Monday morning quarterbacking

The Manila Standard-Today crows about the thin crowd and gives the lowest estimate at 15,000 (also echoed by the Philippine Star and the Inquirer and Newsbreak). Other reports suggest the Palace has regained its confidence because of the poor attendance (it had barricaded itself behind container vans on Sunday). Another Newsbreak report indicates the President may have been done a favor by the Speaker self-destructing; the initial advice of her advisors -for a Constitutional Convention to be elected, which they can pack- may be winning out.

The Manila Times estimate was 30,000. The Daily Tribune and the Business Mirror also put it at between 30 to 50,000 (30-40,000 was the police estimate, 50,000 the Church estimate). Malaya reports, but does not claim as true, still another claim that the crowd reached 100,000.

My personal view is that the crowd, during the Mass, numbered about 40,000 based on my circling around and asking people who should know (organizers of mobilizations). The crowd, first of all, was divided into two groups, because of a fence erected where the lawn ends and the concrete road facing the Quirino Grandstand begins. One organizer told me the student contingent numbered about 3,000. The crowd in front of the Grandstand compressed but was mainly huddled in the center. When I went beyond the fence, the lawn up to the Macapagal (Diosdado, that is) era carabaos that frame the entrance to this section of the park, was filled near the front but sparsely populated towards Rizal Monument. The El Shaddai contingent was closest to the railing in the lawn area, civil society groups were behind them sprawled on the grass, and isolated families that didn’t belong to any groups hung around the sides.

Last Friday, 20,000 Negrenses rallied: 10,000 in Bacolod City, 3,000 in Kabankalan City, 1,000 in San Carlos City, 2,000 in Cadiz City, 1,500 in Escalante City, 2,000 in Guihulngan town.

Now 40,000 is a highly respectable number for any kind of gathering; and even the lowest estimate equals the first flexing of renewed People Power in December 2000. Yesterday’s gathering, I think, is best understood in those terms: having been absent from the public arena, the Church is as much on probation as any other group, but still mustered a decent turnout without arm-twisting or other inducements. It’s muscles have atrophied and need some exercise. Had it been held on Friday, attendance would surely have been larger. But despite the imminent threat dissipating, and the threats from the Palace sinking in (I encountered quite a few people, when I talked to various people who attended, who said they came despite warnings from friends and family about their safety), people still went. A veteran journalist I encountered said what he found remarkable was that the people hanging out in the periphery were obviously people who’d turned up on their own: he described a surgeon, some businessmen, and some families he personally knew, who had never taken any kind of stand at all in the past. Those people, giving up a holiday season Sunday to make a personal statement, he said, are an encouraging sign.

On the other hand, baratillo@cubao says the public’s voted with its feet: and rejected everyone and everything. My only problem with this is it ignores similar things said about similar efforts as far back as I can remember. After every rally in the 70s and 80s and so forth, I’d hear exactly the same conclusions. I even heard it in 1997, after the anti Cha-Cha rally at the Grandstand; I heard it after the Edsa shrine rally; and over the past year. Identical assumptions were wrong, then. But only time will tell. Amando Doronila says it’s much simpler: the government eliminated what had been the motivation for the rally, and if the public remains divided up to now on the legitimacy issue, then it wouldn’t excite anyone beyond the usual suspects (like yours truly, but definitely not others); most of all, the rally lacked a definable objective. People lose the incentive to rally if the target of their ire curls up and dies, like the Constituent Assembly plan.

Anyway, you would think that by now, estimating crowds would have reached some level of scientific certainty, never mind what organizers or participants claim. In this case the police estimates seem to match the more sober estimates of the crowds from experienced organizers, so maybe the police are more objective than we normally assume.

The problem to my mind, is that a crowd is dynamic, it’s constantly changing; and that your estimate of the crowd depends not only on your method for counting people, but what time you do the counting. For example, had you counted the crowd at any time between 2 to 3 pm, the low estimate would have been valid; had you estimated the crowd during the Mass itself, you would most likely have gotten the 30,000 to 40,000 figure. If you counted the crowd, again, after the Mass but before El Shaddai got its momentum going, you might have been down to 20,000 but in about half an hour (as the sun set) the crowed suddenly mushroomed and definitely you could have counted 50,000 or more (the crowd thickened so that it reached the Macapagal carabaos and there was precious little standing room left).

MindanNews reports a Mindanao congressman’s views that his colleagues received no inducements for supporting amendments, but apologizes to his constituency for supporting the amendments effort. Newsbreak takes a look at the Commission on Elections, which will be the focus of attention after the New Year. My impression was that the most-applauded portion of Cardinal Rosales’ homily was his call for a revamp of the Comelec.

The President issues a national appeal for moral transformation.

My column for today is Parameters. Why are groups that formerly adopted a consensus for charter change, now bitterly divided? The reason is the President.

Bong Austero presents a useful analysis (and this serves as a reminder, I think, that one shouldn’t assume he’s an Arroyo loyalist; I’m all the more convinced that he is the voice of the undecided):

A line has been crossed in the last three weeks. And, unless more concrete steps are taken to assuage people’s fears and doubts, unless very definitive assurance is made that similar sinister conspiracies will never ever be resorted to again, I am afraid that the resentment will continue to snowball.

It is very easy to dismiss the prayer rally spearheaded by the Catholic Church yesterday simply as a warning salvo to the powers-that-be. I don’t share that belief. The organizers may have tried to downplay the political overtones of the event by insisting that it was simply a religious affair. But the truth of the matter is that most of the people who went to Luneta yesterday did not go there to pray. Everyone knows we can pray anywhere. People went because of political reasons. People went because they felt violated. People went because, quite frankly, their patience was wearing thin….

…Serves the administration right, I think. It has been given more than enough opportunities to redeem itself but it has only squandered these. If there is something that can be said of this administration, it is that it has done a great job at self-destruction. Instead of focusing on building a great legacy that will counterbalance the series of scandals that have rocked it from its inception, it has wasted its energy on counterproductive actions that have only alienated more and more people, including those who have been initially supportive – whether sincerely or grudgingly.

Is everything lost, then? I don’t know. Right now, I can’t see through my personal resentment at the way my intelligence has been insulted by this administration over that stupid move to ram that constituent assembly. Proposal down my throat. It is just sheer luck that all this mess is happening during the Christmas season when people are in a more forgiving and hopeful mood. But this self-destruction has got to stop. It simply has got to stop. Enough. Please.

Ellen Tordesillas was there and points out what was significant about it. I think we can get a good sense of where things are by approaching things from Ellen’s and Bong’s different points of view.

Jarius Bondoc is skeptical about calls for electoral reform, and mentions the Davide report, which is interesting. That report was prepared ages ago but never released to the public by the President.

Pictures (actually, Ellen Tordesillas has better ones):

Rally photo. If you look at the center of the picture, you can see me!
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Ecumenical invocation.
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Archbishop Lagdameo speaks.
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A happy, jiggly choir at the Grandstand (behind the scaffolding)
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Students from La Salle.
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Civil Society matrons: Vicky Garchitorena, Winnie Monsod. Serge Osmeña’s head.

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Beginning of the Mass.
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Periphery of Grandstand. Where the people are sitting on the sidewalk was the location of the fence separating lawn from asphalt. El Shaddai and Civil Society groups were behind the fence, in the lawn area.
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Parish delegations going home after Mass.
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Manila Bay sunset.
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Students going home after Mass.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

95 thoughts on “Monday morning quarterbacking

  1. “It [administration] has been given more than enough opportunities to redeem itself but it has only squandered these. If there is something that can be said of this administration, it is that it has done a great job at self-destruction.”

    That’s because serving public interest isn’t really the main agenda of this administration. Rather, it is political survival and consolidation of their stranglehold on power. Nevermind the costs to the nation.

    I think one of the main differences between the Bong Austeros and those who are decidedly anti-GMA is that the former still believe that GMA is acting out of good faith and genuine desire to uphold public interest, while the latter are convinced of the opposite.

    The Bong Austeros still believe that GMA is sincere in undertaking reforms for the common good, and thus continue to give her the benefit of the doubt. They keep on waiting for the administration “to redeem itself.” In the meantime, they are willing to look the other way everytime the administration undertakes acts of “self destruction.” Until when will they wait, who knows.

  2. “Is everything lost, then? I don’t know. Right now, I can’t see through my personal resentment at the way my intelligence has been insulted by this administration over that stupid move to ram that constituent assembly proposal down my throat.”

    I don’t read Austero’s blog, but I hope he also expressed resentment over the way the administration insulted his intelligence when it spearheaded the bogus People’s Initiative which the Supreme Court struck down as a “grand deception” and “gigantic fraud”, when it issued E0 464 and Proc 1017 which were also eventually declared largely unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, when Bunye tried to fool us with the tale of the two tapes, when Norberto Gonzalez signed the anomalous Venable contract, and whenever the other Gonzalez (Raul) spewed venomous lies and flaunted the law (whatever happened to the case supposedly filed by four lawyers’ groups seeking the suspension and eventual disbarment of Gonzalez?)

  3. “Bong Austero presents a useful analysis (and this serves as a reminder, I think, that one shouldn’t assume he’s an Arroyo loyalist; I’m all the more convinced that he is the voice of the undecided)” – mq3

    Bong Austero is pro-Austero. He is a farmer’s son who made good. He’s one of those who were able to thrive within the system and so he’s for the status quo. Don’t rock the boat. Protect the system. Damnit, Gloria, stop riling the people! You’ll never know what they can do. They might even wreck the system. I never had it so good. Here, take away my rights, but defend the system, for chrissake! That’s Bong Austero. He’s never undecided. He is very decided.

  4. Shaman of Malilipot said: “Bong Austero is pro-Austero. He is a farmer’s son who made good. He’s one of those who were able to thrive within the system and so he’s for the status quo.”

    There’s nothing wrong with triumphing over adversity and wanting to preserve your gains. There are lots and lots of people out there who feel that way. At least he’s not a grouchy malcontent who would want to drag everyone else down with him.

  5. Being a member of society does not simply involve preserving one’s gains. Society is a system and as individuals who inhabit and reproduce that system, we have an obligation to make sure that it works for others as well as it has done so for us. While this often involves community based efforts, it also requires us to give attention to issues that are national in scope. If not, what’s the use of having an entity called the ‘Philippines’ at all?

  6. “Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on Monday said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is “not backing off political reforms via Charter change,” apparently encouraged by the modest size of Sunday’s prayer rally against Cha-cha that Catholic bishops and the opposition had organized.”

    Ganun naman pala, e, Secretary Ermita should then spearhead the revival of Con-ass from the archives. Isulong mo Sec. Ermita, sige…
    Sige lang ng sige Joe de V, GMA, h’wag matakot. Nang magka-alaman na…

  7. Nothing wrong to lose one’s rights to preserve material gains? Nothing wrong to condone cheating and lying to preserve one’s gains? This is the same single-minded desire to protect personal gains that makes people say, “She cheated in the elections, so what? Let’s move on.”

    Oh, sure, there are so many out there who feel this way that GMA and JDV were emboldened to try to ram their Cha-Cha agenda down the people’s throat. Thank God, there are more people who care enough for the common good and said, “No, you don’t!”

  8. I was among the Lasallian students there yesterday. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me at the time you passed by our group. 😉

    I’ll post my own pictures soon enough.

  9. MLQ3,
    Don’t look now, but because the Rally flopped as a People Power Event the Gnomes are back — I noticed Jaraula and Lambino in the talk shows and AM radio, Ermita and JDV too, promisiing to make new trouble, “soon.”

    Grand battle lines are being drawn MLQ, like a giant chess board with a thousand pieces each. The field of contention is the Constitution itself. Between those who believe that changing it is the key to progress and those who don’t, will now open up a gulf of growing disagreement about the true role, nature and limitations of government itself, both to change the basic Law, as well as to enforce it. Between idealists and realists, many differences will arise because of this Tug of War that is now beginning between the Constitutional Revisionists and the Constitutional Conservatives.

    It is no surprise that the Churches should form not only the political but the moral core of the conservative persuasion. They know about Bibles as the Word of God, which has quite the same meaning in Religion as it does in Politics, where the Constitution now is the Word of the People. In both Religion and Politics, the Law is thus what guarantees its values, its moralities, its ever enduring beliefs and commitments. That is the Substance of the Law, whereas the forms of governments are just that, forms and externalities to contain the substance, which is are the rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    On the other side are the Revisionists, who believe it is Government, not the People, which holds the key to national progress. Their proposition is that if given a liberal hand to transform the shape and organization of government, problems can be more efficiently solved and progress achieved. They are the ones who believe that all Money should go to the government so IT can spend it all on the People. They want the government to run everything, to be involved in everything, to GUARANTEE RESULTS for everybody.

    I say one road leads to Freedom, the other to Perdition!

  10. People have every right to preserve their gains as long as they don’t break any laws in doing so. Just because they don’t happen to agree with some others’ point of view doesn’t make them a lesser person or citizen than others. And if they are not as emotional about what others may think is a major crime or offense, that’s their call. They may not even see it the same way, a la “Rashomon”. You can’t be judgmental and condemn others because they don’t bust a gut about something you’re so pissed-off about. There’s no law that forces people to do that. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

  11. Following the law is necessary, but not sufficient. More than codified laws, a society in order to survive and prosper, needs to possess adequate and increasing reserves of social capital. The individuals and groups that form that society accumulate that reserve over time by ensuring a system that is fair and just, and by exhibiting genuine empathy towards each other.

    Those who choose to do nothing in the face of major crimes just because they are not immediately affected are free loaders who help squander the system’s generous (but nevertheless limited) capacity for deterioration. Since cause and effect within a given society is of a diffuse nature, the consequences of such willful lack of concern may not be felt until much later, but it does not mean that there are none. We are living with the effects of the apathy of those who came before us just as those in the future will be paying the price for the behavior of the present generation.

  12. Dear Carl and Shaman,

    I hear you both talking about two rights and therefore you have plenty of common ground: the right to preserve well-earned economic gains and the right to peacefully oppose what one perceives as a threat to one’s basic rights. These two rights actually depend on each other. Economic initiative cannot yield fair gains if the right to due process of law, for example, is not respected. This is the beauty of a replublican democracy which we can all enjoy as part of the common good. Of course, those with rights (which are not inalienable) can also waive them — and face the consequences.

  13. you can give all the postmortem diagnosis for the 450,000 shortfall in expected attendance to your prayer rally.

    but one thing is sure, be it 15,000 or 50,000, that’s still way below your expectation. and that is the same with your flawed expectation of public support to your cause.
    try monday, tuesday everyday of the week or free meals maybe, just maybe you’ll get half a million people.

  14. Ate Glo diffused what could have been another futile attempt by the opposition to dislodge her from grace.

    Thankyou Ate Glo. Mabuhay ka!

  15. James,
    If there HAD been a half million people there, you would be saying they were hakot, or like the Cat, because they are sheep. Turns out religious differences over the scheduled Catholic Mass turned off the Protestants. But if a puny rally happened after the House threw in the towel, there is no shame in that. Much less than that puny little thing called Senyang which caused all of Asean to lose face.

    The real numbers that will matter are in May, when the chances are better than 99.995% we shall have a Hanging Senate. Now the House races are definitely in play because…ta dah… those 87 dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church are nearly congruent with your provinces and the Protestants will be beating the hustings for congressmen and party lists.

    That’s the real people power.

  16. If only the intelligentsia would get over the myth that the religious and the churchmen-citizens are not allowed by the Constitution to meddle in politics. It’s the most widespread misconception around. But what about the following Bill of Rights provision are we confused about:

    No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil and political rights

  17. [Henrietta de Villa said the Arroyo administration spread word that provocateurs might sow violence in the rally, which “dissuaded some people” from participating in the rally.]

    Hehehehe…talagang low turn out! When I was in college I joined several rallies, and alerts for dispersal, violence etc. were part of the “left” tactics to dramatise rallies and to inculcate in the minds of ralliest the idea of “danger” and “fear” – to create the bonds of members, whatever that means.

    [De Villa said she was told by El Shaddai leader Brother Mike Velarde that some of his members were blocked by police at some roads leading to Luneta.]

    Again, hehehehe, his members are after the religion not politics! He should stop politicizing El Shaddai or else one day his members will abandon him. This man is treating his members “blind”, and thinks they will follow his bidding on anything. Hindi po! nagiisip din po ang miyembro mo! And like me, they are tired of politics and rallies. What else is new?

    [Another factor was the change in schedule from the original rally date of Friday to Sunday, said Quitorio.]

    Well…if it was Friday, the more that few people would attend that rally……… that was why the organizers move it to a Sunday hoping that since people are going to Church on Sundays, they will get more rally participants.

    They should accept it. People are feed up of too much politics and rallies.

    Tama na excuses! Tama na palusot! Talagang ang 500T target nyo only raised 10T. Tried it on Monday in Makati…di daw aalis until GMA resigns….hay…1500 people lang. I wonder they try it on Tuesday….700? On Wednesday? until the new year?


    Why the RALLY didn’t produced the expected NUMBERS

    1. They reduced the purpose from a PROTEST to

    2. The Administration or Malacanang succeeded in
    sowing FEAR among the Participants, special
    mention for Gen ESPERON for saying there would be
    an ATTACK from the REDS, also for Sir RAULO Gonzales
    for giving out WARNING to students who will ATTEND

    3. The SIMPLE REASON that the SOLDIERY and the POLICE
    didn’t DUE their DUTY as PROTECTOR of the

    But the Administration should not celebrate, because
    come ELECTION time, if it was held CLEAN and HONEST,
    you will see the REAL PEOPLE POWER …


  19. The outcome of the high expectations in the number of people joining the prayer rally last Sunday shows one of the traits of the Filipino people as forgiving. The masa do not want to disrupt their income earning activities in order for them to have food on the dining table.

    Further, people might not see a real leader on who is leading them. This shows that the CBCP might have lost its charisma.

    The sudden flip-flop of GMA and the house leadership might be the main reason.

    The next test will be the May 2007 elections if it will not be cancelled.

    I wish the opposition can unite and show to the masses that they are not TRAPOS.

  20. The mistake on the Opposition’s part would have been to right away expect 500K when the immediate cause of the outrage (i.e. Charter Change) has already been diffused due to the retreat of its proponents. As past discussions in this and other blogs have shown, outrage at railroading Charter Change (which even Bong Austero shares) cannot be converted one for one into the same level of outrage against other issues such as Arroyo’s illegitimacy. Clearly a lot work still has to be done between now and May 2007, but as DJB described above (at 10:07pm), history is closing in on Gloria Arroyo.

    As to the prayer rally organizer’s comments on the quality of the crowd, i would take it to mean purity of intent among those who chose to attend. By that standard the 50K Metro Manilans from all walks of life who showed up plus the others who rallied in the provinces make for a good start to build upon. I’m personally glad to have been part of it.

  21. What the rally revealed is there are people who are willing to fight the good fight.

    Sunday’s crowd was not a hakot crowd. Sunday’s crowd in Manila showed the size of the hard-core opposition to Gloria. Sunday’s crowds in other places like Bacolod showed that the hard-core opposition to Gloria is nationwide.

    These people know they are on the right side of history and no amount of threats or bribes will make them back down. They will hound Gloria until the day she leaves Malacanan, voluntarily or not.

    I admire their courage, integrity, and determination. Thank God there are still thousands like them around. They are the hope of our nation.

  22. flop or no flop, the watch and the prayer have to be continued. palace’s cha-cha plans really end when they gear up for the May 2007 elections (sans con-con delegates election).

    as it is, the palace is still not oiling it’s political machinery, i.e., as far as region x is concerned. gloria met the region’s local execs last friday and didn’t convey any election plan for next year – just dined with them and gave out Christmas cards (of course, without the php 20 to 50,000 Love given earlier to western visayas mayors).

    must be because she meant not to spoil the Christmas spirit…but one local exec thought it could still be possible that the May 2007 elections will be postponed. the local exec remembered that in the past at this time of the year (before election year) they often come and go to malacañang. NOT this time.

    well, let’s be wary of the palace’s moves…

  23. oh, so its analysis time and now we have to debate on the “low” turn-out of teh rally

    To me its just so simple and I ve have wrote about them in my response to Manolo in other thread ( before the rally).

    There is not enough public outrage. period!

    Ang hilig hilig kasi mag exaggerate at mag overreact react ng opposition eh….Eversince this has been
    their strategy. Maganda lang sa press release eh. (emember how the opposition keep us revited that the have th magic number to impeach glroia during teh first impeachment?)

    But I have to admit it there are some improvements that I like so much the banning of teh placards and no politicians on the stage. This is worth keeping

    Problem is everybody seems to have lost its credibility alongside with Gloria. The church allowed its events like religious procession to be used by the opposition. So people are in doubt that the recent Lunet Paryer rally will different from teh previous ones.

    Kung sa akin lang. Ther is really no need to rally ke paryer rally or whatever. Just go to teh Supreme Courst and settle the issue there.

    And again manolo, I have to disagree with your insenuations that people was cowed by the Malacang ( thats why ther was a “low” turn-out. An even out of touch with reality and and insulting to teh sensibility of some. People will never be cowed if they act with their conviction. People trooped to EDSA1 despite the grave threats of Marcos , those tanks and everything….

    Peopel will never be cowed of whatever they want to do!!!!

  24. 40k is not bad enough. eventually, the tide will swell up. how long did it take us to oust marcos? not instantaneously during the mammoth rallies staged in luneta back then. i didn’t even care less if there were only 25 opposition members who stood their ground opposing vehemently the railroading of cha-cha. it made me admire their fortitude even more, and learned to unmask the wolves in sheep’s clothing (paras, teddy). the tipping point is near. i would not dismiss the luneta rally as inconsequential. the gnome took a step back, remember. [which gnome? oh, right, there are two of them, one based on look, the other on stature]

    maybe it was indeed the prayer rally as a concept that turned off the indifferent people to join. what is needed is another concert, like the one staged during edsa 2. calling on jim paredes, martin nievera, corporate sponsors globe and smart…

  25. there is no doubt that gma lost this round. no matter what people say about the prayer rally, gma got scared shit. some say she almost peeed in her pants when she first heard the cbcp, inc, and bro ed’s reaction to the con-ass fiasco.

    when and how will gma bring back cha-cha? there is no doubt that cha-cha will be back – gma’s life, liberty and happiness depends on it. the opposition know this, but can’t do anything to stop it. as usual they can only wait until gma makes her move.

  26. So where was the 500T to 1 million people expected in Luneta went? Probably to the malls to shop. We have numerous malls around Manila. If the contents of Mall of Asia and Megamall went out that day – talo ang rally sa Luneta sa dami!

    The people were cowed! Really? Where they cowed facing tanks in EDSA in 1986? The propects of the bombings? The Marcos declaration of Martial Law?

    What happened? Who was there? The so called “quality” (very discrimanting, and sexists) who where they?

    Dinky Soliman, Cory Aquino, Guingona, Tatad, Maceda – who else but the old, tired, passe, rejected politicians of the “olden” times. Still craving for the center stage, and still craving for camera’s clicks and photo-ops, hahaha.

    The “left” who had, for more half a century tried to turn us into a communist country. As far as I can remember, Joma was its jead since the 60″s. The left should focus impeaching him – rather than GMA, who has been President for only 5 years.

    These groups tried it in many ways…EDSA 3-4-5-6, and a few coups but failed! Now they claim, let’s wait and see in May 2007. Really?

    You have to do better than that!

    You have to reverse the these trends: The Peso is up.The stock market is up.We have started pre-paying our debts. Almost half a million job was created in 2006.

    If and when you guys can reverse these trend, the middle class and the rest of the country will join you! Thus far we are happy with the numbers,….. so you are just trouble makers in our eyes.

  27. “The Peso is up.”

    The emigration is up. The remittance is up.

    “The stock market is up.”

    Has the investor base increased? Nothing surprising, window dressing for the year-end accounting reports.

    “We have started pre-paying our debts.”

    Pre-paying? Pay now, borrow more later? Like pre-paid cards?

    “Almost half a million job was created in 2006.”

    So hows your English twang going? Does your mic and earphones allow your brain to work?

  28. DJB — agree with you, the real people power should really be in our electoral processes. not the way we squabble, pulling each other in between election time. so why not wait till next election, why the noise, why the senseless street protests. but i say again.. these are but few noisy wise guys. the so called public support of these groups is but imaginary -consequent to the noise they make and not by logical reasons.

    dinky for one is not the character that would attract people to her side.need i say more about cory, drilon,tatad, maceda? come on guys, you must be kidding.

    character change indeed should start with the bishops, particularly tobias, cruz, bacani.

  29. there was outpouring of angry sentiments, no doubt about it…why the administration’s 180-degree turn on the cha-cha issue? (though i’m rather cautious if it’s the real thing…knowing the untrustworthiness of gloria.)

    who coax them to do the turn-around? their conscience??? Naah!
    they lack the magic number 195? Possibly.
    they were afraid of people power? Yes, of course…for who would like to bite the bullet they’ve caused to be inflicted on someone?

    the boiling rage simmered down with the news that jdv and, later on, gloria made a turn-around on con-ass and cha-cha, respectively. (you talk about preemptive strikes by malacañang…then you have to include this last bit.)

    the mother of the middle forces in the person of winnie monsod (with picture above) was likewise outraged and in her pdi column last saturday even invited readers by saying “see you at the prayer rally.” i guess not enough middle forces were mustered during the rally…or, those still angry ones for that matter…

    heat dissipates and so is anger…especially a forgiving nation…(remember how the nation forgave a person saying sorry even without the admission of guilt?)

    …you talk about numbers game…jueteng, impeachment, con-ass, rallies…but i still would like to believe glory days are numbered come May 2007 elections. (…if ever it will push through and if ever it will not be garcied.)

  30. Thank you for your sensible comments, Ben.

    Defending the right to preserve, within legal bounds, hard-earned gains, does not necessarily mean condemning those who want to air their grievances. However, those who feel agitated by the current situation and are mad at the world, should try to control their excessive fervor and fury. They should respect those who do not share the same state of frenzy that they are in.

    The Church deserves praise and respect for the way it handled last Sunday’s rally. While it decided to ventilate issues that it felt were important to the national welfare, it did not impose its will on the faithful. As has been pointed out, participation in the event was voluntary. There was no “hakot”.

    In my view, the Church handled the situation in a serene and confident manner. It knows that, in the end, divine providence will prevail. And I totally agree. And, I believe, the majority of our people see things the same way. Sooner or later, if anyone committed transgressions, they will meet their fate. But there is no need to rush things. Haste makes waste, and people have witnessed how two coup d’états, in 1986 and 2001, didn’t improve the lives of the majority of citizens. So maybe we should first evaluate, reflect and plan before taking decisive action which could, again, leave us in a worse state of disarray.

  31. james said, “these are but few noisy wise guys. the so called public support of these groups is but imaginary”

    Of course there is widespread loathing against the GMA administration. The surveys consistently show negative satisfaction ratings for GMA, 66% will vote “No” in a plebiscite on a new constitution “that President Arroyo wants”, and Pulse Asia’s senatorial preferences survey is dominated by opposition figures (the closest admin-associated person in that survey is Mike Defensor at the miserable number 20 spot.)

    There is a clear rejection of the GMA administration.

    For sure, the level of public outrage still hasn’t reached “tipping point” level yet. Still, 40T at the Luneta, 20T in Negros, and thousands more in other cities are aren’t exactly figures to sneeze at. And of course there are many more who’ve so far chosen to stay away from street protests. Perhaps many are still waiting for a “constitutional solution” to the political crisis.

    The May 2007 elections may just be the opportunity that many are waiting for to express their disgust at the GMA administration.

  32. In the conservative vein, I am for PRUNING the 1987 Constitution, i.e., merely removing certain stupid provisions.

    Consider for example the prohibition on the “religious sector” against participation in the party-list elections.

    No wonder the damn communists are slowly taking over the party list races. They are the most tenacious, patient organizations there are.

    So peasants, laborers, students, teachers, even cultural minorities are “underprivileged sectors” but not priests, nuns, ministers, imams, and other members of the “religious sector.”

    Only a Jesuit with a guilty conscience or an atheist with a bad one could have bastardized the 1987 charter in this way.

    To me this prohibition contradicts the Bill of Rights on freedom of religion.

  33. moks said, “The Peso is up. The stock market is up. We have started pre-paying our debts. Almost half a million job was created in 2006. If and when you guys can reverse these trend, the middle class and the rest of the country will join you! Thus far we are happy with the numbers.”

    Yes, it seems that a significant portion of the upper and middle class are happy with their lot. As long as they can continue buying their mocha fraps, why rock the boat?

    The fact that hunger levels among Filipinos are at all-time highs (15.5% of the population or 2.6 million families) seems such a distant reality to them. (data from latest SWS survey)

    Twenty six million Filipinos subsist on a meager budget of around P36 (around 72 cents) per day. (source:

    According to the World Bank some 51% of the country’s 84 million people live on less than P100 a day.

    Truly, as SWS concludes, such figures “show the emptiness of Gross National Product as an indicator of economic well-being.”

  34. Pinoy Gising,

    And what the Opposition has been doing with regards to these problems?????All the efforts I see was directed to overthrow Gloria. Eagerness to form another peopel power etc etc . And teh result Nothing!!!! Nothing has been done. Nothing?

    Do they have an alternate programs and strategies to solve these problems?

  35. And what about the church, what contibution they have done so we can overcome the country’s problem? Now they talking about character change without admitting it to themselves that they too badly needed to change.

  36. pinoy gising

    why don’t you wake up. ikaw pa yung sigaw ng sigaw nang people power…

    instead of “kablammmmm”!!! what i heard at the luneta is a sound of “pok”.

  37. rego, there is an entire generation that’s grown up never knowing fright, the coups were too long ago for many young people to even remember them.

    i don’t doubt those who lived through martial law and edsa i would know what they were risking if they decided to man the barricades, but i think everyone younger can be easily spooked.

    besides which many of those who were brave in 1972-1986 have died, are now older and ailing, and would be less bold because they are retired and are now interested in quality time with their grandchildren.

    also, other groups have many plans and proposals, ranging from the blueprint of the left-oriented groups, to the reform proposals of black and white, to one voice’s checklist of beneficial national action. tell me, when did you last read the government’s medium term development plan.

    one final comment: i find the the vehemence about those who protest misplaced. the problem isn’t that people are willing to protest and are unfraid to show that they may be a minority, but at least a committed one. the problem is no one would rally for the president even if you paid them. not in metro manila, not in the provinces. the president’s defense is the worst kind: that people won’t get off their asses, ergo, they must be for her.

  38. […]One should not lose sight of the fact that the mere admonitory groan of People Power had already resulted in deterring the duplicitous scheming of the majority in Lower House and some Palace operators before the celebratory rally. As a form of external checks and balances, the resurgent movement not only cut through the illogic of blatantly numeral ratiocination of the people’s representatives that had attended the two abortive impeachments against President Arroyo but also preempted the slow if measured pace of the power judicial review when invoked in the normal operation of procedural democracy. In this recent exhibition, the successful check was external but not extra-constitutional, which means that the institution of People Power has proven that it can operate within the rules of the game of the system in place.[…]

  39. Rego: your question “Do they have an alternate programs and strategies to solve these problems?” has already been answered by MLQ above.

    krik2: I am already wide awake.

  40. “the problem is no one would rally for the president even if you paid them. not in metro manila, not in the provinces. the president’s defense is the worst kind: that people won’t get off their asses, ergo, they must be for her.”


    it was yourself, who come up with the interpretations of surveys that there is a certain percentage of loyal GMA, which you claimed “much smaller” that the Erap Loyalist and a certain percentage of great undecided.

    I really think that you assumed so much about the Gloria. No one would rally for Gloria? I can at least come with one from my family who is a die hard Gloria- my neice. And of course in this blog there is Bencard who proudly announced to the whole word his belief in Gloria…..

  41. mlq3,

    “the problem is no one would rally for the president even if you paid them. not in metro manila, not in the provinces.”

    come on, gma can buy and scoop up a thunder of a rally to support her if it serves her purpose. and what do you think esperon is for free? esperon can comand a rally of uniformed thugs with clubs and these thugs does not cost gma a centavo – courtesy of your tax pesos.

  42. And about the young generations of today? what about teh young Generations that trooped to EDSA1. I for one knew nothing about Ninoy Aquino when I grew up. But in due time caught up with the political events in the country and ended up in EDSA 1 and 2.

    As for the plans of various groups, they should be doing something by now to help the country overcome the numerous problems. Geeezz, its not only Gloria who are being paid to work for the country, all elected official are. So Gloria should not be blame solely for the unsolved problems. Sabi nga ni Bong Austero, “we are all in these together”. So everyone should take responsibilities of the problems.

    What I really wanted to see are not the bickerings and finger pointing but actions towards resolution of the problems.

  43. rego, yes, but i didn’t say no one supports the president. but it is in many ways a passive support (and yes, support is support, and part of the folly of the oppposition is some imagine no support even exists).

    take your niece. her support is sincere and steady, but that support is best used, as you said, by the president not risking its true numbers being exposed. that way, besides her genuine supporters, she can still speak for those who aren’t really for her, but who are against those oppose to her. put together as i’ve said, that totals half of the country. if it reached the stage the president issued a clarion call for her supporters to make a stand and defend the republic, i’m sure she’d answer the call. i’m not sure how many others would. we won’t know until it happens of course. as for our friend bencard, he too would stand up proudly for the president -but isn’t he in the USA? living abroad, he and ana de brux cancel each other out right there.

    all i’m saying is if you criticize what you consider pitiful numbers for those publicly opposed to her, these are numbers in comparison to nothing -which is the sum total of those who have manifested their support for the president. it’s like saying the front is being ably defended by a ghost army. the ghost army can scare the bejeezus out of the enemy and more importantly, strengthen the resolve of the forces supporting the president -but runs the risk that somehow, someday, that army will prove a phantom after all.

    And numbers pitiful compared to what? say, the press release of mons. quitorio? by all means slam him for building up expectations that weren’t met; but compared to any other december rally, whether in 1983-1986 or in 2000, what was mustered last sunday can match any other rally called during the christmas season: what we can debate is whether you think this is the peak of the numbers, or whether its a prelude to the numbers that might turn out after the holiday season if another issue appears, such as the palace’s saying cha-cha is back on the table.

  44. realist, i argue, no, simply because she has described her base of support in rather precise terms. you would need to mobilize a large rally of difficult-to-mobilize-types, such as the middle and upper class, which she won’t do, because their support is both feigned and not the kind that would lend itself to marching around. so even the afp would be no help in mustering that kind of crowd.

    that’s the catch-22 she’s in, because obviously she would use people power if she could, the legion threatened as much to foil opposition to the so-called people’s initiative. but it would clearly have been political machinery power so why waste the funds and risk the ridicule?

  45. rego (at 11:44am), i’m curious as to your niece’s belief on whether arroyo cheated or not and any whether it matters either way. please ask her if you get the chance.

    in terms of intensity of a pro-arroyo individual’s support, i also consider bencard a useful gauge, which is why i find his previous exchange with mlq3 instructive:

    mlq3 (speaking to bencard): “…whatever happens, you will support her, and indeed, the greater the adversity she faces, the higher your admiration. were it possible, if push comes to shove, you might even die for her and all things being equal, it is for your high opinion of her, and faith in trust in her that the president probably works and does what she believes is good for the country….

    bencard (in response to mlq3): “…I don’t know about your musing that I (personally) would support GMA ‘whatever happens’ and would even ‘die’ for her.
    Any citizen worth his salt is expected to die, if necessary, in defense of his country, its Constitution and its duly-constituted government. ….

    [Source: ‘The Undecided’]

    You can compare bencard’s response to a similar one from an equivalent Marcos or Erap loyalist. IMHO, they are not on the same plane.

  46. MLQ3,
    “other groups have many plans and proposals, ranging from the blueprint of the left-oriented groups, to the reform proposals of black and white, to one voice’s checklist of beneficial national action.”

    When will the the Filipino see the realization of these proposals and plans? If they have the alternative that Filipinos have been clamoring for then why not force the issue in a more productive manner by lobbying it to every local or national representative to make it happen? If the left-oriented groups have these so called blueprints what the hell is Teddy, Lisa, Satur, Riza and Etta have been doing in congress all along? If One Voice has that checklist then what are your concrete steps to make it happen before 2010? The people also have been clamoring concrete results from you guys aside from the protest actions. If you have another alternative way of shoving your proposals to our local and national official’s ass then please do so.

  47. rego, obviously the problems or challenges, are three:

    1. the disappointment with edsa 2 has made a significant part of the people power constituency skeptical of people power
    2. the presence of the targets of people power 1 and 2 in efforts to muster public support holds back the constituency for reform
    3. what has changed since edsa 3 is that government will not respect any unwritten rules about respecting protests, or permitting the old democratic space to continue. our democratic space is more limited now than it ever has been since 1986. there is no holding back in terms of dispersals and using the full powers of the law or police power, to go after those expressing dissent: not everyone, but enough to make others wonder if it’s worth the risk.

  48. Manolo,

    Im not actually critizing the ( I did not say pitiful) number (as a matter of fact I am expecting that number.) I was just reiterating my previous assesment. That the outrage is not really coming from the majority as you would like to imply earlier. And I told that my basis was based on my dealings with our kabayan here and feedback I got from my relatives and freinds back there.

    I just believe that the cha cha is not the type of issue that will drove the majority to go to the streets (Just like the Garci tapes.) that will eventually topple Gloria. There must be something or there must be nothing.

    So I rather suggest that lets stop all these bickerings now and focus on doing something that will overcome the remaining problems.

    Sa nakikita ko, etong issue na eto ng cha-cha, may mag gusto naman talagang mabago ang consitution. You yourself wanted some changes. And me too. As a matter of fact, I believe almost everybody changes. So this cha cha debate that were initiated by Gloria is not really bad after all. There problem lies on the how to with teh changes. So why not focus on that.

    If you dont agree with the audicous move initiatied by JDV and the majority congressmen. Then lets go to teh SC. Then lets see what the senate got. And lets what everybody got. Keep the debate and focus on the ways how to to go about the changes. Stop the attacking each other personally and be issue oriented. And above all stop using the debate to topple Gloria. It will never happen.

    Toppling Gloria is one thing and cha-cha is another thing.

    And I keep saying this and I will say it again, to topple Gloria you need a leader that has a 99% if not 100% reputation than can do better than Gloria. Not Erap, Not Cory, Not FVR, Not the CBCP any church. Just come up with one good leader and thats it!

    So its ideas to ideas and person to person. Not ideas to person and person to ideas. Wag pag halo haluin…

  49. bernardo, that’s why the debate’s been taken to the public sphere. you have to build a constituency and make your alternative known. then you lobby for it, with local and national officials and the voters. in some provinces, it’s impossible -between the npa and warlords, there’s little room to maneuver much less debate. there are other constituencies where the public mood supports some who would move beyond what the administration has to offer. in still other parts, the political machinery can still trump those for reform who are, however, divided over what reform to advocate. i have met local officials who are intellectually convinced, for example, of certain reforms but who won’t pursue it because it would deprive them of the pork barrel, and without it, someone else might get their position.

    so you have the tug of war and there are still many holding back, i think, because they’re hoping 2010 will solve everything when the president’s term ends. you know i’m not convinced she will step down if she thinks there’s no one to protect her after her term ends. if, due to public pressure, she has to do so anyway, protector or no protector, then the thing solves itself. it would have closed off the luxury of perpetuating herself. if public pressure does not reach a certain point, or that point is threatening to her, then she will engineer something else to stay on somehow, perhaps not necessarily as president but in some position that grants her continued immunity.

    or she could overplay her hand and the whole thing suddenly falls apart. which it has come close to on a couple of occasions as it is.

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