We will probably hear from the head of the Catholic Bishops all day today, as he is besieged by the Mass Media for "urging people power".
Reading Archbishop Lagdameo's Post (MP3)
Here is the BLOG POST that has become the subject of a front page banner headline and will be in all the prime time news casts for a while, I would think. There is something exultant about the title of MLQ3's post on these developments: Once more unto the breach my friends, once more upon the belief that, as Caffeine Sparks put it parabolically yesterday, the Catholic Umma are indeed mixing it up again between religion and politics as much as the radical Christianists are doing in the Bible Belt.
But I think the view of these events by the blogger who writes Deep Caring: People Power Now or Never? (new in the Philippine Commentary blogroll) deserves an extended hearing ...
The Anti-Arroyo bishops, religious and mixed groups (with various agenda) are desperate in reviving symbols and themes of Edsa people power to unseat the present president for alleged grand corruption of her administration. But they found their call for people power unheard by the people. So, they rationalize that this inaction of the people is part of the growing process towards an inevitable people power and efforts to awaken the people must be sustained.Read it all by clicking on the entire article link.
Because of their desperate desire to unseat a corrupt president through people power, they are even willing to crown Jose de Venecia as hero for the Filipino people and to accept all the confessions of Jun Lozada as gospel truths. They cannot even trust the legal system in facilitating the search for truth, because obviously it takes time and slow down the momentum of the inevitable people power. Extra-judicial forum, which is prone to trial by publicity, is more preferred venue, not only to search of truth, but to heighten the agitation of the people to act now. The forthcoming Edsa anniversary adds power to this call. Archbishop Lagdameo and other religious groups are using all their resources to agitate more the people in order to gather them back to Edsa, with or without the CBCP.
Time is essential in this call for people power. The call for people power is urgent; it's now or never. For the Anti-Arroyo forces, who failed to inspire people to launch another people power at the height of the Hello Garci scandal, the testimony of Jun Lozado and the break-away of Jose de Venecia, both articulating the long tradition and culture of corruption in Philippine politics, the momentum for people power is inevitable. If this momentum is lost, we need another spark plug to ignite the people's rage. D0 we really need this sense of urgency and momentum to achieve long and lasting change?
However, because of this urgency and momentum, the Anti-Arroyo forces may have sponsored many prayer rallies but failed to pause and reflect in prayer. They may have rightfully identified all the negativities of the present administration but failed to reflect and identify a leader who will lead us to a better future. Because we are in haste to dethrone a president at the height of people's rage that we simply install any leader for the vacancy, like what happened to both Edsa I and II. This is our collective ningas-cogon mentality.
Are the Anti-Arroyo groups reading the sign of the times?
First, the CBCP is divided. Not only divided but an overwhelming majority of the bishops are not in favor for the resignation of the president. Only 6 out of 125 are for the resignation of the president.
The term "communal action" needs to be explained to avoid its immediate implication as a call for people power to unseat another perceived corrupt president. Archbishop Lagdameo is obviously more comfortable to define this "communal action" as people power.
We have yet to listen from Archbishop Lagdameo to say mea culpa in behalf of his brother-bishops who are grateful for the financial gifts of gloria to their dioceses.
To put simply, the divided voice of CBCP has lost its prophetic voice to denounce the evils of the present administration.
Second, people power failed to empower the people. The first president we installed after Edsa people power, Cory Aquino, has failed to institutionalize people empowerment. She was, however, successful in installing back the economic and political elites to the power-base. She betrayed the Filipino people.
No wonder there is no single personality today who is calling the people back to Edsa has the moral integrity that inspires people to express their collective indignation against the amoral governance of gloria.
Not that the people are not angry with gloria but they see no credible voice, even among their pastors, to paint a better future where people are truly empowered. What they rather see is another transfer of power from the hands of the elites as championed by Cory, their rallying symbol for change in Edsa people power.
I suggest that we simply allow the rule of law to facilitate our search for truth and be vigilant in the entire process. Let us see to it that the culprits are penalized and will not allow another mockery of presidential pardon for plunderers and corrupt government officials and their cronies. Let us use our time and resources in the formation of the political conscience of our people. This is where the civil society must focus its effort. Of course, while we still have no highly politicized people, we should be vigilant against the corruption of the government officials. But our program of communal action is geared towards a mature voters who will select leaders who are responsible and accountable to the people.
Archbishop Lagdameo today describes the once glorious Edsa Dos People Power Revolution in this wise--
"Came People Power II in 2001: we thought that history would automatically repeat itself. It did not. With the disappointment and doubts surrounding Election 2004, we now look at People Power II with mixed emotions and interpretations. Sadly, People Power II installed a leader who lately only has been branded as the “most corrupt” and our government is rated “among the most corrupt governments.” Is this the reason why many in civil society regard another People Power with cynicism and indifference? They are afraid another People Power might only bring the country from one frying pan to a worse frying pan."From the frying pan to the frying pan.
There is something painfully accurate about this adaptation of the more famous aphorism involving frying pans and fire. It also unintentionally reveals the belief that there can't possibly be any improvement forthcoming from another People Power regime change, but that any change, even to a different, if equivalent frying pan would be preferable to the present tirisible situation with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. By parity of reasoning, the good Archbishop is also claiming that it can't possibly be worse, either.
From the frying pan to the frying pan.
Now despite the headline making claims for the good Archbishop, there is actually a lot of wiggle room to what he said. Indeed, the title of his post was actually:
DISCOVERING A NEW BRAND OF PEOPLE POWER!
I think he means "looking for"--and welcoming that spirit of discovery, I would urge reflection upon what the Catholic Church did at Edsa Dos, and go from there. Because while the Edsa Dos Diehards, would locate the beginning of disenchantment with Pres. Arroyo in the 2004 Hello Garci scandal, it was at Edsa Dos when the fundamental destruction of the separation of powers, of checks and balances between and among the three branches of the government occurred. In particular, it was at Edsa Dos when the Supreme Court usurped the sole and exclusive powers of the Congress to enforce 1987 Article XI Accountability of Public Officers. Anyone who passed English in High School can read this article and realize that the Supreme Court ought to have nothing to do with its subject matter since in fact it has the largest number of IMPEACHABLE Constitutional officers!
There is absolutely no comparison between Edsa 1986 which produced the present Constitution and Edsa 2001, which produced Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by the illegal acts of its Chief Justice in conspiracy with the Chief of Staff of AFP and the very same Catholic Church, who together aborted the impeachment trial of Erap and nullified what was sure to be an acquittal. In itss decision, Estrada v. Arroyo, the Supreme Court then blessed that singularly destructive act of Hilario Davide. When the House then tried to impeach Davide for financial mismanagement of the Judiciary Development Fund they got shackled with that silly Impeachment Initiation Rule that makes a mockery of the House's EXCLUSIVE right under the Constitution to initiate all cases of impeachment. The most cuckolded institution however is the Philippine Senate. It was its SOLE right to decide all cases of impeachment that was usurped. In fine there has been an unwritten doctrine of JUDICIAL SUPREMACY in which the High Court insists that all major POLITICAL QUESTIONS must now come before its Majesty.
I wonder how it will rule for example on the EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE claimed by Neri for what he knows of Evil...