In the news, positive headlines around the world as Philippine terrorists get life for holiday island kidnapping (not much notice, except domestically, that RP ranks 10th in global bribery survey). Meanwhile, Arroyo: No mercy for Trillanes even as, a report finally makes public what’s been the scuttlebutt for some days now: Trillanes considered marching on Senate to claim seat (personally, I think that would have made much more sense). In Congress, the Daily Tribune claims GMA’s House allies start dancing the Cha-cha. In other House news, Solons wary of colleague’s antics on cheap medicine bill while House-Senate clash likely over cheaper medicines bill.
Cartoon courtesy of Uniffors:
I believe this column by Alan C. Robles in The South China Morning Post explains things very well: the President’s relative advantages, the disadvantages of her critics, but also, the folly of confusing the President’s staying in power with any sort of moral ascendancy on her part:
Shaken, not deterred
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has survived a series of scandals to hold onto her presidency
Updated on Dec 07, 2007
In 1997, the influential Catholic prelate, Jaime Cardinal Sin, belittled the ambition of then-senator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to run for president. He asked her disparagingly: “What would you do when there is a coup d’etat? Cry?” The cardinal, who died two years ago, couldn’t have been more wrong about the diminutive leader’s personality. Far from being a faint-hearted, delicate creature, Mrs Arroyo has proven to be as tough as nails. And she’s needed the grit because she’s also turned out to be one of the troubled nation’s most contentious and beleaguered leaders. If opinion polls can be believed, the 60-year-old Mrs Arroyo is now the most unpopular president the Philippines has had in the past 20 years. A few months ago, her trust rating was lower than that of her ignoble predecessor, Joseph Estrada. Her administration has been linked to murders and human rights abuses, corrupt deals involving billions of pesos, systematic abuse of power and election fraud. Yet, in a country where two presidents were ousted by “people power” uprisings, she has thwarted every attempt to dislodge her. She neutralised two impeachment complaints in congress, foiled at least three military coup plots, including one last week, and shrugged off desertions of cabinet members and key political allies. Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon described her as “very strong. Very determined.” Having taken power in 2001 and due to step down in 2010, the former economics teacher looks set to become the republic’s longest-serving president outside of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Mrs Arroyo’s fortitude has earned the grudging admiration of adversaries. “We call her taga-Pata [from Pata],” joked Ustadz Sharif Zain Jali, an official of the Moro National Liberation Front, in a reference to a small island in Muslim Mindanao renowned for its fierce inhabitants. “A woman who can be president has to be braver than a man.” He said the people of Pata like telling a tall tale of a fellow islander convicted of murder, imprisoned in Manila and then married to a laundry woman, who gave birth to a girl who was adopted by a politician. That baby, goes the legend, became Gloria Arroyo. To Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, the reasons for his boss’ staying power are simple: “She has done a lot for the economy as shown by the [growth in] gross domestic product and investments … I admire her. I know she is very dedicated to the job. She’s sincere in seeing to it that the programmes she has set forth are carried out.” The problem is, each time Mrs Arroyo’s programmes have worked up a head of steam, they’ve been brought to a lurching halt by scandal. She’s also endured embarrassing revelations such as the temporary exile of her husband a few years ago over allegations he was involved in election cheating. Other embarrassments include the resignation of her hand-picked election commission chairman under a cloud of corruption allegations, and the furore over an agriculture undersecretary who fled to the US rather than face an inquiry into public funds allegedly used for Mrs Arroyo’s 2004 election campaign. Just before last week’s abortive coup, Manila was savouring two tales: one had Mrs Arroyo’s husband squabbling with other politicians over huge kickbacks from a telecommunications project funded by China; the other concerned hundreds of congressmen and governors invited to meet the president in her palace and then later receiving bags of cash. A couple of recipients said they were given half a million pesos each. Stories like these explain why Mrs Arroyo is unpopular – and her reaction to them doesn’t help. She has issued executive orders banning officials from participating in investigations, in effect blocking any inquiries. She also has tried banning public rallies without permits, a move the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional. Lately, her adversaries claim, she has moved against the media, with which she has a poor relationship. Justice Secretary Gonzales said there were “elements who want to destroy her leadership; these people who are envious of her, who want to sow dissension”. He added: “There is much black propaganda [against Mrs Arroyo] … so many people are being misled by these things.” It’s hard seeing the accusations as unfounded rumours, when their airing has led to officials resigning or fleeing the country. Mrs Arroyo has never satisfactorily explained the so-called “Hello Garci” affair of 2005, when opponents released a recording of a phone conversation between someone who sounded like her and election commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcilliano. The two voices discussed padding the presidential election and kidnapping an election fraud witness. In a televised “apology” Mrs Arroyo admitted talking to an election official, but did not identify him and denied any wrongdoing. There were huge demonstrations, nearly half her cabinet ministers resigned in protest and there was an impeachment hearing in congress. Although some insiders said that at one point she was almost ready to resign, Mrs Arroyo decided to tough it out. She survived, but that year was a turning point for many erstwhile supporters. Florencio Abad, who was education secretary until he joined the walkout, said: “I saw her ascension to power as an opportunity for reform. But after Garci it was a slide down from then on.” Vicky Garchitorena, another cabinet member who resigned, said: “You have to demand accountability from our elected officials. It’s shameful when you have well-known individuals getting away with breaking the law with impunity.” Despite being reviled and mocked, Mrs Arroyo almost succeeded in rewriting the constitution to allow her to stay in power indefinitely. “She is doing her job properly,” said Mr Gonzales. “I do not think the Filipino people at this point are still willing to be duped by these false prophets of doom.” Several factors have sustained the president, the most important being the continued support of the military. As Mr Gonzales put it: “The chain of command is holding, police and military are beholden to her.” A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that as far as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were concerned, “She is the legitimately elected president. The AFP does not have a hand in determining whether she was legitimately elected, that’s up to the Commission on Elections.” He said he opposed any military coup because “I don’t agree with a politicised military”. Mrs Arroyo was unpopular “because her detractors are effective in undermining her credibility. And the government has really failed to convince the public she’s a good president,” he said. It helps her cause that Mrs Arroyo has close ties with General Esperon, who said he not only “admired” his chief, but had a “crush” on her. Mrs Arroyo was one of the sponsors of General Esperon’s wedding. The second factor is the weakness of Mrs Arroyo’s enemies, who are not only disorganised but also have nothing to offer as a replacement. William Esposo, a marketing specialist who helped build Mrs Arroyo’s image 10 years ago but is now a staunch critic of hers, said he could never imagine bringing back Joseph Estrada. “Between the two, I’d rather stay with Gloria.” Her foes have repeatedly underestimated her. Apparently last week’s plotters thought they needed to do nothing more than barricade themselves in a hotel and wait for “people power” to erupt. For their trouble, they were assaulted, tear-gassed and dragged to detention. Sheila Coronel, a journalist who has investigated coups and corruption, said of the president’s foes: “Their judgment is warped by their hatred of Gloria. I wish we had more political actors who can see clearly through their hatred.” In contrast, she noted, “Gloria has managed to stay focused and clear-eyed, despite her hatred of those who hate her … and that is why she’s managed to survive.” Mrs Arroyo has never been more resourceful and ruthless than when she’s defending herself. She hasn’t hesitated to tap dubious personalities, and has given largesse generously to supporters. Mr Esposo said her political opponents “never imagined she would cross so many lines”, ignoring both the constitution and the Supreme Court when it suited her. “She is the epitome of patronage politics, she has perfected the art of patronage,” he said. A third factor that has helped her is the inertness of the millions of Filipinos who, six years ago, took to the streets to overthrow Estrada in a peaceful uprising. Not only is civil society divided over what to do, many people are tired of uprisings. Fearful of what an Arroyo ouster might produce, they’d rather give the democratic process a chance. Mr Abad said that “as a country we have not been able to muster the unity we showed in ousting the Marcos dictatorship, in ousting Estrada … it’s every difficult to do that now.” Although Mrs Arroyo has succeeded in hanging on, the downside is that a large amount of her administration’s resources and talent is devoted to the goal of self-preservation. “You are no longer talking about governance, about development, about being able to address basic problems,” said Mr Abad. “You’re talking about being able to survive.”
Copyright © 2007 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All right reserved
Another outstanding piece today was Raul Pangalanan‘s column:
If at all there was anything worrisome about The Peninsula standoff, it wasn’t that they were so few. It was that they could have actually pulled it off without a civilian component, and that if the military reinforcements had not been blocked, bought off, or preempted, we would have had our first coup d’état without the façade of a civilian cover. Marcos staged a coup against Congress in cahoots with his “Rolex 12″ generals and, with a little help from a pliant Supreme Court, called it “constitutional authoritarianism.” The two EDSA People Power events were, to use the felicitous but not entirely truthful catchwords, civilian-led but military-backed uprisings.
So now, some Filipinos exclaim in disgust: Oh, Lim and Trillanes thought they could pull it off without our help? But I recall, the last time around, on that memorable day of Feb. 24, 2006, that was exactly what Brigadier General Lim did. With far more civilians involved, the element of surprise was inevitably compromised — and people then concluded: The plotters should’ve kept the secret to themselves!
Do not feign surprise at this latest attempt to oust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It has been long in coming. “They who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable,” said John F. Kennedy.
Overseas, Brazil’s senate leader resigns, averting a political crisis. And a very chilling reflection on the habeas corpus debate going on in the U.S. Supreme Court, in It Was the Best of Habeas, It Was the Worst of Habeas:
The question the court must answer is whether Congress properly stripped the remaining 300-and-some detainees at Guantanamo Bay of their right to go before a neutral judge and challenge their detention. If that feels familiar, it’s because we’ve heard this fight before in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006). And also before that in Rasul v. Bush (2004). What’s changed is that Congress, by enacting the 2006 Military Commissions Act (PDF), joined President Bush in the family habeas-stripping business. Now the president and the legislature together are telling federal courts to stay out of the executive’s decisions about who gets detained where and on what charges. Rasul gave detainees a statutory right to habeas corpus. The MCA erased it. Hamdan struck down the president’s military tribunals. Congress reinstated them. The Bush administration keeps winning by losing. The question is whether the third time’s a charm.
The piece goes on to grimly conclude,
But I just couldn’t count five votes today for the proposition that the kangaroo tribunals are better than the alternatives, or even that they are any good at all. After six years, zero trials, multiple suicide attempts, and myriad resignations, even the claim that serfs on the Isle of Jersey in 1597 would have been delighted with the CSRTs sounds a false note. The one unifying theme today may be that every justice present longs for the good old days of the 14th century. The conservatives because life was better then. And the liberals because even the Middle Ages look better than what the administration is doing now.
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93 thoughts on “More clear-eyed than her enemies”
Timing, that’s one reason why Ms Arroyo, even considered by many as the most unpopular President the country ever has, outlast all who wants her ousted. The masses, who was the most important part of the people power that ousted Marcos and also responsible partly for Erap vacating the Palace, is no longer as enthusiastic, the reason is they have seen the results of all their struggles, Zip, nada. People now are more concern of getting a job overseas. Even more concern of getting a green card or landed status in countries offering such. Census just released and next to China and India, the Philippines is the Third largest immigrants in Canada in the last five years… that speaks volume..
Little woman wins.
Respect for power over and above principle is what defines the Balimbing mentality.
“Respect for power over and above principle is what defines the Balimbing mentality.”
It’s not balimbing mentality, it’s when her enemies have become too obsessed with winning instead of the principles behind wanting to remove her that makes for a jaded struggle. They were all trying to manipulate the people, from Cory’s Ayala March to the Hyatt resignees to Oakwood, to Manila Pen. It’s their focus on the end, not the principle that makes giving up such a desirable alternative. A Junta! For crying out loud. What if the people resisted, would they kill us all?
She may not have the moral authority, but her enemies do not act like they have moral ascendancy either.
Worst case scenario for me: history writes her down as some sort of modern anti-hero. Not perfect but the most sympathetic protagonist in the story that is the Philippines.
Brianb, given the prevailing Balimbing culture, if and when the Junta acquires power, that won’t be much of a problem because the respect for power will get transferred over to them. Just watch.
Post Title: “More Clear-Eyed Than Her Enemies”
Maybe we can beg her to resign.
cvj, with apologies to mlq3 for being off topic, I have this crazy idea. Do you think you can map on your political compass graph the current crop of “presidentiables” based on their party affiliations and statements?
David, that would be a non-trivial exercise (unless the candidate himself takes part in the quiz) which would take some time but i think that’s a great idea.
cvj, I’m glad you think it’s a great idea. If you need any help gathering resources on the candidates, just holler.
Excellent analysis by Alan Robles!
brianB, even if one can be had, who would qualify as a “moral authority” or “moral ascendancy” (words crafted by hypocrites). the catholic church and its priests and bishops, i.n.k, el shaddai, ptl, etc., etc.? who doesn’t have mote in their eyes?
What I mean is they don’t carry themselves like they know deep in their hearts she’s wrong. They’re trying to outwit her and become just like her… a mere politician.
There’s something about this in the Nuremberg trial movie starring Alec Baldwin playing as Justice Jackson.
What do you call people who risk getting a failing grade because they dare tell a teacher to his face that awarding grades based on favoritism is wrong?
What do you call people who would lose friends because they dare confront fratmates beating up on a hapless pledgee for no apparent reason is wrong?
What do you call people who would lose high paying jobs because they dare speak against unfair labor practices of the company?
What do you call people who would get out of their car in the middle of the street to bang on the door of an Explorer that dangerously cut in front as if the driver owned the road?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Those gutless mice, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“hootersÃ¢â‚¬Â will probably have another word for them but I can only think of one word Ã¢â‚¬Å“REBELS!Ã¢â‚¬Â
YES, WEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢RE REBELS, WHY ARENÃ¢â‚¬â„¢T YOU?
Filipinos are not massing for any Edsa people power anymore. They are busy lining up the embassies to leave the Philippines in sheer disgust. Just check with all the top favorite destinations and you will see. They see no hope in the political system and in Mrs. Arroyo.
I think it’s really the political system that sucks. Again, we have too much politics and not enough productive activities from these politicians. Everybody who joins politics now seems to have the mentality that they want a piece of the action.
Unfortunately, I think most Pinoys, to some degree, have some affiliation with a politician and may not be willing to go chastise them for their greed given delicadeza and worse, because they benefit from that greed.
The Song of REAL MEN
We who are happy and free
Birds of same feather
We flutter together
Scout Rangers of fortune are we
Greeting the night with a song
Laughing out danger
We fight like a panther
And conquer the hardships always
Shadows to hide us
And bright stars to guide us
The night we roam
No one can find us
Wherever we choose to roam
We ride (Hep!), March (Hep!)
Creep (Hep!, Crawl (Hep!)
Silently in the jungle
Scout Rangers of fortune are we
Seeking and fighting
Laughing and loving
Scout Rangers of fortune are we!
(If you know the tune, you know how it is.)
The Ballad of Some People Here
Who’s the leader of the club
That’s made for you and me
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
You’re as welcome as can be
Forever let us hold our banner
High! High! High! High!
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree!
Mickey Mouse club
We’ll have fun
We’ll be new faces
High! High! High! High!
We’ll do things and
We’ll go places
All around the world
We’ll go marching
Who’s the leader of the club
That’s made for you and me
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
You’re as welcome as can be
Forever let us hold our banner
High! High! High! High!
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree!
impeachment – will not work. just like erap, she knows these politicians can be bought
coup – will not work either. honasan syndrome. it has been done before and what did the soldiers get?. from rebel to senator he has done nothing of substance. and to think he appeared to be more popular than trillanes back then.
people power – the people burned twice already.
tama si marcos. dapat bagong lipunan. kaya lang ang nangyari on his watch, worse na lipunan ang lumabas where the in-your-face corruption started.
basically, that’s what philippine politics is all about: patronage
A question that seems to be on everybody’s mind these days turns out to be: Is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the worst President in recent history?
A recent informal, unscientific poll of The EQualizer’s blogÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s viewers found that 80% of votes cast for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Worst PresidentÃ¢â‚¬Â rate the current presidency as a very serious contender for the dubious title.
Ramos:18 votes (21%)
Arroyo:67 votes (80%)
Note:voters allowed multiple answers.
AN interesting take from a man who passed away recently, the creator of Batibot, the Filipino Sesame Street:
From the last chapter of El Filibusterismo (Derbyshire translation, cut and pasted from the internet. Aside from copyright problems, I am too lazy to look for, and type manually from, my copy of DoÃƒÂ±a Soledad LocsinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better translation)
Simoun related his sorrowful story: how, thirteen years before, he had returned from Europe filled with hopes and smiling illusions, having come back to marry a girl whom he loved, disposed to do good and forgive all who had wronged him, just so they would let him live in peace. But it was not so. A mysterious hand involved him in the confusion of an uprising planned by his enemies. Name, fortune, love, future, liberty, all were lost, and he escaped only through the heroism of a friend. Then he swore vengeance. With the wealth of his family, which had been buried in a wood, he had fled, had gone to foreign lands and engaged in trade. He took part in the war in Cuba, aiding first one side and then another, but always profiting. There he made the acquaintance of the General, then a major, whose good-will he won first by loans of money, and afterwards he made a friend of him by the knowledge of criminal secrets. With his money he had been able to secure the GeneralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appointment and, once in the Philippines, he had used him as a blind tool and incited him to all kinds of injustice, availing himself of his insatiable lust for gold.
The confession was long and tedious, but during the whole of it the confessor made no further sign of surprise and rarely interrupted the sick man. It was night when Padre Florentino, wiping the perspiration from his face, arose and began to meditate. Mysterious darkness flooded the room, so that the moonbeams entering through the window filled it with vague lights and vaporous reflections.
Into the midst of the silence the priestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voice broke sad and deliberate, but consoling: Ã¢â‚¬Å“God will forgive you, SeÃƒÂ±orÃ¢â‚¬â€Simoun,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He knows that we are fallible, He has seen that you have suffered, and in ordaining that the chastisement for your faults should come as death from the very ones you have instigated to crime, we can see His infinite mercy. He has frustrated your plans one by one, the best conceived, first by the death of Maria Clara, then by a lack of preparation, then in some mysterious way. Let us bow to His will and render Him thanks!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“According to you, then,Ã¢â‚¬Â feebly responded the sick man, Ã¢â‚¬Å“His will is that these islandsÃ¢â‚¬â€Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Should continue in the condition in which they suffer?Ã¢â‚¬Â finished the priest, seeing that the other hesitated. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know, sir, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t read the thought of the Inscrutable. I know that He has not abandoned those peoples who in their supreme moments have trusted in Him and made Him the Judge of their cause, I know that His arm has never failed when, justice long trampled upon and every recourse gone, the oppressed have taken up the sword to fight for home and wife and children, for their inalienable rights, which, as the German poet says, shine ever there above, unextinguished and inextinguishable, like the eternal stars themselves. No, God is justice, He cannot abandon His cause, the cause of liberty, without which no justice is possible.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why then has He denied me His aid?Ã¢â‚¬Â asked the sick man in a voice charged with bitter complaint.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Because you chose means that He could not sanction,Ã¢â‚¬Â was the severe reply. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The glory of saving a country is not for him who has contributed to its ruin. You have believed that what crime and iniquity have defiled and deformed, another crime and another iniquity can purify and redeem. Wrong! Hate never produces anything but monsters and crime criminals! Love alone realizes wonderful works, virtue alone can save! No, if our country has ever to be free, it will not be through vice and crime, it will not be so by corrupting its sons, deceiving some and bribing others, no! Redemption presupposes virtue, virtue sacrifice, and sacrifice love!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, I accept your explanation,Ã¢â‚¬Â rejoined the sick man, after a pause. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have been mistaken, but, because I have been mistaken, will that God deny liberty to a people and yet save many who are much worse criminals than I am? What is my mistake compared to the crimes of our rulers? Why has that God to give more heed to my iniquity than to the cries of so many innocents? Why has He not stricken me down and then made the people triumph? Why  does He let so many worthy and just ones suffer and look complacently upon their tortures?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The just and the worthy must suffer in order that their ideas may be known and extended! You must shake or shatter the vase to spread its perfume, you must smite the rock to get the spark! There is something providential in the persecutions of tyrants, SeÃƒÂ±or Simoun!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I knew it,Ã¢â‚¬Â murmured the sick man, Ã¢â‚¬Å“and therefore I encouraged the tyranny.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, my friend, but more corrupt influences than anything else were spread. You fostered the social rottenness without sowing an idea. >From this fermentation of vices loathing alone could spring, and if anything were born overnight it would be at best a mushroom, for mushrooms only can spring spontaneously from filth. True it is that the vices of the government are fatal to it, they cause its death, but they kill also the society in whose bosom they are developed. An immoral government presupposes a demoralized people, a conscienceless administration, greedy and servile citizens in the settled parts, outlaws and brigands in the mountains. Like master, like slave! Like government, like country!Ã¢â‚¬Â
A brief pause ensued, broken at length by the sick manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voice. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then, what can be done?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Suffer and work!Ã¢â‚¬Â
“Ã¢â‚¬Å“Suffer and work!Ã¢â‚¬Â outside Pinas, he could have added…
Silent Waters, that passage is an appropriate one if we equate “Simoun” with the elite & middle class supporters of the “General” (in this case GMA and her allies in the military).
Fili is a like a bad movie sequel complete with over-acted parts and improbable situations. Gun powder plot?
silent waters, i’d reflected on the same thing here:
Arroyo fancies herself as the pied piper of political expediency and she has the pedigree to back it up. Say what you will about the excesses of her administration. This woman is running rings around her increasingly emotional male adversaries.
That’s a 100% accurate characterization of Gloria Arroyo and her supporters (among the elite and middle class). Expediency trumps principles as our middle class fancies itself as the new Machiavellians.
Manolo this is conservative thinking at its best. It is noble but it reeks Colonial Mentality. You really believe we have to “deserve” freedom to gain freedom. Shame.
That’s it. Rizal was the ur-Conyo
That’s it. I label Rizal the ur-Conyo
brian, whatever you think, you also have to consider that his argument that a strong civic foundation is required for freedom to be exercised, remains a powerful argument and one that may actually be growing in attractiveness these days (you will remember other debates in this blog and also at torn and frayed, whether this suggests a swing to the right for our society).
therefore any argument to the contrary or an assertion of freedom as a innate right that doesn’t have to earned, deserved, etc. must take rizal’s argument into consideration, simply on a tactical basis.
also, the portion you quoted was a quote from leon ma. guerrero (maybe clearer in the full original text of my remarks, in the next comment).
although what i was trying to say is rizal pointed out some things: freedom, to be gained, must be obtained in ways that exalt and don’t degrade freedom, that to last, it must be built on a firm foundation of civic consciousness, etc. unamuno had pointed out rizal’s view was that freedom wasn’t an end in itself, but a means to an end, that it wouldn’t be effective unless it was clear to people what they intended to use their freedom for.
that rizal also believed that it couldn’t be secured by a devil-may-care attitude towards the consequences; but rather, it’s surest guarantee would be the accumulation of knowledge, etc, all the better to be poised to obtain it once conditions were properly ripe.
but as i pointed out, also, teodoro m. locsin also said there was a problem with rizal’s ideals:
in my other comment the other day, this observation of locsin’s was the origin of my assertion that what people demand of the president’s opponents, is basically, for them to fight with one hand tied behind their back -but in a rizalian sense, perhaps this is what is required, for now.
the full piece, which i had archived on line but vanished, is this (december 30, 2003 at calamba):
From Expectorant’s Blog:
“- Did it ever occur to you that economics is really all about selfishness, self-preservation, and self-interest? That must be how economists think since Adam Smith (the father of economics), who, as early as 1776, described all economic activity as driven by self-centered incentives. In his seminal The Wealth of Nation, Smith puts it this way: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interestÃ¢â‚¬Â (Mankiw, qtd in 10). No wonder the world is in big trouble. We are being ruled by the shitty law of the jungle.”
Manolo, i cannot grant that those who tacitly support Gloria are just following Rizal’s philosophy of pagtitiis when such philosophy cannot be distinguished from the politics of expediency (as crisply stated by Sencha Chronicles above). It ignores the duty of civil society to resist corruption and injustice and insults those who have been suffering the most.
Bokyo, to take that statement in isolation would be a simplistic reading of economics (as committed by market fundamentalists) and misrepresents Adam Smith’s moral philosophy.
Manolo, i read that piece of yours sometime ago, while i was back reading your blog. but i remember it was written in English. i think the most influential idea your posts have given me was when you lead me to the writings of Mabini. i think next to Rizal, mabini is our next greatest intellectual hero.
it would be great if the life and writings of Mabini, would be included in the discussion of Rizal as a subject in college. bec Rizal’s ideas were incomplete, until you incorporate the ideas written by Mabini – about the lessons of the failed revolution. the revolution was successful in a military pov, but an utter failure as a whole. the leader and lifeblood of the revolution assasinated, replaced by a complete TRAPO. this part of the story is perhaps the most important, as we seem to keep repeating this part of history time and again.
an incomplete revolution, always hijacked by self-interests.
so perhaps in a sense, the failure of the opposition, or anyone who instigate the people to remove Gloria, is a good sign.
better to let revolution erupt when fully ripe, than force it half-assed, just to start back again in square one.
of course, it could also mean that majority of Filipinos have fully given up on the Phils as a country still worth living in, and have staked their hopes overseas. this course of event is one of the components I cited, in which Bastille becomes inevitable. bec it means the Phils is destined to be home to society’s dregs. and you know, no matter how ignorant these people are, given enough injustice to suffer, you can bet they’ll only understand one language – that of survival. and the rule of survival is the rule of the jungle.
Don’t take it seriously. I just find it interesting at nang-iintriga lang ako, on why and/or how some “economists” think or behave.
Bokyo, i see, ok.
The Story of Mouseland was a story told first by Clare Gillis, and later by Tommy Douglas, leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, later reformed as the New Democratic Party of Canada, a social democratic party. It was a political fable expressing the CCF’s view that the Canadian political system was flawed in offering voters a false dilemma: the choice of two parties, neither of which represented their interests.
The mice voted in black cats, which represented the Progressive Conservative Party, and then they found out how hard life was. Then they voted in the white cats, which symbolized the Liberal Party. The story goes on, and a mouse gets an idea that mice should run their government, not the cats. This mouse was accused of being a Bolshevik, and imprisoned. However, the speech concludes by saying you can lock up a mouse or a person, but you can’t lock up an idea.
The story is almost exactly repeated in Douglas Adams’ novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, representing a similar situation in a human world ruled by lizards.
From the Wiki
The point of the Mouseland… is the mice can vote any kind of cat, keep switching one from another but all with the same idea, that of their own self interest, of their own immediate family and circles as exemplified by what had happened during the many changing of administration in the Philippines and has not move the country forward.
Please note that it was Tommy Douglas Idea during his Government in the Province of Saskatchewan that since he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t turn Canada into a Socialist Country, even he led a Socialist Party, he might as well mix the best of Socialism with Capitalism by taking as much from the Capitalists to share with the Society (thru taxation, fair wages by collective bargaining of Labour unions and fair labour laws) thus born His Universal Health Care, now adopted Canada wide, the Government Auto Insurance in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the universal Public Education, the Welfare System, Universal Old Age Pension, Child allowances.
He started his Political Career by saying that every boy and girl, no matter how poor, should never be deprived of proper Health Care and in the End it cost each and every one of us taxpayer more, but it is worth it….
“Sa kadalisayan ng kabutihan nagmumula ang pag-asa sa kinabukasan.”
Ang sarap namnamin ng mensahe ng mga salitang ito.
cjv, i don’t think so, either, because they confuse passivity with virtue; attending to one’s garden with large-scale agriculture. but then this is a debate i constantly have with friends who think gawad kalinga is the silver bullet -without engaging the larger issues, i constantly argue with them, they are sowing the seeds for the destruction of the genuine achievements of GK. In a recent talk with the new head of Ang Kapatiran, I was happy to hear he is of a similar opinion. Hence, apparently Ang Kapatiran’s ongoing effort to go to baranggays to explain to residents the local government code, what their local governments are both entitled to, and are obligated to do…
Manolo, when my batchmate who is now a La Salle Brother emailed their Statement to our High School Yahoo groups, there were only two who responded. One was me advising him that i’ll post their statement in my blog. The other posted his reflection which included the following questions:
He’s a well-meaning fellow but, my God…
couldn’t have said it any better than sencha chronicles. gloria is on a cash-guzzling political racing machine, and she’s lapping the opposition, who for the most part are in jeepneys fueled by testosterone.
no alternative, no direction, no solutions… all the opposition can do is strike macho poses, and crack height jokes… and of course, gain tonnes of media mileage.
rizal and other heroes of our colonial past are national heroes because they were all fighting abusive FOREIGN domination, if not for total independence from it. i think the reason we don’t seem to produce anymore heroes of the same stature as rizal and mabini, or bonifacio and aguinaldo is that after we got rid of the colonists, it was every man for himself, with the words “patriotism” and “love of country” becoming nothing more than hollow platitudes.
thus we have politicians whose main concern are their personal power and wealth, making sure that those things stay in their family or dynasty; businessmen whose idea of social responsibility is more of giving occasional fish to the “needy” rather than teaching them how to catch fish; soldiers who demand their share of power and largess and, if stymied, would turn their guns against the government they are supposed to serve; a clergy who use the pulpit to micromanage secular governance, proactively immersing itself in partisan politics; a media that constantly advocate absolute freedom for itself but with no responsibility, or which insists on a self-defined accountability.
added to that is a society that defines its worth by what an individual could provide to it’s family, town, province or region, a society that regard people who seek better livelihood elsewhere as “heroes” for sending part of their earnings to the family they left behind.
Eto ka na naman sa mga elite/middle class vs the masses argument mo. Ikaw mismo ang nagpupumilit na hiwalay dapat ang mga Pilipinosa attitude mo na iyan.
Am actually getting really tired of this. You keep trying to inject this pet theory of yours. Makes me wonder what your agenda really is?
What is it really that you have against the elite and middle class of our country, huh? That they are not willing to share whatever fruits of their hard work they have generated? Yun ba ang problema mo? It isn;t enough that they give people a lot of jobs? Jobs that would not be there if they weren’t risking the capital to put up businesses? Or is your main issue with the landlords? Since you seem to think the land redistribution will be the magic pill that will solve the illness of this country? Yun ba?
Let me tell you why I have a lot of problem with your wealth redistribution concept. It DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT PEOPLE’S SACRIFICE AND PATIENCE TO ATTAIN THESE REWARDS.
I come from a chinese filipino family whose grandparents came to this country with nary a penny on their back. They worked hard and were quite the savers. Kuripot in short. They saved and made their sacrifices and were eventually able to attain a certain quality of life. They were also able to parley whatever they saved to generate more income and properties. Now tell me, you want to redistribute that wealth born of their sweat and ability?
The communist ideals are basically what you’re espousing…from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs. That, in essence, is communism. Name it whatever you want to name it but that’s what it is.
As I said in a previous blog comment. There is no way for this utopia to work. Each person will have their individual aspirations and needs. Every person will have their individual abilities and talents to achieve these aspirations. Don’t you think these should be rewarded.
Silent Waters has a point:
“There is no way for this utopia to work. Each person will have their individual aspirations and needs. Every person will have their individual abilities and talents to achieve these aspirations. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you think these should be rewarded.”
This should be the case when rampant corruption does not stifle “individual abilities and talents to achieve” genuine aspirations.
However, in a country where the norm is corruption, it is very difficult to achieve that.
The Story of Mouseland…
The Story of Mouseland was a story first told by Clare Gillis and later by Tommy Douglas, the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) now know as New Democratic Party, a social democratic party. It was a Political Fable expressing the CCFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s view that the Canadian Political system was flawed in offering voters false dilemma: the choice of two parties, neither of them representing the voters interests.
And the story goes: the mice voted the black cats and found out how hard life was. The Black Cat represented the Conservative Party. Then they decided to give the white Cats the Government and voted in the Liberal Party, life just as hard, then a Mouse gets the idea that the mice should run their Government not the cats. This mouse was accused of being a Bolshevik and imprisoned.
The morale is you can lock a mouse or a person, but you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lock an idea.
A very famous quote from Tommy Douglas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Watch out for the little man with a Big IdeaÃ¢â‚¬Â Tommy was small in stature (5’3″)
The story as its significance to the Philippines’ Politics:
The mice have been ruled by different Cats, black, white, yellow and just about every color and when the mice population arise in mice power hoping that one among them suddenly have the mouse power to be able to take over from the cat, the bugger turned out to be another cat in mouse clothing.
vic, that story is just another version of Orwell’s Animal Farm