License raj

If you’ve noticed my book for the week, it’s about India, which I believe is under appreciated among Filipinos as a country from which we can learn much. The book introduced me to a highly descriptive term, License Raj, and reminded me of a conversation I recently had on the sidelines with a columnist in another paper who also holds a board seat in a government bank.

In the past, businessmen were enthusiastic contributors to political campaigns but since the 1990s, they’ve become the opposite. Businessmen now make themselves scarce during the election season (implying, too, that they don’t vote), either going abroad or simply making themselves unavailable for phone calls and visits.

The reason businessmen can afford to ignore and actually evade the politicians is that they are no longer at the mercy of the politicians they way they used to be. The era of currency controls is long gone; and the old sugar bloc (divided into the faction of planters and millers) is long gone. Instead, the columnist (Alex Magno) told me, politicians are really in a lose-lose situation: elections are getting even more expensive, but there simply isn’t enough money coming in to finance them. So, he says, the real kingpins in politics are those with illegal funds who now play the role the big businessmen used to play:

!. Drug money
2. Gambling Money
3. Quotas on Customs and the BIR
4. The Philippine National Police

But basically, one big accomplishment is that we’ve succesfully eliminated our own License Raj. While generally hostile, Economic History and the Economy of India explains the License Raj in India and how (and why) it’s been dismantled since the 1990s.

Placeholder takes a systematic -and systemic- look at Philippine governance as it’s developed, and where it might be headed. Take a look at Amando Doronila’s analysis of the recent senatorial survey results.

How do you gage the Palace’s reactions (besides the spalsh of cold water the President received because of some idiot staffer’s snafu: see the Malaya and Tribune stories for added color)? The President pleads for the bare minimum: let her finish her term. Her senatorial candidates try to counter the appeal of impeachment. Her pet party backpedals on aggressively going after it’s coalition partners (Kampi was crowing just a week ago).

Big Mango does everyone a service by presenting a criteria for measuring economic performance, giving credit where credit is due, but refusing to swallow the snake oil. Things to watch out, Business Mirror reports, is the slowdown of the US economy and its effect on Filipino exporters. Bunker Chronicles also explains why the stock market isn’t a good measure of economic progress. John Mangun says the stock market needs to be observed further to see if it will revive or not.

Some readings: Butch Dalisay on Washington SyCip. Gail Ilagan on scientific observation.
Interesting trivia on Iloilo lawmakers over the past century.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

66 thoughts on “License raj

  1. mlq3, why should i give more credence to foreign media over “a filipino word”. Foreign or homegrown, an exaggeration is just that, an exaggeration. All I care about is fact because, against a fact, you can not argue without sounding ludicrous.

    I don’t dispute that the events were disturbing and had caused discomfort not only to the President, his followers, but to the whole nation. They were damaging, not only to the reeling economy at the time, but also to the internal peace of the country.

    It may very well be that PGMA thought of resigning at some point due to relentless attacks against her person, her family, her integrity, even her morals; that she could have wilted and forced to abandon her office in sheer frustration. But this is not the same as “losing the presidency”. A voluntary act of resignation is a choice, not a loss. PGMA is a true leader who did not wilt, and she was never in danger of losing the presidency involuntarily.

  2. JOker is acting not as a human rights lawyer now, but a pure politician pandering to the Left because he is in danger of getting knocked out of the Magic 12…by Edgardo Angara and Mike Defensor or Sonia Roco.

    Actually Tito D, Joker doesn’t care if he loses or wins, DJB. In fact, he secretly will feel relieved if he loses. He’s just there to help TU win vs. GO, not do another 6 years in the Senate.

    Here’s what I think the deal is re joker. The guy never intended to run for reelection again in the first place–probably because of his age (80 years old), and because being a senator again means another 6 years (dats a long time) in office. Kaya hindi siya nakasali sa unang release ng mga GO senatoriables last year that the UNO and villar has negotiated with.

    But Mike Defensor, JOker’s protege, was able to convince joker to help Team Arroyo one last time by running in it’s slate, on the condition tha the admin drop it’s CHA CHA push, for now. TU sorely lacks credibility among the voters and jOker’s reputation as an “independent” and a “maverick” will help TU’s chances. Kaya siya na ang madalas na gamiting spokesperson ng TU, at hindi na masyado si defensor.

    If Joker loses, big deal. He was already planning to retire anyway after his term ends in 2007. “Call of duty” lang ang dahilan kung bakit napilitan pa siyang tumakbo

    If Joker wins, within one or two years, maam Arroyo will pluck Joker out of the senate and appoint him to a sinecure gov’t position, so that he doesn’t have to serve the remaining 6 years of his term.

  3. p.s. – more often than not, the hate-Gloria club and the desperate opposition treat their own speculations and exaggeration as “truth”.

  4. bencard, there aren’t even many facts we could stipulate. which is why you can say certain things or a certain interpretation of events is exaggeration, while I have a different point of view. The best we can do under the circumstances is disagree.

    There can be no stipulation of facts because there has been no investigation conducted according to legal procedures. both impeachment efforts in the house did not go beyond examining whether the proposed charges were correctly drafted and involved charges that were, indeed, impeachable. the evidence, such as it was, was not examined.

    with a lawyer’s commendable zeal for precision in language, what you disputed was how on earth a president entitled to finish her term, could, or would, plead to do what was hers by law to accomplish -to serve out. her term. my reply is that essentially, the president has had to campaign and use every instrument at hand to at bare minimum, serve out the remainder of her term. for much of 2005 and until early 2006, that was the end-all and be-all of her political concerns. only after that did she then begin to focus on restoring her authority and regaining the upper hand politically.

    if we ask, whether the president, at any point was on the verge of being forced to relinquish office, certainly at no time was there an effort to force her to do something at gunpoint, though intense moral and political pressure was applied to convince her to do so.

  5. p.s. to your p.s. this assumes, as you do, that the administration does not obfuscate and engage in propaganda, that it purveys only the “truth” and never “exaggerates,” a notion fundamentally unsound by the measure that we can’t even say there’s a “love gma club” because her drumbeaters tend to insist that no, they don’t love her but… (what?), and that if there’s a desperate opposition, there’s such a thing as the blind loyalists, too.

  6. “the evidence, such as it was, was not examined” – mlq3


    I believe Teddy Boy Locsin said something like “all he is asking is just a single solid evidence to be convince that the 2nd impeachment is sufficient in substance” But the opposition can not present one so he voted for insufficient in substance.

    Also there was an investigation done on the charges of Alan Peter Cayetano about Arroyos bank account in Germany. But Cayetano just cannot sunstantiate his charges.

    I am for the prosecution of Gloria for her alleged crimes and I believe there are millions others too. But the opposition just did not work so hard to substantiate all these charges. So nothing is really happening.

  7. I believe Teddy Boy Locsin said something like “all he is asking is just a single solid evidence to be convince that the 2nd impeachment is sufficient in substance” – Rego

    Palusot. Teddy Boy would have had more credibility with that line of reasoning if he did not vote to impeach the previous year. The charges of betrayal of public trust were similar to that of the first impeachment attempt in 2005. His change of heart in 2006 is his very own betrayal of public trust.

  8. mlq3, whenever the government make an official report of its doings, it usually is backed up by public record that is accessible to everyone. You can then determine whether or not it is “propaganda”. When the opposition make an expose’ of alleged scandals, or charges of wrongdoing against the administration, it usually could not substantiate them, as Rego pointed out, by credible evidence, and thus could not make them stick in any legal forum. Cayetano’s canard about the first family is one such example.

    The presidency does not depend on “love” to exist and to continue existing. It depends on the citizen’s repect for the office and the rule of Law that created and sustains it. I am a PGMA supporter but whether or not I “love” her is irrelevant, for such love will not help her extend her incumbency when her term is up. PGMA does not need a “love Gloria club” in order to be an effective president. But the nation does not need a “hate Gloria club” to move forward to a better life for all.

  9. Hay naku kung meron talagang malakas na ebidensya ang opposition, kumalat na yan sa media at pinagpyestahan na. Kung yung Garci Tape nga na hindi pewedeng gamitin sa korte eh pinanalandakan ng husto ng opposition eh.

  10. I am a PGMA supporter but whether or not I “love” her is irrelevant – Bencard

    Interesting admission from a GMA loyalist. Unlike Marcos or Erap, even her loyalists find it hard to love her. Understandable.

    PGMA does not need a “love Gloria club” in order to be an effective president. – Bencard

    In light of the above, i suppose GMA would have to be content to believe that.

  11. cvj, if you’re going to quote me or anyone else, please don’t do it in bits and pieces so as to put the message out of context. PGMA does not need “love”, and cannot use it, to extend her term lawfully beyond 2010.

  12. Bencard, since you asked for context, here it is:

    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. An assault against my President is an attack against my country and I would be willing to join those who would render their duty to defend them – Bencard November 18th, 2006 at 5:24 am

    A Marcos and/or Erap loyalist won’t equivocate (‘any citizen worth his salt…’,) or seek safety in numbers (naghahanap ng kakampi) in such a manner. Arroyo loyalist are apparently a different breed.

  13. cvj, what exactly you are trying to say escapes me. don’t try to be profound. just say what you mean, will you please?

  14. Bencard, as i said above (March 13th, 2007 at 3:30 pm), unlike Marcos or Erap, even Arroyo loyalists find it hard to love her.

  15. cvj, as I’ve said “love” has nothing to do with the price of rice. Who cares about Marcos & erap? They and their “supporters” are birds of the same feathers.

  16. Hahahahah, cvj, “An assault against my President is an attack against my country” – that’s being extremely rabidly pro Gloria bansot.

    Heh! Birds of the same feather flock together indeed!

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