Fidel Grump

Most of the papers headline former president Fidel V. Ramos’s crotchety press conference yesterday:

Ramos gives Arroyo until mid-2007 to quit: Says he still supports President, but… (Inquirer)
FVR stands by Arroyo (Manila Standard-Today) – not to mention this charming tidbit, Ramos displays tattoo to explain his absence (for someone who remembers the sight of a septugenarian Ferdinand Marcos trying to display his muscles, Ramos trying to do the same thing -he proudly pointed out his biceps in a photo to the press- smacks too much of deja vu)

FVR still for Gloria, warns of unrest (Daily Tribune)

Ramos to Gloria: Shape up or else… (Malaya)

Ramos rues disunity in government (Sun-Star, and the most elegant headline)
Columnists weighed in with their views on whether the former president’s silence until recently was Delphic or whether he can be considered sphinx-like: Tony Abaya believes the last card Ramos has left to play is quite an Ace in the hole: Uncle Sam. Leandro Coronel, on the other hand, simply wishes the former president would fade away. Larry Sipin thinks Ramos is an attention whore. Ricky Carandang previously intimated that Ramos had to put out a frisky rabbit out of his hat soon (or at least set about procuring a better rabbit than the one promptly stewed and eaten by President Arroyo after Ramos pulled it out of his hat last July). But like I said yesterday, no rabbit, not even a hat. As one colleague pithily remarked after viewing Mr. Ramos’s press conference yesterday, “what a complete waste of time.” Philippine Commentary is less inclined to give Ramos short shrift like I did, and instead dissects Ramos’s statements: perhaps it’s true that Ramos is simply revising his version of the Schlieffen Plan?

News articles of note:

New law mulled for people’s initiative on Charter change -this is emerging as one of the main political fights of the year. Banketa Republique has more on the people behind this effort.

Council meets agenda, invitees’ list completed -the Palace had better move heaven and earth to ensure the attendance of both Joseph Estrada or Cory Aquino or the thing will be a non-event (asked by a GMA7 reporter about the Council of State, I said tradition dictates everyone invited should go, but then I’m old-fashioned enough to believe an invitation from the President, regardless of your political opinion, is a command; but if the former presidents aren’t complete then the whole reason for being of the council suffers a body blow).

After Cabinet, govt undergoes shakeup -a very interesting article, particularly the proposal for the Department of Foreign Affairs to absorb the departments of Tourism and Trade and Industry, and the idea of combining the departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform; we have had bloated cabinets since Ferdinand Marcos.

‘Pump-priming will work’ says the Business Mirror; the President’s announcement that she managed to salt away 40 billion plus and intends to spend it, begs the necessary, skeptical question: who will be enjoying commissions from the contracts?

New tapes surface, 6 witnesses to talk — so much for closure!

In the punditocracy, Connie Veneracion kindly mentions me and this blog in an interesting column on image and perception.

Juan Mercado has a depressing column on our dying lakes.

In the blogosphere:

Ellen Tordesillas reports that frustrated (and now fugitive) putschist Nick Faeldon’s website crashed after receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors; (while the Armed Forces, as Uniffors points out skeptically, denies Faeldon’s claims he is doing some visiting of his own -to various military camps).

Upset over the eternal delays preventing the opening of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal III? New Economist says the Indians are frustrated over airports, too.

Red’s Herring has a masterfully elegant meditation on Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Jose Rizal.

Go Figure wonders if people aren’t overreacting to the proposal to open up the economy to foreigners. Blurry Brain is optimistic about Philippine policy improving the competitiveness of the country.

Thank you to Four-eyed Journal for linking to my article on Rizal and to The Filipino Mind for reposting my column on nationalism.

The Philippines Free Press blog reproduces two articles three decades after they came out: Pete Lacaba’s Second Mandate: from January 10, 1970, a witty and biting account of Ferdinand Marcos’s second inaugural, and a cautionary essay by Teodoro M. Locsin, No Thanks, from January 8, 1972 — warning how the Supreme Court was making martial law more likely.

Bonifacio Papers reproduces Manuel L. Quezon’s message on the laying of the cornerstone for the Bonifacio monument, November 30, 1929.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

33 thoughts on “Fidel Grump

  1. FVR is smart but PGMA is smart also.Is FVR in a hurry to become PM? I think ex presidents have had their chance to lead the country just as Ramos did.I think it’s annoying that FVR push his weigh around as if he did not know how close to impossible it is to govern this country.

  2. Power is addictive. FVR, GMA, JDV, etc., they’re all addicted.

    In the Philippines these addicts have further motivation to grab power, they can enrich themselves some more.

    Not all of course, there are always exceptions. I read Rene Saguisags comments on justice Palma, he said that she had an aging home…, meaning that she didn’t use her position before to enrich herserlf. Why doo good ones die first?

  3. Ramos latest caper is Law 6 of 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers: COURT ATTENTION AT ALL COST, to wit:
    “Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.”

  4. The FVR PGMA game of nerves is something to watch.In a way PGMA is more seasoned cuz 2005 was hell for her.while the rats abandoned ship she said “it’s getting warm in the kitchen & she is not going anywhere”.

  5. Maybe Biazon should ask Regal movies & Star cinema how to hype up further his comming soon “new witnesses” on the tapes!
    Since the Senate has no Will to do any serious work anyway & are obssesed w/ investigations for whatever purposes.
    The Senate should come up w/ an “investigation sked” that they can sell to advertizers so that they make a lil money for the country insted of being a “cost center” of tax payers money!
    In this tough times it’s expensive to maintain so many egos!

  6. FVR’s ways are starting to catch up with him. He doesn’t appear to be mysterious anymore, but somebody who has his hidden agenda exposed. Whichever side he chooses, whether GMA’s or the oppositions he cannot play a major role anymore. He’s thrown his marbles in GMA’s side, he thinks it’s his best bet right now.

    GMA thinks he still can serve her purposes, same with the opposition. But current events moves me to conclude that whatever he’s doing is only for himself or his own personal agenda. He speaks of working for the good of the country, but really it’s for his own good.

    Let’s continue watching how this melodrama turns out.

  7. In this country of cynical sabongeros and boxing enthusiasts, GMA surely resonates thru sheer craftiness and sharp survival instincts. She has thrust a dirty finger and poked it in the eyes of everyone who tried to cross her. She has made fools of opportunists and backstabbers who deluded themselves into thinking they could fertilize their own political aspirations with the ashes from her political demise. She may not be loved by the public, but she surely gets their grudging admiration.

    It is a pity that GMA’s political skills have to be demonstrated under such daunting circumstances. It would have been so much better for everyone if she had displayed these skills earlier in tackling the tough problems confronting the country. Anyhow, if she has discovered some amulet that has given her new-found skills and tremendous inner reserve, I hope she uses it to turn around the fortunes of the country. Much as she has managed to stave off her tormentors and seemingly snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

  8. Yes Carl I could not agree w/ you more.If only all the skills where used to bring our country forward,it would be the greatest.
    Just to say that w/ all the political storm the country still managed to do relativly well.What more w/o a political storm.
    I guess PGMA will go down in history as the most unpopular & demonized President.
    It’s kinda tragic that democracy for us means making life impossible for any leader.
    As if all efforts are concentrated so that anyone in a term will not succed or be able to do only so much.
    It’s as if a position of power is a musical chair must be shared not for it’s responsabilites but for it’s “perks” & “power”.

  9. on perception and image. Although i agree that perception can be misleading, but the image of a person can weigh in the credibility of what he/she says no matter how valid. For example, will you take GMA sincerely on her call for government workers to be honest in their service to the public. no matter how valid the call maybe but the skeptics among us will say, “look who’s talking”.

    Do we take Joseph Estrada seriously with his statement that he did not cheat because Ateneo did not teach him to cheat (this may not be his exact statement but something to that effect).

  10. After FVR, who else has the influence and opportunity to topple GMA? There’s none so far (somebody mentioned the military might even without FVR, and I agree. The chances of that however are very low).

    What else can we, ordinary people, do? Hope for the best with Gloria? Yes we can do that, but when she’s done with her term, she should be tried for all the things she’s accused of doing.

    That is another reason why she doesn’t want to let go of power, she wants to protect herserlf. She knows that she will be the 2nd “Estrada”, and she might end up in her own version of “Tanay”.

  11. GMA’s political style does not look sustainable.
    At some point, she will run out allies to double cross.
    It’s bound to be quite a fall considering her hubris.

  12. fencesitter, maybe the saying “do what I say & not what I do” applies.
    i think as humans we always tend to look for idols & most of the time we might just get dissapointed.
    because at he end of the day it’s not about what we think of the others but it’s about we did as individuals.
    personaly, i don’t really follow what pgma says.i’m watching more closely the results of her actions.
    cvj,it seems that pgma has had incredable lack.
    personaly,my real concern is for the country
    cuz it’s a matter of fact that we are quit a divided country & the opposition is anything but viable.
    for any president to fall in a. divided country will never be solving the problem & it could be worst.
    here is a crazy thought.what if she really is trying to make reforms.what if in the proceses she is steping in a lot of feet w/ so much to lose.what if those interest groups will move heaven & earth to protect their turf.we all know how feudal our politics can be.we all know how power centered our politics reality do we really really know who the people to be trusted are?
    yes pgma is playing a very high stakes political game.she already got the kitchen sink, tiolet bowl & the bathtub.
    but the bottom line it’s about’s about what we really want, what is doable all things we really have an actual warm body that we can gamble on lead us?
    at the end of the day it’s not all about pgma will always to back to us.because we should set aside perception & let our feet touch the ground of the real world w/ things as they are & be able to make objective judgments.

  13. Joey, it would have been nice if that were the case, but i don’t think so. From what i see, GMA’s actions are in the direction of protecting those in positions of power. You can hardly call that reform. Yes, it’s not about her alone. It’s about elements of the elite & middle class going along with the conspiracy to bury the truth and then trying to change the rules to permanently disenfranchise the majority. It’s a recipe for decay, not renewal.

  14. It would really be nice if GMA is trying to atone for previous lapses and what she does bring some good to the citizenry, not just the middle class and the elite.

    I would still want to see her tried for all the things she’s accused of. If she clears herself then well and good, everybody will be happy including her. If proven that she’s really scum, then to slammer she should go! If we have to make an example of her (and erap), then it’s time to start punishing politicians who deserves to rot in jail.

  15. i said it once, i’ll say it again;

    time waits for no one, and FVR it seems is desperate to catch up, along with JDV
    I’m sure GMA has seen through this, as the others have said, “parehas silang tuso”.

  16. btw, thanks to mlq3 for writing the ‘Nationalism’ column. (Did not see it when it first came out in August 2004.) I hope the Statehood Movement advocates and their sympathizers would no longer make use of that quote out of context.

  17. Which was the first nation state or union of nation states that was created by men bound by the ideas of individual God given economic, political and social rights? Where did this idea or notion of God given individual rights to life , liberty come from? Where did the idea of labor as the source of all property come to be God given? Who takes the place of God on earth as individuals give up part and not all of their God given rights to men to rule over them? The Church or the secular state?
    How was the “nation” state of the Philippine Islands formed?

    Does it have the autonomy to decide on its own economic, political and cultural choices?

    Is there such a thing as a race of Singaporeans, Americans or Filipinos? 250 years ago they did not exist.

    The peoples of India descended from peoples of the Aryan and Dravidian race.

    Does race still matter?

    Do the Aetas, Igorots, the natives of Batanes, Maranaws, Tausugs have the same genealogical background?

    The largest continent in the world is the Eurasian continent. Where does Asia begin and Europe start or vice versa?

  18. hvrds, there is a Filipino ‘race’, if the word is used as a synonym for national or ethnic identity. It’s a personal, social and political construct, quite like the relatively older American and younger Singaporean identities. Today, ‘race’ still matters for a lot of good and bad reasons. For one thing, it comes in handy when filling up forms. I read somewhere that the Ural mountain range is the designated boundary between Europe and Asia. All the
    other questions are hard to answer.

  19. MLQ3: Strange about Nick Faeldon’s website — the visitor counter increments by 33 or 34 everytime you hit the front page. This is an important point for all bloggers who run sitemeters and visitor counters. There should be a kind of Truth-in-Advertising ethic because it gives everyone a bad name when we give the impression that hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our humble hovels. Since I tried the expt about 10 times and thus incremented the counter by 330, that perhaps is the right divisor for estimating real traffic on the faeldon website.

  20. Haha! Nice one DJB. I’m not interested in what Faeldon has to say, but I admire his courage. Whoever is supporting him is a good PR man, what they’re trying to put across must be respected but hyping the number of visitors to the site is underhanded, sneaky and leaves a bad taste to the mouth.

    It’s the difficulty of promoting idealism, you will be measured by it also.

  21. anyway guys, it was a what a bizzare situation like ours it’s hard to discount anything or much less take sides.
    anyway, to me it seems that fvr move of a conditional support to pgma last year is now getting clear.firstly, fvr did not want to get identified w/ an unacceptable opposition.there is no opposition to talk about anyway.they are just a bunch of “political oppurtunist”.
    fvr just waited for the dust to settle.
    since there is no viable political oppostion fvr is trying to fill the void & in reality presenting himself as an alternative.
    maybe, this can explain all the contacts his making.
    why should an ex add to the presures of a sitting president when he very well knows how close to impossible it is to govern this Nation much less to be able to solve the problems overnight?
    i won’t be surprised if fvr knew about the garci tapes from the start and just like the opposition saw a chance to exploit it.
    fvr is certainly a more seasoned politician then the “kids” in the opposition.
    it’s clear that his using pgma for what has to do w/ chacha.only thing is fvr is in a hurry to be prime minister.i think it’s writen all over his face.i’m almost sure that he will even connect w/ the opposition to support it.cuz chacha has always been his “baby”.i’m sure that his so pissed about the no-el because it will clearly ruin his’s obvious that 2007 is important for “interest & agendas” & it will also be bloody.
    in a way there is a plan for every year.2005 where the garci tapes.this year will be fvr presenting himself as a viable opposition leader.2007 will be an election year where the opposition hopes to turn the tide.
    jvc, do you really think the power from pgma hands to another will really make a world of difference?
    personaly i would settle for the lesser evil & go for no-el.i as an individual won’t die or my life be tretened.we always say that the battele is between the the elite and so on when it is our vote that will decide their pushing their agenda &’s like we are eating into their hands for different hopping for the best although the conditions on the ground can’t guarantee us good results & politicians using the system for their own reasons.does not seem that we are contributing anything to reverse the decay.

    sorry manolo for writing to much

  22. I’ve been to the Faldeon website. As of today, there is nothing i’ve read there that is disagreeable. Their stated approach is closer to Gandhi than to Gringo.

  23. cjv, re No. 19: thank you, too. My views on the Statehood movement’s simple: who was its most recent self-proclaimed leader? Ely Pumatong!!

  24. cvj, re Faldeon,i guess his trying to sell himself now.question is, on what credibility is he riding on.when he was “inside” the military what difference did he make?He just got caught up in a coup atempt.
    i’m sure that manolo who is well read can bring out quotes of what can be done to promote change.
    from the lil that i know.
    if you wanna change anything, you must do it from w/in.
    just like change must start w/in is change in institutions must start from the people w/in.
    what is happening w/ us insted is people who say they want change seem to be the same people who are w/in the institutions but it’s hard to say if their precence really makes any difference.when the going get’s tough the tough get going!!!perfect exsample, snitches 10!!!
    anyone can dream of change & reform. it’s completely another story being able to lead it.

  25. you’re welcome mlq3. i googled ‘ely pumatong’ and there were only five entries three of which were from your weblog. looks like it’s a fringe group, quite an improvement from the days when Bart Cabangbang came in third during the Marcos sponsored presidential elections of the early 80s. Maybe a lot of the members succeeded in getting into the US. Good for both countries, i suppose.

  26. Regarding Faeldon’s site, I do not have the same experience of it jumping 33 every time I log in. I get the normal increase of 1. Maybe there is something in your computer?

  27. regarding faeldon’s website counter… you cannot trick that. if it happens that every time you refresh the page and it increments by 30 or 35 it simply means that during that exact time there are around 30 to 35 people who are also accessing faeldon’s website. im saying this because i also experience that. but often the counter runs normal. by the way as of today faeldons visitors has reach 897,552. hmmmm..

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