Contending views

The President turns 59 today. Jove Francisco describes the festivities and those festive about it. The President denounces preparations for a possible impeachment.

A human chain is vowed; do they need a permit?

Contending views on several questions makes for particularly fruitful reading today.

On the news from Thailand, called a Triumph of democracy by the Nation newspaper: An OFW from Hong Kong reflects the jubilation in certain quarters over the Thai premier’s declaration he will not form a new government, and the hope that developments have some sort of effect over here. Demosthenes’ Game thinks its a ludicrous stretch and points to Western views saying so, too (and that thinking Thaksin should be praised is not a smart at all). The Arab News has a good editorial on the Thai premier’s fall from power. Patricio Diaz thinks comparing Thaksin and Arroyo is a useful exercise. Commenter emilie in this blog thinks the comparisons aren’t useful or valid.

PCIJ blog reports on a survey-based anlysis by Mangar Mangahas of Social Weather Stations. Philippine Commentary takes a look at surveys, survey results, and how people interpret them and what they really say. Commenter domingo arong in this blog makes a very interesting point: with 60% having voted against the President in one way or another in 2004, why is it the overall percentage of those opposed to her now is lower than the 2004 election percentage?

From the Sun-Star Cebu, a statement provokes a counter-statement: Arroyo pushes Ch-cha- for political gains: bishop and People’s initiative critics “fear loss of public post“.

Two reports on oral arguments before the Supreme Court: Manila Bulletin and Malaya.

Love and Light recalls a discussion comparing Japanese business owners to their Filipino counterparts.

After All contends with some views put forward concerning Winnie Monsod.

Red’s Herring on achieving system change: and balking at it.

Atty-at-work puts forward Vaclav Havel’s thoughts on power and those who hold it.

Interesting reads: Gail Ilagan on aggression and Jack Shafer on the succesful redesign of the New York Times online edition. Fifty nine years later, the Philippines Free Press blog looks back on the plebiscite of 1947.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

39 thoughts on “Contending views

  1. PCIJ blog reports on a survey-based analysis by Mangar Mangahas of Social Weather Stations.

    Related to FPJ…. Dont forget biases.. Also notice that UP is in charge of Pulse Asia..

    Commenter domingo arong in this blog makes a very interesting why is it the overall percentage of those opposed to her now is lower than the 2004 election percentage?

    I agree with domingo and i think i pretty much said the same thing at the top of the blog yesterday..

  2. sleeping, i think domingo arong said it better. i would attribute it to the ‘balimbing effect’. i [vaguely] remember reading somewhere that the incumbent normally has an automatic 20% base to start with. i guess many Filipinos just have the tendency to be in awe of power and those who wield it. i believe if arroyo is ousted and the junta takes over tomorrow, they will automatically have 20% on their side. Even among intelligent and ostensibly principled people like Monsod and Austero, you can see the same effect. The former voted for Villanueva while the latter voted for Roco. Those like me who go the other direction seem to be less common.

  3. It’s really funny. When GMA is trying to justify her victory, she uses the reslut of surveys. Now the the surveys are against her, she tries to disregard it. As for #1, it’s saying that because Mangahas is related to FPJ, there must be some bias. Strange, and funny.

  4. sleeping, i think domingo arong said it better. i would attribute it to the ‘balimbing effect’. i [vaguely] remember reading somewhere that the incumbent normally has an automatic 20% base to start with.

    Could be the ‘automatic 20%’ are those who accepted the will of the people and sincerely want the winner to succeed so they support him or her. Not unconditionally of course. Really, how many among us really wish a newly elected leader to fail?

  5. jeg, if the leader has been legitimately elected, yes. otherwise, it’s more a case of passive acceptance of whoever gets power.

  6. Jon

    Why is it strange and funny.. Mangahas has been distorting data to show his side always..

    Remember his comment about the elections oh we did it completely wrong that is why we had Gloria win..12 Months after the election.. Not 12 Days..

    Also note at PCIJ..
    Malou Mangahas, a member of the PCIJ board of editors..

    And they never denied that she is a relation to Mangar Mangahas.

  7. Sleeping, if I remember it right, GMA was leading the surveys before and after the election. I can’t see why it’s Mangahas side…

    As his explaining why “they made a mistake”, I believe is the business side of him. I actually don’t buy into surveys.

  8. MLQ3,

    Begging your pardon but I believe Emilie went completely overboard. She sidestepped the main thrust of my message and went on to attack a premise which I didn’t make.

    I DON’T GIVE A DAMN about Thaksin. He is a problem for the Thais and not mine, not hers but theirs.

    The thrust of yesterday’s commenters’ thread I believe was also about comparing two flawed leaders. One who stepped down because he believed the people didn’t want him any longer while the other continues to glue herself to power and will do everything to keep herself there, people power or no people power.

    I rarely ever raised the Thaksin or the Thai issue unless it has a direct bearing on the Philippine issue so, when a post such as Emilie’s is tinged with derision like “My god, and he’s laughing his way to the bank.”, she must be prepared to accept a simple, straightforward rebuttal such as “What’s wrong with that? IF IT’S HIS MONEY, why not?” In other words, IF IT’S NOT HIS money, the Thais should run him to the ground.

    Emilie must be intellectually honest enough to admit that the main thrust of my message was all about HONOR between the two flawed leaders. One who can be perceived as having the HONOR to step down when he’s no longer wanted while the other continues to wade in filthy DISHONOR and refuses to know that she is no longer wanted.

    Again, I really don’t give a hoot about what the Thais (and Emilie for that matter) think of Thaksin. The Thais could throw him into a dungeon in shackles for all eternity and I couldn’t care less. His existence becomes relevant to me only when his leadership or persona is raised or compared to Gloria’s morally and honorably flawed persona.

    What really matters a lot to me is when Filipinos see the evil in Thaksin yet refuse to see the same evil, thievery, cheating, lying, etc. which are committed by Gloria Macapal-Arroyo right at their doorstep.

  9. Adb someone cut too close to you again….

    You take things so personally, I have looked at your comments on many other sites, Do you ever actually not insult people..

  10. Sleeping,

    Thank you for “looking” at my comments. Nice to know I have a “fan” who’s tracking my posts everywhere.

  11. MLQ3,

    Begging your indulgence… am posting an e-mail from BABAE re the murder of Inday Estorba.

    Statement and Urgent Call to Action April 4, 2006
    Contact: Marisa Mariano, Secretary General, babae San Francisco,
    Email: [email protected], 415-412-8915,


    babae condemns the murder of Gabriela party member, Inday Estorba. On April 3, 2006 at 3:00 am in her home, Inday Estorba was shot in close range and died shortly after. She leaves behind 2 children and a husband in critical condition. Estorba’s active history in GABRIELA women’s organizing and women’s rights advocacy in Bohol made her a clear target for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s minions. Essentially, however, Estorba was murdered under the watchful eyes of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Inday Estorba, for being an active Gabriela member and an advocate of women’s rights, has been identified as a target of Arroyo’s military,” said Lisa Maza, a similarly politically persecuted Gabriela partylist member.

    Last week alongside our comrades, we celebrated the life of Cris Hugo, slain LFS national member and contributor to the youth and students movement in the Philippines. And within a short week, we are again in utter disbelief and now, in absolute rage with the unjust murder of Inday Estorba.

    More in

  12. Sleeping,

    You have mentioned in the previous post that you have e-mailed me in the past…
    It is unfortunate that I have already forgotten that email message…and erased my mailbox na….

    me idea na sana ako kung sino ka…

    pero ok lang

    I just wish na tumigil na ang bangayan nyo ni Anna

    pero kung di kayo mapigilan …bahala na kayo malaki na kayo!

  13. Sleeping — “Mangahas has been distorting data to show his side always..”

    Every methodology has its problems — some big and distortive, some small and basically inconsequential.

    But unless you can point to some aspect of their methodology that shows bias, your assertion of Mangahas being biased has about as much credibility as me saying that you are a a right-wing, overweight idiot.

  14. You know Karl, I wouldn’t even remotely consider “Sleeping with (Gloria)” and his utterings if he didn’t have such a narrow-minded view of my own posts…

    One thing I’m sure of is that I can hold my ground because I am not a coward but I don’t know if “Sleeping with (Gloria)” can say the same of himself.

    But you are right, I shouldn’t dignify the anti-AdB postings of “Sleeping with (Gloria)” and his defence of his putrid Gloria Macapal-Arroyo; should just let him continue ranting about his bangungots.

  15. Yep, Vger.

    The NY Times April 5 editorial could easily be interpreted as a kind of laying the ground for running Gloria out of Malacanang, with their intro and their advice:

    “Filipinos thought they had put an end to electoral chicanery and governmental intimidation when they overthrew the Marcos dictatorship two decades ago. Unfortunately, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has completely lost touch with the ideals that inspired that 1986 “people power” movement.”

    “President Bush has repeatedly hailed Mrs. Arroyo as an important ally against international terrorism. He now needs to warn her that by undermining a hard-won democracy, she is making her country far more vulnerable to terrorist pressures.”

  16. MLQ3,

    Malaya reported today ( that Arroyo named Col. Jovito Gammad, who has headed the presidential airlift wing since January 2004; Gammad, according to the Malaya report, has a long experience in the intelligence gathering as he had been part of the Air Force Intelligence Security Group from 1991 to 1995 before moving to the AFP’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence office in 1997 to 2000 (DCS A-2).

    He will replace Commodore Leonardo Calderon Jr. who was appointed head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

    Notice that her choice of a close-in “bodyguard” is always someone who is an expert in espionage.

    She’s so scared of shadows that hound her inside and out of Malacanang that she can only “trust” a military officer will play the “mole”.

  17. Vger, I think that Franklin Drilon or maybe Fortunato Abat influenced the NY Times to publish that scathing editorial. If not these two, maybe it was Ping Lacson! I’m waiting for the palace’s spin on this…

  18. In the referenced link above, Demosthenes’ Game poses a valid challenge on whether the events in Thailand can be characterized as a triumph or a setback for democracy. This is especially made relevant given that the Thai opposition leader Sondhi Limthongkul seems to hold the Thai rural folk with the same contempt that a lot of the Filipino middle class have toward the masa. There as in here, this attitude clearly indicates anti-democratic leanings which is disappointing coming from a supposed democrat. I also agree with Demosthenes as far as likening the events in Thailand with that of EDSA Dos as i explained in a previous comment.

    Regardless of the elitist attitude harbored by its opposition leader, the events in Thailand reflect an advance for democracy in that it shows one way in which a given minority in a society can stand up for what is right and effect change in a peaceful manner. Back in March, i mentioned in Ricky’s weblog that a conundrum among democracies is whether popularity in itself is enough to wash away a leader’s guilt.

    I was skeptical in the Thai opposition’s electoral boycott strategy, and was resigned to Thaksin burying the issues against him by way of the ballot box. As things stand today, the Thais may have found a way of getting around this conundrum. This would not have been possible without significant participation from the Thai people during mass actions and the electoral boycott.

  19. Thaksins downfall is something GMA would learn from.

    Anyone who will implement the same strategy as employed by the Thai opposition in making Thksin resign will be outmanuevered by GMA… she’s good, very good…

  20. Vger, thanks for the nytimes link.

    As for Jon Mariano’s comment:
    Vger, I think that Franklin Drilon or maybe Fortunato Abat influenced the NY Times to publish that scathing editorial. If not these two, maybe it was Ping Lacson! I’m waiting for the palace’s spin on this…

    You give Drilon and Abat too much credit. Or were you being sarcastic and I just didn’t catch it? Influence the nytimes editorial > hahaha.

  21. I am now convinced that Thaksin is not comparable to gma. The moral virtues of Thaksin pat his conscience to make a supreme sacrifice, whereas the ‘power-greed’ virtues of gma (Greedy Malacanang As__h_le!) dominates her arrogant attitude. Callous-faced!

  22. that is the advantage in a parlamentary system that thaksin can step down.
    a difference that nobody pays attention too is that in thialand there is a king that is a symbol of authority & respect.
    just hope the opposition stops clinging to the stars.
    it’s really pathetic that that the opposition hangs on to everything & anything.
    now it’s thaksin. who will it be next? all because the opposition don’t have any issues.don’t have any answers & don’t have anything to offer anyway.

  23. joselu, under the presidential system GMA can also choose to step down. good of you to point to the presence of the Thai king, that is indeed one difference.

  24. Jon, can you explain why nobody questioned the same surveys before the election & the exit polls done by media groups?
    How come nobody questioned then before?
    where they true or where they false?
    If one is to beleave all the surveys since then.PGMA would have been gone long ago.
    Are the surveys really reflecting the true sentiment or just catering to certain interest?
    The only real thing is that the survey business is very profitable.
    The BIR should pay those people a visit.

  25. Amee, you read me right. My comment was made in sarcasm.

    As I have mentioned, I don’t trust surveys. It’s all guesswork. I don’t subscribe to the numbers they bring out. I have the feeling that people who are asked the questions the surveyors use can easily answer one thing but mean another. They claim it’s scientific, but I just personally don’t buy to it. However, I would use it as a measurement of general perception of people. So for GMA to claim that she won the elections because the surveys before and after the election says so is a stretch.

  26. As for the current surveys saying people want her thrown out by whatever means, I would read it as “many wants her out”. As to how many, I won’t hazard a guess.

  27. a difference that nobody pays attention too is that in thialand there is a king that is a symbol of authority & respect.

    Sayang sumakabilang-buhay na si Da King. 😀

    (Seriously, we here in the Philippines give a lot of power to our showbiz celebrities. Remember the Abu Sayyaf once wanted to negotiate only with Robin Padilla? Given the right training, these artistas can really be agents of change. Too bad they had Erap as role model.)

  28. Joselu wrote: “opposition don’t have any issues.”
    —- Joselu, the “Garci issue” isn’t an issue for you? Tell your Tita or mom GMA to give a clear cut answer to this allegation. Why is she avoiding the “Garci issue” (for example). We haven’t heard of her talking about the issue herself. Instead, she tasked Bunye & Defensor to do the answering for her. Bakit?

  29. The latest surveys show that there’s still a big majority out there who wants Gloria out. Expect the talking heads of Malacanang to blurt out the same stock reply:

    “The President is unfazed.”

    Here’s a compilation of stock statements oozing out of the Palace boys’ lips day in and day out:

     “The President is unfazed…”
     “Let’s move on…let’s move forward…”
     “The President has better things to do…”
     “The President just wants to focus on governance…”
     “They want to destabilize…”
     “Bring it to the Supreme Court…”
     “Everything is under control…”
     “Their attempts will fail…”
     “They’ll be arrested if….”
     “There’s a no permit – no rally policy…”
     “Metro Manila is not the Philippines…”
     “We will look into that…”
     “The President won fair and square…”

    Ho..humm…Boring, boring, boring.

  30. To Jon Mariano:

    Whew! Glad for the clarification. I should have read more of your posts to know it was a sarcastic comment.

  31. The NY Times editorial will be tough to refute. So far, the response from the administration is silence. It might yet be the best response the admin can do.

    If a respected media institution where nobody has influence over attacks the Arroyo administration, it means that the perception from outside of the Philippines is not that far from how many Filipinos feel (as reflected by surveys). I see that inq7 has carried this editorial.

  32. Must be a slow day in the US..

    What the Vice President has not shot anyone, the President has not jailed or broken the law again, The Other one who is Caught for taking bribes and campaign contributions.

    And they then cast dispersions on our President..

    Who is actually working to improve peoples lives..

  33. but lets face it Jon one way or another you are being influenced by surveys.Perception is not a fact.actually if anyone makes dicisions based on perception, one takes a big risk.
    Persoanly, I think surveys are destorting so many things.Insted of being a tool that can be used as a guide.It seems that it just says so many things at the same time says nothing.One thing sure is that it’s certainly very profitable for others.
    It seems to me that in general terms the ones who want PGMA out are always the same people who never voted for her in the first place.
    I just hope those doing surveys be more concerned to do their jobs better.
    The only thing clear about surveys is to see how the country is divided.One does not even need a survey to see that too.

  34. You can ignore the surveys if you wish. But going back to the argument of being consistent, you don’t use it when it’s favorable (the surveys said I won), and discard them when they’re against you (n% says she should go away). In the same vein, you don’t quote it when it’s favorable, and then question the validity of those against.

    Without the surveys, how would one see that sentiment of the people?

    Like those who manufacture the electric chair for profit, It’s the same with those who do surveys. Are we going to ask them to stop what they’re doing because it’s profitable? I think that a survey serves its own purpose. To the Filipino politician, it’s like the fortune teller’s crystal ball, but not much use for the ordinary person.

  35. We should also not forget that before the 2004 elections, there were Malacanang-sponsored surveys which showed (of course) that Gloria was leading!

  36. re. #35

    damn, sleeping! i was waiting to see if you’d be able to come up with another one of your trademark hare-brained comments, regarding the NY Times editorial.

    you did not disappoint! 🙂

  37. Sleeping: “And they then cast dispersions on our President..

    Who is actually working to improve peoples lives..”

    aspersions… dispersion is what GMA does to protesters.

    Actually dispersion is a phenomenon that causes the separation of a wave into spectral components with different wavelengths, due to a dependence of the wave’s speed on its wavelength. (wikip)

    Hey, I may be working to improve people’s lives as well, but if I whack somebody on the head (or steal an election), does that exculpate me?

  38. Dispersion.

    Lomibao: Ma’am madaming naka-itim sa Araneta Avenue, malapit sa Q. Ave.

    Ma’am: Disperse ion….

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