A blunder worse than a crime

That title’s from a 1909 Free Press editorial. How apt it is. Saying it was in the interest of fair play, the Secretary of the Interior backed down in the latest attempt to unseat Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay. Damage control, of course. The act raised too many questions (I’m not sure if it was simply a diversion, though).

When it comes to different (and differing) views on the Mayor of Makati, the disagreements boil down to three assumptions:

a. The administration is interested in dispensing justice.
b. The administration is capable of dispensing justice.
c. The administration upholds institutions of justice.

If you assume all three, then the whole thing is a non-issue. If not, then the whole thing becomes a very big issue, or at least, a disquieting sign. Your answer to the three questions will determine your vote, in some cases.

You cannot divorce the Binay (whom many love to hate) case from another (someone almost universally admired): that of Jesse Robredo, outstanding mayor of Naga City, and now suspended on a question of citizenship: colleague John Nery in Inquirer Current says the Comelec division decision is “the essential document of the 2007 vote”. In their columns, Winnie Monsod and Conrado de Quiros (who is Bicolano) took up the cudgels for Robredo.

A Nagueño in the Blogosphere (who is affiliated with the mayor) says the case is energizing Naga City folk:

The message that most roused the hundreds who massed for their weekly flag rite came when Robredo pointed out that the issues involved is no longer just about him. Rather, it is about teaching powerful politicos here and in Malacañang that the people of Naga will not back down from fighting for what is right and true and just.

He also emphasized the importance of sending that message now to prevent evil-minded politicians from doing the same to the next generation of Nagueños.

See the Inquirer editorial on the issue.

OhMyNews International, though, focuses on how many Filipinos are hoping against hope to keep the elections clean.

In the punditocracy my column for today is Vote of confidence. The column has the reasons why, so straight on to my final decision on 12 senatoriables:

1. Aquino, Benigno III
2. Bautista, Martin
3. Cayetano, Alan
4. Escudero, Francis
5. Lacson, Panfilo
6. Legarda, Loren
7. Pangilinan, Francis
8. Paredes, Zosimo II
9. Pimentel, Aquilino III
10. Roco, Sonia
11. Sison, Adrian
12. Trillanes, Antonio IV

For party-list, I hope you’ll consider Akapin, which is a party-list for the disabled (watch their video, or listen to their jingle in Bisaya by Yoyoy Villame). There are only two other party-lists I’d propose, and of course those are Kabataan party-list which has Mong Palatino as one of its nominees, and Akbayan (my own personal politics are perhaps closer to Akbayan’s than to Kabataan’s).

It’s the time when columnists propose lists of candidates to their readers. For example, Sylvia Mayuga has done so, as has Bong Austero.

Billy Esposo (who predicts a Lacuna victory in Manila, and a Benjie Lim victory in Pangasinan) says an emerging story is military interference in the elections: and he claims there remains a real possibility of a failure of elections:

The political actions against Robredo and Binay reek of desperate measures that result from desperate situations. To avoid impending defeat, the Arroyo regime may be attempting to provoke reactions from an enraged citizenry that will justify canceling the elections. Thus, the political objective goes beyond the cities of Naga and Makati and has everything to do with Madame Arroyo’s obsession to retain power at all costs.

What we may be seeing is the graduation of the Arroyo regime’s climate of impunity to a climate of insanity.

Amando Doronila on the other hand, thinks both sides have been unable to directly address the opposing side:

This is not the way the Arroyo administration and the opposition are looking at the elections. Both sides have avoided a head-on collision on issues concerning policy alternatives. Both have been derelict in their responsibilities to the sovereign people — that is, to present and clarify options. In this campaign, the issues have not been joined.

In her attempt to deflect the focus from the human rights issues that elicited international condemnation, Ms Arroyo has shifted the agenda of debate to the economy.

The opposition has refused to take up this gauntlet. Instead, it has focused its campaign on corruption and poverty, and evaded the human rights issue. This is not to say these two issues are not important. Thus, both sides have been talking past each other. Both have avoided the human rights and political liberties issue as though they were a plague on both houses.

Party-list nominee brouhaha: Fr. Joaquin Bernas on the problems involving party-list representation. the issue, says Ricky Carandang, involves “pretzel logic”:

If a cursory look at the partlists and their nominees can immediately raise questions like these, imagine what a more detailed examination could unearth. And yet the Comelec wanted the voter to simply trust their judgement and vote blindly for their partylist reps. By keeping the names under lock and key, Comelec facilitated the sale of partylist seats and exposed voters to the danger that they may actually be sending someone to Congress that did not represent them or their interests.

While Susan Ople points out the controversy is just one of many that are hounding this election.

In the blogosphere, my entry last Friday for Inquirer Current was on democracy’s design: whether or not improvements in terms of improved representation and responsible governance, can be gained from changing the system of voting.

What’s at stake in Mindanao? If you accept the figure of 10 million votes in Mindanao, then a significant chunk may be up for grabs. Then the belief of The Philippine Experience, who has grim expectations of what’s to come, has a basis. Evolution has a funny entry on politicians and makeup. blackshama has an entry on an anti-opposition campaign jingle.

The Filipino Blog explains why the legitimacy issue remains a non-starter for some people. big mango on apathy and leadership. The Construct by Alex Maximo wants outside-the-box ideas on lowering government’s costs.

Two contending views on my opinions on language: from Ilocano language, culture, literature and from the words of the left handed are sometimes right.

A charming graduation speech by the artist BenCab, courtesy of Pinoycentric.com.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

95 thoughts on “A blunder worse than a crime

  1. mlq3,

    I wonder why you dropped Manny Villar. Perhaps due to the Tanay visit to Erap?

    Good call on Coseteng and Osmeña though.

  2. Binay has proven again that he’s Kuya Glue (GMA is Ate Glue, di ba?).

    Re your line up – I’m really surprised and a bit disappointed you chose whiners and nonperformers (Cayetano and Escudero) over a proven prolific doer (Manny Villar).

    Anyway its your vote. My GO choices are Trillanes, Roco, Lacson, Villar, Noynoy.

  3. My list is basically the same as MLQ3’s except, to make room for Ang Kapatiran, I choose to dump Legarda and not Villar.

    Not because of anything profound. I just think she won’t need my vote being consistently on the top of the surveys.

  4. The DILG Chief must be busy with ‘some other things’ hence their ‘urong-sulong’ stance on Mayor Binay’s suspension. But as an ordinary citizen, I see it as plain and pure PO-HA [POlitical HArassment]. It is common knowledge that Mayor Binay is miles away from the Chairman of the Silent Committee in the Senate, Mr.Lapid for the mayoralty race in Makati.

    BTW, I agree with your choices 91%.
    I’d rather have Manny Villar than mr. sharon.


  5. I got the chance to see Ali Atienza and his candidates for Manila’s sixth district where I will vote. I must say, the only things that impressed me about the Mayor’s son are his smooth pants and shiny leather shoes. Dami nilang giveaways: t-shirts, baller ID, etc, but to be fair, walang pinamigay na e-load cards. Bongga ang stage, designed with huge tarpaulins pati ang perimeter ng basketball court decorated with banners ng mga kandidato. Lakas ng sound system, mukhang binayaran ng more than 50K. Well-oiled machine ang dating ng kampanya. Iba na ang incumbent, maraming pera!

    Turn-off lang ang lahat ng magsalita ang incumbent congressman, Benny Abante, nang isumbat sa madla na siya ang gumastos sa piyesta ng baranggay (di na lang daw nya ipinasabi sa Chairman). Akala yata tanga ang mga tao. Alam ng tao na sinuportahan nya si Gloria Arroyo!

    In contrast, motorcade lang si Danny Lacuna with his vice-mayor Isko Moreno. Nakasakay lang sa open-air na owner-type jeep preceded by about 100 men in bicycles. Pero warm ang reception ng tao.

    I agree with Billy Esposo, kasi we will go for Danny Lacuna: we look at him as one of our own. And he deserves it after playing second fiddle for so long.

    I also hope Prudencio Jalandoni, Abante’s rival for the Congress seat, would pull off the upset.Jalandoni was the Olongapo prosecutor who pushed for the Nicole rape case, much to the chagrin of Raul Gonzalez. Time to put decent people in Congress. People who will impeach Gloria Arroyo. Just like Benjie Lim sa Pangasinan, who looks like a winner over JDV this early.

    Panic mode na ang admin. Time to call Garci? Busy rin e!

  6. tagabukid, anthonie, janie: my column gives the criteria i used. this is not the time to be cranking out laws, it’s going to be time to be explaining the issues, and making noise -a hell of a lot of it- because of what’s coming: higher taxes, selling government assets, arresting people under cover of the anti-terrorism law, cha-cha part 2, and i felt villar isn’t cut out for that kind of fight. nothing personal, he’s a nice guy, but i can only vote for 12.

    and voting for 1 of the wednesday club is about all i can stomach.

  7. mlq

    the right criteria, black and white no grays, produces an intelligent and morally correct choice of candidates.


  8. Austero disappoints as usual. No principles underlying his criteria. If everyone were as gullible as Austero, Gloria can cut her huckster brigade by at least 75 percent.

  9. Please do not vote for Trillanes. Voting for Trillanes is consenting to the practice of turning against one’s oath to defend the Philippine Constitution, and via violent means, at that.

  10. Trillanes saw through Arroyo way ahead of most people. We need more soldiers with a conscience like him.

  11. mlq3,

    Thanks for including Trillanes in your list. He chose a life out of comfort to fight for his beliefs.

    Go with KABATAAN party list.

  12. Delete # 7 Pangilinan, Francis. It’s NOTED. It can be substituted with Senate President Manny Villar-the next possible Philippine president. Mar Roxas and Ping Lacson are possible 2010 presidential contenders.

  13. Manolo,

    You wrote that

    “Any vote for a candidate is a vote of confidence in two things about that candidate: the company (the party or coalition, and platforms) he decides to keep; and his INDIVIDUAL public record and advocacy. In other words, it is a vote EQUALLY based on issues and personality.”

    and further down you stated

    “There may be good men and women remaining in the administration, just as there are bad men and women in the ranks of the opposition. But when you consider all that the administration has done, continues to do and will do, then ANY AFFILIATION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION CAN ONLY BE UNWORTHY OF SUPPORT, AND THUS OF THE VOTE;”

    Since its obvious that the company that one decides to keep has such tremendous weight in your criteria, where does the EQUALLY come in?

  14. Justice league,

    I supposed your question is answered by the paragraphs (second) you just quoted… “But when you consider all that the administration has done, continues to do and will do…”

    Personally, I do not agree on the complete shut out of the administration’s candidates. I prefer to give “personality” a little more weight than Manolo, thus Arroyo and Recto is certain to be on my list.

  15. I really can’t understand why anyone would publicize his/her vote unless he/she is “bss” (believe sa sarili).
    Does he/she thinks that it matters to anyone; that others would do the same because he/she is such a good judge of the candidates’ character, sincerety and competence? Or is he/she indirectly campaigning for his chosen candidates by telling anyone who cares, vote for this man, see i voted for him? Only one who is wallowing in a misplaced sense of self-importance would do that.

    I used to think that there is a reason why (even here in the U.S.) voting is done in secrecy inside closed cubicles. I thought that was part of the sanctity of the vote, a sacred act that is between the voter and his own conscience. Here in the U.S. generally, asking someone who he voted for is rude and uncouth.

    In a country where election seems to be a matter of quid pro quo (vote in exchange for personal favors in cash or kind), disclosing publicly whom one votes for seems to make sense.

  16. territorialregimen,

    I believe that description pertains to the “company” as in all that the company has done, the company continues to do and the company will do.

    So I would rather think that it is still connected with the idea of what “company” one decides to keep.

    If I was going to put so much weight on the company TU and GO members keep; they’d both be way down in my list.

    But I certainly don’t disprove of your criteria.

  17. In the US you are either a registered Democrat or Republican.. so no need to advertise your vote.

    DIto sa pinas halo halo ang uso…

    Besides the domain name speaks for itself, its a personal blog.

    who’s Adrian Sison?

    ** I’ll vote straight GO .. halo halo ang kapalit ang init kasi eh ***

  18. Trillanes, the accused in the Oakwood mutiny whose response on the question about owning eight luxury vans insult even those abacus-using businessmen.

    First, he said that his mom borrowed money in 2000. Then they bought the vans in 2002. The vans he said were used in their research company where he was a Treasurer with an investment of 12,000 pesos.

    Eight luxury vans for a research company? Ano yan, ang mga researchers have to go around to gather facts and data by using million worth of vans?

    This is the kind of candidate that you’re going to elect?

    This is one of those soldiers in Oakwood wearing designer fatigue uniforms and occupying expensive suites.

  19. mlq3,
    who’s Adrian Sison?

    You need to read more. It seems that your resolve to vote for GO is because of ignorance.Nandiya ka pa naman sa Pinas.

  20. “In the US you are either a registered Democrat or Republican.. so no need to advertise your vote.”

    Not really, most voters do not belong to any particular party, otherwise the same party will be leading the government all the time if it has the majority of registered members and beside belonging to any party requires yearly dues and a lot of contributions and also campaigning. Take if from me, a True Blue, a long time Card Carrying Conservative Party of Canada member. And right now the Party association, keep calling and emailing for the party funds, although at the amount we ordinary members can afford it is tax refundable up to 75% by the Government. Just to encourage, we the people to participate in the Process, but most can not be bothered. They’d rather, keep their choice (and their money for their candidate’s campaign) to themselves, and that is the essence of Secret balloting, only the results after the polls closed that matters.

  21. justice league, in this passage:

    “In choosing among them, one has to bear in mind their performance relative to the issues that arose over the past few years. Who stuck their necks out? Who defended the Senate, the principle of checks and balances? Who will be able to continue to do so, unhampered by a previous decision to reach an accommodation with an administration with a track record of willingly promising anything, but ultimately breaking every promise: because if the law is expendable, how much more the candidates who are foolish enough to think they can be independent in the Palace kennel? The dog on a leash can bark, but itís on a leashóand it can bark itself to death and be ignored by its master.”

  22. bencard, the new york times publishes editorials endoring a candidate (usually nationally, sometimes locally) and the other great papers have had a history of that; the wall street journal also endorses candidates close to election day.

    columnists who cover the issues week after week make endorsements do, based on the columnists’ advocacy.

  23. FYI:

    In the US, aside from registering as either a Democrat or a Republican, a voter can also register as an Independent, a third category. And he can change this registry any time he wishes to.

    And being a registered something does not obligate one to always vote so. Thus a registered Democrat can vote on a Republican candidate during regular or general elections. It is during primary voting where registered Democrats vote only on Democratic candidates, and vice-versa.

    Here in California as in some other states, registered Independents can opt to vote on both Democratic and Republican candidates during primaries. One needs only ask.

    The Independent vote is both important and crucial because it represents about 10% of the electorate, thus is said to be the swing vote.

  24. MLQ3 has raised a proper justification for political endorsements.

    Not only do the big US national dailies have them every election cycle, but even the small and local community papers in most any town or city.

    And properly, these endorsements are placed on the op-ed or editorial pages of the paper, to unequivocally point out that the endorsements are of the editorial writers alone.

    What could be the rationale?

    Because every editor who is a citizen is not only entitled to vote but to shout out who he/she is voting for.

    Arguably, said in this bully pulpit one also hopes to convince other voters to follow suit.

  25. Without meaning to, I may have understated on how a voter may register.

    Aside from the three categories, there are other minor parties one can also register in – two being the Green and Libertarian parties. I believe there is one or two more.

    But the three are the main categories.


  26. mlq3

    True, the NY Times and many other media institutions in the U.S., endorse candidates and/or political parties. But I have yet to see or hear individual publishers, editors, columnists or producers of these
    same institutions “advertise” how or who they vote for and why. I suppose they can, if they really want to, but the point is (especially for a columnist whose views are already well-known) who really cares?

    I still am for the secrecy of the ballot.

  27. Manolo,

    If you read closely your own paragraph that you are referring to; you enumerated certain traits BUT THEN WENT BACK to the “company” one decides to keep or the affiliation with the administration.

  28. Haven’t come up with my own list yet for senatoriables (but I’d probably vote for Chiz, Alan Peter, Loren and Koko). but for party-list, i’d be giving my vote for Kabataan Party-list. I’m no longer a youth but I think Philippine politics would be better off with a youth representative in the Lower House.

  29. “but the point is (especially for a columnist whose views are already well-known) who really cares?

    I still am for the secrecy of the ballot.”


    as departure for talking points, opinion makers sharing their electoral choices is good. who would have known, or care to know adrian sison, for instance if not for these voices.

    secrecy of the ballot? i’d rather push for the sanctity of it. the former harps back the ghost of garci, he who padded too many secret ballots.

  30. Justice league,

    I believe you’re right. The phrase is still connected with the idea of “company”; BUT, its purpose is clearly not to support the general presupposition — “it is a vote equally based on issues and personality” — but to override it.

    Hence, to your question “where does the EQUALLY come in?”, the phrase “[b]ut when you consider all that the administration has done, continues to do and will do…” provides the answer.

    The EQUALLY does not come in at all. It’s overridden.

  31. Bencard,

    I believe publishing, or to use your term, “advertising”, how one will vote does not violate secrecy of ballot.

    The concept of secrecy of ballot almost exclusively and strictly pertains to, well, just that, the secrecy of BALLOT. It has no meaning away from the ballot itself. Not even vote-buying per se violates this concept, unless there is disclosure of the ACTUAL content of the ballot (i.e., by marking of ballot so as to create an association between the voter and his vote).

    mlq3: Two on your list complete my 12 (I previously intended to vote for 10 only). Thanks a lot and more power! (Never mind the “who cares?”) 🙂

  32. Territorialregimen,

    Your dissertation is well and good.

    But Manolo pointed out a paragraph from his article to to try to show where the idea of “equally” is supposed to be so I don’t think he wanted the idea to be overridden; though I myself don’t see it in his concerned paragraph.

    Anyway, congratulations on completing your list and good luck.

  33. And to remember… what someone says they will do, and what they eventually do, are distinct, separate, and not necessarily the same.

    Like “uphold the Constitution”. Or “will support the impeachment”, or not.

  34. Idon’t understand why gringo can still win. I was in Makati during their first coup attempt and gee, it was a mess! ordinary people were working so hard that time and looking forward to a brighter future minus the dictator – just a fresh start you know…and then this bimbo comes along.

    same with trillanes. anyone who has to SEIZE power by force and violence does not come up to the standards of a capable leader IMO. Men who do these acts are nothing more than toddlers throwing a tantrum because they cannot express their frustrations.

    Plainly and simply, when you become adults, that translates to dangerous behavior.

  35. Justice league,

    Testing Manolo’s list against Manolo’s criteria makes no sense. So I came up with that “overriding” thing (to cope with the apparent absurdity). 🙂

  36. more on adrian sison: http://www.nsclub.net/asison/profile.html

    out of curiosity – why vote for him? he’s untested and his life so far has been unaccomplished considering his first-class education….also, for all his lofty ideals, what has he accomplished in his 50-some years on this earth that would justify him winning a seat in the senate?

  37. mita, it’s more of a vote to encourage ang kapatiran, but you can also read his interview that begins here:


    As for UPn’s views re: Trillanes, you can listen to my interview with him:


    And I respect him for standing up for a clean military, and for facing the charges even in the face of deals, and he’s not running to run away from the charges, either.

  38. same with trillanes. anyone who has to SEIZE power by force and violence does not come up to the standards of a capable leader IMO.

    I agree with you. We do not need these kinds of leaders. His platform of removing corruption is what you call SUNTOK SA HANGIN. Admittedly, I do not know what’s Gringo’s performance as a Senator. It just so happened that his backers may have made deals for his inclusion in the circle of the “anointed ones”.

  39. teritorialregimen, your post of 6:46 pm in reaction to mine was one of the most covoluted piece of writing I’ve ever read. Just what are you trying to say? That secrecy of the ballot pertains to secrecy of the ballot and has no meaning except when the contents are disclosed in connection with vote-buying activity? You come a little too fuzzy for me.

    Voting is a big responsibility. Electing the unworthy is worst than deliberately destroying the nation. The latter can be thwarted, the former is irreversible.

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