A new signature rodeo in the House begins.
Tycoons out to bid for national power grid.
Newsbreak on a local government that chose build, lease, and transfer over build, operate, and transfer when it needed to rebuild a public market.
My column for today is The undecided, a reaction to Doronila’s Overconfidence bugs opposition parties, which came out yesterday. Surveys have been on my mind because of the US midterm elections and my recent show with surveys as the topic -for which Philippine Commentary was a great help -and I’m glad he had a good time- on the show. (The World is an Apple, however, thinks my show on ANC is record-breaking, somehow: “one of the worst made talkshows in the history of planet earth.”). Anyway, in his entry for today, Dean Jorge Bocobo takes a look both at Doronila’s and my column and further discusses the undecided figures in surveys.
The senate slate as it stands -uninspiring, and just a little less disreputable than anything the administration can dream up, because at least many of those on the list have experienced public rejection at the polls- could help achieve a tremendous, short-term solution (impeaching the President) but would guarantee that what comes after will be more of the tiresome same. No alternative list has been proposed that has a fighting chance. The problem is one that fractured civil society and the reformist elements of the political class have had since Edsa Dos. They are unable to mobilize what counts in mainstream politics, which is, the vote. They are necessary for any administration to man the bureaucracy with a semblance of competence, but when reforms become painful, they cannot cushion the government they serve from the backlash of public opinion.
My column points to the problem a very large constituency -to my mind, at least half of the country- faces. If something was worth rallying against because the Marcoses or Estrada did it, then the same should apply if the President does it -or does her being a workaholic and being able to use a fish knife with aplomb excuse what was unforgivable in her predecessors? A quarter, or half of this reform-minded constituency, has decided it’s better to stick with the lady who can speak like an educated person. because the alternatives are too uncouth to be considered. Another quarter is exasperated with everyone and prefers the devils in power to past devils or even new devils. And really, the choice now becomes, hold your nose and vote the opposition senatorial ticket or what,vote a mixed administration-opposition ticket which will achieve nothing but prolong the agony.
Not that I’m drinking Emil Jurado’s Kool-Aid, because the administration is genuinely short of viable national candidates, and furthermore, a showdown is inevitable between Lakas and Kampi for the President’s endorsement (and funding). Diosdado Macapagal spent the first two years of his presidency raiding the opposition because he was elected without a majority in Congress. The President needs a dominant party in the legislature that is loyal to her and no one else. So her people have to go for broke before the price of buying support becomes too high, or the many contests to referee overwhelms her capacity to turn her patronage into an effective means for keeping power. An OFW in Hong Kong thinks something fishy is up, because of the absence of any administration slate.
Still, we can dream.
Iloilo City Boy has a list of people he’d like to see in the Senate, and it got me thinking about who’d comprise a senatorial “dream team” for me. If the ability to win isn’t a factor, I’d want to see these twelve in office. The three main purposes of a senator are: as an advocate, as a sensible lawmaker, and as a competent person to exercise oversight over government.
Note that quite a few happen to be bloggers or write in the papers, which I think is a big help since one of the things we need more of, are people willing to let others see what makes them tick and how they think. Also, policy and oversight require different skills than the managerial requirements of executive positions. Health, education, technology, sensible administration and policies, and jobs are what matter to me, so there are some (Prilles, Ilagan) whom I’ve never met in person. And of course I have a natural bias for people I can claim to somehow understand, and this list is probably more of a reflection of my impractical attitude towards politics than anything else.
1. Randy David, who understands the people.
2. Filomeno Sta. Ana III, an economist whose heart and brain are in the right place.
3. Willy Prilles, Jr. (I’d keep Jesse Robrero where he is, for now, as he needs to be a local executive long enough to ensure a change that lasts), for education reform and regional development advocacy.
4. Gail Ilagan, from Mindanao, an educator.
5. Silvestre Afable Jr., for oversight on the armed forces, and someone who knows how government can -and should- work.
6. Michael Tan, he understands health, education, and minority rights.
7. Dean Jorge Bocobo, because we need someone who understands science.
8. Alex Lacson (“12 Little Things You Can Do For Your Country”).
9. Edwin Lacierda, because not just the letter, but the spirit, of the law needs to be upheld.
10. Yoly Ong, who knows the ins and outs and the good and bad of the communications industry.
11. Rene Azurin, who, like Randy David, has his brain and heart in the right place, too.
12. Federico Macaranas of the AIM Policy Center.
In the blogosphere, Bulletproof Vest asks me 10 questions.
Achieving Happiness’ unhappiness over Rep. Beltran spending his 50th wedding anniversary in detention.
village idiot savant on the Cambodian experience with localized software. Why no word processors in Tagalog, Cebuano, etc. until now?
New Economist on the French experience with outsourcing.
Mamutong’s son pens an eloquent brief for third party politics in America.