Nalito Atienza; Watchful nuns


“Hello, M’am?”; Romeo Macalintal settles in


Razon’s bravado; Razon’s pensiveness


The aggrieved Senate sergeant-at-arms; Razon seeks comfort from the lawyers


Madrigal schmoozes; Razon betrays lack of confidence


Lights, camera, action; Mascarinas the admin’s muscle


Mike Defensor does his job; Bautista the Hutt arrives


Actor Pen Medina; the admin lineup


Gloria’s Dragon arrives; Bautista the Hutt in admin huddle


Hutt ogles Loren; Loren pose part 2


“We swear to tell lies and only lies, so help us M’am”; La Salle brother


“Are we still on script?”; Bautista the Hutt naps


Bautista the Hutt; Gloria’s Dragon huddles with the Hutt


Mike D’s wife after bringing back the cash; Hutt and Gaite huddle: Mike D. reports to M’am?

The Palace was certainly between a rock and a hard place going into yesterday’s Senate hearing. If it stonewalled, it could deny its critics evidence and at least prevent its factotums from further incriminating the administration. But it would leave the public with no other story but Lozada’s. Or, the Palace could come out swinging in the hope that it would thereby fortify the determination of its allies to stand by the President, and possibly confuse things enough to prevent a total collapse in public confidence.

The Palace decided to come out swinging but got a beating. That’s because it has mastered situations it can totally control, but has never quite figured out how to handle situations where the advantages enjoyed by officials end up stripped away by public interest and some common sense questioning.

A former member of the cabinet, and as shrewd an observer of our politico-human condition as any I’ve ever met, once told me there is a very simple line that separates the haves from the have-nots in Philippine society. That line, he said, is transparent spontaneity.

The middle and upper classes instinctively wall themselves off from the rest of society, and have an innate sense of privacy that is impossible and even unimaginable for the majority of our population. The ordinary Filipino has little to no privacy, knows instantly what the rest of the family is doing, and what the neighbors are up to, from defecating to love making to quarreling and gossiping.

And so, they are keenly aware of anything that smacks of posturing when, for the walled-off minority, what is ingrained in them is a strong and unshakeable belief in certain things being for public consumption while other things are not. And so, when someone displays emotion, runs the whole gamut of emotions from terror to anger, it resonates; when someone confesses to a reality that most everyone is aware of (though posturing politicians pretend ignorance and then shock), it resonates and adds to credibility.

Maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of pressure is an alien concept except to those who uphold the values of the upper class.

There is another line that separates the haves from the have nots, not in the sense of those who lack and have money but rather, political power (besides the other kinds of power that exist, such as economic power): and it is, having experienced intimidation.

I’m willing to bet that those who remain skeptical of Jun Lozada’s motives and statements have never experienced the full panoply of official and social intimidation that comprises life for most of our countrymen. This is because the skeptics have always been in the position of being immune to intimidation or who blithely take it for granted as a kind of necessity to keep uppity underlings in line. Or who have lived such insulated lives that it frankly amazes them when someone claims they didn’t have options to explore in their self-defense.

In other words, their inability to fully grasp what Lozada’s gone through is a failure of the imagination. Of empathy.

But it is a situation most Filipinos can appreciate, because they have encountered it on some level at some part of their lives. Whether a slum dweller at the mercy of urban gangs, predatory police, bodyguard-protected officials, or Chinese Filipinos subjected to the BIR, PNP indifference to kidnapping and extortion, the middle class person subjected to mulcting cops, bureaucrats on the take, judges for sale, the appreciation of official intimidation is something that crosses ethnic and economic lines.

But it can also be something that varies in degree and method, and so for some, being subjected to the combined squeeze of the executive and legislative branches as described by Lozada -and floundering in it- seems inconceivable and thus, unbelievable. But for the rest, they know first hand how official intimidation takes on many forms, not all of it overt, most of it calculated on the premise that a reminder of the resources officialdom can mobilize in its own interests and defense is enough -and much more than any one person or family can, or should, resist.

We are a story-telling culture, an aural and oral culture, sensitive to the nuances betrayed by one’s conversational style, constantly trying to situate people in our society’s landscape: we look for what a person’s accent betrays in terms of background, what one’s storytelling style tells about them, constantly forming and reforming a mental image of the story being told and whether it makes sense. Gut feel becomes a sort of scientific method. And in a society that profoundly distrusts all institutions, the arena in which contending forces clash, and public opinion is formed, and where the advantages of the powerful are blunted, is an instinctive form of checks-and-balances the public craves.

Even the best-honed script, by its very nature manufactured, can be torn to shred and wily lawyers, for example, foiled in the face of hammering away at testimony yet failing to get a witness to recant or contradict previous testimony. Which is why these hearings tend to take a tremendous amount of time and why appeals to leave things to the courts leaves the public cold.

Oh. And in case you missed it, Unseating of Panlilio as governor starts.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

279 thoughts on “Konfrontasi

  1. tonguetwisted, coming from you, i need credibility like a hole in the head. you have not contributed anything worth reading to this blog since you appeared from who-knows-which-side-of-hell. not even knowing what “half-truth” is, i really think this blog is out of your league. go back to ellenville – that’s a good place for you to use your talent for heckling!

    inodoro, assuming i’m bencard aka titanium, does it add to or detract from the import of what i say? does it make my views “wrong” and yours right?

  2. inodoro, assuming i’m bencard aka titanium, does it add to or detract from the import of what i say? does it make my views “wrong” and yours right?

    an honest answer: no. only that i find it ludicrous for a person to be patting himself in self-agreement. see, you can use several handles for all i care. but then do you have to deny it? you’re beginning to sound like jose pidal. or whoever voice there is in the hello garci tape [‘sounds like her but not her’, according to mike defensor].

  3. Lolo Bencard,

    Huli ka na..so invoke ka na lang ng Executive Privilege 🙂

    juvenile masyado kahit lolo na..hehehehe…

  4. inodoro, then make my day. sue me!

    tagabukid, hindi pa naman ako lolo, at kung babae ka (hindi bading), puede pa ‘to, baby.

  5. My sympathy is with Bencard because you are ganging up on the poor guy even if he’s already down. Cheers!

  6. Does anyone know kung ano yung ‘oath’ na sinusumpaan ng mga “witnesses” sa senate? Coz it obviously does not work. Baka pwedeng palitan yung sasabihin nila with something like this(more creative oaths are welcome)

    “May my virgin daughter be savagely raped, brutally sodomized and left for dead if I lie…”

    Malay natin talaban sila.

  7. “Bert (at 3:52 pm), that’s a very Filipino trait that the Arroyo’s will find handy when the time comes.”

    Very correct, CVJ. But, I believe kasi, that in a fair fight, once the objective is attain, and in this case it was, the better part of valor is compassion. And sadism is such an obnoxious trait. Bencard is no criminal, I can’t say that of the Arroyos.

  8. made a fool of myself, inodoro? let me tell you what making a fool of oneself is. when you make an idiotic comment that you cannot even articulate and defend in this blog, that is making a fool of yourself because you are just displaying your being brain dead.

    btw, if i made a fool of myself as you claim, what is eating you? or what’s in it that makes you act like a winner?

  9. “Bert, i agree that a sense of magnanimity is a positive trait as long as we don’t underestimate the adversary.–cvj

    Ah, yes, cvj, fully agree with you. My point is, when the opponent is down we stop kicking him, when he goes up again to fight another round then we can pummel him to a pulp again until he submits. Or, we go for the jugular, of which in the blogging business is not allowed.

  10. pushing it further, bencard? okay, not half-truth then. How about half-life? Suits the titanium/bencard split personality, doesn’t it.

    Again, “titanium: thanks, titanium…” Bwahahaha!

  11. tonguetwisted, coming from you, i need credibility like a hole in the head…bencard

    Of course, you don’t! Who else would compliment himself using another alias if he doesn’t already have one?

    go back to ellenville – that’s a good place for you to use your talent for heckling!…-bencard

    Ah, now our resident know-it-all also has sole discretion where one can blog or not. Thanks for revealing yourself, Mr. Rule-of-law. Back to your straitjacket!

  12. bert, thanks but no thanks for your patronizing gesture. now you think you fulfilled your fantasy of seeing me (your “opponent”) down? am i really? in your dreams, buddy! c’mon, “pummel me to a pulp”, or “go for the jugular” – let me see what you got. you want a brawl, let’s have a brawl (of words and ideas, unless you prefer something else).

  13. Well, some of us here are (or were) from Ellenville, including others who “fought” Ellen and her sympathizers. I am. The fight is just carried on. This is what makes blogging colorful and spirited, isn’t it?

    Bert, cvj, I agree with both of you. You emphasize finer points that sometimes we gloss over.

  14. wowowee, ang manga kuro-kuro dito, palubog na, may hamunan na nang away nang ideas, or kahit ano na raw. pabaya-an muna natin maglabanlaban ang manga alipores ni Macapagal Arroyo at manga oppositions at manga Masa sa Bayan natin, pagkatapos puede na kayo naman…

  15. mang_kiko, tama ka. this used to be a relatively civilized blog where battles are confined to ideas and opinions. now it is being hijacked by hecklers who would personally assail you instead of your arguments. it’s becoming a terrible waste of time especially for people who want to learn from others through a healthy debate. if only we could all be like our host, mlq3, a formidable adversary in a competition for ideas and reason, and from whom you learn even as you teach.

    i realize, more and more, that this blog is a microcosm of the kind of society we now have in the philippines – a society dominated by morons and idiots (as benigno would put it) whose main stock in trade is personal ridicule.

  16. Hay naku! another flawed realization about a blog or Philippine society. Ok, blame them all – they are moronic, idiotic, hollowheads, etc. (except the “I”).

    How about the bigtime kurakots and liars in govt?

    Incidentally, after blogging here for a while I noticed two “I’s” (there may be more, including me).

    Unfortunately, these two I’s don’t see each other – how shall I put it? – eye to eye. (Maybe it’s turning into a fortune now?)

  17. see what i mean, mang_kiko? there goes one, talking about “i”and “me”, not thoughts, ideas, or reason. remember the saying: idiots talk about other people, mediocre individuals talk about material possessions, and intelligent people talk about ideas and concepts (or words of similar import)?

  18. Ghee, I don’t know now if I’m talking to Bencard, or Titanium, or Mang Kiko, or some other creatures.

    Anyway, “titanium: thanks, titanium…” hehehehe

  19. hawaiianguy, siguradong, sigurado hindi kay mang_kiko. 100 % garantiya, walang sinugalingan, pag huli aminin. ano ba si GMA pakawalan manga Lappis (lap puppies). Hayan naman, dahil daw inamin ni Lozada ang kanyang ‘demons’, wala daw kredibility, habang sila nagsinuggaling mulat mula, sila pa ang may kredibility. Alam mo kong sin-o ang magaling dito? manga Abogados nila, magaling magpaliko liko ang manga iyon..


    “Lord, teach me to be generous.
    Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to seek for rest,
    to labor and not to ask for reward,
    save that of knowing that I do your will.”

    I just read “Living and Dying” In Memory of 11 Ateneo de Manila Martial Law Activists by Cristina Jayme Montiel.

    Did Ateneans die for activism? Aside from Rizal,Aquino, Colayco and Evelio Javier, were there other students and alumni who sacrificed their comfortable lives to fight for a cause?

    I got my questions answered with this book.

    Dr. Montiel celebrates and honors activism with the highest degree in writing the lives of the 11 Ateneans who fought for justice in the dictatorship. Some of these Blue Eagles were banned by the administration because they were ‘disrupting classes’.

    But I ask the question now:Why is there a deafening silence among Ateneans about the Lozada expose?Where are the “Men For Others”?

    Is is it because of sheer embarrassment that some of the major players in the Lozada Expose are Ateneo alumni?

    *Mike Arroyo
    *Ronnie Puno
    *Romy Neri
    *Ignacio Bunye
    *The Arroyo Kids

    It is personally so painful to accept the fact that most Ateneans are now so APATHETIC!!!

    In contrast, tne LA SALLIAN community has shown COURAGE in providing refuge to Lozada.

  21. you guys are all sooo gullible. Lozada is just one big hoax.. and you (supposedly sensible people) are falling for it. My goodness. The Philippines is really hopeless to have people like you.. What is the rule of law for if youll listen and believe a man who has a questionable past! How ambitious could he be?? My God, please wake up and think deeper guys!

  22. …you guys are all sooo gullible….

    Gloria’s administration thought the same for most of the Filipinos, using that Rule of Law crud which is actually the Rule of Gloria … not anymore.

    Gloria Get Out and take your apologists and spin doctors with you

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