The suspension of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay hogs the headlines: the Inquirer editorial calls it a Putsch in Makati. Even the Philippine Star, in its editorial, says charges of political persecution can’t be ducked. Ferdinand Marcos operated by an iron-clad rule, someone once told me: avoid making martyrs of your enemies at all costs. The Makati Mayor has become one, at least for the opposition, which may be a little less fragmented today than it was yesterday.
Newsbreak has an update and photos on what’s going on, as well as a link to an earlier story that says the Palace really has it in for the opposition mayor.
I’d like to reprise a piece I wrote back in 2001 when I accompanied my then-boss Teddy Locsin, Jr. on the stump (back then I wasn’t too thrilled with Binay, who’d stayed loyal to Estrada):
This writer once accompanied a sortie made by candidate Locsin, and ran into Jejomar Binay, who knows that this writer has been no fan of Binay. But Binay, instead of pandering to this writer, merely acknowledged that they once stood on opposite camps: “So, you are the one who has hit me, and hit me hard in what you have written,” he said to me, and then finished off by saying, “good.”
Sitting beside Binay as he sat down and shoveled rice into his mouth is to see why all the earnestness of people like this writer will amount to nothing compared to what people like Binay do. In between handfuls of rice Binay’s eyes rove, and his mind probes: “Two corners away, there is garbage on the sidwalk,” he informs an anxious Barangay Kagawad; and then, pointing to mass housing he has put up and been attacked for having set up, he points to a street lamp and tells another nervous local leader, “that lamp has burned out and needs a new bulb.” He gulps down some water, and then looks up at the ceiling: “when was this barangay hall last painted? You have adequate funds, why haven’t you attended to this?” People are not only kept on their toes; they are doomed to accountability.
The writer must confess to renewed respect for Binay, whom this writer observed in action even when Binay no longer knew that this writer was observing him. It is not just palabas on Binay’s part; it is the nitty-gritty, the hard work, the attention to detail that wins loyalty house by house, street by street, barangay by barangay and returns an overwhelming mandate election by election.
Yesterday I was asking around at ANC about the Borgy-for-mayor trial balloon, and was told that all there is to it, is Imee Marcos not getting along with her mom, and thus floating the candidacy of her son to irritate dear mama. Presuming Imee is, indeed, an oppositionist, my theory that Imelda would serve the interests of the President were she to run, still holds.
The President has mobilized her already-helpful barangay officials: they are now “force multipliers” in the wake of international warnings of a new round of terrorist activity.
Social Weather Stations has some cool charts worth peeking at:
How people felt about the manner in which the first and second impeachments were handled:
Survey results on how people felt about the speed with which the 2nd impeachment was dealt with:
The President’s standing before the people, compared to her predecessors:
The President’s standing before the people, measured over her public career:
How different social classes feel about the President:
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Arroyo Moves Underscore That Resistance Is Indeed Futile. See similar thoughts from An OFW Living in Hong Kong.
Bong Austero raises a good point about cities run by non-resident mayors.
Gail Ilagan recounts going up a mountain on a motorcycle to deliver school supplies to rural kids:
Looking at our mountain of books, paper products, crayons, pencils, and other school materials, it dawned on us that the problem of literacy education is not a problem of lack. It is, like any other form of social deprivation in these islands, a problem of distribution.
Greg Macabenta on succesful Filipino-American retailers.
The Korea Times points to recent foreign investments as a vote of confidence in the country and suggests further relaxing rules on investments; Manuel Buencamino advises Kim Jong-Il to join America’s side in the War on Terror.
How’s this for spin? Khien Theeravit says Thailand didn’t have a coup d’etat, it had a “coupe de grace”:
The tyranny of the majority sometimes develops when the will of the majority is put above the law or the social contract. When this happens, the civic body ends, and a state of nature re-emerges. In this state of nature, there is only the “law of the jungle”. Hence, there is no “right” or “wrong”, but rather “might is right”. All fighters in the state of war risk their own lives. The one who wins the battle gains the right to form a new “leviathan”.
The Thaksin regime can be appropriately termed a “tyranny of the majority”, because Thaksin and his cohorts systematically violated the Constitution and the law of the land. The regime theoretically turned Thailand into a state of nature. General Sonthi and his close associates exercised their natural right to seize political power by risking their own lives, in accordance with the “law of the jungle”.
Viewed in this light, all coups are neither “legal” nor “illegal”, because the people involved are in a state of nature. A coup that overthrows an illegal government, a tyrannical regime, elected or non-elected, is necessarily good, but a coup that seizes political power for the coup-makers’ personal interest is undeniably evil.
A very Enlightenment-era argument. Incidentally, Ralf Dahrendorf argues that there is a need to resolve to defend the principles of the Enlightment:
There are questions here that are not easily answered by civilized defenders of the enlightenment. Toleration and respect for people who have their own beliefs are right and perhaps necessary to preserve an enlightened world. But there is the other side to consider. Violent responses to unwelcome views are never justified and cannot be accepted. Those who argue that suicide bombers express understandable grudges have themselves sold out their freedom. Self-censorship is worse than censorship itself because it sacrifices freedom voluntarily.
In the blogosphere, with regards to ComelecAKO’s reporting an allegation that Christian Monsod is a shareholder in , I asked him about it and Monsod pointed out that while he was an incorporator, he divested himself of his shares when he entered the Comelec in 1991. And that he has neither attended any meetings or repurchased any stock in the company since. Public records will bear him out, he said, and he only wished people had double-checked before leaping to the conclusion he’d allow any conflicts of interest.
Some favorable words from what’s brewing who says:
I work in Makati and the only basis I have for my opinion is the fact that I view Makati as one of the most organized communities that I know. It is the only place where I never attempt to break traffic laws, where I find government offices tolerable, where I fear law enforcement officials, where I would prefer to live if not for the steep housing rates…What does that mean for Makati taxpayers?… Welcome Lito Lapid!
Iloilo City Boy compares it to Enrile holing up in Camp Crame in 1986. A Nagueño in the Blogosphere points out Binay’s a finalist for the world mayor award, and suggests the Court of Appeals won’t be much of a comfort, judging from Naga City’s experience, but most of all, it’s about plunder for the Palace:
Last year’s annual audit report for Makati, available here, actually provides the details. The upper limit of P8 billion, I think, factors in the city government’s enormous (by Philippine local government standard) cash hoard of P3 billion by end of 2005. The lower limit (P6 billion) is the more accurate measure of its resource base; it includes P1.1 billion in Special Education Fund (SEF) tax collection, which the eight-man Local School Board appropriates annually. (Sec. 235, Local Government Code of 1991)
That makes Makati, together with Quezon City, the only members of the LSB Billionaire’s Club in the Philippines.
How does the government keep the poverty level low? Have a ridiculous definition for the poverty line. It’s at earning 36 pesos a day. Can anyone live on that? The PCIJ blog investigates.
Ang Pinoy na Naman says it’s counterproductive to lump non-oppositionists with Palace supporters. There’s a difference.