In his column, Marvin Tort looks at the scuttlebutt concerning the latest round of executive reshufflings:
With Ricardo Saludo moving out, the position of Cabinet secretary becomes available. Coffee shops are also rife with rumors that outgoing Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon is likely to be appointed to the Defense post, while Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro (a nephew of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco) will likely move to the Interior department. Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, meantime, will reportedly move to the Palace as executive secretary, while Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita will either be posted abroad or moved to the state gaming regulator Pagcor.
Another version of the rumor has Environment Secretary Lito Atienza moving to the Interior department, considering his long-time experience as a local official, first as vice mayor and then as mayor of the City of Manila. Other potential vacancies in the Cabinet are from the possible replacement of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who may be moved back to the Palace as Cabinet secretary in place of Saludo; and Finance Secretary Gary Teves, who may be either posted abroad or named to head either a government financial institution or a government-owned and -controlled corporation.
There seems to be some issue with some Cabinet performances, particularly those of Yap and Teves. Yap, who is reportedly intending to run for the Senate in 2010, is getting plenty of undeserved flak nowadays because of the escalating prices of rice and wheat as well as corn and livestock, while Teves is reportedly being made to account for the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) collection shortfall for 2007. In the latter’s case, a party-list congressman who sits in the powerful Commission of Appointments already voiced his intention to ask Teves to explain the shortfall the next time the Finance secretary appears before the commission.
The Agriculture and Finance posts are obvious hardship posts, more so now with the brewing problems involving food security as well as limited government finances for much-need infrastructure and public spending. In this sense, it may be highly unlikely for the Palace to attract “new faces” to assume these posts. But it can choose to rehabilitate older faces, including former representative Butch Pichay, who may yet be interested to give Agriculture a go after failing in his bid to “plant” himself in the Senate. As for Finance, on and off several names have been bandied about, including those of Trade Secretary Peter Favila and Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, who were both at one time bankers in their respective professional careers. Also rumored to be considered for the post is the Development Bank of the Philippines’s Reynaldo David. Prior to joining Finance, Teves was also a banker, serving as chief executive of Land Bank of the Philippines.
What a deep bench!
History Unfolding makes an interesting comparison between Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton, but finds her wanting, in comparison to Nixon, in one respect: party loyalty. This bears reading in the wake of Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania (what does her winning margin mean? “Not a ringing endorsement,” says History Unfolding. See Slate’s Trailhead).
Back in 2007, I pointed to this entry, Samsung Slush Fund Scandal (via Global Voices). The drama came to a head with the results of an investigation that found the head of Samsung should be indicted for tax evasion, etc. but stopped short of pinning him down on the original allegations of maintaining a corporate slush fund to influence the government. No conviction, mind you, just a finding of cause for prosecution. Still, over the past few days, Korea’s Samsung Faces a Revolution Over Resignation, Scandal:
As a result, the company faces a continued crusade by the its former legal affairs chief, Kim Yong-cheol, to bring the chaebol to justice on allegations that it maintained a massive slush fund to pay off politicians, judges, journalists, civic groups and scholars and, so Kim claims, just about anybody else it needed to bribe. Kim and two civic groups — the Solidarity for Economic Reform and The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy — said they will file appeals to the nation’s prosecution to reinvestigate.
The giant conglomerate also faces the continued animosity of the Catholic Priests Association for Justice, a 30-year-old association of priests that played a unique role in the drive for democracy in the 1980s and continues to serve as the nation’s conscience; Kim brought his allegations to the clerics last October before going public with them.
On another Korea-related note, see A Hanjin Heavy construction project inside a protected forest raises a storm of protest.
On to the blogosphere.
A story related by a friend in the bureaucracy.
A highly Americanized Secretary of Foreign Affairs was appointed and he decreed that it was high time the bureaucracy dispensed with typewriters and computerize its operations.
Studies were made; orders were placed; greater and greater heights of efficiency would soon be reached.
The time for budget proposals came and various underlings filed into the SECFORAF’s office, equipment requisitions in hand. They boasted computers and the necessary appurtenances thereto; but then, the boss noticed that there was still a budget provision for the purchase of typewriters.
“Goddamnit,” the Secretary of Foreign Affairs thundered, “I thought I told you to get rid of these damned things!”
A bureaucrat nodded, took the paper, looked at his boss, and quietly said, “brownouts, Sir.”
The SECFORAF grabbed the requisition papers and signed.
This story was brought to mind by Power Not by Desire, But By Right , in which cocoy continues the dialogue that’s been taking place between himself and various bloggers, and the group discussion that’s ensued. He has a key insight in comparing the debates on moving the country forward to debates between advocates of science and defenders of religion. The science-versus-religion debate is one that irks me, because it is essentially futile.
I never tire of asking people to read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay, Nonoverlapping Magisteria, much as it explains my own views of religion and science dealing with things that are really separate departments in our lives (an interesting critique of this, from the point of view of those interested in actually reconciling science with religion, is in A Separate Peace: Stephen Jay Gould and the Limits of Tolerance).
Religion and science deal with different Truths. Randy David was telling a group of people at a book launch recent of an Italian Marxist intellectual who is Gay and a practicing Catholic. How could he reconcile all these, he was asked. In a Postmodern world, he said, all things are possible. But that is already straying into the idea that there is no such thing as Truth.
The question of science and religion matters though, when religion is put forward as a problem in society, and therefore, politics, and when politics, it’s proposed, should be approached in a more scientific manner. Both represent dangerous situations.
Both science and religion, for example, have been used to promote the persecution of minorities; the solution to the dangers posed by both is a pluralistic, secular, but not atheistic, political order of some sort.
It would be wrong to demand of someone that they commit one of the ultimate crimes in religion -apostasy- in the name of science; it would be equally wrong to let science run rampant without ethics; but it would be wrong to confuse ethics with religious morality. Such a puzzlement! Hence my view that these are achieved only by trial-and-error and evolution, and not by attempts at social engineering -which all political revolutions are.
There is this impatience with religion, and anything non-scientific, as -well, to use the term with delicious irony- something anathema to progress, sanity, most of all, Reason with a capital “r”.
Since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, people have tried to approach human behavior from a scientific point of view; the scientific method informs our behavior far more than we usually think; and up to the 19th Century -think of the Germans and their reduction of the Art of History into the History as one of Social Sciences- it seemed science would rule all and triumph absolutely. cocoy’s Elliot Maggin quote could just as well have been written by the revolutionaries in France who gave the world the far more rational Metric System. But the French and other revolutions also tells us that there is nothing new about the desire to topple superstition except the superstition that such desires are new or that they can be accomplished in willful defiance of a society’s norms.
Where did his and subsequent Five Year Plans get him or the Russians? His successor, Stalin, had to (temporarily) rehabilitate the Russian Orthodox Church, and appeal to the Motherland and not Glorious Socialism to inspire the Soviets to resist the Germans; he also had to restore military ranks, gold braid, and decorations to motivate the military. And the result is the rebuilding of Orthodox Churches throughout Russia after Scientific Socialism collapsed, because it proved to be a religion like any other.
Same with Mao, Pol Pot… There is no Final Solution for society, though there was once that effort to achieve a lasting “solution” to the “Jewish Question.” Yet how did that turn out? Israel was established after the Third Reich was consumed in the flames of shelling and fire bombing.
Robert MacNamara pioneered the use of computers for strategic bombing during World War II; his attempt to wage the Vietnam War in a scientifically rational manner, as Barbara Tuchman described it, placed that American effort as part of a continuum –“The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam”– that includes the Trojan War and its famous horse.
Randy David pointed out that in terms of society, we are undergoing a crisis of modernity. The crisis is being exacerbated by our political class, which finds itself uncompetitive in terms of public expectations and its own narrow interests. Society, too, is torn between modern attitudes and values and yes, fear of upsetting the status quo, which is to put it mildly, imperfect but at least, predictable.
Another sign is part of a larger trend, which is, that official wrongdoing is measured according to the past (i.e. Marcos) and if it isn’t an exact duplicate, then it’s nothing to worry about -but governments around the world have realized they can be more subtle about repression that past regimes, and subtlety lies in a “legalistic approach” to challenges to authority. What is this “legalistic” approach? The mantra of the administration, “bring it to court,” and say, Sweden, where two officials resigned over a firm they were formerly associated with, turning out to have exaggerated earnings; a year previously, the trade minister resigned over allegations of tax evasion.
In Sweden I was told sixty years of Socialist rule was broken only twice, most recently in the last election; observers won’t be surprised if in the next election blatantly racist party representative’s end up elected; reason, order, equality, have their limits. In the end, one Swede told me, they voted against the Socialists simply because they were tired of the same old faces, never mind if the Conservatives kept many of the policies and programs of the previous regime. We are men and women and not machines.
Postmodernism is beyond my ken but it seems to me that cocoy’s approach is true to his nature as a programmer. That requires a particular mindset, a way of ordering data and problem solving.I can only guess at what, precisely, separates a programmer’s way of thinking from, say, mine.
I cannot use the terms he takes for granted with any sort of precision. Reboot? Debug? Both point to the same Operating System? Replace the OS altogether, but will it be better? Are these even the proper terms or analogies?
Not necessarily and probably not; but will focusing on the rapidly changing face of technology and how its changing society, and basing political proposals on that be new -or as innovative as we might think? New Order, New Society, all old, old, old. Even Marx has been criticized as essentially pining for a return to what? Rousseau’s State of Nature?
For those, like me, who view things organically, is there any fundamental clash with the cultural programming other people propose? Only in terms, I think, of frames of reference. An organic development is something the British point to, their last revolution having been in 1688, and it was a (fairly) peaceful one, though it involved foreign conquest. Yet revolutionary changes have taken place, most recently when the Death Duties were imposed and took the aristocracy out of politics. But you are speaking here of looking at things in terms of centuries, generations, not nanoseconds.
But returning to things here at home. I think everyone dissatisfied with how things are, expresses dissatisfaction with the absence of competition.
Or put another way, what are perceived to be unfair competitive advantages for some. Say, the Catholic Church in population policy.
Condemning practicing Catholics or their clergy for medieval-minded approaches to population is futile because it requires apostasy of believers. On the other hand, the scientific method can be used -or what passes for it in terms of studying society- to determine if certain assumptions are valid. We assume the Church has political clout. Does it? But more importantly, in what ways, and what, if any, are the limits to its political influence? What are the views of the general public in the case of religion’s faith and morals and how they are applied in real life? Do religions wield a positive or negative clout, are they better at proposing, or more effective at opposing, policy? And so on. A scientific approach to competition solves the problem with requiring or wasting time on getting people to denounce their religion.
Incidentally, good to see Benign0 is blogging. He brings up the question of trust; there are institutions in the Philippines that do function, and function in the public interest, or at least, which come close to doing so (it may sometimes be subdivisions of particular offices, such as portions of the National Archives, or say, the government office tasked with preparing maps, even some parts of the Office of the President, or even much of NEDA or some sub-offices of the Department of Education, for example) but the problem is the ramshackle approach that permeates everything else -and it goes beyond government, and includes the private sector.
Which is not to say changes aren’t taking place. They are, and those changes are, to my mind, profound -the end of the “old obediences” (see Charisma versus routines. the genesis of this in comments I wrote on August 21, 2007 and August 22, 2007) This is actually a revolutionary change, to my mind; but it cannot be accelerated although it will have the tendency to accelerate changes. But there is a difference between believing you can push it along and working to harness the momentum such changes have already produced.
Someone deeply involved in the peace process told me that you need a decade of peace for it to really sink in and alter people’s behavior, so that development takes place. At best, 2010 can only be the first glimmerings of a Reform Constituency and a realistic expectation, assuming we retain the current setup, is for that constituency to be poised to take power in 2016. Therefore if one of the goals is to exact justice for the crimes of the past few years, forget about it. And my suspicion is, this desire will actually hinder the coming together and the gathering of the momentum for that change in leadership and attitudes to governance in 2016. Because it will only lead to current wounds festering beyond 2010.
Anyway, do read If you ran this country… by Jim Paredes (I agree with practically all his proposals) and I am Change, Are You? by Harvey Keh.
Just a tidbit: didn’t realize, until I reviewed my June 10, 2005 entry, that the admin’s fondness for the Mabuhay Rotonda dates to the early days of the crisis.
70 thoughts on “Organic vs. Programmatic”
Not even the Americans. Trust can only be found in the dollar paper, “In God We Trust”. US Supreme Court decision can change, so American citizens are vigilant of their rights.
Liam Tinio on, “there is trust, really is just that its difficult to earn it in the Philippine context”.
Trust has never been the selling point of Philippine leaders to get elected. They just used political machinery to get to their positions.
Well at least, the solution is obvious this time, and not simple,really.
I agree on the too many checks and balances in the bureacracy. remove a few signatures there and make things happen in two days not two years.
An environment of trust can be created if accountability prevails without to many controls;if that can happen ,then there would not be too many anti ocrruption watchdogs, then another watch dog to watch that watchdog at di dadami ang “asal aso” na kakahol nalang ng basta basta.
Again, at least the solution is obvious but not really that simple.
mlq3, From your column today on INQ7.net:
The above encapsulates our whole debate about the LACK of the concept of efficiency in Pinoy society and Nick Joaquin’s timeless passage in his world-renowned piece “A Heritage of Smallness”, where he writes:
Furthermore he writes:
Read the full article here:
In the same way we have habitually sat around wearing a silly smile while perched on our rooftops as yet another monsoon mudslide flowed below us year after year after year, we are happily dancing the ocho ocho in the streets even as the UN warns of the perfect storm approaching. It is so in our face yet so apparently un-urgent for us — this food shortage and its deadly cousin, over population (or rather a case of too many unproductive people).
It’s so sad, it’s funny. 😀
This whole perfect storm approaching highlights my small voice in the wilderness just a couple of months ago, which can be summed up as such:
There are better things to pre-occupy our little minds than the politics that hadly change from year to year;
And better things to do than organise moronic street circuses to protest these petty politics.
Poetic, isn’t it?
It’s so sad, it’s funny.
Circuses, carnivals and lotteries. All the more to keep the masses hoping for manna from heaven.
The present royal couple in the palace are ruling according to some learned people with a mandate from heaven.
Some members of the Catholic Church here also believe this to be so.
I never realized that Garci and Abalos were guardian angels.
Now a little information on the productive side of the pinoy. In spite of the shit he has to put with, the pinoy rice farmer apparently is more productive per hectare than his counterparts in our neck of the woods.
This according to two people who should know. Former NFA head Romeo David and former DA head Senen Bacani. If the government wishes the country to be self sufficient in rice it can be done and accomplished within one to two years according to these experts.
They are absolutely correct. The problem however in the price lies elsewhere.
That becomes a more complex probelm for most people to grasp.
Apparently Joey Salceda has been talking to Carandang on a different perspective on the cause of the food crisis.
I wonder how much Salceda is betting on oil futures?
despite of the rising prices..
net profit from rice < net profit from other ventures
for it is not only the cost of production that has increased (scarcity of water), but more significantly, the cost of transporting rice to the markets have also risen(oil).
KG on, “too many checks and balances in the bureacracy”.
I remember when I discussed internal control weaknesses with a Japanese plant manager and he pointed on extra money spent additional controls just for the check and balances mechanism to work. In Japanese system, there is little or no check at all. But if the worker or official messed up, he is fired or removed promptly. Japanese are very proud of simplistic system with less money and prompt firing response. You don’t have to wonder why Japanese cars are known in the world for their simple design, less cost and greater efficiency.
I told the Japanese plant manager, that would have been okay if the function does not involve cash and high liquid assets. The element of discovery given the absence of check would be longer and the money lost have already accumulated in such large amounts. So it makes sense to have check and balances if the potential loss is greater than the cost of additional control.
That is the reason why the western world are built in checks and balances. This is the proof that trust is not the key.
Like any system, check and balances have limitations. When checks uncover deviations, then deviations should be investigated and resolved properly. Or else, change the mechanism to provide greater protection. The limitation is when check and balances are purposely circumvented.
Philippines has been the perfect example in circumventing check and balances.
The Swiss Supreme Court decided and ordered the Swiss banks to turnover 33 billion pesos of Marcos loot to the Philippine government only upon compliance of the requirement to have the independent legislature enact law and designated the money for Agrarian purposes. The intended beneficiaries are the farmers.
The Swiss Supreme Court did not anticipate that the Executive branch and Legislature are complicit in diverting the money under the language or Agrarian Reform by disbursing the amounts in the pretext of fertilizer and irrigation, funding Arroyos presidency. COA disclosed that the funds were used during 2004 elections. No single farmer have acknowledged being benefited from the billions of agrarian reform fund.
Today, check and balances in the Philippines are good only in paper because the real intention is to pay entitlement to political allies and families rather than serve the majority public in poverty.
therefore benigno can only speak on the social aspect of democracy but not really to the actual,specific data on how to manage a country in the areas of monetary and fiscal policy. I also haven’t read anything about the legal aspect and contracting issues of our Constitution.
Benigno, it was a good blog for the lower level type of corruption. The mid and upper level corruption will not apply. Do you have any solutions or suggestions? Checks and Balances are a good discussion to start.
The Philippine constitution follows the US format to have the President held accountable under impeachment court under joint session by both houses.
This was again circumvented by President Arroyo. The night before impeachment bill deliberation in the lower house, the President invited key representatives and issue a signed pork barrel allotment for individual pet projects. The timing is not coincidental but essential to secure that impeachment bill will not have the required votes in the lower house.
Because our banking system is controlled by our executives and allowed by the Monetary Board. If the Board did not release the money from our central bank, Arroyo could have not released the money for Pork… You see… Someone control her and Vice Versa. Who are the people in our Monetary Board? I mean the President of our bank… bangso Sentral nang Pilipinas….
The latest blow to check and balances is the Supreme Court favorable 9-6 decision on Neri’s petition.
President Arroyo have learned her lesson when Supreme Court earlier decided on April 20, 2006 to nullify EO464 her gag order for officials from testifying in the senate investigation.
To circumvent check and balances under Senate investigation and to avoid repeat of April 2006 unfavorable Supreme Court decision, she secured Supreme Court votes by appointing four justices to deliver crucial votes.
Antonio Eduardo Nachura was appointed on January 22, 2007. Ruben T Reyes was appointed on July 25, 2007. Teresita Leonardo De Castro was appointed on December 3, 2007. Arturo D Brion was appointed on March 17, 2008.
The new appointee Teresita De Castro penned the decision on Neri’s petition. Concurring with the decision were Justices Leonardo Quisumbing, Renato Corona, Dante Tinga, Minita Chico Nazario, Presbitero Velasco, and the other 3 new justices Eduardo Antonio Nachura, Ruben Reyes and Arturo Brion.
The 4 crucial votes came from 4 new appointees. Traditionally, Art Brion the latest appointee should have inhibited. That is not the case. As reported in the media, President Arroyo told Art near San Miguel church, “Art, I have job for you”.
The Philippine is built with check balances with 3 co-equal government bodies. All 3 independent bodies are the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
In the Philippine context, the intended purpose can be defeated where check and balances are intentionally circumvented.
To circumvent Senate investigation and avoid impeachment, the President used the pork barrel to secure the votes of the lower house.
To circumvent Senate investigation and avoid unfavorable April 2006 Supreme Court decision, the President appointed 4 new justices to secure her personal interest.
President Arroyo who is doctorate in Economics is master of circumvention of checks and balances.
The foremost formidable force in check and balances is the Catholic Bishops. The activist bishops with their moral influence can turn the people against a corrupt government. That is proven true to oust dictator Marcos who circumvented the 3 co-equal government with its own Batasan Pambansa and Enrique Fernando supreme court.
The activist Cardinal Sin rallied the people against Marcos as the last resort.
To avoid repeat of activist bishops and circumvent the last resort against corruption, President Arroyo personally flew to Vatican and met personally Pope Benedict and gave him a gift – no more death penalty in the Philippines. This is to secure that activist bishops will not interfere in the political government.
There is just too much circumvention wielded by political powers in the Philippines, Rizal’s cancer description of the country is more vivid.
so what are we going to do,let’s assume we can impeach her but others may get away. these others may become the President who also have learned what Arroyo have done. History repeats itself. It is a learning process and 2/3 of Congress have learned what she did and agreed with her. If 2/3 of Congress are against Arroyo then impeachment would be so much easier. Maybe these 2/3 might be her advisor.
Arroyo will do everything in her power not to be impeached because of SHAME.
These 3 branches of government must all be replaced. Out with the Olds and in with the NEW…
We should keep blogging especially the Financial Aspect. Let’s educate our own people so that they will know what and how to demand. There’s very few of us who really understand the political structure of our Country. Majority requires education. Publication and Independent Newspaper for Education must be implemented by independenet party. This way, it is a direct way of letting our leaders know that we are Now aware of what they are doing.
Good reply Dodong. I can relate all of your reply.
so what are we going to do? let’s assume we can impeach Arroyo but others will get away. these others may become the President who also have learned what Arroyo have done. History repeats itself. It is a learning process and 2/3 of Congress have learned what Arroyo did. Majority of Senate agreed with her. If 2/3 of Congress are against Arroyo then impeachment would be so much easier. These 2/3 should have been the responsible party to take her to court. Why us people? Maybe these 2/3 might be her advisor.
Arroyo will do everything in her power not to be impeached because of SHAME.
These 3 branches of government must all be replaced. Out with the Olds and in with the NEW…
We should keep blogging especially the Financial Aspect. Let’s educate our own people so that they will know what and how to demandgood governance. There’s very few of us here who really understand the political structure of our Country. Majority requires education. Publication and Independent Newspaper for Education must be implemented by independenet party. This way, it is a direct way of letting our leaders know that we are always aware of what they are doing. This will provide them caution and to beware…. Lots of Dogs are watching.
sorry.. manolo. i got excited. please ignore the first post.
leytenian – i tell you it is a big challenge for the Filipinos where majority are sinking into poverty to push the big landowner legislature, the rich families in executive and padrinos/padrinas in the supreme court to become responsive to the needs of majority of the population. It is just like we have a certain class who belong to a fraternity, and they serve each other first than the faceless and countless Filipinos who are outsiders. They created their rules, change the rules for them and protect the rules (think about executive privilege to shield wrongdoing). In college, we were taught that corporate protection can be pierced if used to cheat taxes.
I don’t see a solution even if Arroyo will step down in 2010. Basically, we retain a structure where the clannish families who are running the 3 co-equal bodies are unresponsive to the masses. They serve each other interest first.
true, i will die without seeing my philippines happy. it may not be in our generation. sad to say, i have no respect for any politicians even if he is my uncle.( smiling)
On the positive side, If we were to compare the development of democracy in the Philippines to that of a personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development, we could say that we are in the late stages of our adolescence, almost ready to become a young adult. Our nation is maturing, especially in the area of fiscal responsibility. More and more people are checking on how well our public officers are managing the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s money. We are taking action against public officers who are involved in graft and corruption. We are here blogging and exchanging ideasÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ ( my reply to rickycarandang.com to treason Blog. )
I hope more and more people will be proactive and ask the right questions about how our money and banking system is managed and handled.
sorry ngayon ko lang nabasa.