Return of the native

After Edsa Dos, I expressed the opinion, mainly in private, that having stepped down, and having avoided bloodshed, Joseph Estrada should be left alone in Greenhills and left to wallow in his riches. Ouster, under the circumstances, was enough. When Edsa Dos forces insisted he should be thrown in jail, again, I expressed reservations on the basis of the country remaining deeply divided, and on the principle that you do not kick a man when he is down. When the pressure to charge him and try him proved irresistible, I cautioned that pending the trial, he should still be allowed to stay in Greenhills, as humiliating him would not serve the interest of justice.

What happened of course was that he was clumsily arrested, and treated in such a manner as to provoke the Edsa Tres revolt. A revolt the forces salivating over his humiliation proved powerless to prevent or even counter. The reformist instincts of the President were swiftly abandoned at that point, when it proved her Civil Society allies couldn’t protect her; instead, the military and the operators shielded her and the inevitable slide to 2003 (her decision to run again), 2004 (the manner in which the campaign was conducted), 2005 (the divorce between the President and what remained of the reformists within her government) and 2006 began.

After having gone against her instincts and ordering the arrest of Estrada, the President always proved ambiguous about the trial and a conviction: from day one, she’d preferred exile as a solution. If that proved impossible, she would be persistent in offering a pardon. Meanwhile, she expressed no dissatisfaction with the trial being dragged out, since a quick resolution of the case wouldn’t do her any good (in the absence of a willingness, on Estrada’s part, to recognize her legitimacy by accepting a pardon from her), and while a drawn-out trial also served Estrada’s purposes (either postponing an inevitable conviction or keeping him in the limelight as some sort of self-styled prisoner of conscience), neither side seemed capable of figuring out what a possible compromise could be.

And so, earlier this year I proposed that Estrada cut the Gordian knot and run for office. It offered up a possibility for the public to resolve something the court was proving unable to do. Estrada preferred to continue posturing from his Tanay rest house. After the election, when it became clear Estrada’s endorsement was not as powerful as people had expected, and when the President for her part, saw the public mood (nationally-speaking) was completely against her, the trial began to move toward a resolution. On the day the verdict was handed down, both Estrada and Arroyo loyalists discovered they stood larger in their own minds than in the eyes of a public that shrugged off Estrada’s conviction. Both saw themselves in the mirror, and didn’t like what they saw: they saw themselves as sliding, inexorably, too, into the has-been column of the political divide.

With neither side having shown themselves as particularly devoted to the law, I felt that the whole thing should be done with, and Estrada pardoned. I did end up qualifying that opinion with a further opinion that a pardon shouldn’t include his taking home the loot. The opinion of Prof. Popoy de Vera struck me, which was, that the Filipino concept of justice is restitution and not retribution -as he later told me, besides that was the public view that Estrada shouldn’t keep his loot, and having been disgraced, he should bow out of politics.

The pardon, as it’s emerged, involves exactly that, and suggests at whom the pardon is aimed, in p.r. terms: the Estrada constituency among the masses. The pardon contains a pledge (whether meaningless or not) that Estrada will not seek elective office, and that he forfeits the properties and monies ordered confiscated by the court.

Estrada, for his part, had angled for nothing less than a full, sweeping pardon. the President, on the other hand, anxious as she was to grant that pardon, had to be able to throw some sort of bone to her constituents and so, made a counter-proposal: Estrada should accept a conditional pardon, the only condition being his being unable to keep the loot (which Estrada, after all, had unblinkingly claimed was never his). What seems to have finally clinched the deal was something personal and not political -the widely-held assumption that Estrada’s mother doesn’t have very much longer left to live.

Add to that the unappetizing prospects, for the Estrada, of continued detention (however pleasant it is, but from his perspective still an intolerable situation), his being unsure of whether he would secure the overturning of the verdict on appeal, and the chance that a future government might not be anxious to pander to him the way the President has, and you can well imagine why Estrada would want to settle things now, and forget any chance to achieve a proper vindication. Add to this, finally, the pending transfer of Estrada to New Bilibid prisons: being fingerprinted in an orange jumpsuit, shaved of his Elvis-style pompadour, having to endure a jail cell.

You can imagine, too, that the President, beset on all sides by problems of her own making, and who never wanted things to reach this point, anyway, would want to settle matters, too, and her willingness to take one more gamble by saying she’d allow his being sent to Bilibid.

And so, they sealed the deal.

I am not surprised by the pardon, and I’m generally inclined to look at it the way Torn & Frayed does (he opposed amnesty, though I think amnesty would have been more politically acceptable all around), but I think it does leave a little room for further interpretation.

It tells us that the President has more to gain in terms of good will from the Estrada constituency than she has to lose from Edsa Dos forces who will be angry, upset, and shocked, but who in the end lack what matters most to the President: numbers, in terms of votes, and a willingness to make those numbers count, whether in terms of public protests or going to the polls.That political math has been clear since May, 2001: and the losers here are the Edsa Dos veterans who are shocked and appalled, only now, not least because the folly of their support for the President has been exposed, not to the President but to themselves. As far as Estrada’s supporters are concerned he made the best out of a raw deal.

But it also tells us that Estrada is permanently incapable of saving anything beyond his own hide. In the end he had to kneel and beg for mercy from a President he’d never recognized as legitimate; he would not risk vindicating himself in the courts, the ultimate demonstration of his disbelieving his own rhetoric. He can always say what does it profit a man, if he is unable to bury his mother as a free man? As far as that goes, he’s right; but he would have been allowed to bury her anyway, but he could not allow himself to endure the prospects of the Supreme Court upholding his conviction, or worse, his being hauled off to Muntinlupa to endure the kind of imprisonment regularly endured by his constituents.

In the strange, because almost mystical, way our society manages to see rays of sunshine, public opinion had finally welcomed Estrada’s conviction as closure to the great divisions of 2001. His supporters could proclaim him a willing martyr; his critics could view it as vindication. Estrada and Arroyo both managed to deny that closure to both, and that’s the reason there’s public dissatisfaction. at least withing Edsa Dos and some Edsa Tres circles, with the deal.

One comment I heard, from some Edsa Dos veterans, was, “and he didn’t even spend a single day in jail.” I understand some Estrada supporters were upset, too, because their idol caved in and left them twisting in the wind, proclaiming the illegitimacy of an administration from which Estrada himself decided to seek a pardon only a legitimate president can grant.

What this has achieved is that it has simply reshuffled the deck chairs on the Titanic. The President removed the chains keeping steerage from joining the First Class passengers on the deck of the sinking ship. Those astute enough to realize the ship’s doomed long ago fired the distress rockets and clambered into lifeboats.

In a nation where symbolism trumps substance, Estrada never had to suffer for his rhetoric, the President never gave the legal process to reach its final conclusion; there wasn’t even a token effort at proving justice could be tempered with mercy; instead, mercenary calculations were passed off as executive mercy. But, as Amang Rodriguez so famously said, “in the long of time, we shall success.”

Much as everyone saw the pardon coming, what I don’t think anyone outside of official circles expected was for it to be used so crudely, so patently politically: a historic verdict required a historic demonstration of presidential statesmanship; instead, it was a tool used to blunt the effects of embarrassing headlines resulting from the Senate hearing; and it was a brusque dismissal of those who, all these eventful years, stubbornly insisted on giving the President the benefit of the doubt because she had to be, somehow, better than her predecessor.

What happens next? It remains to be seen whether Estrada will be grateful to Arroyo, and whether a new Arroyo-Estrada alliance is in the making. I can only hope so. It relieves the opposition of the burden of having to maintain an uneasy peace with the Estrada forces, and finally offers up the prospects for the veterans of Edsa 1 and 2 to reunite.

Then again, it may also give Estrada a new lease on political life. But the damage has been done; a free man, Estrada is free to return to engaging in his vices in full public view, and to prove himself ungrateful and incapable of doing anything for those who loyally stood by his side since his fall from power.

If Estrada were to run for the presidency again, he would lose. But he can begin investing, quite heavily, in the political futures of his sons. What that future is, remains to be seen. now he is just another ex-president. He has achieved his aims, and how minimal they turned out to be. There is nothing left for him to do, not least because who, now, will follow him after his kneeling before the President?

And as for the President, it’s back to the War Room because so many other fights still need to be fought, and any relief she obtains always proves increasingly temporary. Tuesday and Wednesday night, apparently, neophyte congressmen were brought to the Palace for their egos to be stroked. Last night, a larger meeting of all non-opposition congressmen was held at the Palace, ostensibly to survey the political situation, but possibly to consider the party line concerning the President’s cash gifts, since the governors already came up with their own excuse.

Jove Francisco chronicles how reporters found out about the pardon, which wasn’t expected to be announced until Friday. Reporters apparently take their cue from how the President color-codes her dresses: if she’s in blue, you know she’s in crisis mode. Also, Jove mentions a gathering of the Cabalens in the Palace, which made for a surreal scene:

I heard some people who witnessed the event comment that the event was a bad idea. That it won’t help their cabalen-PGMA any bit. Imagine, here’s a President who has been distancing herself from the payola issue, and then here are Mayors saying stuff like “they need the controversial cash gifts” … inside the palace mismo. In bad taste, at sino man daw nag isip, – malamang di nag iisip. Ill advised, ika nga.

As for the goings on in the Palace bunker, word is that Sec. Bunye’s assumption of the role of Acting Executive Secretary is in preparation for his assuming the role in a more permanent capacity, which is why two deputy presidential spokesmen have been appointed; Sec. Ermita, according to scuttlebutt has been given a one-way ticket to America, and before he left, he told his people to start packing their things.

The reason the announcement of the pardon was moved to Thursday, instead of Friday, when the Palace prefers to make big announcements so it has the weekend to survey the scene and gage public reaction, is chronicled in turn by Uniffors. It’s a great read. And explains why the Palace dispensed with its only make breaking news as the weekend starts rule of thumb.

For a roundup of blogger’s reactions to the pardon, see

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

364 thoughts on “Return of the native

  1. “The RCMP started as a proud tradition of Police mounted on the horseback, (no patrol cars then) and in the old days pledge their loyalty to the Crown and to the crown only..Today they still maintain that tradition by security of tenure, very generous compensation, and the way the recruitment process is done, no amigo system, no political intervention and only the qualified are privileged to join the Force.” – vic

    Vic, you know this is very similar to the PMA started by Manuel L. Quezon (Closer than Brothers, Al Mcoy), but along the way it got polluted.

  2. ramrod, there are always possibilities. just one good leader with courage and convictions, just as the institutions were already in place, enough laws that just need enforcement and everything will just follow including the improvement in economy and even the masses realizing that they too are needed in the overall scheme of things…

    It’s part two in the morning here and I need some coffee to keep awake. going out for a walk to Tim Hortons and it is already hitting freezing brrrhh..

  3. From MLQ’s PDI column: “To those who were at Edsa Dos, but who wouldn’t budge in 2005 and 2006, and who are suddenly filled with outrage over Ms Arroyo pardoning Estrada, what did you expect? You made this not only possible, but inevitable. Edsa Dos was not betrayed by this pardon, it was betrayed when the President tried to steal the 2004 election, when she refused to be held accountable by means of the impeachment process, and when she very nearly imposed martial law in 2006 but was foiled by Nonong Cruz. I am glad you now see what others saw—years ago.”

    Well said, MLQ. 🙂

    I’m surprised that the prosecutors expressed shock over the pardon and dismayed that there “there was no transparency.” Didn’t they see it coming? As MLQ noted, GMA was just being true to form. No transparency? There hasn’t been transparency in the GMA administration for years, much less accountability. Have they been sleeping all these years?

  4. Ramrod, i take your point that people are susceptible to thought manipulation and i do believe that happens to a wide extent which is why Puno’s services are in demand. what i disagree with, and this is in line with ay_naku’s observation, is that often the upper and middle classes often think that their education renders them less vulnerable to such manipulation.

    That false sense of relative immunity is the foundation of a lot of the elite-vanguard approaches to governance and to me, that’s a very weak foundation. As i commented before that i believe that the proportion of gullible:critical thinkers is constant across socio-economic classes. The only difference is in our areas of vulnerability. Our experience with Erap/Gloria is proof of that. That’s why genuine democratic deliberation, where we call out each other’s blindspots is a necessity.

  5. cvj,

    I agree, the elite-vanguard is not immune to manipulation, you cater to their weakness, if you can’t find one, use their strength – pride, wealth, power, anything that makes them tick. Even leaders like generals can be manipulated and they have been studying and making a living of making others do their bidding. If someone is successful in creating a blind spot for this this elite or persuade them to have one (subtle threats of loss of the pride, wealth, power, etc.) its actually simple, of course I emphasize “subtlety” so as not to arouse hostility in the initial stages.

  6. cvj,

    I wonder how the public will react if images of Puno come out of the internet in an “uncompromising situation” like caught with a macho actor in a romantic, nude embrace (or worse), or anything ridiculuosly funny, I wish I knew photoshoppe.

    Lets see how Puno will react to counterspin…

  7. Just wanna share a very good piece from Sylvia Mayuga, published in’s Viewpoints section:

  8. In fact, I call on all those who are capable of using Photoshoppe to manipulate pictures of Puno, GMA, et al into ridiculously hilarious images and spread them in the internet, once the media gobbles it up it will become a national concern and will demystify the GMA appeal, we’ll have lots of laughs at least

  9. “you can say that again. most teachers here worship rote memorization. and it is the lowest form of learning.”-devils

    “Everyone is capable of critical thinking” – cvj

    “To a certain extent “critical thinking” is a skill that not even all schools teach as most have become instruments of mass indoctrination of conformity”-ram

    I agree with all your observations but the stark reality we have to admit is the fact that majority of our people are deprived of “critical thinking”.

    Let me illustrate,since I’m referring to the majority,then I will use the public school as our laboratory. The “rote memorization is the lowest form of learning” but it is the most convenient (not that I condone and encourage it)style of teaching.

    If you are a teacher and you handle an average of seven subjects per advisory class compose of 60 to 70 students(elementary teacher) and six to seven classes per subject and relatively the same number of students(high school) and every class is given an average of 45 minutes because of the shifting of schedules to accomodate other students,it is impossible for you to find out how your students think (70 of them if your teaching in elemenaty and 420 if your a high school teacher) much less to encourage them to be “critical thinkers”.

    For example, in teaching history,the teacher does not have the luxury of time and materials of having his/her students analyze, the hows and whys of a certain historical event,the flaws,weaknesses,evils,strong points of a certain culture and society etc…

    …the teacher will just have someone to copy the book verbatim on the board or distribute a photocopied material and give the exams based from a rote method of learning and besides it will take one whole day(maybe more) to checked the exams of 420 (7×60)students if it is an essay exam which is the best way to find out what is in the mind of the student,not like the objective type of exams, you can even have someone (students from other classes)checked the papers for you, you just give them the key to the answers.

    This is one of the reasons why we do not have on the whole a “thinking” electorate, not because they are not capable of critical thinking but because they were and are deprived of “critical thinking”.

  10. This is one of the reasons why we do not have on the whole a “thinking” electorate, not because they are not capable of critical thinking but because they were and are deprived of “critical thinking”.

    Isn’t it merely the same old awkward generation gap where old folks are convinced that the subsequent ones are terrifically stupid and dumb?

    Despite the talk about the educational system meltdown, aren’t the old folks here surprised that the revolutionized media aka blogging are monopolized by the youth and initiated by the youth. Old columnists still use their old rickety typewriters and have them processed by the “youth” of today. Commenters find difficulty tweaking their comments to make them readers-friendly. Young people can easily learn the technology without having to wait for a techie, they merely go to website ehow to. Maybe their apathy is due to their wide knowlege about the world because of accessibility to data in the internet. They can no longer be influenced by the teach-ins and one-sided opinion makers. They feel that they have to cope with the fast pace of the time.

  11. “Isn’t it merely the same old awkward generation gap where old folks are convinced that the subsequent ones are terrifically stupid and dumb?” – the cat

    The cat,

    It is no longer a matter of generation gap but access to quality education. The schools with the biggest population of students here are the public schools, this was what qwert was talking about. Its not being stupid or dumb but inability to utilize “critical thinking.” There are many supposedly smart people who can function very well in society but are susceptible to manipulation because of this deficiency. Case in point is the difference between the standard of private schools and public schools in terms of “achievement” tests or the measure of what students learned from grades 1 to 6. Public schools, yes even in Makati consider a rating of 69% as very good already, in fact the highest nationwide among public schools but this is not an acceptable rating for private schools. If you look at the lessons of grade 6 public school pupils in math right now they are still studying “fractions” while the grade 6 private schools are already studying linear equations with one unknown. Classes in the public schools are half day as other classes need to use the classrooms in the afternoon.
    The internet or access to cybercafes does not necessarily mean smarter kids. If you are at least familiar with the situation with students and cybercafes right now, the students are flunking school because they would rather cut classes and play counter strike, or Tantra, or Ragnarok, and definitely not blogging. Chatting maybe, Friendster, but the kids involved in serious blogging is a minority, again limited to the private schools.
    The electorate is the problem not the students, but the way the students (majority) are being deprived of “critical thinking” skills the greater are their chances of growing into voters who can easily be manipulated. Not by teach ins or one sided opinion makers but by media, TV, print, and radio, add an organized local government political mechanism of governors, mayors, barangay captains, barangay tanods, etc., as the Filipino are broken down into small groups. No student ever feels having to cope with a fast pace of time, they’re kids, they want to enjoy life as much as they can (except working students maybe).
    Ponder on this and ask yourself why is the current administration focused on other issues (cyber educ, ZTE broadband, etc.) and while you’re at it,take a long good look at the Philippine public school system…

  12. cvj,

    I checked out the uniffors web site, the pictures are funny but quite harmless, I’m talking about “hard core stuff” with “SHOCK AND AWE” value. Ones that become news on tv and international media, like the Cory Aquino “slut” thing etc., (even that was mild).

  13. but inability to utilize “critical thinking.”

    just because people do not want to subscribe to your political opinions, they are dumb?

    Sheesh. May be it’s the other way around. These young people
    can clearly observe that there’s no use in partisan politics where every move of the “opposition” or the party that is not in your list should be backed up by people power.

    Waste of time.

    Sheesh again.

  14. Now tell me why the US are giving green cards to our professional health care givers when US can easily produce the skilled workers with their ladderized curricular program for this type of profession.

    Why are some European countries planning to issue blue cards to lure the professionals from Asia particularly the engineers and computer experts. Can’t they produce their own graduates ?

    Why is it that our engineers are in demand in Singapore?

  15. mlq3 on getting clearer.

    Every crisis is an opportunity. What doesn’t kill Gloria, made Gloria stronger. Estrada’s pardon decimated opposition forces. Impeachment has not been killed but overtime it is getting weaker, and weaker, and weaker – reverse energizer. Resumption of charter change is what Gloria had been advocating from the beginning will add to her strength. Oil reaching $100 per barrel is a world issue (not only Phil government) that Gloria can take to her advantage by giving short term relief. Filling up vacancies is good for those who need to be promoted.

    Gloria as seasoned in trench warfare knew well the terrain and her wars. She has the upper hand and dictates the direction of the battle.

  16. People power equated to critical thinking?


    It doesn’t get us anywhere. It has polarized the Philippines.

  17. Every crisis is an opportunity. What doesn’t kill Gloria, made Gloria stronger. – d0d0ng

    Doubly trite.

  18. “Doubly trite.”

    And so is people power…. it has no stings anymore. Sad, don’t you think?

  19. “Gloria as seasoned in trench warfare knew well the terrain and her wars. She has the upper hand and dictates the direction of the battle”.

    GMA has been in power going into her 8the year including the time served after Estrada was ousted and still 3 mores to go..There’s no reason to doubt she has not used all the tricks in the book of “survival” but soon she’ll run of those tricks, as sure as Marcos did for 14 years after declaring Martial Law, Estrada, too confident as he was didn’g last any longer, but that too because he was too confident the the Constitutional process would not be co-opted by extra-constitutional means..And I believe that Gloria with all the confidence and bravados (or bravadas) will soon meet the same fate..but then again, she doesn’t much to worry about, take a look at Marcos and his family, still in power as free as birds to enjoy the loot, so is Estrada and why money, make the deals… everything is transactional..

  20. And so is people power…. it has no stings anymore. Sad, don’t you think? – d0d0ng

    What is sad is the apathy that came after. People Power deposed a corrupt president. Apathy has protected the current occupant of Malacanang.

  21. Of all the hypocritical…

    HEY, BENCARD!! Instead of criticizing us for not protesting the pardon enough, why don’t you lay the blame squarely at the feet of the person who pardoned Erap in the first place??? All this time you’ve been pooh-pooing us for protesting GMA, and now when she does something that offends your peculiar sense of justice, you say we make YOU sick??? F*ck you and the horse you rode in on, Bencard!! You’re just bitching because now GMA has screwed you just like she has the rest of the country!

    But Bencard, when you’re sick and tired of eating her sh*t, I will be happy to welcome you to the human race.

  22. the cat,

    As usual you are operating in a parrallel dimension. Critical thinking is not a monopoly of the “intelligent” alone. So many people can be smart but are easily duped, a clever manipulator only has to look for the weakness or even strengths.
    It doesn’t have anything to do with care givers given green cards in the US or engineers in Singapore or Europe. But enough of that OFW worship crap. I’m an OFW myself but after looking at the overall impact of OFW remittance dependence, yes, even BPOs here, its not a viable basis for our economy in the long term. Its more of a “temporary relief” solution. What the country needs is to evolve from being an “assembly area” of components to a “genuine manufacturer” of real products most especially in technology. I don’t know what GMA or her administration was focused on, but it sure wasn’t in this direction. Critical thinking is looking beyond the obvious, ask questions, don’t believe you know everything, the more you learn, the more you will discover that there is much to learn…

  23. Get real ramrod,

    If you think that we can manufacture these electronic components that top our exports, I can say that you are clueless how this business work.

    With the assembly business, there is already market.Just think if we would start our own. We would do the manufacturing and marketing at the same time?

    Most of these assembly businesses in any part of the world is a kind of backward integration marketing strategy.

    That is spelled CAPTIVE MARKET.

    Philippines trying to start on its own?

    Nababaliw ka ba?

    Even SIngapore and China are assemblers of these electronic components.

    And do you know how the parent companies keep their trade secrets?

    Yeah, you are an OFW an you must have witnessed the ingenuity of Filipinos regardless of the universities where they graduated from. And that’s what I am about being critical thinker and not critical thinking focused in politics.

    So you’re a critical thinker huh because you think that BPO and OFW phenomenon is temporary.

    But these things have existed even before Marcos, GMA, Cory’s administrations. Only they have different labels.

    The first batch of medical doctors came to the US before martial law. I met the aunt of my friend in New Jersey.

    That was what we called BRAIN DRAIN. The manongs in the USA were the first OFWs before World War 2. They worked in plantation. A relative of mine had been to the Middle East since early 70’s.

    That was BRAWN DRAIN.

    It was the remittances of these people whom we do not call OFWS then which really keep us afloat since the MArcoses were sending dollars abroad and the rich people hoard also their dollars and the corrupt politicians also salted their dollars abroad.

    Even the exporters were guilty of technical smuggling that is directing their payments of the clients in their dollar accounts in overseas bank.

    Now tell me, did you ever think about this or you are just so focused to a personality and that you just believe in whatever is printed?

    Is that what is critical thinking for you ?

  24. the cat,

    If you are involved in actual business you will understand what I’m talking about. Look at Korea, Taiwan, Japan, you don’t have to look so far. How did they achieve their industrial status? Not by going abroad and becoming muchachos and muchachas (like I am) to foreigners but by sheer political will and focused development. I do not come from Ateneo or La Salle, in fact I graduated from an unknown school in Mactan, Cebu, so small you wouldn’t know it. How I ever came to work for a global giant, I don’t know, I only knew I needed the money and will learn anything, any skill, travel anywhere, accomplish any objective given to me because I need the money. What gets me is why I have to go to the far ends of the globe just so I can give my family a good future? Why do I have to be away from those I love just so we can have a life? Even if I could possibly go up further the corporate ladder I will still be a “glorified utusan” of my foreign master call it Contry Manager or Sales Director or Managing Director.
    My travels and dealings with different markets only made me realize that what you say is “captive market” is a choice rather than fate. We have become an assembler because we chose to, our leaders negotiated that type of arrangement, and any “good idea” was never supported enough, look at “Filipino inventors” and how they have to sell their patents abroad. Now their inventions are manufactured elsewhere.
    Its not about personalities (GMA or whoever) per se, its a failure of leadership, a weakness of political will, an acceptance of mediocrity that we will always exist to serve a foreign master. Being real does not necessarily mean accepting your present fate, it is knowing you can and knowing how to determine your destiny.

  25. the cat,

    Btw, for the recorde I did not say you are not doing critical thinking, the fact that you consistently put your two cents in this blog is proof of that. Also, I did not say that I have a monopoly of critical thinking, if ever, I’m a late bloomer in this politically speaking. I will admit to you that I voted for Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, and Arroyo, without batting an eyelash. All I used as basis were their platforms, I never bothered to take closer look, I wasn’t a political critical thinker, I’m only good at what I do and that is make money for my company.
    It would have been different if I was educated differently, to understand, to ask questions first, to look at the consequences, instead of just following orders…

  26. It’s not enough to make time for your children. There are certain stages in their lives when you have to give them the time when they want it. You can’t run your family like a company. It doesn’t work.

  27. Having kids has been a fantastic thing for me. It’s meant that I’m a little more balanced. In my twenties I worked massively, hardly took vacation at all. Now, I, with the help of my wife, I’m always making sure I’ve got a good balance of how I spend my time.

  28. “Isn’t it merely the same old awkward generation gap where old folks are convinced that the subsequent ones are terrifically stupid and dumb?” – The Cat

    The Cat,
    I really don’t understand your abovementioned statement, maybe it’s just me. I am going to add to what I have posted, hoping that it might clarify the point I am driving at.

    Our country lacks the adequate infrastructure to deliver basic social services that makes techno-peasants of many Filipinos. Last year, the absence of electricity gripped about 20 percent of over 40,000 barangays in the country based on data from the National Electrification Administration. This literally put people in these barangays in the dark, out of reach by digital technology.

    The school system, too, stands in the way of technology absorption. More than 60 towns in the country don’t even have a high school and over 42,000 barangays can’t offer the required six years of elementary education, Asian Development Bank data show. This is bad news for many young Filipino students who turn to schools for a chance to use a personal computer and to access the Internet.

    Now, I am not blaming GMA alone for this problem.This problem is much older than her term as President and I don’t expect GMA or any President for that matter to completely solve this problem overnight. I believe this problem will continue to persist even beyond GMA.

    On the other hand, you can’t blame me (I hope)for expecting too much from GMA, she’s smart,intelligent,well educated, a “critical thinker” and most of all she’s the President, to reasonably alleviate the plight of our students/youth in the countryside.

    I hope your in good stead and in good health as you read my response.

  29. Cat,

    Just to clarify… Don’t know if you are knowledgeable in hi-tech transfer or purchase to be able to say without batting an eyelash that “Even SIngapore and China are assemblers of these electronic components.”

    True, these two nations have assembler companies for electronic components but in the absolute, they now possess their own technlogies to be able to assemble and sell products of their own and compete with the West.

    So true is this for Singapore that Singapore now sells hi-tech which are results of technology that they purchased from the West.

    For RP to be able to eventually sell its own hi-tech products or to sell its own hi-tech is to purchase technology. Pinas cannot continuously beg for technology transfer without shelling some money. Technology is there but RP has got to invest money and not saliva.

    Really, to compete with its neigbours, there is no solution around it but to purchase technology.

    Obviously, this is not at all possible if our own local would be investors keep on with capital flight.

  30. Just to clarify… Don’t know if you are knowledgeable in hi-tech transfer or purchase to be able to say without batting an eyelash that “Even SIngapore and China are assemblers of these electronic components.”

    What technology did they purchase?

    As far as manufacturing concerned, Singapore produces 10 per cent of the supply of wafer.

    Timex does not necessarily produce watches. It is a semicon.

    Ask any semicon expert what a wafer is, then you will understand that Singapore is more on this backward integration strategy of marketing and production.

    I was once a consultant of a VP of a semicon.

  31. Look at Korea, Taiwan, Japan, you don’t have to look so far. How did they achieve their industrial status? Not by going abroad and becoming muchachos and muchachas (like I am) to foreigners but by sheer political will and focused development

    If you’ve been reading other than opinions and newspapers, you will find out that many Japanese worked in the US sugar plantation together with the Filipino manongs before World War 2.

    They were so lonely that they had “picture brides” whereby they paid the parents of young Japanese women who would like to go to America to become their companions.
    In fact many of these Japanese who migrated to the US were interned in camps during World War 2 for which the US apologized and paid reparation in 1980.

    This was the equivalent of the tobacco brides of the British migrant farmers to the US where they paid the families of the brides with tobaccos.

  32. Cat “What technology did they purchase?”

    I see you don’t know. For starters, Singapore purchased defence technology to produce fire control systems for starters…

    Military radio technology next and lots of components to produce defence equipment locally.

    Obviously, they went about doing these things not by purchasing the entire or complete technologies necessary to produce fire control systems right away or to start is with… they went about it by purchasing components first and then offering Singapore as base for the production of some of the components and bought into the company set up for the purpose, hence Singapore (and Malaysia too) now own high tech components required for a complete system and have started to produce this same high-tech equipment for export.

    Also Singpore (and Malaysia) purchased high tech maintenance know-how, refurbishment capability know how, upgrade technologies that they now use to attract various nation end users in the region and elsewhere…

    What I meant by purchasing high-tech… come in several forms as mentionned above.

  33. Ramrod,

    Just a thought… or a rejoinder:

    “Even if I could possibly go up further the corporate ladder I will still be a “glorified utusan” of my foreign master call it Contry Manager or Sales Director or Managing Director.”

    I believe if you really think about it, even the non-Pinoy foreigners that these companies hire to do a job are also glorified “utusan” in a sense. So, it’s not really something so bad.

    I was living in France working for an international conglomerate but had to scour the world for business for my company just like my French or British colleagues (the travelling and the lack of time with family almost killed me) so in a way, your serving a foreign entity to work as their sales manager, country manager or whatever is no different from what your foreign colleagues do as glorified utusans.

    In a way again, we cannot compare being the glorified utusans to these foreign companies to the plight of OFWs who absolutely cannot get the right jobs so they can support their families or even simply for their families to survive. They are forced to leave spouse and child behind for years ending even at the risk of family explosion, all by gambling in the hope of of providing for a brighter future for their children.

  34. mbw,

    You’re right. Its not so bad. Its just that I may have to leave the Philippines again soon and after spending sometime with my kid its not that easy. But we have to do what we have to do, we chose this kind of life, no dreamt about it even…

  35. the cat,

    I actually traveled to these places. My point is they have graduated from this OFW stage of plantation workers, and have become industrially independent. So far I’ve been to Texas Instruments here, Intel, Timex , and even Lexmark (my clients) all serving global markets but if you really talk to the engineers they are just there for “assembly work” not the 5 year course they studied for. There is no “technology transfer.”
    Of course some of us have excelled as OFWs (Filipinos always do) but wouldn’t you agree that access to quality education and industrial development making us another global player. When it comes to marketing the product we have several competent people who have been working for other countries to sell, develop the markets, strategise, etc. and are very good at it.

  36. they went about it by purchasing components first and then offering Singapore as base for the production of some of the components and bought into the company set up for the purpose

    Precisely, they are just producing components. When I talk about technology transfer and joint ventures, it includes the R& D with a support from educational institutions. It is more of businesses for VCs which would like to invest in new products or technologies.

    Without the R & D, the technology transfer would have been obsolete or upgraded in a matter of time just like patent’s useful life is only 17 years even though it is esxtened to 20 years in 1995, still the product especially technology is subject to rapid obsolescence. One of the downsides of getting into partnership or joint venture with MNCs is that the technology transferred may be already on the sunset stage.

    What I know about technology transfer that Singapore is working on with Europe is more on biomedical.

  37. Cat,

    When European companies finally sell components for eventual production via partnership with companies in situ, i.e., Singapore, one of the terms of the JV is for a joint R&D without which the European company will not sell the components that form part of the equipment.

    The JV’s production part will have that R&D component — a European company will not want its basic technology that it wants to eventually produce with the local partner and sell “messed” up at all hence the R&D component.

    Whether the technology involved is in upgrading capability say of C130s or other helicopter gunships or even just straight production of some equipment, military radios for instance, R&D is a critical component of the entire venture.

    If you take the case of Indonesia for instance that has purchased European technology to produce helicopters (Eurocopter Indonesia), R&D is a huge component of the technology transfer, eg., production of rotors and other electronic components that’s needed to produce the helicopter locally. You see each major electronic piece of the chopper itself otherwise termed as components involved a separate technology. And we are looking here at civilian choppers.

    So, military technology, eg, fire control systems (to fire guns or missiles for instance) are more tricky and involve a certain number of electronic technologies. You purchase the know how otherwise known as the technology, say for one of the components so you can produce it but the European entity will not sell it to you off the shelf — you will have to go into partnership and that involves the R&D component even if only to do research and development on local materials, etc. that may be used to produce said item.

  38. Also, Cat, even a small item like a night vision goggle requires two sets of technology already, i.e., the lens and of course the kit that carries the lens. Maintaining the night vision goggle also require know how which is called maintenance technology. That is for sale too.

  39. Ramrod,

    Don’t know if this could help, but what I used to do when I travelled a lot before, which was an average of 2 weeks a month, was to use my frequent traveller points and take my kids with me on every school break occassion as much as possible. They loved it and learned a lot from travelling too.

    Very difficult to be away so much but it’s better to do it today when kiddies are very young than when they are much older and need ‘fixtures’ at home.

    Hence, I can connect with what you are going through because it happened to me. I only stopped travelling when my youngest son started getting bad grades at school and failed a year some 5 years ago (he was 11) which was a result of my being an absentee mum and because of an absentee Dad who was in the same line of job as I was.

  40. Oh Cat, just to add, to support the R&D component, my company even set up a “university” in the countries where we made technology transfers in addition to on the job continuing education programmes in seller country.

  41. “tagabukid, the way you talk, you seem to have a handle on truth. why don’t you be a witness and testify under oath, instead of yakkity-yakking about those “scandals” that you seem to know much about.”

    Bencard, wala pang dumarating na subpoena e 🙂

    I think it’s you who’s “yakkity-yakking” (hey, did you copy that from Sonny Trillanes?) about the Erap pardon.. you’re like the fishwife who wants to pick a fight with her customers instead of asking the cop who let the snatcher run with the purse. come on man, ask yourself: “Wadapak is da matter wit me?”

    Not that I have a “handle on the truth”, mukhang mas ok lang talaga ang sense of right and wrong ko kesa sa iyo.

    Ikaw, you can weave all your tales using your arsenal of legal gobbledygook pero everything boils down to the fundamentals: right and wrong, black and white, zero and one, good and bad. Let me echo mlq3’s sentiment: if your President has nothing to hide, why does she and her men would want to hide behind executive privilege? Iba na ang guilty!

    for your consolation, here’s a toast to Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox. Cheers!

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