Saturday, April 8, 2006

Moral Consistency and Regime Change

(Click for a magnified view inside the Chacha Choo Choo).
Almost no one wants "regime change" to happen as pictured at left, with JDV asking everyone to move into his Parliament-in-the-Sky by July. But over two years ago, on Saturday, March 13, 2004, fellow blogger and PDI Columnist Manuel L. Quezon III wrote an essay on his blog entitled MORAL SUASION which was about the Edsa 2 regime change that brought Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to power on 20 January 2001. It expresses well the position on Erap and Edsa 2 of the anti-Arroyo wing of what used to be called "Civil Society," -- a position they still share with the pro-Arroyo wing of that anti-Erap Civil Society. I did not react to MLQ3's post at the time, (which was two months after I parted company with the Philippine Daily Inquirer and MLQ3 himself started writing for PDI after leaving the newspaper Today largely bereft of his timbre and has merged with the Manila Standard since.) But I read that post recently and discovered the remarkable fact that MLQ3's essay is a riposte to something I'd written about Edsa 2 for PDI and Ye Olde Philippine Commentary. Now, two years later, fresh clarity comes from the 20/20 of more hindsight and the continuing urgency of the intervening events. I've reproduced MLQ3's essay below, together with a link to the original post on his blog. All my Commentary will be in the Comment Section. By the way, the original post had only ONE comment, from Connie Veneracion, the Sassy Lawyer, also reproduced below.

I believe that the real issue for Democracy in the Philippines is how Regime Change is supposed to occur, inside or outside the Constitution. How we want or expect it to occur the next time is colored by everything that happened the last time, and especially by our understanding of the transcendental moral principles governing our actions as citizens. I believe the task is to discover what those eternal principles are. What Politics, what Law, what Morality are we willing to live by no matter who the President is. Or the AFP Chief of Staff. Or the Chief Justice. Or the Vice President. What is the morally consistent strategy for regime change?
Moral Suasion by Manuel L. Quezzon III (13 Mar 2004)

In Philippine Commentary 2004 FPJ vs GMA by Dean Jorge Bocobo, the ever-provocative Dean Jorge Bocobo writes,

Had the Supreme Court done its duty and faithfully carried out the detailed and specific instructions in the Constitution on presidential removal and succession, in particular, as regards removal and replacement by virtue of permanent disability, there would never have been a swearing of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 34 minutes after receiving her facsimile.

(You may gasp at how awful such a suggestion might be. It would have meant possibly a violent march to Malacanang by the leftist hardliners at Edsa Dos, and days, perhaps weeks of rallies. But eventually, without the decisive swiftness of the swearing in the vice-president, these protests would have died down, then the Senate might have re-convened the impeachment trial, and in due course, because the “Craven Eleven” did have the numbers to acquit, Erap would have escaped conviction at the Senate. He would probably still be President today. Now either he would have mended his ways after the harrowing experience of the impeachment trial, or he would’ve taken the whole country down a really bad road. But in either case, the people might have been done with him by now, and in the May elections, GMA or Roco or someone else would surely be marching to triumphant victory in the coming elections.)

Which really makes you wonder if Cardinal Sin’s insistence on binding the rallies against Estrada to the Edsa Shrine, and pushing for the Vice-President to take her oath of office immediately, in order to pull out the rug from under those agitating to march on the Palace, was one of those historical crossroads that resulted in short term gains and long term problems.

The whole problem hinges on three difficulties:

1. those actually in the know, that is, the leading oppositionists negotiating and responding to Estrada’s camp at the time, were not necessarily after what those in the streets wanted.

2. What Estrada and friends intended and wanted in those days is not necessarily what they now say in retrospect they upheld and believe in.

3. The record of events for people who were there or who were observing things at the time, is unclear.

The fact is Estrada was prepared to relinquish the presidency not once, but twice. The first time after the first big rally at the Edsa Shrine; but by all accounts, he changed his mind after ten times the number of those at the Edsa rally showed up for the National Day of Prayer at the Luneta. I was in a little island off Guimaras at the time, and could only follow things by AM radio, but you could sense the sudden change in morale on the part of the administration after El Shaddai and the Iglesia summoned huge numbers to rally for Estrada at the Luneta.

The second instance was in the days after the vote by the Senators not to open the 2nd envelope. As I’ve said over and over, Estrada was alone. He couldn’t summon any supporters. No one wanted to lift a finger on his behalf. He pleaded for a snap election -but it was too late.

In the confusion, however, one thing aided him. His cabinet resigned, but they were loyal (and decent) enough not to sign a letter declaring the president incapacitated. They behaved more loyally, in this respect, than the leaders of the Armed Forces who, in the words of one observer, said they were going to take a leak and then scurried off to the Edsa Shrine to grab the limelight.

It is debatable if the rallies would have petered out, since they had as their backbone the organized Communists who ensured that there was always someone there, even when the disorganized members of Civil Society were absent and the spontaneous protesters would go home to rest. This was, however, the big fear, I would guess, of members of the Church and some politicians. The Communists were making up for their disastrous boycotting of the 1986 Snap Elections; who knows where their organization and newly-restored sense of power would lead them.

Estrada very clearly, was negotiating for a face-saving way out; in the late-night, early-morning negotiations in the Palace, he wanted 5 days to pack up and leave with dignity. Whether or not this was to buy time or not, was less important than the fear on the part of oppositionists who did fear it would give Enrile and company time to bring in troops from the provinces. The military didn’t want a civil war on its hands, the oppositionists perhaps feared that the rallyists would not be able to face up to guns, or worse, the Communists would sieze the opportunity to fight in the streets of the capital, after having tried to sieze the Palace.

At the time, information was that the Chief Justice did not want to swear in the Vice-President, or that if the Vice-President were to be sworn in, it would only be as acting president.

And I do share one skepticism with the (present) opposition, in that I do recall that when I was listening to the swearing in over the radio (I was in a sidestreet off Malacanang having witnessed the protesters break through the Mendiola barricade), the Vice President said she would preserve, protect, defend the Constitution, etc., as “acting president” or “act as president.” But what I and I think some other people heard, doesn’t seem to have been captured on film or video. Was I hallucinating?

It is a fact Estrada did not sign a letter of resignation, and by tradition and a common and sensible understanding of the law, you can only resign by signing a letter of resignation (you can say you will, but the letter must be signed as proof for posterity). This Estrada did not do, and there is logic to the conclusion that even if Estrada implied as much by issuing the statement he did, and by his physically abandoning the Palace, still, there is no substitute for a letter of a resignation.

When the Supreme Court was deliberating on the legitimacy of the Arroyo government, we had many discussions on the editorial line Today newspaper would take, and of course the editorial policy was guided by the publisher, Rep. Teodoro Locsin, Jr. He first of all said we should be careful about the emerging tendency of Civil Society, having tasted success, to ride roughshod over everything. And so we condemned the rallies at the Supreme Court (I got a taste of this when it leaked out I’d written one of the editorials condemning the rallies; an angry civil society leader berated me over the phone, which reassured me our editorial position was correct).

In retrospect our position was even more fundamentally sound because of the way Civil Society then went and condemned the proposed march on the Supreme Court by FPJ supporters -but what Civil Society does, the great unwashed cannot do? Isn’t this hypocrisy? Same hypocrisy as the bishops all upsets over Edsa Tres rallyists occupying the Edsa Shrine -but if it’s for free speech and public assembly, is it only for Church-approved free speech and public assembly?

Anyway, Rep. Locsin also put me on a crash course on constitutional law, etc., saying the burden was on the Supreme Court to come down with a decision for the ages; he pointed to the decision by the Indian Supreme Court which was so magisterial and learned, that Indira Gandhi, who had tried to establish a dictatorship, had no choice but relinquish power (she later made a comeback).

Rep. Locsin’s fury and contempt when the Supreme Court decision came out was palpable and I must say, even if I’m not a lawyer, it certainly was a disappointment. Even if I’m a journalist, I don’t want the law of the land and the legitimacy of my government determined by poking into the realm of psychology and what is published in the papers. But the decision was there, unsatisfactory as it was, but therein lies a problem, too. The Supreme Court did not do as well as it should, as it must, and we are paying for it.

At the time I felt the President should take her oath of office all over again, but apparently no one considered this an option, though it would have erased the doubt caused by the “acting president” suspicion and reinforced her legitimacy derived from the Supreme Court.

The question, I suppose, remains whether Estrada’s resignation, even if he’d signed it, would have been upheld considering he was possibly fearing for his life and his citizens had turned against him. The Supreme Court would have been petitioned and tempted to engage in shrink-like behavior. But the basis of contention would have been a concrete document; there was no such concrete document, although a reading of Estrada’s last statement which was flung to the media from between the rails of the gates I think, would suffice to conclude Estrada did relinquish office.

The other option of course was for the prosecution in the impeachment not to walk out; perhaps Estrada would have acquited. If he had, he would have been faced with renewed fury in the streets but one legal problem would have been resolved.

Having been at the march on the Palace, I beleive it would have been healthier for our country for a resolution to have taken in that manner. By this I mean either having Estrada have the blood of his countrymen shot at the gates of the Palace on his hands, or having him strung up on a lamp post, Mussolini style.

People Power is revolutionary power; its logical conclusion was not permitted, because the logical conclusion of Edsa Dos was one of two things: a concrete resignation by the sitting president, or the proclamation of a new government, not beholden to the existing constitution, and starting again from scratch.

In his wisdom, Cardinal Sin used his moral suasion to prevent either from happening.

1 Comments so far

a gravatar. Sassy Lawyer wrote on March 15th, 2004 at 2:47 pm

I think we can never interpret EDSA Dos or even EDSA in terms of strict legal requirements. They were political phenomena. They created de facto governments. True that the SC decisions that legitimized Gloria’s government were wanting in so many ways. But if we’re to be honest, so were the decisions and events that legitimated Cory Aquino’s government. What makes Cory more acceptable than Gloria?

EPILOGUE: A more recent entry from MLQ3's blog from just a few days ago also adds "--Philippine Commentary continues his crusade for a revision of what Edsa II was about. I think he’s only partially right. It was the Second Envelope that brought people out on the streets; and it was the people on the streets that decided what the military would do, with some goading from the political provocateurs; and people power itself was short-circuited when the Supreme Court was convinced to weigh in rather than have the people end up besieging the Palace."

Why are these issues important? Isn't Erap history anyway? Isn't GMA the problem today?

My further commentary in the Comment Thread. Yours too, everyone! (Even Sassy is welcome.)

90 comments:

Rizalist said...

Unfortunately, the original post on my old blog that MLQ3 refers to is in colde storage. But I'll find it and post it here maybe...

Marcus Aurelius said...

DJB,

You hit my concerns quite nicely I believe that the real issue for Democracy in the Philippines is how Regime Change is supposed to occur, inside or outside the Constitution. Indeed.

If I could be convinced that a change in government would take less than coup that would set up a left or right wing dictatorship and not seriously damage the Philippino economy than I could probably be talked into (for whatever my opinion is worth in this matter) dropping my support of PGMA. The problem is& #150; and I discussed this on Blogger Beer today – is I don't see any way PGMA is going to leave except, I really don't want to put it in writing or perhaps she will leave ala Aristide of Haiti (rushed out of Malacañang in the middle of the night to a helicopter) and who to fill in? I know you have suggested replacements and so too has Mr. Marzen, but I am not convinced any of them will be anywhere near power after a coup.

If PGMA makes any move at staying on past this term then I drop my support.

Rizalist said...

Very good Marcus. You are saying that we should look at all our options under the Constitution first. There are actually only 5 ways under the Constitution that Regime Change can occur legally because a given Presidency ENDS if:
(1) The six year term of office ends after 6 years.
(2) The President dies.
(3) The President is permanently disabled.
(4) The President is impeached, convicted and removed from Office.
(5) The President voluntarily resigns.

But I ask you, since you support PGMA's continued stay in office (tho I know u don't support any of the evils she is allegedly involved in), which of the five above do you think would be best for the country in 2006? And which of them applied to Joseph Estrada on 20 Jan 2001?

I only ask to discover what YOUR eternal moral principle is regarding CONSTITUTIONAL regime change.

Are you willing to do to PGMA what we did to Erap Estrada, in other words?

Rizalist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rizalist said...

Let me rephrase the point and question.

If one believes that the MEANS by which the 2001 regime change happened were morally acceptable, then they should be morally acceptable today. One of those means was the military mutiny of Angelo Reyes, without which Chief Justice Davide would never have sworn in the Veep.

So, do you support Military Mutiny as means for achieving or enabling Regime Change, Marcus?

AmericanPainter said...

DJB,

****If one believes that the MEANS by which the 2001 regime change happened were morally acceptable, then they should be morally acceptable today****

To accept such a premise, one would have to believe that a Military’s or mob’s moral means are superior to legal means. Military Mutiny is always unlawful and if a country is not subject to the rule of law, anarchy and/or a dictator type will always rule, As long as such is the prevailing thought, the Philippines will always be just another banana Republic.

Corruption of the judiciary, the Administration and the Congress is the heart of the problems. Replacing one corrupt President with another corrupt President solves nothing. So with changing one form of corrupt legislature with another form of corrupt legislature.

HILLBLOGGER said...

djb,

This is another excellent post of yours. Thank you for re-posting. (I was convinced MLQ3 wrote for the Manila Times back in 2001 and a couple of years onward before PDI but never mind...)

I must confess that I felt a bit sad after reading mlq3's 2004 piece "Moral suasion". I thought it had the underlying tone of moral inconsistency because it revolved around the over-simplification of the tenet that the presidency should be moral: Estrada's presidency was not moral, and not being moral, the end justified the means.

It seems to me that "Moral suasion" was more of an excuse, "the desire to be just" rather than an innate conviction that what happened was just.

Mlq3's hindsight chose to limit the options of a free Congress: "The other option of course was for the prosecution in the impeachment not to walk out; perhaps Estrada would have acquited."

Perhaps Estrada would have been found guilty!

"What could not have been could never have been" as we like to say in French. We can be clever with hindsight as we have all the facts.

Dean, I look at Edsa 2 merely as the REVOLT OF THE ELITE; a revolt against the "populace" (Erap and the "sans culottess) the inverse of the French Revolution of 1789 which was the bourgeoisie against the aristrocracy. So I feel that to say Edsa 2 was a revolution is not quite accurate.

A revolution is the total uprising of THE PEOPLE (by and with the middle class, the little people, the populace and the "sans culottes") in near perfect emotional symbiosis - against the ruling classes. To have to drag the populace component of a society into a "popular" revolt as a prop defeats the essence of a revolution.

Anyway, catharsis is part and parcel of moving on.

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

I agree Hillblogger, a revolution "is the total uprising of the THE PEOPLE." But does it have to be violent? In order to have catharsis does it mean we have to witness the blood of Filipinos for and against Gloria mingling and flowing in the streets of our land? Have we been reduced to this by the present tenant of Malacanang? Or can we still find our way to giving the PEOPLE the right to choose the ONE who should lead this country out of hole where we, ourselves, placed our country?

Gloria insists on her RIGHTEOUSNESS and CLAIM to the Presidency that on the other hand PEOPLE declare she stole not once but twice. The military and police support her and the Congressmen and local executives prop her up and the ever loyal Panganiban Supreme Court will back her up by its actions and inactions.

And yet here I am espousing a SNAP ELECTION to break this impasse. And yet what is the alternative? Yes, hillblogger, a revolution "by and with the middle class, the little people, the populace and the 'sans culottes' in near perfect symbiosis - against the ruling classes"
But that will be bloody and who wants that?

There is only one person who can prevent this and I pray she soon will and call for a snap election. And not only Gloria should submit to it but all of the Filipinos, and I mean ALL. For lest we unite behind ONE leader we are doomed.

Today begins HOLY WEEK in the Philippines, let the whole land "kneel down and pray,humble ourselves before Him, seek His face, and turn away from our wicked, so that God will hear us from heaven and forgive our sins and HE WILL HEAL OUR LAND."

Abe N. Margallo said...

Dean,

You can probably get this matter over with once and for all if you try to follow this line of reasoning:

1. The right of revolution, first articulated by English philosopher John Locke as part of the social contract theory, is a universally accepted political philosophy that had in fact found its proper place in the Declaration of Independence of the United States; the Filipinos successfully exercised this right in 1986 when People Power I removed President Marcos from office.

2. Revolutions as change processes may involve elite competition and/or mass uprising and their outcomes may have different degrees such as personnel change, regime change or radical restructuring of political, social and economic order.

3. In January 2001, a revolutionary People Power II con mutiny successfully ousted President Estrada.

4. Then Vice President Arroyo, SC Chief Justice Davide and Justice, now Chief Justice, Panganiban were among the rebels whereas Estrada’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes was among the mutineers.

5. Arroyo’s first act as the generally acknowledged leader of the rebellion was to revert to the status quo ante by taking her oath under the 1987 Constitution. As a result, the revolutionary government was immediately reconstituted under the old regime.

You will note, up to this point, the Arroyo regime was successfully legitimated, but what has gone wrong?

a. Apparently, Arroyo’s bight boys and girls did not see the full import of the legalism and politics of the corresponding confluence of events.

b. Neither, unfortunately, did the robed intellectuals in the SC discern the same light.

c. When Estrada recovered his balls (please pardon the metaphor), he decided to challenge the constitutionality of his ouster.

d. The SC, instead of simply holding: “In matters like this (revolution) the people, not us, has the final say,” decided to be more popish than the pope and came up in Estrada v. Desierto with some convoluted words more than it could chew - such as the infamous “constructive resignation” - in a lame attempt to reason out that there was no uprising just speechifying.

c. By trying so hard to legitimize what was already legitimated pursuant to certain universally accepted political principles, the SC not only created unnecessarily a cloud of illegitimacy on the successful rebellious act of Davide, Panganiban, Arroyo, Jaime Cardinal Sin and the Civil Society, it also in effect re-criminalized the once mutinous, but theretofore legalized, act of Reyes and his men.

I assume that smart people like Rene Saguisag, as one of the legal advisers of another successful rebel, Cory Aquino, should be fully cognizant of all of the foregoing that is why he is having a field day taunting the SC up to this time (and keeping judicious people like you DJB high-strung as well).

To be sure, if the Arroyo government is illegitimate today, it is for other reasons than such acts or omissions as are related to a successful People Power II.

HILLBLOGGER said...

BFR,

Re My comment above: I was not trying to ferment a revolution in the sense of a French revolution. I was merely pointing out what I thought was a flaw in MLQ3's argument that the the Edsa 2 was a revolution. I accept that it was the revolt of the elite.

To me, catharsis does not always require the general spilling of blood - a collective examination of conscience may be a form of catharsis. Edsa 1 to my mind was one.

Let me assure you BFR that I abhor the spilling of blood even for an honorable cause. Like you, I am hopeful that Gloria will finally realize to do the honorable thing - to step down so that a new presidential election may take place. There is no provision in the law that stops her from stepping down.

Rizalist said...

ABE--My main concern is not with the metaphysical question of whether GMA is "legitimate" or not, but with OUR conception of what is morally acceptable for us to do AGAIN to accomplish any desired regime change. With this in mind, how can we say that the Arroyo Regime was legitimated when Davide and the Supreme Court acted as rebels and Angie Reyes mutinied, unless we are willing to do the same thing again? Also remember that there is no claim of REVOUTION for Edsa 2. It says so right in Estrada vs. Arroyo that everything was done within the Constitution.

This is not just a technicality. It really challenges us to ask whether we should not repudiate Edsa 2 itself, not to restore Erap, but to restore our moral consistency. Like many in the anti-Arroyo wing of Civil Society, you seem to think that her illegitimacy began only after 2004. And that you must believe it is okay to do to her what was done to Erap?

My biggest complaint really is that we cannot leave IMPEACHMENT as a failure. That is where I differ with many, like MLQ3. He says the Second Envelope brought the people out and that "provocateurs" determined what the Military did in 2001. That's wrong. There was an active conspiracy between the ARroyos and Angie Reyes, brokered by VICTOR CORPUS.

It is in other words, a fond myth that People Power toppled Estrada. As long as we cling to that myth, we can't see that the only legitimate way to rid ourselves of Gloria (via an involuntary Constitutional step, not resignation) is through impeachment. Unless that is restored, we are stuck with the Edsa 2 Model, which I claim people won't stick up for whenever they actually like the President that is there. It is not a MORALLY CONSISTENT MODEL. We only stay blind to the immorality of it because we liked the result that Estrada was ousted. BUT THE END DOESNOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS. That is the heart of the moral inconsistency of those who think GMA was legitimately installed by "People Power" in 2001.

My pointed question to you::: do you think it is right to do to GMA what we did to Erap, ie. if Panganiban decides to suddenly swear in the VP and if we could get Senga to mutiny, is that legit to you?

Rizalist said...

American Painter--Right you are. But know this: the Edsa 2 Supreme Court decisions in effect LEGITIMIZED the military mutiny of Angie Reyes. He was rewarded for it. That is the ticking time bomb that will always bedevil the Philippine Military...until the decisions are reversed and the Supreme Court repudiates military mutiny as any kind of element for regime change under the Constitution. But they can't! Because they were as guilty as Angie! Cauterize them, or the democratic body will die of Davide-Panganiban SEPSIS.

Abe N. Margallo said...

DJB,

Youk ask: “My pointed question to you: do you think it is right to do to GMA what we did to Erap . . ?”

My answer to your question as abbreviated is a resounding YES! This is because when as you say “we cannot leave IMPEACHMENT as a failure,” but the people’s representatives actually did. What I have written urging the senators during Erap’s impeachment to exercise their Solomonic wisdom hopefully will explain my point:

“The Constitution does not leave to the whim of the Legislature this check and balance mechanism called impeachment. The duty to impeach is at the core of the governmental system established in the Constitution. It is not intended to be politicalized according to the will of the dominant legislative party. The impeachment process as an earnest obligation on the part of Congress is akin to the duty of the Supreme Court to say what the law is in appropriate cases brought before it. When the ground therefore for impeachment exists against a president, Congress is under solemn obligation to stand in for all the people and remove him whose continuation in office poses a serious injury to the Republic. In this context, when the people’s alter ego fails the people, the people have the right to use extra constitutional means in self defense. This is the basis of People Power.”

May I say additionally that the constitutional intra-governmental checks and balances are the procedural equivalent of the Bill of Rights and setting them aside arbitrarily is tantamount to stripping the people of their fundamental rights, which would give the people both the legal and moral right to rebel.

To your complete question: “My pointed question to you: do you think it is right to do to GMA what we did to Erap, i.e. if Panganiban decides to suddenly swear in the VP and if we could get Senga to mutiny, is that legit to you?”, my answer will be NO.

The difference between the answers is that in the first, I have assumed the gestation of People Power way ahead of the military withdrawal of support, the latter being merely the coup de grace which would ensure the peaceful conclusion of the former. In the second answer, I am assuming in the hypothetical that Panganiban is simply acting on his own and that “we” in “if we could get Senga to munity” does not clearly signify a reasonable number of politically active members of the civil society who have intensely expressed their misgivings about the failure of their representatives to act in accordance with the constitution in a manner destructive of the people's interests.

I do believe that revolutions are moral and legitimate means to achieve the end of replacing a government that has acted against the interests of the people with another government that will protect those interests.

The American founding fathers declared that to secure their inalienable rights rights, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form . . .”

Rizalist said...

ABE,
Sounds to me like you just said NO to what happened at Edsa Dos. Unless you are buying MLQ3's theory that what the Military did at Edsa Dos was forced on them by People Power. In which case you are saying Military Mutiny is OK as long as it is demanded by how many people do you say? 250,000 people at Edsa and say even another 250,000 nationwhide (which wasn't true even at the height of Edsa 2)?

This is what I mean Abe by people wanting to believe it was the "MAGIC" of people power, the miracle of peop[le power that saved us from Erap and got those patriotic generals on their side. It's a pure fairy tale man.

I think you are basically saying that People Power was good and that direct protest by the people is good. I agree! But that isn't what happened at Edsa 2. I claim that ten times the outrage has been poured on GMA, but knowing how things developed and overwhelmed Erap in 2001 , they were able to prevent it from happening. No impeachment, no big ralllies. Unlike Erap who let it happen, GMA did not.

But let me explain my point about the Failure of Impeachment. People Power supporters claim that the Impeachment Trial failed because of the Craven Eleven. Yet, did the Craven do anything illegal? Immoral? Heck the Second Envelope would have been favorable to Erap!

You speak of prejedgement, well, wasn't WALKING OUT on the trial a judgement that Erap was going to be acquitted? It was the Joker Arroyo who caused the Failure of Impeachment by walking out. Then GMA and her supporters realized the rallies would die out and the trial would resume and Erap WOULD have been acquitted. That's why they decided to strike while the iron was hot. I am personally aware of negotiations with Angie Reyes involving the future Cabinet members of GMA as early as December 2000.

I believe that most real revolutions are moral and legitimate too, but that isn't what Edsa 2 was all about even if we like the result. This was just the coup act of CSAFP, the CJSC, and the Vice President, and yeah ordinary people like me who wanted Erap deposed. But not the Constitution!

Because one of these days, there will be a decent President in place whom you and I would not want deposed, but he or she could be if we continue to revere Edsa 2 at the alter of some ideal notion of doing the people's will.

It is the fallacy of direct democracy is people power. A most dangerous and deadly fallacy that has produced the present crisis. People power was the cover for military mutiny and coup d'etat, which you may like against Erap, or even GMA, but wait till the shoe is on the other foot! In fact just IMAGINE the shoe on the other foot.

john marzan said...

nice find dean.

here's my comment on your post.

http://politicaljunkie.blogspot.com/2006/04/djb-mlq3-and-sassy.html

mlq3 said...

djb,

i make a distinction always between what people who weren't in the know, and those who were in the know, thought they were doing at edsa 2.

we know the conspiracy now. we didn't know it then. recall people power was tried prior to edsa 2 against estrada, but kept flopping because the public clearly wanted the impeachment process. incidentally, very many wanted that process too, in the case of the incumbent now.

therefore those who'd already made up their mind estrada had to go, had to accept the public wasn't about to move until it saw the evidence. that was done at the impeachment. you recall the manner in which people followed the impeachment.

that process led to outrage over the second envelope, though we know now the contents meant nothing as far as hurting estrada. yet his allies insisted; their insistence is what destroyed the trial. for many people watching, the credibility of the process was shot.

i'ts still not clear to me whether at that point, the opposition was engineering it, or whether the allies of estrada at the senate handed them an opportunity on a silver platter. one thing's sure: even if mike arroyo takes credit for sending out the texts that had people rushing to edsa, it was also because the time was right; and there were many, very many, there, who did so out of genuine disgust. was it purely an elite thing? perhaps greater than in 86 but to have been there and seen the people, and remember around the nation people also registered similar emotions, i can't say it was totally an elite thing.

as far as the military is concerned: we also now know, they were courted by the arroyos et. al., and we know the Communists stepped in and made themselves available (in retrospect, and I was only reminded of this recently by someone I talked to, because after Estrada's 98 victory the communists were politically dead).

my point re: the afp is their decision must be taken in context with the events of the time, which may have been complete for some but not all; that you had an administration deserted by its cabinet, unable to control events, etc. The consequences for waiting would have been dire, and viewed from wanting to preserve military cohesion, then the decision became clear.

did it unleash a genie from the bottle? yes. that genie is the specter of withdrawal of support as a third path (vs. elections and impeachment) to remove sitting presidents. can it ever be punished? i doubt it. should it? i don't see how, not merely because of what the supreme court said, but because the public accepted it. the public did not rise up for estrada until, a defeated man, civil society demanded his head on a platter.

Rizalist said...

MLQ3--Of course it was not a purely elite thing. There certainly was a righteous popular uprising against Erap and most of those involved in it had no idea what was actually going on behind the scenes. (It was not until June of 2002 or thereabouts that I had put the whole story together for myself, though I am still learning things even today).

But I would submit that the evidence against GMA is now ten times greater than it was at the time Erap was impeached and tried, yet why no outrage from the "elite" -- or about one half of it plus one?

Why? perhaps because Erap also bore the brunt of a far greater quantum of PREJUDICE and "cultural" hatred. (He was after all, basically an overgrown kanto boy, who liked peeing on his women after the first time.) He did not get anywhere near the benefit of the doubt that Gloria has gotten from the "elites". And please let's not kid ourselves about their relative guilt in stealing, lying and cheating. (oops, Erap of course never did one of these things in an election.)

My point here is that there is MORAL INCONSISTENCY all over the elite's face -- both halves of it-- those for and against Gloria today. Look at Erap. He's a man on trial for his life. Both halves are still united on Erap because we were all complicit in that mutiny and coup. But if we really believe he "deserved" what he got and that we should now, as in the time of Javellana, ACQUIESCE IN THE RESULT, then I submit, we ought to be working for his immediate conviction and execution. But this acceptance of five years in jail for the former democratically elected president, without any hope of resolution, smacks of guilt not on his part, but on those who deposed him. Who can't properly try and convict him. They can't because they know, his case can't properly be tried in the Supreme Court. All the truth would have to be dredged up, the fax, the timing, the obvious disregard for the explicit mandates of the constitution, the contradiction of declaring the presidency vacant and swearing in Arroyo because he was permanently disabled, then changing their minds. It's absurd and they know it! Estrada vs. Arroyo was worse than Javellana because it not only accepted and acquiesced in what the President did, but in what THEY did themselves at Edsa 2.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I'm not interested in restoring Estrada, but in setting straight what we stand for as patriots, for example in what the Military is or is not MORALLY allowed to do.

Examine again most carefully the concept of WITHDRAWAL OF SUPPORT BY THE MILITARY.

That is what it is called when it succeeds. It is only a Mutiny when it fails.

This argument is to me the most intellectually disgusting line of reasoning in common usage.
It is a lethal fallacy. For by upholding it, we are really abetting future mutinies. I puked all over Juan Mercado's recent trotting out of it for some cutsie-pie point of his. It is cynical casuistry.

I claim that the Davide Supreme Court, by blessing Edsa 2, has given every future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the AFP Chief of Staff a precedent that gives them the implicit option to exercise the power to decide right and wrong for the whole nation.

That is a gross betrayal of the concept of public office as a public trust.

I locate the recipe for perpetual political instability right at the heart of Edsa 2:: in the Supreme Court Decisions that enshrined its mutated teratogenic concepts in the Law.

The thing that is important for the future is: can democracy now survive with a High Court that has already tasted the blood and bones of one President, a Military that knows such a Court can easily bless their any move (acquiesce or die!); and now a Chief Executive that sees, as you yourself have pointed out, that she must bring the whole gang together for life.

If GMA is removed as Erap was, by pressure tactics and some guy in a robe deciding for everyone else, then nothing will change. Of course that won't happen this time around because they just got done doing it!

I say the anti Erap elites who are now anti Gloria, cannot draw a line in the sand at 2004 and say everything was okay till then. We have to look beyond Gloria and account for the eternal principles...how we want it to be AFTER she's gone.

I simply cannot imagine a stable Philippines in which Estrada vs. Arroyo is considered "right", even if we can't reverse some things that have already happened.

cvj said...

I must say that i'm thoroughly enjoying the post as well as the exchange over here. The comment by Sassy during her less legalistic incarnation is a gem. I haven't formed any coherent thoughts on this matter yet as i have to reflect on the points made by the various parties. I agree though that the the Supreme Court's 'Constructive Resignation' ruling sounds contrived. I'd rather they referred to the overall mood during Erap's departure, particularly JV Ejercito's uncontrolled sobbing as proof that it was an actual capitulation and not just a leave of absence.

john marzan said...

Marcus Aurelius:

If I could be convinced that a change in government would take less than coup that would set up a left or right wing dictatorship and not seriously damage the Philippino economy than I could probably be talked into (for whatever my opinion is worth in this matter) dropping my support of PGMA.

isn't arroyo an illegitimate dictatorship already, Beerblogger?

I think our/my democracy is in danger precisely because of Arroyo's illegitimacy, credibility and corruption problems. She's an easy target for the rightwing coup plotters within our military because of that.

As for the commies taking over the country, even most filipinos find that talk stupid. the communists IMO, is so unpopular, they probably have less than 1% support among the population. but those talk of a communist-military alliance coming from Malacanang isn't meant for local consumption really. What malacanang is targetting are the foreign media and washington, who they know will find the news about a commie-military coup very alarming, even if most filipinos find the malacanang story laughable and absurd, and is being used only to smear the opposition and other anti-GMA groups and a significant majority of filipinos who want her out now.

I myself is against a military coup to install a junta. but people power like the one in edsa 1986 or in Ukraine ("orange revolution") and Lebanon {"cedar revolution"), I have no problem with.

marcus:
The problem is& #150; and I discussed this on Blogger Beer today – is I don't see any way PGMA is going to leave except, I really don't want to put it in writing or perhaps she will leave ala Aristide of Haiti (rushed out of Malacañang in the middle of the night to a helicopter) and who to fill in? I know you have suggested replacements and so too has Mr. Marzen, but I am not convinced any of them will be anywhere near power after a coup.

If PGMA makes any move at staying on past this term then I drop my support.


If the US can support the overthrow or coup against Hugo Chavez, and support the Orange Revolution in ukraine, then they have no excuse to support a corrupt and illegitimate ruler for "stability's sake". (isn't that what your "disrupting the economy" talk was all about beerblogger?)

haven't they learned their lessons from supporting marcos and other middle east dictators in the past?

(i also believe the US would support people power or a coup vs. iran's mullahs)

having said that, i'd rather see arroyo be removed from office via a more peaceful way.

and nobody wants a military coup. but i have no problem with people powering arroyo out of office so that we can hold special elections to replace her.

all i know is that all talk about a "good economy" is mostly propaganda by the admin (and if this admin can manipulate the unemplyment numbers, issue questionable GDP numbers and trade figures (scroll down) and rig the elections, they can do anything.) since I myself don't see it, and prices of goods are increasing while shops, restaurants and factories are closing down because of bad business, and the cost of groceries has increased by around 30% in the last 2-3 months.

american painter:
To accept such a premise, one would have to believe that a Military’s or mob’s moral means are superior to legal means. Military Mutiny is always unlawful and if a country is not subject to the rule of law, anarchy and/or a dictator type will always rule, As long as such is the prevailing thought, the Philippines will always be just another banana Republic.

NEWSFLASH for you american painter, THE PHILIPPINES IS ALREADY A BANANA REPUBLIC!

AND if you'll recall, those opposed to arroyo tried to remove her the constitutional way, via the 2004 elections. but like most corrupt leaders and dictators like saddam hussein, elections are rigged and Arroyo will not be denied her "victory", so what we have right now under arroyo is a faux democracy, just like marcos in the 70s.

(and correct me if i'm wrong dean, pero wala pang nakukulong na comelec o military official dahil sa dayaan sa 2004 elections ano?)

The Bystander said...

1. We can prosecute and put GMA behind bars for the misdeeds of her incumbency but it would be legally and politically impossible to charge her and Mike Arroyo for their "conspiracy" circa 2001. Unless, of course, if Erap is restored to the Presidency, then he will surely send GMA to the guillotine.

2. While it may be true that she and Mike Arroyo secretly met with some officials of the AFP to urge them to withdraw their support for Erap, you cannot also discount the fact that there were many well-meaning Filipinos who believed that Erap had to go because he disgraced the presidency (although a far cry from what GMA is doing now). Therefore, just because Mike Arroyo was inducing Reyes and company to turn their back on Erap does not mean that the purpose of Edsa 2 (which was to oust an incompetent leader) was already defeated. Erap may be a much lesser evil compared to Gloria but he was still "evil" (because of his ways and because of his performance as President) nonetheless.

3. Moral consistency? If there was enough reason to oust Erap then, why shouldn't there be more reason to oust GMA now? If withdrawal of support circa 2001 was the only means then to shorten what otherwise could have been a prolonged struggle between Erap and the Edsa 2 forces (and thus could have resulted in bloodshed), why can't the same formula be applied now? Regardless of the secret wheeling and dealing by the Edsa 2 power brokers, most thinking Filipinos at that time believed that ousting Erap was the MORAL thing to do, although they did not clearly suggest that the military should intervene. What could have happened had the AFP brass refused to withdraw? Do you think the impeachment would still continue? Be it noted that the prosecutors led by Gonzalez had already walked out, indicating that they had no more intention to push through with their case. Do you think those at Edsa 2 would simply return to their homes and not come back? Because of the attention media gave to Erap's trial (thanks, ironically, to Erap), people were so outraged that they would have proceeded to Mendiola and oust Estrada by themselves. It seems to me we are only complaining now because the beneficiary of Edsa 2 turned out to be far worse than her predecessor. Stated otherwise, what if GMA indeed turned out to be a good President and was able to push the country to greater heights, will your moral outrage against the "mutiny" of Reyes still have the same intensity?

4. Of course a military mutiny (coup, withdrawal of support),in its generic sense, seems to be wrong BUT when taken in the context of Edsa 2 and Gloria's situation now, I don't see anything fundamentally and morally wrong with it. What is more morally disgusting is what the AFP top brass is doing now -- supporting a morally and legally bankrupt presidency.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Well put, Bystander although I must say that most of your arguments are based on hindsight so to me they do not present an unequivocal moral certitude that ousting Estrada in Jan 21, 2001 was the moral thing to do.

What struck me the most however was your premise that "most thinking Filipinos at that time believed that ousting Erap was the MORAL thing to do".

I'd like to believe that members of my family in the Philippines and I were one of those thinking Filipinos. For 20 days in January 2001 while the political life and liberty of Erap was hanging by a thread in Congress, we did not believe that ousting him was a moral thing to do because to us it was impossible to believe that the interest or the real desire of the majority of the 12 million people who voted for him (I was not one of them nor members of my family) were being taken into consideration.

I still believe to this day that OUSTING Erap through extra-constitutional methods was not the moral thing to do if we go by the tenet that a Constitutional mandate Erap's moral and legal right which was affirmed by 12 million hapless souls who voted for the man.

Like DJB, I was waiting for the conclusion of the impeachment trial. To me it represented the only chance of the people who voted for Erap to really count.

Many of my comments on the investigation, impeachment, trial of Erap until his ouster at the so-called EDSA 2 were recorded because they were published by several newspapers in the Philippines.

I never wavered in my conviction from that time till today that an impeachment trial and a legal conclusion should have been and should be the only moral thing to do. Ousting Erap without these democratic process could not have been and could never be the MORAL thing to do.

To admit today that I am "only complaining now because the beneficiary of Edsa 2 turned out to be far worse than her predecessor. Stated otherwise, what if GMA indeed turned out to be a good President and was able to push the country to greater heights, will your moral outrage against the "mutiny" of Reyes still have the same intensity?", will be the height of hypocrisy.

I never wavered in my belief that Gloria's leadership would never succeed because it was morally, legally, constitutionally and democratically flawed. In 50 or 100 years, history might judge the events of 2001 differently - perhaps to Gloria's advantage although I doubt it - but as I am living witness to these events, I cannot change my testimony for the sake of some pragmatic ideal which never was and will never be.

As a thinking Filipino, I may eventually desist from further criticizing Gloria and the actors of the 2001 democratic debacle, keep quiet about my beliefs or simply let go but if I do that, it won't mean that I have changed my conviction on the non-moral nature of the acts leading to Estrada's ouster.

Rizalist said...

Folks, Great comments everyone. Am learning a lot from each. I slept early last night and woke with these thoughts:

Whatever we say or do now, we must ask if our children, grandchildren, all those who come after us, can be proud of our acts and our words and can still be moved by them, can point to them as EXAMPLES and MODELS of what they themselves advocate. In other words we must craft the MEMES, the ideas, the principles to solve not only today's dilemmas, but to be durable and applicable to all other future situations, at least in principle if not in detail.

I think that is one way to ensure that we are morally consistent today. Our principles must be so strong, infectious, so enduring, that as Justice Learned Hand might've said, a Constitution NEED not save them, for without such principles, deeply rooted in the leaders and the people, no Constitution CAN save them. (paraphrase)

The Law must be used as force for moderating the passions and conflicting interests of all social actors.

Now I see what is so terribly wrong with that slavish adoration we have of people like Davide and institutions like the Supreme Court. They've left nothing but trouble for the future by acquiescing in evils of the past and even creating some of their own.

The Law stands below God!

(as of course Religion does too...and that SACRED COW is next up at Philippine Commentary this week!)

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

Hillblogger, don't even think about desisting, keeping quiet or letting go, lest people like bystander prove that we are a non-thinking lot for believing that what they did to Erap was not the moral thing to do.

I grew up "sa kanto" and I assure you that is where the majority of thinking Filipinos can found. That is where I hear the most profound and wise comments about our country today. The right thinking Filipinos were not those that were at EDSA Dos but the millions that met for four nights at EDSA Tres. In fact, now at hindsight: "Mas me utak yung nasa EDSA Tres at pinagpupukpok at pinagbabaril sa Mendiola nuong Mayo 2001 in contrast to those supposedly thinking bunch at EDSA Dos. The latter are now saying mea culpa while the former ARE NOT saying: "I told you so!"

mlq3 said...

djb-

i fully agree that those ranting against estrada yesterday are shockingly silent with regards to arroyo today, or too many are rank apologists. i've pointed out that much of it is motivated by class solidarity: estrada was a traitor to his class in their eyes, and for the middle class, a national embarassment, representing a repudiation of everything they claim to stand for.

i went further and wrote that at the very least, estrada should have had a chance to defend himself by now and obtained an impartial judgment, and that if the cases aren't proven we have to be prepared to apologize to him.

i will only go as far as saying the withdrawal of military support model has brought forward a potentially troublesome feature in our politics. the supreme court decision, too. however i am less worried about them because both require very rare, and specific, conditions to even be contemplated again. so rare and specific that it may either be impossible to replicate them, or too difficult to consider. therefore, they are sinister insofar as having presidents who goof off and don't attend to their work are concerned, and result in constitutional paralysis with a failed impeachment trial.

the edsa 2 model, for example, might have applied had arroyo proceeded with an impeachment trial and the trial ended up collapsing. but it's never gotten that far, so the edsa 2 model remains remote.

mlq3 said...

just an additional thought: let's look at the great division of edsa 2, when the communists wanted to march on the palace, and cory and cardinal sin insisted the people stay at edsa. the communists and co. broke away; their march accelerated efforts to resolve matters, which is why arroyo was sworn in just as the protesters rolled over the police at mendiola (in a remarkable display of discipline, the leadership of the march interrupted the momentum by having an improptu show; if they had proceeded they would have been fighting at the gates of the palace before the supreme court got to edsa).

so what we had was people power deprived of the chance to accomplish the objective of people power, which is total regime change. the logical consequence of january 2001 should have been the scrapping of the 1987 Constitution. forcing edsa 2 to fit into the ambit of the 1987 Constitution is the problem the court has had and the body politic has had.

john marzan asked in his blog why i said i thought edsa 2 should have ended either with estrada strung up from a lamppost like mussolini, or with a bloodbath: i said that because both would have proven what edsa 2 was really about, which was the vomiting up of the system. the system endured, and we have what we have -mrs. arroyo.

though of course it's also good that no one died then, but then we had edsa 3 which was another aborted people power which failed because the leaders didn't lead it at the crucial time.

ricelander said...

Let me butt in, Dean.

If Estrada were Hitler, would you drop your disfavor against mutiny? Hehe, just asking.

Like many Filipinos, I have avidly watched the proceedings on TV, and I must say the second envelope was the spur. I was expecting him to break out from his silence and explain himself but I guess the lawyers got the upperhand perhaps fearful that he really had too many things to hide in that envelope. When Estrada came out the next day to ask his senator-allies to allow its opening, it was too late. Unlike you though, I didn't believe of the plunder/stealing accusations. I could be wrong of course but at least I am nearer the presumption of innocence. Anyhow, stopping the opening of the envelope created the very bad impression that he really was concealing something, thus even his loyal followers were reduced to melting like ice cream on a summerday likely embarrassed that they fell for a plundering idiot.

My problem with people power is: "how do you validate it?" Send in SWS and Pulse Asia? If it is to be decided as political phenomena as Sassy opined, then shouldn't it be okay to have EDSA 4, 5, 6 and so on... as long as it could be classified as a political event? Then when will it ever end?

I took to reading the decision penned by Puno re Estrada's "constructive resignation" and I must say you could not finish reading it without feeling somebody was pulling your leg all along. It was with so much effort to follow the logic and sequence of thoughts, I felt drained halfway through.

If anything, I believe Estrada would come out of this tragedy the hero and Arroyo the heel. If not for EDSA 2 it could be the other way around.

AmericanPainter said...

By general definition, a BANANA REPUBLIC is one with a frequent unstable government subject to gaining and/or maintaining power through the military. It is usually corrupt to the very core of all that is supposed to protect it’s people. Except for providing a Military, it does little other than self-preservation. It fails miserably to provide important governmental functions. It’s populace is made up of the very rich and the very poor, with little middle class.

The Philippines meet this definition.

If greed and political corruption could be eliminated, what a wonderful; country the Philippines could be. I only wish I knew how this could be accomplished.

When I flew to Guam recently, I was amazed at the difference in that island and the Philippines. Reminded by a Filipino gentleman, visiting Guam that both the Philippines and Guam were ceded to the United States by Spain at the same time, he said, “I wish the Americans had maintained control of the Philippines, so we could live this way.”

I reminded him of what Manuel L. Quezon said, “"I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans"

It appears that he got exactly what he wanted.

Rizalist said...

RICELANDER,
"Hitler" is a fair question to ask. What are the moral options under an out and out dictator? The general principle is of course that no soldier is obligated to obey any command that his conscience deems unlawful or immoral. He is duty bound to disobey such orders. Therefore, long before "Hitler" would have been impeached, he would surely have done many things that should have been opposed. But in the unlikely hypothetical, that we had such a President, properly impeached, who, let us say, refuses to undergo the process, can in fact be arrested by the Military.

But in The Soldier-Citizen Dilemma I also realized the correct thing to do if you want to break the chain of command, is to leave it:: to resign, abandon uniforms and arms and walk out of the camp, a free and pure citizen, having revoked your right to use violence and force for politics. Which is of course the privilege we give the Armed Forces relative to the enemies of the state.

Regarding the 2nd envelope, what the Craven Eleven did was LEGAL and is comparable to the halting of the First Impeachment against Gloria. Now, last September, if we had all "tossed our cookies" and gone to people power because that attempt failed, we might only have ended up with another Edsa 2. So I am glad that People Power failed last year, because there was no chance for it to hook up with the two critical ingredients present at Edsa 2: a willing Military and Supreme Court. As it is, there WILL be a Second Impeachment Attempt. I put my hopes in that.

Rizalist said...

MLQ3 --
Do you really think that JOSEPH ESTRADA, on trial for his life, actually enjoys the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE, when, by virture of the Supreme Court decision, his removal from the Presidency, in a manner that shrieks to high heaven of irregularity, partiality and prejudice by it very deciders, has already been vouschafed by them. Surely a man who has already been punished for an "impeachable crime or condition" by being removed from office, can hardly enjoy a PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE about the crimes for which that ouster was undertaken by his enemies. Remember that impeachment can only be punished by removal and ban from office. His guilt in that was never proved, yet he has already been punished for it! Isn't the deal with the deviltress that he will be found guilty and then be pardoned to salve our decent consciences?

Thus, is not our justice system a mockery of us, and our acceptance and praise for it, a greater self-mockery still?

But it is not ONLY Erap that is thus reviled and harmed. It IS us and our descendants, forever, until the decisions are overturned and not acquiesced to. When we finally realize that, the Supreme court will burn down.

Jego said...

Rizalist said:
As it is, there WILL be a Second Impeachment Attempt. I put my hopes in that.

Five would-be judges in the impeachment trial (i it reaches the Senate) have already come out with a verdict with their 'Gloria Resign' stunt. With this they have just compromised another eternal principle. With this move, I think the five have just signalled that they dont think the impeachment would ever reach the Senate. Without the impeachment, what options are left for us?

(Question to lawyers: IF the impeachment does reach the Senate, could the defense ask the five senators to recuse themselves? What happens to the impeachment trial then if a certain number of senator/judge's votes are needed to convict?)

Rizalist said...

Jego,
Senators are only Judges when there is an Impeachment Trial. And as Judges they are allowed to vote their conscience. Before that they are politicians and legislators. Calling for resignation is perfectly Constitutional, I would think. But I agree that they must not follow in the footsteps of Davide by poisoning the democratic well of Justice with partiality, if and when they become Senator-judges. But just because they MIGHT become judges in the impeachment of all sorts of people, like Abalos and Comelec, they cannot be restrained by the potential need for public neutrality and impartiality BEFORE the case is actually before them.

Not eternal principle seems to be compromised yet.

HILLBLOGGER said...

American Painter,

I think even if you repeat yourself 1 thousand times that the Philippines is a banana republic will not make a difference.

It would be a better idea how to transform that banana into something more solid.

To me, when President Manuel Quezon said that he'd rather have a nation run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by Americans (anyway "heaven run by americans" is very doubtful) he meant Filipinos should get hold of themselves.

Besides, what's wrong with being a master of your own house and your own destiny? Are Filipinos so spineless that they cannot think for themselves without the Americans thinking for them?

Anyway to that end, Mahatma was like Quezon who pleaded with Lord Mountbatten to let the Indians decide on their destiny - that the partition of India between India and Pakistan should be left to the hands of the nation and that Great Britain should not interfere. Obviously, Britain didn't think that Indians were thinking people and did it for them. The result was near holocaust. Of course, had the indians done it themselves, the result might have been the same but we shall never know now.

HILLBLOGGER said...

correction: Mahatma Ghandi was like Quezon when Ghandi pleaded with Lord Mountbatten to let the Indians decide on their destiny - that the partition of India between India and Pakistan should be left to the hands of the nation and that Great Britain should not interfere. Obviously, Britain didn't think that Indians were thinking people and did it for them. The result was near holocaust. Of course, had the indians done it themselves, the result might have been the same but we will never know now, will we?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Just wish to correct you on MUTINY.

A mutiny is still technically a mutiny more so by the military whether it succeeds or not. That the mutineers may have been pardoned by a willing authority, in this case by the SC's ruling that Erap had "constructively resigned" does not exempt the military actors of a "successful" mutiny to be designed by history as MUTINEERS.

As I've always said, the military has clear cut rules, a world apart from the civilian world.

Angie Reyes and the AFP major service commanders were very lucky that they weren't in service in the French Foreign Legion or they would have been shot on sight, successful or not. And by the way, I told him & Benjie Defensor this when I met them two years ago when they attended a dinner in my honor in Manila.

Rizalist said...

Roger that! Hillblogger.

The Bystander said...

HB:

1. "we did not believe that ousting him was a moral thing to do because to us it was impossible to believe that the interest or the real desire of the majority of the 12 million people who voted for him (I was not one of them nor members of my family) were being taken into consideration."

--In an impeachment trial, you do not convict or acquit a person based purely on political considerations, even if we are to assume that the majority supported or voted for him. You acquit or convict if the evidence at hand says so, and if the Senators, after hearing the evidence is morally and legally convinced that impeachment is the way to go. These two must go hand in hand, otherwise, when one is absent or lacking, just like what happened in Erap’s case, the people had every right to discard the impeachment trial and go to the streets to express their indignation. They gave impeachment a chance but what did Erap’s senators do? They denied the opening of the second envelope based on pure technicality. Was it legal? Yes. Was it moral? No. There was an attempt to hide the truth. Where is the moral consistency there? Besides, unlike regular courts, an impeachment trial is sui generis – a class of its own – where there is a relaxing of the application of the technical rules.

2. “Like DJB, I was waiting for the conclusion of the impeachment trial. To me it represented the only chance of the people who voted for Erap to really count.”

--As I said, the anti-Erap forces gave him a chance at impeachment even if they knew that the outcome was obvious. You shouldn’t have waited for the impeachment trial to conclude because the same was already a foregone conclusion. In your heart of hearts, do you really, honestly believe that a conclusion different from acquittal would have resulted?

3. ” What struck me the most however was your premise that "most thinking Filipinos at that time believed that ousting Erap was the MORAL thing to do".

--I did not say “all” thinking Filipinos. I only said “most”. My premise may be wrong or right as to the use of the terms “most” and “thinking”, but it was based purely on my limited observation of the events before, during and after 20 January 2001. And I will still stand by my claim that most thinking Filipinos did believe that ousting Erap at that time was the moral thing to do. And I particularly used the adjective “thinking” to differentiate "us" from "those" who were deceived into “thinking” that Erap personified the image of the downtrodden man. Erap was richer and more powerful than many of us.

I’ve always considered you as a thinking Filipino, HB. I admire you for your principles but I must disagree with you on this one.

BFR:

”Hillblogger, don't even think about desisting, keeping quiet or letting go, lest people like bystander prove that we are a non-thinking lot for believing that what they did to Erap was not the moral thing to do.”

--Did I say you and HB are an unthinking lot? You simply quoted me out of context. I only said “most thinking Filipinos…”. I did not imply that those who do not agree with me are unthinking Filipinos. It simply does not follow. Non sequitur! I stated it not out of malice but out of my conviction and belief that ousting Erap was the moral thing to do and that this conviction was shared by many thinking Filipinos.

DJB:

”Regarding the 2nd envelope, what the Craven Eleven did was LEGAL and is comparable to the halting of the First Impeachment against Gloria.”

--Ya, it was legal. But was it moral?

”As it is, there WILL be a Second Impeachment Attempt. I put my hopes in that.”

--It’s a numbers game Dean. It will not substantially ferret out the truth. Let us assume for the sake of argument that the impeachment complaint reaches the Senate. What if the Senators acquit Gloria (despite the overwhelming evidence)? Will you accept the results of that impeachment? Yes, it may be legal. But is it moral? Will you still hold on to the belief that impeachment is the way to go?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Bystander,

Disagree with me on what? That you didn't accuse me or BFR of being an unthinking lot and that I never said that to mean that, etc., etc..? It didn't occur to me that you said that I was an unthinking person... I simply wanted to point out that there are some thinking people like my family and I who did not believe that ousting Erap through extra-constitutional means is moral.

I do not wish to split hair but I hope my statement above clears the air between you and me, etc. on this score.

Before I go any further, let me assure you that I believe in every word you advanced in your premise that THE PEOPLE have every right "to discard the/an impeachment trial and go to the streets to express their indignation."

Because I am not a lawyer and cannot argue on the fine points of the law with a lawyer like you, just the same, I do hope you will allow me the space to express my beliefs as a thinking person.

As a thinking person, allow me to advance an equally correct premise that even if for the sake of argument, ONE million people gathered by Manila's select society went to Edsa on that day to participate in a potential people power and/or to watch, to ogle at, cheer and applaud the personalities whom they'd only seen on TV and read about in newspapers all that time - they do not constitute THE PEOPLE much less so when certain quarters today pass up such assembly (who toppled a constitutionally elected president) as A REVOLUTION.

Furthermore, since you yourself said "In an impeachment trial, you do not convict or acquit a person based purely on political considerations, even if we are to assume that the majority supported or voted for him....acquit or convict if the evidence at hand says so...", therefore based on your legal explanation, may I ask you who in fact, disallowed the impeachment trial to continue when they walked out? Was it the anti-Estrada senators or the pro-Estrada Senators? Also, Davide was presiding the trial - he held the ultimate power in his hand to put order in a legitimate "people's court", so why didn't he? Who then was/were guilty of breaching that democratic process which prevented Congress to legally and technically convict or acquit the accused for that matter?

While we are at it, let's tackle the moral implication of a legal act which the prosecuting Senators together with Davide chose to ignore for no moral or legal reason...Bystander, WHO GAVE the right to Joker Arroyo to walk out of the impeachment trial? Would you say THE PEOPLE gave him the right? What is the moral and legal basis of walking out of that trial?

Again, if for the sake of argument, Joker did lead the prosecution to walk out of the Senate on his or his likes' presumption that the 11 Senators were shortcircuting the impeachment trial in favor of Estrada alleging that the result would be a foregone conlusion anyway - Estrada's acquittal, isn't he (and his political followers in Congress, not forgetting the alliance of Cory and Sin who btw, had pronounced Erap guilty of everything thrown his way even before the trial had started), equally guilty of circumventing or obstructing a legal process which they had themselves legally initiated?

Where is morality in all that?

Isn't circumventing that particular legal and democratic process equally non-moral? And because the legally democratic processes provided for by the Constitution had been morally waylaid, weren't the succeeding acts that led to the illegal ouster of Estrada non moral as well?

And to answer your question "In your heart of hearts, do you really, honestly believe that a conclusion different from acquittal would have resulted?", I must say that this is perhaps where we differ. In my heart of hearts, I honestly believed that the 2nd envelope contained the evidence that would nail Estrada and I was appalled that Joker walked out and that Davide did not put order in that people's court to resume the trial no matter how long it would take. No, in my heart of hearts, I didn't believe Estrada would be acquitted in the end.

Of this I am convinced however: the people who, in order to quench their thirst for revenge, breached the Constitution and all that is moral are morally and guilty before the law and before THE PEOPLE; that technically, these people, legislators, political kingpins, law crafters, educated, religious people and others may no longer be prosecuted and punished do not make them any less guilty of a monstrous illegal act committed against the Republic.

Having said that and if this is any satisfaction to you Bystander, I am NOT for restoring Erap to the presidency. Principled as I may be (according to you and thank you!), I am also a realist. Erap is a victim of the imperfect society which he himself had helped craft as one of its powerful artisans - as a local executive, a national legislator and its overall leader, so he must understand that victims do not always obtain JUSTICE in an imperfect society. However, should Gloria be forced to step down so that we may call a snap election (although I gather this is not provided for by the Constitution), I believe he should be allowed to stand up in the elections again in the same manner that Gloria should be allowed.

Perhaps this is utopic but a truly democratic contest today can put a closure to these destructive and traumatic chapters of the country's history and allow our nation and its people to move on and more importantly regain their honor.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

It would be good to have the opinion of other lawyers on the following Paguia pronouncements which he presented by way of an imagined Erap-Arroyo debate he published in the Tribune more than 2 years ago:

ERAP: ...Dalawa ang ginawa ninyong lantarang paglabag sa batas laban sa akin. Una ay iyong pagpunta ng mga mahistrado sa kasagsagan ng Edsa II. Pangalawa ay iyong desisyon sa Estrada vs Arroyo.

ARROYO: Bakit? Ano'ng problema mo sa pagpunta nila Chief Justice Davide sa Edsa II?

ERAP: Lantaran pong paglabag iyon sa Rule 5.10 ng Code of Judicial Conduct. Bawal sa mga mahistrado ang dumalo o lumahok sa anumang “partisan political activity” tulad ng Edsa II. Dahil sila ay “judicial,” mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ng batas na sila ay maging “political.”

With the SC ruling legitimizing Gloria's ascent to the presidency, what happens to Rule 5.10 in the Code of Judicial Conduct? Seems like a catch 22 question or chicken and egg situation here...

Rizalist said...

Bystander--

NO democratic system or even, eternal principle, can possibly GUARANTEE that the guilty will always be found so and punished, or that the innocent will always be acquited. That is the ETERNAL DILEMMA of justice. But you are asking for such a guarantee! Yet democracy is only the freedom of opportunity, I realized thanks to your question. In order for society to have the OPPORTUNITY to fairly and justly decide legal cases of moral wrongdoing, it must accept the possibility IN THE SYSTEM that some guilty will get away -- because we find it abhorrent that even a single innocent person be unjustly punished!

Thanks also to your question, I can see this now about Edsa Dos:: it was the ELITE, who have no respect for the system, because they control it everywhere else in society, decided that since the Craven Eleven probably WOULD acquit Erap, they convinced themselves, using men in skirts and their own prejudice, that indeed they would short circuit the stupid constitution and "just do what is right." Yet it was wrong. Without justice there can be no peace in men's hearts, which cannot lie to them as their minds can.

A Demcracy must accept that bargain with the devil, that to save the innocent, we are willing for some of the guilty to get away. But it doesn't mean we should acquiesce when such measures fail.

Look: we despise Estrada so much, I hope because of the evils that he did. But why is it so hard to accept, that OTHERS not only Erap could be guilty of such or greater evils? Why?

I think because we are like the Jews and have turned Erap into a Christ, a King of the Masses, and Edsa Dos was really a crucifixion -- by the Sanhedrins of Civil Society -- who don't want to be see as being just like him, but only maybe a single generation ahead of him to leave the peasantry.

What a laughable elite!

I think that is why it is so impt for us to deride Erap, to this day. We are afraid we are not really far from him.

Guess what? we arent!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean, I posted the Erap Arroyo debate in my blog in case you want to read the rest of the imagined debate (don't want to clog your blog by re-posting Paguia's articles) which to me, a non-lawyer contained some very clear and interesting legal points but perhaps, others disagree with Paguia...

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Following your "I think that is why it is so impt for us to deride Erap, to this day. We are afraid we are not really far from him.", I also think that most of us don't want to be compared remotely to Erap, that's why many people in their heart of hearts continue to believe that ousting Erap unconstitutionally was the only moral thing to do... We are human and as such aspire desperately for a higher class distinction.

Rizalist said...

HB--Yet only a small minority feel that way here: most Filipinos don't feel superior to Erap -- even in his defeat! They like him FEEL the prejudice of the elite, Perhaps he deserved what he got, but there are those OTHERS in our society that want a guarantee of results from Democracy. There are many names for that, among them: communist totalitarianism and fascist dictatorship.

It is in this fact the Leftists found solace from the Elites: both believe that the END justifies the MEANS.

Ricelander says:"
--It’s a numbers game Dean. It will not substantially ferret out the truth. Let us assume for the sake of argument that the impeachment complaint reaches the Senate. What if the Senators acquit Gloria (despite the overwhelming evidence)? Will you accept the results of that impeachment? Yes, it may be legal. But is it moral? Will you still hold on to the belief that impeachment is the way to go?"

He seems to imply, as many people do believe, that there WAS overwhelming evidence for example against Erap. Maybe there was, maybe there wasnt. But only the impeachment trial could've established that in a just and fair manner, not Davide rescuing his reputation for losing control of it. The kangaroo trial now ongoing is an ongoing mockery of our own sanctimony and peace of mind in ourselves. It is Davide's Zion restored, not democracy. Is presumption of INNOCENCE at all important? We think the party at bar is guilty. (I do!) But how about the next time, when we aren't so sure?

Good provocative question Ricelander!

HILLBLOGGER said...

How extraordinary after the way you put it that the LEFT and the ELITE share a common denominator: FACISM.

Those two components in the Philippines might soon find that they will cancel each other and destroy each other . In the end, when that happens, you will have a more balanced society with a stronger, more solid middle class. That is the real democracy.

Karl M. Garcia said...

Presumption of innocence....does that really happen anywhere in the world?The moment you put doubt in it, wheter it is reasonable or otherwise that presumption is already cancelled.....

Real democracy where the left and the elite cancels out?

As of this moment our democracy is not a rule of the majority at all.
Policy making is controlled by the insignificant few.

What we do is we pressure,thus we have pressure groups.
As long as there is this so called pressure groups of any form in the guise of the so called national interests, we will never see a true democracy.

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

Hillblogger, I do not actually want to belong to those "thinking Filipinos" of Bystander. Their latest choice Gloria sucks and their previous choices also did not live up to their hype. So much for thinking! They are responsible for the mess we have right now. And what an illegal, illegitmate, cheating, lying and intellectually thinking quicksand it is.

Stop thinking and start LISTENING to the PEOPLE. 11 million Filipinos placed ERap in Malacanang but those thinking Filipinos chose to NEGATE their votes and tell them that they are not thinking and placed Gloria instead. SO now, please tell me who is the greater THINKER?

The time of Erap, Gloria, JDV, FVR and their bunch of politicians are over. The Supreme Court and the Comelec is distrusted. It is time to have fresh and young faces. Lets have a SNAP ELECTION. Each one with a vote, each one with a choice, but each one must BOW DOWN to the choice of the Majority of the PEOPLE. Let us be proud that we are FILIPINOS. ONE. ONE DESTINY.

Jego said...

Rizalist said 5:30 PM, April 10, 2006

Senators are only Judges when there is an Impeachment Trial. And as Judges they are allowed to vote their conscience. Before that they are politicians and legislators. Calling for resignation is perfectly Constitutional, I would think.

Yes it is. But with an impeachment trial looming, they could at least have couched their calls in conditional statements instead of outright declarative sentences to at least preserve the image of impartiality if and when the impeachment trial gets through. It is constitutional, yes, but its not... in good taste.

Not eternal principle seems to be compromised yet.
Perhaps. Only delicadeza has been compromised.

5:14 AM, April 11, 2006
...I can see this now about Edsa Dos: it was the ELITE, who have no respect for the system...

I can only say 'Amen.' It was indeed quite an epiphany crystalized by Bystander. It is also the reason the middles keep claiming 'Woe unto us, there is no alternative to Gloria' when the constitution (and the voting public) has that covered: We have an alternative. It's called the Vice President. But I suspect since the VP isnt one of them, the Elite, and the Middles who aspire to 'elite-dom' reject the will of the people when they decided Noli De Castro to be the alternative.

Rizalist said...

Jego,
Only problem is delicadeza IS an eternal principle. And there is no "delicate" way really of calling for the president to resign.

So here is another angle of approach to this...

RESIGNATION is intended by the Constitution to be VOLUNTARY. That is in fact the essence of this mode of ending a regime, since it is the only one that IS voluntary on the part of the President (the other modes are death, permanent disability, impeachment and completion of the 6 year term.)

Notice that the Constitution does not give any requirements for resignation. The president may resign for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. Even if they just lose "gana" for the job and decide to quit!

Likewise, I think this means that when a Senator or any citizen CALLS UPON the President to resign, that act by itself does not significy belief in the President's GUILT on any potential impeachment charges that may or may not be brought. In other words, I believe we can call for resignation also for ANY reason we feel fits the need for it. Because the President also has the absolute right to just say NO and they really can't do anything about it.

Thus there is really no contradiction to calling for resignation even if it is possible that later on you will be shown some evidence for some as year unspecified crime and be asked to judge whether that merits conviction and ouster from the Presidency.

Now that doesn't mean these Senators are lily white patriots either. But they are, IMHO, perfectly within their rights, and even delicadeza to call for resignation. Respectfully and openly.

ricelander said...

DJB
Correction please:
"ricelander says:
It's a numbers game Dean. It will not substantially ferret out the truth..."
Thanks for the compliments Dean but that's The Bystander's.

Anyway, I think The Bystander is right.

For me, the walkout was triggered by the fear the Senate majority would acquit Erap at all cost basing on the attitude of his allies on the second envelope. It could be inferred thus that the then-opposition led by Joker had deduced and prejudged the second envelope's content as incriminating evidence because the majority was holding it up; ergo Erap would be let go, regardless of the evidence using the majority's number.

All along, having watched the previous days' proceedings, I for one have thought they would allow the opening upon Erap's consent but having blocked the envelope's opening, I was deeply dismayed. I suppose I shared the sentiments of even many of Erap's supporters: if there was nothing to hide, then, for God's sake, open it! The blocking was legal, for all intents and purposes, I fully agree, but it was very improper. But lawyers are lawyers...His allies acted like they were his private attorneys, too bad, not as statesmen and senators.

I suppose Erap should have been given a free hand to decide what to say without those lawyers advising him and sink in shame or rise in honor by virtue of his own naked merits or infirmities.

What could have happened if the second envelope was allowed to be opened? It's no use speculating now but it should be useful to ask what Joker feels about it now. Last time I heard, he was denying his was a walk-out!

Had the envelope been opened and the majority let Erap off, could anyone have complained it was just a numbers game?

Rizalist said...

Dave L, Bystander
MY APOLOGIES EVERYONE for the mistaken identities. Yeah I was pretty bleary eyed this morning when I opened up the comment thread. haha! but you bring up an interesting aspect of this case--

The Second Envelope...and the First One too...

It's true I think that Joker did not "intend" for Edsa 2 to happen as a result of his action on Tuesday, 16 January 2001, when they left the Senate premises. (put it like that for now.)

How could he even have foreseen the series of events that would unfold and climax on the very following Saturday?

His action only "ended up" being a walkout because as MLQ3 already pointed out, it WAS the second envelope that brought a lot of people to the Shrine.

But WHY did the Craven Eleven decide not to open the Second Envelope anyway? They must've at least known that there was actually nothing damaging in it, right?

Remember that on that 16th of january, what the Craven Eleven did was to exercise for the very first time in the trial the Senate Impeachement Trial Rule that the Senator Judges could call for division of the Court on any question, absent a ruling from the presiding officer (Chief Justice Davide.)

What was really at stake with the Second Envelope was the First Envelope! That, and the accompanying testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, who we will recall had said on December 23, 2000 that she "was one foot away when Joseph Estrada signed Jose Velarde."

Although this stunning testimony gave everyone who was against Erap a nice Christmas, the Defense (estelito mendoza) immediately made an objection that this testimony was immaterial and irrelevant to the impeachment charges themselves! It had, they said, nothing to do with those charges, or something to that effect. But on 16 January 2001 the presiding officer, Hilario Davide, had NOT YET RULED on the continuing objection of the Defense. CJ Davide had not yet BLESSED Clarissa Ocampo's testimony after more than 3 weeks had passed.

Why did the Craven Eleven act on the Second Envelope? SPECULATION: I think because SOMEONE was pressuring Davide to rule, but that he procrastinated! And then he wavered, and that SOMEONE said shit! Davide might rule in favor of Clarissa. By sinking the Second Envelope, the Craven Eleven were hoping to smoke out Davide on the First Envelope! Because if they were able to reject the Second Envelope, that in itself COULD have led Davide to reject the First Envelope and Clarissa's testimony.

Thus my evil cynical mind hypothesizes that the action of the Craven Eleven on 16 January 2001 was in PREPARATION for ruling on the First Envelope. It would have given Davide COVER for such an act that SOMEONE may have had him on the string for. Someone powerful but not Erap.

(Above is almost pure speculation, but boy all the pieces, almost, FIT, by golly!)

I'd like to hear other people's speculations on the following question:

WHY DID THE CRAVEN ELEVEN SUDDENLY MOVE TO EXCLUDE THE SECOND ENVELOPE WHEN THEY MUST'VE KNOWN IT WAS HARMLESS TO ERAP?

(it can't have been because they were just mean and stupid too!)

Rizalist said...

THE NUMBERS GAME

One senator judge, one vote.
Guilty or Not Guilty.
Two out of three,
to nullify 12 million.

That's the impeachment game.

Methinks acquittal might have been the result of a nationwide survey around February 12, 2001, when a verdict was scheduled to be given. The survey belatedly conducted in 2005-2006 seems to confirm this!

In other words, maybe Filipinos wouldn't have cared about JUETENG allegations against Erap, even if the elites would be irritated all to heck about it. And they would be right. But outnumbered!

But we are clearly living in a world determined and shaped for us by the actions of a few heedless men and a woman who don't believe the people are allowed to be WRONG, or a right to choose their own leader.

Jego said...

Rizalist said...
But [the five senators] are, IMHO, perfectly within their rights, and even delicadeza to call for resignation. Respectfully and openly.

No argument with all your points. I just dont want a tinge of bias or prejudgement to mar the impeachment trial. We'll all have to trust the senators to render a judgement based on the evidence.

Happy easter holidays to everybody.

AmericanPainter said...

Hillblogger,

When I visited Guam, an American territory, I found near perfect infrastructure, wide streets, managed traffic, a peaceful citizenry, a competent stable government, a respected judiciary, law and order. It has everything right that the Philippines has wrong. It WAS heaven compared to the Philippines. I'll let you decide if it might have been heaven in the Philippines under American rule.

There is nothing wrong with being master of your own destiny. Are you happy with the destiny you've achieved over the past 60 years? PR 1017 proves that thing haven’t improved much since the days of Marcos.

When do you start taking charge of your destiny?

HILLBLOGGER said...

American Painter,

In effect you're saying that the Filipinos are so spineless they need Americans to think of them?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Guam is one tiny island compared to 1,210 islands in the Philippines.

Let Filipinos take charge of their own destiny. Filipinos or Americans who condemn the Philippines for not allowing the Americans to take charge of Philippine destiny have no business interfering in Philippine affairs.

Now, how do you compare Detroit to the Philippines?

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

This is a huge problem in the Philippines; this is what's wrong with the psyche of most in the elite: "But we are clearly living in a world determined and shaped for us by the actions of a few heedless men and a woman who don't believe the people are allowed to be WRONG, or a right to choose their own leader."

If that should be the case, might as well do away with presidential elections; do away with a universal or democratic process electing a president under 1 person, 1 vote. Perhaps, a parliamentary system Philippine style will be the answer - voting population elect members to a parliament who in turn elect the national leader.

Rizalist said...

HB, AP,

I was surprised at the SWS survey showing that 42% of respondents said they would approve of chacha today. Even though the headline is that 56% say NO to chacha, this seems like chacha may actually have a chance.

I imagine this was the situation faced by Americans many times in their own history, which might not be guessed at in all its messy twistings and turnings , from the present state of Guam.

I guess what we must fight for in democracies at any stage of evolution is precisely the ability to evolve, to change, to grow, to learn from each other and to march, more or less in the right direction.

There is no shortcut to "Guam" actually, for even Americans had to get there the long, hard and uncertain way called democracy.

We are not so patient now, perhaps because we are spoilt by the sight of their success, without keeping in mind what it took to get there, and how long it actually did take in the doing of it.

My guess is, Filipinos will actually take about as long as America to straighten the country out.

But we must preserve those things that keep the channel to the future open, or we never shall.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Ah, Dean, you are not a pikon like me.

Couldn't have said it as well as you did.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Beg to disgress.

I just accessed Philstar and read this:
http://www.philstar.com/philstar/NEWS200604110410.htm

"Palace: Coup plotters planned to abolish Congress, amend Charter"

"The plot was detailed in documents recovered from renegade Army 1Lt. Lawrence San Juan, a Magdalo leader who was recently captured by the military in a remote town in Batangas. "

And they call that evidence of a coup d'état plot? Documents recovered from a measly nobody army 1Lt who probably never got anywhere near the office of the commanding general Philippine Army...That they should charge Army 1stLt with possession of subversive documents is one thing but to produce these documents as proof a brewing coup d'état organized by Lim, Querubin, etc. is plain piss, particularly if they didn't find similar documents in the possession of Lim & Querubin.

Why, I'm sure that if they go through the possessions of Gen Victor Corpuz, they'd find similar documents (like some form of literary exercise) but won't mean Corpuz is going to go through a coup d'état.

LCsiao said...

It's amazing how the Palace can resort to such fantastic tales.

Rizalist said...

HB, You're right on the money on the implausibility of the the whole coup story now. No one seriously believes in the pretexts of 1017 any more. Because it really was a fairy tale. A friend stateside emails the opinion that the editorial last week was written when the New York Times itself realized this B.S. was being pulled on the whole world. NY Times is really blogger friendly too.

Meanwhile, I am worried about the growing anti-Chacha campaign being a lose-lose and a win-win situation.

Just think. If the opposition succeeds and junks chacha, they just upheld GMA's reign til 2010.

And if the opposition fails to stop chacha, then they just upheld GMA's reign til 2010, and beyond.

She'll take either result,no?

LCsiao said...

Before I proceed with my piece, kudos to everyone for such a lively and informative discussion!

I was kept away by work during the entire course of the impeachment trial and was therefore unable to witness the blow by blow account of the developments back then. So thank you, Dean for providing the historical context with which we can appraise the events of Jan. 2001.

I agree with BFR (99%), HB (98%), and DJB (97%) on the points they raised particularly with regard to the unconstitutionality of EDSA Dos, as well as, its moral shortcomings. I feel that despite the passage of more than five years, our country is still stuck in a time warp—forever haunted by that day of infamy, unable to move on—because a lot of those who perpetrated that dastardly act still refuse to face up to the truth.

In keeping with the title of this thread, “Moral Consistency and Regime Change,” my sentiment (which I think is shared by those in the EDSA Tres camp) is that the problem is more symptomatic of a “class war” than anything else, pitting the interests of the elite and middle class on one end against the masses on the other.

The elite intellectuals, given their erudition, can couch their arguments in eloquent legalese. They can claim all they want that their actions were guided by deliberate thought, invoking so-called principles behind this or that constitutional proviso, or even offer reasons as to why what they did was so specific to the socio-political milieu that it could no longer merit replication or a discussion on scruples.

At the end of the day, though, it all boils down to their belief that change is moral as long as it is done their way. Forget the Constitution, forget the rule of the majority, forget fair play. They are the ones who call the shots and their will will prevail come hell or high water.

I am not a die-hard fan of Erap but I’m a firm believer in the people’s Sovereign Will. I was too young to register for the '92 polls and didn't find any compelling reason to sign up for the '98 elections either because the choices at hand were uninspiring to say the least, so I technically didn’t vote for any candidate. However, since I believed in the primacy of the Filipinos’ right to determine their own destinies, I chose to respect the mandate they gave to Erap when he had a clear and resounding victory.

Sadly though, Erap was never given a chance by the elite from day one. Sure, he had his faults as did Cory and Ramos. But since the two were from their fold, protests from the elite segments were largely non-existent.

Even if I were to yield to some who say that Erap was partially at fault , still I believe that the second envelope was just a pretext for the staging of Erap’s ouster. The EDSA Dos camp can claim that it was a spontaneous event. Hindsight tells us that this isn’t so.

If some say that all the righteous indignation stemmed from the 11 senators' handling of the issue, I'd say right from the start (and this was the sentiment I gathered) Erap supporters were already aghast over the railroading of the impeachment process in the Lower House all the way to the many seeming accomodations made by Davide to the prosecution team. Yet, did they ever scream invectives or hurl insults at people of the other side—something habitually resorted to by Estrada’s elite detractors? Did they label Davide a whore (even when he is)? No, in truth, they decided, guilty or not, they were willing to give Erap a chance to prove his case and chose to let the Constitution work.

Perhaps it would be unfair on my part to cite Alex Magno as an example of the EDSA Dos camp to bolster my argument that the second envelope was merely incidental. But if we were to believe him, he said that even if Estrada allowed the its opening and nothing incriminating was found (which is the case now), they still would’ve found something to attack him with to eventually effect his ouster. In other words, in his sick mind, the people in EDSA Dos were bent on removing Erap at all cost.

In response to bystander who made the “most thinking people” comment, allow me to say that those who supported (and continue to support) Erap are thinking people too. It's just that the elite, which seems to delude itself with having the sole monopoly over morality and logical reasoning, uses a whole set of standards different from the masses in their judgment and decision-making. I recall a former associate of mine who justified Gloria’s usurpation as being the lesser of two evils since she is viewed by the EDSA Dos mob merely as “a lump in the oatmeal” (Boy! What a huge lump she is) and that due process was properly followed when “the people” in the streets handed over their “guilty” verdict to Erap. Aren’t these sure fire indications of creative thinking abetted by an attitude of running roughshod of the law? Surely, this serves as another red mark in the elite’s score card.

I have always maintained that Erap is a testament to the elite's utter failure to bring about change in this country. He wouldn't have had the chance to be voted into power in the first place had the elite proved to have fielded honest, competent leaders who had the poor majority's welfare in mind in terms of governance and policy directions. Cory and Ramos were certainly not success stories (maybe even utter failures) in the performance or corruption departments.

Call it having a one-track mind or plain resoluteness but IMO, unless Erap is duly restored (even if only temporarily), the country will never find any closure from EDSA Dos. The wounds inflicted on the nation’s greater majority who didn’t take part in that elite revolt will never even begin to heal. The masses, robbed of their sovereign will (now twice over) despite their numbers, will continue to feel as insignificant stakeholders in our country’s political processes.

Throughout his years in the presidency and subsequent detention, Erap has never been bestowed with as much trust as he has now. Plus, no leader in the Phils’ recent history was ever elected with that many votes. So why even call for snap polls when the people have clearly made their choice in ’98 and that choice has yet to be allowed to reach fruition?

If the elite (and middle class) thinks that it is the key to change and wishes to take the lead in moving this country forward, they first have to regain their credibility in the eyes of the masses. At the very least, consensus building should be the order of the day. This cannot be done by forever turning a blind eye to the sins of EDSA Dos—one of which is rank elitism.

The Bystander said...

HB:

You said: 1. ”Disagree with me on what? That you didn't accuse me or BFR of being an unthinking lot and that I never said that to mean that, etc., etc..? It didn't occur to me that you said that I was an unthinking person... I simply wanted to point out that there are some thinking people like my family and I who did not believe that ousting Erap through extra-constitutional means is moral.

I do not wish to split hair but I hope my statement above clears the air between you and me, etc. on this score.”


--What I meant was this: I have to disagree with your belief/conviction that ousting Erap was not moral. It was BFR who misquoted me when he made the insinuation that I’m out to prove that both of you are part of the unthinking lot which is not true. By the way, thanks for asking HB. At least I clarified myself on that.

2. “..may I ask you who in fact, disallowed the impeachment trial to continue when they walked out? Was it the anti-Estrada senators or the pro-Estrada Senators? Also, Davide was presiding the trial - he held the ultimate power in his hand to put order in a legitimate "people's court", so why didn't he? Who then was/were guilty of breaching that democratic process which prevented Congress to legally and technically convict or acquit the accused for that matter?”

--It was the pro-Estrada senators. Just like what the DOJ under Sec. Gonzalez is doing now to the Batasan 5, Erap’s cohorts in the Senate tried to project a semblance of due process. The outcome, however, was scripted. What was that script? To acquit estrada not because of lack of evidence but because they had the numbers. From the start of the trial until the attempt to open the second envelope, the pro-Estrada Senators, from the tenor of their interpellations, were already bent on frustrating the truth from coming out. It was not a question of who allowed/disallowed the trial to continue. It was a question of whether or not to participate further in a trial that already transformed itself into a numbers game. Of course, it was the prosecutors who walked out. But to treat their “walking out” as equivalent to “disallowing the impeachment to continue” is like treating an ostrich’s egg as similar to a chicken’s. For me, the better question to ask is: WHY did the prosecutors walk out? WHY was the impeachment trial discontinued?

3. ”…WHO GAVE the right to Joker Arroyo to walk out of the impeachment trial? Would you say THE PEOPLE gave him the right? What is the moral and legal basis of walking out of that trial?”

--Who gave him that right? It was his INHERENT and HUMAN right to despise something he thought he could no longer swallow, like proceeding on a case where judgment had already been rendered in favor of Estrada even before evidence against him could be presented. Legally, he and the rest of the prosecuting team could have been cited for contempt, but even if it were so, I doubt if they would still continue with the trial. To them it was already an exercise in futility.

Did the people give him that right? Symbolically, yes. They were elected representatives of the people under a republican system of government. If by “people” you mean “majority of the Filipino people”, it would take another nationwide election supervised by a discredited COMELEC merely for the purpose of determining the sole question of whether the “people” gave him that right. We are no longer in a direct democracy where every act or decision is subjected to a vote. That’s why they’re called representatives.

Moral and legal basis for walking out at the trial? The moral basis was obvious. If you were confronted with a situation whereby each and every evidence you present is opposed on some dubious technicality which, if allowed to continue, would result in a travesty of justice, will you still waste your saliva arguing your case before a panel of hostile judges? As to the legal basis for walking out at the trial, I have this to say: “Judges must not only be impartial, they must also appear to be impartial.” Did the Senators exhibit the cold neutrality of an impartial judge? The answer again is quite obvious.

I will throw the question back to you: Who gave the eleven senators the right to disallow the opening of the second envelope? Would you say the people gave them that right.? What was the moral and sound legal basis for refusing to open the second envelope and other evidence which would have nailed the final political coffin for Estrada?

4. ”Again, if for the sake of argument, Joker did lead the prosecution to walk out of the Senate on his or his likes' presumption that the 11 Senators were shortcircuting the impeachment trial in favor of Estrada alleging that the result would be a foregone conlusion anyway - Estrada's acquittal, isn't he (and his political followers in Congress, not forgetting the alliance of Cory and Sin who btw, had pronounced Erap guilty of everything thrown his way even before the trial had started), equally guilty of circumventing or obstructing a legal process which they had themselves legally initiated?”

--Cory and Sin had every right to make conclusions on the guilt of Estrada. Why? Because they were not Senator-judges who ought to display at least a semblance of impartiality. Their opinions on the guilt of Estrada had no weight (in the impeachment) unlike that of the Senator-judges. Of course, Joker and the rest of the prosecutors had to believe in what they fight for. It would be an absurd situation where you prosecute the guilt of someone which you yourself do not believe in. When you prosecute, you prove the guilt of the accused. Their partiality is inherent in their position as prosecutors. Where is the obstruction/circumvention in that? I don’t see the connection.

5. ”Erap is a victim of the imperfect society which he himself had helped craft as one of its powerful artisans - as a local executive, a national legislator and its overall leader, so he must understand that victims do not always obtain JUSTICE in an imperfect society.”

--Yes, I agree with you that we live in an imperfect society and that victims do not always obtain justice in an imperfect society. But I disagree with you on one thing: Erap was no victim. He plundered the nation. His incompetence was reprehensible. Of course, his guilt has yet to be judicially determined but I am nonetheless free to make my conclusions because I am not part of the justices deciding his case. We see Erap more as a victim now because there are other political personalities who should have also been behind bars, foremost of which is Gloria Arroyo.

LCsiao said...

Just out of curiosity, bystander: Knowing what we know now about the Second Envelope, do you still see it as what you believe to be "evidence which would have nailed the final political coffin for Estrada"?

As for Cory and Sin, I don't think Anna was questioning their right to do what they did but rather its propriety/impropriety, considering the trial was just about to begin.

And regarding your last comment that Estrada plundered the nation, do you think that such conclusion would be swallowed by those who still wanted the trial to continue just on the say so of EDSA 2 protesters?

The Bystander said...

LCSiao:

The supposed contents of the second envelope are not the only evidence against Estrada. There were others, like the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo. Erap even admitted in an interview with Pia Hontiveros (although this was not part of the impeachment) that it was him who signed the name "Jose Velarde". He was also accused of other crimes -- jueteng payola, BW recources stock scandal, tobacco excise tax scam, the dubious Erap Muslim youth foundation -- just to name a few. All of these are contained in the complaint for plunder now being heard before the Sandiganbayan. And yes, I'm still of the firm belief that he is guilty of these accusations.

Let me also make this clear: I am not pro-Gloria. I despise her even more. I am against cheating, lying and stealing presidents. This is where I think the issue of "moral consistency" should be stressed and applied.

Like I said, proceeding with the impeachment trial was a foregone conclusion, an exercise in futility. I find it strange why they still wanted to continue with the impeachment trial knowing fully well that it had becme a numbers game. Unlike in a regular court battle, an impeachment trial does not even determine the criminal guilt of the accused. The only question to be resolved is whether a sitting President deserves to continue in office based on the grounds of impeachment as provided in the Constitution. It was the pro-Estrada Senators who made a mockery of the democratic processes and circumvented the purpose of the Constitution when they resorted to applying a strict interpretation of the technical rules of procedure and evidence which should not have been the case. An impeachment trial is "sui generis" (a class of it own). That was why if you may recall, the Senate first had to adopt and formulate its own procedural rules for impeachment.

It was not just on the say so of edsa 2 protesters. I and perhaps the others believed in the accusations because based on our limited perceptions, there really was sufficient cause (probable cause) to indict him for his various crimes.

The Bystander said...

And one thing more.. let me make myself clear that I am not part of the elite and never will be. Middle class, maybe.

I find it strange why some people continue to insist that all those who oppose Erap are elitists who merely dislike him because they cannot identify with him. That premise simply borders on overgeneralization. True, there were those who simply discriminated against Erap. But there were also many others, poor and poor alike who also believed that Erap at that time had to go for disgracing the presidency. You can check my post on Erap which I made way back in 2000. Here is the short article: http://attyerwinjames.blogspot.com/2005/10/problem-with-erap.html

LCsiao said...

Yeah, I know what you mean.

It's true that there were anti-Erap folks who were dirt poor and pro-Erap ones who were filthy rich. But while there are exceptions, it is often the case that these two groups are distinguished along class lines.

By elite, I am not only referring to the financial elite but to the intelligentsia (sp?), as well.

LCsiao said...

Going back to my questions, yes, I know that there were many purported pieces of evidence against Estrada in the articles of impeachment--most of which, in my estimation, were testimonial and in news clipping form.

But are you saying that you now believe the Second Envelope to NOT be all that it's cracked up to be, considering the preponderance of other "evidence"?

LCsiao said...

Btw, bystander, I wasn't in any way implying that the elite never gave Erap a chance to prove his worth because they were unable to identify with him.

In my view, they just never did because he wasn't their choice. Period.

Perhaps the only thing that they could not identify with was the masa's reasoning (which many in the elite plus mainstream media dismiss as mere starstruck fan devotion) behind why they favored Erap over everybody else.

(Sorry for the chop-chop response. I'm getting dizzy coz it's morning already. Hehehe)

LCsiao said...

bystander, you said...

"It was not just on the say so of edsa 2 protesters. I and perhaps the others believed in the accusations because based on our limited perceptions, there really was sufficient cause (probable cause) to indict him for his various crimes."

But probable cause doesn't equate with outright guilt or culpability, right?

LCsiao said...

Anyway, bystander, I'll just get back to the points you raised when I'm more lucid.

Just read your 2000 piece and I totally respect your position that which we should hold our leaders accountable to a high set of standards.

My take, though, on your observations from the 2nd paragraph to the last are the exact opposite.

I'll get back to them later. Have to doze off...

Rizalist said...

BRAVO LCSIAO!

You've opened up a very interesting side topic which was of course central to Edsa DOS: the "elite"

Bystander has a point that not all who opposed Erap were "the elite". In fact most were not, but E2 was certainly led and supported by "the elite".

But which elite? Who exactly are we talking about? We know that there are also "elites" that supported Erap and still do. They are clearly a very different set of "elites".

May I now throw in perhaps a conversation starter by proposing a hypothesis to be proven or disproven by further observation and commentary:

That the elite which overthrew Erap in Edsa Dos was "the Roman Catholic elite" of Civil Society, Media, Business, Politics who basically saw Erap as a heathen, a pagan, a boor of the masses, a false God, a pretender to the Throne, an unworthy president dredged up from the seamy side of democracy, a lecher, a gambler, a drunk...all of which he was. but 12 million votes counted as nothing to them, with, and without reason.

There is in one sense only a single political party in the Philippines. It is the Catholic Church, but with many political parties and cult movements centered around it. A particularly powerful sect of this single party recognized Erap as an interloper, a dangerous element. Thus from day one he was being destabilized, rightly and wrongly!

All the protest actions against Erap were largely proper exercises of rights and freedoms, but the coup de grace was not -- proposed, planned and agreed to at Cardinal Sin's breakfast table on 20 Jan 2001,one day after Angie's mutiny and hours before the swearing in.

But this is just my theory from what I have reconstructed of that event: The Christian Right in the Philippines, did Erap in, using both moral and immoral means by riding on legitimate protest against his regime. But his goose was cooked probably long before the impeachment, because he was a PAGAN relative to that particular elite.

By the way, I now realize that Edsa 2 is also a case of blasphemy against Christ and Mama Mary and the true religious beliefs of Christians....this could deserve a whole new post...

Jego said...

I think lcsiao nailed it with this statement: "Erap is a testament to the elite's utter failure to bring about change in this country. He wouldn't have had the chance to be voted into power in the first place had the elite proved to have fielded honest, competent leaders who had the poor majority's welfare in mind in terms of governance and policy directions."

Like Rizalist said, "I think because we are like the Jews and have turned Erap into a Christ, a King of the Masses, and Edsa Dos was really a crucifixion -- by the Sanhedrins of Civil Society -- who don't want to be seen as being just like him..."

The [Roman Catholic Civil Society] elite has covered up their failing of the masses with Erap's ouster and the banner of 'morality', and we are all reaping the whirlwind.

ricelander said...

Dean, this post is getting too long. But anyway, here's my piece:

You thesis is correct: the elite saw Erap as the embodiment of evil and the Philippines must be saved from the ignorant 12 million or so voters. I see analogy in that in a parent whose daughter fell in love head over heels with a local playboy, who gambles till dawn, who daily drinks till stewed, fears the church like a vampire, etc. So the parent gets the lothario kidnapped and made inaccessible while setting the daughter up with someone who in good estimate the perfect mate, being civic-oriented, highly educated, from a rich family, and religious. Where could it possibly go wrong for the loving parent who only had good intentions? Well, many ways, as it could also go right. But as it could go wrong, if anything should go wrong, it would be the parent's burden and fault, for supplanting the daughter's right of choice.

When reasonable, educated people should ask why the majority is making such "ignorant" choices, I have this to share from a financially-challenged friend: "It is the rich people's fault that they allowed too many poor, ignorant people grow in such a number."
I do not know if he meant poor people should be slaughtered or rich people should reproduce more. Maybe, he meant it's the poor people's revenge for being made poor.

AmericanPainter said...

DJB,

I concede that you are correct in saying that it did take a long time for America to work things out. Does any of the following sound familiar?

Benjamin Wade was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1851. Wade was considered one of the most radical politicians in the United States at that time. He supported votes for women, trade union rights and equal civil rights for African Americans. He was highly critical of capitalism and argued that an economic system "which degrades the poor man and elevates the rich, which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, which drags the very soul out of a poor man for a pitiful existence is wrong."

It did take a long time but capitalism finally succeeded in becoming somewhat equitable, women gained the right to vote, trade unions were granted rights and 114 years later African -Americans gained equal civil rights.

Rizalist said...

American Painter,
After two hundred years America's greatest possession is the ability to change, to right wrongs even of long standing. Her society's greatest virtue is its capacity for self-correction. Even under the sometimes inconvenient processes of democracy, or because of them, vast transformations have been seen in American history that are the result of people fighting for the eternal principles, of never stopping until something was "right."

And it was not always by virtue of some peaceful plebiscite, though somewhere along the line, each change had to be accompanied by that. Nor were all American "self-corrections" peaceful and nonviolent! For the Civil War, which gave the kidnapped Negroes and their descendants manumission, was, is and hopefully always will be the bloodiest War ever fought by America in terms of dead and wounded.

Every victory for some human right or liberty that America achieved was accompanied before, during and after it, by sometimes horrible social strife and turmoil.

But the example has been set. Democracies can end up choosing a set of policies and leaders over time that can lead to successful survivors in the world of nations and people.

The Bystander said...

DEAN:

Before I comment on your new proposition, let me take you back to what you said in reaction to my earlier questions. You stated:

1. ”NO democratic system or even, eternal principle, can possibly GUARANTEE that the guilty will always be found so and punished, or that the innocent will always be acquited. That is the ETERNAL DILEMMA of justice. But you are asking for such a guarantee!”

--I was not asking for a guarantee. Instead, I was merely pointing out that the solution to our problems may not always be found within the system. Sometimes you have to work outside the system to make things work! A primary example was Edsa 1. A second example, arguably, was Edsa 2. If not for the military mutiny of Ramos-Enrile-Honasan et al coupled with the support of the people who flocked to Edsa out of indignation for Marcos’ rigging of the snap elections, the democratic institutions that were absent during Marcos’ 20-year reign would not have been restored. Unfortunately, with Gloria’s current hegemonic tendencies, these democratic institutions we have fought so hard to restore are once again on the brink of extinction.

2. ”Yet democracy is only the freedom of opportunity, I realized thanks to your question. In order for society to have the OPPORTUNITY to fairly and justly decide legal cases of moral wrongdoing, it must accept the possibility IN THE SYSTEM that some guilty will get away -- because we find it abhorrent that even a single innocent person be unjustly punished!”

--Yes, we must accept the possibility that the system, with its inherent flaws, some guilty will get away. We might always charge it to judicial experience that because of the corrupt behavior of a prosecutor, or the incompetence of a presiding judge, AN ORDINARY CITIZEN LIKE JUAN DE LA CRUZ accused of the petty crime of theft may still get acquitted despite overwhelming proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt BUT it is a different story if the guilty who gets away with cheating, lying and stealing is THE HIGHEST PUBLIC OFFICIAL OF THE LAND! If this is the “guilty” who gets away under the system that you are willing to uphold, then something must be inherently wrong with that system! We must at all times exact a different, higher standard of accountability for public officials because public office is a public trust. Even the lowliest government employee is not excused from the application of this standard. What if there would come a time (and I feel it has already come) when all the democratic processes and institutions have become so corrupted that they are no longer able to hold the guilty accountable for their misdeeds, will you still bank on that system to give justice to the oppressed? Do you think that Gloria will allow this second impeachment attempt to even reach the Senate? There might even be a possibility we will no longer have a Senate this year if the ChaCha succeeds! And when it does succeed, it will be harder for those against Gloria to impeach her. Charter Change was precisely designed to be impeachment-proof and for Gloria’s cohorts in Congress to stay in power till kingdom come. Do you think that under that new system only some of the guilty will be allowed to get away?

The Bystander said...

BFR:

You said:

"Hillblogger, I do not actually want to belong to those "thinking Filipinos" of Bystander. Their latest choice Gloria sucks and their previous choices also did not live up to their hype. So much for thinking! They are responsible for the mess we have right now. And what an illegal, illegitmate, cheating, lying and intellectually thinking quicksand it is.

Stop thinking and start LISTENING to the PEOPLE. 11 million Filipinos placed ERap in Malacanang but those thinking Filipinos chose to NEGATE their votes and tell them that they are not thinking and placed Gloria instead. SO now, please tell me who is the greater THINKER?"


--Again you put me out of context. Let me expose some of your FALLACIES:

1. Can you find anything in my statement that says I supported the ouster of Erap because my choice was Gloria? Before you put me again out of context (either this is deliberate or plainly clumsy and irrational), let me state for the record that I DID NOT, AM NOT, AND WILL NEVER SUPPORT A CHEATING, LYING, AND STEALING PRESIDENT LIKE GLORIA. In fact, to Erap's credit, I despise Gloria even more! I supported Edsa 2 because I sincerely believed Erap had to go and not because I want to put Gloria in place. I've always believed that Edsa2 was a quest for truth and accountability, not a class war between the Elite and the masses as some would want to impress upon and perceive. And even if we were to assume that most of the Elite supported the ouster of Erap, it does not change the fact that Erap's incompetence with some corruption on the side was main cause of his own downfall. Besides, it just so happened that Gloria Arroyo, under our CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM, was the direct beneficiary. She was the Vice-President at that time. Naturally she was the constitutional successor.

Again, before you put me out of context, let me make myself clear that I am not a member of the Elite nor a member of the Left. I do not even consider myself part of the intellegentsia. I am just a BYSTANDER trying to articulate my personal political views in cyberspace.

True, there were many Leftists and members of the Elite in Edsa 2 as there are many Leftists and some of the members of the Elite against Gloria now. But does it change the fact of Erap's incompetence then and Gloria's lying, cheating and stealing now?

Just a piece of advice: before you make premises and make conclusions out of those premises, check the facts first. Please don't put a commenter in a bad light just because you do not agree with his comments. It will not help your cause nor put validity to your argument.

2. "...11 million Filipinos placed ERap in Malacanang but those thinking Filipinos chose to NEGATE their votes and tell them that they are not thinking and placed Gloria instead."

--You mean to say that just because 11 million people voted for Estrada, I no longer have the right to question, oppose, protest and defy against his excesses? Was the motive of Edsa 2 supporters primarily to negate the votes of the millions who voted for him? Was that what they really had in mind when they went to Edsa -- to negate the votes of 11 million people? Are we being intellectually honest here? Check your facts again BFR. What do we have here? Conclusions of fact based on fiction?

If the 11 million people you say really believed in the innocence of Estrada or of his right to sit as President despite the serious and substantial allegations of incompetence and corruption, why were they conspicuously absent when Erap needed them the most?

LCsiao said...

At least 1 to 2 million of them were there for him, albeit belatedly, during EDSA Tres.

I guess they were overtaken by the events of EDSA Dos. Everything sorta happened in a flash.

The Bystander said...

LCSIAO:

These are my reactions to your questions:

1. "But probable cause doesn't equate with outright guilt or culpability, right?"

--You're correct. But that statement should be taken in the context of what I actually stated in that comment. I said "probable cause to indict him" -- which means to charge him. I did not say probable cause to convict him. Of course from what I've observed during the impeachment trial, I am convinced that Erap is guilty of those charges. But it is the Sandiganbayan now which is legally mandated to judicially determine the guilt of the accused. My personal opinion bears no weight at all to the guilt or innocence of Estrada. By the way, "probable cause" signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man’s belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense. It is the confluence of such facts and circumstances sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. This is the basis for the criminal complaint against Estrada and it is now the duty of the prosecutors to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

2. ”But are you saying that you now believe the Second Envelope to NOT be all that it's cracked up to be, considering the preponderance of other "evidence"?”

--The “second envelope” was not some separate crime that could have made a difference on the guilt or innocence of Estrada. It was essentially connected to and intertwined with the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo and to the paper trail (other bank documents) that led to the discovery of the Jose Velarde account. I also have doubts if that second envelope was the same second envelope that the pro-Estrada senators were vehemently opposing to be opened. If that second envelope really had nothing to hide, why did the eleven senators oppose, as I said, its opening? If I remember right, their reason for refusing to open the second envelope was because the allegation that Erap maintained a fictitious bank account was not originally contained in the Articles of Impeachment. But then again, they had already allowed Clarissa Ocampo to testify pertaining to that bank account. So there was no more reason to prevent the opening of the second envelope, except perhaps, to defend their beleaguered President.

3. ”At least 1 to 2 million of them were there for him, albeit belatedly, during EDSA Tres.

I guess they were overtaken by the events of EDSA Dos. Everything sorta happened in a flash.”


--During Edsa 3, after Erap’s political leaders incited them to proceed to Malacanang, they left them out in the cold. They inflamed the passions of the masses only to disown them later on. I perfectly understand the sentiments of the masses who supported and believed in Erap. Erap’s entire political career rested on the shoulders of these people. He was able to get their loyalty through freebies and cash dole outs, not to mention the image he was able to project in the movies as the “robin hood” of the common man. But if you look closely, he also failed (as well as the other political leaders) to bring about substantial change in improving the lives of these people. Now, Gloria is doing the same thing to get their loyalty.

manuelbuencamino said...

DJB,

When one engages in people power one accepts that the end justifies the means. Otherwise the only way to change the status quo will be to play by the rules and that means means accepting the status quo.

There are no rules regarding the means for overthrowing those in power.

One revolts and one is judged on the results attained not the means employed. It doesn't matter if a revolt was of peasants or upper classes or of a band of rebels or millions of people. It doesn't matter if the rebels played fair. It doesn't even matter if those revolted against deserved to be overthrown. All that seems to matter to people in the end is whether they have a better life after the revolt regardless of why, how, and what it took to get there.


In England, lords revolted against their king but all Brits, except the monarch, are happy with that revolution. No one questioned their means. They were judged on the results of their revolt.
Same thing with the American Revolution. But the Russian Revolution was different. It was judged bad because Lenin and Stalin fucked-up.

EDSA 2 was bad because Arroyo didn't do better than Erap. EDSA 1 was okay because Cory was an improvement over Marcos.

The ultimate results are what counts when one speaks of political change.

I don't know whether that's good or bad, I don't even like it, but to me it looks like it's the moral standard.

Abe N. Margallo said...

Isn’t the story of Saul one of mutiny?

Saul was a devout Jew and as such he was a persecutor of the church. He felt that Jesus’ followers were a threat to the Jewish religion. Thus, "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples," he went to the Jewish high priest for a warrant to arrest any seditious rabble-rousers and supporters of the New Regime ("the Way") in the synagogues of Damascus, where the Gospel teach-ins were attracting more converts.

As Saul approached Damascus with plans to seize the destabilizers who "belonged to the Way, whether men or women" and "take them as prisoners to Jerusalem," he balked at his plans because of a revolutionary vision that totally changed the direction of his life, initially by conspiring with a rebel named Ananias.

Luke describes what happened in Acts (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-16 and 26:4-18), and Saul (now Paul) himself mentions them in his letters to the churches in Galatia and Corinth (Galatians 1:16-21; 2 Corinthians 11:22-23).

The Christian revolution was not an immediate success. But today more than 2 billion adherents believe that the ends justified Saul’s transgression.

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

A person writes and speaks out of his own context. And another person understands him out of their own context. In the process the same words does not hold the same meaning for both. And this is what makes for a lively discussion. For what is a discussion if everybody agrees with each other?

Thank you Icsiao for agreeing with me 99% but thank you also Bystander for disagreeing with me 100%. All the discussants in this Blog really make my day. But DJB, I appreciate you the most. Like they say in the NBA, "You're the Man!" Kudos to you too, Icsiao, Hillblogger, de brux, Karl, rizalist, amadeo, jego, and mlq3.

Btw, the 11 million Filipinos who voted for Erap were not absent when he needed them most. Unlike the elite, the masa were trying to follow the rule of law by means of the impeachment process to which Erap idealistically submitted himself. EDSA Dos took them by surprise. But when Erap was taken from Folk Street to bring him to Camp Aguinaldo last May 2001, some of them consoled themselves at Edsa and were followed by a lots more and for four nights they demonstrated, more than 2 million of them. EDSA Tres was spontaneous but EDSA Dos was not.

And then they were gunned and truncheoned when they went to Mendiola. End of going out into the streets for the masa, for now and perhaps never again.

The sad plight of FPJ and Erap & the 32% of the Pilipinos who are for them has proven one thing: those who regard themselves as educationally and academically prepared to be President will never let one they regard as unprepared to be PRESIDENT, not ever. So, do not expect us in the streets, we have already accepted that reality.

bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

A person writes and speaks out of his own context. And another person understands him out of their own context. In the process the same words does not hold the same meaning for both. And this is what makes for a lively discussion. For what is a discussion if everybody agrees with each other?

Thank you Icsiao for agreeing with me 99% but thank you also Bystander for disagreeing with me 100%. All the discussants in this Blog really make my day. But DJB, I appreciate you the most. Like they say in the NBA, "You're the Man!" Kudos to you too, Icsiao, Hillblogger, de brux, Karl, rizalist, amadeo, jego, and mlq3.

Btw, the 11 million Filipinos who voted for Erap were not absent when he needed them most. Unlike the elite, the masa were trying to follow the rule of law by means of the impeachment process to which Erap idealistically submitted himself. EDSA Dos took them by surprise. But when Erap was taken from Folk Street to bring him to Camp Aguinaldo last May 2001, some of them consoled themselves at Edsa and were followed by a lots more and for four nights they demonstrated, more than 2 million of them. EDSA Tres was spontaneous but EDSA Dos was not.

And then they were gunned and truncheoned when they went to Mendiola. End of going out into the streets for the masa, for now and perhaps never again.

The sad plight of FPJ and Erap & the 32% of the Pilipinos who are for them has proven one thing: those who regard themselves as educationally and academically prepared to be President will never let one they regard as unprepared to be PRESIDENT, not ever. So, do not expect us in the streets, we have already accepted that reality.

Rizalist said...

Hi ABE,
You might not like the analogy you've just made between the Epiphany of Paul on the road to Damascus, and the Mutiny of Angelo Reyes on the road to EdsaDos, after you consider its logical conclusion:::that the Christian Church is the equivalent of the GMA administration, except instead of Paul there is Angie, instead of Peter there is Hilario Davide, not Timothy but Ronnie; neither Matthew nor Mark but MikeDefensor and RickSaludo; RaulGonzalez and EdErmita in place of Luke and John; Ignacio Bunye is really St. Joseph maybe and Miriam is Mama Mary. Where there are letters to Galatians, EO464; where Ephesians, CPR?

According to the proposed analogy then, who is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo if Angie Reyes is St. Paul?

I know you are not a blasphemer Abe. It's just terrible, unsustainable analogy, imho.

But if you mean, there are justifiable cases of mutiny, I can't disagree. Mostly they have to do with disobeying unlawful orders or undertaking immoral acts that conscience itself outlaws.

Paul did that. But Angie...well it's more like Paul/Angie became a ranking member of the Sanhedrin, attained the rank and station of Untouchable Pharisee, held three different positions in the Temples of the Sadducees, and even has his Mutiny legendified by the Head Scribe of Zion.

And as Mary the Mother and Mary of Magdala are Cory Aquino and Dinky Soliman, both shunted aside by Gloria Salome Arroyo, who danced for the head of that wilde beast of a man, Erap, (John the Baptist?) who heralds the future Messiah of liberty and democracy for everyman, even the drunk, the lecherous, the uncouth, the lepers, as he was himself!

The Bystander said...

BFR:

I will agree with you when I have to or I need to. I am not commenting just for the sake of disagreeing. My only objection was you made conclusions of fact (like, for example, my choice was Gloria that's why I supported the ouster of Erap) based on premises that I did not actually state. Neither can they be implied from such statements. And it is not true that I disagree with you 100%. I perfectly understand Erap's plight and if you ask me now, I would even have Erap as President than that evil midget in Malacanang. But we must also acknowledge that Erap, during his presidency, also committed some lapses in his decisions or allowed himself to be corrupted by some of his close friends. In other words, the cause of his ouster was not simply because the Elite disliked him or discriminated against him. The accusations against him -- his maintenance of a "midnight" cabinet, his drinking and gambling sessions with friends inside the Palace, the allegation that he received jueteng payola, the BW resources stock scandal, the tobacco excise tax scandal, the Jose Velarde account -- provided an opportunity for those who disliked him from the start to strike him at a stage when he was most vulnerable. You must also acknowledge the fact that a public official, especially a President, will always have "enemies" out to discredit or destroy him. That's the political reality and that is true even for honest and dedicated public officials.

What this Administration did to FPJ and is still doing now was/is basically foul. They deprived him of his Presidency. It was FPJ who won fair and square. I believed in the integrity of the man. I voted for him. He really had a "heart" for the poor. Bad thing he passed away too early.

Abe N. Margallo said...

Dean you are a funny man. Anyway my fortune from the Chinese cookie today runs like this: “What is blasphemy at one time is orthodoxy in the next.” hehe

Rizalist said...

Thanks Abe. I read what I wrote again and can't believe I did that! It's ridiculously funny and don't forget, YOU started the analogy! haha.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hi Dean, hi BFR,

Just to reiterate my stand on the extra-constitutional ouster of Estrada.

To me, the ouster of Estrada in 2001 was a breach of the rule of law at the time; furthermore, it smacked of moral inconsistency on the part of those who toppled him because they buffooned the democratic processes that were being undertaken at the time.

The media, the clergy, members of the Philippine elite (from editorialists of influential mainstream media, big, very big and extremely big business down to the members of the well known, rich or not so rich intelligentsia class), members of the tradpol class, JoMa Sison-inspired leftists and extreme leftists of 8,000 NPAs, and many overseas Pinoys who'd done good in effect, all connived to impose their own brand of "moral consistency" which is "He's not one of us!" on BFR, on the populace and on people like me.

Their brand of "moral consistency" fortunately did not get to us otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion today to try to re-establish a kind of parameter for what that moral consistency ought to be.

We ought to make it clear that the moral picture of Estrada's unconstitutional ouster cannot change from inconsistent to consistent just because some post Estrada legal hocus-pocuses conveniently changed the political and constitutional landscape in 2001.

The legalization of a military mutiny disguised as a "withdrawal of support" or the SC ruling that a constitutionally mandated president had "constructively resigned" nullifying 10s millions of Filipino voters' right to freely elect their president cannot brush aside the moral inconsistency of an extra-constitutional ouster of a sitting president.

Thanks to this DJB-led discussion on "moral consistency", I finally accepted that a picture's moral worth is truly dependent on the eyes of the beholder so I no longer wish to contradict those who were led to believe that the unconstitutional ouster of Estrada through a synchronized political-military-judicial putsch was the moral thing to do just I do not wish for them to contradict me when I say that it was NOT the moral thing to do at all.

LCsiao said...

OT: Anna, what's happening to your blog? I still can't access it up to now.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hi Dean,

Hope you won't mind this personal message for Lcsiao...

I've also received a couple of e-mail messages saying the same thing and am beginning to wonder coz I also couldn't access my blog from a different place but can access it from where I am now.

Anyway, try clicking on: http://www.hillblogger.blogspot.com or copy and paste the following on your browser: http://hillblogger.blogspot.com/2006/04/my-unequivocal-stand-on-extra.html

Thanks.