregard the provisions stipulated in the constitution and the principles that form its backbone. Bluntly — seriously — it sends a clear message to everyone that we don’t know the first thing about respect for basic law. Or, worse… care to do so.

    Are we really ready to do that?

    Now, if Ms Roces qualifies and runs in the 2010 race, and if she wins, then yes, she will have a real mandate behind her. But otherwise, I can’t agree to someone outside of what is constitutionally acceptable simply because the law doesn’t work the way I want it to.

    My slightly emotional two cents.

    Having said all of that, Mr, Q, I want to say I enjoy reading your column and blog entries. They are always well-written and very educational. Please keep up the good work.


  10. Mr. MLQ3,
    Your article today was a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve been so frustrated that the Civil Society is so slow in coming up with a strong decisive stand on this issue. And I am still waiting. I cannot fathom why these people do not see beyond the dollar exchange, GDP, employment rate, etc and see that what is at stake here is the most basic of values that we as Filipinos and more importantly as human beings should defend, protect and preserve.
    Because of people like you, I am still not losing hope that our country and our people will prevail over this. Thank you.

  11. manolo…. white and mama mary blue. hmmmm

    can i also say that wabbitga wrote a very good observation here? (like most of those who left a comment here din naman)

    okay talaga readers mo mlq!

  12. Follow the law you say? I heard someone said the law is a law until people decides it is not the law. By following the law in its letters destroys the intention of the law. If the people clamor to put someone in power without going tru the process is legal. Because people willed it so.

    We destroyed the meaning of following the law when EDSA 1 came about. Destroyed it again when Estrada was forced out of the office. Estrada left malacanang with a letter stating he is taking a leave of absence. the SUPREME COURT stated otherwise. Erap was shouting UPHOLD THE LAW! IMPEACH ME! DUE PROCESS! bullcraps, did we hear the man out? NO! NON! HINDI! HAAN! NOPE! ZIP! BEEP!

    If the people decided Gloria should step out of the “PEOPLE’s PALACE” and take Boy Kamote ( Abante newspaper term for Noli) with her is cool for me. and decides that Susan should be a caretaker while she purge the institution that Manuel L Quezon talked about wanting ( I prefer a government run like hell by the filipinos than run like heaven by the americans or something to that effect). thats what I want. I want someone who can inspire people and the people will follow. I want someone with morals and dignity. I want someone who can tell me to shut the fcuk up and do my job.

    maybe its not a crazy philippines after all

  13. Ed –

    Ok. So we violated it twice before. Does that mean it’s okay to do so a third time?

    You see, that’s what bother me. We have this predisposition for ignoring our laws when it’s convenient. Covers all types: ignoring stop lights, littering, jaywalking, evading taxes, and changing leaders whenever we want to, the way we want to, regardless of how the constitution says we should do it.

    You may be absolutely right in your reading of Ms. Roces’s abilities to lead and inspire. But my point is she’s not legally eligible under our current system.

    If we insist in ignoring what our constitution says — again — just because we want to, I think that reveals a lot about us.


  14. Defensor misses the point purposely.

    It was Arroyo on the phone with Garci not whether she won or lost with or without the calls that’s at issue here.

    It is the president involved in what even her sympathizers concede as impropriety and immorality that is at issue.

    It’s just too bad if at the end it turns out she didn’t need to call Garci after all. Fact is she did and for that she must resign.

  15. I can’t agree with Ed. Personally, I felt the only option was to restore the 1935 Constitution, since the 1973 one was invalid, then call a ConCon, or, proclaim a revolutionary government then restore the 1935 Charter. Edsa was a fundamental expression of the people’s sovereignty. Edsa II was Constitutional up to the moment people marched on the Palace; then Estrada confused it by sort of, kind of, but not really resigning, and the SC didn’t help matters by coming out with a shallow decision. Still, participation in the 2001 May elections and 2004 elections was an implied belief by the majority that the Constitutional order was intact.

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