Monday, August 7, 2006

Is One Voice A Palace Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?

BLAWGER ED LACIERDA, legal counsel of the Black and White Movement opposing President Gloria Macapgal Arroyo answered in the affirmative when ABSCBN's Ricky Carandang asked him this question this morning about the One Voice Movement led by Christian Monsod and apparently supported by several top leaders of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), including its President, Archbishop Angelo N. Lagdameo.

Ed is apparently in disagrement with the position taken by One Voice on the 2007 elections as a "referendum" on the President, saying that "local elections" are very different than national elections. He said Black and White were okay "with electoral reform, computerization and all that" but that he could not see how a credible election would be held "with GMA still in power."

From what I could gather, Ed, and by extension the Black and White Movement are firmly for impeachment being the only viable route to settling the President's crisis of legitimacy. This position is bolstered by the recent Pulse Asia Survey result indicating that 56% of the electorate would like to see last year's failed impeachment bid revived.

My own position is as follows:

(1) I strongly support the non partisan movement called One Voice, especially their opposition to the chacha choo choo train of Jose de Venecia and the Sigaw ng Bayan's people's initiative. I think they represent a genuine and substantive dissent from the bums' rush that the President and her men are allowing by indulging the people's initiative, which will require quite a somersault on the part of the Supreme Court to reverse Santiago vs. Comelec, which struck down the first time FVR tried to pull a chacha in 1997.

(2) Regarding their position on the 2007 elections as a referendum, that too in my opinion, is a valid position to take, despite Ed's remark about 2007 being mainly composed of local elections. But he neglected to consider the fact that 2007 is also a senatorial election, which ARE national elections and typically have produced the future presidents of the country. In fact, early indications are that the Senate will become OPPOSITION country after 2007, with such stalwarts as former Senate Majority Leader Loren Legarda (who was FPJ's running mate in 2004 ) already registering strong polling numbers for a comeback to the Senate. The same is true for former Senators Tito Sotto, John Osmena and a number of re-electionists like Jinggoy and Loi Estrada. In fact, the smart money is on this strong possibility of a fully Oppositionist Senate. What that means is that IF 80 congressmen inclined to vote for a prospective THIRD impeachment bid next year (assuming the one this year fails for lack of numbers), GMA's ass is grass.

(3) Though I believe many within One Voice actually are still supporting the President, there is nothing in their steadfastly NON-PARTISAN position on chacha (they want a Constitutional Convention) and the 2007 elections (they want to do a registration drive, especially among the youth) that would preclude the impeachment that Black and White Movement wants. Which I too believe is the best way to resolve the President's crisis of legitimacy. To be impeached and convicted or acquitted. As far as I'm concerned, there are four more chances to do before 2010.

(4) I don't believe support for One Voice is necessarily support for the Palace. I see it mainly as an anti-chacha movement that can potentially help elect the kind of folks that will support democratic processes, not sabotage them as the Palace has done.

(5) But I am against inane charades like last year's People's Tribunal, which was a leftist fantasy kangaroo court whose heavy Stalinist-Maoist overtones turned off a lot of good people and damaged this year's impeachment bid.

21 comments:

postigo luna said...

one voice wants to do a registration drive? that's good news. i know a guy who can help from inside.

postigo luna said...

inside the comelec, i mean.

john marzan said...

"Regarding their position on the 2007 elections as a referendum, that too in my opinion, is a valid position to take, despite Ed's remark about 2007 being mainly composed of local elections. But he neglected to consider the fact that 2007 is also a senatorial election, which ARE national elections and typically have produced the future presidents of the country."

oo nga, malaki ang chance na makuha ng opposition ang senado, PERO as long as hawak ng admin ang House, walang impeachment ang mai aakyat sa senado para masimulan ang trial ni arroyo.

john marzan said...

kung makuha ng opposition ang senado, matatanggap ba ng one voice ang "referendum" na ito? na kontra ang majority ng pilipino sa pekeng presidente?

Rizalist said...

Postigo,
Yes a big part of One Voice's activity this coming year will be a registration drive especially among college and university students, who don't bother to vote even if they usually have strong opinions about things. How can the Comelec help. Is there a way to assist this group without earning the ire of the powers that be?

Karl M. Garcia said...

Although many people still think that there would be no credible elections so long as GMA is around,what are we gonna do about it?

Encouraging registration like what one voice is doing with the youth and like the liikes of Postigo is doing by promoting the continuing registration on his blog.

Another of course is to support the move that the role of the military is to support the civilian authority and not the civilian candidate.

and of course vigilance to counter the ever strong political machinery.

Karl M. Garcia said...

If the worry that this year may be another numbers game,it would be wrong to give up the attempt for impeachment and roll over and play dead.
But with a credible election result the required 78 to move the impeachment trial to the senate would be much easier to achieve.

So I think the Black and White and One voice will meet half way.

Rizalist said...

Right you are Karl. I don't see why they would argue when there really is more common ground between them than not.

Edwin Lacierda said...

DJB,

Thank you for featuring me in your blog today but let me state that the position on the "referendum" is my personal sentiment on the matter, not that of Black and White. Black and White will make its official position known through Helga and/or Enteng Romano.

In any event, you may be right that the Senate may be referendum battleground but for purposes of impeachment, it really means nothing at all until the opposition secures a third of the House of Representatives.

The battleground, I think, is in the House but local politics being what they are in the Philippines which is essentially patronage politics, i am quite skeptical of One Voice's position that 2007 will be a referendum on the president.

But wouldn't it be nice to prove us skeptics wrong? So, lets wait and see.

Rizalist said...

Welcome ED,
That was a great lil conversation with Ricky. Now, not to put too fine a point on it, let's see what follows if we ASSUME that the Senate is solidly "oppositionist" after the 2007 national senatorial elections. By "oppositionist" I mean inclined to vote guilty in an Impeachment Trial of GMA on the strength of personal character AND/OR pure partisanship. In other words, IF GMA is impeached by the 2007 House of Representatives, she could be gone by this time next year and the country can go about becoming the New England of Southeast Asia, armed with a successful exercise in the Rule of Law.

DON'T YOU SEE THIS HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY?

I always wondered why Americans claim their Congress IS the closest thing to the people. If just EIGHTY representatives next year are likewise "oppositionist", the people will have spoken as loudly as if God had.

What's Black n White's plan for the chess board that is evolving in a game that never ends?

Rizalist said...

Postigo,
I might ask you the same thing about the Comelec. What plans for example DOES it have to make the REGISTRATION credible, reliable, and easy for the citizens to use? I hope it's not more of the same. What would you say will be new in 2007?

Rizalist said...

Postigo,
And why aren't you guys pushing to clean out the Augean Stables at the level of the Commision en banc. Gives honest government officials a bad name you know!

The Bystander said...

I strongly support the non partisan movement called One Voice, especially their opposition to the chacha choo choo train of Jose de Venecia and the Sigaw ng Bayan's people's initiative.

--Really, Dean? In Philippine government and politics, is there still such a thing as a non-partisan movement? To claim that they are non-partisan is to me a hypocritical position to take. The mere fact that they are opposed to the cha-cha version of Singaw should have immediately led you to conclude that they are no longer non-partisan in that regard.

...But he neglected to consider the fact that 2007 is also a senatorial election, which ARE national elections and typically have produced the future presidents of the country. In fact, early indications are that the Senate will become OPPOSITION country after 2007, with such stalwarts as former Senate Majority Leader Loren Legarda (who was FPJ's running mate in 2004 ) already registering strong polling numbers for a comeback to the Senate.

--I beg to disagree.

First, you are assuming that there will be credible elections under Arroyo which to my mind would never happen.

Second, even if the opposition will win majority seats in the Senate, it can never be a referendum on Mrs. Arroyo. Why? Because people in the countryside who comprise more than half of the voting population would vote for their favorite Senator either according to how much money he/she can offer or how good he/she looks in person or how well he/she has comported himself/herself during the campaign. GMA's "legitmacy", therefore is a non-issue insofar as they're concerned. Just look at the election into office of Senators Loi and Jinggoy circa 2001. Using your logic, do you mean to say that their election was also a referendum on the "guilt" or "innocence" of President Estrada back then?


I don't believe support for One Voice is necessarily support for the Palace. I see it mainly as an anti-chacha movement that can potentially help elect the kind of folks that will support democratic processes, not sabotage them as the Palace has done.

--You cannot blame us for being skeptical about One Voice. While we must oppose Lambino's cha-cha, we must first and foremost settle the score on GMA's alleged lying, cheating and stealing. It is impossible to institute political and electoral reforms now and in the immediate future because she would never allow that while she is in power.

But am against inane charades like last year's People's Tribunal, which was a leftist fantasy kangaroo court whose heavy Stalinist-Maoist overtones turned off a lot of good people and damaged this year's impeachment bid.

--It's pretty obvious that the people's tribunal merely served a symbolic function, no more no less. It won't do any good to always label anything and everything as Communist. You must remember Dean that the Kangaroo Court was merely an offshoot to the refusal of Congress to give due course to the impeachment complaint.

The Bystander said...

Erratum:

"Second, even if the opposition will win most of the seats in the Senate, it can never be a referendum on Mrs. Arroyo. Why? Because people in the countryside who comprise more than half of the voting population will vote for their favorite Senators not because of their being pro or anti GMA but usually because of the money involved, the popularity, the looks etc. GMA's "legitmacy", therefore, is a non-issue insofar as voters are concerned.

Just look at the election into office of Senators Loi and Jinggoy circa 2001. Using your logic, do you mean to say that their election was a referendum on the "guilt" or "innocence" of President Estrada back then?"

Rizalist said...

The Bystander,

Thank you for your comments.

My position on One Voice is not unequivcal support but collaboration with a movement that can push the processes of democracy forward.

What I think many people steadfastly ignore about those processes of democracy however, is that they are not GUARANTEES of RESULTS but merely OPPORTUNITIES to advance what the people, in all their multifarious and imperfect situations and intentions consider to be their interest.

I cannot accept the implicit assertion you seem to be insisting on that all that is happening now is some kind of pure fascism. Even as I am 100% behind the move to impeach the president, the emergence of a strong democratic polity cannot be substituted for that desired result. If GMA could be removed but at the expense of those democratic processes becoming weaker not stronger, I would NOT be for such a removal.

For example, I would have opposed any movement to remove her by force, say if by some insane miracle the Kangaroo Court had nucleated a mass of 50,000 to march on Malacanang under the banners of their Presiduum. Sure that act was symbolic -- symbolic of the illegitimate Leftist fantasies. I don't use labels lightly or superfluously so when I say something is communist, I mean it with all derision possible. The optics of the Kangaroo Court was damaging to the cause of Justice and revealed why it got nowhere: people don't support the communists. Simple as that! Politically, it was a blunder. It reveals the same insistence on a guaranteed result that is the heart and soul totalitarianism and the reason for its utter failure. It served not a "mere symbolic function" but was a stunning revelation of where the Left wants to take the country. Well no thanks Comrade!

As for the referendum thingy, One Voice's Christian Monsod called it an INDIRECT referendum. But you set it up as strawman, insisting it should lead directly to the resolution in the political crises of legitimacy. That too is an insistence on a guarantee of results -- another fundamental misunderstanding of how democracy works.

As for the election into office of Senators Loi and Jinggo it was most certainly evidence that SOME of the people thought the removal of President Estrada was wrong. Which it was! It was a military judicial coup detat. What those who voted for them were doing was indicting Davide and the Supreme Court. It was their crime that that election protested. It was their guilt that the people were proclaiming, not necessarily Erap's innocence. It was the undemocratic process of his removal that was at stake since he was already under arrest and the election was not adjudicating his fate, but its possible correction.

Democracy is not like communism, where some Kangaroo politburo can just dictate RESULTS even if the PROCESSES aren't there to reach them with the people's full support.

As I said to ED, I say to you:

What is YOUR plan to resolve the political crisis, other than demanding a guarantee of results that perhaps you AND I agree on?

Lord Dracula said...

Sir, I have to agree with Atty. Lacierda that the battleground will be the House. We need an oppositionist House. How will One Voice ensure this? The registration drive is well and good. And the referendum part will only be credible if the election itself is credible. With operators like Garci and Esperon around, how will One Voice ensure a clean and true elections?

By the way, if Loren Legarda runs next year, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal will surely dismiss her electoral protest. That's what happened to Miriam Santiago's case vs. Fidel Ramos. Will she abandon her electoral protest? And after spending millions?

And the political crisis that we have right now started in January 2001. Look how big the damage is. Gloria Arroyo had admitted that EDSA 2 had caused wounds, but unfortunately she tried to dress them with money. Which was beside the point. The only way for the wounds to heal is for her to resign, she is after all the cause of the wounds. It's like not removing the knife thrust into our collective throats.

Rizalist said...

Lord Dracula:

"Sir, I have to agree with Atty. Lacierda that the battleground will be the House. We need an oppositionist House."

For the purpose of impeachment we must not forget the ONE THIRD RULE. Even if the House is NOT oppositionist the crazy 1987 Constitution allows the President to be impeached and tried by the Senate even if a two thirds majority minus one in the House is AGAINST impeachment.

So even if by some miracle all 50 seats reserved for party list representatives of "margnalized sectors" (another zany idea of the 1987 Charter) are filled during the 2007 elections, then a minority of just 85 congressmen (one third of 250 plus one) can impeach the President next year.

But for the purpose of impeachment we do NOT need an "opposition House" at all, the House can be majority pro-GMA.

There are only five legitimate ways under the Constitution by which presidential terms end. See the comment above to Helga for the list. But removing knives from throats does not seem to be one of them. He he.

(Funny YOU should be talking about throat wounds LORD DRACULA)

The Bystander said...

I, too am supportive of groups that advocate democratic ideals and work for social and electoral reforms. No question about that. Besides, no insane person would oppose such goals.

What I object about ONE VOICE is that this group seems to have a conscious effort to separate the issue of Mrs. Arroyo with Charter Change per se. And to me that is being intellectually dishonest. I have yet to hear ONE VOICE oppose JDV's cha-cha or Singaw ng Bayan's people's initiative on the obvious fact that it is Mrs. Arroyo's way of perpetuating herself in office and diverting the public's attention away from charges of cheating, lying and stealing. They oppose cha-cha at the moment simply because they believe we already have many laws that can effectively address Singaw ng Bayan's concerns. The issues against Mrs. Arroyo should first be resolved before talking about cha-cha and uselessly opposing it.

On the issue of fascism, can you not see that the almost daily killings, assasinations, abductions of members of the opposition, activists, leftists without the benefit of judicial trial can only be the handiwork of a fascist or one who resorts to fascism? If you still do not believe that the AFP through Palparan with the acquiescence of Arroyo is masterminding these political killings, then you simply refuse to see even when your eyes have already opened. The way I read your opinions on the spate of extra-judicial killings in the country simply shows your hatred for people with leftist ideas, just like Palparan and former leftist and now ultra-rightist NSA Norberto Gonzales!

Except for some elements in the military and the a few civilians, the democratic processes you are talking about have been followed to the letter by almost all anti-GMA groups. Rallies, demonstrations, impeachment, etc. are all part of the democratic and constitutional process. But what about demanding the same kind of standard from the government? Haven't you noticed that the government of Mrs. Arroyo is the no.1 violator of human rights, not to mention the fact that she has damaged the credibility of democratic institutions you want to rely on? What choice does that leave the people?

No less than Abrahan Lincoln said: "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."

I cannot imagine you standing by idly and watching your countrymen being duped, abused and killed by by an immoral Administration which would do anything, legal and illegal, to maintain their illegitimate hold on power just because you prefer to seek redress with institutions that have long succumed to their whims and caprices. Now, I'm not advocating for a revolution or a coup but you must at least be open to the possibility that under the circumstances, this may be the only way to remove a discredited pseudo-leader. By analogy, wasn't it you who said that there are what we call "just wars" or something? Or are you now saying that it is only your beloved America and Britain that have the sole right to initiate change through force of arms? Would you rather prefer that EDSA 1 should not have happened simply because you want Marcos impeached by a rubberstamp Batasang Pambansa? You must remember that EDSA 1 was technically a revolution. It was a change outside of the constitutional processes!

As to the referendum brouhaha, it was Christian Monsod and not me who suggested that the 2007 elections should be a referendum of some sort on Mrs. Arroyo -- if the people still support her. He was banking on the very fooolish idea that if the majority of the Congressmen who will get elected comes from the Administration, then it is an indication that the people still support GMA! My God, his grey hairs should have reminded him that local elections do not care about national issues and he knows for sure, being a former Comelec Chairman, that elections in this part of the world are the dirtiest.

Again, I'm for democracy -- a democracy that really works. But if this is the kind of democracy (OFF the people, BUY the people and FOOL the people) under GMA that you want me to swallow, then I'd rather not. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm not for Joma's communism either -- if that is what you think I am supoortive of. They both stink!

Who was it who said that "Democracy means choosing your dictators, after they've told you what it is you want to hear."?

The Bystander said...

Erratum: Besides, no SANE person would oppose such goals.

Rizalist said...

To the Bystander,

REVOLUTION is an unconstitutional regime change. Edsa 1 was a revolution against Marcos who had perpetuated himself in power by dictatorial means. Edsa 2 was a judicial-military coup against Erap, who is probably the only democratically elected Filipino leader of our lifetimes.

Now, the people are free to revolt at any time, and institute any new State they see fit. (That comes from the American Declaration of Independence and the 1987 Philippine constitution.)

But I, --unfortunately for your frustrated good intentions for our beloved country-- do not control the masses and cannot MAKE them revolt even just to try and please you, Bystander.

Apparently neither have you been very successful at fomenting such a revolution. Short of that, we are left with the molasses like processes of ordinary, boring democracy.

RE: cha chaPolitics is addition. If ONe Voice opposes chacha and even puts its money where its mouth is by actually purchasing TV time to broadcast their anti chacha message, why would you mess with them and quibble over what Chris Monsod said? Btw, I find it naive to think that the ONLY reason some people are pushing chacha is to keep GMA in power. Granted it would have that effect, but there are others like me who though we see and oppose that, still believe that the 1987 charter is a seriously flawed, even sophomorically flawed document created by the likes of Davide and other judicial activists and theocrats, to please both the Leftists and the Rightists of their era. There are "nationalist" economic provisions that need amending because they are not in fact "patriotic". It would be insane to think that JDV/FVR and that pack of hungry wolves in the Congress lusting at the prospect of unicameral dictatorship, a lil ole boyz club to divvy up the archipelago amongst their sorry atheriosclerotic carcasses.

As for the Left, they have the same ambitions as JDV and the corrupt "Right" in Congress: they want to be able to pass laws to advance or defend their own agendas.

So who's legit? Or are they both legit?

The killingsDo you actually pretend to know who is responsible for ALL these killings. Or do you just know this as a matter of what you've read in newspapers and convincinced yourself of it. To this I can only say with chagrin: REMEMBER PLAZA MIRANDA!

But you have an interesting theory I hope to explore: that the killings are LARGELY the work of a fascist killing machine and policy. Frankly I must admit the possibility. But since I have no special information, my opinion is that there are many other explanations for the spate of killings, with no single one size fitting all cases.

The Bystander said...

I'm not asking you to foment a revolution Dean. I'm not yet that desperate to expect you to lead a revolution against the powers that be. If that happens, well and good. If not, then we might have to settle as you said with the slow and oftentimes uncertain democracy.

But allow me to make this correction: A revolution is not an unconstitutional regime change. It may be outside of the constitutional framework but never unconstitutional. It is merely extra-constitutional. If I remember right, EDSA 1 was extra-constitutional while EDSA 2 was intra-constitutional. No less than the Supreme Court in 1986 and 2001 coined such terms. You may dispute the wisdom of such decisions but they are nevetheless judicial pronouncements which unfortunately is part of the democratic/constitutional process you are banking on. They form part of the law of the land!

ONE VOICE in its ad and in its pronouncements have invited people to join their cause. It is but natural that ordinary people like me would have to scrutinize first the group's motives and intentions before we even decide to become a part of it. In the process, you cannot avoid saying something for or against it depending on your inclination. It is for this reason that I make a big deal out of the statements of the group's "leader", Christian Monsod, for he speaks in behalf of ONE VOICE.

There's no question that there might have to be amendments to the 1987 Charter. I'm all for that. What I am skeptical about is how the group could ill-afford to relegate to the sidelines the issue of Gloria Arroyo and present the issue of the current drive to change the Constitution as if it is distinct and separate from the former. Granting that there should be changes to the Constitution after 2007, it remains to be seen if any magnificently worded Constitution could be beneficial with Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts still at the helm. That is why ONE VOICE should stop being hypocritical as if the only controversial issue is Charter Change. Sure, we must oppose Sigaw ng Bayan's people's initiative but we must not forget that the pressing issue remains to be Mrs. Arroyo's penchant for cheating, lying, stealing and now KILLING! To reiterate, even the most magnificent Constitution that either you or Monsod has in mind will not make a difference under a political climate dominated by traditional and transactional politics.

I do not pretend to know each and every horrible detail of the killings -- if that is what you demand as a standard before one could say that the government has a hand in these killings. What I do know -- with the use of a little logic and common sense -- that the spate of killings has established a pattern that only the AFP through Palparan can implement with impunity. Not only do they have the motives to kill, Palparan practically admitted on national television that he considers Bayan Muna as NPAs in disguise! Now, weren't those killed belonging to members of national democratic groups like Bayan Muna et al? Of course, if you have this hatred for the leftists and those espousing leftist ideas, it would be good riddance if all these leftits were annihilated. You might even be thanking Fr. Romeo Intengan and Norberto Gonzales for conducting a study linking Bayan Muna and other leftist groups with the NPA.

However, in the democratic ideals that you espouse, the right to life is at the highest of all rights. It is at the top of the heirarchy of civil liberties. If the judicial and democratic processes are vitrual lame ducks in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of these dastardly crimes, then something in your democratic processes might be fundamentally wrong. Or is it the people running it?