Can the President afford to “move on”?

Peso at 45.87! Yesterday, protests greeted President’s visit to Japan.

Speaker de Venecia back in triumph, backed by enlarged administration coalition. Question: if he had leverage over the President prior to 2007, post-2007, is she his hostage or is he now her hostage?

AFP Chief of Staff will launch anti-tentacle campaign.

Comelec doesn’t want media doing its own counting. Top eight senators might be proclaimed soon. Businessmen want cheating investigated. As Philippine Experience puts it, the phrase of the day is “clerical error.”

Fascinating account of cyber war aimed against the government attempted in Estonia.

In the punditocracy: My Arab News column for today is Can Arroyo Afford to Move On? I doubt it.

The Inquirer editorial looks at a suggestion from El Shaddai’s Mike Velarde, which the Palace has already rejected. But even before that news came out the editorial was already skeptical of a lull in the fighting:

Early signs aren’t promising. The President sat down with members of the Federation of Chinese-Filipino Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and her Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila asked them to pass on a patronizing message to incoming senators.

“It’s like fathers telling their children: ‘I’ve given you your allowance because I wanted you to do these things. Now if you don’t do them, you won’t have an allowance,'” Favila said. He hinted further: “They could say, ‘We don’t need (politicking) now. The elections are over. The people have spoken and we should accept the results. Let’s get our act together for our country’s future.'”

But it begins, as Velarde says, with the President herself accepting the public’s verdict at the polls: Only when she accepts political reality can others contemplate cooperation. If Favila is any sign of the President’s thinking, then she’s off to squander her reprieve: she has put the political cart before the horse. And if she does that, then can the public — never mind the new senators, who take their cue from public opinion — be anything but skeptical? As it is, the voice of the Palace remains that of Tonypet Albano screaming of “machinery” and “command votes” — even after the election is over.

Amando Doronila says the “scale of the national rejection of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration has unfolded with shocking intensity,” something he was skeptical would happen, but that the most troubling thing is the refusal of the Palace to see reality:

First, the Senate results are a more accurate measure of the scale of the electoral disaster suffered by the administration as well as of the national mood of rejection than the local polls. The Senate election funneled the overarching grievances nationwide, which were distorted by the more parochial issues in the House and local elections. Therefore, the local elections are not a reliable indicator of a fresh mandate for or a vote of confidence in the administration.

Second, attempts to distort or alter the Senate election results by tampering with the returns in certain regions, especially in Maguindanao, tend to scuttle President Arroyo’s efforts to use the midterm polls as her last chance to repair her presidency’s legitimacy, which has been battered by the Garci tapes scandal.

Already, the mounting reports from independent poll watch groups of blatant election cheating in Mindanao appear to have undermined the President’s battle to regain legitimacy, which is the underlying issue of this election. She appears to have already lost this battle.

Third, although the President has tried to downgrade the message of the 8-2-2 result with the business-as-usual stance, the denial syndrome has revealed, even more strikingly than she cared to admit, that she is deeply troubled by the magnitude of the administration’s defeat in the Senate election. In an incredible display of escapism, she has built a wall of unreality around her.

Manuel Buencamino thinks “the battle of the frames” is continuing:

To survive until 2010, Mrs. Arroyo must convince her followers to stay united behind her. She has to make them forget their recent animosities and power struggles.

In order to do that, she must give them a common enemy-oversight and checks and balances-and a common cause-a shift to a unicameral parliament. Unfortunately, doing that won’t be as easy as it was before the election.

The election revealed a kink in what, over the last two years, seemed like an impenetrable shield of power and good luck protecting Mrs. Arroyo. The election proved once and for all what surveys have been saying all along: Mrs. Arroyo enjoys very little public support.

And so, Mrs. Arroyo’s “overwhelming-victory” statement was meant not so much for the opposition who, anyway, will not stop until all their unanswered questions are answered; it was meant for her followers.

Mrs. Arroyo knows danger lies not in enemies smelling weakness but in followers beginning to doubt their leader’s strength. Doubts cause desertions.

In the blogosphere, The Lonely Vampire Chronicles runs down the list of the President’s political options.

Torn & Frayed asks if a priest’s election violates the separation of church & state (if we follow American practice, the answer is no; I believe Rep. Amante in Manila is a Protestant minister).

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

99 thoughts on “Can the President afford to “move on”?

  1. GMA is now a lame duck president, she has lost these elections and no amount of denials would change that. AMONG ED PANLILIO FOR PRESIDENT!

  2. A common cause like shifting to a unicameral parliament is also the common cause needed for her enemies… This common cause will only further divide the country…

    However, a more noble common cause is that of reforms, oversight, checks and balances…

  3. gma must believe that she does not need a mandate from the people. after all, she has the pnp, afp, gun toting men on motorcycles, pork barreled tongressmen, garcis, mercenaries, corrupt and greedy lawyers, and the fg (1st gentlemen, although some say an obese fat guy).

  4. GMA will now focus, or squander, the remaining political capital she has in pushing for Charter Change until the eve of the 2010 elections. Not that she believes it can be achieved, but it will give her enemies something to chase after while she plots her escape from enchanted kingdom. On the side we can also expect her to make claim credit for every rosy economic development and blame the negative ones to the opposition.

  5. honestly? i don’t think it is tactically in her best interest to move on. Her current tactics are doing well in keeping her in power… so from her point of view, why should she change? given the debacle of the last election— i don’t think she’ll win a war with her tactics, in fact she may lose because of it.

    pGMA is looking for a viable exit strategy. when she steps off the palace in 2010— what will happen to her and her family? after all one of the biggest reasons why she has acted thus far is because of what has happened to Erap Estrada. she does not want history to repeat itself or worse.

    optimistically, i’d like to believe doing good gives off “good karma”. can she step off the palace without people hounding her? i believe she can. it’s not too late to do good or to leave a proud legacy. would she? of course, the future is not written in stone.

  6. if indeed that the outcome of the senate results is to be believed, what has now been just a province of speculation regarding gma’s legitimacy is now confirmed; that truly & deeply, she’s a fake

  7. Cocoy, you definitely have more faith than the majority of Filipinos. She’s not going to back down, it is her plan to move on with Charter change.

    Even as the counting has not ended, her mindset of pushing through with Charter change is not lost. Her most recent statement is,

    On the matter of cha-cha (Charter Change), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s advocacy is still there. But she will leave it to our institutions and to the people to determine the “when” and “how.”

  8. 1. “Arroyo’s advocacy is still there”

    2. “she will leave it to our institutions and to the people to determine the when and how”

    Does this mean Arroyo remains committed to charter change but this time around she’s not going to lift a finger to help it along?

    Is she washing her hands off the whole process?

    Why the passive stance on cha-cha?

  9. When will the rampant and brazen political killings and disappearances stop? How many more international protests will it take? At bakit parang tinatanggap na lang natin na “business as usual” lang ang lahat ng nangyayari? Why aren’t we here in the Philippines protesting as vigorously? Ba’t parang mas outraged pa ang international community?

    Innocent people are being brutally murdered because of their political beliefs. Overwhelming evidence points to the military as the perpetrators, either with the blessings of Malacanang, or at the very least it is condoning it. Otherwise why the culture of utter impunity? Rule of law, what rule of law? Right now all this government believes in is “might is right.”

    How many more victims before we say enough is enough?

  10. Re: “Can the President afford to “move on”?”

    Depends on what you mean by “to move on”.

    She’s always been very clever and good at sort of “moving on” to protect her interests. To me, her declaration that charter change is still in her list of priorities means that she will “move on” regardless of the outcome of the senatorial election, i.e., whether “in her favour” or not.

    She is not one to be underestimated; when the going gets tough for her, expect her to invoke divine intervention and conversations with God for her “to move on.”

  11. Chabelli: You may wish so, but a sitting President with 3 years left on her term, even if she had been struck with AIDS and only has 6 months to live, is never irrelevant. Reason: ability to invoke Executive Orders.

    Willjoe: The cry “ED PANLILIO FOR PRESIDENT” may be overwhelmed by cries for Legarda, or Villar, or Lacson for next President. And for now there remains a chance that a battlecry becomes deVenecia for Prime Minister.

  12. I agree with Chabelli that GMA is now irrelevant. Irrelevant not only because her Senate slate got routed but also because she will do more stupid things that will make her more irrelevant.

  13. Ed Panlilio did not win because he is popular. He won because of the two families greedy for power.If you will look at the votes, his edge in terms of votes were merely few thousands. Tsskk tsssk.

    And the people are clamoring him to become President. Sus.

  14. Irrelevant not only because her Senate slate got routed but also because she will do more stupid things that will make her more irrelevant.

    I’ve heard this way back 2005 and look she’s still around.

  15. Moving on naman is a very personal value eh.

    Bush was able to move on even without with the Democrats majority in the US Senate and Congress.

    But if moving on means staying beyond 2010. Definitley not! Gloria is only good up 2010.

    There is really nothing much to do for Gloria now. To me she already implemented what she needs to be implemented. Like EVAT and other programs. All she has to do is to sustain the nation and avoid impeachment.

    Peopel have given the senate to the opposistion . Now lets see how they will perform…..

  16. There is no popular clamor for Ed Panlilio to become President. It was only the idea of Mike Velarde.

    Among Ed still has to prove himself as Governor of Pampanga. He has 3 years to do it. If he delivers, why not? Come to think of it, perhaps it may not be a bad idea to put someone in Malacanang who has no family whose future needs “to be secured” by robbing the public treasury. If we could put up with scoundrels, why not a priest? It may even earn the Philippines another world’s first and further reinforce the expression, “Onli in da Pilipins”.

  17. time and again, gloria has asked the Filipino people to forget the past and move forward instead. she even jumpstarted the “moving on” process in April of last year when, on Good Friday, she ordered the commutation of death penalty of a thousand convicts to life imprisonment. the palace’s statement then was: “We understand the deep hurt inflicted upon the families of the victims of heinous crimes, but the President believes that learning to forgive without compromising criminal justice would be a good start for the nation to move on.”

    however, it is apparent that the country failed to move on due to the fact that the four words “Let Us Move On” is coming from gloria…who, i personally believe, is unforgivable owing to her bleak past…especially that the depressing past came from the highest official in the land!

    justice will certainly be compromised when we’ll learn to forgive the president…the lady who wrecked our fundamental institutions.

    if only she can move on without the ghosts of her past then truly the nation will also be able to move on to a bright future – AS ONE.


    Move On
    an Executive Order by gloria macapagal-arroyo

    May 2001, after ending the “state of rebellion” –
    “It’s time to move on,” Arroyo told reporters. “It’s time to start the healing process.”

    June 2001, as Arroyo warns of attempts to disrupt Estrada trial –
    “We cannot pin everything on Estrada as if the whole future of the Philippines depends on his rise and fall. We have to move on,” she said.

    July 26, 2004, SONA –
    “Once we have proved to our people that we have done what we can within the present structure of government, we can move on to changing the system to one that enhances our freedom and flexibility to do more.”

    “I expect that next year, Congress will start considering the resolutions for charter change.”

    June 27, 2005, Statement on the Issue of the Tape Recordings –
    “That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business of governing.”

    July 2005, after she was accused of bribing legislators with money and positions in the government to derail her impeachment –
    Arroyo criticized her opponents Wednesday, accusing them of dwelling in negativism. “That is their niche,” she said in her first news conference in two months. “I have an economy to run and we have to move on.”

    September 19, 2005, Statement on the Venable deal –
    The President has scrapped the deal and no government money went into it. The National Security adviser will deal with residual issues in the proper forum.

    The Palace considers the case closed as we move on to more important business affecting the people and the nation.

    August 2006, after comfortably beating her political opponents (by the numbers game) on the second round of her impeachment –
    “Even her detractors knew that the impeachment complaint was defeated and dead from the start,” said Ignacio Bunye, Arroyo’s spokesman. “Let us now bury this issue and just move on.”

    August 16, 2006, again, after winning the numbers game in the HOR –
    “The President said last week that she was happy that the people’s mindset now is for us to just move on with life and our work. To be fixated in the events of the past, will guarantee us a future of disruption, of interrupted growth and overlooked opportunities.” (Bunye speaking)

    May 14, 2007, Arroyo at the close of the midterm elections –
    “May matitinding pagtutunggali sa lahat ng kampanya, subalit magmagandang-loob tayo, manalo man o matalo. Para sa kapakanan ng bansa, dapat isara ang mga kabanata ng hidwaan sa pagtutunggali paglabas ng hatol ng bayan at buksan ang pinto ng pambansang pagkakaisa at pagkakapit-bisig,” she said in the vernacular.

  18. Among Ed won for he is NOT lilia pineda (the wife of bong) and definitely NOT mark lapid (the guv that never was)…as rina jimenez-david wrote in her column yesterday.

    winning is one thing…governing is another thing…

    PRIESTLY HEROES, as marlen v. ronquillo of Manila Times puts them: They are imposing, they are larger than life, they are Che Guevaras in flowing robes.

    what now, when Among Ed has temporarily kept his robe in the closet? let’s hope and pray for the unexpected…

  19. manuelbuencamino,
    I agree that Gloria does remain “dangerous”. I guess, it’s still not the time to exhale just yet.


    UP n Student,
    Gloria still has the “..ability to invoke Executive Orders” that can make her pretend to herself that she still yields power.


    You say that Gloria “..will do more stupid things that will make her more irrelevant.” Like pushing for Charter Change, no ?

  20. Chabeli,

    Cha Cha is one. We may see GMA doing stupid things like more pictorials with dead people, writing annoying EOs and AOs, freeing convicted criminals. She may outdo herself also by juggling grenades on national television, doing stand up comedy, or appearing in a movie with Juday. She is now a certified KSP.

  21. why do we have to blame our presidents for all of our country’s ills ? its becoming too childish. are they our convenient scape goats? we’ve blamed marcos, cory, ramos, erap and now gloria. now dont get me wrong im no fan of gloria neither to the other four past dudes.

    what im driving at- weve got to find a system, whether it be parliamentary, unicameral or be it a christain socialist democratic ideology that would effectively govern us. also strengthening the party system will indeed do wonders.

    presidents come and go whether they are good or bad. i dont like analyzing gloria (GMA) and what she is going to do tomorrow or up to 2010. what can i do and does she care?

    the most effective way of helping our country is to reach out to well known people who knows you and can take your unsolicited advice.

    remember the kevin bacon theory – there are only 4 degrees of separation between you and the rich and/or (in)famous.

  22. There are just too many obstructions for PGMA to move, obstructions that remain stuck along her ways, instead of being cleared for her to be able to move on.

    The “Garci” case is still one big Mack Truck blocking her lane. Until now, nobody really has the clear understanding what really transpired during that fateful time in History. No body for certain has told the truth, and nobody admitted they lied. And there was no Independent Judicial Inquiry to decide who was the biggest Liars among them.

    Another Slippery spot along her way (try driving on a black ice covered highway and you’re going nowhere) is the Joc Joc’s Caper. Had we forgotten the Man languishing somewhere in the U.S.A with a lot of de-icing to do? Had they been able to manhandle that man and put him in front of the Jury, and let him spill the beans, that could have one obstacle off her road.

    One thing that let us never forget, the hundreds of Disappearance, otherwise known as Extrajudicial Killings. Madame Glo may denied any knowledge of a single one of them, but for sure she can ask her Generals, they knew.

    Until then, there is no room in the roadway for her to move on, but if she does clear up all these and more, then she move right ahead at top speed with the leading escort of Manny the Pacman in his Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

  23. “The effective means of controlling the presidency lie not in law but in politics. For the American President rules by influence; and the withdrawal of consent, by Congress, by the press, by public opinion, can bring any President down.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The Imperial Presidency.

  24. why do we have to blame our presidents for all of our country’s ills ? its becoming too childish. are they our convenient scape goats? we’ve blamed marcos, cory, ramos, erap and now gloria. now dont get me wrong im no fan of gloria neither to the other four past dudes.- Xavier

    That’s a strawman accusation. There are very specific allegations against Gloria Arroyo – cheating in 2004 (and 2007), extrajudicial killings(and abduction), railroading Charter Change etc. All these fall under the category of weakening our institutions, the effects of which we will have to live with long after Gloria is gone.

    I’m have nothing against approaching influential people, but the real lesson to be learned is that we the ordinary citizens can be heard if we act collectively. As Manolo says, the results in the Senate, specifically the votes for Trillanes is one such message to those in power. We have to build on this to recover our collective voice.

  25. I agree RE: cvj’s comment above. Aside from massive cheating and the horrendous killings, add these to the serious wrondoings of the GMA administration:

    – the attempted cover-up of the cheating (remember Bunye’s “I have 2 tapes?”)

    – massive corruption and misuse of public funds (fertilizer scam, Road Users Tax misappropriation, etc)

    – repressive measures (EO 464, CPR, PP 1017) — all of which have been declared largely unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

    – attempts to illegally ram through charter change, again rebuffed by the Supreme Court (“gigantic fraud on the people”, the SC ruled)

    A lot of the GMA defenders here like to brush aside these specific and credible allegations and instead — just as cvj said — use strawman arguments, evasion of evidence, diversionary tactics, etc such as “all Philppine presidents are eventually hated by the people”, “why do keep blaming the president for everything”, etc — all the while glossing over the concrete, valid issues.

  26. re-Mike Valarde gives unsolicited advice… don’t revive efforts to change the system of government.

    the question is can a diferent system change man’s behaviour? to many it can not but i say, YES IT CAN.

    consider the following:

    100 employees puched-in their daily time card, 10 were discreet cheaters.

    IN came the priest who preaches (religion) morality at the office as a result 5 former cheaters became “honest” punchers, still weve left with 5 recalcitrant cheaters.

    now came the addition of finger scan that resulted in 99% “honest” punchers. why 99% ? because there is this one employee who is a hardened punch card cheater who found or devised a way to cheat the system or technology.

    the lesson here- it is hard to change the hearts of men, weve been doing that since the biblical times, the renaissance period, up to our present generation. but devising a system can indeed reform a person’s behaviour, whether he likes it or not. but that system should be moral and ethical to begin with. it is important that technology should keep a step ahead with the technology of fraud and /or theft.

    same is true with our present presidential/bicameral form of government- parliamentary/unicameral can, in my firm belief, be the better system.( the only thing permanent is cahnge. now who can argue with that?) as with modern technology, innovating a system is a never ending process.

    a system can not change our “hearts”, but it can “alter” our behaviour to make (or compel!) us to conform to an ideal society.

  27. Cheating? Pinoys deserve each other, I think.

    Anyone who’s lived in a Western country at length will appreciate how Westerns are relatively intolerant of even the smallest instance of dishonesty.

    Japayuki’s routinely feedback how amusingly gullible the Japanese are.

    All these point to how astoundingly naive people from advanced societies are of the capacity for dishonesty that Pinoys have grown accustomed to. How many parents encourage their kids to put one over anyone or anything that lies outside their familial or tribal domain? Is it any wonder that one needs connections to survive in Pinoy society? Because honesty and integrity do not lie outside individual Pinoys’ immediate community ties?

    In the streets of Manila, contraband is routinely bought and sold, pirated CDs and DVDs proliferate marketplaces, Pinoys routinely deplete their internet bandwidth allocations from illegally downloading disk upon disk of movies and copyrighted content.

    In a letter sent to me a back in Jan 2006, a middle-aged expat Pinoy elegantly expressed just how ingrained BS is in the very fabric of our cultural character (pls, folks try to see beyond the grammar):

    ==============start quote
    when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

    another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.

    there’s alot more lies and half truth i learn from my elders, when we went to US at my age of 10 [years old], I was so surprised how ordinary folks explain everything as if am talking to them as the same age as mine. up to now am still wandering why we filipinos doesnt treat kids as intellectual and the future of our country, in the philippines, youth are deprive of ideas what is better for them. look who’s the one talking and explaining everything on tv,radios or in press con. FVR 78 [years old], DOJ Gonzales 78 [years old], Ex Gen Abat 80 [years old], Sec Ermita and other’s who as if t[h]ey will still live by hundred years and cannot accept that their ideas are already “kalawang”. please you oldies, give the youth what is best for the country and for them.
    ==============end quote

    An expectation that our elders will feed us nothing but BS, it seems, is already ingrained from childhood. We Pinoys grow up with a strong impression that dishonesty is more the rule than the exception

    So I find all this expression of disgust and indignation about “cheating” at the highest levels quaintly amusing.

    Take stock first of your immediate surroundings and how you regard your kids. Because how Pinoys regard the youth merely reflects how our leaders reflect their flock.

  28. Benign0, you were making valid (if trite) points until you reached the part were you said:

    “So I find all this expression of disgust and indignation about “cheating” at the highest levels quaintly amusing.

    Take stock first of your immediate surroundings and how you regard your kids. Because how Pinoys regard the youth merely reflects how our leaders reflect their flock.”

    I take it that we have to transfom ourselves to become less tolerant of cheating so why shouldn’t we be intolerant of cheating even at the highest levels? Isn’t your own tolerance of cheating at the highest levels a sign that you haven’t learned your own lesson?

  29. cvj, all I am saying is just a statement of fact.

    What happens at the highest levels of society merely reflects what happens at the grassroots.

    We’ve tried for half a century to change the deep-rooted dishonesty of our Government and in all instances have failed.

    Across the numerous discrete adminstrations and various “war against cheating/corruption/dishonesty” initiatives lies a constant — *the ingrained culture of dishonesty of the governed society itself*.

    So whilst it is easy to point fingers and direct indignation at these strawmen political figures (many of whom will have undergone the whole musical chairs routine in the next 5-10 years anyway), it is a bit laughable that that constant of our society — the average Pinoy schmoe’s own deeply-ingrained predisposition to dishonesty — goes unnoticed or routinely swept under the rug.

    And by the way, the points I made are, indeed, “trite”. Which merely highlights my point I make about citing these observations about our small-minded day-to-day dishonesty — they are trite because they are already ingrained in our very cultural fabric.

    “Trite” is an apt description for something you see often enough to fail to realise how it is slowly poisoning you.

  30. Maybe this is also why Pinoys are so “religious” (kuno).

    Pinoys are religious (kuno) because we need a god to blame not only our misfortunes but our fortunes on.

    When we run into trouble, it is “God’s will”. When we meet up with good fortune, it is “by God’s graces”.

    My God!

    When will we take personal accountability for our fortunes (good or bad)?

    A president is merely an etension of our deeply-ingrained need for both a *scapegoat* and *provider*. Our presidents are burdened with wearing both hats simultaneously.

    A Philippine President both (a) is to blame for poverty — scapegoat hat, and (b) is expected to “create” employment for the jobless — provider hat.

    No wonder we are the laughing stock of Western and Confucian societies. Talagang tabla-talo ka when it comes to dealing with the Pinoy psyche.

  31. Benign0, to be more precise, ‘trite’ means ‘Lacking power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition; hackneyed.‘ []. I did say above that your observations are nevertheless valid (though one-dimensional), but to use that as an excuse to condone cheating at the highest levels is a step in the wrong direction. If through citizen action, we somehow cause a change to a more honest COMELEC, wouldn’t that send a lesson that honesty is still the best policy, and wouldn’t that lesson eventually filter down to everyday aspects of our lives? Change comes slowly, unevenly, painfully and maybe over generations but that is not an excuse for inaction.

  32. Benign0, one lesson you need to learn from the Westerners you look up to is the way they take the issue of accountability of their political leaders seriously. If you haven’t noticed, our fellow Filipinos are trying their best to enforce this ethic locally. I don’t know why you, of all people, would be against this.

    BTW, my ‘Confucian’ and Western friends and colleagues don’t laugh at me or my other Filipinos colleagues here in Singapore. We definitely can hold our own so i don’t think you need to denigrate the ‘Filipino psyche’ just like that.

  33. cvj, you persist in your habit of labelling arguments contrary to your views “strawman’s”. Just because you are applauded by your like-minded comrades in this blog doesn’t make your comments more valid and less “strawman’s” themselves.

    All the accusations you have against GMA have never been substantiated in any proper forum. Time and again we have been telling that if you have the goods, why – go get her by using the rule of law and the requirements of due process. Put up or shut up. Talk is cheap. You and your comrades are not accomplishing anything but fomenting despair, hate and misery.

    You speak of need to resolve the “issues” against PGMA. How? I don’t think you people will accept a verdict of innocence. You want her blood, nothing less a resolution than that for you and your kind. As you would not accept her election and legitimacy, so would you not accept any adjudication absolving her of any alleged wrongdoing – like the lynch mob that you are.

  34. cvj, who said I was condoning cheating? In fact I abhor all forms of dishonesty. The thing problem with Pinoys is that most only abjor large-scale dishonesty, but not the small things.

    Take the concept of “Pinoy Time” (about which much feel-good poetry’s been written). Pinoy time is a form of petty dishonesty — you tell someone you’ll be there at a certain time and then show up an hour late. Dishonesty alert!

    If you really think the cheating that happened in this and past and future elections is bad, think of this — it was *ordinary Pinoys* who executed this cheating. I’ve seen report on TV about how teachers were made to sit around filling out bogus ballots, how kids were conscripted to do even more of this dirty work. Even the thugs that caused a lot of the violence were *ordinary thugs*.

    If you think the Comelec is dishonest, try looking under the covers and take stock of the hierarchy of dishonesty that infests not only the Comelec but other gov’t agencies from the lowliest clerk up to the senior management levels.

    So don’t be quick to put the “ordinary Pinoy” on that high horse of victimhood. There’s enough victim mentality going around already as it is.

    I say it again:

    Pinoys *deserve* each other.

  35. cvj said: “BTW, my ‘Confucian’ and Western friends and colleagues don’t laugh at me or my other Filipinos colleagues here in Singapore. We definitely can hold our own so i don’t think you need to denigrate the ‘Filipino psyche’ just like that”

    Now that you mentioned it, I’m quite a superstar where I work as well. But the question is this: are we really representative of the *average* Pinoy schmoe? Do you think people like us got to where we were thinking and acting like a typical Pinoy?

    When Lea Salonga sings on stage, we are so quick to trumpet the excellence of “the Filipino” but fail to mention that Lea Salonga is *not* a typical Filipino.

    Me personally, I don’t attribute my work ethic to anything I picked up from Pinoy society. Families that could afford it enroll their kids in private schools — so that they are exposed to state-of-the-art knowledge and are amongst like-minded folk — not the kind of folk that laugh themselves silly watching Wowowee and show up in droves whenever some politician invites the Sexbomb dancers to a street rally in Ayala.

  36. Benign0, if you really abhor all forms of cheating, imho you would do better to join your fellow Filipinos (if you’re a Filipino) in voicing your opposition against what the COMELEC has been doing. There would be time afterwards to rehash your valid (but trite and one-dimensional) points later. Anyway, anyone who is interested can always look up the essays in your website.

  37. Now that you mentioned it, I’m quite a superstar where I work as well. But the question is this: are we really representative of the *average* Pinoy schmoe? Do you think people like us got to where we were thinking and acting like a typical Pinoy? – Benign0

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Since you think that you are far and above your fellow Filipinos, then you conclude that there couldn’t possibly that many more who are as good as you. I also happen to think that i’m ‘good’, but at best above average. That means that there are at least 30 to 40million other Filipinos, who given the opportunity, can be as good as me.

    IMHO, i think being ‘average’ or ‘above average’ is a mathematically safer assumption because i know my bell curve. It is simply not probable that all of us who think we’re special are really that way. Of course, you can go ahead and think highly of yourself, anyway who knows, maybe your as good as you advertise yourself to be.

  38. cvj, yes I could do that, but then I could also leave (which I did). I chose to vote with my feet (and I hope you’ll respect that) because I think the Philippines is simply being itself and therefore beyond any hope of change — at least in the next 100 years or so (after all, it took Europe *centuries* to shed its old feudal/medieval belief systems).

    But then I also choose to comment on blogs like these because this is what blogs are all about (the owners post, and the public comments).

    Obviously the *popular* in-thing, as you said, is to “join your fellow Filipinos (if you’re a Filipino) in voicing your opposition against what the COMELEC” (hey, it always feels good to be part of the “in” mob).

    But then ask yourself this: since when has the popularity of an idea (or course of action) been an indicator of its actual validity?

    Food for thought, dude.

  39. I think the line will be drawn very soon. The Lakas drive to abolish the Senate. At a minimum the results of the election prove that most of the voters prefer that the Senate remain.

    The issue of opposition vs administration is a non-starter since there is no difference between both sides except for Trillanes and the three gentlemen who ran under Kapatiran.

    The political economy is clear that the whole struggle ongoing is which group of old families will emerge on top. One major development is the rise of the unwitting proponents of Greater China. The Chinese will soon wipe out the vestiges of the old families.

    The Philippines weak fiscal and monetary position forced the government to sign on to the Chiang Mai agreement which is a practically a standby loan agreement with Japan ($5 billion), South Korea ($3 billion) and China ($2 billion)for contingency liquidity support in the forex markets in this age of volatile fund flows. When even the Zimbabwe stock market registers a gain of 22,000 % in their currency( they do have valuable commodities – gold)you know financial markets are in bubble territory.
    For students of the financial markets there is a new dollar backed gold standard. In the face of the devaluing dollar standard in the world the currency commodity backed index in the Australia, Canadian funds (commodity based economies) is a good hedge vs a depreciating dollar. In the short to medium term the sustained fund flows from the export of human resources and the promised extraction of up to $1 trillion in mineral resources in the same period will further strengthen the peso. That is the basic premise of the GMA economic program.

    The productive sectors of the economy -agriculture and industry (most specifically manufacturing) have all but been surrendered to the Japanese and the Chinese. If you read Habitos column recently you will note that 70% of total domestic employment is still derived from agriculture and agricultural related sectors in industry and the service sectors.

    You cannot leapfrog into post industrial development without going through the natural normal evolutionary process. However there is still a wide disconnect amongst most people who see the economy totally separate from politics. It is the economy that determined politics.

    Proof of it is the price information gathered from sources on the cost of vote buying for councilor, mayor and others. We even have the example of wholesale buying of votes through tribal chiefs. Once again markets at play. The anecdotal evidence is compelling.

    Milton Friedman would love to see this pure markets at work in play. Prices for electoral positions including party lists were openly bandied about.

    Poor guys from the Kapatiran did not realize that they were moving against the natural forces of nature – the market. Morality has no place in the market place. We have almost completed the commoditization of the electoral process down to the official canvassing. Manufactured canvass reports. They do it in the light of day with full impunity.

    Finally, there is till no integral Pinoy society to speak off. That will still take some time.

  40. BenignO, as a Filipino, I feel the extreme pain of knowing that most of our problems as a nation is right within our national psyche. It would be just natural to be defensive about it and offer excuses, like a drunk in denial, but we need a universal recognition of what ails us to begin a meaningful healing process.

    The national past time of blaming whoever is at the helm must stop. We all have to look inward for solution to our problems – to re-orient ourselves to overcome our unique frailties. Our individual thoughts, actions, aspirations, intentions and efforts make up the character of our nation.

  41. Bencard, look beyond your “pain” and think of it this way: Who said our worth as an individual needs to be tied to our ethnic origin? If being a Pinoy causes you pain, then simply cut off the cancer. If it causes you pride, then piggyback on this pride.

    The reality is this: There is nothing about the Philippines that we can *objectively* be proud of.

    The concept of “being Filipino” is a stupid concept. In fact, most of us understand more about what it means to be “Ilocano” or “Cebuano” than what it means to be “Filipino”.

    In the free world, we are entitled to our individual identities. If we choose to determine our worth in this world on the basis of our ethnic origins (or our belonging to an artificially-created “nation”), then we will always be “pained” by the collective failure of our “nation” to prosper. Life’s too short for that.

    Lots of people in the free world fought and died to uphold the whole idea that one’s ethnic origins need not be a hindrance to achieving one’s personal objectives and, more importantly, to determining one’s own self-worth.

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