Referendum on Estrada

The administration plan is laid out in Newbsreak: no need to enlist senatorial candidates with no Senate by May next year; a referendum and parliamentary elections, instead (though the true feelings of the House are reflected in Rep. Pichay’s proposal to postpone the elections at least to October next year); and then parliament could then immediately do the real work at hand, which is to further amend the constitution. I have no argument with Dan Mariano’s take on things -but Kit Tatad as the source is unfortunate. Anyway the issues are joined tomorrow at the Supreme Court, and it seems the main argument will be, bayonet Bernas:

In their manifestation before the Supreme Court, Sigaw ng Bayan and ULAP stressed that the primary objectives of the petitioners in proposing the shift to a unicameral parliamentary system are: The removal of the institutional gridlocks between Malacañang and Congress and between the Senate and the House; improvement of public governance; and democratization of the process of electing political leaders.

On the oppositors’ argument that the adoption of a parliamentary system entails a “revision” of and not just an amendment to the Constitution, ChaCha proponents contend the Constitution does not actually make a distinction between the two.

Even if there is such a fine distinction, they say, the proposed reform makes up a mere “amendment” and not “a revision” because it only covers a “single subject,” which is a systematic change in government.

Moreover, they point out that the anti-ChaCha groups are only relying on the opinion of 1986 Constitutional Convention delegate, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, that the parliamentary shift requires a “revision” and not a mere “amendment” to the Constitution. If Bernas is right, they ask why the Jesuit constitutional expert has not cited any “supporting authority” or jurisprudence to prove his point that a parliamentary switch represents a “revision” of, and not just an “amendment” to the 1987 Charter.

All options remain on the table. Even the House calendar is being prepped. The deadline seems to be a floating one, ranging from December to March next year for a plebiscite.

In contrast to other articles claiming the Thai generals moved to prevent Thaksin-led hooliganism, the Times of London suggests the motive was far less far-fetched: Thaksin was being heavy handed and bungling anti-insurgency efforts. In Thai coup sparked by failed war on Islamists, the Times argues,

According to sources briefed by the army high command, Thaksin’s bungled response to the insurgency in southern Thailand, which has claimed 1,700 lives in two years, was a critical factor in the generals’ decision to get rid of him.

Military intelligence officers intend to negotiate with separatists and to use psychological warfare to isolate the most violent extremists, in contrast to Thaksin’s heavy-handed methods and harsh rhetoric.

The question of the military and it’s security concerns -and justifications- reminds me of a recently-published, unauthorized, biography of the Thai monarch, “The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej” (Paul M. Handley). I first read about it on the FriscoDude blog. Interesting observations on the book are also in the blog of Matthew Hunt, as well as links to other reactions to the book can be found in Bookish (and in baratillo@cubao, a link to a book on Latin American juntas available free, online).

Long before the present coup and the alarm presently being raised by journalists in Thailand over the military government’s censorship of the internet and of community radio stations (though so far, not the newspapers), the biography of the king received official hostility and the site of the publisher was blocked: an Amazon reader-reviewer says scuttlebutt in Thailand is that the book was commissioned by Thaksin!.

One way or another, the points for comparison keep popping up, as Roby Alampay pointed out in the Asa Times.

Randy David yesterday compares the Thai coup to Edsa Dos in the Philippines and says the lesson is:

In the way we normally understand democracy, the September coup is certainly a setback for Thai democracy. But who are we to judge Thai politics? Are we in the Philippines really better off being stuck with a President we resolutely distrust? Do rigged elections, damaged institutions, corrupt politicians and indifferent citizens constitute the essence of democracy? The lesson from Thailand, as I see it, is this: The only alternative to uniformed men seizing power for whatever reason is a virtuous and informed citizenry that fiercely defends its liberties and militantly refuses to be enslaved by corrupt leaders.

Let’s hope moving against officials who lined their pockets actually works for the Thais. The Nation focuses on one big case and the difficulties involved in unraveling it.

In his blog, Asia Cable, veteran journalist Todd Cromwell discusses why the Thai Constitution, “one of the most progressive documents of its kind in the world,” ended up being scrapped by the Thai Junta:

In retrospect it is clear that all political factions in the country set out to subvert both the letter and the spirit of the liberal document almost from the beginning. That includes, of course, the deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and members of his party, known colorfully as the “Thais Love Thais” Party.

For example, under the constitution the elected senate is not so much a legislative body, as it is in the United States, as it is a kind of guardian council. But from the beginning Thaksin senators abrogated their role as watchdogs to secretly serve the government’s agenda.

The senate’s support made it possible for the government to subvert supposedly independent bodies, such as the Election Commission. Three members of the commission were earlier imprisoned for trying to manipulate the results of the April 2 general election.

But the not-so loyal opposition parties also failed the country when they determined to boycott a general election because they knew they would lose. That led to the election being annuled and directly to the current political impasse. It finally took the army to cut through the Gordian Knot.

As the Bangkok Post editorialized: “Democracy is not just about free elections Rather, the democratic process is difficult daily task of making authorities accountable to voters and reining in the politicians who abuse the agreed legal framework.”

In a commentary today, Kavi Chongkittavorn says Western diplomats remain ambivalent about the coup not because of democracy, but because of their bottom dollar -Thaksin signed to many big deals not to be fondly viewed by the diplomatic corps. The commentary goes on to stipulate which provisions of the now-scrapped constitution should be kept.

The Beijing correspondent of a Taiwan newspaper describes a debate on whether a similar coup could take place in China. The verdict? Corruption is so endemic everyone has a piece of the graft, so no chance of a coup.

Students in Bangkok defied the military (and will do so again this afternoon); students in Quezon City defied the AFP chief of staff.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Referendum on Estrada. He’s not getting a fair trial. So let him settle the issue by running for office.

Bong Austero on heart disease treatments. Billy Esposo on an outrageous murder. Jojo Robles with a reader’s blunt questions: how much of the conventional wisdom’s based on actual facts?

Yesterday, Ramon Farolan pointed out two generals in the Thai coup are products of the Philippine Military Academy. Patricia Evangelista offered up a reflection on General Palparan.

And in The New Kyoto Review of South East Asia: an audio recording of an interview with Ferdinand Marcos, 6 months before he fell from power (the beginning, complete with clinking cutlery, is Imelda Marcos as the opening act: then Marcos begins with a lot of table-thumping; it’s interesting to hear him talking conversationally and reminiscing about the war). You can see why, even at the end of the road, sick, ailing and with a brain dulled by illness, Marcos remained a formidable person and respected even by many of his critics (and how loony the dictatorship had become, with Imelda’s prattle). The moment Imelda leaves the room, Marcos slides into his tried and tested, smooth lawyerly persona. It’s rather charming how Marcos keeps saying, “don’t you think so?”

In the blogosphere, Thai coup fallout, thinking-wise, in unlikely places. Sun Protective wonders what would happen if there was a coup or martial law in the USA. The possible response: a couch potato rebellion.

Other places where prime ministers are in trouble: Wonkette quotes what the Hungarian Prime Minister said to provoke rioting (tongue firmly in cheek, she asks, he lied, but so what?).

One Man in Bangkok describes how he spent the coup and what it’s like living under martial law. Notice the Thais have something we don’t: tanks (well, they also have an aircraft carrier, albeit mothballed).

Another Malaysian irked by Lee Kwan Yew.

Philosophical Scratchpad takes a Malaysian and philosophical look at what Filipinos know as the bangungut.

And finally, via Perpetual Thursday, a link to what has to be one of the niftiest blogs around: Indexed. A life lesson, every day, on an index card, but online! Plus, lots and lots of a personal fetish of mine -Venn Diagrams!

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

78 thoughts on “Referendum on Estrada

  1. Of course, Estrada would win again, were he to run for senate. However, I do not see the (re-)election of Estrada (or other members of his family) as a public exoneration of Joseph Estrada. Rather, I think he retains his mass support in spite of public knowledge of his corruption because, well, it’s not like the politicians from elite trapo families are clean either (they just have the education/finesse not to get caught).

    If the election of Loi & Jinggoy Estrada to the senate is an “unquestionable referendum on the charges against them,” then I guess the lack of middle-class support for the opposition is a referendum on the quality of leaders amongst them who can inspire our trust & confidence to move the country forward. This doesn’t mean that we support or like or even trust GMA. It simply means that we are NOT convinced that going back (to nullify EDSA II) is moving forward (as the opposition contends).

  2. Rude boy, the middle-class referendum against the opposition that you speak of has so far happened only in your head. As for the lack of support for the opposition to GMA among many within the middle class, this is more a symptom of a flawed understanding of their own role in a democracy.

  3. It might be a good idea for the Explainer to dwell on the evolution of universal suffrage in the more advanced nation states of the world and the problems in using this model of universal suffrage as the be it and end all of what we call democracy. I believe that even in the more advanced countries universal suffrage was instituted towards the latter half of the 20th century. The Iraqi model imposed by the U.S. and the U.K. today wherein the voting went along strictly ethnic and sectarian lines is a case in point. The Iraq parliament is today implicitly debating the breaking up of Iraq into autonomous zones. After all it was the self educated expert Gertrude Bell who had assisted the British authorities in drawing up the map of Iraq then after the First World War.

    Trying to reverse engineer political and economic institutions onto countires whose natural evolutionary development had already been distorted by colonization is really trying to put back squeezed toothpaste into a tube. The most extreme example of course was Pol Pot and what the U.S. is trying to do in the Middle East is simply a variation of this.

    The Sunni minority in Iraq is fearfull of the Shia majority and believes the Shias are allied with the outsiders against them. Hence the civil war ongoing. So much blood has been shed and the cycle of blood debts being repeated again and again.

    We had better really step back from thoughts about military or power grabs using violence. It could explode into unrelenting carnage. The superficial insitutions of state (most especially the SC) that we have are going to be put to extreme tests in the following months. They (the SC) failed the country during Marcos and during Erap’s time. Hope and pray they hold. This is larger than anyone.

  4. The myth of democratic institutions (ru;le of majority of voters) making the laws in the U.S.
    First the U.S. president is elected through the electoral college system of votes and not the popular vote.
    Second senators who have to sing on to all laws drawn up by the lower house are elected by the home states exclusively. All states are entitled to send two senators to the bicameral congress irrespective of their populations.

    Laws may sometimes be legislated in the U.S. not with the implicit consent of the majority of citizens represented.

    From the history of the “Connecticut Compromise”
    “As the hot summer tightened its grip on the stalemated delegates, Sherman and Ellsworth offered a solution. Ellsworth explained that equal state representation was imperative in a Union “partly national, partly federal.” Sherman proposed a specific agreement for a dual system of representation. In the House of Representatives, each state would be assigned a number of seats based on its population. In the Senate, all states would have the same number of seats.”

    “On July 16, the convention adopted the Connecticut Compromise by a heart-stopping margin of one vote. Without that vote, there likely would have been no Constitution.”

  5. I believe the idea of encouraging deposed president Estrada to run for Senate is completely opposed to any notion of justice, which depends not on the whims of (often ill-informed) popularity but on a considered and objective assessment of the facts and the law. Estrada is on trial for the serious crime of plunder. Whether or not he retains his popularity has nothing to do with his guilt or innocence.

    Let’s look at another case of a politician running for office from his cell. Congressman Jalosjos from Mindanao was found guilty of raping a child in 1997. Despite his conviction and incarceration, he stood for re-election to Congress and won. What did that election prove (beyond the stupidity of his constituents and the deepness of his pockets)?

    Equally, so what if Erap were elected to the Senate? What would that demonstrate? He is not being tried for unpopularity, but for theft and grand larceny. Even if he were elected, Erap’s trial at the Sandiganbayan would have to continue and he would be unable to take up his Senate seat, which would not doubt upset his loyal followers even more.

    A senatorial campaign by the jailed former actor and president would in fact deepen the divisions in the country and make the Philippines look foolish in the eyes of the world.

  6. mlq3,

    Why not an honest-to-goodness snap election where GMA and Erap can run to settle the issues — GMA’s illegitimacy and the verdict on Erap — democratically, once and for all?

    If GMA wins we’ll have a ‘pangulong may bagong mandato’.
    Or we’ll have new president, a ‘bagong pangulo’.
    Or if Erap wins, ‘isang nagbagong pangulo’.

    Who better to lead ‘para sa pagbabago kundi siyang halibawa ng pagbabago’. Detention has been good for Erap. Maybe it’s time for him to be back and be a better, wiser president.

    For GMA, a snap election is a leap of faith, a ‘letting go’, an overcoming, a ‘personal coup’ which could spark a LEGITIMIZING ‘political coup’ — a new and indesputable mandate!!

    For a new president, the ‘Challenge of an Election for a Revolution’ is the loud and clear ‘Call of the Times’– “Dumating na ang Panahon ng Pagbabago”. A new voice calling for a new beginning could enkindle hope in a citizenry desperate for hope. Maybe this time, at least, the political crisis will not escalate, the urgent issues critical for our survival as a nation will be the focus of our collective attention and united undertaking lead by a ‘Pangulong Rebolusyonaryo’.

    Let’s settle this acute and chronic leadership crisis with clear and decisive undertakings. I’m sure the people will support One Voice on this: “Bagong Halalan para sa sa Pagbabago ng Bayan — Bagong Mandato, Bagong Pangulo o Nagbagong Pangulo !!!”

  7. hvrds,

    Think about majority rule/minority rights in the US as a constant struggle between the masses and the elite, the big states versus the small states.

    The 2 senators per state system balances out the weight of heavily populated states.

    The bicameral nature of the US Congress is an American revision version of the House of Lords vs. House of Commons system . The state and national elite was deemed necessary to control the urges of the masses.

    As to the electoral college –
    The electoral college is weighed in the favor of heavily populated states. But another purpose behind the electoral college, before “the winner of the popular vote in the state takes all” tradition became the norm, was for electors to overturn the popular vote when necessary. That was when the electoral college functioned pretty much like a party caucus before the advent of popular primary elections.

    America’s founding founders, for all their professed love for popular democracy , were really afraid of the “people”. Thus their bifurcated system.

    However, and so far, the system they came out with seems to have created a pretty good balance between the stupids and the know-it-alls, the poor and the have it alls. At least in terms of preventing a revolution or a violent class war.

    To put it another way, the system is good because it balances yin and yang.

  8. global pinoy,

    the erap vs. gma election sounds good at first glance but it ignores a crucial distinction between Erap and Gloria. Erap’s edge is his popularity. Gloria’s edge is her cheating. So how?

    The only way a credible contest between the two can happen is if Gloria let’s Noli take-over, the Comelec commissioners are replaced by people chosen by both Erap and Gloria camps, and all of Gloria’s political appointees resign. In short, if you want a fair and honest election you have to dismantle Gloria’s cheating apparatus. Otherwise, you’ll be pissing against the wind.

  9. re: Bong Austero’s article.

    There was a time when c-section for pregnant women was recommended
    ehrm required for women who did not need it at all.

    Got a friend whose first baby was delivered caesarean because her ob-gyne told her so.

    Second baby was delivered normal. The attending obstetrician was the wife of a boss of mine. She was told that she didn’t need it at all since her birth canal is big enough even for a 9-lb baby.


    I am intrigued whether a legislator is going to make a law preventing or making it difficult for people to buy cigarettes.
    The big cigarette manufacturer in the Philippines is a generous donor for political parties of different colors.

  10. Re: Farolan

    The revelation of Farolan that two generals involved in the Thailand coup confirms my suspicion that Conrado Quiros is not making a research or wide reading before he writes an article. In his article, importations, he proposed that Philippines should import Thai generals to have a successful coup.

    No need for importation, the Philippines provided their training for bloodless coup.

  11. re: Thailand censorship
    But of course the newspapers are not subject to restriction. Wasn’t it the media mogul who started it all?

    But of course the radio communications need censorship. They recognized the fact that the deposed PM was popular in the countryside. These people depend more on radios for news rather than the print media just like our people in the remote areas.

  12. mlq3,

    I’m all for Erap running in next year’s elections.

    Wait till Malacanang hears this and government voters’ machinery will start grinding.

    Manuel Buencamino’s theory that voters’ lists will include dead men’s votes might just become a reality.

  13. manolo,
    why in god’s name is the solicitor-general of the Philippines acting as counsel to SNB and ULAP. we are not paying him to represent this groups. for god’s sake his suppose to be the lawyer of the republic. if until now nobody believes this just an administration ploy then i hope they think about my point.

  14. Torn, when it comes to Erap, ‘a considered and objective assessment of the facts and the law‘ is not forthcoming anytime soon. I take mlq3’s recommendation to have Erap’s run for the Senate as a ‘referendum’ in the same spirit as One Voice’s proposal to let the 2007 local elections be a ‘referendum’ on GMA’s legitimacy. To me, both taste like bitter medicine, but it may be better than the status quo. Of course, a prerequisite for both would be clean elections.

  15. I have to put my stake with Torn.

    Didn’t the people choose Barabbas over Jesus?

    re Austero’s article, it may not matter much but Cardiologists do not perform heart surgery. Cadiovascular surgeons might be able to do what Cardiologists do but not the other way around. I don’t want to sound morbid but it seems to have been only 3 weeks since the whole affair with the MDs began.

    The Ca t, your friend underwent VDAC. Vaginal Delivery After Caesarian. Maybe you should ask her if the Child underwent fetal distress. If so, there would be little recourse other than Caesarian section. Or there maybe other attendant factors.

    If not, well there is a term “Mabigat siguro pangangailangan”.

  16. manuelbuencamino,

    The People’s Initiative for Snap Elections has three objectives: break the impasse, settle the issues and move on.

    An initiative is needed to break the impasse. An honest-to-goodness initiative has to start somewhere, somehow. Catching the first glance is good enough as it opens a window of opportunity, narrow as it may seem at first. There is a viable political solution that can be a ‘point of convergence’ where contending principals can meet or provide a rallying point to gather a critical mass. Either way, popular momentum must be directed according to a ‘roadmap’ which addresses key issues while remaining on course.

    Your preconditions, for example, for a credible elections can be discussed in the context of political reconcilliation and negotiated with an enactment of ‘constitutional’ amnesty for GMA to go on leave from office, COMELEC commissioners to resign and preferrably to go on exile, with Garci, during the elections — from start of campaign to proclamation. If the ‘Reconcilliation via Snap Election’ option is rejected then a ‘Constitutional Revolution’ option could be initiated and undertaken in the context of truth and accountability via Constitutional and institutional processes. How? Boycott the 2007 elections (Thaksin ‘won’ but lost because of the critical and significant boycott, your concerns are arguments for such) combined with church-led ( Bishops already called for it) civil disobedience, with guarranteed international coverage (GMA is on top of the ‘coup-able’Thaksinish heads-of-state, GMA’s on notice for political killings, a Philippine coup is an ‘international media coup’), which will pro-activate a movement in the military to join the people — mass leave/resignation!!! — no need for tanks and guns, not even for fatigues and helmets, no need for soldiers in the streets and on the stage, just stay put!!! stay home, embrace your families, do not obey orders that destroy other families.
    An inevitable, clear and present danger to the status quo is looming on the horizon. The country is on a crossroads. Options and alternatives need to be viewed with open minds. Every step, the next step is crucial. What’s important with starting with a morally and politically sound initiative is that it provides a solid footing and a springboard for the next morally and politically mandatory steps.

  17. You all saw what happened in the last elections. Esperon was not AFP Chief yet at that time. And yet he was one of Gloria’s poster boys in delivering the votes. He is now AFP Chief. Imagine what he will do in the next elections or plebiscite or referendum.

  18. about erap. i think he has suffered enough. five years in jail is punishment enough for whatever it is he did that we are punishing him for. he certainly is no more deserving of jail than marcos was, and yet we let marcos off easy.

    i would set erap free on the condition that he drop all claims to the presidency and that he never run for public office again. after all, he’s had his turn, and he botched it. who knows that he won’t botch it again. the pattern has been set.

  19. yes , the filipinos did not do anything about marcos’ crimes.

    i have yet to see anyone in marcos’s regime, relatives, friends cronies convicted of crimes or put in jail. yet, eveyone know what they did.

  20. Medicine is not black and white. Although it is based in science, in practice we may say it is more of an ART of practicing science (medicine). Every patient is completely different from the others, such that management differs from one person to another depending on circumstances, time and so many other factors. If someone attend a tumor board or a mortality/morbidity conference, there you can see numerous factors influencing the decision making of the clinician or the team handling the case. Factors such as the kind of specialist attending the case, the place where he was trained, the hospital setting, the debilitating factors affecting the patient, the availability of the ancillary services and so many things, they are really impossible to list here. The circumstances also changes by the minute or second! Suffice it to say that I have yet to see an incident where monetary benefit on the part of the attending clinician factor in the decision making.

    Take for example cesarean section, the condition of the mother and the baby should be considered all the time. The baby may be in distress which is due to so many things, both from the mother or the baby. There are also different levels of fetal distress, different levels of maternal problems each level is assessed and managed accordingly. CS may also be classical incision (midline) or lower uterine segment incision (transverse). Each has different indications, incidence of morbidity and mortality, short and long term complications, etc.. So many things come into play during the delivery of a baby…..there is no way to compare one delivery from another without reviewing all the data in a particular event.

    It is extremely difficult to compare medical events between patients or even between the same patient at different point intervals without knowing all the details.

  21. At least 2 South Korean Presidents were charged in their courts and then convicted. Their penalties were then lowered in scale.

    As one columnists put it, Justice was done, retribution followed and then compassion shown.

  22. if erap is guilty as charge, 5 years in jail is not the corresponding punishment.

    Sometimes I just can’t relate to Manolo’s punditry and this time suggesting that Erap should run for senate. Torn did pose the right question ” what can we achieved from that???? and i believed this is a very important question that shoudl not be ignored by the proponents of such idea….

    What Earp referendum? Do the people deserve to subjected to such choice again it?

    Don’t we have enough of Erap?. Is nt putting Erap back in Malacanang or even in senate a step backward against what we really wanted to achieved? Jinggoy and loi is already in teh senate and looks like JV is going to the senate too ( if the May 2007 election will push through). With that should we still miss Erap in the senate????

    I have read a lot of times about how most of the bloggers here (especially the rabid anti GMA) abhored corruption, to political killings etc etc. But did we saw it before very own eyes how Clarissa Ocampo pointed to Erap as the one who sign the “Velarde” . Will we just closed our eyes to the murder of Bobby Dacer and Corbito during the time of Erap impeachment?

    Cant the opposition come up with a better personality to lead them? And they still wonder why the tipping point is not happening?

  23. rego and torn,

    “what can we achieved from that????”

    saturation. let us satiate ourselves and see what these showbiz people can do, and once we find out that (a) they are a waste of vote; or (b) they can indeed achieve something, then (a1) people will think twice about voting them in the next elections (no more richard gomezes contemplating of running as governor, etc.); or (b1) we can rethink about the concept of democracy being a electoral space for everyone–part of maturation process?

    rego, “But did we saw it before very own eyes how Clarissa Ocampo pointed to Erap as the one who sign the “Velarde” .

    indeed. and that should have been the strongest reason why the impeachment shall not have been aborted by the emotional outbursts of legal nincompoops representing the opposition then and the texters choice. here’s this guy who was willing to subject himself to a trial. can you say the same for gma?

  24. tbl, you’re right. We did not just ignore the Marcos criminals, we elected those sons-of-bitches into office!!! As one American writer puts it, Philippine politics is unique: they transform cronies into statesmen, torturers into legislators, and killers into generals.

  25. Erap, GMA, the Marcoses, and all incumbents including those who have ever been an incumbent elective official since 1946 and members of their immediate families (DYNASTY) should be barred from running for any elective position during the next or any other election ever.

    It’s the re-election of incumbents and the absence of a DYNASTY prohibition, under whatever system, parliamentary or presidential, that stain the electoral process and make a mockery of majority rule, a rule that is decided by the poor majority.

    Let a consitutional provision OUST the incumbents (and their immediate families) at the end of one term in office.

    And let the electorate choose from a NEW set of faces during every election.

  26. Actors? And what wrong with actors turning into Politicians? Nothing!! We had seen Reagan, not so great actor and did a fine job running the world most powerful nation. If Pamela Anderson go politics, she could be just as good as Pierre Trudeau or even better. Marcos was a brilliant and some of his admirers will swear that he was a political genius, and what had he done? Erap acted all the way to the Presidency and blundered Big Time. The current President we have now is bragging to have all the Educational qualifications and Economic expertise, yet she’s hated and despised by the the same society who one way or the other propelled her to the Office. So what’s wrong with our society as a whole? Not just the political process, but the justice system, and even the whole masses? Nothing. We just refused to grow up, mature, deny that we have some serious problems and just wishing they will go away. From the
    top to the bottom, everyone is in this mess together, and soon it will be gone to the point that it will be no longer in anyone’s control.

  27. Iniduro,

    1. saturation point…

    But how many years did erap served the government? from mayor, to senator to vice president to president? how about ramon revilla, tito sotto, jaworski, and now we lito lapid, bong revilla. can’t we just use this as a date for that ” saturation point?” FPJ did not produce a landslide votes against gloria. I know you will say that she cheated. But if millions and million of people voted for him, it would have been improbable for gloria to cheat…I believe saturation point is not very good reason for an Erap referendum.

    2. Erap subjected himself to a trial…..

    I dont think so! He did not volunteered himself to be impeached at all. The pro impeachment congressmen then worked so hard for him to be impeached and gathered enough votes for teh articles of impeachment to be transmitted to the senate. He also did some form of bribery to blocked that impeachment…

    I agree with you that the impeachment process should have been allowed to be completed. But being one of those who trooped to EDSA right after the “enveloped were not allowed to be opened by the admnistration senators” i did feel that was not a very good decision. But then I took it as a learning. That is the reason why this time, I dont support any call for people power or any form of quick solutions, even worst, an emotional aproach to get over with Gloria . And I believe that that is the common sentiments of a lot people too.

    Pero inuduro, Erap is now undergoing trial. It would be imractical to go back to Erap impeachment , debate on wether it should have been allowed to be completed or not. Let the court decide on Erap case now.

    Still I am not convinced that people deserve to be subjected to an Erap referendum….

  28. Oh yes, domingo arong, that is been my stand too. And im sure cvj know this, I have posted the same belief here , in bong austero’s blog and and even in PCIJ….very similar to what you just said. That to me is teh most Ideal solution to our problem. And I opened it up to some Pinoys that I met in our tambayan here ( Bario Fiesta Restaurant in Roosevelt Queens) and they too also believe in that too. mmmmmm I am wondering why, the opposition and especially the civil society is not entertainibg the same idea, too….

  29. By the way, domingo, I will only go for a charter change that will prohibit those people and their imediate families ( up to third degree or fourth) who already served the current and previous government to be barred from being elected into office or even serve as cabinet members and other important government positions. I believe that is the only way we can turn our nation upside down.

  30. yes Ca t. I myself expereinced it in St Luke’s hospital five years ago. I was rush to the hospital from work because i was in such a terrible pain and the urine analysis conducted in our company clinic showed some blood. The initial suspicion is kidney stone. Initially they used dye to locate the stone but its negative. Then they recomended a certain procedure that will insert a camera through my penile opening to locate the stone. Still negative. 3 days went by. No doctors really came to me to explain what are the findings. And I was told that I will be discharge after 5 days. Then they ask me if there is any other things that trouble me. I related to them that Im worried about my stomach, that I may have developed ulcers. Immediately they recommeded endoscopy. Agin the findings is negative for ulcers. After 5 days I todl that I am to be discharged. But no doctors at all came by to explain to me about what cause such pain and the blood in my urine. Not even to explain what medicine should I take, and food should I avoid to avoid similar pain in the future. Then I was billed P100,000 for it. Oh yes I stayed in a private room and that may have contributed a lot to the bill but then most of the bills also went to the doctors and aenesthisiologist. And yet they did not bother to dicuss to me their finding or none of it. So what I did I just asked the nurse to photo copy all my medical charts that details the procedures that were done and went straight to my uncle who is a general surgeon to interpret all of them for me. Unti now I still cant believe it that I shelled out such a large sum of money without even knowing what really ails me then…

  31. MLQ3,
    On the matter of AMENDMENT or REVISION, it seems that in the US jurisdiction, a REVISION OF a Constitution always results in a NEW Constitution, a new version of that Charter. Thus, the US Constitution so far has ZERO REVISIONS but 27 AMENDMENTS. The Philippine Constitution however has had four versions: Malolos(1899), Commonwealth(1935), Marcos(1972) and the 1987 Freedom Constitution. Also, over 200 new Constitutions have resulted from US States revising their charters.

    But if we were to adopt this terminology and the practice in the US, it would seem that the People’s initiative to change the form of government in this manner would NOT result in a new Arroyo Constitution (2007) or something like that. It would simply become the First Amendment of the Fourth Philippine Constitution.

  32. by law and ethics, any physician who request a test or do a procedure is responsible to the patient with regards to that procedure or test results.. therefore, he should explain the results to the patient, normal or abnormal. during procedures such as endoscopies, as soon as the patient wakes up and usually before the patient is wheeled out of the recovery room, the gi doc will explain to him the operative findings. as soon as the pathology results of the biopsy (if a biopsy was taken) is available, the results will be explained fully to the patient, and most of the time, with the consent of the patient, repeated to the relatives.

    it is up to the patient to ask the doctor to repeat anything or explain all the remifications of the findings if he does not understand the first time it was explained. if the case is complicated or if several relatives are involed, then a family conference with all the clinicians taking care of the patient is in order. this is common these days. patients’ rignts are never ignored in the medical practice. the patient or the relatives have to be vocal for any problem or anyuthing they don’t understand, otherewise the clinicans usually thinks the things discussed during the first encounter of the problem or lab result has been communicated properly and understood fully by everyone.

  33. MLQ3,

    I PREDICT that the Philippine Supreme Court will adopt the US interpretation of the words AMENDMENT and REVISION as I indicated in the post previous, clearing the way for a shift to a Unicameral Parliament by People’s initiative on the constitution.

    Even in the US jurisdiction, PEOPLES INITIATIVE can only amend Constitutions, not revise them. And I believe, except for the tiny, odd state of Delaware, all States require ratification by popular vote or plebiscite of any such Amendments. It will be so here as well.

    But here is my “philosophical criticism” of the 1987 Constitution:

    WHY was the People’s Initiative mode of chacha invented in the first place? It was so the people had a way of SIDESTEPPING elected Legislatures which are naturally averse to changing a system they’ve already mastered and to directly amend charters and state and local laws. People’s Initiative is institutionalised people power, truly an American invention. Some States even have periodic, self-convening constitutional conventions which automatically consider the question of if, when and how much of their State Constitutions to change, from none to all.

    But the 1987 Constitution’s provision on people’s initiative is SELF-DEFEATING. The People’s Initiative mode of chacha was crippled at birth by its authors with the proviso that:

    “The Congress shall provide for the implementation of this right.” (Art XVII Section 2)

    People’s Initiative was a hostage to the Legislature, a condition that Raul S. Roco apparently tried to change with RA 6735. But now the People’s Initiative is a TOOL of that Legislature, which realized how the 1987 framers gave them their ticket to OLIGARCHY.

  34. I concur with Iniduro’s idea of ‘saturation’. Voting for the likes of Erap was part of the ongoing process of learning to choose our leaders as a nation. It is the arrogance of the elite and middle forces that has prematurely cut this process short. Before, i thought we at least had justice on our side, but after Garci, the sidestepping of the people’s mandate and the ‘silence’ that followed, that was no longer the case. We no longer have the moral right to block an Erap (or Marcos) restoration if that is the people’s will as expressed through elections.

    Rego, i also agree with the anti-dynasty proposal but, for the moment, we have be realistic.

  35. DJB,

    I can’t follow your line of reasoning.

    Is the following an ‘ammendment’ or a ‘revision’ of your conclusion?

    “But if we were to adopt this terminology and the practice in the US, it would seem that the People’s initiative to change the form of government in this manner” — purportedly ammending while actually revising — “would (NOT)result in a new Arroyo Constitution (2007) or something like that” — a GMA-JdV-FVR-Jaraula-Pichay Constitution.

  36. oh yes, cvj, i do understand that what I want to happen is unrealistic. it was just an idea though….

    another unrealistic thing that I would ove to happen is to manage the country the same way that big or even multinational companies are being manage. I work for Intel Corp prior to coming here and I was just amazed at how everybody was so responsible and customer oriented. Problem solving is being done through a system called global 8 D and I found it very effective. Defined exactly the problem by coming up with a concise problem statement. verify the validity of the problem. implement containment action. run evaluations, and experiments, simulations, implement corrective actions. verify the effectiveness of the corrective action and implement the permanent corrective actions from the most effective temporary corrective actions…

    I know this is unrealistic and but I have a feeling that this doable too…Of course I am not really unfamiliar to with political system in the country. I came from a political clan and I grow up with it. So my feeling is that it really doable. No is just pusshing for it.

    Woudl it be nice to have a well trained, congressmen and senators like the supervisors and managers in this big corporations?

    So why not Manny Pangilinan for Presidentor Jaime Zobel Or even Jacob Pena ( the last Pinoy head of Intel Phils now it is being headed by expats) for president…instead of the present jaded crop of politicans that we have now. Look at New York City with Mayor Bloomberg at the helm.

    Honestly I can’t find anybody from the present congressman and senators that I would vote for president next elections. Pwede pa siguro is Mayor Sonny Belmonte, or Rep Nerio Acosta

    But Erap again????? Pleeaaassseeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

  37. GlobalPinoy:
    Under US terminology the present Sigaw ng Bayan proposal would be considered part of an amendment process. The difference between AMENDMENT and REVISION is not essentially one of degree of the change, but the SCOPE of what is allowed to be changed. In an amendment process such as people’s initiative one is not allowed to revise the entire document whereas in CONASS or CONCON, the matters to be amended, revised or changed CAN include the entire document or ANY subset of it. Here the proponents can change, add, subtract or combine the subjects to be revised or amended. In a pure amendment process like PI, there is no freedom on the part of the proponents (the 12%) to change, expand or modify the proposals and their subjects in the charter.

    Clearly, the Sigaw ng Bayan PI is an amendatory process, even if the impact on the charter and the society will be large. But ANY constitutional change, amendment or revision, is arguably of large influence on the society and the constitution.

    If the Court rules in this case that the subject of the PI is “too large” that will be a dangerous tragedy, since then, only “trivial” amendments will ever be allowed in future people’s initiatives.

    I don’t like the Unicameral Parliamentary proposal and intend to campaign and vote against it–if and when the time comes!

    But we ought not throw the baby out with the bath water…people’s initiative is a valuable constitutional tool and should be enabled…

  38. BTW CVJ, kung saturation point lang naman ang reason nyo para patabuhin is Erap. Isn’t the FPJ candidacy enough to satify that? FPJ did no get as much vote as Erap, should n’t that be enough to conclude that saturation point was already reached?

  39. So TBL, I should have sued that St Luke s doctor who did the first procedure. I have no problem with the oen who did the endoscopy. He did do his obligatiosn well. He was even surprised to know that the first doctor did not explain to me what happen to that procedure. I tried asking him to interpret the results of the first procudure bu he dcelien becuas eit was beyond his expertise. Instead he told me to call thet doctor in his office . But was was just told that he is out…Anyway minura mura ko sila doon sa feedback form and I remeber puting the name of teh doctor the feedback form. After that kasi I came to new York na….

  40. TORN,
    The point of Erap undergoing “trial by election” doesn’t have anything to do with Erap per se, but with the need for Justice in a case where it seems the accused — despicable stinker that he is — CANNOT get a fair trial. It is therefore not about Erap but about US and our self-respect, our ability to accept the Justice system as our own. He was after all a democratically elected president. He has been accused of all those horrible crimes of plunder you recoil from but has been under arrest for over four years while his gaolers romp in his old playground, making even more hay than him. Yet he has not been convicted of any crime. It is an utter lie that it is Erap delaying his case. It is convenient to have him around, like the Devil in a Noose. But it is the current regime that cannot resolve the case and avoid the ticking clock which points an accusing finger at it: Justice delayed is Justice denied.

    It is denied to us, the citizens, even more than it is denied to Erap. He may be guilty of plunder, but the Supreme Court and the Palace are equally guilty of Dereliction of Duty and Obstruction of Justice!

    In other words, it was not only Erap who was guilty of crimes; those who deposed him were guilty of treason, coup d’etat and conspiracy, though more respectable labels have been found. Like PEOPLE POWER.

    It was after all the Supreme Court that deposed him, not by a DECISION they rendered with cold impartiality, but with treacherous, illegal and unconstitutional ACT committed by Chief Justice Davide himself in swearing in GMA.

    It was the Justices of the Court that participated in a conspiratorial coup d’etat against the corrupt and dysfunctional Erap, then as Supreme Court a few months later, acted like the King of Siam and blessed it’s own judicial coup.

    Now, how can Erap possibly get a fair trial from the Supreme Court when those were the truthful circumstances of his overthrow?

  41. Rego, i’ve have spent my working life in a multinational IT firm and while i can relate to the professionalism and problem-solving methodology that you have described, i would characterize that as only part of the picture. There is also office politics which gets stronger the further up the management level you go. What distinguishes a business entity like a corporation from the government is that the market is quicker to penalize poor performance. Electing professional managers like Pangilinan is no panacea as they would not be able to take the market environment that they work in with them. I do think though that former employees of big corporations are good candidates for the civil service as they would have the necessary experience of running a bureaucracy. If we want that to happen, the salaries should be adjusted accordingly to make the post more competitive to job-seekers and make side-income unnecessary.

    Regarding ‘saturation’, you cannot conclude that saturation has already taken place and at the same time, still fear that Erap will win. That would be incoherent. Anyway, as far as you the other ‘silent revolutionaries’ are concerned, what’s the problem? Since ‘pare-pareho lang naman sila’, you can very well continue with your strategy of ‘moving on’ and concentrate on actionable things within your circle of influence. The masses in turn, would have gotten the chance to express their will. Win-win.

  42. I am amazed that that serious and intelligent people support this saturation point argument.

    How much proof do we need?

    Does Erap actually have to appoint Atong Ang Finance Secretary before we wake up and think, oh perhaps it isn’t a good idea to have criminals running the country?

    By “saturation point” do you mean that Erap and his cronies have to drink all night and all day (instead of just collapsing over their glasses of Petrus at 4 in the morning)?

    Does the president actually have to do NO work at all (instead of putting in 2 hungover hours pressing the flesh at a tree planting as Eap used to do)?

    This relates to a point Anna made about whether the Philippines looks foolish to the rest of the world. Actually, I don’t think it does right now. Personally, I think Gloria has been a big disappointment and that she shouldn’t even be there because of the electoral fraud, but let’s give her credit where it is due. She is a hard-working and serious-minded person. In her way, she is trying her best and I think the rest of the world sees that. Her predecessor just made the country look idiotic.

    I remember a conversation I had with a member of a European trade delegation back in Erap’s time. The delegation was doing a tour around Asia and contained some heavy hitters, representatives of some of Europe’s largest corporations, actively looking for countries where they could invest. According to my source, having arrived at Malacañang, the delegation had to wait for an hour while president shot a promotional video on the lawn. When the meeting eventually started, the president showed no interest in the subject, spent most of the time talking to his staff and left shortly after it had started. “No country deserves a president like this”, the guy said to me.

    I’m completely opposed to even opening the door the tiniest crack to Erap. I think it would be an unimaginably huge disaster to have him back.

  43. Never again, that’s why i said that bringing Erap back tastes like bitter medicine. If he runs, i won’t vote for Erap. However, it is for the people as a whole and not you or me to decide these things. That’s how a democracy works. Arroyo had no business rigging the elections and we have no business supporting her explicitly or tacitly once we found out the facts. Once things go back in their right order, i will be happy to join Bong Austero, Rego and you in moving-on.

  44. Democracies are not just about the will of the people—that will is expressed within certain limits defined by the constitution and body of laws. As I understand it, this is because there are believed to be certain enduring values of the body politic that are of a higher order than those of the electorate at any given time, the “will of the people”.

    Thus, no matter how many people vote for him, someone who is in jail for a serious crime cannot hold public office until he has served his time, for example (forgetting about Jalosjos for a moment). The values of the legal system are held to be higher than the transient wishes of the people.

    That’s my problem with your argument: you are looking for solutions at one level (a plebiscite) for a problem at another (alleged criminality).

    You may be right that Erap cannot expect a fair shake from the courts, but in the end if the Sandiganbayan is all we have that’s what we have to go with. I honestly don’t think a plebiscite would be at all relevant.

  45. Torn, i agree that democracy is more than just the will of the people, but that is the starting point. Unfortunately, right now, the Constitution and the body of laws is being enforced by someone who herself has not been chosen by the people. Without a legitimate mandate, the GMA government cannot convict (or acquit) Erap. That is the main reason why, as mlq3 has explained in his column, and as you also acknowledge, Erap cannot expect a fair shake from the courts. Given that situation, i cannot accept your assertion that ‘in the end if the Sandiganbayan is all we have that’s what we have to go with‘. That would be privileging form over substance – another hallmark of the GMA Administration. It would also be unjust for Erap to rot in jail without being convicted while we wait for the legitimacy issue to be resolved. So in the end, if we all accept that the Sandiganbayan is not a fair venue, then we have to resort to the wisdom of the people, however defective some of us may think it is.

  46. OK, I’ve argued that line myself in other contexts so I suppose I can go along with it here. After all “the people” are never quite as stupid as many people believe and they may make a “good” choice (if it is presented to them of course). It’s just that the thought of going back to those days …

  47. When you have lived in countries that do not fear the Commies and allow them to prosper without fear and favor, then you know that they know what democracy is all about, a country FOR, OF and BY the people, and everyone has equal opportunity to get compete and get rich if he has the guts and the brains. In the Philippines, it is all chat-chat! They do not even know the real president and a bogus one no matter how powerful she thinks she is just because she can elevate anyone to higher position without the approval of some agency most responsible for approving and confirming such position, and just because she has free access now to all government funds to bribe her fellow crooks with. That in a nutshell is what the Bansot’s government is all about.

    Now, Filipinos have a choice—to remove or not to remove this bogus president whatever the means! By God, please don’t prolong any longer the sufferings of Filipinos who are being indocrinated that their only salvation from poverty and a lifetime of misery is to be either a super atsay/atsoy or a super prostituta!!!

    Susmaryosep! PATALSIKIN NA, NOW NA! Ano pa ang hinihintay ninyo, you slowpokes!!!

  48. Our problem really is that we, especially our government institutions, are just pushing actions and decisions selectively. There are so many wrong calls and no-calls (it may also be untimely or being delayed intentionally) if we are to compare it to a referee officiating a basketball contest. Our justice system should just, in good faith, render decisions the way they see it and we as good citizens abide by it. We should also establish first and exhaust everything in our hands to find out what really happened before we go into the process of finding solutions or actions. If we will always say that “let us just move on” we are also just allowing somebody or something to escape unchecked which will render our future decisions wrongly affected as well. I hope that let us really find a way that we can work together to fine tune our process in order to enjoy better democracy.

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