Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Chacha -- The Dance Within The Dance

t first, I found myself agreeing with Manila Standard columnist Antonio C. Abaya's essay today entitled, Illegal Revolutions, (via MLQ3) -- until I got to the very last paragraph --
"The point is that revolutions of all kinds are, by their very nature, illegal and extra-constitutional, whether they are spectacularly violent or remarkably peaceful, whether they are carried out by civilians or by the military, or by combinations thereof. They are justified by their own success, and nothing else. They are unjustifiable when they fail."
I could not disagree more! Although popular and considered chic in a cynical, triumphalists sort of way, this is essentially a morally bankrupt position that boils down to "The end justifies the means when it comes to regime change."
MORAL ABSURDITIES OF EDSA 2: Are we to accept the absurdities of Edsa 2 because of its success? Are we to accept as legitimate the self-confessed Mutiny of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces because it succeeded in bringing about the 2001 presidential regime change? How can the Philippine Military ever disentangle itself from Politics and professionalize officers and men if it never repudiates Angelo Reyes, who has in fact been rewarded with a succession of Cabinet posts in the regime he helped to install by coup d'etat in 2001. Are we to accept further, the Supreme Court decisions which legitimized that Mutiny, and the veritable coup d'etat executed by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. on 20 January 2001? Are we to accept that unelected Judges, like those sitting in the Supreme Court now, can, at any time, receive a fax from the Vice President, and on that basis suddenly declare the Presidency vacant, and swear in the vice president as happened at Edsa 2? Does the continuing "success" of Edsa 2 justify the means by which Joseph Estrada was removed from office.

One finds here the very core and durable vestige of the philosophical defense that still exists for Edsa 2 among people like Abaya, and even the "Middle Forces" many of whom are already arrayed against Mrs. Arroyo, who was the true beneficiary and demiurge of that Real Coup d'etat in 2001.

Those who say that the Supreme Court already ruled on these matters ignore the self-evident involvement of the Supreme Court's members in the very action of Edsa 2 itself and the non-impartial, political acts and accomplishments of Davide and Panganiban in those events. History proves that the Supreme Court can reverse any past decision, and as the retrospective hindsight on those events improves with time, hope springs eternal that abominable decisions like Estrada vs. Arroyo (March 2001) and Estrada vs. Desierto (April 2001) will indeed be reversed because they in fact legitimized Mutiny and Coup d'etat as accepted bases for regime change. I guess this lethal philosophy is why many like Tony Abaya feel just fine and comfortable "acquiescing in the result" that Erap was deposed, arrested, thrown in jail, and is now on trial for his life on charges of capital plunder. Having succeeded in ousting Erap because it certainly felt right doing so, people have ignored the fact that other high government officials, primarily Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., Chief of Staff General Angelo T. Reyes, and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, had wantonly violated the Constitution on the matter of presidential succession. Edsa 2 -- the passage of time makes ever more crystal clear -- was in fact a coup d'etat carried out by the highest officials of the Philippine Military and Judiciary in conspiracy with the political opposition led by the Vice President and the Catholic Church.

These questions are independent of the guilt or innocence of Erap in regards to the crimes of plunder alleged against him (of which I suspect he may actually be guilty), but they have everything to do with the moral dilemma that has paralyzed the Philippine Military because of the actions of people other than Erap, namely Angelo Reyes and Hilario Davide.

I think that we ignore these questions and matters as "water under the bridge" at great peril to our national security, integrity and national sanity, for I believe they stand at the very heart of the political and moral dilemmas that, like a gigantic Gordian Knot, have enveloped and bound the nation.

I see now that Antonio C. Abaya, like the "Middle Forces" who have not yet repudiated the events of 20 January 2001, does not have a moral handle on the Edsa 2 events. He is wallowing in moral and mental chaos over a missing principle, the eternal principle of moral consistency in all things and in all seasons.

Although Antonio C. Abaya is loudly and trenchantly anti-Communist in most of his writing, it appears he shares with the CPP-NPA their own most important article of faith:

The end justifies the means.

It turns out that Mr. Abaya also bought the TIME MAGAZINE story about a coup plot conspiracy from Nelly Sindayen, hook line and sinker, here at Iskandalo Cafe (where the other stuff for sale includes, prominently, Nubra Super padded Featherlite adhesive stick on bra!)

BLAWGER ED LACIERDA may have been a tad overconfident on Ces Drilon's show tonight with Solicitor General Ed Nachura on the phone, discussing the recent People's Initiative "consultations" during the recent weekend Barangay Assemblies. Although it is true that the Supreme has ruled (in Santiago vs. Comelec) that charter amendments via the route of the People's Initiative is unconstitutional without an adequate enabling law, SolGen Nachura promises that there WILL be a Supreme Court case that will bring that decision under review and possible reversal. He points out that when the results of the People's Initiative are submited to Comelec for certification, it will either be rejected (as Comelec nominee Brauner told the Senate today would certainly happen) or, as Ed Nachura hopes, that the Comelec will accept the submission. If it is rejected, SolGen says petitioners will certainly bring it up to the Supreme Court, while if it is accepted, the Opposition will certainly question it. In either case, Ed Nachura chuckles, it will come before the Court of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, who dissented in the case Santiago v. Comelec, and may have his way this time around. The People's Initiative could fly!

SENATOR MAR ROXAS seems to have awakened to the very real likelihood of the Senate's impending extinction. Speaking on ABSCBN News at noontime, Mr. Palengke excoriated the past weekend's "People's Initiative" exercises with a single-minded objective that is indubitably Unicameralism and Marcosian Barangay Assembly tactics as the chosen method.

FIDEL VALDEZ RAMOS, ecdysiast that he is, finally shed the last disguising cover on his cold hand upon the chacha turntable and may have rung alarm bells in the Senate with his strong and open support for the Chacha choo-choo as the way forward. If anything, this development signals open warfare on the Senate by the House of Jose de Venecia, aided and abetted by the Palace and Secretary Ronnie Puno, an old Marcos hand, recently appointed to the Dept of Interior and Local Govt. Mr. Puno is opening his tenure under Mrs. Arroyo by putting a dagger straight at the Senate's heart, pretending it is being wielded at the initiative of 12% of the electorate, the magic number in the "People's Initiative" provision of the Constitution. Despite the absence of an enabling law, the Palace forces are moving ahead with confidence and even aplomb.

SENATOR MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, intriguingly has gone on "indefinite medical leave." (Coincidence or amor propio?) After all, there may be some things even Miriam may not be willing to surrender or stoop too, as a sign of continuing fealty to the Palace.

CHA CHA CHOO CHOO IS A WIN WIN FOR GMA I can see why President Arroyo would unleash all the forces and resources of government to support the Chacha Choo Choo at this time. With a Second Impeachment being threatened in the Lower House by July, (fortified by all sorts of new charges and allegations since Gloriagate itself got going last June), what better way to muddy the Congress waters and give the legislators something to keep them away from destabilizing thoughts than the keening, ululating dramas and debates of the Chacha Choo Choo? In the end, either people will accept chacha or reject it. If they accept it, GMA figures she will be both Prime Minister and President, with the head of the Senate on a silver platter. If they reject it, so what? The 1987 Constitution still guarantees her a full term until 2010. The fate of this FVR-JDV-orchestrated Chacha however, must be decided long before this year is over, because the 2007 national elections and the preparations and realignments required for that effort cannot be ignored. Perhaps, as soon as the Second Impeachment is dead, so will Chacha be, in the devious calculations of the Palace mind.

The long-dormant weblog of RIGOBERTO TIGLAO, now Ambassador to Greece got a single update in March a link to Paglaban sa Kataksilan.


Lord Dracula said...

I was actually thinking of that - the SC overturning Defensor-Santiago v. Comelec. Nachura is very well confident on the legality of the Initiative Law, and maybe that's because the SC is really in the hands of Gloria Arroyo. With the fact that CJ Panganiban dissented in that case (and the fact that his appointment had broken a tradition older than me), it is a scary thought!

Too bad. Nachura filed a bill back when he was in Congress that would amend the Initiative Law, since that law has no mechanism for Charter change! Why amend the law if that law was sufficient in the first place! I wonder if he is really brilliant or what.




Tony Abaya will always surprise me.

He regularly sends me his column and I usually don't care to comment save on one or two of them. However, after reading his most recent piece, I must say that he has the makings of a first-class bigot.

Of course, on the face of it all, his premise that groups who succeed in toppling a legitimate government is justified, is a popular although not altogether a moral dogma.

Lord Dracula said...

Brawner makes an about face!

Rizalist said...

ld, hb, It's the Supreme Court that is a real problem. It's GMA's ace in the hole. They can do anything now! Anything! I think it is really the Supreme Court that needs cleaning out.

baycas said...

12/14 soon to be 13/15 at the SC...thirteen is bad luck to some, good luck to others. i wonder...

Rizalist said...

The diabolical thing of it is, they don't really have to do much of anything. Just freeze the ball on any case brought before it that would be inimical to the President's interests--until it becomes academic. They can give due course to any transgression, using Panganiban's procrastination

Lord Dracula said...

We really need to have the guillotine here.

Rizalist said...

What we need is an INTELLECTUAL GUILLOTINE. Consider the fact that the Supreme Court is nothing but a bunch of English Composition that has led to HISTORY being made. We must fire with fire. We must demolish the intellectual legacies of Davide and Panganiban. Else our politics will never be stable, having been founded on the sands of their vanity and vainglory. Their original sin is Edsa 2 and they know it. The dance is all about AVOIDING responsibility for the mess we are in, whose roots are there: in Padre Faura!

Lord Dracula said...

But to face them in the intellectual plane means arguing with those who would not admit their mistakes. It might probably take two generations before the mistakes are rectified.

BTW, Attys. Fred and Lacierda nominated you to be the Ring Master. =P

Rizalist said...

LD, I'm psyched for a Blog Carnival. Ring Master is a thing that could be shared among a group of the willing. I would take my turn at it since it would probably be a lot of fun. But a good TOPIC of DEBATE or discussion is important to get a critical mass of bloggers. I think 10 or 12 serious bloggers would actually be a good start. It needs to be concisely stated and be controversial enough to accomodate many points of view. It can't be loaded or biased for one side in the statement of it. Any ideas? Maybe in the form of a Debate Resoolution:: "Resolved that..."
You, or MLQ3 or even Yuga and the topblogs communities could also host blog carnivals.

One thing though: the Philippine political Blogosphere is actually still very tiny. Our blog carnivals could turn out to be something less grandiose.

Lord Dracula said...

Yes, you be the Ring Master, and I am willing to take my turn as host. I agree on all of your suggestions. Maybe we can discard Chacha for a while, so that we can get a more controversial topic and get more participants. Then maybe later we can talk about Chacha. We shall not call it a Great Debate, just a debate would do. (I have no feelings of grandiosity, honestly. "The Great Debate" is good on the ears.)

I'm off for today, I'll be back tomorrow night, at the latest. Thanks for allowing me to post comments here. Have a nice day. Hopefully we can have a topic soon.

Atty-at-Work said...

DJB, Justice Puno said something aboutdefending the Supreme Court, against enemies both from outside or inside (or something to that sort =)

I agree with you that the Philippine political blogosphere is still tiny. However, I still believe it is still worth a shot...perhaps we'll just get the surprise of our blogging lives. Of course, it is entirely possible that it will just go pfft...By the way, as Lord D said, you're perfect as the Ring Master...

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

If a mutiny succeeds it is justified! If it failed it is unjustified. Intelligent people accepts this, but ignorant people like me can not accept it.

If the Supreme Court rules that Erap "constructively resigned" inpsite of the fact that he did not submit a written nor uttered a verbal RESIGNATION, intelligent people will accept that and swear in an "atat na atat" vice president. But 2 million ignorant people went to EDSA in May 2001 to negate this.

But what is the measure of the success of a mutiny? Is it not the general acceptance by the people of the goverment that the mutiny put in place? What acceptance does this government have right now? Only by the congressman who voted against impeachment while 80 per cent of the Pilipinos want her out.

manuelbuencamino said...

Tiglao has not left for Greece. I saw in the Fully Booked store in Greenhills a week ago. I obergheard him tell someone he couldn't leave because madaming problema and he was needed here.

The ambassadorial appointement allows him to collect an ambassador's salary in dollars while working for Gloria behind the scenes right here at home.

The Bystander said...

I hate to say this but... "errors" of the Supreme Court become jurisprudence and jurisprudence is part of the law of the land!

Let's keep our fingers crossed. I just hope that at the end of the day, the Supreme Court will decide on the basis of the law that gives justice, not on the law that kills it.

Rizalist said...

ineresting tidbit there MB!

bystander--It's true even the Supreme Court's errors are the law of the land, but even their "right decisions" can always be reversed, sometimes for the worst, as is about to happen with people's initiative, maybe.

The Bystander said...

Yes, I agree.

Charter Change PER SE is always worthy of scholarly discussion but I'd rather not discuss its pros and cons under a morally bankrupt atmosphere we now have. I'd rather focus my attention on the MOTIVES behind such a proposal because the charter change issue will always go back to the problem of GMA's illegitimacy.



There is only one CHANGE that the Philippines should consider at the moment and that is the government CHANGE.

This must be the firm, clear objective which should be established firts and foremost. All the others should be considered as avenues or leading to that objective. They must be established as the means to attain that objective rather than the objectives themselves. Otherwise, we will never win the fight.

Pingkian said...

The transitory provisions of the proposed Chacha speaks of its motives, that is to legitimize the illegitimate.

Hi HB, it’s nice that we can now post comments in your blogsite.

Amadeo said...


I second the motion to create a forum and a format for a more organized and productive discussion of issues. And the debate format would be most ideal, with a moderator to boot.

I myself blogged earlier about the confusion and seeming chaos created by the prevailing format, whereby we use in our blogs and commentaries the open-thread type discussion. I used the gunfight analogy, where the typical reader or lurker could simply get caught in the cross-fire without really getting a good picture of the situation. I find this most apropos in the heavily-visited US political blogs.



Hi Pingkian,

Yes, finally managed to re-publish the entire blog after fiddling with the keys (thanks to DJB's tips although blog format is far from being attractive, it serves its purpose.)

Had no intention originally of making it a blogger's blog after all, majority of my posts were mere transfers of comments I'd initially posted in Phil Commentary, MLQ3's, Ellen's and Ricky's blogs but on second thought, why not.

By the way, the "master blog" that's being discussed here hasn't really sunk in my little sailor brain. Could anyone sort of re-explain it to me please? Thanks

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

DJB, I hate to say this but I've lost faith in the Philippine SUPREME COURT. I do not believe that it is capable of INTEGRITY, STATEMANSHIP AND EVEN LOVE OF COUNTRY. I detest the deception of the Davide Court and I have no faith in the Panganiban Court. This Supreme Court will support Gloria by its actions and inactions.

And on the day that de Venecia gets the 197 congressmen to try to erase the senate and constitutes as the assembly (the asses!) to amend the constitution, on that day I will also lose faith on the Congress of the Philippines.

And since I never had faith on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, where does that put me? Right, between the devil and the deep blue sea!

Pingkian said...

Unexpectedly, I’ve just read from pcij’s blog that the SC has affirmed just now it’s 1997 ruling on People’s Initiative.

“The Supreme Court made it clear today that sans an enabling law that must first be passed by Congress, any move to allow charter change via the people’s initiative or referendum mode is dead in the water.”

I’m not rejoicing yet. I'll be watching how the SC will decide on other pending cases before them, EO 464, PP1017 and as it should be expected, the proponents of the people's initiative will appeal the SC to reverse itself.

I'm still wary of the SC. I hope the SC will further suprise me.

Atty-at-Work said...

Pingkian, I got excited with the statement that the Supreme Court "affirmed just now it's 1997 ruling on People's Initiative". I went to the PCIJ blog, which has this entry:

"The Supreme Court made it clear TODAY that sans an enabling law that must first be passed by Congress, any move to allow charter change via the people’s initiative or referendum mode is dead in the water."

If you can point me to the recent decision, I'd appreciate it. As far as I know, the resolution which affirmed Santiago vs. Comelec is the case of PIRMA vs. Comelec, GR No. 129754, 23 September 1997.


Rizalist said...

Sorry guys, but I just heard JDV announce on ABSCBN that the People's INitiative has already exceeded the 12% requirement. And that there will surely be a Supreme Court Case to test and "reconsider" Santiago v. Comelec. He reminds everybody that both Puno and Panganiban did not go with the majority then, and that all eight of those who voted against the p.i. of pirma and pedrosas then ARE ALL GONE NOW!

Edwin Lacierda said...


Di pa tapos ang laban!

While you have a case that can be filed before the Supreme Court (I hold no illusion about Panganiban and the current crop of justices, save for a few), what other groups can do is contest the signatures before Election Registrar.

Only those whose names are in the voters' registry list, voter's affidavit and those who voted in the last preceding election can validly sign the petition. If only the opposition can get their act together.

Everything has been co-opted. There are so few decent persons in the House or in the Executive Dept. and they cannot even stop the steamroll. We are now witnessing a New Society with a mole.

Rizalist said...


I was just re-reading Santiago vs. Comelec. I bet we hear the Conclusion of Davide quoted more where he calls for the People's Initiative to be vivified as a means for chacha.

But it would be an interesting development if the Decision is reversed. It would certainly open up the possibility of a whole series of small reforms that could be beneficial to the country.

In general I don't like "direct democracy" but the people's initiative could look more and more attractive as the possibility of big sweeping changes is slowly seen to be impossible.

I for one believe the whole chacha shebang is a diversion to drown out impeachment.