A needless complication

Senator Lacson is the first to publicly react to Randy David’s proposal for a boycott of the May elections. Lacson’s views are sensible. The problem with a boycott is it must be massive, and as David admits, the end game in a boycott is a withdrawal of support from the entire government. To move for this, at the present time, presents a needless complication, in my view.

But there can be an undeclared boycott; it is one taking shape because of the manner in which both the administration and opposition have pretty discouraging senatorial slates. Participation in local elections will be high, it seems to me, but the administration risks its middle class supporters simply leaving their senatorial portion of the ballot blank, and the neutral doing the same. By default this should leave the senatorial race firmly in the hands of the opposition, but you can’t discount the machinery of the Palace in trying to massage the national vote. If this were to happen, then the 50% opposed to the President will cry foul when there isn’t an opposition landslide; the president’s middle class supporters and even the neutral -or uncommitted- will find the results unbelievable but quietly rejoice in the cheating. Which means more of the same: a political stalemate which means no one will “move on” and tempers might head in a more radical direction.

And yet: if we accept the argument of the Inquirer editorial yesterday, that the elections will be a mechanism for judging the entire government’s moral basis for existence, then participation in an election is necessary, not only because everyone’s expected to adhere to democracy, but also as a basis for determining,once and for all, the ability of the government to maintain the fundamental requirement of any democracy, which is acceptable elections.

Other news: Court of Appeals finally decides on disputed Luneta properties. A backlash against Chinese investments in Zambia. Scientists say the brains of gays resemble that of women.

In the punditocracy:

My column for today is A grudge match. Reference in it was made to the results of past presidential elections and the most recent senatorial elections. Also look at Jove Francisco to see how the President is giving up one of the prized assets of incumbency: lifting the arms of “her” candidates. Shades of how Dubya was shunned by his fellow Republicans last November (and for much the same reasons). Then see Jarius Bondoc to see how the Palace is trying to frame a “third force” to harm it less than it would harm the opposition.

Washington SyCip and his remarks on democracy and development have triggered discussion. I think his main point is that mass democracy works up to a point -the precinct- but that’s needed (as the Thais did, though he didn’t mention that, as he focuses on Ireland) is a consensus on national development goals among the elite. See Fel Maragay, who reports on how some overseas workers are upset over government efforts to dictate their salaries.

Amirah Ali Lidasan tries to put the recent “detention” of government negotiators in perspective. For counterpoint, see Philippine Commentary.

The Nation of Bangkok points out how the coup can be rescued.

In the blogosphere, a sampling of reactions to Richard Gomez’s running as an administration candidate: Pinoy Rickey is amused; Janette Toral is neutral, and tries to be balanced (but advises, in the end, against candidacy); Citizen on Mars is ambivalent; Political Pinoy reacts with contempt; as do Far From Neutral Notions (who also appeals to Manny Pacquiao not to run), and Click Mo Mukha Mo who has decided to boycott Philippine TV media. Bong Austero is horrified. As is Alleba Politics.

I agree most with Bulletproof Vest. It’s a free country. Let him run. Let him win -or lose. Actors in politics is a fad. But fads take decades to play out in politics. Better to get it out of our system than to raise artificial barriers that only egg on the craving for an alternative to a century of lawyers in politics.

Interesting scuttlebutt from Iloilo City Boy on Franklin Drilon dropping his bid to represent Iloilo.

Bunker City Chronicles reflects on the economic news.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

45 thoughts on “A needless complication

  1. Washington Sycip bewailed “a democracy of the upper class who have the money to buy the votes”.

    So actually, what is needed according to Sycip, are national objectives agreed upon by “business groups, politicians, church and labor leaders”, having “national unity and a common program to reduce poverty and develop a larger middle class”.

  2. The reason why there are no property and educational requirements in the election of leaders was best explained (by Laurel I think) when they were drafting the ’35 Constitution. Can the house expert on the events of the ’30s please enlighten us all? There is a good reason why the election of leaders is in the hands of the masses. It is not all about the romantic idea of giving the people the experience of Direct Democracy once in a while. Sorry boss for the burden. 🙂

  3. MLQ3,

    The Dolorfino affair chills me to the bone. There is no outrage from the Military, the Govt, the Media, over the act of treacherous illegal detention of the Commander of the NCR and a Cabinet minister by bandit warlords of Nur Misuari. Can you imagine if the American Embassy’s guards were to detain the same officials for 2 days because they wanted the VFA clarified?

    Worst of all is Dolorfino himself–who should be courtmartialled and hanged for saying there was no harm done. Yeah, well maybe to him. But to national security and national honor, it was a grievous hit.

    How can anyone around here claim they have any understanding or moral consistency over the the concept of national sovereignty and honor? Of course folks like Rina David won’t be saying idiotic things like this is a rape of the whole Filipino nation. Even though it is. Oh no, it’s peace, peace, peace. Yak, yak, yak. Even when they are spitting on our faces and calling us stupid dhimmis, we make up excuses for the Islamo insurgent’s crimes, calling a plain hostaging a “hosting” and rejoicing that a fatted calf was slaughtered in honor of the disdain offered.

    Where in the world is the Rule of Law? Is it really peace talks at any cost, even at the cost of national self-respect?

    Maybe Rolex Suplico is right: Where is that JDAM when you really need it? (that’s a 500 pound bomb to all the peaceniks).

  4. But DJB, why shouldnt we believe Dolorfino when he said their MNLF hosts prevented them from leaving because their talks ended late at night (10:30 pm) so their hosts said they should stay the night (which they did)?

  5. Even with the boycott from the middle-class, the movie celebrities have higher chances of winning than the tradpols.

    Just take a look at the past election. Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada all won. Jamby Madrigal won bcause of the endorsement of the princess of the masa, Juday Ann Santos.

    The middle-class do not decide the outcome of the election especially if it is national. It is the low-income which can not distinguish fantasy from the movie to the reality of the movie personalities they worship.

    Same with the election of Erap who won by plurality not majority because the upper and middle class were divided between and among candidates with more impressive credentials.

    So if I may guess the outcome of the election…all the movie celebrities that they are going to include in the sentorial slate are going to win over Osmena, Oreta, Legarda, Lacson.

    There may be middle class who will vote for these people not because they are fans but because they are fed up with these noisy lawyers in the Senate and House of Representatives.

  6. Thanks Manolo for the link. What worries me is the growing dynasty happening in politics. Will it be possible to come up with a list of politicians who are running for Senate or Congress and have relatives also in power or running for another local or national position? Is that a collaborative effort among political bloggers that can be worth pursuing? Perhaps it can be an anti-dynasty blog project.

  7. Jeg,cvj,
    Just imagine what would happen if US Embassy Guards were to detain the same people, or a bunch of senators, so they could clarify the real meaning of the VFA. I think it is absolutely atrocious that the Military, or anybody else, can call the illegal detention of these high ranking military and government officials a “hosting” or an “invitation” to stay overnight. What was this, a sleep-over by high school girls class? C’mon folks, it’s because that Dolorfino character has his head screwed on wrong. It’s not about him or his “faith” in his “friends” — but the principle of a “peace negotiation”. These jerks are actually questioning the right of the govt to charge Nur Misuari for rebellion and to hold him on those charges after his 2001 failed rebellion, despite the peace agreement he himself signed. The MNLF is thumbing their noses at the Philippine Government and People, while we all take it like the good little dhimmis that we are.

  8. Talk about quick acting Stockholm Syndrome! Checkout what the other idiotarian had to say about his own hostaging, USec. for the Peace Process Ramon Santos:

    “Last night, [Saturday] I realized that these people are willing to lay down their firearms provided their security is guaranteed,” Santos said of the series of “person to person” dialogues with MNLF sub-commanders, village leaders, women, youth and children.

    They must have beat Santos over the head with an M16 to make him “realize” just how willing they are to lay down their arms.

    And wasn’t there a “misencounter” that killed 9 MNLF
    rebels and 3 Marines which precipitated the hostaging?

    Now we come to know that the 1996 agreement with the MNLF was signed even though they had refused to disarm, a provision for which is totally absent in the Agreement. Here is Santos actually defending his own illegal detention by armed insurgents who could easily have massacred them all.

    They should all be arrested on kidnapping and illegal detention charges, not coddled like they do Muslims all over Europe, where political correctness and dhimmitude are a mental disease of pandemic proportions. Looks like it’s catching…

  9. DJB, with all the killings going on, it is better to err on the side of nonviolence. Of course, if US Embassy Guards were to detain our Senators, that would be one more ground for abrogating the VFA.

  10. Europe knows better than to get itself caught up in the USA’s misdeclared war against Islam. I hope that the Philippine authorities are as circumspect. It would be a shame to allow the Americans to replicate over here, the kind of carnage that it has brought upon the unfortunate people of Iraq.

  11. Randy David: “Why not a boycott?” “The absence of a moral leader who would champion political reform.”

    Washington SyCip: “Why are we always lacking in national unity?” “Credit should go to President Macapagal-Arroyo in being willing to push through economic measures that may not add to popularity!”

    What’s the difference between Randy and Washington? Intellectual honesty.

    But isn’t Randy himself “a moral leader who would champion political reform”? Maybe “charismatic” is the missing factor.

    Doesn’t Washington remember what GMA said in 2003 that she would not run because she is the cause of divisiveness? In fact GMA proved her point by running, any way, and cheating to boot! Maybe Washington’s isip is selective in remembering.

  12. To Janette Toral,

    I’ve undertaken this project in 2005, i.e. researching on the congressmen who belong to the political dynasties.

    I’ve stopped to letter D since most of the time the website of the House of Representatives was difficult to access.

    Anyway, the limited research pointed out that 50 per cent of the legislators belong to the families of politicians.

    1. political dynasties (congressmen whose names start with D)
    2. political dynasties (congressmen whose names start with C)
    3. political dynasties (congressmen whose names start with B)
    4. political dynasties (congressmen whose names start with A)

  13. Take a survey of the members of congress, the senate and the house, and let us see how many lawyers we have; how many post graduates with MAs and PHDs and compares their performances with the actors, entertainers and the drop outs among the members and while we’re at it, compare the issues against them and I’m sure there will be not much difference among them. In a circus, a clown is a clown and an acrobat is an acrobat and somehow the Philippine congress resembles a circus of late.

  14. djb,

    Are you ruing the loss of the rule of law? GMA, seating in Malacanang, is the worst continuing violation and most damaging of the rule of law.

    Are you ruing the loss sovereignty? Under Gloria the Philippines is virtually ‘open territory — rule by force’ — the law of the jungle, economic/military might is right. Atleast the separatists has primordial claim. If the constitutional law breaks down, the pre-constitution order must prevail.

  15. i agree with djb’s call for outrage over the detention. but then again, would gloria listen. she needs this group to deliver the votes this coming election. it’s all politics to her. she’s even wearing her mittens for misuari now.

  16. General Dolorfino and his group were lucky to be released alive. I wish the Filipino people still remember the Patikul Sulu incident in the 80’s when General Bautista and his group were murdered by Muslim insurgents.

    The insurgency in Mindanao is more than Thirty (30) years old. There will be a lot of unemployed military personnel if the problem is resolved.

  17. DJB, yes, that’s why it’s called an error. No correct choices either way. (Kind of like what the Americans are now faced with in Iraq.) For us Filipinos, there is no upside is agitating for more ethnic or inter-faith violence. Only foreigners (like the Americans) will benefit.

  18. DJB,
    One thing I know: peacenicks can never be good peace negotiators. They offer everything in the name of peace. And if honor or a baggage is lost, they can always say in serene contentment: at least, there is peace.

  19. Because cvj is not directly affected, then losing Mindanao is okay to ricelander, djb, Q3, John Marzan, and the many others who are not cvj?

  20. A tidbit of MNLF history — PATIKUL:

    First Came the Handshake, Then the Massacre

    Early one morning last week, Philippine Brigadier General Teodulfo Bautista, accompanied by 34 of his men (including five colonels), strode trustingly into the tiny marketplace of Patikul on Jolo Island, some 600 miles south of Manila. Bautista, 49, had come to Patikul for peace talks with Osman Salleh, a local chieftain of the Moro National Liberation Front, which has been fighting a civil war in the southern islands for nearly five years. Salleh had hinted that his 150 men were ready to join the government’s side. As he greeted Bautista with a smile, a harsh voice shouted, “Dapal!” (Hit the dirt). Salleh dropped to the ground as some 150 M.N.L.F. troops stepped into the open and shot. Bautista and all but one of his men were killed instantly.

    The massacre was a severe blow to …


  21. UPn Student, your chain of reasoning assumes that (1) war is the only way to keep from losing Mindanao and/or (2) if we go to war, we are guaranteed not to lose Mindanao. Both assumptions are not necessarily (to borrow from George Tenet, ex-CIA head who was instrumental in the deceptions that led to the invasion of Iraq) slam dunks.

  22. cvj, my comment was on your chain of reasoning that given that three people — you, djb, ricelander — all who “… are not affected”, then the right choice is the course of action that you prefer.

  23. UPn Student, to clarify…my concern is for those who will be affected by any war that is being wished upon the people of Mindanao. Those who are not directly affected by the consequences of such a war (which includes me), are of secondary consideration.

  24. cvj… Then in that case, I am of the opinion that djb and ricelander will be appreciative if you send your message to the MNLF and the MILF to lay down their arms and stop warring; also to tell those foren-dyers that boots and fatigues are dual-purpose, but they should stop sending petro-dollars and dinars being used for RPG’s and AK-47’s. Camry, I humbly submit, will be pleased if Tagalog and Ilocano soldiers get laid-off because there are no more bomb-blasts from separatists and terrorists in Mindanao.
    /… Like marriage, it takes two (at least two) to wage war.

  25. UPn Student, i don’t think i’m in a position to tell the MNLF, MILF or the CPP/NPA and AFP to stop warring. All i’d like to do is to appeal to anyone who reads this not to get caught up in some people’s pro-war rhetoric. It’s an insidious meme. We’ve seen the damage this has done to places like Iraq and the Lebanon.

  26. My opinion about violent force goes like this:
    — BECAUSE there are people and institutions who will use violent force to impose their intentions on others;
    + then it is appropriate, necessary at times, even, that violent force be used to suppress such evil-minded people and institutions
    /… as ADDITIONAL instruments are applied to ameliorate, if not remedy, the disease.
    .. There are terrorists and violent groups in Mindanao who already have struck, with hundreds dead, a ferry on Manila Bay. It is the responsibility of the Philippine government to marginalize them before their bombs directly affect the Q3’s and other residents of metro-Manila and other parts of the Philippines.

  27. my classmates who are in the military and have seen action in mindanao say the war can easily be contained: IF the government (Arroyo down to the past) wants to. but it doesn’t want to: how will you feed the luxury of those in the chain of commands. it’s all muro-muro.

  28. It was said to be that Dolorfino and the others who were “prevented from leaving” later arrived at army base camp “Bautista”.

    If this is the camp named after Brig. Gen. TEODULFO BAUTISTA; then their arrival there is most apt!

  29. jeg:

    a lot to lose for politicians. mindanaons am sure would love the idea of secceeding from imperialist manila. same problem has been cropping for many years, and same solution has been proposed by the higher ups: don’t give any solution.

  30. Jeg, you ask what’s so bad about losing Mindanao? You could also begin to ask what’s so bad about losing the Visayas. Or what’s wrong losing Luzon?

  31. Nope. Let’s stick to Mindanao. Why would it be bad for the Philippines to be limited to Luzon and Visayas? Im assuming youre not from Mindanao, ricelander. (If you are, please correct me.) What’s so bad about you or me, a jabroni from Luzon, to lose Mindanao?

  32. Mindanao is a cash-cow for Luzon, namely more tax-money is obtained from, versus spent in, Mindanao. Mindanao is important for intra-country trade. TRANSLATION: taxes will be raised in LuzVi should Minda get lost, if you want the same quality-of-service. I bet you that LuzVi-jobs get lost, too since the span-of-control of Luz-based banks get reduced. And the way this is going, Minda gets lost at the barrel of a gun, which means LuzVi loses, which means LuzVi will have to “pay reparations”, which is the penalty for LOSERS.
    /.. Then think of “degrees of separation”. So cvj may NOT be directly affected but there will quite a number of people, some he may even care about, just 2- or 3-degrees of separation away that are affected. One of the problem with LOSERS is they get depressed, and a depressed community is a… well…. depressing community to be in.
    /.. Lastly, Minda gets lost only because of the ineptitude of LuzVi. In other words, the Minda situation is completely solvable in this generation. This becomes another one of those “… so why is the Philippines now bottom of the barrel when it used to be just second to Japan just a few years ago? What is wrong with you people?” I don’t know about you, but it affects me badly when I hear the question… “What is wrong with you people?” I would be affected when asked “… What? You lost Minda? What is wrong with you people?”
    /… LOSERS get depressed, that is something to think about.
    /.. Say it with feeling … LOSER… LOSER… LOSER… What is wrong with you people?

  33. And ricelander’s point is well-worth thinking about.
    The CPP/NPA ain’t going anywhere since there is no foreign money supporting in. In contrast, Arab money is flowing into the MILF/MNLF.
    To lose Minda is to lose to foreigners.
    To lose territory to a foreign country?
    To have to pay for a visa to visit Davao?
    Expect the Vietnamese and the Thais and the Indonesians, plus the Brits and the Frenchies to ask….
    What is wrong with you people?

  34. Interesting. It would be good for Mindanao but not Luzon? I mean, did all of that losing happen when, say, Croatia and Bosnia ceded from Yugoslavia? Did the Croatians get depressed? Did the Czechs and the Slovaks make each other depressed or are they happier now? I dont know about the taxes thing. Seems youre making some pretty tenuous connections, UPn. But at least you didnt mouth any of that sovereignty stuff.

    Note: I havent made up my mind about this yet. But trying to be a Jeffersonian, Im leaning towards giving Mindanao its freedom from Manila. IF they want it.

  35. I sent a txt message to my friends and told them that im not going to vote.
    because of the following reasons:

    1. The people who are going to supervise it are the same people who orchestrated GMA’s way to presidency last 2004.

    2. The elections are going to be held under the GMA government.

    For one I refuse to recognize this government, other than that I honestly think that nothing good will come out of the current Comelec as it is today. So why bother voting when the next thing you know your ballots are going to be used to count the asshole of a candidate you sincerely detest?

    The reply to my message was devastating, the people I thought to be intellectuals and thinkers insisted that people who don’t vote like me are anarchist and that they support the will of the people to hold a “democratic” election.

    I doubt they never heard about passive resistance as it was done in India at the time of Gandhi or better yet they might have known about it yet decided to place their faith upon an illegitimate government as well as a corruptible Comelec.

    For this It was also timely for me that I am reading about Ninoy Aquino. How he was able to win in an election held under the most auspicious eyes of that scumbag Marcos.

    I understand that he won second in his senatorial run against his formidable opponents. I must admit I don’t know if at that time Comelec was as crooked as it is today or filipinos could be bought as they are today.

    I also don’t know if their epiphany for Ninoy was because of his incorrigible faith in the filipinos good will. I read that even in his final moments he still valiantly believe that the filipinos are worth dying for. Either way I still think that he was legitimately voted into office but majority of the senators who won (actually he was the only one who won from the opposition) were for Marcos.

    So why do you think Ninoy won? I think he was made to win by Marcos because it was the only way to satiate the desire for debate in the halls of the senate or else the venue would be nothing more than an echoing YES hall.

    I am not saying that he was never popular as he was then, I believe that his victory was also because of his effective information campaign, nonetheless he was the only one who won from the opposition, doesn’t that ring a bell?

    Assuming that indeed the people experienced the massive cheating in the elections and THEY DID vote for the right leaders, what was it that they did after? Was it worse than the “Hello Garci” scandal?

    It is here that we will find credence as to my actions and my decision not to vote. Ninoy stood alone in the senate a lone sheep amongst wolves. He talks and delivers speeches vehemently against Marcos and people loved him because he stood as somebody who passionately believes in the power of the filipinos to think for themselves, but forward it to thirty years or more and you find filipinos trying to stomach another subtle dictatorship such as GMA’s.

    The truth is people change and their ways for struggle does too. If we can’t even vouch for a fair and honest election, then why the hell vote?!! If we can’t fight against the illegitimate government and a Comelec that houses Garci and Abalos then why the hell vote and hope that these people will give you your due?

    I never lost faith in my countrymen and just like Ninoy I firmly believe that there will be a better future for our country. BUT I WILL NEVER TOLERATE THAT MY COUNTRYMEN BE TRICKED INTO PARTICIPATING IN FRAUD RIDDLED ELECTIONS!

    A professor of mine told me that the reason bad leaders get voted into office is because of the lack of good people voting. And he bluntly told me that I was one of them, he followed it by saying that this country would be no better off with people like me and he’d rather migrate to another country because of my beliefs.


    Perhaps it is true that if I never vote then the wrong kind of leaders will be voted into office, but that is only because people like my professor never does anything to go against the corrupt officials in Comelec and the regime.

    It was also from him that I first heard of that adage where he says that “The people gets the government they deserve”. If what he says is true then HE deserves this kind of government and NOT ME!

    Ergo I choose not to vote. I choose not to be used by the government. And if they believe that by forfeiting my right to vote I would also forfeit my right to complain from the government then so be it. If they brand me as an anarchist then I brand the government as a manipulative asshole who tries to stage a democratic front not even worthy of a second rate television drama.

    Other than that if you still firmly believe that we’re still a democratic country then maybe its time that you read about Ninoy and learn the lessons of our history from his eyes. Or else be one of those tricked into believing that just because we were able to exercise democracy, we are definitely free.

  36. Mindanao is a cash-cow for Luzon, namely more tax-money is obtained from, versus spent in, Mindanao. – UPn Student

    I think that’s precisely one of the gripes of the Mindanaoans. Even if we keep Mindanao, this unjust situation needs to be rectified.

    On Jeg’s question, losing Mindanao may end up good or bad. It could be like what happened with Singapore and Malaysia where both ended up prosperous. (On paper, at least, the per capita GDP of what remains of the Philippines will suddenly jump, not that it means anything.) Or it could also end up like India and Pakistan, where the latter has become a dangerously unstable neighbor. Who knows?

    My preference is to keep the Philippines whole, which is part of the reason why i get so irritated when Gloria herself raises this rhetoric about Imperial Manila. One of the sure fire ways to eventually lose Mindanao is to escalate the war over there. As Jeg already pointed out, remember what happened to the former Yugoslavia and observe what is happening to Iraq right now.

    I believe that the Americans themselves would want the war to escalate and eventually split up the Philippines so that they can reestablish their forward bases in Mindanao as a buffer against a resurgent China. Against this geopolitical backdrop, all this talk about outrage against this incident sounds manufactured.

  37. I agree with Wash Sycip. Democracy Philippine style is just not working. – Musings

    Democracy Philippine style is not working because it is largely controlled by the elite as shown by the muted reaction to Hello Garci. Of course, even if we grant that this kind of democracy is not working, does that mean that a dictatorship would be better?

    The problem is that elitists like Washington Sycip want to have their cake and eat it too. The apparently successful dictatorships that they cite used authoritarian rule against the elite like them. Once their societies were on a more equal footing, then it was in a better position to embark on a sustained program of development. In China, it was Mao before Deng. In Vietnam, it was Ho Chi Minh before Doi Moi. (In Singapore, there was no land so there were no landlords so they started on a more or less equal footing.)

    If Washington Sycip would like to fully implement our neighbors’ model, they should implement every aspect and not just the self-serving part that would leave the elites and warlords intact. Under this arrangement, the dictatorship will only be used to quell any resistance from the suffering masses, while hoping for trickle down benefits to materials. The middle class will then have to close their eyes or rationalize the Palparan’s in their midst. Can you stomach that?

  38. What are the chances that an independent Mindanao will remain as “one” Mindanao?

    Will the NPA’s in Mindanao cease operations?

    Will the Moro militants be content on “their” part of a “one” Mindanao?

    Should any untoward incidents occur in an independent Mindanao; what is the probability that our new southern provinces of Cebu and Bohol will not be affected?

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