I was getting a haircut last night in a barbershop with lots of talkative people, who also happened to be watching a popular tv singing contest (Pinoy Superstars). Turns out, one of the barbers and a manicurist struggling with an ingrown toenail had actually tried out for the show. But when a paid advertisement from the newly organized movement called ONE VOICE came on, there was a noticeable hush and everyone seemed to realize a serious message was being relayed. After the ad, there were murmurs and remarks about "chacha" and I was curious what they thought it all meant. Turns out, barbers and manicurists can be quite philosophical in their views and narratives ("kwentong barbero"). These ranged from the expected skepticism about ALL political messages nowadays, to one particularly insightful comment by the manicurist that chacha means "Hindi na tayo boboto para sa Presidente, sila sila na lang! Eh ano, wala na akong paki diyan!" And the talk immediately turned to relative singing skills and comparative looks of Jenalyn and Katrina.
But the remark struck me. The lady manicurist understands the practical meaning of a shift to the Parliamentary system: that it will take away from the electorate their ability to vote directly for national leaders (Senate and President) and will only be voting for their local government officials--a dicey and dangerous position if you happen to oppose the local warlords and political dynasties that cover the Archipelago. I am convinced this is the very powerful message that will derail the chacha choochoo train of the Singaw ng Bayan movement being funded and pushed by the Palace: GMA's chacha is a sinister plan to take away their vote and give it all to Jose de Venecia and his moral dwarves. One Voice is being heard!
I had attended the One Voice orientation seminar at the Ateneo de Manila University Saturday morning and got to chat with and interview some of its convenors.
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, former Comelec Chair and nominal leader of the organization, led the presentation which was attended by about 200 people. His message in the first One Voice ad, sums up the movement's important objective: We must restore the people's faith and confidence in democracy." In a Palace counter-attack on the group's apparently effective first advertisements, Singaw ng Bayan and Rep. Judy Antonino have accused the group as "elitist" and that One Voice has P252 million in ad money. Mr. Monsod disputed the figure, but revealed that "businessmen concerned about growing authoritarianism" have generously donated the money for the ads, on condition of anonymity.
MLQ3 ("The Explainer") was present and leads the speakers lineup in the coming national campaign to explain the chacha and to get the vote out. I predict that school campuses, with its vast numbers of young unregistered but eligible voters, will be a major arena in which One Voice will make big difference. It is a statistical fact that students and youth often have strong opinions about things, but they don't bother to vote. A strong registration campaign is an effective, yet truly nonpartisan method of mobilizing larger numbers of citizens to participate in the electoral process. And to help restore faith and confidence in democracy by alerting the people to the power of their numbers and their ballots.
RAUL CONCEPCION was present at the affair and I had a remarkable conversation with him about ELECTORAL REFORM. I only wish our friend Postigo Luna of ComelecAko were there too. Mr. Concepcion strongly backs the idea of VERIFIABILITY OF PRECINCT RESULTS that we've been discussing here. And he agrees, any new law should enforce the mandate upon Comelec to publish those results in newspapers or online throughout the canvassing period. (He was even more passionate about this idea than I was). We also exchanged views on the role of automation and the need to reduce or eliminate that durn multi-stage canvass during which the Garcis of this sad archipelago do their dirty work. Btw folks, please check out and contribute to the wiki that Postigo Luna has put up: Botante Ako!
From the looks of the planning workshops that followed the convenors presentations, One Voice has shifted into second gear and represents a major force to stop the chacha choo choo train. Jose de Venecia was on tv last week to describe his revised timetable for taking away the peoples ability NOT to vote for his sorry sack of shit (GWB and CNN use "shit" so why can't I?):
Sometime in August, the Comelec will complete their over-eager and possibly unconstitutional indulging of Raul Lambino's Singaw ng Bayan signature campaign and begin considering how and when to schedule a plebsicite. By the end of September, the Panganiban-led Supreme Court will reverse itself on the historic 1997 Santiago vs. Comelec decision, which ruled the people's initative mode of chacha as unconstitutional for lack of an enabling law. (Funny how FVR, the Pedrosas and other shady characters from that era are also on board the new chacha choo choo). Then, after the required 60 day campaign period, JDV expects to convene a interim Parliament by November after a plebiscite that he says (with moist and gleaming eyes, his eyebrows crouching into a sharp inverted "V") will bring peace and prosperity to the country.
Well, I don't think so.
When GMA and Erap finally share a cell block together, I'll donate the 24/7 webcam and Internet service.
(9:45) In the Media workshop of One Voice, there was an interesting discussion on the accusation of Palace surrogates that the organization is "elitist" and proof of this was the estimated P252 million cost of the ad campaign (which Christian Monsod disputed and said was actually less than 10% of that figure). But the discussion centered on how to "counter" this charge. I was playing the Devil's Advocate by observing that Filipinos don't have any problem voting for elites, both from the political, business, social and entertainment elites, all of whom have one thing in common: money. It comes with the turf, and though One Voice proclaims nonpartisanship, the general impression I get from my own (unscientific) polls of people, is that most think of One Voice as being "anti-GMA". (I suppose it's the prominent presence among its signatories of the "Bishops 6" accused of participating in what ABSCBN News insists was a "failed coup d'etat" last Feb. 24.) But contrary to some "politically correct" opinions expressed at the workshop that One Voice should project a masa image, I don't think it hurts One Voice at all if the Palace wants to portray it as having P252 million pesos worth of support from anonymous donors. The group decided, it would not go into a defensive position on the Palace accusation. Right on! There is no need to display elitist guilt feelings or self-consciousness. It's enough that one's true motives are on the side of the people, and not hypocritical elites whose motives are not.
(1600) Thanks to William "Dave" Hanley of San Antonio Texas who emailed this link to an article in the National Review Online by Victor Davis Hanson on the use of language in the Media with respect to the ongoing conflict between Hezbollah and Israel:
The Victory of Untruth. (NRO) by Victor Davis Hanson
A "ceasefire" would occur should Hezbollah give back kidnapped Israelis and stop launching missiles; it would never follow a unilateral cessation of Israeli bombing. In fact, we will hear international calls for one only when Hezbollah's rockets are about exhausted.
"Civilians" in Lebanon have munitions in their basements and deliberately wish to draw fire; in Israel they are in bunkers to avoid it. Israel uses precision weapons to avoid hitting them; Hezbollah sends random missiles into Israel to ensure they are struck.
"Collateral damage" refers mostly to casualties among Hezbollah's human shields; it can never be used to describe civilian deaths inside Israel, because everything there is by intent a target.
"Cycle of Violence" is used to denigrate those who are attacked, but are not supposed to win.
"Deliberate" reflects the accuracy of Israeli bombs hitting their targets; it never refers to Hezbollah rockets that are meant to destroy anything they can.
"Deplore" is usually evoked against Israel by those who themselves have slaughtered noncombatants or allowed them to perish — such as the Russians in Grozny, the Syrians in Hama, or the U.N. in Rwanda and Dafur.
"Disproportionate" means that the Hezbollah aggressors whose primitive rockets can't kill very many Israeli civilians are losing, while the Israelis' sophisticated response is deadly against the combatants themselves. See "excessive."
Anytime you hear the adjective "excessive," Hezbollah is losing. Anytime you don't, it isn't.
"Eyewitnesses" usually aren't, and their testimony is cited only against Israel.
"Grave concern" is used by Europeans and Arabs who privately concede there is no future for Lebanon unless Hezbollah is destroyed — and it should preferably be done by the "Zionists" who can then be easily blamed for doing it.
"Innocent" often refers to Lebanese who aid the stockpiling of rockets or live next to those who do. It rarely refers to Israelis under attack.
The "militants" of Hezbollah don't wear uniforms, and their prime targets are not those Israelis who do.
"Multinational," as in "multinational force," usually means "third-world mercenaries who sympathize with Hezbollah." See "peacekeepers."
"Peacekeepers" keep no peace, but always side with the less Western of the belligerents.
"Quarter-ton" is used to describe what in other, non-Israeli militaries are known as "500-pound" bombs.
"Shocked" is used, first, by diplomats who really are not; and, second, only evoked against the response of Israel, never the attack of Hezbollah.
"United Nations Action" refers to an action that Russia or China would not veto. The organization's operatives usually watch terrorists arm before their eyes. They are almost always guilty of what they accuse others of.
(1620) LUMAD GROUPS REJECT INCLUSION IN BANGSAMORO HOMELAND (Via Mindanews) Here is a really thorny problem for those in the administration who think that the Mindanao problem can be solved simply by creating a Bangsamoro Ancestral Domain to be run by the MILF/MNLF:
Representatives of the Lumad (indigenous peoples) from 26 tribes in Mindanao have issued a “unified position” declaring their “strong opposition for the inclusion of our Ancestral Domains/Ancestral Lands into the Bangsamoro homeland.” Arumanen-Manobo Datu Al Saliling of Carmen, North Cotabato, the Lumads’ representative to the government peace panel’s technical working group, said at least 107 representatives from 18 tribes and eight sub-tribes in Mindanao, signed the position paper at the end of the two-day Indigenous Peoples’ Summit last Monday (July 24) in Tulugan, Sungko, Lantapan, Bukidnon.We better get this thing right or we could be turning Mindanao into another Lebanon. Coincidentally, I listened to the Chairman of the Bangsamoro People's National Congress, Amalim Centi Tillah, evading ABSCBN ANC's Tony Velasquez's direct question about the call of AL QAEDA's Zayman Al Zawahiri's call for global jihad against Israel. I did not hear him categorically reject such a call. No wonder even the lumads (native Filipinos who are neither Christians nor Muslims) are suspicious of the deal being cooked up with the Bangsamoro's leaders, many of whom are indistinguishable from the Christian warlords and local potentates all over the North and Central parts of the Philippines.