It begins

So it’s official: the Legion’s on the march. They’re going to the Comelec today, after it was repeatedly floated they’d do it last week and the week before. They will, however, encounter opposition. Among the groups prepared to do so is One Voice, to which I belong. The group submits that the “people’s initiative” is a government initiative, not a manifestation of a genuine grassroots effort; the process followed was legally flawed, and government-initiated. Furthermore, if a “petition” is submitted, the public has the right to examine all the signatures.

For those inclined, there will be a Mass at 6:30 pm today at the Ateneo de Manila college chapel.

Since all this might result in a referendum by December (great date; great weather; great smokescreen as all expenses are up and funds can be released to coincide with end of calendar year), the public’s being conditioned as to what to expect:

1. Palace will be moving heaven and earth and directing all government agencies to cooperate. Just yesterday I was with some public school teachers, and they fully expect all DepEd-sponsored writing contests to focus on the theme of Constitutional Change, for example.
2. Don’t be surprised if controversial counting machines are utilized to “speed up” the “counting” of “votes”.
3. Don’t be surprised if government says there are budget problems again (this justifies the switching of resources to the campaign). See, for example, how Bangketa Republique worries the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s going to be used for election and plebiscite purposes. Cerge Remonde, after all, has been appointed to head it.

Escudero: history will vindicate us (indeed it will). Palace: we have buried you. The President was sleepless during the voting (for an account of the complainants’ experiences, see this and this entry by Helga), Police issues a loyal warning.

President proclaims the Guimaras oil spill a national emergency. She asks for a nation-wide drive to collect chicken feathers and human hair for mopping-up oil. Let us appeal to the anti-impeachment congressmen to lead by example and pluck themselves. Let us appeal to Rep. Marcoleta to take the lead in donating human hair. If his toupee doesn’t count, it can be used as a mop or an artifical reef.

Estrada documentary rated XXX by government censors board. Estrada camp announces it will put the documentary on line. Even Palace acolyte Emil Jurado thinks the decision was counterproductive (he’s old enough to remember that when government censors banned the showing of the Marcos biopic Iginuhit sa Tadhana, the decision became a campaign issue in the Macapagal-Marcos contest of 1965).

Philippine diplomats have a tough time abroad due to human rights issues.

PM Thaksin claims there was a plot to kill him. Skepticism greets his claims.

In Taiwain, the depose the president movement -“one million people to oust President Chwen Shui-bian”- is gathering steam. The China Post explains what’s needed if the effort’s to prosper.

In the punditocracy, the Inquirer editorial looks at Palace threats against media. Luis Teodoro weighs in on the same subject.

Amando Doronila: House didn’t just kill impeachment, it killed public accountability. Rodel Rodis: the primary defect of Filipino leaders is that they’re more concerned with personal gain and only tactically concerned with doing wrong -it matters only when they’re caught.

Rina Jimenez-David points out the antipathy to some gay people is a reversal of the past, when they were viewed as the only “tolerable” homosexuals.

Patricio Diaz on the disunity that afflicts the Muslim leadership.

Raul G. Moldez has reservations on learning English at the expense of a person’s native local language. Mike Tan also points out the need to translate the law into Filipino.

In the blogosphere, Newsstand on a Washington Post article on Mong Palatino but which didn’t mention he’s a blogger (who suffered the indignity recently of fake comment-writers using his name).

Pulsar has an epiphany while riding a train: it’s an engrossing entry.

Shale feels let down by all leaders with the impeachment. So did s.i.l.i.d. while just plain paranoid worries about the military. Yosi Tayo Para Astig is skeptical about the parliamentary system.

Philippine Commentary has lunch with Carmen Guerrero Nakpil.

LAGABLAB is keeping track of hearings and developments concerning the anti-discrimination bill pending in Congress. Fats, Vitamins and Minerals discusses how the debate has been less productive than it could have been, and delves into the pyschological nuances of the issue.

[email protected] laments the lack of scientific views and statement concerning the Guimaras oil spill.

The Idiot Board on ugly Philippine book covers.

Bangus Supremacy on an interesting project: a Wiki for law students.

Vincula promotes musical satire.

New Economist on how the British public doesn’t want to give Gordon Brown credit for economic growth.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

131 thoughts on “It begins

  1. sir,
    if you only knew how singaw ng bayan and ulap deceived the people when they were campaigning in our town. they specifically told our power hungry barangay captains not to mention that their terms would be extended so that people will be enticed to sign their so-called people’s initiative.

    but in one of their so-called pulong-bayan or pulong-barangay, one witty woman stood up and ask whether if gloria arroyo would resign if the chacha pushes through.

    my father and my uncle is aligned with the current administration. fortunately my father still has that activist streak within him though i really don’t understand why he supports the chacha movement. unfortunately my uncle is one those murderous lawmakers inside bastusang pambansa who systematically murdered the impeachment complaint.

    but they still cannot influence me to sign the people’s initiative campaign. school allowance be damned.

  2. mabuhay ka jowana at lahat ng mga pilipino na nais makialam at makilahok sa mga nangyayari sa ating bansa. sana dumami pa ang bilang ng mga kabataan na katulad mo.

  3. Jowana,

    I remember a Bro. Sam Bueser who was my professor back in college. He was imprisoned by Marcos beacause of his thesis on the Communist Movement. He would teach our class with a guard outside the door. I never saw him again after I left school to focus on my activism. If you are related, you must be from Majayjay in Queaon. Send my regards to him. Please continue what you are doing, its your turn now to be the voice of the youth. Keep up the good work.

  4. Jowana,

    I remember a Bro. Sam Bueser who was my professor back in college. He was imprisoned by Marcos beacause of his thesis on the Communist Movement. He would teach our class with a guard outside the door. He and Popoy de Vera were my mentors. I never saw him again after I left school to focus on my activism. If you are related, you must be from Majayjay in Queaon. Send my regards to him. Please continue what you are doing, its your turn now to be the voice of the youth. Keep up the good work.

  5. IT seems Doronila contradicts himself when he mentioned the episod in history when Ceasar was killed that then gave bith to another monster.
    I think Doronila makes a mistake that it’s “acountability” that was killed.
    perhaps, it’s better to look back & see how this entire issue started. It started because of the “garci tapes”.
    In the congressional report on the tape.among other things that where concluded was that there was a plot to grab power from goverment.
    I think that saying that “accountability” was killed is being selective of the entire issue.
    It is just a form of journalisim that exploits the use of “dramatic” words as if to provoke people to invented sentiments.
    Before we can talk of accountability. We must first determine reasons & motives of characters for their actions.
    Going back to the Ceasr episod mentioned by Doronila.
    For the sake of argument, lets say PGMA is finally taken away.
    Can anyone really say what lies ahead?In a society so divided by the strangest ideas.Or will the country be walking into the hands of a “monster” all for the sake of power.
    I think it’s not by chance that PGMA has survived the recent impeachment. Much thanks to the highly incompitent opposition composed of “trying hard kids”.
    I think we should be more concerned of going away from a vicious cycle of using democratic forms for personal gains.
    If anything what the entire impeachment processes proved was that nothing so noble can be defeated so miserably.
    The opposition never had the numbers in Congress.
    From 50 something last year to 32 this year. What will it be next year? 15?
    Neither did they ever have the warm bodies in the streets.
    neither will they ever have the support of a good number of thinking people who are sick and tired of all their noise.
    It’s obvios that the opposition IS NOT an alternative to the progress of this country.

  6. Joselu,

    We all agree the country is divided. The causes behind the division is something we can argue about forever. So arguing over root causes won’t get us closer to unity.

    But we can agree on one thing – Gloria is at the center of the division.

    Gloria keeps offering her hand in reconciliation. Unfortunately, a sizable number of the population refuses to reconcile with her.

    So isn’t simpler for Gloria to take herself out of the equation?

    Or do you prefer that Gloria waste precious time and energy trying to convince people to unite behind her?

    If you don’t believe my analysis, then go back and read Gloria’s 2002 Rizal Day Speech. That should teach you something.

  7. Jowana, we the older generation thank you for your stand and for showing us that indeed the youth is the hope of our country. I pray that more students/youth will participate in the forthcoming election and to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. Because at the end of the day it is the people who put them in whatever positions they have now.

  8. softly,

    In previous elections it was the people who put them in but in 2004 it was Garcillano.

  9. mbc, your incredible! to not give importance to root causes is a most irreponsible act!!!!
    I don’t know if it ever occured to you the importance of roots that mean the base of strenght.Problems are best solved normaly by backtracking to the roots. If not you just give problems a band-aid solution. Wow mbc, ang babau mo talaga.
    I find it so hard to beleave how certain people are so incapable to separate “issues” from “personalities”. But obviosly you are just demonstrating you incapability to do those fundamental things that will surely add to your credibility.
    You tell me what credibility should i give you since you demonstrate that you can’t separete “issues” from personalities/
    I guess your game is the hallow hallow patong patong confusion game.
    She certainly can’t be accused of not doing her bit for reconciliations. But the problem is not really about reconciliation. It’s about the “ugaling pinoy” that is so pround & mayabang, a lot of hot air but will never admit to defeat.Our political culture is based on the “winner take all & all or nothing” It’s a fight for power.
    Certainly anyone who does not get her power will never dream of reconciling w/ her.
    Face it, all of you are just one bunch of losers when it comes to this.
    Like it or not there are more people who are behind PGMA then you can imagine.
    I’m 100% sure one in his right mind will ever be behind the sort of things you stand for.
    Your so irresponsible.Since you can’t neither solve or face the problem so you just want it to go away. Wow, how many suckers are you fooling w/ your style.
    since when should anyone beleave what politicians every say? I guess there is mbc who will be suckered to beleave. I think then she also mentioned the premiss of what she said. I think it had to do w/ having political peace or something to that effect w/c never happened anyway.
    I guess your so superficial that you just listen to what you wanna listen.
    But honestly mbc, nakakatakot your line of reasoning.

  10. Bro. Sammuel was placed in jail? Did not know that. He is now the mayor of a town in Quezon province.

  11. Joselu,

    Read your president’s speech of Dec 30 2002. That’s where I’m coming from. Tell me where in that speech did she separate her personality from the issue?

    She admitted that she is the issue. “I’m among the principal figures in the divisive national events for the last two or three years, my political efforts can only result in never-ending divisiveness.” So what are you talking about splitting issues and personalities?.

    Go back and read the speeach!!! You’ll see that she is also the root cause of the current national disunity.

    The root is the personality whose character is the issue. Nakakatakot bang isipin yan?

  12. Joselu said “I don’t know if it ever occured to you the importance of roots that mean the base of strenght.Problems are best solved normaly by backtracking to the roots. If not you just give problems a band-aid solution.”

    So what is the root of Joselu’s spelling problem?

  13. JM and chabeli,
    when people become grammar and spelling checkers in a forum or thread in a comment box, expect that they have no intelligent thing to say.

    I wonder why you didn’t take time to read mb’s piece as well. It isn’t perfect too.

  14. The automated counting machines can’t be used for anything because of the supreme court injunction. In the event, however, that some miracle happens and the comelec is given the opportunity to use the machines for a plebiscite (which might not even happen) i seriously doubt that the comelec will use the machines. it’d be faster and less expensive to just manually count the ballots since there will only be two possible votes: yes or no.

    about the submission of the petition today, one voice was nowhere to be heard (or seen). should the comelec take cognizance of the petition, will one voice file an opposition or go straight to the supreme court?

    and if the comelec refuses to take cognizance of the petition, will one voice take up the cudgels for the commission?

  15. Nakakalungkot talaga ang mga nangyayari sa ating bansa. Ni hindi man lang nila isinasaalangalang ang mga desisyon na ginagawa nila. Sana bumalik sa pagmumukha nila ang pinagyayabang nilang “numbers game” or “rule of numbers” dahil ang ginagawa nila ay malamang na magdulot ng anarchy na siyang ultimate na “rule of numbers”. Kumbaga sa basketball, kaya nabubugbog ang referee dahil sa mali-maling desisyon, di patas na tawag o pagwawalang halaga sa tungkuling dapat niyang gawin.

    Walang mangyayari sa atin pag ganito ng ganito. Kumbaga sa pakikinig ng radio, yung ibang bansa nagpa fine tuning na, tayo palipat-lipat pa ng channel.

    Sana matuto na tayong magkaisa na hindi dapat pahintulutan ang mga maling gawain, hikayatin natin ang mga hakbang na magpapatibay ng ating mga institusyon, suportahan natin ang mga taong nagsusulong ng mga ganitong adhikain, maliit man sila sa ngayon. Habang buhay ang ating pakikipaglaban para sa tamang pamamaraan, mananatiling buhay ang ating pag-asa para sa bayan at para sa ating mga kabataan.

  16. SO the legions have started to march, so we too, must start to march. After the midterm exams, the Lasallian Volunteers in DLSU-D will start on an CHA-cha awareness campaign among our schoolmates. Since last year, most of us are against the administration-sponsored drive to amend the charter.

  17. Bokyo, sang-ayon ako sa sinabi mo. Siguradong karma ang aabutin ng mga politikong umaasa ngayon sa ‘rule of numbers’ kasama na ang mga elitistang sumusuporta sa kanila. Batid sa ating kasaysayan na hindi pinapakundangan ng mga Pilipino ang mga taong garapal.

  18. jowana
    Your father is using his being an activist to go for charter change. He will not put your future at stake. Put things in their right perspective and don’t be carried away by what you are seeing or hearing around you. Explore some more -read some more-definitely not the Phil. Daily Inquirer. Look far beyond imperial manila.Feel the sentiment of the greater majority of the people. And you’ll find the reason why the represntatives from all over the country killed the impeachment complaint.

  19. James, your spiel reminded me of this interchange:

    Darth Vader: Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
    Luke: I’ll never join you.
    Darth Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
    Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.
    Darth Vader: No. *I* am your father.
    Luke: No. No. That’s not true. That’s impossible.
    Darth Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
    Luke: Nooooo. Nooooo.

  20. James’ spiel is as ‘Dark-Sidish'(as black) as petron oil spill — and as toxic.

    Usage of ‘Imperial manila’ sucks. Next ‘imperial cebu’, ‘imperial davao’, etc., etc.

  21. Jowana,

    I agree that you read some more. And definitely you should read the ConCom provisions, the Sigaw ng Bayan petition, and the House resolution for the planned revisions and understand all their implications.

    Ask your Father what he believes about the present Charter Change. Maybe he will enlighten you or you will enlighten him.

    Look far beyond the Philippines. Look at Chechnya, the Basque region, Quebec, and Kashmir.

  22. In the heat of the moment, many things are said. Even trapos and their brood of aspiring trapos are praised to high heavens, simply because they have taken what is perceived to be the “correct” stance. Imagine that some have even come out to praise Imee Marcos, fancying perhaps that she is our version of Mary Magdalene.

    But trapos being trapos, positions presently taken, while viewed by some as “principled” stands, are only tactical alignments. Not everyone can be accommodated on one side of the fence, hence calculating politicians will take postures of opposition. This has proven to be very rewarding to many, witness how many “opposition” and “activist” politicians proved to be as rapacious, if not more so, than the ones they replaced after Edsa I and Edsa II.

    These trapos and their brood (they must pass it on through their DNA’s and, amazingly, the next generation often turns out to be even more cunning and dexterous than the previous one), while seemingly engaged in dispute with one another, actually are part of a fraternity which, ultimately, looks after their kind. Witness how Rolex Suplico and Prospero Nograles, despite being on opposing sides, continue to be very close friends and often party together. There are countless of examples: Jojo Binay and Teddy Boy Locsin, is another one. It’s all a shell game.

    The old saw about there being no permanent allies in politics, only “permanent interests” can only be seen in those who formerly took an active role in the impeachment last year and have since slithered away into the shadows:

    Reps. Edmund Reyes of Marinduque, Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Sur, Robert Jaworski of Pasig City, Clavel Asas-Martinez of Cebu, Erico Basilio Fabian of Zamboanga City, Joseph Emilio Abaya of Cavite, Rodolfo Bacani of Manila, Rozzano Rufino Biazon of Muntinlupa, Hermilando Mandanas of Batangas, Arnulfo Fuentebella of Camarines Sur, Alfonso Umali Jr. of Oriental Mindoro and Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas City.

    Such is the sad reality of Philippine politics.

  23. comelecAko, one voice held a presscon the day before SnB filed.We pointed out the legal infirmities that should bar the Comelec from acting on this bogus petition. Another presscon, this time, with the OV legal team headed by Christian Monsod, will take place on Monday. Last night, we held a mass for Political Vigilance and Genuine Reforms at the college chapel of Ateneo de Manila. I hope our La Sallian friends here will organize a similar effort. Of course, it is to be expected that not all media establishments would broadcast or print our side. Charter change, as envisioned by the administration, is all about power. I’ve read the SnB petition as filed. I hope you all find the time to read and analyze their proposals with just one question in mind: Is this really what our people, especially the poor, need?

    In the minds of the Charter Change Advocacy, the administration, and its allies, having an Interim Parliament is the solution to our problems.

    Here is what Lito Lorenzana of the government-created Charter Change Advocacy Commission said on the day the peition was filed: “They are questioning the legitimacy of the people’s initiative claiming that there is no enabling law or sufficient decree that covers such an exercise of sovereignty. But who can question a moral and spontaneous surge of collective action that goes beyond the legal boundaries? Do we have to remind them that sovereignty resides in the people, from whom all power of the State shall emanate?”

    It is in our nation’s interest that the people make sure that government does stay within legal boundaries, and is held accountable each time it goes astray. If we fail to do so, then this bogus petition will succeed and we would be surrendering our rights to chart our country’s future to an all-powerful Interim Parliament composed of Cabinet Secretaries, incumbent members of Congress and the Senate, and to an Interim Prime Minister that will be handpicked by the President and elected at large by the members of this interim body.

    In the petition, this parliament once formed, will set the date for the next elections for parliament and local officials. The members will also decide which provisions of the Constitution to amend or revise. Our people will be asked to vote on these changes in a plebiscite that only the Interim Parliament can set for us.

    Once again, I ask … Is this what we want? Is this what our people need?

  24. I’m not familiar with personalities of the latest crop of politicians, but most of them carry familiar names of the old same, same and Carl analysis here is much, much closer to reality. Unprincipled, self-interest laden personalities that play which part fit them well at the moment and play another part in the next scene. Politics is just another game. A game which pays everyone of them a healthy dividend. While the audience gawking and applauding go home in an empty broken homes, and hoping and wishing eveything is not just a dream. But Philippine Politics will be just a game for the characters who are the central players and they play it well.

  25. Unprincipled is an apt description of our politicians. It was blatantly displayed in the recently concluded “assassination” of the impeachment complaint where you see people using the rules to argue their side, but the rules definitely were stacked on their side.

    As unprincipled people goes, if the rules were not on their side, they could have changed it anyway. Such is the case with this kind of politicians. They can definitely change the rules in the middle of the game to suit them.

    There was just no way the impeachment was going to prosper.

    Same names? Don’t be surprised Vic, that will continue to be the rule in Philippine politics for a long time. That is why if MLQ3 was going to bank on his name, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is going to make it. But I salute him for making a stand not to seek an elected post. But then again, if he changes his mind, people would still embrace him.

  26. toots,

    Comelec under abalos belongs to gma. Comelecako means I belong to gma. If gma loses her job, so will Abalos and thus, comelecako.

    Abalos & Co. must do what we they can to keep their jobs.

  27. tony, i’d think comelecako isn’t a political appointee and is a career person, so i don’t think his opinion is biased for the president. if he has any bias, it’s institutional loyalty and that’s to be expected from any career official.

  28. jowana- you only need to see the progressive economies of singapore, malaysia and vietnam. You also need to hear the voice of appreciation and excitement of businessmen from the countrysides of the economic visions of the administation. check business reports-not the inquirer.

    agree with the need for fiscalizers and check and balances but certainly not obstructionists. the minority should force upon the majority their mindset or lost cause. we should respect democratic process. the truth is out. their numbers are dwindling despite anc and cbcp.

  29. minority should not force the dead issue on the majority. patrons of one voice may just be afraid to let go of some or most of their business interests.

  30. Carl, what you just described gives all the more reason to be wary of concentrating too much power in a unicameral legislature. The House of Representatives is a group of like-minded individuals having similar backgrounds and interests as professional politicians. (The only diverse elements i can see are some of the Party List representatives.) This makes the house susceptible to all the flaws of a small homogeneous group as described in James Surowiecki’s ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ like “group think” and “group polarization” which result in poor quality and oftentimes self-serving decisions. That is why there is a need for a separate legislative body like the Senate. The existence of two bodies would add an element of diversity which helps minimize herd mentality. Of course, both the House and Senate are still made up of politicians which is why the really big decisions like choosing the national leaders has to be left to the Filipino people at large which gives you maximum diversity and collective wisdom.

  31. James, citing Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam is an example of the ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’ (after this, therefore because of this) logical fallacy. It is not enough to simply point out that these countries have parliaments and have growing economies. There are multiple factors that account for economic growth and a parliamentary set-up may not even be among the significant elements. Another common element among the three, for example, is that they started off with their constituent populations being on a more equal base. Singapore had no feudal landlords, Malaysia had its New Economic Policy which assisted the Bumiputra, and Vietnam started out with communist prescriptions.

    If i were to make a similar simplistic observation along your lines, i could cite Vietnam and China for making a case of having the Communist Party takeover to remove the inequalities among the people and, and once this is done, proceed with capitalist reforms. Of course, i won’t make such a conclusion.

  32. Patrons of One Voice may or may not. It is unwise to ascribe intentions in a discussion for that is too large a subjective matter unless it is so apparent/brazen that it leaves little doubt. (But then I am not always wise)

    James, parliamentary governments are also different from one another. The parliamentary government proposed is quite different from what other nations have.

    If you are prepared to defend the proposed Parliament; I can direct you to a net discussion forum that is more or less neutral. Heck, it might even be considered Pro Charter Change as many of the mods who participate in the thread are pro ChaCha.

    Are you up to the challenge James? Just sound off here and I’ll give you the site and do fire away there at your heart’s content.

  33. mlq3,

    You are saying he is loyal to the comelec? The comelec of today, which is run by abalos, and the likes of garci and his loyal subjects, who comelecako believes to be honorable men, are owned by gma. This is the institution he is loyal to?

    What a career!

  34. tonyo, actually the problem comelecako faces is one faced by all civil servants -what do you do, in the face of an unpopular government?

    recall even with marcos and estrada or earlier, ww2, regimes came and went but the civil service remained -as it had no choice, whatever happens people have to keep the machinery of government going.

    you’d have to ask comelecako how he reconciles the disreputable situation of the comelec, with his being a (i presume) career official. if you look at comelecako’s blog, he certainly asks that people don’t rush to judgment when it comes to criticism of the body in which he serves. whether this is because he is loyal to the comelec at all costs, or wants to argue that sometimes people rush to judgment without the facts, is up to him to explain and also the discerning reader to form an opinion about, i guess.

  35. The oppositon had their chance to prove their allegations during the impeachment but they lost- so let’s leave it at that. Pagod na mga tao.

    Kahit sabihin nyo pa na administration-friendly ang congress kaya natalo sila sa votation, well, ganyan talaga ang buhay. That’s how the system works. Kapag hindi satisfied, ipabago nyo ang Constitution to suit your wants para kahit may limang congressmen lang ang pipirma sa impeachment, pwedeng mapatalsik ang kahit sinong pangulo. Or you guys can lobby for election reforms para next time, ma-safe guard na ang boto ng mga tao. Al Gore, thinking that it would only divide his country, did not protest George Bush’s ascension to US presidency although there were evidence that cheating took place. That’s putting the country’s interest above self.

    For the meantime, let’s move on and get on with our lives. We should not allow those noisy few to distract us from moving ahead. Give the country a break.

  36. Magbabalut,

    “We should not allow those noisy few to distract us from moving ahead. Give the country a break.”

    I agree with you 100 percent. And so did Gloria

    – “The government in place after 2004 may merely end up inheriting a country as deeply divided as ever. Consequently, we may end up stalling national growth for a few years more as a result of lost momentum. In view of all these factors, I have decided not to run for President during the election of 2004.”

    Sayang she lost her way. Even more sayang, you’re right behind her.

    Let’s get her out of our lives so we can “move on and get on with our lives. “

  37. tonyo and mlq3, hello.

    I am not a political appointee. I won my berth here at the COMELEC fair and square by passing the civil service exams. As mlq3 pointed out, my loyalty is to this institution. And insisting that people do not make uninformed judgements is how I practice that loyalty. Unfortunately nowadays, most people seem to believe that the only valid world view is the one that is strictly dichotomous: you are either against the current dispensation and all its agencies; or you are the president’s lapdog (compliments of realist).

    Well, I’m no absolutist. I believe that the COMELEC needs to survive these terrible times. I believe that there are COMELEC employees who are blameless and it is for them that I blog. When there is proof enough to satisfy me about anomalies or stupidities I will speak out against them as well, as I did about the appointment of Garci’s Boys.

    And yes, I know some of them personally and professionally and I know that some of them are honorable men, tonyo. Now if you knew them personally and professionally, then maybe we can argue. But since you probably don’t, arguing for them against you will be as fruitless as me telling you that your business partner is an embezzler. I wouldn’t know, would I? And as far as some of your vituperations go, neither would you.

    The public ought to be able to distinguish between slavishness to personalities and the kind of loyalty I espouse. Please, let us not forget that institutions must survive their current leaders, and the job of career officials is to ensure that from each administration we are able to distill all that is good and to pass that on to the succeeding leaderships. The evil we try to root out to ensure that they are not perpetuated.

    Thus, for instance, from Christian Monsod’s administration we learned how to work closely with NGOs to aid in the continuing professionalization of our ranks. Today, Rex Borra and the COMELEC directorate (career officials all) pursue this mission tirelessly with the cooperation of UP NCPAG.

    If all of us who believe in preserving instiutions were to follow your lead, Tonyo, and just join the swelling ranks of street protesters, what would happen to our insitutions? Your kind would probably hail us as honorable men, but then we would have to rebuild all our instituions from scratch all over again once you attain your ends. And when your heroes are in power, there will spring up a new opposition who will try their best to oust the sitting government. What are civil servants to do then? Take to the streets once more? Where does it end? More to the point, how will the institutions – and the country – ever move past these fits and starts?

    I have always asked only that people be less judgemental and more concerned with arguing from facts. This despite the seemingly low opinion of ‘facts’ that people have developed after hearing admin congressmen hide behind the skirts of ‘ultimate facts.’ If people think it is obstructionist to want to reason based on facts, that is their prerogative. As it is mine to insist on facts before I make my judgements.

    And in the end, when Abalos goes – as he inevitably must – I will still be here talking about how life is inside the monolith. I don’t know what good things I can glean from this administration, or if there are any to be gleaned at all. But at the very least, I can help the next one avoid the mistakes made by the current leadership of the COMELEC.

  38. There is definitely something wrong with a system where a member of the Legislative’s decision is contingent on the release of funds by the Executive. It clearly contravenes the spirit of separation of powers and i can’t understand how such a process came to be given that the ‘power of the purse’ is supposed to reside with the Legislative branch in the first place. Before the next round of impeachment, can we clear the way for a more independent-minded legislature by getting the Supreme Court to declare that such a practice of influencing legislators through granting/witholding funds by the Executive is unconstitutional as it is a violation of the principle of Separation of Powers? Maybe the 32 Members of the House can act as witnesses to the fact.

  39. “when people become grammar and spelling checkers in a forum or thread in a comment box, expect that they have no intelligent thing to say.”

    huwaw! this is such an intelligent comment! thanks for showing us the way, Cat! 😉

  40. JM.

    I am a veteran in forum debates even before I became a serious blogger. I saw great minds self-destruct during intellectual intercourse when they resort to ad hominems and become self-anointed grammar gods and goddesses.

    We are not being evaluated by the readers according to how perfect our essays are. It’s our arguments and the way we present them that matter.

    Contribution of something new also counts.

  41. Akala ko yung ingles lang ni Joselu ang pinagtataluhan. Bakit ngayon, pati yung galing ng mga argumento nya ang binubusisi?

  42. Frankly, I sometimes argue with Joselu on points, but I always enjoy reading his comments and arguments. And so far, I have not experienced any malice or any attack on my person or any other even in some other sites with my different user name. His spelling maybe intentionally distorted to add dramatics, but he is always consistent with the distortions. Only for the new observers, he maybe confusing, but for the rest, he’s unique in his own way.

  43. On institutional loyalty…

    I remember several scenes in the book, I believe it was “The House on Garibaldi Street” by Isser Harrel, where a Mossad operative tried to fathom the motivations and ramifications of Adolf Eichmann’s sense of duty during the execution of the Final Solution. The Mossad guy was perplexed why Eichmann always insisted that it was just a matter of being a professional that the latter enabled those millions of Jews being facilitated for extermination. It was really troubling for the Mossad guy because as much as he wanted to pump several bullets on Eichmann, he cannot do so because Eichmann appeared to be a run of the mill bureaucrat. What can Eichmann do? He was just carrying out orders.
    The same dilemma can also be surmised on understanding the lives of former Nazis like the Pope and Gunther Grass.

    Or even in understanding the sentiments of Comelec employees and the rest of Philippine bureacracy…

    Or even those US soldiers being deployed in Iraq.

    Well, at least, some US soldiers have “fixed” this moral dilemma either by actively refusing to be deployed, or having their asshole superiors “fragged”.

  44. “I am a veteran in forum debates even before I became a serious blogger. I saw great minds self-destruct during intellectual intercourse when they resort to ad hominems and become self-anointed grammar gods and goddesses.”

    thing is, we’re not even trying to attept an intellectual intercourse. we’re just havin’ some fun!

    right, Jon? 🙂

    aminado naman kami na wala kaming ibabatbat sa talino at galing ni mighty man joseloo. he is simply, shall we say, out of this world! 😉

    loosen up, dude. mas mahigpit kapa sa…sa…sa takip ng di pa nabubuksang mayonnaise!

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