Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sliding Down to the Ranks of the Unfree

EMOCRACY in the Philippines is suffering from a major case of political thrombosis, eight months into a devastating crisis of legitimacy arising from the Garci Tape controversy. Declaring that she is still the best person to lead the country President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told a luncheon meeting of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) that the country needs a new kind of People Power. Not a new Chief Executive -- which was the result in Edsa 1 and 2. She said she "intends to finish my term with a steady hand on the helm..." Meanwhile, at that very moment in the Supreme Court, and on behalf of the unanimous Senate, Joker Arroyo was delivering an Oral Argument for the declaration of Executive Order No. 464 (PDF) as an unconstitutional and unlawful gag order on members of the Executive Dept. who are forbidden by it from giving testimony in Congress without the permission of the President. In a sound bite that may have the same sting as Teofisto Guingona's "I accuse" speech against Joseph Estrada in 2000, Joker Arroyo has famously said that if the Supreme Court lets E.O. 464 stand the Philippines will have become a "QUASI-DICTATORSHIP." (This, from one of the President's staunchest allies in the Senate, and Chief House Prosecutor at Joseph Estrada's impeachment trial.) Well I guess that's sort of what FREEDOM HOUSE was saying when it downgraded the Philippines from the roster of Free nations to those of the Partly Free at the end of 2005.

Rizalist Radio has this MP3 of a soundbite from yesterday's speech which has become all the rage and derision on AM Talk Shows this morning. Also from radio coverage of the President's speech today at the national heroes cemetery in Fort Bonifacio about one hour ago: Libingan ng mga Bayani MP3. President Arroyo quotes Ecclesiastes on the Anniversary of Edsa People Power I. I think of all the heroes beneath her feet and within earshot of these words...all those patriots, all those martyrs, her captive audience for a few minutes more in the delusion of heroism. You're headed for F-Minus in History, Ma'm. Ominously, the very first guest on Eli Saludar's show right after the President's speech was aired was Ka Roger Rosal of the NPA, who was being coy, but loves the titillating suggestion that the Magdalo/Oakwood soldiers are now under their mind-bending influence. Are they? It's an important question I am currently exploring...Strange how Lt. San Juan was caught in 20 days or so, while this fugitive spokesman of the terrorist NPA has been wanted for 20 years and is a daily presence on Philippine AM radio--which reaches into every jeepney and in the archipelago. [On Coups and Emergency Rule, check out ABSCBN News Anchor and Blogger RICKY CARANDANG REPORTING]
MOCKERY OF FOES AND ALLIES ALIKE But Mrs. Arroyo mocked both erstwhile foes and allies alike during her speech at FOCAP yesterday. First by saying she "would not curtsy" to those who are telling and retelling each other about their heroic roles in the 1986 People Power overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos. I guess that would include folks like Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Frank Drilon, Dinky Soliman, Jovito Salonga, and the rest of the Civil Society personalities, organizations, and other forces that helped to expel Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001, elevating then Vice President Arroyo to the Presidency. These were her erstwhile allies, most of whom are now calling upon her to resign, along with a broad coalition of Philippine Society.

Pres. Arroyo also erased the Edsa 3 claimed by Joseph Estrada and his hard core supporters. She said, "The world embraced EDSA 1 in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA 2 in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA 3 but instead would condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable." As if May 1, 2001 never actually happened! Though that event revealed how so-called People Power can indeed turn into a violent mob and did not results in a regme change, Edsa 3 has already happened, excuse me.

Pres. Arroyo said she had three areas of focus in year 2006: (1) the economy; (2) the war on terrorism; and (3) Charter Change initiatives. (something for everybody, something for America, something for the political Mafias)

On the economy, the real story is overseas Filipinos, who last year sent home 700 billion pesos (12 billion dollars), hard-earned in America (50% of the total), Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and a hundred other countries. Curiously, the President was crowing about her Value Added Tax "reform" and how useful it will be to feed the poor, build them housing and schools, etc. Yet in more formal surroundings the VAT is supposed to take care of the huge fiscal deficit that only feeds the Congressional Pork Barrel of her allies. How true it is that something that starts as deficit reduction ends us increasing the deficit!

On terrorism this insipid and dishonest claim by Pres. Arroyo: ~"...We have stood shoulder to shoulder with our allies in the world in the fight against global terrorism, and so the world has stood shoulder to shoulder with us in the fight against political destabilization..."

What an atrocious double falsehood. President Arroyo stood "shoulder to shoulder" with whom ??? The truth is she negotiated with, and then capitulated to hooded Iraqi terrorists holding Angelo de la Cruz hostage??? Then she pulled out the small Philippine humanitarian contingent from Iraq upon the demand of the kidnappers, and to prevent being blamed should the hostage have been killed. It was a selfish act of imagined political self-preservation, for Filipinos it turned out were glad at the result but not at the self-serving manner that their President had done it. The freedom of Angelo de la Cruz came at a high price. The ransom paid was the Philippines' word of honor to its allies in the Coalition of the Willing. As for the reciprocation of those allies on the matter of her domestic political woes, I'm sure those allies know internal political struggles are really none of their business --except for the common danger this failed and heedless President IS to everybody.

On charter change, I stll believe the President is insincere about Chacha and is just throwing it into the mix this year as a kind of "bandwidth-killer" in Congress to help drown out the drum-beating for a second, better-executed impeachment attempt at midyear. It will keep Jose de Venecia and his moral midgets happily dreaming about becoming forefathers in a new French Eurostyle Parliament, and improve their vocabulary for the verbal jousting with the Opposition come Impeachment time in July, when the Constitution once more opens shop to see if Rule of Law can be put in the service of democratic regime change.

Gloriagate's Gordian Knot has tied the government up in a paralyzing case of gridlock with the issuance of Executive Order No. 464 late last year to save Secretary Norberto Gonzalez from the clutches of the evil, over-investigative Senate. As a consequence of this veritable gag order on government officials down to the lowest janitor, the 2006 national budget has not been passed. The Legislature can't get any information or testimony from the officials who are collectively asking for a TRILLION pesos from the people this year, a 12% increase over 2004-2005 eerily equal to the recently imposed Value Added Tax. Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the Senate's petition to have E.O. 464 declared unconstitutional. Senator Joker Arroyo, ironically the Chief Prosecutor in Erap's trial, (who walked out only to have GMA walk in), is the lead counsel and plaintiff before the High Court. It's Arroyo vs. Arroyo with Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban in betwixt.


tupa said...

Malalalim po ang inyong mga salita at parang seryoso kayo sa inyong mga adhikain.

Jorge Bocobo po ba ang talagang pangalan ninyo? Di ba ho patay na iyon? Sayang matalinhaga panaman ang inyong mga sinasabi. Pilipino ba ho kayo?

Ano po ang mas mahalaga sa inyo ang demokrasya o ang mga tao.

Nagtatanong lang po.

Rizalist said...

Kumusta Kamuning. Welcome po! Higanteng ninuno ko na po't minamahal na DNA si Jorge Cleofas Bocobo, langgam lang sa anino't balikat niya ang taong inyong lingkod, si Dean Jorge Bocobo, na ang siyang pinakamabigat niyang krus ay ang pangalan at titulo niyang pinako sa katauhan nito nang siya'y walang kamalay-malay na sanggol. Hindi niya ginusto itong pinataw na anyo o ang nalilinlang sa isang pangalan lamang. Ganoon ka lakas ang kamandag ni Jorge Cleofas Bocobo -- na pati mga langgam nagkakaroon ng pitik. Basahin rin Rizalist and I. Salamat sa inyong bisita Kamuning!

Without Borders said...

good morning. if there's a new "people power" (edsa 4) would you welcome it? or would you rather have a coup d'etat since the opposition have thrown every thing against her including the kitchen sink and she is still there?

Rizalist said...

No coup d'etat has succeeded yet since Marcos' declaration of martial law. And I would assert no People Power has succeeded either. Edsa 1 restored the old oligarchy. Edsa 2 and Gloriagate made it an autarky.

But see the big devilish "D" at the head of this post? That's my Religion.



You haven't really answered WO's questions...

While we are at it, what about answering your own questions Without Borders?

Without Borders said...

im sick and tired of "people power." i still like the plain old election. in hate coup d'etat. they are never the solutions to the country's problems. all the countries that suffered coups since the last 20 years are down in terms of human development. they are unstable, usually undemocratic. coups dont expand human freedom. but i do recognize that coups and rumours of coups are symptons of deeper political and economic problems. ill have this deeper treatment of this in my blog tomorrow. you are all welcome to drop by.



A 'military brat' posted in MLQ3's blogsite (a tag given to a son or daughter of a member of the military, or a kid who grew up in a military compound with parents in the military) that he was against a coup d'état.

I tend to agree with the 'military brat'. Allow me to re-publish my thoughts.

A brewing coup d’etat in a nation is an extremely strong reflection of a very inefficient, untrustworthy and corrupt commander-in-chief and by extension his/her government.

A coup d’etat spells and will inevitably spell deeper social, political and economic disorders and greater unrest. Moreover, a successful coup d’etat does not guarantee that the civilian scums in government will not be replaced by military scums.

That the population must face such an extraordinary dilemma today is proof that the current occupant has pushed the nation to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea or worse, is pushing the republic to the brink of a civil war.

Like Without Borders, I would prefer an election. In order to do that before 2010 - the country cannot continue to have Gloria at the helm hoping God will solve their poverty, corruption, graft, security threat problems - GLORIA MUST RESIGN. Doesn't the Philippine Constitution contain provisions for an election when there is vacancy?

But short of America’s or Bush’ withdrawal of support for the current commander-in-chief, who continues to aggress her people with her continuing breach of law and all that is moral needed to sustain a republic, how do you topple this government of agression - the members of whom are virtual enemies of the people - that has more guns, more goons and more gold than all the opposition groups combined (without an armed backing by members of the institution whose constitutional mandate is to protect the people from external and internal enemy agressions)?



just listened to "delusions of grandeur" - this woman has gone bonkers!

anyway, your title was fitting for a liliputan-sized individual who believes that a gargantuan pronouncement would increase his/her stature or as neal cruz used to say a chihuahua that believes it is a doberman... yuck talaga ANG KAPAL!

how on earth did Gloria manage to utter those words? another conversation with God?

schizophrenia and delusions are intertwined!

Rizalist said...

HB, WO, I think I said Democracy is my Religion. But I don't think we have learned to practice democracy well enough to deserve the name of it yet. For example, Gloria is at least not a salvageur like Marcos and his minions were. She's just tough and smart. But I predict she will be impeached this year in a close fight -- maybe just exactly 79 votes, because by July the tipping point in public opinion will have been reached. Remember it took fourteen frigging years for that point to be reached with Marcos. How far along that road is public opinion in GMA's case. I think another 10-20% of the population still has to firmly get disgusted with her before a successful impeachment can be mounted.

I want the Philippines to have its FIRST successful impeachment, conviction and ouster from office of a sitting President who is not a womanizing plundering drunkard, but someone smart, pretty, tough, with a PhD -- someone who looks like us decent folks, but isn't.

So the future will revere us.


DJB, your comment reminds me of an e-mail exchange with US-based David Martinez, author of A Country of Our Own (Bisaya Publications) with a tiny cybergroup I belonged to.

Here's how David sums democracy in the Philippines:

"Q: How many Filipinos does it take to run their country democratically?
"A: No one knows. It's never been tried before.

"Interviewer: What's the future of democracy in the Philippines?
"Author: Good. We should try it someday."

Rizalist said...

Haha very good HB. I guess Democracy in the Philippines is like the mango tree. Lush and green with many luscious fruits above, but with sadly, shallow roots below.

But maybe that is only because America spoiled us with visions of Democracy as Utopia. since they could not help the fact that in comparison to 19th century Philippines, America WAS Utopia.

What they tried to do was graft the sturdy apple tree they'd cultivated for over a century onto our mango tree.

Unfortunately as soon as that experiment faltered throughout the 20th century, Filipinos discovered Immigration to Utopia (which is what U.S.A. means to most) as an escape hatch from the challenge of building their own nation!

The Brain Drain is why this nation has failed. It was like a planeload of aeronautics students who see the pilot have a heart-attack. Do they try to fly the plane or take their parachutes and jump? (You got that right!)

manuelbuencamino said...


We are pro democracy.

At his stage, it seems like the only way to restore the rule of law and to get us back on the road to democacy is by stepping outside the constitution and forcing Gloria out. I am not against using any means to oust her.

However, I believe we must have elections as soon as she is deposed. I don't believe that anybody has a right to institute any kind of reform into our society unless that person or group has been voted upon by the people.

If a junta or an individual were to take over tomorrow, their only mandate would be to prepare for elections. Beyond that, they don't have a mandate to do anything except collect taxes and maintain peace and order until relections can be held. And that can be done in less than a year.

What you think?

Rizalist said...

MB--Did you catch Dong Puno with Vidal Querol, MLQ3, RAV Saguisag and Butz Aquino. I thought it was a great show. All had good stuff to say.

But what I don't understand is why there is this handwringing over what should be done. I think that is pretty clear. She should be impeached and tried. That is the only way open among the five constitutional ways that a Presidency can end:
(1) resignation (she just won't and we can't force her too very easily, but we should still try)
(2) death
(3) permanent disability
(4) completion of 6 year term
(5) impeachment and conviction

I don't agree that "at this stage...the only way to restore the rule of law ... is by stepping outside the constitution."

Why MB? Why should we throw out the Constitution just because the first impeachment failed? There are five more chances to do what you want -- Constitutionally -- until #4 takes effect.

Everyone that has been loudly criticizing has survived and she is no Marcos-type salvageur. We have our freedoms and our blogs. We can give her hell or help as it pleases us. And we can go to bed every night with a light heart and a good conscience, while she stays up trying to figure out what everybody is doing against her.

Watch, am gonna have a hot toddy and go to bed. I suggest you do the same! Peace!


I second MBuencamino's motion:

"to restore the rule of law and to get us back on the road to democacy is by stepping outside the constitution and forcing Gloria out."

Rizalist said...

HB--Maybe we got spoiled by the relative ease with which we actually, finally did get rid of Marcos. One failed attempt to unseat a sitting President and already we wanna hurl the rule of law out the window. I'm not really even so sure she VOTERIGGED the 2004 election anymore. Maybe she just WIRETAPPED herself and Garci and that was her only crime. Like I said we were spoilt by Ronald Reagan telling Marcos to get out. If he hadnt and there was bloodbath there instead of this "miracle" they keep talking about, maybe people like Gloria would never dare go this far in the remembering of it. Instead we remember a victory but we don't really even pretend to understand its elements. We say Mama Mary wanted it that way coz people were brave and nuns had only rosaries. And we want to do it that way again! And every time. it has to be a miracle with us. Why? Coz that's actually the EASY WAY. Whether by the fabulist wars of the NPA and Magdalo, or the Miraculous Peaceful revolutions of the clericos and the idealists--we want our cake and buko pie too.

The hard but correct way stares us in the face::The Written Law enforced by snake-handlers and buffalo hunters.

That is the only way it will be respected in the future. Is when you do it by the Book and it works by saving your people.

That's what Moses did and his ten or so laws still stand at the heart of all human legislation, even if they say it came from Yahweh and we do still worship the Golden Calf.



Have you forgotten that even good Moses got so friggin mad, he blasted the calf (the rule of law at the time) with his tablets of stone and expelled the baddies to exile?

Btw, I thought you would be sound asleep, snoring your way to a democratic dream, "I have a dream...."

Anyway, DJB, don't get me wrong...I am a strong proponent of the RULE OF LAW when the political and moral environment in which it is founded exists! (That's why I hate Davide; he of all people should have died for the rule of law if he had to but no! He was a witting, intelligent accomplice and he swore in a persona who absolutely has no respect for the rule of law, one who dismantled institutions, broke the lives, coddled thieves, opportunists, fattened up her own family to CREATE, ENSURE, EXECUTE HER OWN, PERSONAL BRAND OF RULE OF LAW.)

So, how can you enforce THE rule of law when the very people who are expected to uphold and enforce it THWART and BREACH it with absolute impunity?

You and I and lots here could wait - coz I suppose, we're all relatively well off (?) but what about the majority of the poor population, the ever-growing impoverished segments of our nation whose members are slowly dying by hordes because this government and its leader do not CARE, are cruel, abusive, unfair, unjust, unruly, immoral, etc. (and I've chosen vocabulary that's not bellicose)?

C'mon, DJB! If the French and American revolutionaries, the Eastern Germans, ex-USSR, Ukraine, etc. had opted for their governments' rule of law at the time, why, you and I might not even be existing today!

The Rule of Law in the Philippines that you and I and all the others you call " us decent folks" no longer exists. The Philippines is in a virtual state of political and moral anarchy.


That rule of law of which you and I and all of us here are proponents, must be rescucitated, re-examined, re-drafted, re-written and finally re-enforced with its full might even if to achieve it, we must push Gloria over the clift!

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

EDSA 1 was a spontaneous outpouring of the Pilipino masses in a sincere display of what a government of the people, for the people and by the people should be . They came in droves sincerely and without prodding and without an eye on financial rewards but only to express what they want. It was truly a great moment in Philippine History.

But the moment was stolen from them by the Elite and Civil Society who took control and made it appear that they planned EDSA 1 all along. They hoodwinked the Pilipino people and the world. In reality it was an accident and it turned out to be a mistake to let Cory and Civil Society to take over the government because they never really had a feeling for the Pilipino masses.

But their biggest mistake was replacing Erap with Gloria Arroyo through a contrived and manufacatured people power called EDSA Dos. Erap's accusers turned out to be BIGGER PLUNDERERS AND RAPIST OF DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW.

They assisted Gloria in cheating in the last Presidential elections in order to prevent a "mere actor" from becoming President. They forget that FPJ is not an ordinary man like them because his heart truly beats for the Pilipino masses. In their eyes, he was a giant of a man and Goria & her cohorts are dwarves compared to him. But now they cry crocodile tears asking Gloria to resign and wants to take over again. They and their militant allies will not succeed. The Pilipino masses will not come out to support them. Isa lang ang sagot sa kanila ng mga tao: ANO SILA MASAYA! SILA NA NAMAN!

A coup d'tat will not be good for the Philippines but will exarcebate an already bad situation. Anybody, but anybody will be a better leader than Gloria. All our efforts should be in giving the Pilipino people the right and the opportunity to elect their leader no matter who he is. Lest we do this, we, like Santayana said, are doomed to REPEAT OUR MISTAKES. Come on bloggers let's sign up demanding a new election from top to bottom; but let us not give up the right to elect the TOP LEADER of the land.

Kay KAMUNING: Huwag ka nang magtaka, magulat, at malula kay DJB. Tunay ngang malalim siya. Mahirap arukin! Pero wala siyang pagpapanggap kung sino siya. Tunay na tao. Apo ng isang higanteng lolo na si Jorge Cleofas Bocobo. At ang panulat niya ay makalibong higit kaysa iba! At ang mga bloggers niya, WOW!

Without Borders said...

impeachment is the best route so far. a coup is scary. leaders of succesful coups usually dont give up power after seizing it. i guess because politics has the same essence anywhere in the planet-- capturing and maintaining it. but lets face it, filipino soldiers are lousy coup plotters; they dont seem to have the talents of the caudillos in latin america, which is good for us. i guess because our soldiers are typical filipinos who are tsismoso and would tell the world about the plans in all its glorious details before executing them. we already had more than a dozen coups attempts yet wikipedia only considered gringo's one attempt during cory days as a "coup." see, the world doesnt consider us as serious coup plotters!

Rizalist said...

WB -- Are you feeling SCHADENFREUDE for the Magdalo? Poor idealistic blokes! They were betrayed by GMA to the AFP Mafia is what I think and that is why they mutineed in 2003, when they found out their whistleblowing to her was secretly going straight to the Capos Soldati...