Tuesday, January 24, 2006

FVR Warns Council of a Disaster Waiting to Happen

FORMER PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS has just called the proposal to cancel the 2007 National Elections a "disaster waiting to happen." He spoke at the meeting this morning of the Council of State convened by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but boycotted by former Presidents Corazon Aquino, Joseph Estrada, Senate President Frank Drilon, and virtually the entire political opposition. FVR cited the recent downgrade of the Philippines from Free to Partly Free in the 2005 World Survey of Democracy conducted by Freedom House International, a New York-based watchdog of how nations around the world are progressing or not towards democratic statehood. He said that unless the Palace and its allies prevented the no-elections scenario from coming to pass, the Philippines would surely be downgraded even further to NOT FREE. The proposal to cancel the 2007 elections has been made by the Consultative Commission appointed by the Palace, as part of its proposed Transitory Provisions from the current republican presidential system to a new, unicameral parliamentary federal system that House Speaker Jose De Venecia has been backing. The No-elections Scenario has been dubbed an indecent proposal and a naked attempt at bribing the trapos. At Philippine Commentary, this is exactly how we speculated GMA would take over Lakas from FVR. That speculation has proven to be largely correct, judging by the loss of influence of the Lakas Party Chaiman Emeritus, and the rejection of his ideas by the rank and file who know where the true power now lies. Now we know the answer to the question , "Will FVR Lose Lakas to GMA?" since FVR made no mention whatsoever of his earlier much-publicized demand that the President relinquish power in 2007 after six years in office, or some of his other ideas involving cutting her term short. But at the very end of his talk, FVR grinned and he --I think naughtily-- asked the President for permission to distribute copies of his recent columns and interviews with the Press! I predict that FVR will now make himself much more available to Media. Maybe he will even start a blog. (You heard it here first!)

SPEAKER JOSE DE VENECIA outdid himself stating the Palace Party Line, "I fully agree [with Vice Pres. Noli de Castro who just spoke] United we stand, divided we fall. We should make an appeal to every one, to put an end to divisive politics, to destructive politics, to negative politics, to investigative politics, to adversarial politics, to poisonous politics, that have plagued out society..." It does not occur to JDV that his Constitutional Change initiative is the biggest piece of energy and time wasting POLITICS one could possibly imagine. What could be more divisive, destructive, investigative, negative, adversarial, poisonous and every other available adjective than the self-administered radical brain surgery JDV recommends we do. He has already plunged the country into a vast intellectual quagmire, a debater's and bullshitter's Paradise of competing models, systems and principles. A chance to be a forefather! To formulate the eternal panacea.

KIKO PANGILINAN was there, sitting next to EDGARDO ANGARA: the past and the future? And paired with MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO was RALPH RECTO. Now there was a scary pair of side-by-side minds. Senator JUAN FLAVIER, was also there, but none of these were allowed to have any say. Fine, since they haven't any and are part of that wasted presidential timberland called the Senate. I suppose the other loyalists, JOKER ARROYO, MANNY VILLAR, DICK GORDON--all the silent guns of convenience and shameless accomodation, were there too. Well, we can't expect to find too many statesmen where it pays to be a scoundrel and see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil. Amen.

All I can say is: we are ruled by a political Mafia that can command the prime time news. FVR's right. We are headed for the NOT FREE category.


Jon Mariano said...

Is FVR a case of an old general refusing to fade away? He must believe that he still has the answer to the ills of the Filipino. Maybe he should just leave politics and continue doing what he's doing outside of the government.

Rizalist said...

HI Jon, Right now I'll take almost any answer that gets us out of the mess we are in--as long as it isn't worse. But like i said at the end, FVR would make a great PUNDIT, go on the speaking tour. Write a blog. Get Rowdy!

Major Tom said...

FVR should have retained some form of statemanship when he had finished his presidential term, like an old counselor to the nation like Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore but right now he is erasing all that by his antics..tsk..tsk.

Rizalist said...

Major Tom, Here is FVR's entire statement during the Council of State Meetng:

(Delivered at the Council of State Meeting in Malacañang on January 24, 2006.)

PERHAPS as the oldest among the young ones in this gathering, I may be allowed to quote from Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio a few words of their wisdom. More than a hundred years ago, Rizal said. The time has come to tell ourselves that if we wish to be saved, we must redeem ourselves, and may I add, by way of commenting further, each one of us can do his or her important part by pulling an oar, plugging a leak, building synergy, and adding value so that our ship of state, on which we are all passengers, can navigate speedily and stay the course through stormy weather, rocky shores, and intensified competition towards a better future.

Andres Bonifacio in his cry at Pugad Lawin on August 21, 1896, took issue on the poverty, injustice, and non-participation of common Filipinos, as he and his Katipuneros exemplified when they launched their revolt against Spain in August, 1896. And Bonifacio’s message continues to ring a resonant note among the Filipinos of today. Their basic needs for income, livelihood, health, shelter, education, safety, etc., still constitutes the primary problems of Philippine society one hundred years later today so our people expect our incumbent elected leaders to bring their act together without further delay and to put the Philippine house in order.

Having said that, let me refer to the Presidents goal for a strong Philippine Republic. A feeble nation, declared Stevenson, is the result of selfinflicted wounds, but it is wrong to equate a strong state with the curtailment of civil liberties through strong-man methods and similar measures. Indeed we need a stronger state, a more efficient and effective state, if only to make our market system work for our people.

The real threat to our democracy, dear friends, in our time is our loss of a common purpose, and our lack of unity and teamwork. Let me continue further by mentioning that in my capacity as a public servant for almost 52 years and now as a concerned senior citizen, the national interest has always been my abiding concern. And this is in two parts: The well-being of our people and the security of our republic and this to me is the highest duty to which we Filipinos of whatever political persuasion, of whatever economic status and ethnic origin, must devote oursleves.

Now further, this Council of State, having been revived by President Arroyo, must now help guide our elected leaders so that the collective wisdom of this body, in order to expeditiously work out a strategic consensus and doable policies towards the solution of our nation’s serious political, economic, and social problems, that is our mission and the President has said it already and in very clear terms.

Now lastly, Madame President, let me mention that no nation is ever built from square one, nor should be rebuilt every time there is a change in government. Succeeding leaders and generations will continue to add value and strengthen the foundations already put in by their forbears.

One last issue I would like to address, and this in the agenda, the prospect of no elections in 2007 is to me, in my humble opinion, a national disaster waiting to happen but which could be prevented or remedied by congressional action. On the other hand, Malacañang especially can do effective damage control. The holding of elections in 2007 as expected by our people will be the best argument that we can muster to erase the international community’s perception that the Philippines is only partly free. On the other hand, no-el will bring our country to the worst category of not free. I’m sure that this is not what we, the Filipino people, want.

Madame President, ladies and gentlemen, all that I have said has already been published in the columns that I have written in the Manila Bulletin over the last six months. With your permission, I have had copies circulated in the body for their info.