Unintended unity

Over the holidays, the President announced she would commute death sentences, which left Crime victims shocked. Personally, as someone opposed to the death penalty, I support her announcement, which is the continuation of a policy more or less upheld consistently by her. As the Inquirer editorial puts it, the President’s “decision to commute all existing death sentences to life imprisonment is fraught with compromise and tactical calculation-but it is nevertheless overdue and welcome.” Proponents of the death penalty such as The Bunker Chronicles condemn the decision as “misguided mercy.”

The long-awaited Mayuga report was also released, absolving some officers while remaining silent on others, with regards to allegations they participated in poll fraud.

And the FBI arrests another former Lacson aide.

The main news, though, remains Charter change: Cha-cha drive set in bailiwicks of opposition while Saludo optimistic people’s initiative will be a success.

Overseas, rallies by immigrants in the United States (Newsstand points to an eloquent New York Times editorial on the immigrant rallies in the USA: People Power), the defeat of French Prime Minister Villepin’s legislative efforts by massive rallies (and here’s an interesting article on France portrayed as fighting off modernity to preserve the existing quality of life), and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s refusal to accept defeat, variously showed how demonstrations and other forms of peaceful resistance, and the need for political players to play by the rules for the rules to work, are integral parts of the democratic process.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Unintended unity. Even as people like Atty. Rita Linda V. Jimeno puts forward the administration case for Charter change, opposition to it in its present form, is growing. the most remarkable feature of the growing opposition is that it includes many people and groups that either supported (and, in her capacity as President, continue to support her), or remained neutral, as far as the leadership crisis is concerned.

Efren Danao defends the Congressional pork barrel, saying it isn’t as ludicrous as the American version.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ examines the separation of Church and State from the point of view of a priest and lawyer.

In the blogosphere, the PCIJ blog dissects the electoral reform proposals made by former Chief Justice (and now, Philippine Ambassador to the UN) Hilario Davide, Jr.

Demosthenes’ Game has two provocative entries: embrace the demand for skilled workers abroad and welcome the anti-WTO trend in places like Latin America.

World Famous in the Philippines points to a list of cultural trivia on Philippine life, circa the 1970s.

Disini points to a site that lets you find out the Number 1 song when you were born (in my case, “ABC” by the Jackson 5).

See you at iBlog2 tomorrow! ExpectoRants has an entry apropos of what I’m supposed to discuss tomorrow. Updates to this blog for the rest of this week will most probably be posted late at night.

Is it just me, or is PLDT DSL spectacularly slow today, when everyone’s back at work?

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

11 thoughts on “Unintended unity

  1. Death sentence commutation. The right thing regardless of her motives.

    I remember during the campaign period of 2004 she told the chinese community she was for death sentence on crimes like kidnappiong etc.

    THat doesn’t matter now. She did the right thing commuting death sentences.

  2. The date indicated when ABC was number one was april 27,1970.
    Adavance Happy birthday then MLQ.

  3. Regarding death sentence have to agree with manuel buencamino that it is the right thing to do regardless of her motives.

    That must not stop there.
    She must make lives of those inside and outside the prison not like hell on earth.

  4. like you, i am not for death penalty. however to commute all cases while there is a law telling her to REVIEW all cases before rendering such decision smacks of utter disregard for the rule of law.

    but then again, so what’s new with this pambabastos? she’s obviously not driven by moral imperative, but by political pogi points with cbcp.

  5. not to be left out, gloria joins in the flip-flop craze…not with the addictive nature of the havaianas flip-flops…but with the ambiguous executive signals on death penalty started by erap during his time http://www.hrnow.org/policy/Death_Penalty_June_25_2003.doc .

    shortly after she took the helm in 2001, she already commuted the sentences of 18 death row convicts stating she was not in favor of executions. however, a somewhat reversal of her stand was noted in oct 2001 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1599923.stm .

    eventually a moratorium on death penalty took effect but was lifted in dec 2003 http://www.inq7.net/opi/2003/dec/09/opi_mltan-1.htm .

    its justification here http://www.gov.ph/news/default.asp?i=4277 .

    now, she’s at this game of somersaults again…depending, of course, on the current political milieu…

    why not just certify the existing bills on the abolition of death penalty as urgent and end this flip-flopping once and for all? well, she’s just living up to what is expected from a two-faced villain at the palace…

  6. Maiba tayo

    re:birthday greeting
    I looked at your guest book to see kung nagkamali ako sa pag greet sayo ng advance dahil sigurado me mag greet sa iyo dun

    I scrolled down and some one greeted you last May31
    (tama pa din yung advance..)

    Oh never mind.

    re: death penalty
    sana naman me gawin naman sya para maabolish o marepeal ang law kundi flip flopping will always be expected.

  7. On mancao’s arrest, I really hope that those people who wants to replace Mrs Arroyo with Lacson ( Francis) should really think a million time over and reexamine their move. There are already indications on what kind of person Lacson is the same that there are indications on wht kind of person Mrs Arroyo is befor she became a president…Kayo na rin ang nag sabi there are 80 millions Pinoys to choose from.

    On death sentence commutations, that only goes to show that there indeed a positive side on Mrs Arroyo. So instead of forcing here to resign ( which she will never ever do). Why not keep her and force her to really work hard for the country to move on. Sabi nga nong isang member ng group namin. We can amake malcanang the prison cell of Mrs Arroyo for all the sins that she committed and bantayan ng mahigpit ang bawat galaw nya. Yan na ang parusa sa kanya…

  8. on fr. bernas’ Churchmen and Charter change…

    it’s also important that we understand what the church is preaching…the cbcp came out with a catechism (in Q&A format) on some important church teachings. bishop oscar cruz then was president, nevertheless, it’s their collective stand:



    8. What is the basis for the Church’s mission in politics?

    The main reasons why the Church has a mission in politics are the following:

    First, because politics has a moral dimension. Politics is a human activity. It may hurt or benefit people. It can lead to grace or to sin.

    Second, because the Gospel and the Kingdom of God call the Church to political involvement. To proclaim the gospel to all creation necessarily includes evangelizing the political world. Moreover, at the center of Jesus’ mission is the proclaiming of the Kingdom of God. But the Kingdom of God calls us to repentance and renewal (Mk. 1:15). This call to renewal is addressed likewise to the political field.

    Third, because the mission of the Church of integral salvation involves the political sphere. Integral salvation is the salvation of the total person, soul and body, spiritual and temporal. This is why Jesus not only forgave sins but also healed people from sickness. The Church must likewise bring the healing grace of salvation to the temporal, including political, sphere.

    9. Are there other reasons why the Church must be involved in politics?

    Yes, there are. Another reason is because salvation of the human person is from personal and social sin. We know that in the political field, social sins unfortunately abound, such as graft and corruption, “dirty politics” of “guns, goons, and gold”, deceit and unprincipled compromises, “politics of greed”. In the mind of the Church, systems where such social sins have been imbedded through constant practice are “structures of sin or structures of injustice.”

    Still another reason is because the Church has an Option for the Poor. In the Philippines, politics is heavily tilted against the poor. The poor often become in a real sense voiceless and powerless. Laws are often passed that merely support vested interests rather than promote the common good of all.

    Finally, because John Paul II said that the concrete human being living in history is “the way for the Church” (RH, 14; CA, 53-54). The temporal and spiritual development of the total human person is the way by which the Church accomplishes the mission to proclaim the Gospel. We know very well that politics can dehumanize the human person and entrap the person in sinful behavior or structures.

    In short, politics cannot claim to be above or outside the natural law and the moral law. Politics has moral and religious dimensions. Therefore, the Church has to be involved in the political world.

    Other questions asked were:

    10. Is not the Church’s involvement in politics “political interference”?
    11. What does “separation of Church and State” mean?
    12. But should not Church and State collaborate with each other?

    (the entire Catechism on the Church and Politics can be read here http://www.cbcponline.net/documents/1990s/1998-church_politics.html )

  9. I don’t think that the death sentence will solve or scare away criminals. anyway a criminals life is patapon na anyway.
    I think goverment should insted look into rehabilitating our prison system.
    A solitary confinement w/ very limited visiting hours is a greater punishment that would want to make a criminal wish he was dead.
    I think it’s wrong to put politics on this resent move of PGMA.
    Like it’s wrong to put politics into everything.
    Perhaps, this is the reason why we don’t really solve any problems in this country.
    Problems stay w/ us forever.
    Because we focus always on the wrong things.
    Let’s face it, our prisons system needs to be better.It too needs the attention of the national goverment.

  10. Death Penalty is never a deterent for committting capital crime. Since its abolition in Canada in the 70s our capital crimes steadily declining. But it is a very important issue just for one single person to decide and to even grant blanket commutations without first passing the law elimating Capital punishment. I would like the law passed by the congress or the parliament as the case maybe, in package with Total reform of our Penal system, which as I observe right now while on tour all over the country could be unimaginable cruelty considering even the conditions of the people outside our penetentiaries. And for some of our unfortunate convicts a “death” maybe a welcome relief. So sad.. I can only cry…

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