Exclusive or inclusive politics

My apologies for being intermittent in updating this blog of late. Have had a lot on my plate and been unwell. Expect a rather quirky blog for the next couple of weeks.

Good news of clemency achieved for Filipinos in Saudi Arabia. One thing that deserves further attention, is the religious persecution of Filipino Christians who work there. Little Green Footballs points to a report on religious freedom in that country.

I’m not so sure if the concessions from the Saudi King on oil mean anything; still, let’s hope it works since Fisheries output down by 12% due to high oil prices. Columnist Julius Fortuna takes a look at the politics of oil (he also has an interesting footnote on a new book by Recto Mercene on Filipinos in California: including a proposal by a Spanish official to settle California with Filipinos!).

The Arab News has reports from the field: 200 More Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia Get Royal Pardon and “Aramco a Dependable Partner”.

A complicated story: Sylvia Mayuga delved into the proposed construction of housing at the La Mesa Dam area; a Manila Times story today says DENR disowns La Mesa: Says watershed not protected area; Marines guard MWSS housing enclave.

Also, Defying odds, exports grow 25.8% although John Mangun asks, Philippine outsourcing in trouble? Anyway, Govt puts up more retail stores for the poor.

Stupidest official opinion of the week: the Executive Secretary’s support for efforts to ban yet another film, as if the failed efforts to ban “Schindler’s List” and “Belle Epoque” shouldn’t have taught censors their lessons.

My column for today is A unicameralist on bicameralism.

In his column today, Tony Abaya’s views struck a familiar chord, because his views in a sense, echo mine and reflect debates I often have with people. Simply put, Abaya believes the Middle Class remains unengaged, because of three factors, all having to do with the current opposition to the President: it’s composed of traditional politicians, it’s too obviously eager to flirt with the idea of coups, and it’s too accommodating and cozy of the Communists (or National Democrats). I’d only quibble with Abaya in suggesting the Middle Class is not unengaged -it is firmly engaged, but it’s engagement consists of taking itself out of consideration as a force to reckon with. After all, you can do three things in a battle: surrender without a shot (or run away); fight defensively; fight offensively. All three involve a conscious decision and a determination of what you should do. I’d further add: what if the Middle Class and broader segments of the population actually think more alike than is usually assumed?

The Inquirer editorial focuses on executive interference in the civil service; Ma. Ceres Doyo in her column tells the story of a government official being put through the wringer (she is the wife of one of the convenors of the Black & White Movement).

Juan Mercado examines how the King of Thailand has earned his prestige.

An enjoyable read is Manuel Buencamino’s latest opinion piece: Lie back and enjoy it.

In Slate: The origins of booing.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

33 thoughts on “Exclusive or inclusive politics

  1. MLQ3,

    I enjoyed reading M Buencamino’s piece. So very spot on!

    A few govt folks I know echoe the same sentiment that “It”s God’s plan” for them to be there or whatever. How simplistic a view!

    Wonder if it ever ocurred to them or to Gloria for that matter that God may have “put her there” to play Judas Iscariot…

    Gloria’s going on and on about her speaking to God and God speaking back to her (and now her minions too?)is getting tedious in the extreme. I prefer Archibishop Cruz’ sound view that “When you speak to God, that’s called prayer. When God speaks back to you, that’s schizophrenia.”

    Gloria may not (yet) be totally schizophrenic but she is hallucinating.

  2. I liked Manuel Buencamino’s article! Hahaha

    Lie back and relax, that’s what all rapists would try tell and force their victims to do! Lie back and relax, let GMA do her raping!

  3. Ugh. I always cringe at the sight of spineless govt. officials trying to suck up to the Church. Has the government lost every conflict it had with the Catholic Church? The Noli & Fili requirement in school struck me as a rare exception.

    Couldn’t one argue that this craven servitude to the Church constitutes a loyalty to a foreign power, i.e. the Vatican? (Damn, I hate the way that sounds like a conspiracy theory – but wasn’t that also the reason why the U.S. electorate resisted electing a Catholic president till Kennedy?)

  4. From MLQ3: Stupidest official opinion of the week: the Executive Secretary’s support for efforts to ban yet another film, as if the failed efforts to ban “Schindler’s List” and “Belle Epoque” shouldn’t have taught censors their lessons.

    I think Sec Ermita still remembers the success of the efforts to ban The Last Temptation of Christ.

    From micketymoc: Couldn’t one argue that this craven servitude to the Church constitutes a loyalty to a foreign power, i.e. the Vatican?

    One certainly could. Something to think about when choosing our next leader. But how about this? Doesnt this constitute a certain subservience to a foreign power as well? “Guingona said a draft complaint would be filed before the UN Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, requesting that the UN send to the country to verify the evidence of electoral fraud gathered by the CCTA.” Are things really that desperate that we can’t handle this problem by ourselves?

  5. I thought the La Mesa was a protected area, with all those fancy ads by Bantay Kalikasan and ABS-CBN..I’m confused..

  6. It’s craven, that’s for sure, although I can’t see it as subservience to a foreign power because the UN is supposed to be an impartial collegial body of nations. If Guingona had approached the U.S., well that would have been a different story.

    What’s he trying to pull, anyway? Our courts and institutions are congested enough from their usual tricks of kunwari-file-a-lawsuit-for-PR’s-sake. Now they want to pull this gimmick on the UN? Pastilan!

  7. Re #3: I don’t read it so much as kowtowing to the Church as Ermita taking yet another Machiavellian turn. Something for something, you know. The tipping point will be how badly the local hierarchy wants to stop the movie from showing…and I don’t think it’s high on the priority list.

  8. Thanks A de Brux, Jon Mariano, Manolo and uniffors.

    If you enjoyed it that means those who don’t share your politics must have hated it. I love it.

  9. agh!

    the usual mission from god… the president …the chief justice

    and for everybody to bear the sufferings…

  10. …and if you are against them, then you must be from the folds of the devil

    har, har!

  11. from a Click the City comment:

    sadly, this movie will never be shown in lucena city, because the city councilors passed an ordinance banning the movie to endear themselves to the local churchmen.

    – ramon talaga 5/5/2006 1:42:36 AM

    and i thought the inquisition ended all those years ago.

  12. from manuelbuencamino: The UN is not a foreign power. We are a member of it.

    That is arguable. But the point I was trying to make was when we give up on our own laws and sovereignty and try to get an international organization to intervene on a domestic political issue, then that is being subservient to a foreign (outside) power. Anyway, I think this action by the CCTA is nothing more than a stunt, pardon me. But inviting a foreign power to intervene in our affairs is in bad taste.

  13. Jeg, when you’re desperate, you’ll do anything. If you can’t get justice from your own set of laws, are you just going to lie back and relax? Yes, you can do that. But don’t pick on others who wants to do something else, even if they make themselves look silly.

    For example, why was Milosevic tried in the Netherlands? You see, there are cases that a “foreign” power can give a fair trial to somebody.

  14. Hi Jon Mariano.
    when you’re desperate, you’ll do anything.

    That’s just it. I dont see the need for this kind of desperation. Our laws are still working even if theyre not working at the pace we would want it to. The impeachment is looming, the Cha-cha is foundering, elections will push through.

    If you can’t get justice from our own set of laws, you keep trying to get justice from our own set of laws, and not sit back and relax. Or work to change those laws. What you dont do is give up your… I was going to say ‘dignity’ but that seemed rather inappropriate. What you dont do is give up the sovereignty of your laws and come asking a foreign power to intervene in your internal affairs. That is an admission of our utter helplessness. I dont think the CCTA feels we’re helpless though. They just felt the need for more exposure. But like I said, it’s in bad taste.

    On Milosevic, although I cannot comment on the fairness of the trial (I havent been following it), Milosevic was tried in the Netherlands because his crimes were against humanity and not against a set of local laws.

  15. Jeg,
    You certainly have your own preferences. That’s fine. If it works, then it will be good for the country, I guess.

    I’m for letting our laws work, for punishing those violating the laws, for not allowing injustice be committed, etc.

    But I’m also for going to international courts if necessary. I personally don’t think it’s giving away dignity or sovereignty.

  16. Jon,

    Totally agree with you there.

    If the families of the victims of political killings, therefore victims of human rights abuses in the extreme abd which have apparently numbered to 90 during punggok’s squat in Malacanang, cannot obtain justice in the Philippines, they should be able to bring their quest for justice elsewhere – the UN human rights commission or the European human rights courts in Brussels or Strasbourg.

  17. MLQ3,

    Re: “…what if the Middle Class and broader segments of the population actually think more alike than is usually assumed?”

    If you mean they think alike in terms of this morally punggo squat in Malacanang calling and styling herself president but that they believe she actually cheated and lied to get there, wow! That will be just great but what now?

    So, maybe just so even if a huge chunk of the middle class thinks like the huge segments of the population, it will do the battle no good if they don’t do a bit of active fighting. Don’t you think?

    You mentioned three things people do in a battle but you’re forgetting the fourth in a battle that takes place not in the trenches: DO NOTHING literally or if you do something, you just do some deskwork in a makeshift office so you still manage not to get shot at. Ask Angie Reyes who managed only “to do battle” even as a junior officer from the confines of his intel “production” office. He did it…

    This PMAer from Class 66 does not enjoy the respect of his classmates because of his reputation for being a desk soldier highlighted by his inability to wage real warfare as exemplified by his 3-month stint in Mindanao as commanding general SouthCom (during Erap’s term) – that even when the going was getting tough in Mindanao he made do with a powerpoint presentation (he likes to do that saying that’s how things are done at the AIM) of “how the battle in Mindanao could be won” before a command conference called by his CSAFP General Nazareno who got irritated because Reyes was presenting a battle plan as he would before his AIM professors so he blasted him in front of his peers.

    General Nazareno, a solid Mindanao veteran asked every field commander present during the conference if he was prepared to fight, everyone said “Yes, Sir!”. General Nazareno asked Maj Gen Renato Garcia last: “Are you ready to lead the battle?” Garcia said, “Yes, Sir, to the last man, Sir!”, etc., etc. Nazareno was forced to quip, “Looks like all our field commanders are prepared to do battle to the last man except SouthCom Command..!” If you think this isn’t true, ask Lt Gen Vic Mayo, former Vice-Chief of Staff AFP who is now serving in Gloria’s cabinet as Asst Chief NSA. He will confirm it!

  18. Ana,

    there is also talk that Reyes has sticky fingers. Remember the Anti-Kidnapping task force that he led? Rumor has it that he wanted to keep the task force because of its sizable funding. They said he tried to bargain with punggok to keep the task force even if he was being transferred to DENR. Well he didn’t get to keep it. What soes he do? He proposes an anti-environmental terrorism task force for DENR. What is this infatuation with task forces?, his detractors ask. Hmmm….

  19. Heheh, MB! He’s probably infantuated with task forces coz he never got to lead one while he was in the military…

    But on a serious note, I agree with you that Angie has got very, extremely horrible sticky fingers when it comes to funds. Unfortunately, unless defence “brokers” come out in the open, there’s nothing justice can do to wash those fingers with hot water.

  20. I just read MB’s article…

    I share his politics and I enjoyed it!
    About MLQ’s article Unicameralist on bicameralism….
    just to paraphrase

    Better candidates are elected in national elections….
    National was compared to local here.

    There are more instances that I beg to differ.
    Some nationally elected leaders are better off serving their constituents and most of the time they remain in the sidelines when elected in the senate or even a higher position.

    The so called influences can not be avoided in the local thus we have political dynasties and trapos.But influences’ reach is not limitted to the local .

  21. Jeg,

    In my opinion, when you are asking help you don’t have to be subservient to the one you are asking help to.
    If you say that we have always been subservient to foreign organizations or powers; i may not be able to question that if history is your basis.

  22. Jeg and Mickey ,

    I have the same feeling with you about the going to UN. I also believe that this is an internal matter and should be reolved internally. My woorry is that UN may just rule on the issue as internal matters and beyond thier jurisdiction…at baka mapahiya tayo….

    I remember I had the same comment on the thread about NY time editorial…that we seem to be asking the white house top interecede in our affairs. But then one blogger here replied ( i think it was ADB) that that was not teh intention. Pero feeling ko para ano at gusto nating mabasa ng mga taga capitol hills yung sitwasyon ng bansa? Wala lang??

    But then we don’t really have control over some people on how they react to our political situation…. lets just hope that it will wil do us some good….

  23. Even superpowers like the US rely on other foreign powers to push their agenda. Ever heard of NATO, etc.?

    Anyway, Guingona et al only want to bring it to the attention of an international audience as a threat. This is war and all is fair in love and war. Malacanang in fact lives by this motto. So fight her on all fronts.

  24. When I was in CA in March visiting my sister’s family, I noticed my teenage nephew reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. He gave a short synopsis of what he had read and you can tell this work is more of fiction more than anything. And my nephews and niece all went to Siena Catholic School until December when they moved. The parents have no objections whatsoever of what the children watch or read as long as within the ratings. I believe in a Free Society everyone should have access to all kind of information unless, by judgement of competent authority such is used to promote hatred, racism, or to discriminate against any memeber of society. And who knows someday, somehow, somebody will come up with enough evidence that the teaching of the “church” was once considered a “fiction”, being retold again and again until finally accepted as the undisputed ‘Biblical Truth”.

  25. “This is war and all is fair in love and war”.
    In love maybe, but in war only for the victors. The loser always get tried and punished for what is “unfair”.

  26. “all is fair in love and war”
    That quotation by Smedley is as fiction as the novels by Dan Brown

    I like the quotation by Bill Gates:

    Life is not fair ,get used to it!

  27. All the brouhaha in that banning the davinci code…

    The controversy made me read another Dan Brown novel.
    The first adventure of Robert Langdon entitled Angels and demons…

    Wait till some one makes a movie out of it…Vatican will go wild!

    The creation is simulated by a group of physicists through its antimatter,four cardinals tortured and assasinated and the pope siring a son!

    To me if its fiction, its fiction

    even the facts claimed are still fiction to me.

  28. ha ha ha Karl, pareho tayo. nacurious toluy ako after reading the article of Kit Tatad!

  29. On the Dumbing of the so called “Middle Class”

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/tenzer5 (enjoy the piece)

    ……..But, while history is replete with murderous regimes applauded by cowed and deceived masses, the greater risk for democratic nations is that their citizens withdraw into apathy and short-term thinking for immediate gratification. The past – despite rituals that seek to commemorate historic moments – is obliterated by an addiction to the now and the new. Even the supposedly well-educated ruling class is subject to this bewitchment. The essential problem of the democratic mind is its lack of historical consciousness”…….

    “Do the defects of democracy really mean, as Tocqueville claimed, that resigned pessimism is the only – realistic but unsustainable – path open to us? I don’t think so. There are means to fight against what might be called today’s growing “democratic stupidity.”

    “The first defense is to push for an educational system that really forms critical minds, namely through the (nowadays) largely neglected subjects of literature, history, and philosophy. If the informed and critical citizenry that democracy requires is to be formed, our schools must stop pandering to the latest popular fads and begin to sharpen the analytical capacities of students.”……..

    “The biggest impediment to such an education are the mass media, with its tendency to cultivate superficiality and amusement. Many people nowadays spend more of their lives watching television than they do in classrooms. The passivity that mass media encourages is the polar opposite of the active engagement that democratic citizens need. But it is hard to imagine that the mass media (other than quality newspapers) would, of their own volition, become instruments of an education that enhances citizens’ critical capacities.”……. Nicolas Tenzer

  30. dont read the remaining dan brown novel you are just wasting your time. The only one worth reading is da vinci code.

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