Bishops’ belated move?

The big news remains the recent pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, which is critical of the ongoing amendments effort.

As the Speaker confidently announces No stopping Charter change , amendments proponents say ChaCha groups get ready to file petition to submit their proposal to a plebiscite. RG Cruz reports the Secretary of the Interior’s insisistence he’s an innocent, misunderstood man, and that he’s against the “people’s initiative”. Puno’s statement and that of the bishops has led to what I believe is premature celebration on the part of some opponents of amendments at the present time.

There’s also Davide proposes two-party system. Noted.

The rumor-mill in overdrive: US mum on drive to oust Gloria: Sign of weakening Washington support? And also, Ties unaffected by Times piece,says US envoy.

Malaya and the Daily Tribune both point to Joseph Estrada’s relatively high ratings in the answer to the question, “who is the best person to lead the country now,” though of course noting later on there’s someone slightly more popular than he: the Vice-President. The Inquirer also reports on the survey results. The findings are:

Q. Who is the best person to lead the country now?


Noli de Castro 23%
Joseph Ejercito Estrada 22%
Panfilo Lacson 18%
Corazon Aquino 16%
Susan Roces 14%
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 11%
Fidel V. Ramos 8%
Eddie Villanueva 6%

Miserable numbers all around, but interesting. big mango has a very thought-provoking entry on the leadership question.

Overseas: Immigration-policy protest rages in US (why don’t they go home and let the government move forward with helping the economy?)

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Tax wittheld, which explains the origins of the withholding tax (it’s income tax season, after all).

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. explains he is not against amendments, but opposes the manner in which they are being pursued. He supports the letter of the bishops. Atty. Rita Jimeno defends the amendments effort.

Jaime S. Ong has a brilliant synopsis of the reasons there’s a political crisis, and pens a devastating critique of the administration’s main propaganda lines.

Manny Valdehuesa has a summary of his arguments pointing to the barangay as the basis for rebuilding democracy in this country. His book makes for provocative and interesting reading, definitely worth checking out.

In the blogosphere, Philippine Politics 04 and Philippine Commentary have both tackled past entries in this blog in the continuing effort to grapple with the legacies of Edsa Dos and Edsa Tres.

1. Both Edsa 2 and Edsa 3 were genuine People Power events to my mind. But both were also aborted People Power events. By this I mean that People Power is the instrument of last resort, politically, if a peaceful change in regimes is desired, but that it also must result in the overthrowing of the existing Constitutional order and its replacement with a new one. At Edsa Dos, this was prevented when the march on the Palace was opposed by Cardinal Sin and Cory Aquino and the intervention of the Supreme Court (after the intervention of the armed forces) was solicited precisely to prevent a possible Mussolini scenario. At Edsa Tres, the effort failed because at the crucial juncture, the leadership of Edsa Tres, unused to the ways of People Power, led from the rear instead from the front; and abandoned the protesters to adopt violence, and having done so, made it easy for the police and armed forces to crush them.

2. An interesting thing to remember, in retrospect, is that attempts to mount People Power prior to the second envelope incident, failed, and kept failing because, as surveys showed at the time, the public, whether pro or con, insisted they wanted an impeachment to push through. The same feelings have been apparent in the current crisis -instinctively, we can say, the public wants the constitutional process to work. Legal niceties aren’t important; the process is, and the process being thwarted has led to an escalation of the crisis and the pursuit of other means.

3. Someone reminded me recently that after Estrada’s victory in 1998, the National Democrats were devastated, politically. Estrada’s victory was the triumph of populism versus ideology. Estrada’s political woes energized the Communists and made them an important player in mainstream politics. Ironically, this has helped Mrs. Arroyo: one of her remaining props in power is the fear of the National Democrats which has helped rally support from all classes of society. Her neutralizing their leadership has, with equal irony, helped energize the opposition which now has to deal with them less compared to last year.

Read also what Red’s Herring has to say about the above.

An OFW Living in Hong Kong says: attend to enforcing discipline in Metro Manila!

Demosthenes’ Game reacts to reactions. On this we agree: I am generally anti-boycott.

ExpectoRants reacts to Torn & Frayed’s observations on Christian hegemony in the Philippines, and asks, what about the hegemony of atheism?

After Holy Week: Manila Conference on freedom of expression in cyberspace.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manuel L. Quezon III.

30 thoughts on “Bishops’ belated move?

  1. The Manila conference on freedom of expression in cyberspace is very timely. Singapore authorities are gagging political blogs in the run up of its parliamentary elections.

  2. noli leading the pack? interesting…

    re the tax thing, because of the new bir ruling on substituted filing, one doesn’t need to file the ITRs anymore if he meets the following criteria:

    1) the employer withholds the correct amount of taxes
    2) he has only one employer for the preceding year

    (i would’ve linked the necessary BIR citations, but the BIR site’s slow today. incidentally, the sites are sometimes unaccessible as well… government conspiracy or technical glitch?)

    so i haven’t been going out to the mall for that since 2002 (i think).

    the catch with the substituted filing is some companies still ask for the ITRs for certain requirements (specifically loan applications). i just wish people can get their acts together; i mean, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  3. Here in Hong Kong, there’s no such thing as a witholding tax. You take home the gross amount and you pay your taxes at the end of each taxable year (April 1 to March 31). So there’s business for banks from those who need to get a loan to pay their taxes! The’y dont like Beardsley Ruml’s idea here.

    But Hong Kong has one of the lowest income taxes in the world. Maximum tax is 18%, that’s after a personal deduction of about 100k. Isn’t that nice? Maybe it’s time for our income taxes to be lowered, and the filing simplified so that those professionals would rather pay their taxes than pay some “wise” accountants.

  4. EDSA 3 was really People Power. That there were undesirable elements among them is immaterial. EDSA 2 also had its share, as we belatedly found out.

  5. Could it be that the Bishops’ move has become too little, too late? I agree re: the premature celebration. The administration hasn’t taken the CBCP’s statement meekly, as some quarters had expected, but instead came out fighting and defiant. It seems that they feel that they can succcesfully take on the Church. They’ve already been able to marginalize former Presidents Ramos and Aquino and Speaker de Venecia, practically rendered the Senate inutile, made the traditional opposition nearly irrelevant, and has all but ignored the Supreme Court, if not co-opted it outright. GMA must feel that she can also just disregard the Church. She seems invincible right now. Meanwhile, a lot of people continue to be apathetic to all this, unwilling to act. Many have even chosen to just stick it out with GMA, content with mouthing the “sinong papalit?” and “everybody cheats and steals anyway” copouts.

    Seems like this is going to be a long, arduous struggle, barring some miracle (a US intervention, perhaps?)

  6. They’ve already been able to … [make] the traditional opposition nearly irrelevant…

    I think the traditional opposition also had a hand in that themselves. They have made themselves irrelevant.

    Many have even chosen to just stick it out with GMA, content with mouthing the “sinong papalit?”…

    The ‘sinong papalit’ thing is such a lame excuse. Ive commented on that in Mr. Ricky Carandang’s blog (a comment which he hasnt approved, by the way, along with another comment, which he has every right to do of course, since it’s his blog). I wrote:

    Are we all forgetting that the Constitution has that covered? I dont know if youve all heard but there is such a thing as a Vice President. You dont like Noli De Castro? That is just too bad because more people want him to be Vice President with the full knowledge that he’ll be President if and when the President cannot continue to serve. Forgive me but this ‘No alternative’ excuse just doesnt wash. Maybe they mean ‘There is no alternative that can speak English and is a graduate of Harvard, or UP, or Ateneo”?

    Im not too optimistic about a Noli presidency but the law states that he IS the alternative. You dont like him, then maybe you can try to oust him too. 😀

    Yes, smiley face included 😉

  7. Manolo,

    Puno’s main concern, like Eichman when he was gassing the Jews, is finding the most efficient way of doing things. In short Puno prefers a more efficient way of killing the 1987 constitution.

    You could also make a comparison between Puno and Bernas in that both favor some amendments to the charter but differ on the methods of doing it.

    BTW, Bernas seems to support my view that there is something subversive about Malacanan/Lakas insisting on people’s initiative despite SC rulings on the matter. I told you she should be cited for inciting to sedition, at least.

    As to Atty. Jimeno’s argument for people’s initiative. It’s ridiculous unless one accepts her premise that a Malacan/Lakas initiated initiative is an expression of the people’s sovereign will and the SC should heed it and forget about the rule of law. I wonder how she will argue against a true people’s initiative calling for a snap election or gloria’s resignation? Will she now argue for the rule of law?

  8. “BTW, Bernas seems to support my view that there is something subversive about Malacanan/Lakas insisting on people’s initiative despite SC rulings on the matter. I told you she should be cited for inciting to sedition, at least.”

    So why nobody is doing this?

  9. Why are Filipinos always at the receiving end of corrupt presidents and politicians? Why are Filipinos not ousting corrupt leaders and just suffering in silence? What prompts the state of paralysis among Filipinos, who despite knowing the massive corruption among politicians, seem to care no less at all at changing the faces in government? Why even discerning highly educated intellectuals among Filipinos (like Doronila, Mare Winnie Monsod, etc.) are content with having a cheating bogus woman as President?

    Why is Gloria still in power despite more than 65% Filipinos who wanted her out for cheating and for being a corrupt leader who has led this nation to further perdition?

    Deep inside each Filipino is a realization that he/he deserves a moral and progressive leader. But it seems he can’t muster the courage to apply his correct realization. We are like a people who want change rather than to adjust but can’t, who want transformation rather than conformation, but can’t. We know something is wrong but doesn’t want to take responsibility and the appropriate action but just wait for somebody else to take the cudgels for us. We are aware we are responsible for what happens in the future no matter what happened in the past but no one appears to want to lift a finger and take the risk.

    Why do Filipinos lack the courage to change their corrupt leaders and system of government, to establish self-control and self-direction over their national politics and discover the reality of freedom of choice?

    Filipinos’ lack of collective courage is Gloria’s (and other deceiving politicians’) ticket to lording over her continued corrupt rule on the Filipinos. Since Rizal’s days, the “Filipinos” as a people are in the same psychiatric state of consciousness. He knows he is being abused by his government and its corrupt leaders but just brushed it aside and goes on with his quiet sad life of desperation. The fortunate discerning educated Filipinos meanwile sing their hallelujahs to corrupt leaders and, because of parochial selfish interests, willingly developed amnesia of the noble values they were taught in schools.

    Maybe, there is something wrong with the Filipino’s individual and national psyche brought about by his religion and docile experiences under colonial rulers that give rise to the Filipinos’ present pyschiatric case beneficial to corrupt and manipulative leaders. On Holy Week’s like this, Filipinos are prompt and border on cultism in performing their external strenuous ritual religious traditions (despite the scorching heat and discomfort feeling these rituals of penance could make up for all their past or continuing sins against the Filipinos and society and their future) but forget to internalize and put to concrete action the life and teachings of Christ who actively condemned man’s sinfulness and proclaims the good news of love and righteousness. Like the Pharisees and Sadduccees, Gloria ( WHOSE RAPACIOUS CORRUPTION EPITOMIZED THE PEAK OF MAN’S SINFULNESS) and many religious leaders (WHOSE CONDESCENSION AND SILENCE, AND SOMETIMES ACTIVE ENDORSEMENT OF GLORIA, IN THE FACE OF REVOLTING CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT PUT TO NAUGHT CHRIST’ LIVING EXAMPLE) lulled the Filipinos into believing the root problem lies in them and they (NOT THEM) should change first if things are to improve. Filipinos forgot what Jesus did to these charlatans and hypocrites.

    Maybe, Filipinos should be made to suffer more and the few remaining good and conscientious Filipinos may as well join Gloria, Pidal and their horde of thieves in bringing this country down further to the gutter of fecal wastes until Filipinos wake up from their deadening and stinking state to put an end to these unjust rulers and this unjust political system breeding these political vermins.

  10. The Filipinos in general are still in their “Child” psychological state and have not yet graduated into their “Adult” state who can ably analyze and decide things for themselves (for how can you explain tolerance of massive coruption left and right without tangible quality government projects as evidence of prudent spending of public funds) and are waiting for a “Parent” to tell them what to do. Tsk tsk tsk**** poor Filipinos! They justly deserve the present corrupt leadership. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves! No emperors where there are no fools! No shameless cheater where there is not a national culture of cheating. There are no corrupt leaders where there are not a surfeit of corrupt people. It takes two to tango. Even the hardcore Gloria propagandists should shudder at this reality because one day Gloria will be gone and they may no longer be in the inner circle or graces of the next corrupt president/prime minister. Glory is fleeting. Today you’re on top, next day you’re down and the victim of the despicable system and corrupt leaders you helped create and install. (De ja vu Dinky Soliman’s experience et. al.)

    I’ll be content to just enjoy the panorama of corruption and be amused at the tales of les miserables. I’ll anaesthesize myself of moral outrage at what’s going on and view the moral decadence among Filipinos from their leaders to the intelligentsia and the shapeless masses. I’ll not smile with derision but I’ll be firm in my patience for the day that Filipinos themselves will consciously rise from their sorry state of affairs, because their collective destiny is their own undoing or doing (pro or anti Gloria alike)

  11. The way the Catholic faith is being put to practice in this country by the church heirarchy may perhaps have something deeper to do with the Filipinos’ docile state and response to corruption and cheating in government. They seem to just wait for God to deliver His justice upon these corrupt creatures rather than make an active response to it. Religion is reinforcing the deeply seated negative Filipinos’ bahala na attitude in resignation to just letting nature takes its course. What a damned nation! There is a great chasm between Christ’ life and teachings and the way the Church here is applying the faith which is tantamount to tolerating corruption and cheating by the government officials. Religion has been successful in numbing the Filipinos’ national sense of moral outrage. This is the reason Marcos ruled for more than 20 years and this will be the same reason, Gloria will be able to finish her term and maybe extend it to the parliamentary system. It will take another century perhaps (as Rizal, Ninoy, et al failed to reverse the slave and suffering consciousness among Filipinos in general [the sporadic revolts of Dagohoy and blitz displays of moral courage of BW members and the likes nonetheless are micro-image of what Filipinos in general should aspire to be to banish forever from its panorama corrupt officials]) to correct this systemic psyche defect in the Filipinos’ consciousness.

    The Catholic church since the Spanish times up to the present has tremendous responsibility and accountability for reducing Filipinos to their sorry state of subservience to unjust rulers/systems rather than molding and converting them to like Christ in their stand against injustice and sinfulness in every facet of their lives, politics and corruption included. I will continue to be a Catholic but will renounce all teachings of the church which breed superstition and cultic practices and tradition and subservience to unjust rulers. I will forever praise God for loving us and sending His only Son to redeem us from our sins but will consciously refrain from joining church practices that numb us from making righteous decisions and will pursue alternatives and choices that will create in our earthly midst cities and nations of God, not cities and nations of corrupt and evil ruling men and women.

  12. Doubting_Thomas wrote on April 14th, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    Re #14-15: What do you hope to achieve with these statements?

    – I pray, do tell me what my statements will achieve. Do tell me why we are parts of this damned country and damned nation of fools and cowards and corrupt leaders. Why we can’t be genuinely proud of our nation and our people? Why we don’t have a national heritage we can be proud of? Why up to now we are governed by corrupt leaders? Why we can’t just have honest government officials as a rule of thumb? Or is that what government ever since is made of? Is government a natural breeding ground of corruption and cheaters? Or are Socrates’, Plato’s and Aristotle’s lofty postulations on stately governance merely hypotheses that can never be achieved, especially in our land?

  13. Re #18: It was a simple question and I am hoping you will be kind enough to answer. After you answer, I am more than willing to answer your own questions to the best of my ability.

  14. I found Simon’s posts interesting. It is not new nor revealing. It has been said many many times. It is just better written than the others I have come across.

    For me, it achieves to point out how pathethic we all are. You, me, Simon, this blog, and everything and everybody who see, hear, blab, and not make a difference.

    We continue to point out all the wrong things that are going on in our country, propose solutions, criticize and bash other posters, but don’t do squat to make a real difference in the conditions we complain about.

  15. Re #20: The question is what does he want the people to do? What do you want the people to do?

  16. Doubting_Thomas, your question to Simon is “What do you hope to achieve with these statements?” That is your question, right?

    Now which one is it: “What do you hope to achieve with these statements?” or “what does he want the people to do?”

    Anyway, I am not answering for Simon. My post is my opinion. I’m curious to see what Simon has to say, too. Don’t hold your breath, though. Whatever it is, it’s not going to change anything.

    He, he, don’t look now, but my pagka-pinoy is showing.

  17. Re #22: If I may clarify, my question in #21 was addressed to you. Assuming you are correct that the objective was to “point out how pathethic we all are” and since you ostensibly agree that the people are pathetic, what do you expect them (the people) to do?

  18. Doubting, I don’t expect anybody to do anything. I just do what I have to do and hope for the best. Ikaw, ano sa iyo?

  19. Maybe the middle class seem largely apathetic because they’ve already come to accept that Gloria’s sheer “kakapalan ng mukha” and kawalanghiyaan trump their moral outrage, and thus they’ve just decided to adopt a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude, even making rationalizations so that they won’t feel too bad about their lack of moral fibre and balls. After all, the middle class is nothing if not pragmatic.

  20. Re #24: That puzzles me. If you “don’t expect anybody to do anything”, how did you come to view the people as pathetic? As for me, I don’t share the view that the people are pathetic.

  21. Doubting:

    I said that that is what Simon’s post points out. One of many things. And I agree: People who complain, but don’t do squat about what they complain about are pathetic. If that is a puzzle to you, you just have to figure it out for yourself.

    Now, you seem to be good in asking questions. Are your as good is answering questions as well? So, what do you expect people to do?

  22. Re #27: I am an ordinary citizen and I am not in a position to expect people to do more than what they would normally do. Who am I to expect more (and judge them as pathetic)?

  23. The 2-party system is not a valid option for Philippine politics. The Philippines still has some semi-feudal institutions that hinder the growth of real and moral democracy. I believe that the 2-party system is only applicable to highly-stable democracies in the world. Also, the British parliamentary system would not work here. The remaining semi-feudal structures in the rural areas of our country would only make parliamentary democracy here become a truly-oligarchic democracy.

    I also would like to invite the readers of this topic to sign this on -line petition for the complete democratization of the U.N. Organization. Such on-line petition can be signed by clicking this page now: . Please sign such petition now. Thanks.

  24. How convenient is Lambino’s lapse or propaganda, but I am a bit more worried about your columnist friend, which made me wonder whether she is also part of the scheme. Thank you for being intellectually curios for seaching the truth.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.