Visit, Now Na!

Visit! Now Na! Thanks to Rebolusyon2006, to Ceci da Supastar, to DPS Class 67, and to gourmet blogger Market Manila for their linking to the site!

As they say in showbiz, “in fairness,” reservations on this activity are expressed in Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas! Milder criticism (on questions of translation) in caffeine sparks.

I’ve signed two online petitions, the first calling for a snap election (a position I’ve adopted in my column, so I’m just being consistent) and another one, petitioning for clemency for Marilou Renario, a Filipina OFW facing the death penalty in Kuwait.

A hat tip to Piercing Pens for pointing to the Time Magazine article, Crisis – Again – for the Philippines’ Arroyo, which quoted me.

Now here’s a question, not because I hope it happens (I hope to God it never does) but with the following: Oil and gold soar as US dollar wilts and Asia marker Tapis crude breaks $100/bbl for 1st time and with the widely-held assumption George W. Bush is looking for excuses to bomb Iran, what do you think will happen if the lifeline of remittances that keeps our economy afloat, suddenly gets strangled or even cut?

What then, do you do in a crisis situation where the head of state depends on lavish cash-giving to maintain political support, and where a significant chunk of the population detests her? What then?

The President has no reservoir either of popularity or good will, to bank on. Her allies support her conditionally, and voraciously. People can ignore anything political because their escape route abroad has been planned. Those at home can wait for remittances. Cut off that escape route, throw a monkey wrench in the sending of those remittances, and then what happens?

The President can cut tariffs and keep the cost of oil low for public transportation. But the middle class will feel the pinch, as will large corporations with their fleets of vehicles. Transport costs for products will escalate. The sectors in the economy growing are not big enough to absorb those who suddenly have to give up prospects of going abroad, and Heaven help us if some sort of general state of war erupts in the Middle East and causes trouble, in turn, in Muslim-dominated nations. You get my drift.

You may not need a government with legitimacy in normal times but you need one when there’s a crisis that affects all sectors, including those who craved stability at all costs, because their pocketbooks weren’t affected by “political noise.”

Anyway, on to the political scene.

A shrewd observation from John Nery in his column:

The photograph showing Lakas-CMD party leaders giving the thumbs-up sign purports to show renewed “unity of purpose” forged in a summit in Malacañang last Saturday; instead, it projects an air of vulnerability. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, in the center of the picture flanked by Speaker Jose De Venecia and ex-President Fidel Ramos, does not seem to be too pleased; we’ve seen her strike a happier pose before. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita is all the way on the left, almost literally marginalized. (Indeed, he is cropped out in the photo published in the Inquirer.) The lone senator in the gathering is a rookie and a lightweight, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri; in the photo, he is dead center, but in the political crisis that the President is working mightily to resolve, he is firmly in the periphery.

Not least, Ermita’s rival as the President’s most influential alter ego, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, is not in the picture. Of course, that’s because he is not Lakas-CMD, but Kampi. But that’s precisely the point, isn’t it?

Puno, of course, has the last laugh: Kampi gave cash gift to solons–party exec. Over at blog@AWB Holdings, he has something to say about that:

Can you believe that? I don’t.

1. Why only now? Abante and Villarosa should have made that admission on the day the issue was forced out. The timing reeks of planning. After all, after Panlilio and Mendoza exposed the cash gifts to governors, the supposed source of funds admitted giving cash two weeks after the fact. And since there was no visible and audible outrage, the people has given the politicians a clear signal – rob us more, fool us more. So admitting now is just OK, right?
2. Why give money to non-party mates? You take care of your own, right? Poor Angelica Jones. (Background: the showbiz actress ran for the position of provincial board member under KAMPI. She lost, and blamed the party for not supporting her.)
3. Where did KAMPI get all that money? Mike Arroyo? Iggy Arroyo? Jose Pidal? Wow, I had no idea KAMPI is this rich. Maybe I should join the party, no? Most probably I’d get the laptop that I am eyeing. Hmm.
4. Ronaldo Puno once claimed that the money did not come from them, instead pointed to Lakas’ Jose de Venecia.

Not that Eduardo Ermita isn’t beyond a chuckle or two. Konfrontasi between Puno and Ermita had tongues wagging that Ermita was on his way out, that Puno was ascendant, and that the Batangas mafia in the cabinet were out, too: but the Batanguenos seem to have struck back -and struck a deal. They’re still in the official family and not out in the cold.

Now a conspiracy theorist might explain the “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here” Kodachrome moment at the Palace in this manner, as a text message has it:

See if you can check w ur sources: gma s cptv of lakas due 2 anthr tape gvn her fri. night by nidntfied source. She ws up n abt ntl 3 am of sat. tryng 2 determine who tpd it. If gma does not hold up 2 truce, lks wl pounce on her. It dpnds how puno wl counter 2 sve queen. D war s nw btwn lakas n kampi. ermita as proxy vs puno, oppo wl jst play their role.

When I asked for clarification, the following arrived:

Apparently jueteng pay off w GMA present. Its in her house daw in Forbes. Or in La Vista.

Another source opined,

If true, Obviously k chavit galing yan. Dats d bomb he threatened to explode coz of erap pardon.

Yet another message said,

Yun tape kung jueteng di si chavit ang source. Blackmail yan and gma unlike erap will give chavit wat he wants.

But in the end, the best that text messages can provide are leads, which can lead to wild goose chases and dead ends, or the opening of a real can of worms. But there’s no need to go into conspiracy theories.

As far as the Inquirer editorial goes, it’s all posturing:

The exemplar of this progress is the increasingly institutionalized Malacañang cash bar and buffet, courtesy of the President. This Tuesday, after weeks of bumbling and confusion, the source of the half-a-million-peso cash buffet servings to congressmen was finally revealed. It was the President’s very own pet political party, Kampi, that doled out the money. Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. claimed that Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa claimed in turn to have doled out the cash, and that he was surprised Kampi was giving him, a Lakas-CMD party member, money. But he said thanks for the half a million, anyway.

To be fair, Abante shouldn’t have been surprised. Party affiliation has never been so meaningless as it is now. We should point out that no president, ever, has been so promiscuous when it comes to party affiliation, thus rendering it inconsequential. Ms Arroyo is titular head of Lakas-CMD, of the Liberal Party and of Kampi. All previous presidents were content to head one party or movement at a time. But this is part of Ms Arroyo’s claims of progress.

The acerbic Manuel Buencamino also looked at the same picture Nery did, and this is what he concluded:

Those “small hurts” did not look so small when Fidel Ramos was pounding his desk protesting the pardon of Joseph Estrada, when Gloria Arroyo’s aides bribed 190 congressmen to force Speaker de Venecia to refer the bogus impeachment complaint to the House justice committee, and when de Venecia responded with an ultimatum letter to Gloria Arroyo asking her to fire her most loyal henchmen and to undergo a moral recovery, even if there were no morals there to recover in the first place.

The family disagreement looked so large and irreconcilable a split looked inevitable. But size became relative when the grand vision emerged–“unlimited power and unrestrained plunder up to and beyond 2010.”

And so the ruling family’s capos decided, “Our loyalty to our country ends when our loyalty to our party begins.”

Lakas-CMD will not split into two lines, one behind Mrs. Arroyo and the other behind the Speaker, because Gloria Arroyo made sure everyone saw who held the slop bucket.

Under Erap it was “weather-weather lang”; under Gloria it’s “pera-pera lang.”

Gloria Arroyo will not be impeached over the ZTE broadband deal. The leaders of the ruling party, their group picture splashed on the front page of last Monday’s papers, gave the thumbs up for this administration to continue with plunder, human-rights violations, extrajudicial killings and, most important of all, to keep those cash-filled envelopes coming.

It doesn’t matter that Joey de Venecia III told the truth. Not when the AFP is the AFGMA and the PNP is “Pulis Ni Pidal”; not when businessmen are under the spell of a brother of fugitive businessman Dewey Dee; not when the perfumed set continue to consider themselves and the Arroyo couple as “somos”; not when the guardians of morality, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, allow themselves to be wined and dined by Malacañang.

Gloria is not afraid of civil society anymore. The only people who still scare her “are those soldiers kept in General Esperon’s jails.

And here’s the clincher: with the President saying that the bottom line is, indeed, the bottom line, of big business and the bigshots in her various pet parties, something has to give. As Buencamino says, in the continuation of his column,

Under ordinary circumstances, those soldiers, charged with mutiny and attempted coup, would be considered traitors. But these are extraordinary times, and those soldiers hold the moral high ground over Gloria Arroyo’s generals who are perceived to have turned their back on everything they learned in the academy.

And so, with each new scandal, the prisoners of Esperon gain more respect from the public and the rank and file in the military.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a coup is the best solution to the Gloria Arroyo problem.

I have no doubt those soldiers detained in Tanay are highly principled, honest and patriotic. But a junta, no matter how pure and well-meaning at the outset, has a tendency to degenerate into a dictatorship, as history has shown countless times.

So I think it’s best for the civilian population to take care of the Gloria problem before the military becomes impatient and does it for them.

Over the weekend, I received an alarming text that confirmed rumors that the soldiers are losing patience and a bloody civil war is in the offing if civil society delays on its duty to oust Gloria through impeachment or people power.

The text message read:

“While Malacañang was loudly rejoicing over the neutralization of civilian society, a high-ranking general was quietly dispatched to Tanay to plead with the detained soldiers not to issue any more inflammatory statements against their superiors. He told them their uncompromising position was beginning to seriously affect the chain of command; the rumbling among the rank and file was growing stronger. From Tanay, the general went straight to Malacañang to report that his appeal was turned down.”

We are foolishly marching toward civil war, the most uncivil of wars, because we continue to buy the lie that human beings will tolerate injustice as long as they have a full stomach. History does not suffer fools gladly.

The deals, if anyone doubted they’ve been signed, sealed, and delivered, have their details trickling out in the headllines: first order of business, House rejects supplementary impeachment case of UNO and the second order of business is the clincher, House Ethics panel rules to clear JdV of charges.
This is just silly: Summit of 4 living presidents pushed. If thats what the officials want to do, there are two institutional means for accomplishing this. The first is the Council of State. The second, is the National Security Council.

My Inquirer Corrent (see the previous entry by John Nery, Sleepless in Glorietta) entry is on the competing presentations of the police and Ayala Corp., as well as Newsbreak’s report. Newbsreak’s article is particularly interesting, because I think nearly everyone has smelled stinky gases from the sewers of nearly all the major malls, so if methane ends up the culprit, some sort of action needs to be taken.

On to the world beyond our borders. US Senate approves more funds for RP so long as government solves killings.

In Thailand, Tycoon Politics Return to Thailand.

In The Freedom Agenda Fizzles, Fred Kaplan describes how American officials frantically tried to convince the President of Pakistan not to impose martial law. Apparently, he proved unwilling to be swayed, unlike our own president who received a visit from US spookmaster Negroponte in January, 2006, when GMA was serious about proclaiming martial law. Read Pervez’s Power Play for an additional blog roundup. Meanwhile, in Islamabad, Ousted Top Judge Calls for Uprising:

Sacked top judge Chaudhry called on his countrymen to save the constitution, prompting authorities to sever mobile phone coverage in parts of Islamabad as he addressed a meeting of lawyers by telephone. “I want lawyers to spread my message to the people of Pakistan,” he said to cheers from supporters before all lines went dead. “The time for sacrifice has come, to rise up for the supremacy of the constitution,” he added.

In his blog, The Washington Note says Dubya’s stuck in a trap of his own making:

The fact is that we have to deal with democrats and dictators around the world. The CNN clip did a good job showing how we had worked with Saddam in the past and other tough self-dealing thugs like Noriega, Marcos, and the Shah. We could get away with that in the Cold War when America was clearly a better overall alternative to the Soviet Union — but today, there is nothing else for global citizens making choices about their own governments to compare America to.

Our choices define us — and yes, we still have to deal with some of the world’s bad guys. But Bush set up a huge hypocrisy test which he shouldn’t have. George W. Bush’s pretensions in January 2005 puffed up a democracy bubble that Musharraf has definitively punctured.

In South Korea, Philippine school linked to scandal in South Korea over fake diplomas. Note that its South Koreans who faked their diplomas, not Philippine schools.

A final word about the fucked-up NPC mural. Pardon my French.

Look, if you are going to commission an artist’s collective, regardless of what you spend, you don’t fuck around with their painting. Don’t like it? Ask for revisions, but considering you commissioned a collective, which is a type of organization that obviously has ideological principles as its foundation, good luck with that. Still don’t like it? Return it. Don’t have time? Tough, don’t put the painting on display. Still want something on your wall? Put up a government poster, if you’re the NPC.

But when you fuck around with a painting expect a big, royal, resounding “Fuck you!” in return. You’re dealing with artists from Angono, not corporate drones who can Photoshop on client demand.

Conrado de Quiros says it better.

And good news, particularly since no renaming of streets was involved: Finally, a boulevard named after ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

129 thoughts on “Visit, Now Na!

  1. I see, geo. I suppose my misunderstanding stems from the fact that I dont equate ‘the people’ with ‘a few people’. ‘The people’ means, well, THE people. ‘A few people’ are just some guys standing around. My apologies.

  2. Rego, those are very important questions.

    (The law, btw, allows for ‘snap’ election when both the Prez and the VP are incapacitated, or if they resign.)

  3. What is the mafia? Today’s mafia is a group of criminals organized into “families,” and operating in different parts of the world, The main idea of the mafiosi today is to make money, whether it be illegal or legit it doesn’t matter.

    The Philippine branch of the mafia, named “La Costra Nostra” (“Ka Kampi” in the vernacular)create a sense of family, based on cash dole-outs(or bribery in polite language) .

    If their targets for cooperation/ collaboration do not comply with the “family” requests, they can expect more radical methods to be used against them as convincing arguments.

  4. leah wrote:
    if there is people power who would take over?
    in 1986 it was easy-it was Cory
    but how can there be people power if there is no clear choice. Wouldn’t it just be better for GMA to resign and Noli take over for a few years.

    As Archbishop Lagdameo lamented the trouble is that media are not hospitable to the emergence of “a new breed of leaders.”

    We have a choice. I believe Gov. Panlilio fits the role of moral alternative.

  5. rego,

    haaaay naku. yan ang problema sa bayan natin. di pa rin ma-realize na there are much more bigger problems than removing GMA. ang be-all and end-all pa rin ay GMA removal.

    the resources could just be channeled to job creation.

    di naman nating sinasabing GMA will go scot-free. file cases against her the moment she becomes plain Mrs Arroyo on 30 June 2010 at 12:00 pm

    from now till 2010, efforts should just be channeled to job creation, tourism development etc.

  6. Jeg, not necessarily the people power-type. MB is hinting at a civil war. Even Marines Maj. Gen. Dolorfino already mentioned its possibility. And that’s the really scary part. And for what? Just because an illegitimate president wants to stay in power?

  7. anthony scalia,

    I’ll state it again: Until and unless we get the right kind of political leadership, as most of our neighbors have taught us, we will never experience the kind of economic development that our people, the majority of whom are poor, need. And we will never get that right kind of leadership if we do not exact accountability from our leaders. We allow Gloria to do all kinds of shenanigans while in office, the next President will do the same things, and so on down the line. I’ve stated many times in this blog that it’s the height of stupidity to expect different results by doing the same thing.

    Sure, with the same kind of leadership that we always had, the economy may grow, jobs may be created and tourism may be developed, but we’ll continue plodding at a snail’s pace while our neighbors (soon Vietnam will surpass us, if it already hasn’t) are leapfrogging.

    But how long can the vast majority who are poor, who are hungry, who are unemployed wait? Twenty years? Fifty years? A hundred years?

    I wish to God we really had the luxury of time.

  8. my God! my 4 month old son was just confined last night. he had the chills. I jz arrive here in Mla this morning and now I’m rushing back to Naga.

    ramrod, if you’re reading this, please tell me what ailed your son and how high did his fever get. I’m dead worried, and all I can do is wait for the soonest trip back home.

  9. im freaking out! i’ve searched online everywhere and the soonest flight to Naga is tomorrow at 5am. i’m better off riding the bus tonight.

    anyone know of a faster way?

  10. I’m hoping that as well. I hope it’s not dengue. that’s why im rushing home. I’m the only one qualified to donate blood if ever.

    di ko alam ganito pala ang feeling. halos maiyak-iyak na ako. half in frustration bec i cnt do anything to fly out of here, and half out of worry.

    I’m asking God to take everything jz to make my son healthy again. i’d turn Faust in an instant if that’s what it’ll take.

  11. di naman nating sinasabing GMA will go scot-free. file cases against her the moment she becomes plain Mrs Arroyo on 30 June 2010 at 12:00 pm.

    ha! tell that to imelda and erap.

  12. devils, godspeed and good luck to your son. i remember my dad always told me he had to make a point not to be reckless trying to reach me in case of an accident or sickness, because a dead father wouldn’t do a sick son any good. perhaps your wife can text you some of the symptoms and you can make an inquiry at the nearest hospital or if you have an pediatrician friends…

  13. qwert, there’s another difference between PP1 and PP2. PP1 was a military uprising supported by the people. PP2 was a civilian uprising supported by the military. It’s apparent now that the civilians are not inclined to start an uprising anytime soon. If there’s going to be another PP, it will be of the PP1 variety, a military uprising that will be supported by the people. But some people are saying that it might not be peaceful the next time around.

  14. Devils, my prayers are with you and your son. If there’s anything you need now, it’s equanimity. Your Jesuit mentors have taught you where to turn to in times like this.

  15. Manolo, tnx for the sound advice. but my wife is Indiana, and only my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are with my son right now. and they’re not exactly being very transparent. i guess they jz don’t want me to worry so much.

    i already bought a bus ticket leaving first time tonight.

    im leaving off this civil war worries for a while till my son gets better. and by God, I’ll not allow us to get stuck here!

    signing out for now.

  16. “If there’s going to be another PP, it will be of the PP1 variety, a military uprising that will be supported by the people. But some people are saying that it might not be peaceful the next time around.” – shaman
    It is my personal opinion that GMA is waiting for it to happen and she’s going to use the uprising as a license to declare martial law.

  17. Guys let’s not get ahead of ourselves thinking about what it will be like after another people power.

    Let’s just get rid of this pain in the butt first.

    We’ll all be able to think more clearly afterwards

  18. i suggest that instead of going out to the streets to pressure gma to resign, lets all stay home for one day. no going to the malls, dont report for work, students wont attend classes. will just stay home and bond with family members or do those long delayed house repairs, maybe we can call it family day. I also want gma gone but i dont relish the idea of being beaten by batuta or hosed down. BnW will you consider this?

  19. I wouldn’t want a priest as president no matter how honest he is.
    we had the president take orders from the Vatican from 1986-1992. does anyone want Henrietta Mendoza back at MTRCB?

  20. lino, we have, but the main problem is for daily wage earners and others who might get penalized by their bosses… but it’s something that’s been discussed for some time…

  21. RE: martial law “another flawed assumption is that the current safeguards in the constitution are both meaningful and would be a deterrent. they aren’t…-MLQ3

    When you have posted the abovementioned statement in your previous thread, I told myself, Manolo must be kidding,the safety provisions are airtight, no loopholes, then I took my copy of the Constitution from the bookshelf and carefully studied the provisions. I was surprised to find out there are loopholes in the so called “safeguards”. I beg your indulgence on this.

    What I will discuss below is just my personal opinion about the possible loopholes of the safety provisions of the Constitution regarding the declaration of martial law. The scenarios are purely fictonal.

    One of the options of GMA, for whatever reason she intends to use it whether to perpetuate her in power or to use it as a subterfuge to change or amend the Constitution, is to declare a misnomered state of national emergency and an incognito martial law, both terms will be used interchangeably to create a “state of national quandary”.

    If and when martial law will be declared by GMA, she must consider the following:

    1. How to deal with Congress.

    2. How to deal with the Supreme Court.

    3. How to deal with the International Community (primarily U.S.).

    1. How to deal with Congress.

    They say that it will be very hard for any sitting President to declare martial law under the 1987 Constitution. For the sake of argument, let me create a scenario. One morning when Congress is in recess, we heard the news on TV and Radio that there is a coup(mock coup by GMA,an autogolpe if you may) and GMA appears on national TV and tells us that the whole country is in a state of national emergency and that there is an ongoing rebellion and thus prompting her to declare martial law.

    By virtue of the provision of Article XII,Section 17 of the Constitution, GMA orders the AFP to secure all vital installations (all TV and Radio stations,all piers,all airports, SLEX,NLEX,national highways,).All flights are cancelled,all roads leading to the provinces are closed, nobody will be allowed to enter or leave Metro Manila as long as it is necessary for the understandable reason not to allow rebel forces to gain access and allow reinforcements to the Metropolis but in reality the reason is to stop the majority members of Congress to come/fly back to Manila within the prescribed time frame:

    “…The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call…”-Art. VII, Section 18

    “Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President”-Art. VII, Section 18

    So, in effect Congress is rendered inutile and cannot revoke the declaration of martial law within the prescibed period of time and by default gives the President her sixty days. While waiting for the “dust to settle down”, and this she can do after the twenty-four or fourty-eight hours provision, the President will contact all congressmen who are part of the majority coalition to assuage their apprehension regarding the declaration of martial law by informing them that it is an opportune time for congress to change the charter and assure them that martial law will be lifted once the new charter is ratified through a plebiscite with the “help” of the Comelec. The President will also call the attention of the congressmen that even if there is martial law, congress can be convened being a legislative body and amend or change the charter effectively changing the form of government(parliamentary form):

    “A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies…”-Art. VII,Section 18

    Once the support of the majority congressmen is secured, the President will make arrangements for their transportation to Manila. It is also important that administration senators(charter change advocates) and some co-opted “opposition” senators be actively involved in the process of charter change, this is to dilute the right of the senate as an institution to question the constitutionality of the process before the Supreme Court by arguing that Congress must vote separately.

    2. How to deal with the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court needs an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen for it to promulgate a decision for or against the declaration of martial law:

    “The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.” -Art. VII,Section 18

    The President can at the height of the mock coup (autogolpe)produced a bogus intelligence report “Oplan Whatever” citing a plan by the mock rebels to harm or even liquidate the justices and with this, order the AFP to secure the justices in the “safety of their homes”(house arrest) with an accompanying bomb explosion inside the building of the Supreme Court. The President then orders the “loyal AFP” to secure the perimeter and the building itself ( physically preventing any citizen to file an appropriate proceeding) as long as it is necessary.

    3. How to deal with the International Community (primarily U.S.).

    A plebiscite will take care of that, for as long as the majority of the voting public ratifies the new charter,then we have democracy at work.

    “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

    It is a possible option for GMA to use martial law as a means to an end, charter change.

  22. I will be there for the postcard march tomorrow, but my worry is this: is there some chance that the post office, not wanting to anger the president, will accept the postcards and then lose them (secretly, of course)?

  23. qwert, we came awfuly close to it in 2006. only the intervention of nonong cruz and a sudden visit by negroponte shelved the idea.

  24. “qwert, we came awfuly close to it in 2006. only the intervention of nonong cruz and a sudden visit by negroponte shelved the idea.”-mlq3

    The purpose in 2006, I think ,will be very much different this time.

  25. Thanks, Mike, we honestly don’t know. There will be enough lawyers I’m sure to argue in favor of our right to mail things to the President, but well, if they have orders not to accept the cards, then we’ve made a strong point, no? and the press, i’m sure, will see if the cards reach the palace. if they don’t… well, someone, somewhere, will slip up.

  26. Shaman of Malilipot,

    Did you know that during those times when South Korea was under a military dictatorship, characterized by corruption, that was when it experienced rapid economic growth?

    Shenanigans were never absent from South Korean administrations during the super-growth years.

    No, Im not saying that our country should be in one also before it can prosper.

    What I would like to point out is that government is negligible in the path towards economic development. The key, major player is the private sector.

    Oh yes, the economic and industrial policies of dictator Park Chung Hee certainly helped. But thats all a government can do, provide an environment conducive for business. Once the correct environment was in place, the private sector did the rest.

    Guess what? The South Korean private sector did not wait for ‘democracy’ to be restored, for the shenanigans to be eradicated, before it created companies and jobs. And the growth was not a snail’s pace.

    Suwerte ang South Korea. It never had to deal with colonial mentality. It never had a shortage of citizens who were willing to sacrifice for their country by staying put

    You may want to ponder on this – neighbors of the Philippines that you mentioned that are leapfrogging the Philippines, they are much less democratic than us! Washington SyCip is right when he said the problem of our country is too much democracy!

    That’s why I am totally shocked with this statement by a poster – “Let’s just get rid of this pain in the butt first. We’ll all be able to think more clearly afterwards” Yikes! Completely oblivious of the potential collateral damage!

    By the way, what is your basis in concluding that a country, say Vietnam, has leapfrogged the Philippines? For sure economic figures, right? In terms of growth rate, Vietnam is better, but in terms of GDP, the Philippines’ is way much bigger. If the growth rates of both countries stay the same, it may take Vietnam decades to surpass the GDP of the Philippines

    Di malayong mangyari yun. Dahil sa Vietnam, walang opposition, walang people power, walang mga rallies, walang freedom of the press, walang coup attempts, walang strikes, walang impeachment, walang terrorism, walang insurgency, walang kumokontra sa official economic figures.

    inidoro ni emillie,

    i just did. well before the conviction.

  27. Anthony, what you say about South Korea i.e. private sector led growth with negligible government role, is an inacurrate characterization of what took place. The government just didn’t set the stage, it had an active role in managing and protecting the Chaebols using what Alice H. Amsden calls reciprocal control mechanisms. As for Washington Sycip, he is part of the problem. As per hvrds:

    It is interesting that a lot of supposedly knowledgeable people support the views of Washington Sycip about the drawbacks of democracy pointing to the authoritrian forms of our neighbors. he forgets to point out this one important fact. The chopsticks economies he refers to have a long history of formal national fedual structures in place. But they all followed a national mercantilist dirigist economic paradigm along the same lines as proposed by the then father of U.S. industrial mercantilism Alexander Hamilton. [emphasis mine]

    If we had followed this paradigm at the end of the second world war then we would have destroyed the landlordism in the country by force and installed a genuine agrarian reform program that means that there would have been no parity rights for the Americans and all multinational corporations would have been nationalized and there would have been no Washington Sycip. That is what Japan, South Korea, PRC and Taiwan did. It is precisely Washington Sycip who benefitted from the policy framework of the Washington Consensus. His major clients are the multinationals who would have been tossed out until they are invited in like the PRC under the framework of a national dirigist economic paradigm. He has become rich though the policy of debasing the national currency. – hvrds March 28th, 2007 at 12:36 pm”

    Democracy or the lack of it was not the main factor in the development of our East Asian neighbors. It’s the fact that they followed the right economic policies. If we followed Washington Sycip and his elitists, it will just be more of the same failed Washington Consensus policies that benefit only themselves.

  28. There is a difference of emphasis with regards to the nature of People Power I and People Power II and a lot of people up to now are not cognizant of it. People Power I was an extra-constitutional exercise of the sovereignty of the people to dismantle a dictatorial regime and the system appurtenant to it. The ascendancy of Cory Aquino to the presidency was just a collateral, subsequent, and serendipitous event.

    People Power II was exactly the opposite, there was no dismantling of the system, just the ascendancy to power of GMA. Since it was an intra-constitutional exercise, it was therefore subject to judicial review and the justiciable issue was the right of the vice-president then to assume office based on the “constructive resignation” of then President Estrada.

    Kaya maraming mga tao ang nagsasabi:” People Power na naman, magpapalit na naman ng presidente, e wala namang nangyayari”

    How I wish our people will have the wisdom to know the difference… – Qwert


    I have a rather lengthy discourse on this issue in “A perpetuity in juridical misadventures ” first published under a different title by on March 24, 2001. Btw, I have tried first to just provide a link to it here but Manolo’s minesweeper seems unremitting. You can google it instead, if you are interested to read more about it.

    Anyway here are some excerpts (still quite lengthy but which I suppose could become pertinent again in the light of what many think an impending People Power III) – with due apology to Manolo.


    I have earlier advanced that a popular revolt is an ultimate exercise of political power; that People Power I and People Power II are of parallel dimension; that the underlying expediency of both revolts is beyond the review and sanction of any other authority inferior to the Civil Society (therefore, a “political question” the Supreme Court cannot rule upon); that the only possible sanction against a people’s revolt is the harsh consequences of its failure; and that, if otherwise successful, the revolutionists would be free to set new rules and use or set aside existing ones. Therefore, that GMA, as the acknowledged leading representative of the rebelling Civil Society, has chosen to revert to the legal order of the status quo ante (by taking her oath under the existing constitution), which the exultant rebels have compliantly acquiesced in, opting in that way for incremental rather than radical transformation, is no valid argument that the revolt was not successfully completed.

    It was in the same light I have argued that Chief Justice Davide’s decision in administering GMA’s oath was a patriotic class act of an instant revolutionist who wisely stepped down as the presiding officer of the impeachment proceedings to join the multitude at EDSA. The exercise served as a moderating event during those critical and uncertain hours while it also set the turning point to reestablish immediate continuity with the past. The interval was indeed brief but enough to legitimately install GMA as leader of a new regime.

    Justice Vicente Mendoza in his concurring opinion (in Estrada v. Desierto) was of the view that the uprising only created a “crisis, nay, a vacuum in the executive leadership.” Didn’t John Locke confront this issue a long time ago in his Second Treatise on Civil Government? Locke postulated that “(w)hen the supreme executive power neglects or abandons that charge,” the government is effectively dissolved for, “where the laws cannot be executed it is all one as if there were no laws . . ..”

    I have disagreed, in one exchange, with such a proposition as Justice Mendoza’s more specifically in this manner:

    It should be noted that the “system in place” was illegitimated as the people’s consciousness about the fundamental crack in the system was hastened by the education provided by the impeachment trial through the intercession of information technology and, of course, the ubiquitous media. The realization that the government has been criminalized by the likes of Atong Ang and Dante Tan, that the malevolence of patron-client complex is not a leftist concoction after all, that the people’s representatives in the legislature personified by the ‘‘Dirty 11” [the eleven senators who voted during the impeachment against the opening of the envelope believed to contain evidence incriminating Estrada] would openly pursue narrow selfish interests at the expense of salus populi, and that establishment icons like retired Chief Justice Andres Narvasa and former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza could mock and manipulate the legal and judicial system through all the legalistic chicanery at their disposal, all contributed to the illegitimation of the “system in place.’’

    Through people power, the people collectively aspired to overthrow the system via the symbolic ouster of Erap, whom they perceived as the man at the helm of the status quo ante. The people revolted with the full knowledge that Erap is not the only enemy. They saw that the real enemy is the “system in place.”

    On the other hand, Justice Jose Vitug in his own concurring opinion has submitted that “(a)ny revolution, whether it is violent or not, involves a radical change” and that what is “vital is not the change in the personalities but a change in the structure.” Noting further that “(t)he ascension of Mme. Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency (not having resulted in) the rupture nor in the abrogation of the legal order, . . . (t)he constitutionally-established government structures, embracing various offices under the executive branch, of the judiciary, of the legislature, of the constitutional commissions and still other entities, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police and local governments as well, have all remained intact and functioning.”

    Justice Vitug has obviously failed to distinguish between a revolution as a process and a revolution as an immediate outcome. While both People Power I and People Power II were successful revolts, they are however somehow intricately linked together as a continuing and unfinished revolution of the Filipino People. GMA herself has said post-revolt: The fight is not over yet.

    Thomas Jefferson once held the belief that a revolution about every generation would be good for society. Such a view could very well be an indictment of the elitist root of republicanism. But the United States, like other older large-scale democracies, has somehow gone the route of democratic elitism that looks down upon popular action, what the trilateralists of the 70s called as “excess of democracy.” The challenge of older democracies is really how they could continue to enshroud democratic elitism with the rhetoric of republicanism. To the Filipinos, the challenge, I suppose, is how to perfect their re-invented system of representative government co-existing, with People Power. As societies become more and more compressed as a result of technology, it would seem that Jefferson’s populist idea wasn’t wistful thinking after all. Filipinos have proved it twice in a row, and peacefully, securing, deepening, and further advancing in the process their democratic culture, beliefs, and institutions. That’s an excellent batting average.

    And you may also check this related post of mine on the same issue in response to DJB’s:


    When once people power-averse vice president Arroyo had been swept to power, I was among those who argued very strongly for the legitimacy of her government so established via People Power, upon the following grounds:

    1. People Power I was indistinguishable from People Power II; in both instances the people withdrew their consent through the exercise of the right of rebellion.

    2. Rebellion is an ultimate political act of the people; it is borne out by its success, hence, any imprimatur given by any other agency including the Supreme Court on the new government installed by the rebellion is unnecessary, a surplusage.

    3. Specifically, the withdrawal of support from the Estrada government was so widespread – i.e., from the two Houses of Congress and the Impeachment Court to the military establishment and a wide range of civil society groups – it was impossible for Estrada to continue to govern under his “ousted” regime; withdrawal of the people’s consent proceeded from it.

    4. The international community immediately recognized the Arroyo government as the “successor” regime they would be willing to deal with.

    In my view, the foregoing political and other relevant events acted upon each other and served as operative factors legitimizing the Arroyo regime with or without the contorted decision of the Supreme Court in Estrada v. Desierto (whereby Estrada was deemed by the Court to have left his office by “constructive resignation” paving the succession of Arroyo to the presidency).

    I have also argued that the successful defense of the Republic by the Arroyo government during the EDSA Tres uprising, considered by many as Estrada’s attempt to recapture his office (only four months after Arroyo had assumed the presidency and about two weeks before the mid-term senatorial elections of May 2001 where the administration candidates won 8-5) co-opted the outcome of the elections as the political coups de grace in ultimately completing the legitimation of her administration. The whole world was then assured the Arroyo government could withstand a rebellion and criminal conspiracy of a dimension not seen even during Marcos.

    The reasons I gave why Arroyo had easily thwarted the uprising were: “Firstly, the insurrection has been real and has not been stage-managed by her or her close allies in order to perpetuate themselves in power. Secondly, the Philippine military and the PNP have just been through a recent examination of conscience during People Power II that had put to an acid test the true attributes of their professionalism. Finally (and this is something transcendental and therefore, extra-constitutional), Mother Mary, whose shrine had been desecrated by the rebels, sided with GMA.”

    Why should I now think the legitimacy of the Arroyo government is imperiled today? Two things: 1) The “Garci tapes” controversy constitutes a strong prima facie presumption of illegitimacy; and 2) The presumption, not being thoroughly refuted in any forum, remains.

    The presumption standing, the people’s consent for Arroyo to continue ruling is tainted.

    What is obviously undeniable is that the existence of the Garci tapes strikes at the essence of an election, a betrayal of public trust that cannot possibly be let off or forgiven by the mere convenience of admitting to a “lapse in judgment.” The burden of going forward, that is, to show that those tapes are bogus, adulterated or non-existent is thereupon on the lapse of Arroyo. It is a burden that cannot be dodged or wished away simply because Arroyo’s supporters in the House have voted on procedural grounds not to allow a full-dress impeachment hearing on the matter. On the contrary, this whole conduct of Arroyo’s congressional allies has only reinforced the general perception that the people’s consent was thwarted, the election not having been free, fair and honest in the first place. In view of this, Arroyo today is governing only under color of authority or, at the most, apparent authority but not with true authority.

    If Arroyo continues to hang on to rule with a tainted authority without the benefit of public acquiescence even as a large segment of the polity continues to agitate for reasonable elucidation or raise more questions about the “Garci tapes” scandal, then the people shall have the right to authenticate their consent in a new election, through the un-election process called impeachment or by the exercise of the right of rebellion – at the people’s discretion.

  29. Guess what? The South Korean private sector did not wait for ‘democracy’ to be restored, for the shenanigans to be eradicated, before it created companies and jobs. And the growth was not a snail’s pace. – Anthony Scalia

    Contrary to your impression that the South Koreans were docile during the dictatorship, they actually had an active resistance movement. In fact, Choon Doo-hwan, the General who succeeded Park Chung Hee was convicted of the Kwangju massacre where 200 pro-democracy protesters belonging to the workers movement were killed and 1000 injured. This outrage in 1980 jump-started the democracy movement in South Korea which culminated in the ending of the dictatorship in 1987.

    Don’t compare the brave South Koreans of yesterday with the docile Filipinos of today. Ang mga Koreano, hindi nagpapagago.

  30. shaman, at the risk of being repetitive (ad nauseam), i must tell you again, a finding of “insufficiency in form and substance” in the impeachment process is part of the “rule of law”. if you were in a contest and you lost according to the pre-set rules, you have lost no matter how strongly and repetitiously you cry “i was not given a chance, i was cheated”. i think it’s time our people learn to accept defeat, as a good sport, as wholeheartedly as we accept victory.

  31. leah on, “the problem with snap elections , especially at this time , is the result could be worse than GMA. the public could easily choose Jinggoy, Lacson, Binay or Fernando. I don’t see any Pinoy Ron Paul on the horizon.”

    Fernando is dead. The old people who usually go out and vote don’t trust younger gambling-lord-Jinggoy, vigilante charles-bronson-Lacson, and rambo-style Binay for president.

    There are better candidates with solid track of records the likes of Manny Pangilinan, Manny Villar, Manny Roxas and Miriam Santiago.

    In the US, too bad for any republican candidate because Hillary will be the 1st US woman president. There is no stopping on that.

  32. “if there is people power who would take over?”

    —The constitution calls for snap election in 60 days.

    “but how can there be people power if there is no clear choice.”

    —the choices for president and vice president will be AFTER (not before) the resignation of current president and vice -president.

    “Wouldn’t it just be better for GMA to resign and Noli take over for a few years.”

    The petition is anchored that both the president and vice president are beneficiaries of 2004 electoral fraud (using the Marcos recovered ill gotten wealth).

  33. “MB is hinting at a civil war. Even Marines Maj. Gen. Dolorfino already mentioned its possibility. And that’s the really scary part. And for what? Just because an illegitimate president wants to stay in power?”

    Probably that is the reason why the bloodless people power has a mockery results since 1986, an unchanged political atmosphere for 22 years that stunted economic growth. The politicos are back to division of spoils and power without genuine fear of the people.

  34. [“Wouldn’t it just be better for GMA to resign and Noli take over for a few years.”

    The petition is anchored that both the president and vice president are beneficiaries of 2004 electoral fraud (using the Marcos recovered ill gotten wealth).] d0d0ng

    In addition to what d0d0ng has written, even if both Gloria and Noli resigned, the Constitution provides for the Senate President to take over and call for a snap election within 60 days.

  35. Bencard, at the risk of being repetitive (ad nauseam), I must tell you again that the manner of how (with emphasis on “how”) the finding of “insufficiency in form and substance” in the impeachment process is arrived at matters very much. If a ruling favorable to a litigant was issued because the prosecutor was bought, it cannot be a part of the rule of law. To believe otherwise is to believe in a farce. In the same manner, if a finding of “insufficiency in form and substance” in the impeachment process was arrived at because the congressmen were bribed, it cannot be a part of the rule of law. To believe otherwise is to believe in a farce.

    At any rate, I have lost my faith in the impeachment process as it is structured now because it has become a purely useless political exercise instead of an avenue to redress grievances against the President, a situation that finds great favor in people of your persuasion.

  36. Anthony Scalia,

    It might interest you to know that one of the first things that Park Chung Hee did when he seized power was to prosecute the business profiteers who profited from corruption in the South Korean government. Twenty-four leading businessmen were arrested. (Just imagine Donald Dee and Sergio Ortiz-Luis under arrest.) Only Lee of Samsung escaped arrest because he was abroad at the time. Later, he and some prominent business leaders offered to donate a substantial part of their fortunes to the government.

    So, it’s not true that all the government can do is set down policies and press the auto-pilot button, and, presto!, you get rapid economic growth. In fact, Park laid down an economic development program that the private sector unquestioningly followed, or else… And Park also did launch some sort of a morality campaign. Oh, yes, Park’s was an authoritarian, centralized government. So was Chun Doo Hwan’s. So was Lee Kwan Yew’s. However, Mahathir showed that the right kind of leadership can be wielded in a democratic environment. Okay, he was a “strong” political leader. So did Thaksin when he led Thailand to recovery after the 1997 financial crisis.

    All this shows that economic development cannot be left entirely to the private sector. It is the government that has to spearhead economic growth. And more often than not, “government” means the national leadership.

    The question in the Philippines today is whether we will find the kind of leadership that will propel us to rapid economic growth in an authoritarian or democratic milieu.

  37. shaman, your response begs the questions. were the prosecutors really “bought”? where’s your proof? wasn’t pork barrel distribution part of the current system?

    to a sore loser, any exercise is “useless”. the essence of democracy is the rule of majority. it’s not perfect but the alternative is worst.

  38. Bencard, get your math straight. The congressmen who killed the impeachment against Ate Glue and prevented the substantiation of the charges against her, the thing you always want to tell the whole world did not occur, are extremely in the MINORITY.

    MAJORITY of the Filipinos would like your client Ate Glue to disprove what they heard and believe from the Hello Garci tapes and she has continually refused to do so and hop into the ring while bragging her opponent cannot prove their mettle.

    In other words, takot siyang lumaban kasi, sa paniwala na rin ng KARAMIHAN, ang kaso niya ay walang iboboga. But every time she, like you, claims she won the fight without entering the ring, that’s pang-gagago.

    Marunong ang mga Pilipino manuod ng boksing kung hindi mo pa alam. Everyone understands that simple reality. Why can’t you?

  39. watchful eye, sorry to say, but i don’t think you know what you are talking about. the finding of insufficiency of form and substance was arrived at by the required majority of the people that count, the ones authorized by by the law and rules, not the majority of the entire population. and how can you be so sure about the “majority of the filipinos? surveys? that would be another topic to argue.

  40. Bencard, remember what I told you before, “if instead of being encapsulated in the mentality of an ambulance chaser, you allow your grey matter to be more supple (or kung gagamitin lang natin ng konti ang utak natin at hindi tayo magtatanga-tangahan sabi ni ay-naku), you’ll probably have a better chance like mb, nick and cvj arguing on firmer grounds and possibly help unearth the truth in the process. I can see that readers of mlq3’s website are not ‘plain and simple morons.’”

    So, I’ll say it again, get out of you legal straightjacket. It will make you a better man and of sounder mind and hopefully a credible debater.

    I have another post for you in the “Freedom’s marching” thread that’s been under moderation. Read it and you’ll know more where I’m coming from.

  41. Here’s the post I’m talking about.

    “the alleged phone conversation did not cause enough outrage as to drive people, in sufficient number, to whip up a successful “people power” imitation.”

    But 10, not one or two, of her cabinet resigned on that issue. Isn’t that sufficient, by any standard of public accountability, for a president, or any president of a country that’s not a banana republic, to provide a convincing explanation to her official family and the Filipino people, why her voice, or something that sounds very much like it, was on the infamous tape asking a Comelec commissioner to massage the result of the presidential election?

    If “the PERCEPTION that gma cheated” is not a FACT, doesn’t she have the obligation to show or explain it otherwise? She is not just a litigant in an impeachment case who could conveniently hide behind a technicality. For Almighty sake, she is also the president representing more than 80 million people, and the reality is that up to this very point, the country is still waiting for some modicum of decent explanation so that if the perception is not a fact, every one who PERCEIVED the FACTS incorrectly would owe her the apology she deserves and thereafter the nation could move on.

  42. watchful eye, again, i think you have no understanding of the word “ambulance chaser”. stop using terms that you are clueless about. btw, i don’t need to be a “better man”, “of sounder mind” or a “credible debater” in your eyes. i only value the opinion about me of people that count.

  43. Bencard, your memory is getting shorter. I understand. I’ll get there myself you know. Below is our truncated exchange before –

    Watchful: If you are an eyewitness to an intruder raping your wife, why wait for a judge or the majority of the Supreme Court to rule it was indeed a rape in order for you to make a sigh of relief and say ultimately: “I now realized what happened and I’m right my beloved did not dishonor me.”

    Bencard: Your hypothetical is nasty because, i don’t know about you but if it was me, i would not just watch by but would either try to snuff out the life of the would-be rapist before he could do the act, or get killed in the process. Only a person who (a) is a gutless coward; (b) doesn’t care about his wife (c) values his own life more than anything else; or (d) is just a plain and simple moron, would live to tell the sordid episode.

    W: My hypothetical nasty? Bencard you still don’t get it. You are perpetually trapped in your ambulance-chasing mentality. Try donning some other hats – like that of a journalist for example since you seemed to have taken up some journalism, haven’t you? – in order for you to fathom the depth of symbolism.

    See, some Filipinos are like you. They will dare to rise up and die defending an honor or an idea – like democracy, for instance. Still many more will not take your route or Musa Dimasidsing’s but will just watch by as their loves are violated or the ideas and ideals they believe are abused, raped with impunity. Some people are indeed “gutless coward,” selfish or are “plain and simple moron.” I’m glad there are Bencards and Musa who will not sit by and simply choose to “live to tell the sordid episode.”

    B: I don’t know where you’re coming from with “ambulance chasing mentality”. are you sure you know what you’re talking about or the meaning of the term you’re using?
    do you know anything about how i practice law, or the principles i live by in the practice of my profession. i don’t know what you do for a living but however it may be, it seems you are not governed by principles, if any, with real sanctions for their violation. are you?

    W: Many American lawyers are ambulance chasers. Check again the yellow pages in the U.S. and you will not need the rules of evidence to prove that fact. At least on this aspect of legal ethics Filipino lawyers are more admirable. Which one are you Bencard?

    In the hypothetical, did you ever speculate that the SC could be the “intruder” or a least a conspirator in the dastard act? Have you ever thought the hypothetical could also be alluding to an incest rape, the justices being “system insiders”? Think of Javellana at this point … how the “gutless cowards” in the SC then had allowed Marcos to perpetuate his tyranny. Outside of your straightjacket legalese, I’m hoping you are now beginning to see some light at this stage.

  44. watchful, i really don’t want to revisit the intellectually demeaning discussions we had. still you are clueless about what an ambulance chaser is. so you decide i’m “trapped in ambulance-chasing mentality” because, by your own deduction, many american lawyers are ambulance chasers as shown in their “yellow pages”? would it be o.k. for me to say you have a corrupt mindset because many filipinos are corrupt as reported daily in your media?

  45. Bencard, if you are a bit curious go look for the rest because our discourse actually ended on a highly intellectual note.

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