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Freedom's marching off to prison in Pakistan
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on November 6, 2007 182 Comments 13 min read
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In his blog, Jove Francisco gave an account of the situation as the weekend broke: an administration distracted so that it forgot to blow its own trumpets for a change:

I will wait for Secretary of the Cabinet Ric Saludo to once again blame media for the administration’s woes because we only cover political intrigues and conveniently snub good news stories like their economic strides.

Hey sir, there we were, trying hard and “risking our lives” (muntik kami maaksidente eh hehe) covering the good news about the strong peso because we all wanted to get the President’s reaction and official statement about this particular economic development … look at what we got… nothing.

Anyway, no horn-blowing at the Palace because the President was tending to her garden:

But despite her calls for a halt in politicking…palace insiders believe that the administration is doing its own brand of politics again.

Vehicles of local government officials from Pampanga were seen outside the Palace this afternoon.

No palace official would like to explain the presence of these officials, which is unfortunate because the visit came at a time when known pangalatok leaders FVR and JDV are at odds with Mrs. Arroyo.

While Scribbles Etc. points to the activities of the President’s Living nightmare, her predecessor. But was there a deal between the ex-con and the incumbent future con? Randy David, on Saturday, wrote,

The reality is that despite his detention and conviction, Estrada is far from being a spent political force. Ms Arroyo knows this. In detention, the ex-president could continue to sponsor destabilization efforts against her. Pardoned, he could be persuaded not to lend his name to any attempt to oust her.

This is political realism in a society where roughly 60 percent of the population remains under the spell of traditional political patrons and mass media celebrities. Ms Arroyo will pass into political oblivion after 2010, but not Estrada. He will be a force to reckon with, a figure to court for those with presidential ambitions, so long as the majority of our voters are rendered politically vulnerable by extreme poverty.

Realizing its marginal role in Philippine elections, the middle class, the harbinger of modernity, has favored non-electoral modes for effecting transitions — people power, impeachment, coups, calls for resignation, etc. It is this class that gave the country its two women presidents: Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of them the beneficiaries of people power.

But people power is caught in a paradox, which limits its potency. Its spontaneous and unorganized character, driven by a strong moralism, is the source of its vitality. It is also its fundamental weakness. Middle class activism seldom leads to anything sustainable, like the formation of mainstream political parties. Even when, to its own surprise, it scores electoral victories, as in the case of Fr. Ed Panlilio’s successful run for governor o fPampanga province, the engagement tends to stop at the polls. Without a party on which to anchor itself, the middle class espousal of modern governance is quickly drowned out by the pragmatics of political patronage. No wonder, in the end, “trapo” [traditional politicos] like Ms Arroyo and Estrada will always find it easier to deal with one another.

One thing is sure: both the President and her predecessor, don’t care about the lot of most prisoners, which Sunday’s Inquirer editorial tackled.

I attended a meeting over the weekend of various opposition groups, to discuss what to do about the Pulido impeachment and so forth. The lawyers, many of whom stayed home and gave up family time to try to put together a fortified impeachment complaint, were glum over the prospects of their legal labors amounting to anything.

Rep. Ronaldo Zamora discussed the case filed with the Supreme Court some years back, challenging the impeachment restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court when then Chief Justice Hilario Davide was facing an impeachment attempt. According to Zamora, in the case they filed, they predicted what has come to pass, today: that to head off a proper impeachment, potential targets of an impeachment would cause weak or bogus complaints to be filed, to innoculate them against genuine impeachments. Zamora said that while the Constitution grants the Congress supremacy in cases of impeachment, in reality, because of the Francisco case, the Supreme Court intervened, tied the hands of Congress, and along the way, violated a fundamental tenet of law: that no man may be a judge in his own case (the Supreme Court, in this case, intervening in a case involving the potential impeachment of its own Chief Justice).

So he said, their case predicted what has come to pass, but when they asked for oral arguments, the Supreme Court refused, and the case continues to mold away in the dockets of the Supreme Court. Until the previous ruling is overturned, he said, there is no point fussing over impeachment, the moment an official causes a bogus case to be filed. My sense is that he was speaking from the point of view of a pretty thorough lawyer, who is professionally affronted when a half-assed case ends up substituting for a case which can’t be rushed, if completeness is to be achieved.

He also had some pretty interesting things to say about how political math works in the lower house, the magic number being 60. With 60, an impeachment is in play; anything below that, and don’t even bother. He was also prescient in suggesting that the President would refrain from trying to oust the Speaker, at least until the impeachment complaint was formally junked, and not earlier than January. But in the meantime, he said (to comfort the lawyers, I think) he said it was a good exercise to put together a meaty impeachment complaint, and draft articles of impeachment.

Anyway, he told the group, and as it emerged in the discussion (animated, even heated, at times), we would see what happens when amendments or supplements or what have you are filed. But he and other opposition congressmen like Roilo Golez are of the opinion that at the very least, the moment the administration-controlled Committee on Justice shows no inclination to even consider amendments to the complaint or supplements to it, then the opposition should simply boycott the proceedings.

Why dignify a farce? Why legitimize a mockery of the process? A wise tactic and one I hope the opposition will stick to. I’d love to see the administration coalition reduced to arguing among themselves about a bogus case of their own making.

On the sidelines of the meeting, a congressman went up to me and made an observation I found particularly intriguing. He said, one should not over-plan things, but rather, work out a scenario for every eventuality, including a sudden, unexpected favor from Lady Luck. Such as what, I asked. The congressman replied, well, it makes sense for the President to hold her fire with regards to the Speaker, but if she decides to topple him, the Speaker has one last master-stroke left.

And what would that be, I inquired.

The Speaker, according to the congressman, upon seeing one of the President’s men taking to the floor to make a motion to declare the leadership vacant, and knowing at that instant, that it was now war to the death, could then suspend the session indefinitely. Chaos would ensue, the congressman said. I asked, suspend the session, as in, simply end the session, for ever? Not for ever, the congressman replied; the Constitution actually imposes a limit to such moves of three days. But imagine that, the congressman said. Three days of furious jockeying and wheeling, and dealing, of confusion and recriminations.

Why so, I asked. Because, the congressman said, the moment the President makes it known she wants a new Speaker, do you know how many candidates would arise? You would have to make each one happy. And if you topple the Speaker, you must replace all the senior leaders of the House, that’s 20 instant allies turned disgruntled enemies. In such a situation, things could change very fast and suddenly, a suitable number for impeachment could possibly be within reach.

But, the congressman remarked, while we should be prepared for such moments of divine intervention, one shouldn’t actively work for it, or even expect it.
What the President and her people, were up to, is covered by Uniffors and who kindly adds the blog’s voice to the call I and other made in my column for today, Save the day. We’re going to get together on Friday, at lunchtime, to walk together to the Makati Central Post Office to send the President a postcard.

Here’s the postcard design (click on the front and back design to enlarge and save to your desktop).
Or, if you want to save postage, you can email the President.

For information, see The Black and Whire Movement blog for additional details, including simultaneous protests in Riyadh, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, Cambodia, and Hong Kong.

But of course over the weekend the really big news took place overseas: ‘Desperate’ Musharraf declares martial law. Or was it? A “state of emergency,” he said, and as his own prime minister said, “definitely extraconstitutional.” Global Voices Online has a roundup of online reactions; the blog Teeth Maestro, established by a Pakistani gentleman I met in the regional blogger’s conference held a couple of years back in Manila, has a blow-by-blow account of the creeping martial law in that country. It is, as commentator Ali Eteraz puts it, Musharraf’s mini-martial law.

For Americans, concerned over their own economy (see Asia Sentinel’s report on window-dressing by the US Federal Reserve) as Prarie Weather points out, the Pakistani president’s declaration left Washington looking impotent. As for everyone else, as Rising Hegemon eloquently put it, instead of a new dawn of democracy in the Islamic world thanks to Uncle Sam, George W. Bush’s legacy is the opposite: it “Looks like Freedom’s Marching off to Prison.” Instead of a brave new world, it’s more apocalyptic by the day. As History Unfolding points out,

When the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, many of us, I think, thought tha the Bush era was over and a change would begin. The voters in particular had clearly rejected the Iraq war–as had Washington’s traditional establishment, embodied in the Baker-Hamilton commission–and we now expected de-escalation to begin. The resignation of Don Rumsfeld (who was actually fired, we can now see, because he opposed escalation in Iraq) encouraged this illusion. But that was not what happened. Nearly a year after the election we have more troops (but less casualties) in Iraq than ever. More importantly, it seems that the course that the Bush Administration set us on five or six years ago–a futile attempt to rule the Middle East, if not the whole world, by force–may be so firmly entrenched that even another election will not reverse it.

I am glad that I managed in 2002 to recognize how revolutionary the new foreign policy was, and to reject it on fundamental grounds. (Anyone who is interested can find what I had to say on the H-Diplo internet list archives for the fall of that year.) Our new National Security Strategy had proclaimed that we had the right and the duty to overthrow any unfriendly regime that was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and that we would do so alone if necessary. Meanwhile, President Bush announced that Israel would (in effect) keep whatever land it had settled and wanted to keep in any peace with a new Palestinian state. Each of those stands, in different ways, repudiated critical provisions of international law and flung the door open to international anarchy. Both were far, far more important than the President’s attempts to promote democracy. Indeed, it is partly because the President has proclaimed that both the United States and Israel will take, and keep, whatever they want, that elections in the Middle East have turned out so badly for us.

One blogger, Naeem, is so discouraged about the whole thing that the views of the blogger sound eerily familiar.

Incidentally, my column today quoted a phrase from The Economist editorial, which bears reading in its entirety.

A synopsis of a Newsbreak report on the ill-fated NAIA3 Terminal, by Torn and Frayed. Oddly enough, the President’s two predecessors came across better than the incumbent:

However, since NAIA 3 is a major public works project, history will also judge the three presidents who oversaw the project: Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.

The building of the terminal did not start to unravel until after Ramos’s term and he escapes relatively unscathed. Ramos had the foresight to realize that the country needed a new international terminal, invited the six taipans who constitute AEDC to bid for it, and, when a better bid was proposed by Piatco, oversaw its acceptance.

Perhaps surprisingly, Erap also comes out of the story quite well. Concerned that the AEDC suit against Piatco would derail the project, in his best Don Corleone fashion Estrada tried to reconcile the warring parties: “Among the new president’s moves within two months of assuming power was to call AEDC and Piatco to a meeting in Malacañang. In that meeting held September 3, Estrada made an extraordinary request: for AEDC to drop the civil suit pending before the Pasig RTC against the award of the Naia 3 contract to the Paircargo group, now Piatco.” There’s a time for Don Corleone and I think this was it–AEDC did indeed drop its civil suits and for a while the project proceeded, shakily, but it did move forward…

The president who comes out dreadfully from the debacle is Gloria. Admittedly, the airport was already a problem when she assumed office, but through her characteristic indecisiveness and lack of political will she made it into a catastrophe. The strap line of one of the Newsbreak articles sums it up perfectly: “Incoherent policies and failed quick fixes mark Arroyo’s response to NAIA 3″. Here is one example. The Office of the Solicitor General filed an expropriation suit (meaning that the government would attempt to take the new terminal into public ownership) before the Pasay regional trial court on 21 December 2004. As Newsbreak points out, the timing was “unfortunate”, since “just a day before the Philippine government’s lawyers in the ICSID arbitration proceedings in Washington, DC, had made a filing stating that Manila had not taken acts amounting to expropriation.”

Speaking of the President, Stella Arnaldo’s Blogspot says her former professors are, well, embarrassed.

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  1. re: martial law.

    one flawed assumption pros or cons make is that a future martial law would be similar to that undertaken in 1972. having been done before, and with the country and society being different from what it was then, that is a wrong assumption to make.

    another flawed assumption is that the current safeguards in the constitution are both meaningful and would be a deterrent. they aren’t, if we are to believe that aside for then defense secretary nonong cruz’s objections, it was his calling in negroponte who swooped in and told the president the us would not support martial law, that actually scuttled the plan to impose it in 2006.

    two things are certain to me: congress, both the house and the senate, would fall in line with a martial law declaration. as would the supreme court. the pakistan example also points to something i’ve mentioned for some time, an autogolpe scenario. there would be cheering, i think, if the president simply padlocked congress and dismissed the supreme court.

    but she doesn’t have to. as everyone knows, between 2007-2009 the president will be, by sheer attrition, able to appoint majorities in the sc and the comelec, a new civil service commission chairman and a chairman for the coa, etc., etc., she is less sure of the new crop of generals but what if she extends good ole esperon?

  2. So, if Gloria and Noli agrees to step down, what happens next? does the Senate President take over (as the Constitution provides)? Or would a junta/caretaker government take charge? If it’s the latter, who will compose the junta? Where will the junta get its mandate? I guess that’s where things can get murky. It might end up as a free-for-all.

  3. Manolo, so the probable game plan of Gloria is to ensure her flanks and rear are covered before she declares Martial Law. But would she risk declaring it (say, in the next few weeks) if her hand is forced (and her ‘assets’ not yet in position)?

  4. ronin, i signed the petition after reading it. the constitution requires congress to call a special election within 90 days of the resignation of the president and vice-president. no power vacuum, a campaign period with all that entails, which includes by provision of the omnibus election code, a moratorium on government contracts, etc. -nothing we’re not used to during a campaign season.

    the potential benefits are: the comelec has a chance to redeem itself, and we finally have a chance to reunite if we all pull off a credible presidential election. and since no candidate is going to declare against whatever succesful programs the present administration has achieved, we’d finally be poised for a real takeoff with a new administration armed with a genuine mandate.

  5. Equalizer,

    I’m glad you also see through that Geo/DJB double personae.

    This Dean is so intellectually dishonest i wonder what kind of twisted indoctrination he is giving his students.

  6. Meanwhile, wily GMA will not hesitate to play her China card against tougher US foreign policy, when it suits her ambition, an option that was not available to Marcos.

    – Abe M

    Marcos also played the Soviet card that’s why Reagan has to cut him.

  7. for this to work, those two really have to resign. legitimacy must be paramount for whoever will step in after GMA. the process must respect the constitution, now more than ever.

    and all these wrongdoings must be heard in the proper forum: a court of law.

  8. much as i often vigorously debate dean, he doesn’t hide behind any handles other than the ones he always uses, rizalist, djb, etc. and dean isn’t a dean, his name is dean because his dad was well, a dean.

  9. Can we at least persuade Noli De Castro to resign? He still is comparatively untainted and an appeal to him might work. This will cut one of the legs out from under the ‘Sino’ng papalit?’ crowd and persuade some of them to join the call for GMA to resign.

  10. mlq3,
    DJB uses more than two handles. what could prevent him from using still yet another one to make it appear neocon voices are aplenty in the blog zone?

    Over at Ellen’s blog he uses the GodSaveTheConstitution handle.

  11. “ronin, i signed the petition after reading it. the constitution requires congress to call a special election within 90 days of the resignation of the president and vice-president. no power vacuum…” – mlq3

    Manolo, clarification: So, who’d be acting president if these two step down? The Senate President? Or barring that, the House Speaker (yikes!)? Thanks.

  12. ronon, it would be the senate president as acting president for a maximum of 90 days. then again, if the vp took over, the senate president would be acting president in everything but name, anyway…

  13. re gloria and de castro resigning and calling for a special election, i think the chances are nil for that scenario to happen. gloria could have done it much much earlier if she ever entertained the idea (resigning) but not at this stage when 2010 is near. i just don’t think gloria is bothered or pressured at all by this ongoing petition.

  14. much as i often vigorously debate dean, he doesn’t hide behind any handles other than the ones he always uses, rizalist, djb, etc. and dean isn’t a dean, his name is dean because his dad was well, a dean. – mlq3

    agree with manolo. djb, rizalist or GodSaveTheConstitution has a distinctive style. he’s definitely not geo and he never hides his true identity specially when confronted. his style can’t be mistaken with someone else’s… just like “the equalizer, tdc or mav”.

  15. The Catholic Bishops in Mindanao said…

    “Of late, certain controversies regarding the morality and legality of government contracts like the one on the alleged broadband facilities as well as the issue on the monetary expression of political patronage have challenged some high officials of the government.”

    “We declare our solidarity with those who expect moral integrity ad fiscal transparency from our leaders, including ourselves. We believe that the whole truth about any moral issue must be ascertained first before subjecting it to moral scrutiny and judgment, otherwise, any statement on the matter maybe premature and counterproductive. Hence, the need for thorough and impartial investigation as prescribed by law, truth and honesty, and a sense of patriotism.”

    They are saying what I am saying — premature judgements are counterproductive.

    I guess DJB says the same thing, if I understand levi and equalizer correctly (caveat: I myself have no idea what DJB’s positions are). If various people have a different attitude than “oust Gloria now!”, they must be a) the Luli Brigade, b) paid by the government, c) stupid/lazy/cowed, or d) DJB. LOL!

    A lot of the screaming, accusing, media-cuddled conspiratorialists still don’t realize that a lot of us are simply tired of the same BS.

    The anti-GMAs have created the anti-antis.

    What’s so hard about following the rules, laws, procedures? What’s so wrong about letting people do their job? If you want things right, you must have the patience and strength to do things the right way. There are no short cuts.

  16. Re: “What’s so hard about following the rules, laws, procedures? ”

    Shouldn’t be hard at all if only this government of moral dwarves were doing it, shouldn’t be difficult at all.

  17. “Moral dwarves”

    Perfect. A perfect demonstration of why the anti-GMA crowd can’t find resonance after all of their words and efforts. The use of invectives greatly detracts (or ruins) any legitimate argument being offered.

    And the anti-GMA types wonder why the rest of us don’t rally around their cause……

  18. Re: “And the anti-GMA types wonder why the rest of us don’t rally around their cause……”

    And why should you? You are rallying around a petty moral dwarf — don’t expect you to rally around those who don’t approve of her immoral governance, you can’t very well rally around two opposing views now, can you? Would be the height of hypocrisy to do that.

    If the term moral dwarf offends you, an apt and therefore not really a mean term for such an infinite lil moral pygmy then I am not surprised that you aren’t shocked at all by the moral dwarfness of her governance.

  19. David

    NAIA 3 is a many-sided prism and it could be argued in many different ways. No doubt that is why the only people to have benefited from the mess are, as usual, the lawyers.

    Perhaps you are right that the roots of the problem lay deep in the Estrada presidency. Still, on the Supreme Court ruling I’ll just quote one para from Newsbreak:

    “Not a few laymen and experts alike found it extremely odd for the Supreme Court to conclude that Piatco was not financially qualified when it was able to build a new international passenger terminal that was 98% complete at the cost of over $500 million.”

    On the question of contracts that were “grossly disadvantageous to the government”, the grounds on which Gloria Tan Climaco threw out the contracts in 2002, I wonder whether they can possibly have been as “grossly disadvantageous” to the government as what eventually resulted: the Philippines’ reputation as a partner in infrastructure projects fatally damaged and the half a billion dollar terminal still not open 5 years later and literally rotting away as we debate its future.

    It seemed to me from reading Newsbreak that Erap tried to knock heads together and that his approach was more practical than his successor’s. Gloria seems to have to taken the worst option at every turn in the road.

  20. I think Arroyo and her political strategists are banking on this kind of mindset from the otherwise decent folks of the middle and upper classes to sustain her. – cvj

    Now upon further reflection, I sincerely doubt that most Filipinos are apathetic, even the “move on” crowd. I just think they are trapped by the discourse of “what’s the alternative?” which means the only escape routes available to them (that they can think of) are shaped by the rules of the game at present.

    But if we’re supposed to be maabilidad, then why can’t we break away from the mindset, stop playing the game and write new rules?

    Also, I sincerely think the Filipino is much harder to fool than the American public. Which probably owes to the fact that, aside from us being traditionally wary of government and even if many of our journalists have died recently, our press has not (YET) been co-opted. But only probably because the government machinery is not strong enough to do so at this point. But it has been done in the past – under martial law.

  21. “And why should you? You are rallying around a petty moral dwarf — don’t expect you to rally around those who don’t approve of her immoral governance, you can’t very well rally around two opposing views now, can you? Would be the height of hypocrisy to do that.”


    This kind of thinking is actually doing Gloria a big favor. This is like pushing the people in the center or the non partisans, to her side.

    This is really makes me sad. Because I for one is not a big fan of Gloria. However, I dont agree with the actions or action plans of the opposition. so I should be non partisan. But this rabid anti Gloria crowds is liek forcing me to take a sides. ” If you are not with us then you should be Glorias”.

  22. Another thing that makes me really really sad.

    I am beginning to feel that eventually I will go with Martial Law. Becuase right now I dont have that very strong feeling of abhoherence towards it.

  23. MBW — You continue to prove my point.

    Those of us who are sick of the extremists aren’t automatically rallying around GMA either. You are attempting to create a false “us/them” dichotomy. And when your response is just to increase the volume, that just makes it worse. You attack people like me…and then can’t understand why we don’t rally around youe cause.

    Way too much emotion; way too little civility.

    I get it, though. From where you sit, you have a good reason to be mad. But if your arguments aren’t gaining much support for action, maybe it has something to do with style.

    There is a right way and a wrong way. There is effectiveness and there is noise signifying nothing.

    But maybe I’m mistaken. Tell me: Why do YOU think the Oust Arroyo crowd can’t get any momentum?

  24. Sparks, i do agree that the discourse of no alternative is a major sticking point. I think it another way of putting it would be a valid fear of unintended consequences (which Rom eloquently expresses in her blog). After all, Gloria is one such unintended consequence of ousting Erap.

    However, i also think there is an element of an elitist attitude since FPJ was the masa’s choice. More importantly for the postmoderns in power, there is also an ostrich-like head in the sand mindset prevalent among decent folks. For example, I recently had dinner with my friends in Manila and one of them said that she preferred to believe the accidental gas explosion theory in the case of Glorietta 2 because the alternative would be too much to contemplate. One of my born-again sisters also told us that Gloria may be evil, but God has put her there for a purpose. I suppose that’s one reason why, when faced with people like MBW above who calls things as they are, there are those whose instinct is to shoot the messenger(s) and become what Geo would call anti-antis. That accounts for Geo’s emphasis on civility as well as Rego’s appeal above for the anti-Glorias to break it to him gently.

  25. “Moral dwarves”

    As description used by MBW does not pertain to the physical attributes of the President but her Morality as seen by the commenter and most of her critics. It would be the same as calling her Immoral, but that would denote something else like relating to committing sins of immoral nature, which nobody knows if she may have committed, but “moral dwarfness” of her governance and the conduct of her people is without doubt there were and are plenty of evidence (allegations not proven in court of law yet) that had surface and are surfacing in a daily basis..

  26. Re: “”But maybe I’m mistaken. Tell me: Why do YOU think the Oust Arroyo crowd can’t get any momentum?”

    But I do think you are seriously mistaken, Geo!

    Just look around you. People who once were inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and even voted for her have already deserted her and have started to campaign for her resignation.

  27. sparks, if you have no idea how much the “hate-gloria club” hates pgma, just read, analyze and digest most, if not all, the comments of mwb, cvj, equalizer, m. buencamino, ay_naku, inodoro n.e., chiabelli, etc., etc. i must concede, the gma haters in this blog overwhelmingly outnumbers the gma-supporters, defenders and neutral commenters combined.

  28. Bencard,

    You on your own more than make up for the number of GMA lovers and defenders so what’s your problem? Your foaming at the mouth-like drivel is omnipresent in all of your posts. Re-read your own posts. You simply have outdone and continuing to outdo your dreaded Gloria bashers! Congratulations… Now, let’s move on, shall we?

    Your constant whining and whimpering over how badly you believe your adored moral pygmy is treated in this blog simply is getting so boring and tiresome in the extreme.

    In the final analysis, you should ask yourself if your tactic is perhaps not the right tactic if you have your glorious “client’s” interest at heart. I’m saying that because you have managed to alienate even the more reasonable of the Gloria bashers.

    My advice, take it or leave it and I have no doubt you will choose to discard it (but I’m an optimist so you might just surprise us all here): Why not take this whole thing positively — would add useful minutes to your life. Be honest, do you really believe Gloria is worth dying for? (I bet you she wouldn’t give a hoot if you died defending her.)

    Cool it man, watch that blood pressure now. Cheers!

  29. mbw, was that a death threat or what? are you really getting that desperate? you must be watching a lot of mafia movies , huh? no my child, you are not scaring me even if you were an operative of a liquidation squad. what’s next, you will put a horse’s head on my bed, or a dead fish wrapped in a newspaper? be my guest!

  30. Bencard, Bencard… hush now… Take it easy, cool it man!

    See what I mean? You find evil in everything that even a friendly advice triggers such dark thoughts in your mind. Was frankly worried about your health, you getting yourself all worked up over this Gloriamania business not worth it — had no other thought but your blood pressure going berserk.

    By the way, I’m no movie buff and hardly watch TV or the movies. The last and only movie I saw was Pirates of the Caribbean no. 1 with my kiddies. Before that, the only meaningful movie I saw was Lion King. I fell asleep watching a movie recently, can’t honestly remember the title but the lead actor was the Forrest Gump fellow and the setting was in Paris and London (I think), a detective story of some kind…

    Take it easy Bencard… nobody is after you (frankly, if you didn’t exist someone would have to invent you, you’re a worthy Gloria defender in my book so why should one think of getting rid of you, simply beyond me.)

  31. mwb, thanks for your concern and assurance. now i feel ‘safer’. btw, i may be a “little” older, but i’m in good health. no known health problems, thank God.

  32. Bencard,

    Don’t ever underestimate Wily Arroyo (term borrowed from Abe) … There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s cunningly stashed funds to spend for her defence, would be the height of naivete to think she hasn’t surpassed Erap yet that she will be able to afford to hire law offices left, right and center not only in Pinas but also in the old US of A when investigators start quizzing her on her or her family’s assets there, you know under the Ricoh law, not to mention properties in her brother in law Iggy’s name in London (one of the most expensive real estate investment areas in the world, where a garage in the Mayfair area could cost as much as 300,000 British pounds).

  33. “if you have no idea how much the “hate-gloria club” hates pgma, just read, analyze and digest most, if not all, the comments of mwb, cvj, equalizer, m. buencamino, ay_naku, inodoro n.e., chiabelli, etc., etc. i must concede, the gma haters in this blog overwhelmingly outnumbers the gma-supporters, defenders and neutral commenters combined.”

    Old Geezer:To be honest,I respect your views,no matter how diametrically opposed they are from mine.

    I worry more about the apathy of the masses.I think they feel the hopelessness of the situation.

    That is what angry people feel..the lack of HOPE.

  34. …she preferred to believe the accidental gas explosion theory in the case of Glorietta 2 because the alternative would be too much to contemplate

    If you remember I was lambasted by micketymoc for even insinuating that the Arroyo administration (i.e. certain elements in the AFP) may have been responsible for the marine beheadings. He accused me I wasn’t helping any by fueling the fire.

    Most of us good folk prefer to live our lives assuming everyone else also function with the same moral compass we do. We were, after all, raised by our parents to be good people and so we expect the same of others. Such naked avarice, such unchecked thirst for power and the indiscriminate use of it, are thus an affront to our genteel sensibilities. Most people stay away from politics because they say its a dirty business. Its probably a lot dirtier than they can imagine.

    But if we all bury our heads in the sand scared shitless, if we prefer to think the best of people even faced with evidence of the contrary, if we refuse to confront the seedy underbelly that is our fucking government – the embodiment our will as a people – then we deserve what we get.

    The argument goes, they’re all the same. The administration, the opposition. There is no alternative (TINA), but fuck it. I demand alternatives.

  35. I fell asleep watching a movie recently, can’t honestly remember the title but the lead actor was the Forrest Gump fellow and the setting was in Paris and London (I think), a detective story of some kind… – ManilaBayWatch

    Anna, i believe that’s the most scathing critique of The Da Vinci Code movie that i’ve ever come across. 😀

  36. Sparks, yes now that you mentioned it i do remember reading your exchange with micketymoc. Early on, he also lambasted Dinky and company for their Baywalk rally so i guess he’s just being true to form. As i mentioned in my blog, i believe that the B&W folks (and by extension you, me and all like-minded folks) are our Society’s immune system. Micketymoc, Geo, Rego, Austero et. al. tend to blame the fever (i.e. the negativity, the traffic jams, the ‘noise’) but as hvrds has said:

    “We allow small acts of evil as long as it is far from affecting us and it starts to have a life of its own and this apathy allows it to come right to our doorstep.” – hvrds

    In the immediate aftermath of the blast, someone even suggested that perhaps it’s better for us not to know the truth.

  37. “Post moderns who believe that perception is reality”. cvj.

    yeah, like those who conclude that gma cheated in the 2004 election based solely on the perception arising from an illegally-wiretapped conversation.

  38. cvj,

    “Anna, i believe that’s the most scathing critique of The Da Vinci Code movie that i’ve ever come across.”

    Hehehe! Indeed. But honestly, I couldn’t remember the title of the film and was trying very hard by typing away the follow on words in my “critique” and to think that I had read the book but in heavily staggered fashion that took me months which shows you I hadn’t liked the “script” from the very start (or maybe the book was better than the film and so promptly dozed off when I saw its film version, don’t really know) — knew title had to do with an Italian painter, sculptor, hehehheh!

  39. mwb, maybe you would enjoy “Elizabeth”, the sequel, and her supposed romance with sir walter raleigh (mostly in secret). cate blanchette did a good job portraying a very powerful, strong woman but so human in feeling the anguish of unfulfilled love and letting her own sister beheaded. i like brave, strong and powerful women. i really do. and i am neither being chauvinistic nor patronizing.

  40. Bencard,

    Thanks for suggesting. Funny, it hasn’t occurred to me to watch Elizabeth the sequel; I saw the first one on DVD sometime last year and remember it was good and so, yes, I might do that one of these weekends — will have to find out if it’s showing here already.

    I’ve read ‘extensively’, i.e., read a great number of books, on or where Elizabeth I figured – she is my favourite woman leader, perhaps Golda Meir next and then Maggie Thatcher.

    Now, I understand why you have a penchant for Gloria, it’s because you “like brave, strong and powerful women.”

    I will concede to two of your adjectives of Gloria: strong and powerful but unfortunately, I don’t find her brave in the absolute meaning of the word. True, she has a physical braveness about her as when she goes and meet with the “masa”, the electorate and the public at large but to me that is not what bravery really is in the absolute… to me bravery is synonimous to resolute courage.

    Very early on in Mlq3’s blog some 3 years ago I think, I had posted that I would have been very supportive and she would have admirative of Gloria despite my belief that she ascended to power by breaching the Constitution in 2001 if only she had been more resolute, i.e., been courageous and put the generals in check or back to where they belonged, to the camps and to the barracks and by putting political discipline in government instead of back-pedalling at every turn and putting many tom dick harry crooks in government to pay off her “political debts” left right and center… the presidency is a powerful and potent tool. Full stop! I believe she did not use that tool wisely and instead she continues to use it to this day wrongly. And for that she has earned (at least from me) the strongest scorn.

    Strangely enough, I would liken her to France’s own Ségolène Royal, the unfortunate highly educated Socialist Party candidate in the recent elections in France whom I genuinely believed to be strong, intelligent, hardworking but not courageous or even bold enough to be able to institute needed reforms in France.

    And if I’m not being too inquisitive, pray could you tell me then, because you ” like brave, strong and powerful women. i really do.”, will you vote for Hillary Clinton?

  41. Bencard,

    I have replied to your comment but Manolo’s minesweeper “”Your comment is awaiting moderation.” is at it still; wonder how I could torpedoe that one…

  42. I see, gotta apply the zig zag tactic (short comments) so will try to cut and paste portions of my answere separately… here goes (we’ll see if manolo’s minesweeper can intercept this.)


    Thanks for suggesting. Funny, it hasn’t occurred to me to watch Elizabeth the sequel; I saw the first one on DVD sometime last year and remember it was good and so, yes, I might do that one of these weekends — will have to find out if it’s showing here already.