Videocams and robbers

I don’t remember if it was Howie Severino who said, that if the citizenry were armed with video cameras, governance would dramatically change in the Philippines.

The unraveling story of what seems to be a gang of wealthy and well-connected scions of prominent families, who formed some sort of carnapping gang, and three of whom were ambushed and killed in the Ortigas Business District, is a case in point. The early-morning ambush was caught on tape by someone, rapidly broadcast on cable television, and rapidly disseminated from there. Now the government is trying to plead for moderation while putting the accused cops back on duty. Meanwhile, the police say they’ve surrounded the warehouse of the gang.

The President went to Baguio yesterday and castigated the media (you can either read her speech, or if you prefer, listen to it), and got a stern rejoinder from ABS-CBN top honcho Eugenio Lopez III in return (I missed seeing it on ANC, but a friend claims that in introducing his boss, Ricky Carandang mastered the sort of reverential tone the BBC reserves for coverage of Queen Elizabeth II). All the papers, of course, covered the story with varying degrees of interest: it’s always interesting to compare and contrast the lead stories, such as those of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star, the Manila Times, the Manila Standard-Today, and of course Malaya and the Daily Tribune (I’m sure the Daily Business Mirror would have a good story, but it doesn’t have an online presence yet). PCIJ says the collision has resulted in a standoff. (The bloggers weigh in, too: Jove Francisco gives the behind the scenes peek from the perspective of a member of the Palace press corps; RG Cruz writes as an ANC and ABS-CBN reporter; AlterNation101 awakens from hibernation to partially support the President on this one; Philippine Commentary says the President is really after radio and the small fry in print).

Speaking of the President, she telling the Consultative Commission on Charter Change to hurry up while the commission itself says its latest brainchild is to clip the powers of the Supreme Court. And here’s something interesting: the Senate thinks it’s found a way to circumvent E.O. 464.

The political Oopsie of the week was the Black & White Movement’s unfortunate ad typo which resulted in the wrong link being published in its recent ad. The boo-boo apparently gave much pleasure (of the political kind) to the Palace.

The punditocracy has The basics of reforms as my column for yesterday (speaking of the Black and White Movement, I’m one of its convenors, by invitation).

The Inquirer editorial, Foul play, tackles the potential transfer of accused US servicement to Okinawa; Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago threatens a review of the Visiting Forces Agreement if that happens (good for her!); Edwin Lacierda argues the clock will run out on the case, and so the Americans will get away scot-free (I hope media picks up Lacierda’s arguments).

Marichu Villanueva compares and contrasts the four president’s she’s covered. Peter Wallace says the economic figures being touted by the President are misleading.

Tony Abaya debunking Communism and pointing to it as a reason the Philippines has fallen behind; compare and contrast his arguments with the passions that moves The Scourge of God, who wants to round up businessmen and feed them to sharks, or drop them from helicopters (incidentally, reader Mong comments that calling a person a Communist puts that person in danger). Still on the subject of Communism, Philippine Commentary gives me a pep talk (thanks for that!) and cautions me about being defeatist: I’m not; I’m just grimly determined. Too few Filipinos still think, and of those who do, too many have had their minds warped.

(Update 1:59 p.m. Reader Renmin comments that he thinks I shouldn’t disrespect Ina Alleco, and reiterates an earlier reader comment about placing “above-ground activists” in danger. Let me stipulate that I’ve wanted to emphasize the ideology of people, because one shouldn’t soft-pedal these things. But Renmin’s comment is a reminder to me that I do not, under any circumstance, condone or view as acceptable in any way, the political assassination of anyone, whatever their ideology. My condemnation of Communism is their pursuit of armed revolution; fatalities at the hands of the armed forces in armed encounters is the price revolutionaries pay; but for those who choose to undertake political work, they are entitled to the protections all political workers should enjoy. It is, indeed, a dangerous time for those affiliated with the National Democratic Front and its allied organizations. Therefore, to quibble about their orientation not being fully expressed, at a time when their orientation places their lives in danger, might help give the impression that political liquidations are justified. They’re not: whatever your view, expressing it in the political arena should not get you killed if you are unarmed. So I will henceforth refer to Alleco by her blog’s name.)

Mike Tan writes about Filipino surnames.

The blogosphere features a site you should add to your links: Poor Mojo’s Newswire. It was spawned by Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k), which is one of my favorite e-zines, I’ve even contributed to it (this is one of my favorite pieces) and am online friends with one of its founders. Their blog makes for eccentric and often highly amusing reading. One snippet of information they’ve posted: Being talked about on the Interweb can make you a public figure. The Philippines Free Press (for which I work), too, inaugurates a blog with digests of its weekly issues as well as articles from its archives.

Punzi marks his 50th blog lecture with a treatise on the separation of Church and State. Jove Francisco has an interesting entry on what the Charter change commission is up to.

Apropos of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Ellen Tordesillas publishes the rape complaint in her blog, and clarifies the difference between jurisdiction (which the US has conceded to the Philippines), and custody (which the VFA grants the USA). Sassy Lawyer calls for the scrapping of the agreement, gets pilloried for it, and is thus pissed off; meanwhile, La Vida Lawyer analyzes what cards the President can play if the whole thing escalates into a diplomatic crisis. Speaking of diplomacy, Uniffors pens a strong open letter for Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo. It’s apparently an expose of how the Department of Foreign Affairs is being used to hide missing former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

RG Cruz has been writing a good series on the Citizen’s Congress, here, on the 2nd day, and here, on newsroom notes.

Go Figure has been covering and participating in a conference on Agricultural Development: Policy Lessons from Major Ideas and Paradigms in the Past 30 Years. His coverage continues, with the second day of the conference.

Trails Across Continents has an entry about the riots in France, and transcribes a report on National Public Radio on how Christian and Muslim Frenchmen got together to save buildings and property from being destroyed:

Young Muslim men from the mosques spent the nights wandering the streets and if they came across people who looked like they were going to be causing trouble, they tried to talk them out of it. Nuredeen, a young man I met, was an absolute epitomy of a young French Muslim: sandles, jilaba (spelling?), jersey on top of that, woolen hat, checkered kefir (spelling?) on his head. He bumped into a guy in a hooded sweatshirt carrying a can of gasoline, and he talked him out of it. He said “you know, what is the point of burning the schools that our little brothers and sisters learn to read and write in? What is the point in burning your neighbor’s car, or the busses that we all need to go to work in?” And it worked.

Still on France, Tea & Coffee warns of a menace in the streets of France: the “voiturette,” which sounds like something we should be importing here.

Locana has an interesting entry on the President of India, which makes for interesting reading: it suggests what direction the Philippine presidency might take if we go parliamentary. Filipinos are all too ignorant about India as a democratic country to look to for relevant examples of how to sustain democracy.

And add Presto Vivace to your blogroll if you want to keep tabs on developments in advertising.

And here’s the schedule of the 6th Israeli Film Festival:

THE PODIUM, CINEMA 2 (Free admission)
Friday, 11 November 2005
10:30am Contrapunkt, This Ain’t San Francisco ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
1:30pm Pure Soup, America, Jabberwocky ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13
4:00pm Yonder ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13

Saturday, 12 November 2005
11:00am Pure Soup, America, The Parlor, Yonder
1:00pm Poisoned, Jabberwocky ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
3:30pm America, Pure Soup ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13
6:00pm Soldat, yonder ** Nina’s Tragedies, R18
9:00pm This Ain’t San Francisco, Contrapunkt ** Turn Left at the End of the World, R18

Tuesday – Wednesday, 15-16 November 2005
Tues, 15Nov2005
2:00pm Poisoned, Pure Soup, America, Yonder
5:00pm The Parlor, ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13
7:30pm Jabberwocky, Auditon ** Turn Left at the End of the World, R18

Wed, 16Nov2005
2:00pm Soldat, This Ain’t San Francisco ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
5:00pm Contrapunkt ** Turn Left at the End of the World, R18
7:30pm America, Yonder, ** Nina’s Tragedies, R18

SM MEGAMALL, CINEMA 6 (Free Admission)
Thursday – Saturday, 17-19 November 2005
Thurs, 17Nov2005
11:30am Yonder ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
2:30pm Jabberwocky, Audition ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13
5:30pm Poisoned, The Parlor ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
8:00pm This Ain’t San Francisco, Contrapunkt ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13

Fri, 18Nov2005 (Student films)
1:00pm Poisoned, Pure Soup, Audition
3:00pm The Parlor, America, Jabberwocky
5:00pm Yonder, This Ain’t San Francisco
7:30pm Contrapunkt, Soldat, Yonder

Sat, 19Nov2005
11:30am Poisoned, The Parlor ** Operation: Thunderbolt,
2:30pm America, Pure Soup ** R13Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13
5:00pm This Ain’t San Francisco, Contrapunkt ** Operation: Thunderbolt, R13
8:30pm Yonder, Soldat ** Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi, R13

Manuel L. Quezon III.

8 thoughts on “Videocams and robbers

  1. I appreciate how your blog generously serves as a portal to other blogs representing a whole range of views on many topics. However, taking off from Mong’s comment, may I suggest that you stop referring to Ina Alleco as your “favorite Communist blogger.” Based on your comments, it’s apparent that you admire and even empathize with her writings. But why disrespect/patronize her with that tag? (Maybe as a way of innoculating yourself and your readers from the affects of her writing?) Plus, Mong made the point that such a tag puts legal, above-ground activists in real danger–certainly a valid point given that this government lets loose the likes of Gen. Palparan.

  2. the big question with regards to the shooting incident is: has our values really that screwed up that we have individuals with the money and education going around stealing cars? has the “gangsta” lifestyle really infected our youth? how sad.

  3. Apropos the move of the Senate to convene as a committee of the whole for the purpose of deliberating the budget and skirting EO464..this reminds me of Watergate and the Nixon tape coverup (which lasted over a year and half before he resigned), that was when the term GRIDLOCK got invented.
    But every mature democracy fights its real battles over the budget. That’s what Democrats and Republicans in the US always fight about. Why after all should we now agree to give GMA a trillion pesos to play with after all this? Abolish the Senate huh? She’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’!

  4. acidboy, the spread of graffiti and the hip hop culture afflicts all classes, it seems.

    DJB: by the way, it’s difficult to comment on your blog because it requires a blogger account. I didn’t know “gridlock” dates back to the Nixon years. Would make for a interesting entry (hint, hint).

  5. On the carjacking…

    Being a victim carnappers having the consolation that I was there when it got stolen makes me proud of the police pero pag kamag anak kabarkada of course baka murahin ko pa yung mga sobs na yon..

    On video cam buti na lang yung mga mga middle class natin kaya na ng cellphones nila maka kodak then eventually with 3rd gen cels more baka mawebcast pa nila as it happens….
    let’s see people recording politicians doing hanky hanky on the web
    let’s see the customs commisioner receiving a bribe on the web…..

    pero kung wiretapping law di nagkakabuhol buhol na sila pano pa kaya papayagan ang panukalang batas para sa hidden camera web casts….


    We kept on asking cops to do something …now that they have done something let us justwait kung tama nga yung mga napatay nila before even being pro or anti cop.

    About Senate commitee on the whole

    I want to see Miriam stop this from happening kung kaya nya
    but she always thinks she is always better than the whole..
    Absent kasi sya nung nagbotohan

    pero i heard Sen Ralph Recto na iiwasan nilang maging political at investigative hmmmm what will the others say

    VFA we all know that we can not stop the sachet mentality of terrorists pa ambon ambum umatake ngayon makipag patintero ka sa longest coast line in the world
    tapos mas mabilis pa ang seed boat nila sa patrol craft natin tapos ang mga nag check ng mga bag sa mga mall at lrt papasok lang ang stick tapos pag me makitang softdrink paiiwan tapos parang ang galing na nila.
    The answer is not military alone but a multilevel across the board kumbaga

    tapos isa patong bird flu nato nakisawsaw pa sa eksena as if we did not have enough problems
    kailangan daw galingan natin ang pag monitior para satin daw kumuha ng mga manok Diyos ko di ko nga alam kung gusto kong magfried chicken sa pasko

    pasko bakit nga ba si Father Rodriguez ang nagsasabi na malungkot tayo dahil taghirap ang pasko

    di bat ang pasko ay about Jesus….Its not always about us Father it is about Him we have 364 days to worry about that and leave the day for Christ not for your worries na malungkot ang pasko ngayon….

  6. MLQ, yes I’ve said in a number of ways, mostly in the context of putting cameras in the hands of people on the margins in remote places, who are usually the most easily victimized by powerful people. Cameras are a first step towards evening the playing field; not even guns would be as effective. Now if only citizens’ video could have more access to mass distribution systems…

    With most new cell phones coming with cameras these days, almost everyone’s paparazzi these days.

  7. mlq3,
    “the spread of graffiti and the hip hop culture afflicts all classes, it seems.”

    haha! spoken like a true fellow thirtysomething (i think)! maybe those of us who rather listen to new wave, or rick astley-esque disco, or grunge, or menudo(?!) don’t really understand ‘hip hop culture’ but i don’t think p diddy, snoop dogg, jay z, kanye west or beyonce has anything more to do with influencing violence than led zep influenced satanism daw, or queen influened marijuana usage daw, or judas priest influenced teen suicide daw.

  8. i regularly read your enquirer column, aside from that of a fellow bikolano, conrad de quiros. but what got me to crunching up this short comment was your DSL disaster piece today, 15 november. i wish you could have been more vituperative on those SOBs at PLDT. i pay a hard-earned P2,000 a month—which takes quite a toll on my take home pay—for my DSL connection, only to discover on nights that i have to get on the internet (to attend to a thriving sideline) that their service is on the &#%@$! blink. and you’re right: they call it DSL but what i get is dial-up speed. let’s go—us DSL subscribers, i mean—and slap a class suit on those robbers!

    speaking of robbers (and videocams), i am now still kicking myself in the head for missing the “negative” (GMA’s word, not mine) opportunity of capturing on film last thursday afternoon a traffic cop flagging a motorist and then later, after the usual song-and-dance about a traffic violation, OPENLY stretched out his hand for the usual “kotong” money. the poor driver had to for over a wad of bills. sayang! but then, my attention was diverted by a sun setting over manila bay!

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