Hecklers and officials

Scuttlebutt is that the Supreme Court reached a decision on the challenge to Proclamation 1017 over the weekend, and will use today up to Wednesday writing its decision. Meanwhile, both the Palace and Senate continue to try to come to grips with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Executive Order 464: Palace likely to invoke 464 while under review (Malaya); and Senate ready to use power vs gov’t execs: ‘No blanket claim of executive privilege’ (Inquirer).

(Update) I find myself subscribing to the arguments propounded by Philippine Commentary, who says the Supreme Court has made the Executive Department’s definition of the things covered by “executive privilege” part of the law of the land. He shows how the scope and nature of the things covered could potentially make a wider, and more iron-clad argument for holding back information from the public than ever previously attempted.

From the Manila Times: Farmers fear expiration of CARP, appeal for extension.

From an Angolan newspaper (!): Philippine military alerted against new moves of mutinous group: Spokesman

Overseas, it’s interesting to read the editorial of the Thai newspaper The Nation, and its take on the challenges posed by the rise in oil prices: Many dangers to economy ahead -Stronger currency may partially offset rising oil prices, but vigilance against inflation is crucial.

The same newspaper also discusses what has long been a complaint in foreign policy circles: the indifference in American official circles to South East Asia and ASEAN. Now, however, US changes tone and approach on Asean policies: The United States has finally recognised Asean as a collective political entity that it has to deal with in a more discreet and gentle way. The acknowledgement comes at a time when Washington, DC wants to keep up with China.A shift in US policy was hoped for, and recommended by, among others, the Challenges to Democracy in Southeast Asia: Rethinking US Policy conference sponsored by the Stanley Foundation, which I attended last year. But instead of focusing purely on trade, a shared emphasis on democracy and democracy-building engagement was recommended.

Culinary question: “Haob na Odong” and the Rediscovery of Davao Cuisine

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Generation gap. This is part of my efforts to continue refining a thesis I first brought forward in Circle to Circle.

Leandro Coronel says the President had better get used to heckling until -and unless- she actively moves to resolve the questions surrounding her legitimacy. Indeed. But our politicians pushing for parliamentary government had better get used to heckling as a matter of course. Have you ever watched the British parliament during debates? Heckling is par for the course. I remember in high school, participation in the debate team gave me a case of culture shock when we had to train for two kinds of debate: the normal kind we in the Philippines are used to, policy debate, and another kind, totally alien to us, called parliamentary debate, in which you gained points not only for what you said, but also (at least in my experience) for your ability to trip up your opponent by heckling and jeering the other side as they presented their arguments. The British parliamentary style is more fun -but harder to win.

An uncle, recalling the Baler of his youth in the 1920s, told me a feature of the political culture of the town was the open and frank manner in which politicians on the stump would be heckled, jeered, and questioned by the electorate: and he mused that any politician able to hold his own in the face of such fearless behavior of the electorate gained a notable advantage in campaigning elsewhere (he also recounted how Jose P. Laurel, campaigning in Baler, was completely taken aback by the lack of diffidence of the people in the town plaza).

Amando Doronila tackles the Palace and Senate tussle sure to come in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Executive Order 464: how broadly, or narrowly, will “executive privilege” be defined? The Inquirer editorial says that Senators had better learn how to behave when conducting investigations, otherwise important democratic opportunities will be lost.

In the blogosphere, Sheila Coronel reproduces her speech before the Economics graduating class of the University of the Philippines. Titled “forging a new social contract,” she puts in perspective the call of the times. Incidentally, barako cafe has a very kind -and sharp- thing to say about journalists:

I believe it takes courage to be a journalist. Journalists risk everything from their reputations to their lives. They face bad news everyday. As a reader, I can tune out, and you can see from my blog that I often do. Journalists don’t. The news, good or bad, constitutes their lives, impinges upon their beings. Everyday they face death, calamity, criminality, corruption, manipulation, lies. Everyday they confront and deal with conflict. This takes phenomenal mental and emotional fortitude and a firm belief in the possibility that their work will have a positive and real impact on people’s lives.

Ignatian Perspective puts forward a kind of homily for bloggers, asking for humility in blogging.

Atty-at-Work tackles the Supreme Court decision on Executive Order 464.

Red’s Herring tackles the ideas behind Congressional oversight -and defends it.

Bong Austero writes a nuanced entry on how older people should cut the young and perhaps intemperate some slack; and also appeals for self-control on the part of Senators rumbling they will fight it out with the Palace. He is right, of course: there are some senators who ask questions very well (Serge Osmeña is usually one) and some who make you want to strangle them (Jinggoy Estrada is one).

An OFW Living in Hong Kong describes meeting three Filipino doctors turned nurses, and challenges the conventional wisdom concerning why Filipinos decide to work abroad. He says, the real reasons. he says.

Pay is usually pointed as the main reason for migration. I disagree though. I believe that the main reason is a combination of things. (1) Deteriorating peace and order situation in the provinces, (2) Deteriorating standard of education, (3) Perception that the country is not going to improve anytime soon, (4) Unwieldy pay structure that do not change with the times. There might be other reasons, but look at these four reasons and you will see that these doctors are trying to provide for their children, not for themselves. They are relatively content with what they are doing now, but they think that they will not be able to take care of their children and not assure a better future for the same children if they stay.

Time and again, talking to people from the middle class, it’s the future that justifies their decision to leave now. They themselves are OK, and will be OK: but they don’t think their children will be OK. The problems of the middle class -and criticisms of its fundamental attitudes- leads baratillo books cinema @ cubao to ponder how, exactly, to go about winning hearts and minds (in an earlier entry, Bong Austero has similar points to make).

Blurry Brain explains why we should pay attention to the Asian Development Bank’s report on growing poverty in the Philippines -and the proper solutions.

The Citizen on Mars lists the potential dangers inherent in a national identification card system.

Pinoy Solutions with some suggestions on handling rampaging buses.

Laitera asks: what is the fine line that divides the sexy from the lewd?

From Global Voices: things in Mexico that originated in the Philippines (coconuts, nipa, tuba, cock fighting, ceviche, the Philippine mango, tamarind, rambutan, acacia trees, papayas…) . From Rebecca MacKinnon, doyenne of Global Voices: videos of the heckling of Chinese President Hu; the Washington Note on the rather incongruous use of the word democracy several times in President’s Hu’s speech. Go Figure on China being the fall guy for global economic trends.

Blogging from Agoo: World of Antonate. Provincial blogging’s tribe increases.

Fifty-eight years ago tomorrow, President Manuel Roxas was buried. The Philippines Free Press blog republishes its requiem editorial.

More recent passages: an email from an American on July 18 informed me that Lt. Commander Julius C.C. Edelstein passed away in New York City a few months ago. His obituary makes no mention of his work as a press and public relations man which made his name familar to an older generation of Filipinos, Edelstein gained notoriety as a close aide of President Roxas, to the extent that the late historian of all things America-in-the-Philippines related, Lew Gleek, recounted press criticism over Edelstein’s being given a bedroom in Malacañan Palace. This summary of his life, however, mentions his closeness to Roxas and others.

Also just the other day, American academic Daniel Boone Schirmer passed away. He was passionate advocate of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era, and was active in pro-democracy circles supporting the opposition to Ferdinand Marcos. Among his notable works was “The Philippines Reader : A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance” (South End Press).

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

9 thoughts on “Hecklers and officials

  1. I believe Nepal is a member-country of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The stable democracies of the British Commonwealth of Nations, particularly Britain and Israel, should call upon King Gyrendera of Nepal to give way to democracy. That means King Gyrendera should bring back democratic representation in Nepal. But it would be much, much better if King Gyrendera would be called upon by the stable democracies of the world to just simply abolish the monarchial system in Nepal, so that Nepal would become a stable republic. It would be better if the “neo-cons” in the U.S. can add their voices to the international call for King Gyrenera to give way to democracy in Nepal. Let Nepal become a democracy! Let there be a peaceful and lawful process of democratization in Nepal!

    The Filipino progressives should call upon every Nepalese or Indian embassy throughout the world to inform the current king of Nepal that it’s time for him to give way to democracy in Nepal. The king of Nepal would become truly heroic if he will just abdicate from his throne and allow Nepal to become a real democratic republic. The wise citizens of this planet should give full support, whether financial or moral support, to the Nepalese people’s peaceful and legal struggle to democratize Nepal.

    The liberals of the world must think now if monarchism, even the limited one, is still suitable to our current world. My stand on this issue is that all monarchies in the world should be peacefully and legally abolished. That’s political abrogationism. Political abrogationism is simply the advocacy of
    peaceful and legal abolition of all dictatorships, monarchial reigns
    and despotic regimes all over the world. Such advocacy also preaches
    that every country, every social organization and every culture in
    our world should embrace real and moral democracy through peaceful
    and legal means. I have established a “study circle” for the purpose
    of promoting this cause here in our country. The study circle is called
    the League of Political Abrogationes. We have a web page wherein
    you can study the basic ideals of political abrogationism. Just type the word “political abrogationism” inside any available internet search box that is in front of you. Or you can simply type this and click: http://www.geocities.com/esabon/POLITICAL_ABROGATIONERS.html .
    I really hope that you can find time to read the basic ideals of
    political abrogationism. I know that you are a nice intellectual
    who can help us in how to gain adherents for our cause. The cause of
    political abrogationism should become an international one. Please help
    us in gaining international support for our cause. This
    socio-political cause is open to both conservatives and liberals.
    Namaste! I wish all of you here at this forum the real happiness in
    this world.


    Rummel Pinera

  2. MLQ3,

    Re Hecklers, politicians and Leandro Coronel’s column:

    Maria Theresa Pangilinan, frankly, couldn’t have done a better job of teaching a few people real manners on the question of courage in public. Should we consider that a “breach of courtesy” was committed indeed and if we really want to be sticklers for social niceties, we could say that the “breach of courtesy” was committed against a few dissenting members of the graduating class but they’ll get over it, they’re young…

    On the other hand, Gloria Macapagal should consider herself lucky that Maria Theresa’s heckling was short-lived (her bodyguards saved her from further unpleasantness). Anyway, Macapagal had it coming because she herself is one persona who has no qualms about being totally foul and discourteous to other people particlulary in full public view when she shows off her inherent crass, spoiled-brat behaviour. (Remember how she berated a lady journalist once, Ms Panganiban-Perez I believe is her name; Gloria was so foul too to poor Acsa Ramirez, she never apologized to her nor expressed remorse for having been simply disgustingly foul and horrid to her, etc.)

    To me, Gloria is one person who is utterly devoid of class. When she was growing up (did she ever grow UP?), she probably thought that being tagged a “SNOB” was a compliment. Hah! She wouldn’t know now, would she that “SNOB” means “sine nobilitate”, “sans noblesse”, without nobility in other words, IGNOBLE!

  3. I wince whenever talk of a ‘Council of Elders’ is brought up. Politically speaking, we no longer have any elders to speak of. Unfortunately, when it comes to leadership, there is no shortcut to relieving the backlog and growing a fresh new crop. (An abrupt takeover by the younger generation would lead to a ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation similar to what happened during the Philippine Revolution with Aguinaldo and the bunch.) That is why it’s important not to make things worse by allowing another bottleneck at the top. Imagine if Arroyo or her replacement succeeds in doing a Marcos, the 20 year lag in the cycle of leaders that you describe could eventually stretch to 40. I’m hoping our generation is able to sort this out, so the next one would be free to move on to more productive matters.

  4. In my experience, I don’t find heckling anyone (a head of govt. for the matter) is an effective way of protest. Take a look at the result-people are split. Some agree, some don’t. The heckler will be in the spotlight for a little while, but the issue raised in no longer stranger or new. Many won’t remember what was it all about except the “heckling”. We had two Heckler extra-ordinaire here in our Parliament. One was member of an opposition who heckled just about anyone, including the late Pres. Reagan during his State Visit. Eventually the real him (the heckler MP) exposed when he was convicted for stealing a 50 grand ring in an auction a few years back (for his same sex partner) and his attemp to return to political life last election failed. The Other a lady MP, a member a former government, whom the current U.S. President tried to get away with by not addresing the Parliament during his State Visit. She too was kicked by her own party. Two Great Hecklers. Both Brilliant Lawmakers. In the end, I would say Heckling is not my Forte.

  5. 25 April 2006

    Heckling the president, the US, with pres bush always being hecled by the americans, but what do they do??? NADA, the US government doesn’t do anything, because they now it is part of the US democarcy, while here in the Philippines, its a crime to heckle the (illegitimate) president.

    Mike defensor is wrong to say that we should give respect to the (illegitimate) president??? why should he force us to respect gloria???he claims that that heckling during marcos years of martial law was different, heck its alot different, gloria lied, cheated and stole her presidency while marcos did not (forgive me on this).

    Another thing, ZUL (of Voltes V) aka raul gonzales, under his DOJ filed rebellion charges on 46 individuals, why not file a case against those who did the same thing in 2000 and 2001, to include ZUL, her boss, mike, angie reyes, isama nyo na rin si cory, fast eddie ramos, tito guingona etc… what do they call that, they committed a conspiracy to remove the duly elected president in 2001.


  6. To Rummel Pinera


    Nepal is not a country part of the Commonwealth of nations. But it is supplied resources from this group to help its people.

    Israel is not a Member either.

    But Palestine has requested and can be a member..

    King snubs British Article…

    I do not agree with the kings actions but i think trying to defame other groups is not fair..

    The British even stopped military assistance.

  7. Heckling the president, What you say the Americans are good they arrested and charged the heckler when the Chinese Premier was there..

    And the Americans are supporting the kings actions in Nepal so as the communists will not get any power..

    The may have stopped military aid but they are supporting him read the snub article above..

  8. Manolo,
    Gloria deserves to be heckled, buti na lang walang kamatis, patatas, kalabasa, talong, itlog at lababo ang naibato sa kanya.
    Ignoring the sentiments of the people is the height of being kapalmuks! And now her Defense Minister Mike Defensor obliges us to respect her?
    Isa lang masasabi ko: nothing lasts forever and a day of reckoning usually comes around—-sooner than you think.

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