The Long View: Arroyos legacy

The Long View
Arroyo’s legacy
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:39:00 01/04/2010

THE SPEAKER SAYS THE 2010 GENERAL Appropriations Act is a-printing and is due on the President’s desk by the 7th of this month. In the past, the President notoriously spent immense amounts of time poring over the budget, leading one exasperated congressman to describe her as a “fussbudget” (defined by the American Heritage dictionary as a “person who fusses over trifles. Also called fusspot”). But then again, her mastery of both the wholesale and retail aspects of politicking is what has kept her in power.

By the time Congress reconvenes on the 18th, legislators will know if the President has done her part by approving the thickly larded budget, allowing them to adjourn on Feb. 5 to campaign, secure in the knowledge the administration will take care of its own. Congress going on the hustings also means all pretenses at oversight will be abandoned, leaving the President poised to spend freely for partisan purposes.

As she wraps up her presidency, the President is putting in place a five-point legacy which aims to keep her politically relevant and leave her successor hamstrung from Day One of the next presidency.

The first legacy will be an empty national treasury by mid-year. The budget was supposed to be balanced by this year; the Department of Finance has already announced this can’t happen until 2015. The deficit already exceeded projections by P50 billion for 2009; government officially projects a P278-billion deficit for this year, while analysts suggest this is up to P44 billion short of what they think the real deficit will be.

The second legacy is tied to the first: to confront the next administration with an Arroyo bloc impossible to ignore. There is, first of all, the Arroyo family bloc that could have five members – the President, her two sons (her eldest might be reinvented as a party-list representative), plus her brother- and sister-in-law in the House by June 2010. Her bloc would also include Cabinet members poised to enter Congress and local governments.

Arthur Yap, for one, running unopposed for the 3rd District of Bohol, will, like Eduardo Ermita who is running for the 1st District of Batangas, continue to serve in the Cabinet, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision. Yap will be presiding over a Department of Agriculture budget increased by P9 billion: a bonanza that comes in very handy indeed for the same cast of characters that gave us the Fertilizer Scam for the 2004 polls.

Aside from helping to elect themselves, the President and Cabinet members like Agnes Devanadera (also running for a House seat) can ensure the budget is spent to help friends and punish enemies, while maneuvering in the remaining nine days of the current Congress’ regular session to deny crucial government piggy banks to the next administration. Pagcor Chair Ephraim Genuino has been quietly lobbying to give himself a legislated fixed term, which would ensure his clout continues beyond the current dispensation.

The third legacy is tied to the first two: to ensure the national polls end up under a cloud of doubt to deny the next president legitimacy. The Palace says it will support the Comelec’s proposal to hold ARMM elections ahead of the country – a proposal that makes sense only to the same administration types who claim they will get 33 percent of the vote, to condition the minds of the electorate to expect unexpected results in the May elections. What should be done is to hold national elections first, and then hold elections in the ARMM. To do the reverse is to lay the basis for administration-engineered trending for whoever is its real candidate.

As it is, the Miracle of Automation is poised to turn into a hybrid monster of an election, with some areas automated, others still manually conducted: or, for manual voting to take place with only the transmission and adding-up of precinct results automated, similar to the manner in which the KBL tried to massage the votes in 1986.

Which leads to the fourth legacy: a truncated term for the next president. Out of cash, with the Frankenstein Coalition poised to finally capture the Senate – something it failed to do during Arroyo’s term – the result could be a new administration faced with the leading suspects from the past regime safe in Congress, maneuvering to turn the presidency into a decoration.

And this leads to the fifth legacy, which is to tie the hands of the next administration internationally. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be true, that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s term is being extended to help nurse a RP-MILF deal before May, there’s the possibility the President will try to tie the hands of her successor by rushing a BJE-MOA deal redux before her term ends. Foreign governments acting as godparents of such a deal would look unkindly at any effort to change the terms of reference of such an agreement, or on any situation that might replace the present dispensation with an unfriendly one.

The warlord alliances of the administration will need assurances they won’t be edged out if the ARMM expands into a BJE: and the administration needs them to be cooperative and happy so they will deliver in 2010 as they did in 2004. But delivering means risking exposure.

Which means that even if the 2010 elections end up a shambles, the willingness of the international community to support democracy would be circumscribed by their interest in nurturing a deal they helped hammer out.

This would have an effect not just on partisan institutions like the executive or the legislature (it will be easy enough to sidestep legal language that might arouse the antagonism of the Supreme Court: the real political objective is to enshrine expanded territory with substantial attributes of sovereignty for the proposed BJE) but even on the Armed Forces, which might otherwise balk at taking a pro-administration hard line if the 2010 polls end up clouded by doubt.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

74 thoughts on “The Long View: Arroyos legacy

  1. With the Arroyo’s and their minions having solid blocs in Congress, they could easily maneuver to finally push for a charter change, they cannot stay in Congress for their three or six-year terms to simply annoy and tie the hands of the next President.

  2. It seems to me though the best such a bloc can hope for is a two-pronged face-off: 1. work covertly with candidates to prevent the least cooperative from becoming president; 2. square-off against who ever wins for the premiership once the shift in the form of government is accomplished. thing is, if a former cabinet members’ bloc organizes as a shadow cabinet in congress, it could just as much work for one or the other of the candidates for pm.

  3. And here’s another weapon in Arroyo’s arsenal.

    “In its report on the final version of the proposed P1.541-trillion national budget, the Senate-House conference committee included a special provision entitled, “Prohibition against impoundment of appropriations.”

    “The special provision provides that “the President shall release all budgetary allocations provided for in the GAA (General Appropriations Act)” except in two instances.

    “The first is, “When the President submits a proposal to Congress to impound or permanently withhold the release of a particular appropriation item and Congress does not act on the proposal within 45 calendar days from its submission to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, unless during the said period, the Congress denies or rejects the proposal by a vote of a simple majority of the quorum.”
    The 45-day period would not include periodic vacations of lawmakers.

    “The second instance is, “When the President temporarily defers the release of a particular appropriations item upon prior written notice to Congress, through the Senate president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which deferment shall subsist unless Congress stops or rejects the deferment in a concurrent resolution adopted by a simple majority of the quorum.”

    Actually this is good because it gives back to Congress some control over the power of the purse. However since the initiative came from Arroyo allies…

    Of course the next president can always veto the budget and run the government with a reenacted budget. That way he will force Arroyo to personally support her piglets so they don’t starve.

  4. This seems to me crediting the present administration with more clout than it actually wields. I will have to disagree on all counts as follows:

    1. An exhausted budget. This sounds a lot like Strategic Budget theory, where deficits are used by incumbents to limit the space of their successors in pursuing ideologically opposed philosophies with respect to the size of government. The theory has some basis in the developed world, where taxes account for 40-60% of GDP, but in the developing world, it is about 10-15%, and there is a limited ability to expand the state.

    After the election, the next administration will be spending 90% of the remaining budget on salaries and operational expenses, as per the normal budget cycle.

    2. Sizeable Clout. Assuming GMA musters enough support to ensure a viable impeachment process, the next administration would first have to commit an impeachable offence. Meanwhile, the discretion of the executive over the composition and timing of pork barrel/IRA releases in the next budget would lead to a bidding war for loyalty, in which a former incumbent would ultimately lose.

    3. Clouded Election Results. The ARMM results will not influence the rest of the country. How can it be considered a lead indicator of how the broader electorate will vote when culturally, politically, economically it is so different?

    4. Truncated Presidency. The majority in the Senate always tends to swing to the opposition. Furthermore, how can a Congressman, even if she be a former president, coerce more senior Senators (who are famously independent minded) to follow her.

    5. BJE-MOA. The proposal would need to clear the hurdle of a plebiscite. This makes it unlikely to succeed without sufficient incentives to the annexed-to-be communities.

    The super-sizing of influence being ascribed to the incumbent seems to be wishful thinking that the next administration will not engage in the same kind of patronage that all previous ones have engaged in.

    The fact that the first six months in office could be a yawn for a new government which will need to re-configure the present patron-client relations, only means that it will enjoy a longer honeymoon where it can get off the hook by passing the buck to its immediate predecessor.

  5. thecusp,

    i disagree with all your points.

    1.the point is the treasury will be empty.

    2. an impeachable offense can be cooked up. Witness what Gibo Teodoro did to then SC Chief Justice Davide and what was done to Estrada, a dead of night impeachment.

    As to the discretion of the executive over the budget, that will be limited under the 2009 budget as mentioned in my earlier comment.

    3. ARMM gave the presidency to Arroyo and a senate seat to zubiri. Better they vote late than early, all the candidates can concentrate on guarding their votes in ARMM. How can it be considered a lead indicator? Simple it identifies a winner in one area even before the rest of the country votes. The US East Coast is vastly different from the West Coast, There used to be a time when election results from the East would be broadcasted before the polls out West were closed. Voting in the West was influenced so the practice was stopped.

    4.How can a congressman coerce a senior senator? It cannot coerce but money can persuade.

    5.Why the rush? Why not allow a popularly elected president finish the negotiations and present it to the people for plebiscite? How can a new administration be expected to endorse a treaty it did not enter into? The idea behinf rushing the treaty is to tie the incoming president’s hands.

    This is not a super-sizing of influence. It is an expose of the evil that can be done.

  6. Brian,

    The reason that Manolo suddenly caused all of us to go through US Customs just to comment on this blog was because I totally clobbered Manolo in a little debate about the superiority of the Parliamentary System over the Presidential System which Manolo continues to be fixated on and infatuated with.

    Here is a link to the debate (on this same blog) where he got totally knocked out:

    * * * * * * *


    Maybe you’d like to explain what you mean by “wins for the premiership.”

    A person per se doesn’t “win the premiership”, Manolo. In a Parliamentary System, a party or coalition GAINS MAJORITY and from there that party’s or coalition’s LEADER becomes the Prime Minister or “gets the premiership.”

    What you don’t understand – which I’ve already exposed in the link I gave – is that the Parliamentary System is about PARTIES (or coalitions of parties). It’s about PARTIES (or coalitions of parties) fighting for majority. Whoever becomes the Prime Minister is of less important to the PARTY (or coalition) that gets majority, because it is expected that the PARTY (or coalition) had already named as their leader someone who is extremely capable of leading them and handling the cabinet.

    Let me repeat, Manolo: Whoever becomes Prime Minister in the Parliamentary System is of LESS IMPORTANCE or LESS CONCERN when compared to making your own party/coalition gain the majority control of Parliament, that is, gaining the majority of all the available SEATS.

    You see, Manolo, it’s quite obvious that you still really don’t understand how the Parliamentary System works – which is precisely the source of your disagreement with it.

    Perhaps you are unaware that in the Parliamentary System, there exists the official position of “SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT.” (hah, gotcha there again, Manolo!)

    Unlike in the American/Philippine System where you have a “Speaker of the House” who is supposed to be the leader – among the members of the Majority bloc and therefore is expected to advance the interests of his own party – the fact is that the Parliamentary System has the office of an IMPARTIAL “SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT” who is totally separate from the office of the “Prime Minister.”

    In fact, Manolo, you probably don’t know that technically, the way the people are POSITIONED in a Parliamentary System is actually different from that of the Presidential System’s legislature.

    Do you know what a Dispatch Box is, Manolo? I bet you’re hearing this for the FIRST TIME!

    First of all, the Speaker of Parliament sits in a position of parliament at Front and Center of the parliament hall, and you have two sides facing off against each other, with the DISPATCH BOX table in the middle.

    The Speaker of Parliament acts like the procedural arbiter of a debate, who grants permission of members to speak or tells people if and when they are out of order (or misbehaving) and yells “Order!” He is often taken from the majority party, but as soon as he takes his place as Speaker, HE/SHE IS EXPECTED TO DROP HIS PARTY AFFILIATION when wearing his robe (and sometimes wig) because he/she is expected to be impartial.

    The Prime Minister, on the other hand, during parliamentary debates, functions like the “Majority Floor Leader of the House” because HE/SHE sits together with his/her party/coalition, unlike how things are done in the US/Pinoy System, where the “Speaker of the House” sits at the very front and center.

    The Prime Minister in a Parliamentary System, therefore, actively works to push the agenda of the Majority Party (or coalition) which is referred to as “The Government”, which of course is where the Opposition (Minority) then tries to question and request for clarifications on the positions taken by the majority party/coalition.

    Now, maybe you might want to go to youtube and check out some of the British Parliamentary Debates in order to understand how this phenomenon works.

    Nothing beats seeing it in action.

    My main point of why the Parliamentary System is BETTER for the Philippines is that it ensures that you don’t have idiots like Erap, FPJ, or Noynoy becoming the Head of Government. Why? Because to be Head of Government, one has to be COMPETENT and CAPABLE of ensuring parliamentary victories in elections (winning seats when people are happy with a party’s platform and/or performance) as well as victories DURING DEBATES.

    Do you think Erap, FPJ, and Noynoy types who don’t have any real competence and ability can function well as Prime Minister? No way! Their parties or coalitions won’t even think of having these weakest-links as members, much less have them as LEADERS of their parties/coalitions!

    To be PM, you’ve got to deliver. To be PM, you’ve got to be good at debating! To be PM, you’ve got to lead your party well.

    Popularity and this weirdly concocted Filipino concept of “winnability” (which is nothing but a word referring to “perceived ability to win due to popularity” are given LESS IMPORTANCE than real competence and abilities.

    Again, Manolo, I really take exception at your continued mention of “winning the Premiership” because you are totally stuck and imprisoned by PERSONALITY POLITICS of individual politicians instead of looking at the Parliamentary System being primarily the contest of Parties/Coalitions between other Parties/coalitions to see who gets the MAJORITY of all the seats.

    You know what, Manolo? Whoever becomes leader of the PARTY or Coalition is an INTERNAL AFFAIR that is intra-party (or intra-coalition) and thus, whoever becomes “Prime Minister” is of less importance to the question of “WHICH PARTY/COALITION WINS MAJORITY OF ALL THE SEATS.”

    Do you now understand how the Parliamentary System works, Manolo?

    Please read up more on the Parliamentary System, research more about it, and please check out the YOUTUBE VIDEOS of the British Parliamentary Debates.

    I hope that all helps you to understand the Parliamentary System better.

    Because if you still can’t get it, you know who to call…

    …and it’s not the Ghostbusters you should call. 😉

    Contact me, Manolo. I can teach you a lot. And you’ll become a much better person for it. 😉

    your good friend,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  7. manuel,

    allow me to rebutt your points.

    1. So the treasury will be empty – does that mean there will be nothing left to pay our civil servants for the rest of the year? Nothing for overhead? The next government will still have a government at its disposal.

    2. So an impeachable offence can be cooked up. So while the new president settles into office and is practically learning the ropes, they will be able to do this? I doubt it, meanwhile he will be able to re-align forces to his side.

    You refer to the 2009 budget as being spent (I think you mean the 2010 budget), but it is not the budget that matters, but off-budget items a la NBN where largesse and political patronage really comes into play. Apart from pork insertions, which is really a small percentage of the overall economy, the budget is irrelevant to patron-client relations.

    3. You think it is better for the ARMM to vote later huh? Well one reason they should vote earlier is that at least before the election, the gap between first and second place will not be known. Without that knowledge, how will cheaters know the amount to pad their candidate’s votes with? With early returns comes finality. They cannot delay the final count. To delay ARMM vote until after the nation is a recipe for disaster.

    4. Money will persuade senators to side with Cong Arroyo? I think the distinguished gentlemen and ladies of the upper house will take offence to that. Besides, assuming she does try to pay them off, do you think she will be able to outbid an incumbent govt with off-budget deals and succeeding budgets at its disposal?

    5. Even if a BJE-MOA is signed, a new president has the prerogative to review it.

    Finally, you speak of the “evil” that can be done. This is to demonise GMA too much, to the point of radicalising her forces in opposition to destabilise the next govt. It also assumes that the new govt will simply lay down and not use its immense powers to counter it with its own style of patronage.

    The next govt should strike a conciliatory tone with the supporters of Arroyo in both houses and work for the common good of the nation, rather than be bogged down with deliberations about the past. The economy will be in recovery mode until 2015. There will be enough challenges ahead.

  8. Nick,

    Please try to see if you’ve got the brain power and the encyclopedic knowledge required to issue a rebuttal to my superior and air-tight intellectual position. 😉

    Can’t do it, right? I thought so…

    your new mentor,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  9. the cusp,

    1. may pang sweldo ng katulong at kung wala uutangin. Ang empty treasury means yari ang mga projects plus with the new condition prohibiting the impounding of funds that means nawalan na ng discretion ang susunod na presidente sa prioritation of public spending.

    2. maski duda ka, an impeachable offense can be cooked up and passed with a 1/3 vote kasi impeachment is a question of numbers not substance. Hindi mo ba napansin na yun ang nangyari sa mga ibinasurang impeachment complainst againt the dwende?

    3. mas malaki nga ang incemtive mandaya kasi nga dahil sa trending factor. Binigay ko naman sa iyo yun example sa US so there is that. Meron lang example para sa iyong kurp=kuro?

    Besides if early vote does not make a difference then a later vote should not also. So ano ang objection mo sa later vote kung saan mas mababantayan ang boto at kung saan maalis ang posibilidad ng trending?

    4. Money will persuade. Tulad ng sinabi mo, which concedes na nababayaran ang ilan sa mga senador, off budget deals etc will do it. A bribe by any other name.

    So ngayon magiging contest kung sino ang mas madaming pera and more importantly kung sino ang may apog para ipagpatuloy ang pambababoy ng political process natin.

    There is no doubt that the dwende has the apog abd the funds. There is no doubt that the incoming president will have immense powers at his disposable. So the question is will the incoming president be as walang=hiya as the dwende? Does he have the apog to engage in a bidding war?

    5. Oo nga the new president has the prerogatib to review it pero as mlq pointed out the involvement of the international community in the process makes exercise of the prerogative dicey. Why put the new president in that kind of situation?

    Your last two paragraphs reveal you have the move-on mentality. Conciliatory tone is what you would advise a rape or massacre victim to take?

    Justice must be served. The colder the better. Let the loyalists of the dwende go out to the streets and rally. What will their battle cry be – “Forget all the crimes we committed and Let’s move on” ?

  10. “My main point of why the Parliamentary System is BETTER for the Philippines is that it ensures that you don’t have idiots like Erap, FPJ, or Noynoy becoming the Head of Government. Why? Because to be Head of Government, one has to be COMPETENT and CAPABLE of ensuring parliamentary victories in elections”-Dr. Joe

    “..ensuring victories in election..”? Hmmmnnn, that must be Gloria! And she’s brilliant, too, as you are, Dr. Joe. Could be that she’s into YouTube too, intently and consistently watching parliamentary debates and procedure thus can claim encyclopedic genius too about parliamentary procedures as you do. Thus her obssession for her cha-cha dance.

    Thanks for the YouTube lessons, Dr. Joe. You are a wise mentor indeed.

  11. manuel,

    Let us assume for argument’s sake that you and MLQ3 are proven right by events. It would mean the next president would not have the ability to wield power effectively.

    On that basis, does it mean that we should not expect anything from the incoming administration? Is this just a mere exercise in managing expectations then? Is it the intention to set the bar as low as possible to magnify whatever meager accomplishments are made in its first 100 days?

    The real legacy of Arroyo is a decade of non-inclusive growth, where the per capita GDP nearly doubled, but where poverty increased at the same time. Where good jobs were lost in manufacturing and created mostly in the informal sector. Where political instability grew out of illegitimate claims to power, and where an increased dependence on the military to maintain social order prevailed as a result.

    I am not saying that good governance is not desireable, but if it is pursued at all costs, the country will neither achieve it nor help the poor escape from poverty. Good governance, history tells us, is not a pre-condition for growth, it is the result of it.

  12. Nick and Manuel,

    It would do you two imbeciles good if you both drank 3 glasses of cold water each to calm yourselves and then re-read all the data I provided that prove that the Parliamentary System is way superior to the faulty Presidential System that is in place in the Philippines.

    Oh, and Nick, YOU are the IDIOT because you don’t know how electoral victories occur in a Parliamentary System.

    Since the Prime Minister is NOT elected at large (not nationally-elected by popular nationwide vote), the kind of “kalokohan” that happens in the current Presidential System we have which is faulty won’t be happening anymore.

    Do you see massive electoral protests going on at the congressional level?

    You see a lot of that for the post of President… But not for the District Representative level. In that respect, the same order that exists in current congressional contests will prevail in the Parliamentary System.

    The Garci issue and all other issues of problems in counting votes happens because of the Philippine PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM.

    Of course, you two people are as simple-minded as Manolo in failing to see this, which is why idiots like you continue to oppose what is clearly the BETTER SYSTEM: the Parliamentary System.

    adiós, ¡idiotas! 😉


    Dr. José Rizal II

  13. Dr. Joe,

    So you think the parliamentary system is better? So, what. It does not change a thing. You’re still as brilliant as Gloria, and that’s the only thing that matters to you. Right? Right.

  14. it’s to point out potential pitfalls if things are allowed to slither along undetected. if we assume the past decade has been one of squandered opportunities, with institutions hard-pressed to function because of the absence of consensus -which requires legitimacy if government is to get people to sit around the table and hammer things out- then surely there is no problem with wanting the next administration to be armed, first of all, with a widely-respected mandate, and for the excesses of the past not to manifest themselves again in the future. but there is the problem that there remains unfinished business for the incumbents so it will affect how things turn out. i was wondering for example why there was a sudden revival of the parliamentary-presidential debate until this reminded me why:

    anyway, this article comes to mind,

    I’m afraid that the past 10 years will be seen as a time when the United States badly lost its way by using our military power carelessly, misunderstanding the real challenges to our long-term security and pursuing domestic policies that constrained our options for the future while needlessly threatening our prosperity.

    I am aware that the previous paragraph is thoroughly controversial, and that befits any description of a politically consequential decade. Much of the contention surrounding Barack Obama’s presidency is simply a continuation of our argument over the effects of George W. Bush’s time in office.

    That is why Obama, despite his fervent wishes, has been unable to usher in a new period of consensus. Bush’s defenders know that Obama’s election represented a popular reaction against the consequences of the Bush presidency. Because Obama is both the anti-Bush and the leader of the post-Bush cleanup squad, his success would complete the rebuke. So the Bush camp — Karl Rove’s regular contributions to the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages are emblematic — must stay on the attack.

    simply as a statement of similar problems up ahead.

  15. How would a Noynoy presidency address these problems, given that he may get a popular mandate. Let’s say his first year, what does he need to do?

    This will give me a more concrete picture.

    Also, seems to me if the other side only wants to avoid being put into an obviously vulnerable position in the eyes of history (read: condemnable), the best thing for someone like Noynoy (who can win with a near majority) is to compromise, avoid the heart ache.

  16. well not an exact analogy with bush: because part of the popular expectation, i’d think, is jail for some of the usual suspects.

  17. I think you can’t say part of the “popular expectation” since I would think the popular expectation is a get-out-of-jail-for-free card. What you mean is that the principled outcome.

    I wonder how Noynoy’s inner circle would advise him on this. Democracy, after all, isn’t about the logic of the law but what the people can take. Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally with the law and zero-sum justice for all. The way things are going, I see nothing courageous to ask for jail terms. Can you even imagine such a thing for the current regime after 2010?

  18. Dr. Wishful thinking Joe II,

    Okay you go ahead and mount an education campaign re the virtues of parliamentary system. Come back if anyone bought it already, right now you’re sounding more like an expert in the alimentary system than anything else. Whats up your alimentary canal?!

  19. Contact me, Manolo. I can teach you a lot. And you’ll become a much better person for it.

    Beware of potential psycho killers/stalkers…

  20. thecusp,

    Now wouldn’t it be much easier to govern and take the country on the road to progress if the little duende does not leave IEDs along the road?

    There is a difference between managing expectations and warning of the dangers that lie ahead. For one thing the fact that these danger spots have been identified, steps can be taken to either eliminate them or minimize their damage.

  21. Dr JR

    You sound like Carmen Pedrosa in drag.

    Parliament smarliament fuck that. I want to vote directly for president. I won’t give up the right to choose my leader to representatives I didn’t vote for especially to the kind of shits who sit in Congress.

  22. Dr JR II?

    Alex Magno is that you?

    As my pro-Gloria mother tells me, the filipino people are not mature enough for a unicameral parliamentary system.

  23. Nick, Ramrod, Manuel, and Ka Ryan,

    Instead of trying to speculate on who I am – I am the reincarnation of Dr. José Rizal because I happen to have all of my predecessor’s traits (as in all his traits), why don’t you guys make better use of your time by trying to issue a decent REBUTTAL against whatever it is I said.

    All you idiots do is come up with Argumenta ad hominem (plural of Argumentum ad hominem).

    Go for the message, not the messenger you brainless losers! 😉

    Oh, and Manuel, if you want to “vote directly for your Head of Government”, then why don’t you just campaign for all the candidates of the Party HEADED by the guy/gal you want and VOTE for the candidate from the PARTY headed by the guy you want?

    Let’s say there are two parties… Party A is headed by Juan de la Cruz, Party B is headed by Jose Santos, and you want Juan de la Cruz to become the Head of Government, then why don’t you just USE YOUR BRAIN and campaign for Party A, and also vote for the candidate of your “district” who’s from Party A? Get all your friends from other “districts” to vote for the Party A candidates of their districts. And hopefully, Party A wins in MOST of the “districts” (called “constituencies” in a Parliamentary System) and so Juan de la Cruz, who is the leader of Party A, then becomes the Prime Minister.

    You know Manuel, you’re so stupid that you can’t see that the Presidential System in the Philippines is what created the Erap Fiasco and it’s also what created this stupid Noynoy frenzy.

    You’re so stupid that you can’t tell that the Philippine Presidential System of “directly choosing the president” is what causes the phenomenon of “Behind the Scenes Puppeteers” looking for a pliable “winnable” popular candidate to feed to the electorate, who can win the elections due to popularity and name-recall, but is stupid and can’t do anything by himself so he’ll need “help” from the cabal of “behind-the-scenes-manipulators” who obviously have ulterior motives.

    You think Erap ran all by himself back in 1998? Obviously not! He was being backed by some slithery, slimy, behind-the-scenes-manipulators like Maceda and Danding who knew they couldn’t win an election. The problem here is that if things fouled up, no one knows who most of the manipulators are.

    At least, even if you can’t directly vote who the PM is, you know who are most likely to become the PM: He’s the leader of the “party/coalition that wins majority of all seats in Parliament” and if he makes decisions that fail, you can point to him and blame him.

    In short, in a Parliamentary System, you don’t have CANDIDATES FOR PM. What you have are the LEADERS OF THE PARTIES/Coalitions.

    But in the PUPPET’s case, which is what happened with ERAP, which is what was being planned for FPJ and what is currently being planned with Noynoy, the PUPPET is used to win the Presidential Election, and since he is too stupid to make decisions on his own, he will listen to the “advice” that his manipulating PUPPETEERS will tell him. And if things fail, ALL THE BLAME GOES TO THE PUPPET! No one will blame the puppeteers.

    Are you really sure you want to continue on with the ROTTEN Philippine Presidential System that continues to promote the emergence of PUPPET PRESIDENTS controlled by behind-the-scenes-puppeteers?!?

    Shame on you. And shame on you too, Manolo, for not knowing any better.

    Manolo, you still haven’t learned about the Parliamentary System. You owe me an essay report that explains your understanding of how the Parliamentary System works. Your response is due at 6pm tomorrow, Wednesday, January 6, 2010, otherwise you get a failing grade.

    Show me what you know, Manolo. You need to prove to me and to everyone else that you’re not an idiot.

    your good friend,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  24. There is a difference between managing expectations and warning of the dangers that lie ahead. For one thing the fact that these danger spots have been identified, steps can be taken to either eliminate them or minimize their damage. – manuel

    I agree. I guess the confusion stemmed from the use of the word, “legacy” which suggested a fait accompli rather than a cautionary piece on possible rear guard actions by a dying regime.

    There was a lot of talk of prosecuting Bush/Cheney during their last days in office for executive decisions curtailing civil liberties, concocting the basis for going to war and allowing the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Although he was elected in a landslide and with both houses dominated by his party, Obama chose not to go down that road. Although Bush’s satisfaction rating were as low as GMA, the US is basically a conservative, centre left nation as evidenced by the present poll numbers of Obama’s healthcare bill. They voted for change because Bush took them too far to the right.

    Had he taken the vindictive path, Obama would have been unable to govern given extreme polarisation in US society that remains. None of the items on his agenda including his stimulus, healthcare and education reforms, cap and trade etc would have any chance of flying.

    The Philippines is the same. The country seems to want change due to the extreme forms of patronage and traditional politics practiced under Arroyo, but it is essentially still a very traditional, conservative country, which is why Congress and the LGUs will still be dominated by the usual suspects.

    Which leads me to weigh in on the presidential v parliamentary debate. I serve under a parliamentary govt, and I see many advantages to it. However, in defence of the presidential system, I believe in a fractious polity like ours, a shift to a parliamentary form would involve larger use of patronage to ensure the stability of the govt, since a simple vote of no confidence could bring it down. This would in turn lead to bigger and chronic deficits.

  25. RAMROD

    The reason why no one is vouching for the Parliamentary system is because the people’s view of it is flawed without them really researching for facts about it. That many people do not want the Philippines to be a Parliament does not mean it will not work for the country.

    You just made an error in this debate and that is the Bandwagon Fallacy. I hope you can still find your notes in logic back in your high school years.


    No one gives a rat’s ass about what your mother thinks. You are clearly very ignorant.



  26. You brilliant people obssessed with the parliamentary system, use your coconut! It’s not the form of government, it’s the people up there in government. If they will rob your pockets, they will rob your pockets, if they are immorals, they are immorals, if they kill with impunity they will, if they are cheaters they are…parliamentary or presidential. So, what are you keen on talking about? Nuts.

  27. Victoria,

    Was this a debate? I’m sorry, I thought it was someone’s idea of being an ass. If this is really a debate, well, count me out, I don’t waste time on things that don’t result in a good bottomline – so you continue blowing hot/foul air out of your behinds with your friendly neighborhood idiot savant illegitimate son of our national hero…

  28. You brilliant people obssessed with the parliamentary system, use your coconut! It’s not the form of government, it’s the people up there in government. If they will rob your pockets, they will rob your pockets, if they are immorals, they are immorals, if they kill with impunity they will, if they are cheaters they are…parliamentary or presidential. So, what are you keen on talking about? Nuts.

    Precisely what I was thinking about! What we need are good leaders, fiscalizers, visionaries, principled to the bone and can walk the talk so to speak.
    We can have the best of all possible form of government but its the people driving it that counts, hell we can even run the country like a cooperative given good leaders and resources, it’ll work.
    Fallacies? You guys live and breathe in it, and all your self praise only shows that no one in the real world even notice you so you ry to hoodwink people into taking you seriously in cyberspace? Come on, get a life…your so pathetic!

  29. RAMROD

    “your so pathetic!”

    Who’s pathetic now? you used your instead of you’re. Do not get in to a word war with me. You sound like a total nut case.

    We can’t do something about the people and them electing incompetent leaders so there’s this whole parliamentary idea which we believe can change the system. Change of government should come first before change of culture.

    Another advice: Please refrain attacking our personalities. It only shows how shallow you are.


  30. Ramrod,

    Don’t be an idiot.

    FISCALIZER is not an English word. Did you notice that when you type “fiscalizer” there’s always a RED LINE that forms underneath it?

    It’s a useless concept that was invented by Filipino politicians with too much time on their hands because they have no real constituencies to represent. (And I’m talking about the Senate because the Senate in the Philippines is NOT region-based unlike in the USA where each Senator has a specific STATE to report to.) Since Philippine Senators are not answerable to a constituency, they really have nothing to do, which is why some of them are unable to come up with anything (9 bills in 9 years, none passed) and all they focus on are showbiz scandals like Sex videos and other grandstanding affairs.

    Now, you claim you want good leaders, visionaries, etc, but do you think the Presidential System easily allows such types of people to emerge victorious in the elections?

    Think again, you idiot.

    The Presidential System in the Philippines is a popularity contest that gives undue advantage only to people who have name-recall, and popularity, and this precisely causes the system to be rigged in favor of PUPPETEERS-and-PUPPETS instead of real leaders.

    Look at Erap. Was Erap a real leader? No way. He was Ernesto Maceda’s and Danding Cojuangco’s PUPPET. Those two puppeteers were the real power behind him. Notice that right when Erap was inaugurated, Danding was restored to San Miguel! Bakit kaya??!?

    Now let’s look at Noynoy… Is Noynoy a real leader? Hell fuckin’ NO. Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy is a PUPPET!

    And all those people surrounding him are the PUPPETEERS who tell him what to say or do.

    If you had half a brain, ramrod, you’d realize the reality of the Philippine Presidential System for what it is: It is a system that favors PUPPETS and PUPPETEERS because those not-so-popular PUPPETEERS with vested interests and ulterior motives who know they can’t win as President will choose “popular” PUPPETS with name-recall to act as their pawns. What’s bad about it is that because they’re behind-the-scenes, if their PUPPET fails to deliver, the PUPPETEERS are shielded from scrutiny!

    At least in a Parliamentary System, whoever becomes Prime Minister is the REAL LEADER OF HIS PARTY, and if he and his party fail to deliver, the Prime Minister gets the blame.

    In the current Presidential System, if we end up with an ERAP or a NOYNOY the IGNOY ABNOY as President, you can be sure that he will fail miserably, but he’d only be acting as the “Avatar” of his puppeteers.

    Think Ramrod, think! Ang tanga mo naman! Please study more and analyze the issues carefully. You’re going to get a final grade of F if you don’t do well in the next exam. 😉

    your new mentor,

    Dr. José Rizal II.

  31. As ramrod said, you brilliant guys trying so hard to inject an out-of-topic and irrelevant subject in blogthreads are so pathetic because no one is taking you seriously. The reason no one is taking you seriously is because even an idiot like me can see through your ploy, your pathetic and vain attempt to perpetuate in power your patrons, those very same government officials in high places already rejected by the citizens for their impunities.

  32. To: Dr. Joe

    Keep on trying. Me, your student, might have the heart to give you, my mentor, an ‘A’ for your effort.

  33. Now, if that is not enough, Dr. Joe, I might just shrug my shoulder and just lets you keep on ranting in front of the class while everyone of us, your students, sleep in our desks.:D

  34. Dr. Joe (idiot savant illegitimate son of our national hero may he rest in peace which is unlikely because his name is being used in vain),
    You mentioned Erap and NoyNoy, you didn’t mention your idol and mentor Gloria hehehe.
    I don’t respond well to the word mentor (just add “tor” in front and you’ll see what I mean), I’m more into the “sifu” or “master” thing.
    As for spelling and grammar, I usually don’t worry too much about it, thats why we have assistants – oops, sorry you don’t have those? Wow, which end of the pay grade scale do you come from? 🙂

  35. ramrod,

    I see you’re pulling rank – another ad hominem. 😉

    A clear indicator that your feeble mind is unable to come up with a worthy response. 😉

    Oh, and I don’t care about Gloria. She’s on her way out as far as I care. But I care about the Philippines. I care about my descendants’ children and their children.

    (Besides, Gloria isn’t a puppet. Her decisions are her own. Unlike Erap and Noynoy who both require puppetmasters to tell them what to do)

    I want my beloved country to have a system that PREVENTS THE EMERGENCE OF IDIOT PUPPETS controlled by behind-the-scenes puppeteers.

    I want my beloved Philippines to have a system that ensures that the electorate looks more into platforms and issues and results as opposed to speculations about personality.

    The Parliamentary System wins hands down over the Philippine Presidential System.

    Word of advice: Don’t be in love with the Presidential System, ramrod. It is only a tool. Love the People. The people need a system that will help deliver more results as opposed to create a constant state of endless bickering and politicking.

    The Parliamentary System is a system that is more focused on getting things done, while the Presidential System requires a lot of publicity stunts.

    The Parliamentary System is way better than the Presidential System.

    Now ramrod, instead of speculating on how rich I am, or how high up in the food chain I am compared to you, or who I am, why don’t you focus your efforts on issuing a VALID and DECENT REBUTTAL against whatever I said?

    Can’t do it, right? I thought so. 😉

    your master,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  36. Cusp,

    Actually, there won’t be much of a need for patronage in a shift to the Parliamentary System, because the PARTY IN POWER (the Party or coalition that wins a majority of all parliamentary seats) by default already has the power to get what it wants done… As such, the Prime Minister does not need to “give incentives” to his own party-mates or coalition-mates in order to get things done. They’re already majority, why bribe them when you’re already all on the same boat?

    The point is clear: Control of Parliament is dependent on getting the Majority of the Seats. If you don’t have the majority, then sorry, you’re not in control. But if you have the majority – and therefore have the mandate – then you now have the ability to get what needs to be done DONE. So as mentioned, there is NO NEED TO “dole out patronage” to different people if you are already in the MAJORITY simply because it’s your own people who are already there to do stuff for you. No need to bribe ’em.

    Remember: the patronage machine is necessary in a “separation of powers” scenario present in the Presidential System, because it is very possible for the President to be from a different PARTY from the majority of the legislators. So if that happens, then DEFINITELY, you need to dole out “patronage.”

    But again, in a fused system like the Parliamentary System where a party’s parliamentary majority is what determines a party leader’s accession to the Premiership, the Prime Minister IS NECESSARILY from the same party or coalition as the majority of the seats held in parliament.

    It’s almost like have 8 out of 10 members of a school admissions selection committee being your relatives, family friends, ninongs, ninangs, etc. You already know ’em and they know you, and they WANT YOU IN, so you don’t even need to try to “bribe them to make them accept you.” You’re practically in.

    Hope this makes it very very clear, Cusp. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO need for patronage politics when a PM deals with his own party mates who – by definition (you can’t become PM unless your party/coalition gets majority in the first place!) – already hold a majority in parliament in order for them to get things done.

    best regards,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  37. Dr. Joe (my tor-mentor),

    I don’t care whether its presidential or parliamentary, they’re just systems/tools, like all tools it depends on who wields them. Hell, I’d even settle for dictatorship if the despot provides well for its constituents. For me its “results” that counts and how much people really benefit from whatever system “the people” choose.
    Whether we get a puppet or whatever leader, for as long as the mandate of the people is respected, and not waylaid by snobs and elitists, its the way it should be and we get responsibility for our decision and make it work together (its our choice anyway).
    You go on ahead with your debate on the ideal form of government or whatever it is you’re trying to sell, its a free country but I’m telling you now, you’re a lousy salesman. You won’t get far with the way you’re pitching your product, you’ll even invite resistance.
    Debates belong in places where people give a shit (like academe, or congress, senate, wherever it is that people love to hear themselves talk and give themselves pats on the back on how smart they are).
    You need to sell the idea to people before you can make it fly, but at the rate you’re going, if I were you’re sales manager I’d fire you at the get go.

    Your boss,

    ramrod (with my foot kicking your behind)

  38. Dr. Joe (tay buhok – Cebuano humor),

    If you really want to impress us, why don’t you stick to the topic set by the blog owner – Arroyo’s legacy.
    If you’re really a topnotch debater that you tout yourself to be you should be able to stick to the topic set by the moderator or whatever they call the guy who sets the ground rules. Hmmmm, or maybe you come to a debate with a set topic but insist on your own, well that shows how a good debater you are…good luck nutball, as you’re bound to need it wherever you go…mostly comedy bars…

  39. hohumnn, zzzzz, snoooore..wha…what? relatives? Dr. Joe, did I hear you say ‘relatives, family friends, ninongs,ninangs, etc’? ‘no need to bribe them” ? ‘everybody practically in in the take’? is that it in the parliamentary system, everybody practically in in the take? wow! brilliant talaga. huhooom. snooore, zzzzzzzzz.

  40. EM-EL-KYU III (ramrod),

    It’s clear you now agree that I’ve sold the idea to you that you need to be OPEN to a system change, something which you clearly weren’t open to much earlier. 😉

    (you were stubbornly trying to defend the status quo Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution which we all know is a FAILURE)

    As it thus demonstrates, I’ve been successful in getting you to Step One of Improving the Philippines: accepting that a change in system is necessary.

    Of course, you want to save face for your own puppetmaster (Manolo), so you want to have your feel-good satisfaction of telling me off, but you can’t tell someone off if that person (yours truly) turns out to be far more intelligent and far more knowledgeable than you or Manolo will ever be.

    The important thing here is for you, Nick, Manuel, and Manolo to realize that you still need to learn a lot more so that you (Manolo) can come up with better commentary.

    In any case, I’m happy that you now accept that RESULTS are more important. That’s what my entire focus has always been on.

    Now, obviously, the current Philippine PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM has given us the lousiest of results: A Minority President ever since Ramos’ time which means a president who has difficulty getting stuff done unless he/she does arm-twisting or patronage politics just to get things done; Fixation on “Fiscalization” among idle Senators who can’t author bills and get them passed as laws; etc.

    In any case, you probably don’t see it… I am inviting resistance. I’d like as many of you people to try to issue a decent REBUTTAL against my superior explanation that the Parliamentary System is better than the Presidential System.

    All of you have failed.

    Manolo has failed to respond properly.
    Nick has failed to respond properly.
    You have failed to resepond properly.
    Manuel has failed to respond properly.

    Gosh, all of Manolo’s alternicks and friends have failed to issue a decent rebuttal to the stuff I said.

    The only thing you losers can come up with are AD HOMINEM attacks and speculations on who I am, which is completely IRRELEVANT because for you to properly debate with me, you should issue a factual point-by-point rebuttal, not hurl insults and personality speculations.

    But of course, none of you can do that because my arguments are solid and superior to yours. 😉

    * * * * *


    Obviously your brain is too small to understand anything. But then again, you’re just another Manolo alter-NICK just like Noelet, d0d0ng, manuel, and ramrod.

    Nice try, EM-EL-KYU-THREE! 😉

    your best friend who clobbers you a lot,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  41. Still not convinced that Unicameral will reduce patronage based corruption. Explain that how it

    a. reduces vote buying
    b. warlordism
    c. localized politics
    d. makes laws benefiical to the people as oppossed to the people in power.

  42. Ka Ryan,

    Here are my responses:

    Firstly, what I’m talking about is not UNICAMERAL. What I’ve been talking about it the PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM. Unicameral refers to the fact that there is only ONE CHAMBER as opposed to having a BICAMERAL system with two chambers to the legislature.

    Normally, in a Bicameral System, the UPPER HOUSE is usually WEAKER than the lower house, such as in the USA and in the UK. In fact, in most countries that are Bicameral, the upper house is largely ceremonial and the Prime Minister COMES FROM THE LOWER HOUSE.

    In any case, the proposal of Charter Change is:

    0. Change the economic laws of the Constitution to allow more domestic and foreign investment to come in and ease restrictions, thereby encouraging more businesses to be formed and jobs created for Filipinos.

    1. Federalize the Regions and give them autonomy, both economic and political, to better decentralize that Philippines

    2. Shift the form of government from Presidential to Parliamentary

    3. Remove the Upper House (Senate – which is useless because they have no constituent representation anyway) and retain only the lower house, so that we end up with a Unicameral Parliament.

    Now here are my responses to your different points:

    a. reduces vote buying

    See letter C (localized politics)

    b. warlordism

    This one is more a function of Law Enforcement being able to dismantle warlords. The Parliamentary System cannot really do much about Warlordism unless the Parliament effectively changes the laws on gun ownership and the formation of private armies, and thus get Law Enforcement to ensure that this is implemented.

    c. Localized Politics.

    A Parliamentary System is more localized because instead of having national elections, all you have are district elections for each “district” aka “CONSTITUENCY.” Vote counting is all going to be done at the district level, and if a candidate for Member of Parliament wins at his constituency, then he gets the SEAT.

    Looking at how it relates to A (reduces vote buying), the reason for this is because votes for the party happen on the district level. You cannot pad votes so that the votes feed into an OVERALL NATIONAL TALLY. No. The votes ONLY FEED INTO A DISTRICT TALLY.

    And at a lower level such as the district level, it is easier to watch over which candidate wins per district. Moreover, people vote more for PARTIES rather than for the district representative. People are going to be forced to pay more attention to which PARTY could take majority of the parliament, so they will more likely consider their votes better.

    A Parliamentary System’s electoral system is INTEGRATED. If you vote for Candidate A from Party X rather than Candidate B from Party Y, you are going to need to realize that while you might personally like candidate A, you are also afraid that PARTY X, which is headed by someone you personally do not like could turn into Prime Minister. So you are forced to look at the PARTY OVERALL, rather than just the local candidate. That in itself makes vote buying harder. I’m not saying it will necessarily get stamped out, but IT WILL BECOME MORE DIFFICULT and MORE IRRELEVANT because of the parliamentary system’s algorithm.

    d. makes laws beneficial to the people as opposed to the people in power:

    This happens because D is related to C: localized politics. In a Parliamentary System, especially in a Unicameral one, the members of parliament are expected to be very much in-touch with their constituencies. They are supposed to regularly meet up with and communicate with their constituents in order to learn more about their needs (there are Meet the People Townhall Sessions) and these concerns are more directly sent to Parliament for crafting into laws.

    If the ruling party (the party who holds majority of all parliamentary seats) is UNRESPONSIVE to the needs and requests of the various people coming from the constituencies (districts) where they have control because the party does not make laws beneficial to the people, then the People in said constituencies (districts) can decide to VOTE FOR THE OTHER PARTY in the next election.

    And if so many districts choose the OTHER PARTY, that ruling party could lose its majority in the Parliament, and thus they will lose control… The Prime Minister will then CEASE to be Prime Minister once his PARTY LOSES MAJORITY, and so his position is under threat.

    As such, the entire PARTY always seeks to work hard at meeting the people’s needs because each Parliamentary Seat is valuable. Any seat that is lost due to the people’s dissatisfaction could COST THE PARTY its majority status and thus oust the Prime Minister from his position.

    Both the Prime Minister and the Majority Party from which the Prime Minister is the leader ensure, therefore, that each of the Members of Parliament (similar to Congressmen) are extremely sensitive and extremely responsive to the needs of the people in the various Constituencies.

    The key fear is that if they don’t take care of the constituencies, come next election, the other parties could WREST that constituency’s SEAT away from them, and if so many constituencies do that, that party can lose its majority status.

    Likewise, the opposition (MINORITY) will also Strive hard to work towards gaining the people’s trust, always offering to do things better than the MAJORITY party because if the people see that this other party (the minority/opposition) is more responsive than the ruling one, people can decide to just switch their support.

    Now, I think it is very very clear to all that the Parliamentary System is really SUPERIOR to the current Philippine Presidential System.

    Hope this helps you in better understanding it, Ka Ryan. Please feel free to ask more questions so that I may easily clarify them.

    at your service,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  43. Manolo,

    Given that I have exposed you as not having any real knowledge on how the Parliamentary System works (it’s obvious you were never really interested to understand it in the first place!), it is obvious that all your OLD ARTICLES that deal with the Parliamentary System are full of bollocks.

    So, now that I have given you a lot of REAL INFORMATION on how the Parliamentary System works, have you decided to CHANGE your point of view?

    Have you now decided to accept that the current Philippine Presidential System is a stupid system that favors popularity and name-recall at the expense of competence and platform-and-issues focus?

    Have you now learned to acknowledge that the PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM is superior in how it functions, as well as its cost effectiveness, speed, efficiency, and policy and platform-centeredness when compared with the Presidential System?

    Please answer the question, Manolo.

    Do the Filipino People a favor, Manolo. Tell them the Truth. Tell them if you’ve now decided to accept the SUPERIORITY of the Parliamentary System.

    your good friend,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  44. DR JR,

    As to your claim that there is not need for patronage in a parliamentary system, that’s sheer nonsense.

    Look at the parliaments worldwide, Don’t you notice that in many countries parties are able to form majorities only through coalitions? How do you think those coalitions are formed?

    Look at Malaysia the ruling coalition Barisan Nacional is composed many oarties the biggest three being the UMNO (malays), the chinese party, and the indian party. Look at how the government divides up the spoils through cabinet appointments. Look at France, Italy, Israel etc etc etc.

    Theory has to be grounded in reality.

    The problem with a party system is party members end up putting the party before the country. And in a presidential system the danger is the leader putting himself before the country. However, at the end of the day it’s easier to deal with one person than a gang.

    Another thing with bloc voting which is really what the system you are advocating will bring about. Imagine voting for Lakas Kampi. You will have to take the bad with the good. So a parliamentary system is not only the refuge of scoundrels it is also the only way that a truly dislikable person can get elected. In a party system even you can get elected.

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