Lanao invasion

Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos backtracks from proclaiming an initial batch of winning senatorial candidates:

When the NBC adjourned the canvassing at 6:15 Thursday night, it was still 8-2-2 in favor of GO.

It was also 8-2-2 for GO in the tally by Namfrel as of 6:03 Thursday night.

The tallies read out by the Comelec were from Navotas-Malabon, Tawi-Tawi, Antique and Northern Samar, bringing the total number of canvassed local CoCs to 69 provinces and 10 cities in Metro Manila, or 77 percent of the 103 local CoCs.

The handful of CoCs canvassed Thursday had no effect on the ranking of all candidates in the Magic 12 with the GO slate winning a sweep in opposition bailiwick, Navotas-Malabon.

They need more wiggle room, perhaps? The anti votes just keep rolling in.

The focus today and tomorrow will be on Lanao del Sur. Soldiers have been sent to Lanao del Sur, too. A showdown, says the Inquirer editorial. From the areas concerned themselves, Miriam Coronel Ferrer publishes eyewitness accounts of the fraud -and how local residents resent it.

There’s an illuminating report by Volt Contreras and Nikki Dizon explaining why fraud tends to mar Muslim Mindanao voting.

In the punditcracy, Amando Doronila says the election points an urban vs. rural divide, and an epic showdown to come:

…Struggling to crash into the 12th spot are Team Unity’s Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto, Michael Defensor and Prospero Pichay.

From the above figures, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against changing the ratio of the results, unless the administration, with the collusion of the Comelec, foolishly undertakes a massive tampering of the returns in Mindanao and other provinces. This picture underscores the futility of drastically changing the outcome without sparking a civil conflagration, of the magnitude that followed the walkout in February 1986 of computer technicians at the Comelec after the official tabulation wiped out the commanding lead of opposition presidential candidate Corazon Aquino…

…From where things now stand in the tabulations, the country is confronted by two sets of results, each presenting different electoral maps: one comes from the senatorial results and the other from the congressional and local elections…

…On the face of the results, two elections on two different levels, with no correspondence with one another, took place on May 14, drawing the electorally bifurcated map of the country: the Senate and the local elections.

Each sent different messages and mandates. This bifurcation emphasized even more sharply the great divide that ruptured the country — between the rural constituency of the President and the mainly urban constituency that was reflected in the Senate election vote.

Thus, the country stands divided, even more than it was during the past two years when their conflict came to a head in the two failed impeachment actions against the President and in street demonstrations demanding her resignation. The last election failed to heal these divisions. On the contrary, the two-level election results have set the stage for the epic showdown between the President and the opposition-dominated Senate for control of national agenda and policy in the next three years.

JB Baylon says its time for a public hanging!

Inthe blogosphere, in Inquirer Current, John Nery (pointing to a January column of his) points out the Palace effort to frame the election:

The Senate contest is not a referendum on the Arroyo presidency, because, well, the administration has lost the majority of seats at stake. But the congressional and local races? They are a referendum because the administration won most of the positions at stake.

Chasing Sass has a magnificent entry on the need for an undisputed majority for presidents. You have to read her entry, which ends with a sobering question:

In the last three presidential elections, not only that the elected presidents received a mediocre percentage of votes but they also received the lowest number of votes among the three nationally elected positions. Compare the votes of Mr Ramos, Mr Estrada, and Mrs Arroyo to the top senator during their respective elections. The votes of Mr Sotto III, Ms Legarda, and Mr Roxas III are significantly higher than the elected president. To add more insult to the insulted, these three presidents are the only ones who experienced this in the entire history of our fabulous democracy.

What exactly is happening here?

Patsada Karajaw says this election is the dirtiest ever. Exaggerated Anecdotes says the economy’s taken the cheating into consideration.

RG Cruz describes the President’s trip to Japan.

Demosthenes’ Game cheers on the President’s boosters and boos the President’s detractors.

Reyna Elena thinks a a centralized credit bureau’s a good idea.

Pine for Pine on a slang word’s etymology.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

119 thoughts on “Lanao invasion

  1. I like to keep the senate, increase their number, maybe 2-3x, elect them nationally so that they will have the true national mandate like the president, and the supreme court. After, they are supposed to be “equal” under the constitution.

    Eliminate the house of representatives which is only for “parochial jobs” most of the time. Leave all the local functions to the governors and mayors. Support all the official candidates with tax money (like in the states) with strict audit of all the expenses. This will give a chances to the poor and deserving candidates. Lastly, eliminate pork barrel and the “dynasties”.

    If these changes are done, maybe, just maybe Philippines will have a better chance.

  2. Oh, one more thing… It is more democratic to have a popular vote and not a vote by representation. My vote should be equal to anybody’s vote…the prez, the chief justice or the senator. Block voting? Nahhhh, I want to pick them all based on individual merits.

  3. i think it’s a question of economics… didn’t recto, pichay, defensor, and zubiri spend the most on this election so far?

    what’s a little more money from these guys to secure a spot in the top 12?

  4. bencard:

    a question to the American on the thread: how do these party conventions work? do all the members of a particular party get together and pick among a list of nominees put forward by the membership? can anyone nominate a candidate? and once the nominees have been chosen does the party now have to obligation to support their bets in the election? how does one join a political party in the States? can any Tom, Dick, and Jose join? or is there some sort of screening process?

    by its very nature, this concept is good. as vic mentioned in his post, it institutes an internal “refining system”, ensuring that the yahoos are kept out the running., for it’s only practical that you field your best when it comes to the actual elections.

    in the Philippines however, this might take some time to institute, considering political parties themselves can’t keep their own members in check (i refer specifically to the Liberal Party debacle that spawned the short-lived ‘Atienza Wing’ just recently). this doesn’t mean however that you should just throw such a system out. it may bot be doable now, but i’m sure if the climate for it is right, we will see large organized and self-funded political parties that don’t have to depend on fertilizer or some other means of raiding the nation’s coffers for their campaign machinery.

    political parties should definitely be strengthened in the country, and should cross regional boundaries by having national agendas and platforms of government. only then will you see a level of organization of the kind you see in the US.

    and if this results in the 2 party system that seems to be very much desired here, then let the other parties fall by the wayside, but during this process, let the people (who join these parties) decide the fate of their fate, and not just the small elite at the top.


    as for run-off elections, while the idea is again good, we have to be in possession of a system of conducting elections that minimise the potential for cheating.(read automated) the COMELEC under Abalos is NOT the one to bring this to us. the Royal-Sarkozy run-off in France was possible because they had the capability to report results fast. which is definitely not the case here.


    and finally on bloc voting. let’s not bring this political throwback back into the system. let the people grow up and deal wit the responsibilities of having their own choice.

  5. Pilipinoparin,

    “I like to keep the senate, increase their number, maybe 2-3x, elect them nationally …

    Eliminate the house of representatives which is only for “parochial jobs” most of the time. Leave all the local functions to the governors and mayors.

    Block voting? Nahhhh, I want to pick them all based on individual merits.”


  6. OK.. now the Cebu votes have been counted. Zubiri is back to 10th. And most of the remaining votes to be counted would come from Mindanao and the Visayas (his bailwick). I expect Zubiri to go up to 8th ot 9th place. And Recto to 11, and Defensor to 12th!

  7. toniong pagod, i don’t profess to be an expert on U.S. presidential elections although I have been voting since Carter vs. Ford. I do know that the making of a U.S. president starts with the campaign for the presidential primary. Certain States, through local statutes, provide for the holding of “primary” elections by each major party, the Republican and the Democrat. Anyone aspiring to be a presidential candidate may enter any such primary of the party to which he/she belongs. Sort of test the waters. Winning in the primary assures the victorious candidate a bigger share of the delegates’ vote in the party’s national convention. The more primary he/she wins, and the larger the votes garnered, the more likely he will be considered a frontrunner and ultimate winner by floor vote in the Convention. Each State of the Union has specific number of delegate votes and all such votes are normally bestowed, at the Convention, upon the primary winner in that State. The presidential candidate ultimately selected then chooses his running mate.

    The U.S. approach would need a lot of modifications to be adaptable to the Philippines. In fact we can formulate our own without copying the U.S. model. A skeletal framework that I envision would include the following:

    1. A clear and explicit constitutional provision mandating the establishment of two major political parties. (selection can be made by a national vote similar to election of “party list” groups that we now practice).

    2. A clear constitutional provision banning “turncoatism” of a presidential aspirant at least within one year prior to the election in which he intends to run. Sanction would include disqualification to assume the office should he wins somehow.

    3. An option for each taxpayer to contribute at least 10 pesos out of the tax due (without increasing his tax liability in any way) towards presidential campaign. The total proceeds will be divided between the two political parties which will use it to finance, at least partially, their respective campaigns. (by legislation

    4. A strict regulation on campaign contributions from private parties with stiff penalties for violations. (by legislation)

    The foregoing are just random thoughts which you (and my other co-visitors in this blog) may consider, refine, criticize or reject at your pleasure.

  8. oh yes, anybody can register either as democrat, republican or oven independent. i tnink, unless not allowed by state law, any registered voter can cross party line and vote at any state primary.

  9. Amending some provisions in the present constitution to limit the number of political parties in RP might improve the way of governance and the deliverance of services to the people. If personal interests of politicians are set aside for the common good, we might see the real fruits of the two EDSA’s.

    Until personal self interests & greed for power remains in the hearts of politicians we will continue to see deterioration of the country.

    I have seen a lot of good things that have been achieved by leaders after the 1st EDSA. We just need to preserve and continue to improve them for the common good.

    The term limits provision of the constitution is great, but, as always, the Pinoys have a way to kill it. Most elected leaders do not want to step down once they are elevated there.

  10. buencamino, there is aa thin line between “check and balance” and willful obstruction. the useless senate we have now often cross the line. i mean, you can check and balance while you perform your equally important function – legislation (especially acting on the national budget). This particular senate has more than once held the nation hostage by refusing to act on the budget in a malicious attempt to embarass PGMA’s administration. Who do you think suffered? The “masses” which you “bleeding hearts” ostensibly fight for and pretend to protect.

    the senate has outlived its usefullness (if it ever had been) and the nation has maintained it like a white elephant, with money we could not afford to waste, for so long. Its time to pass on to the dust bin of history has come.

  11. toniong pagod,

    Since the birth of Canada in l867, we started with only two political parties contesting the Government and ever since it’s been alternately run by either party.

    Sometimes the Liberal will be going for a stretch run, until the voters got bored of them and replace it with the Tories, or vice versa, or one Charismatic, one of a kind leader rise in opposition that may ably to unseat the government on the strength of his or her personality and Charisma (thinking Pierre Elliot Trudeau of the Liberals).

    Other Parties come and go and the one that stays but never a threat too win a government is the New Democrats (socialists) but is stable and maintains its base and membership. The other one is The Bloc Québécois, a Separatist party, representing only the Province of Quebec and winning 50% of more of Quebec seats during its short existence, but now is getting irrelevant as the Quebec issue of separation is getting unpopular among the younger Québécois.

    And here is the very simple set up of our Federal Government.

    The country is divided into 308 riding (district). Each will be represented by one member. The map is revised on specific schedule for redistribution.

    *Any group or person can organize a political party, but has to meet the election code guidelines to be able to avail the Government fundings, (reimbursements of the campaign and all expense and others, like allowance for its members) and also Tax refunds for its contributors.

    * Each party must choose a leader by their process, either by election of memberships in a convention or national mail votes. Usually it’s a run-off process where the winner will have the eventual majority of the votes. A leader can stay as long until stepping down or replace by the party.

    * The PM is the leader of the Party who wins the most seats in the last election. It could be a minority or majority government. Majority government if a party wins 50% + 1 of the seats.
    Mandate is five years, but now there is a proposal to fix it at four years, except for minority government that could lose the confidence and therefore election has to be called.

    * Campaign funds should only come from Two Sources:

    1. Contribution from members or any individual with a very strict maximum limits, and at certain amount, contributions are entitled to Tax Credit up to 75% up to the Maximum credit of $650. For each, maximum contributions, index to inflation, $5400 annually.

    2. Government: The government will reimburse the Accredited Parties and Individual candidates, who meet the guidelines for “nuisance candidates” part of their campaign expenses in the last election. Funds should revert back to the Party funds and for candidates, to pay off their campaign expense as they can only pay the balance from future donations to liquidate their borrowed campaign expense. Or return the refunds to its contributors.

    * Campaign and other election’s expense limits: Guidelines for party and individual candidates campaign expense is published every before election in relation to the updated or revised list of voters. Also for ridings with large land mass and less voters expenses are adjusted accordingly. Take note: the country is 3.8 million sg. miles.

    Check and Balance:
    Every candidate will engage a treasurer that will record all transactions of contributions and expense and submit to the electoral body and Revenue Canada. Failure to submit a Treasurer’s report can disqualify a candidate to run again, and also subject to other violations charges.

    Any person who files for candidacy and cannot meet the minimum votes as per guidelines, will have his or her “nuisance” deposit forfeited. (The guideline stands as somewhere 2% of the votes cast, anyone who goes out and campaign can easily get his deposit back plus at least half of his expense).

    No Individual can go over the limits for contribution, and an election campaign limits are enforced strictly. (Since it is the voters who partly finance the campaign, vote buying is unheard of).

    The other half of the house, the senate is an appointed body, whose member serves, until retirement. It can pass legislation, but most of its functions are perfunctory and some kind of Hearings now and then. It is also a partisan body, where senators are appointed as the Party of the appointing government. Proposal. To Limit the terms of Senators to a fixed Period of maybe five years, to give ex-politicians who could no longer win an an election in Parliament, a chance to again become a “lawmaker,” even just a figurehead.

  12. vic:

    I came from Canada too. that’s a system i’m a bit more familiar with. although i was younger and not too politically inclined when i was there.:)

    but where do the other parties like the NDP and the BQ fit in.. didn’t the NDP at least score quite a few victories in Ontario? Weren’t there provincial premiers that come from the “third parties” as well?

    over to the other suggestions about how our electoral system can be changed, i mean here are a lot of good examples from other countries that we can somehow adopt (and adapt) for the Philippines. i especially like the provisions on campaign funding, especially in Canada. this represents an expression of “putting your money where your mouth is”–if you really believe in your party’s ideals then, be prepared to spend money on it.

    and vic brought up a little something: even the Canadian Parliament has a Senate.

  13. and so does the Japanese Diet (House of Councillors) and the British Parliament (House of Lords).

  14. toniong pagod,
    well, as you might as well know, that provincial governments are autonomous in nature and although, as you noted that other parties, The New Democrats in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the Separatist Parti in Quebecois in Quebec has been dominating the provincial landscape and also Ontario where the NDP once won a government and a very strong third party, which could sometimes result in Minority Govt. in Ontario.

    There is also a talk of proportionate representation, because some parties, like the Green party who garnered a lot of votes and the NDP but failed to win corresponding seats. Everything is under exploration if to make our governance much better.

    Good to let some readers know, that we are a bilateral Parliamentary system, the House of Commons and the House of Senate. Although both houses need some kind of reforms, the Senate needs more attention, because from the beginning it is a Patronage Retirement house for ex politicians. And the tinkering is starting now…

  15. “There is also a talk of proportionate representation, because some parties, like the Green party who garnered a lot of votes and the NDP but failed to win corresponding seats. Everything is under exploration if to make our governance much better.” – Vic

    Notwithstanding the efforts of Gloria, her allies and the COMELEC to subvert the system of proportional representation, i believe this is one of the genuine improvements of the 1987 Philippine Constitution over the 1935 and 1973 Versions. If we go back to a pure winner take all voting, then the marginalized sectors would again lose representation (which is probably one of the hidden motives of those who favor Cha-cha).

    It’s good to hear Vic and Toniong Pagod’s expositions on Canada’s system, especially the campaign finance aspect and its bicameral set-up. Thanks guys.

  16. Vic:

    ah yes,i remember my pol100 prof mention that there were some senators on oxygen and wheelchairs in the Canadian Senate.


    the ideas are not so bad, don’t you think? i mean, if parties were a stronger political force here (and not personalities and political clans) then in a way, the people have a voice. i mean conceivably, anyone can choose, as an exercise of his political freedom, to join a political party and help that party send a leader to the polls.

    but what are your views on federalism? would it be contrary to the formation of a national interest? i think a federalist system here may just allow adequate representation of the marginalised sectors so often silenced in elections of a national scope.

  17. toniong pagod, i agree, there are definitely some good ideas there. Regarding federalism, I have collated (and consolidated) last year’s comments i made on different threads here on mlq3 on this subject:

    ‘Federalism’ in GMA’s hands sounds like a means to extend the shelf life of feudalism . To minimize the tendency of power going to local warlords, any future redrawing of the political map needs to be clustered around the major cities and the surrounding countryside. Exceptions can be made for far-off islands like Tawi Tawi, Palawan and Batanes where they can experiment declaring their island groups as free trade zones. Because of the dominance of provincial warlords, our system of justice definitely has to remain centralized (following the French model instead of the British system of Common Law).

    There are policies where decentralization is good. The south should be more closely integrated to the commerce of Malaysia and Indonesia while Luzon should be more economically integrated to China just as it was before the Spaniards came. Also, in the case of Palawan, i believe that they are indeed entitled to getting revenue from Maalampaya. Humanitarian and livelihood projects going to Maguindanao and the other poorer provinces should also be a priority. On the other hand, policies such as putting up an International airport in Bohol…is pure pork-barrel and a waste precious funds. Apart from that, i see no sense in dividing the political identity of the Philippines and Filipinos. On the practical side, it has become a global brand.

    One risk in considering a federal set-up is the way in which it may be used by foreign governments to further their agenda. In the future, the USA may play off a less hospitable central government in Manila against the local government in Mindanao so that they can set-up and maintain their military bases on that island.

    Just to add to the above, on the matter of who should get the bulk of the tax revenues, i believe it should be the local governments (as opposed to the national government). This would dispel much of the valid resentments against Imperial Manila. Lastly, i don’t think we should use federalism as an excuse to get around our problems of acting at a national level because at some point, our international competitiveness would ultimately boil down to that.

  18. cjv,

    There are quite a few safeguards in a federal system when it comes to division of power and authorities over resources, but most importantly, the administration of Justice and foreign relations.

    I’m not familiar with any other country’s, but quite acquainted with what we have here.

    Just a few examples. Criminal law is Uniform throughout the country, although administered by each provinces, it is under the Federal Law. Civil law is also uniform, pattern to British common law, except Quebec, which follows the Napoleonic code. Foreign relations and affairs are the exclusive power of the Federal Government, as well as immigration and the Nation’s Military. Economy is the primary responsibility of the each autonomous Provinces, with the Federal Government keeping the Balance of downloading Federal funds to help out poorer regions.

    With proper division of power and sharing of resources, Federalism has its benefits and of course the right to Mobility of the whole country citizens should not be infringe too.

  19. Constitutional amendments or laws to limit the number of political parties to 2 or 3 should be resisted to protect the rights of leaders like Rummel Pinera and his League of Political Abrogationists… or to protect the rights of future Filipinos who, after making $$$$ in the United States, will want to return to be the next Senator or even President following the footsteps of Mark Jimenez (adviser to Erap, also known as Mario Batacan Crespo) or Martin Bautista, Oklahoma MD.

  20. buencamino, i think it’s time for you to understand that the senate, by itself alone, is not a “co-equal branch” of the executive and the judiciary. The legislature, which consists of the House of Representatives (aka Congress) and the Senate, is the third (co-equal) branch. you would do well reviewing your civics.

    Name calling, which is your forte, will get you nowhere. Magno makes more sense than all of you guys who calls him “worm” put together.

  21. Toniong Pagod,

    Federalism could be what can ultimately destroy the country.

    Having been in Canada; you know of what Parti Quebecois tried not once but twice.

  22. Federalism can be adopted in RP if the main goal is for a better government, the problem is Filipinos can not divorce “ningas cogon”.

    If leaders always place in their hearts the gains of the so called EDSA’s, we do not have these problems. 21 years have passed and we did not take advantage of it.The babies who were born during the 1st EDSA are now voters. Did they sell their votes too during the 2007 elections?

    Should there be changes in the costitution and the present set up, who will benefit from it. Don’t tell me its the opposition and the masses. After the 1st EDSA anti-FM were like mosquitoes who were able to get inside the mosquito net to feed on the sleeping victim. Where are the pro-Cory now, they are fighting among themselves to remain in power.

    What the country needs now are people who have balls and can stand to lose everything in exchange of a better Philippines.

  23. ah well, you do have a point with quebec JL, goes to show that not any system is perfect. but the case of the quebecois, who see themselves as a culturally distinct group from the rest of Canada has parallels in the muslim communities in Mindanao.

    and perhaps that is where a federal form of government might be deemed to risky to implement in the Philippines.

    but Canada has fought off the seperatists, which means that a country can exist where territories can hold radically different points of view and yet continue to work together as one nation.

    as vic points out in his post, this can start with the proper safeguards, should we ever try to adopt such a system.

    but i do concede, that while we are oriented on the local level to think of powerful clans as a valid political unit, then federalism may be too early to implement here.


    bencard, please explain your point. while you so readily indict manuel buencamino and those of us who think that alex magno is akin to to a slimy invertebrate, you fail to tell us why you think that way.

    perhaps you agree with his view that the senate, becaise it brooks no loyalty to his patroness in the Palace, is inutile for it “doesn’t get with the program”, are you not merely echoing the sentiment not so long ago of Dubya when he questioned the actions of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she decided to see how things were for herself.

    is it because politics in the States is far more evolved than it is here that dissent is more acceptable?

    must we tolerate a legislature that kowtows to the executive because it has the monopoly on knowing what is good for the people?

    the Senate here plays the role it does in the States. to check the actions of the House. this is especially important in the country, where, as mlq3 points out, that the President has never lost the House of Representatives.

    in this last election, this again seems to be the case. thus again the House of Representatives will be Arroyo’s hand in the legislature. voices of dissent, voices that may provide a valuable alternative are effectively dead in the lower house.

    must these voices be stilled in the Senate as well?

    all magno does in his latest column is an ineffective attempt to malign the Senate, to consign it to inutility not because it is too fractious to be effective. but because it works well enough to remind his Mistress in Malacañang that this country is a democracy, and not the virtual dictatorship she so dearly wishes it would be were it filled with sycophants and toadies.

    and so yes, magno is a worm. or perhaps a toad then.

  24. Ben,

    It was I who said that senate was co-equal with Malacanang (in Manila, not in Cebu)and the Supreme Court. The reason why I said that was my proposition to abolish/eliminate the house which in my opinion is useless (at least during the past few years)

  25. TP,

    Yes, Canada has done that and so has the U.S.

    But there other nations that did not. I believe its too much of a risk.

  26. jl,

    When confederation was formed in Canada, each province and territory joined in their own free will. The late comer Newfoundland and Labrador, was contemplating the Idea of becoming one the U.S. and B.C. if not for the Chinese Labour building the Trans-Canada Railway threatened to join the U.S. in the Early l900s. And the only regret perhaps the Confederate advocates was the opportunity to amend the Charter that the Country is One and Inseparable like the U.S. provision in Her Constitution, so the threat of force, or actual force can be used to keep the Union intact.

    Meanwhile all the government had done was to enact a law, specifically for the Quebec separatists, to change the conduct of Referendum and the manner that the Question is phrased to make it very clear to the voters of Quebec to understand what they are getting into. And also just recently, the Current government passed a Resolution recognizing Quebec as a Nation within a Nation, whatever that means, hope to make Quebecois realize that they are just as wanted as the rest of Canada. But if in the end, Quebec really wants to Break Away, we still could be a good neighbor. Like U.K. and France maybe?

  27. Bencard,

    “This particular senate has more than once held the nation hostage by refusing to act on the budget in a malicious attempt to embarass PGMA’s administration.”

    You would be doing yourself a big favor if you read exactly why the Senate held up this year’s budget. You will see that the Senate, against the wishes of the Lower House and Malacnang, did what it was sypposed to do – check and balance the attempt of the Lower House and Malacanang to include appropriations whose sole purpose was to provide campaign funds for administration candidates.


  28. Bencard,

    Here’s a civics lesson for you:

    All tax and appropriations bills originate in the Lower House. The role of the Senate is to check and balance the House, that’s why those bills are sent UP to the Upper House. Another role of the Senate, as part of a co-equal branch of government is to check and balance and exercise oversight on the Executive Branch. That is also one of the duties of the Lower House. The two Houses act independently of each other when they exercise their oversight functions because each House has its own committees. Whether the Lower House or the Upper House exercises its checks and balances and oversight duties is a question of prerogative for either House. So, either House, alone, can play the role of co-equal branch if and when the other House decides it wants to behave as a less than equal branch of government. Clear enough for you?

    As to Alex Magno – Here’s why I called him a worm.

    Alex Magno, You Maggot
    Manuel Buencamino
    Monday, 13 March 2006
    Mr. Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.

    Alex Magno of the Philippine Star wrote, “As the world rushes aid to the victims of the Leyte landslide, why are the political players of Manila more engrossed with power grabs?”

    I asked a political analyst what he thought about Magno’s line. He dismissed it: “Magno echoes the palace propaganda line.”

    I thought it was more than just propaganda. I saw Magno’s line as a shameless act of enlisting the dead of Leyte as soldiers to protect his self-elected patroness, Gloria Arroyo.

    The great American journalist, Jimmy Breslin, once wrote a column about politicians using the dead for political gain. He wrote:

    “In his first campaign commercial, George Bush reached down and molested the dead….George Bush came up with the badge of a Port Authority cop, George Howard, who died. He was from Hicksville. His mother gave Bush the son’s badge. When Bush came back to the trade center a year later, he reached into his pocket and whipped out that badge and he had a tear in his eye. What makes it worse is that this George W. Bush acts like he’s entitled to treat the remains of a dead man like a souvenir. Now he shows a commercial with dead bodies, or body parts, covered with an American flag being taken through the smoke and flames of the world trade center attack. It caused people who had lost family members in the attack to complain about using the dead or parts thereof being used for a politician’s gain.”

    That is exactly what Magno and the rest of what Breslin calls the Pekinese Press are guilty of, molesting the dead.

    Magno said the politicians who went to Fort Bonifacio during last Sunday’s Marine stand-off “were like flies buzzing around excrement or vultures hovering around a carcass.” By the same token, Magno is nothing but a maggot feasting on Leyte’s cadavers.

    But he is more than just a maggot.

    Magno, like his patroness in Malacañang, does not hesitate to ride on the backs of Filipinos toiling abroad. He boasts, like a remora on a shark, “Since the start of the year, the peso has strengthened dramatically”. Tell us, Remora, how your shark can claim credit for the sweat and blood of millions of OFWs who remit money to their families?

    “The economy is beginning to roar. Large-scale investments are being negotiated,” he adds, as innocent villagers of Rapu-Rapu are poisoned by toxic mine spills from those large scale investments.

    Magno, why are you applauding the sight of truncheons bashing the heads of peaceful marchers while people are dying in Rapu-Rapu?

    Do something for the living instead of feasting on the dead, you maggot.

  29. manuelbuencamino


    The senate was not the cause of the budget delays, it was GMA.

  30. toniong tulog, i am not your answer guy, who do you think you are? i have no time for smart alecs or smart mouths like you, you self-anointed judges of this blog whose main weapons are ad hominems and insults. you are the ones turning polite differences of opinion into uncivilized discourse. shame on you!

    buencamino, that goes for you too, the high priest of uncivility in this blog. calling people you don’t like or disagree with, maggots, shit or crap reveals the kind of human being you are, if you are one.

  31. I like the multiparty system the way it is, without the runoff for president. We most often will get a plurality president but what’s so bad about that? It’s a built-in protection against a tyranny of the majority. The president’s mandate is not a one-time thing that the people give him or her during elections. The consent of the governed is something that the president continually has to earn and the people can withdraw that consent anytime. The onus then is on a president, elected by a plurality, to prove that he or she is the president of the people and not of a minority. In fact, the first thing an elected president should do is to renounce all organized party affiliations, but that could be asking too much.

    (Re: maggottness. To be fair, the opposition also used the same argument against Villafuerte and Lagman when they spearheaded the charge to unicamerally change the constitution. If youll recall, the Bicol region has just been devastated by a series of typhoons at the time. The argument went “Why are Villafuerte and Lagman more concerned with charter change when Bicolanos are dying?” That argument wasnt necessary. Everybody could plainly see that Vilafuerte and Lagman were scumbags who tried to foist the tyranny of their majority in the House to subvert the Constitution.)

  32. bencard,

    let’s not get down to that level again, shall we? you have a point about the commenters treatment of magno. it is rather crass to just hurl an insult at a fellow human being. i mean, i’m willing to leave him and his opinions. it’s just that over here (and especially on here), he really just tends to rub people the wrong way.

    we’re all here just expressing an opinion, right? and my opinion is, without all the extra language, is that i don’t like him.


    but let’s get back to the issue at hand. after the latest round of results, zubiri has made the top 12.

    i don’t mind that at all.

  33. oh and in the House… if i read the headline correctly as i was driving into work. the opposition is down to 22 congressmen.

    this makes the composition of the current Senate crucial.

  34. So much attention is being given to modes of government as the best solution to our nation’s ills, that sometimes I think common sense isn’t so common after all. 2 party system, federalism, parliament, and all that… would that really cure everything?

    I don’t presume to be as great a thinker as Rizal, but it never ceases to amaze me how centuries having passed aside, all of Rizal’s admonishment on how to save our nation has stayed true. 2 things in particular stand out: the YOUTH is the future, and EDUCATION is still the best way to effect meaningful change.

    Oh, MLQ3 may say all he wants abt US changing, for better or for ill, saying “we’ve changed, period,” not noting that those changed were external. In all things essentially “Filipino” have we really changed compared to the Filipinos of Rizal’s time? Look deeper and u will realize that the eternal “problem Filipino” we now have, was the same “problem Filipino” Rizal had in his time. Sometimes, I wonder if we Filipinos ever had that same greatness our TRUE native ancestors had (emphasis on TRUE as sometimes I rationalize our “ills” as having been passed on, or was the cause of our having been colonized) I wonder if ever Bayanihan had ever been true, or HONESTY as honest taught to me that native Filipinos exercised. Is it in our blood to be mediocre? To quarrel and nitpick, and blame everyone else but ourselves? Bec. it seems to me that for us to be great, all we need to do is fight everything “innately” Filipino about us (emphasis on innately as that is something really debatable) and “rise above ourselves.” What are these things I decry as innately, stupidly US? I could go on and on, but deep down, everyone of us know what those are. DISCIPLINE suddenly flashed my mind, but anyway, let’s go back to my original point. And it is this: there is but one thing that can help us CURE our NATION, and it is not changes in gov’t structure, but changes in OURSELVES. It is the single, most hardest thing to do. Admit we are the PROBLEM, and do something abt it.

    I have so much to say, yet what is the use? I am one of the proof that everything I decry abt us permeat our national being more than we care to admit. I will fight my own battles with myself, and if I emerge victorious, then, and only then will I cry sanctimonious, and fight for change the way it needs to be fought. UNCONDITIONALLY.

  35. Bravo, devilsadv8, for your personal manifesto. But Ive read the comments again, and maybe I missed something, but nobody has claimed the mode of government as the best solution to our nation’s ills. You edited that in yourself, Im afraid.

    As for the our ills you (and benign0 in the other thread) enumerated, I would have to say that those issues are–what did cvj call them?–trite. We KNOW that already. The rest of the country is looking for solutions now, not another trite enumeration of our problems. We already know what the problems are. Some of it systemic, some of it closer to hearth and home. There is general agreement on the problems but disgareement on the right solutions.

  36. It is often the case when looking at matters such as this when you come to the point where you look for change within yourself. Because as part of any society, when you get to looking at its ills, you begin to realize that “yes, I too, am part of this problem.”

    And while it is something that everyone would do well to do (in order to be a better human being, regardless of nationality) in the context of communities and nations, it’s something that you can’t mandate. For introspection and the desire to change one’s insides is a business you have with yourself and something you undertake for yourself.

    Meanwhile, we have to live in this society. There is nothing wrong with exploring ways to better the way it is run. And contrary to your assertion that the cure to our nation lies within each person, I would like to put forward this: if the government can ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens, in order to create an environment where they will have the time and inclination to effect change in their lives, then the changes in government will have been worth it, right?

    Look at how Filipinos are in other countries. They may hold on to all of those qualities many on this blog have seen as deplorable, but for the most part, they adapt to their new societies and become productive and law-abiding people. You can even point out some examples here wherein well-run local governments produce well-bred individuals.

    It all boils down to this advoca8, you can’t aspire to the higher qualities of life when you’re much too worried about daily survival for you to do so.

    Thus the rationale for all these comments about the structure of government. While in the end this may all amount to nothing more than just shooting the breeze, it gives you a forum to think about this country and where it hopefully could go.

  37. Some of the arguments here remind me so much of Stephen Colbert’s, The Colbert Report. When you read Magno and the rest of the people at the Star you see the remarkable resemblance of what passes for news reporting and commentary so much like the Colbert Report. Some people in the States actually believe that The Colbert Report is an actual news program.

    Magno was given a choice position as DBP director by GMA.
    The owners of the Star and most of the writers are big players in the game of influence peddling. (PR)They commoditize their access to the political economy.

    You learn a lot more from the Colbert Report. It is too bad that the Star doers not use the tag line Comedy Central.

  38. Jeg said: “We KNOW that already. The rest of the country is looking for solutions now, not another trite enumeration of our problems. We already know what the problems are.”

    I don’t think so. What’s really wrong with us is that we are full of diversions and denials and seems that some are just trying and intentionally confusing it in their favor. We are not really focusing with the right and honest determination of our problems.

  39. I would submit that those who are full of diversions and denials know what they are diverting from and denying because they are “intentionally confusing it in their favor.” In fact we know that those who intentionally confuse the problems in their favor are themselves a problem, yes?

    Anyway, Im only talking about the trite [lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition] problems.

  40. Those who intentionally confuse the problems are not only the problems, they also do not want the problem to be solved.

  41. Jeg,

    I stand corrected. Yes, it was only me who assumed that everyone was putting their ideas as the “best” solution. But to call the problems I alluded to as “trite” well, that’s jz sad. Perhaps I have a different understanding of what trite is. In wikipedia it is defined as: something insignificant in scope. Is that what our social ills are? I thought it was the opposite, that it was sweeping, and permeating everything we do as a nation.
    Other definitions were:
    1. Lacking power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition; hackneyed.
    2. Archaic, frayed or worn out by use.

    If that’s what you meant by trite, then yes, I would have to agree. It is overused, a tired cliche if u myt. Any idea how it came to be so? To be repeatedly pointed out as something that is ill must mean something..
    Knowing the problem and doing something abt it are 2 completely diff things. U said the country is looking for soulutions now, and yes, no more “trite” enumerations, damn it!
    We already had the solution. Rizal pointed it to us more than a century ago. Educate the youth, and invest in them. All the others being put forward “may” produce results, but will inevitably, not be sustainable unless this one thing I pointed out is done first.


    “…in the context of communities and nations, it’s something that you can’t mandate. For introspection and the desire to change one’s insides is a business you have with yourself and something you undertake for yourself”

    AMEN. I see ur point, that altho self-change is important, other matters that need seeing to, MUST also be seen to. Ur example abt other Filipinos abroad becoming productive and law-abiding citizens is just the perfect example of the dual and contradictory nature of our psyche. The Filipino of course can be a very law-abiding citizen, but only IF the law was being enforced and penalty being meted out w/o exceptions. This environment of course is absent here in the Phils. Which is why I pointed out self-change as a starting point. I agree it cannot be forced on someone else, which is why I said I need to battle w/myself 1st b4 I go out saving everyone else. As for now, I keep writing, hoping to reach out to those who don’t consider our social ills as “trite.”

    My inner self always berates me when I pain myself w/d thought that there is still HOPE for our country. My mind’s favorite nagging is that “I can’t save someone who refuses to be saved or acknowledged that they need saving.”

    But when I look at those others working tirelessly outside of the “govt’s sphere” to do some good, it puts me to shame. If despair is all I can do, perhaps I do deserve never to see my country become great.

    I practice being a good citizen, obeying laws, even when no one is looking, doing my part, going as far as to influence those close to me to “discipline” their selves as well. But even then, I feel my part as insignificant.
    I want to help badly, but I have limited resources at my disposal. If there is one thing God did give me, it was my words. Perhaps it may not mean anything to a lot, but maybe with my writing, I can change one or two people. Perhaps there is hope.

    That is why everyday I battle with myself, look in the mirror and ask: will it be the easy way out or the hard path?

  42. Vic,

    I’m not that familiar with the other Charters you mentioned.

    But having looked at Abueva’s Concom recommendations as well as a House Concurrent resolution for Amending the Charter with federalism in mind (I didn’t view the latest one that they formed in the latter part of last year for their single House push for amendments as the House website is/was so inept); I don’t see such a distinct provision there proclaiming the Country as One and Inseparable.

    Well yes, that nations be neighborly to each other is a possibility but India and Pakistan, and North and South Korea are neighbors too.


    I hate to say this but as to your post today at 11:07 AM, I think you are more referring to something like Venezuela where they can recall their President.

  43. Vic,

    I’m not that familiar with the other Charters you mentioned.

    But having looked at Abueva’s Concom recommendations as well as a House Concurrent resolution for Amending the Charter with federalism in mind (I didn’t view the latest one that they formed in the latter part of last year for their single House push for amendments as the House website is/was so inept); I don’t see such a distinct provision there proclaiming the Country as One and Inseparable.

    Well yes, that nations be neighborly to each other is a possibility but India and Pakistan, and North and South Korea are neighbors too.


    I hate to say this but as to your post today at 11:07 AM, I think you are more referring to something like Venezuela where they can recall their President.

  44. toniong pagod, it’s o.k. with me, let’s try to stay on the level that befits this blog. an isolated and good-natured insult (as a professional clown would dish out)here and there is good for amusement and cure for boredom. but any word or action that demeans a person’s worth for no other reason than expressing an unpopular viewpoint is offensive and invites resort to violence.

  45. jl,
    It is no longer an issue for the Philippines to declare that the Country is “one and inseparable” after Federalism, because the Philippines is already “one” Country.

    Whereas the U.S. before confederation or they prefer to term it the Union, each Colony was an Independent or Autonomous, which I believe started with l3 original Colonies then grew to 50s.

    Canada is the same. Each province was an Independently ruled territory and some provinces like the B.C. and maybe others in the West and the Arctic was the Properties of Private Companies like the Hudson Bay, which may have financed the Exploration and was granted the rights for Fur tradings. Quebec at the time was the territory of France and was won by force. Actually we started with Three provinces, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The rest were fencesetters and waited to which Union to join in, the U.S. or Canada, especially the Provinces with Borders with the U.S.. These are just my off the shelf recalls of the little history of Federalism, from many different Independent Provinces and Territories, and Colonies and States in the U.S. into Two Big Countries of the North America.

  46. Jeg, i think we need a run-off if no candidate gets an outright majority in the first round because it is relatively easier for an up and coming leader to gather support of an active minority but harder to get the acceptance of the majority. For example, a populist demagogue can get votes simply by playing off the resentments of one segment of the population against another. A run-off will allow him or her to face the judgement of the targetted segment who would otherwise be adversely affected such a divisive candidate’s ascendancy.

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