Sunday, March 2, 2008

People Power Fatigue, Faith-Healing, and Psychic Dentistry

person with a painful toothache can think of nothing else but how to gain freedom from it and will often have a dentist pull the tooth--a bloody but largely painless and inexpensive operation that speedily solves the problem. Unless of course the underlying problem is actually a deadly cancer resulting in metastasis and multiple organ failure, brought on by the previous surgeries! In which case the therapy could be longer, more involved and require patience and dedication most hard to come by in this moralistic but unprincipled society. . .

FERDINAND MARCOS had become just such an intolerable toothache by 1986 that the Filipinos were glad to have Ronald Reagan pull him out with helicopters, rotten root and all, like some abscessed molar stinking to the core, with Imelda and some of the loot in tow! "Cut and cut cleanly" said the Doc. Luckily for the Filipinos he was deposited in Hawaii and not Paoay, thus sparing them from a bloody civil war.

Whatever Cardinal Sin did in 1986 he certainly could've done it much earlier, but was just too busy with what he called "constructive engagement"--later called waltzing with the Dictator. The inconvenient truth is that 99.9% of the duration of Marcos, the Catholic Church was the Palace's favorite lap poodle. The Men in Skirts cut a lot of Blue Ribbon's to satiate Imelda's Edifice Complex. By the time Ronald Reagan became President, even the Americans, whose sonofabitch Marcos was, were ready for him to cut and cut cleanly because he was doing a better job recruiting for the NPA than Joma or Satur!

But the Filipinos took a long enough time getting rid of Marcos. Some even say, he would have died soon enough from lupus and passed from history's stage without them doing anything at all, and the post-Marcos result would've been the same: a restoration of the pre-Marcos dispensation, which wasn't really much better!

The fall of Marcos also saw the rise of the very concept of Edsa People Power as a "bloodless revolution" and a "peaceful solution" to such painful conditions as fascist dictators and corrupt leaders. The claim to a people power revolution in 1986 is valid given that in 1987 a new Constitution was promulgated and ratified with all sorts of people power concepts in it meant to prevent another Marcos.

People Power was a like a hammer just waiting for a nail...

JOSEPH ESTRADA was overthrown in 2001 during the inevitable "Edsa II People Power Revolution" -- which Filipinos have only slowly learned had very little to do with the People, and was no revolution at all, but a military backed coup d'etat. Paralyzed by three straight days of round-the-clock demonstrations at the Edsa Shrine starting on 16 January 2001, he was indeed extracted by Doctors Hilario G. Davide Jr. and Doctor Angelo T. Reyes, Chiefs of the Justice and AFP Departments respectively, in a brilliant operation that is still hailed today as the Edsa II People Power Revolution. Never mind that both were derelict of specific Constitutional duties. Reyes declared and committed mutiny against his Commander in Chief and defected to the demonstrators on 19 January 2001. Davide abandoned his clear duty to finish Erap's Impeachment Trial, and uphold the Rule of Law. Instead he appeared at the Edsa Shrine in the costume of the Chief Justice and swore in the Vice President upon the strange idea that Joseph Estrada was permanently incapacitated on Saturday, 20 January 2001. Unbeknownst to Davide and the Supreme Court, and even to Erap [sic!], Erap had already resigned though the construing of that would not occur until March, 2001 after the Court had a chance to wrestle with the daemons of absurd inconsistencies involving their own actions at Edsa Dos!

Of course, a revolutionary situation could easily have been declared at Edsa Dos, and a new Constitution promulgated just like after the fall of Marcos. But why did the Supreme Court have to insist that the process of overthrowing Erap was "Constitutional throughout" even though there is neither hide nor hair of that process in the Constitution? Why was Revolution not declared and a new Constitution adopted given that the 1987 provisions were so wantonly dispensed with by no less than the Chief Justice Hilario Davide?

Haha. I just realized why recently: BECAUSE IT COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RATIFIED!
The People would've decisively and derisively REJECTED such a Davide Constitution at any plebiscite involving the overthrow of Erap. Even today!

Popular enthusiasm has noticeably waned for the sudden, radical surgeries of Edsa People Power because the last organ transplant has only produced a Mutant Republic in which the balance of power in a tripartite government has been wrecked along with the institution of Congress and cannot be restored without foregoing the addictive allure of People Power shortcuts.

While some people don't care much for the alternatives to Gloria, people's disenchantment with People Power putsches goes beyond this consideration.

The People, who have been accused of fatigue, or apathy, or indifference, to explain the failure to foment another Edsa People Power, may be far wiser than they are given credit for by their betters in Civil Society. The People seem to have a far better appreciation of the Diagnosis.

For the Filipinos first received the bad news of a Social Cancer a very long time ago. Ironically even the Catholic Bishops are sounding the clarion call for the Truth:
We face today a crisis of truth and the pervading cancer of corruption. We must seek the truth and we must restore integrity. These are moral values needing spiritual and moral insights.
Like a person with a massively throbbing toothache, a person who has Cancer likewise can think of nothing else but how to gain freedom from it. Yet, why should we label as "fatigue" or "apathy" his utter lack of enthusiasm for the psychic surgery of people power?

The man who diagnosed the Social Cancer of Filipino society even before it became Filipino society, also taught them that they ought not engage in revolutions they cannot possibly win.

Thus, I think the Filipino People know they have Cancer, not just a Toothache. It is going to take more than FAITH HEALING and PSYCHIC DENTISTRY to deal with this disease. We must expect the continuing emergence of evil cancers in our government in the foreseeable future and prepare for it by strengthening our institutions and restoring the system of checks and balance that was destroyed at Edsa DOS!

ZTE may be just the tip of the iceberg as Senate investigators open up a can of Chinese worms, causing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to suspend $4 billion worth of deals with China. On top of that, fresh accusations have arisen that the President has compromised Philippine and Asean interests in the Spratleys by jumping into bed with China, which claims ancient dominion on "the islands in the South China Sea" (like Luzon Island?)

Yet these weighty issues can hardly be settled by the much vaunted Parliament of the Streets.

If people are tired of anything, they are tired of being told a Truth they discovered long ago and then are constantly urged to take to the streets and rush into the arms of our would-be Dentists. Long ago they discovered the truth about these self-administered heart-and-brain transplants masquerading as moral revolutions of the heart and mind. All they got was Gloria.

People power is DEAD not from fatigue, but from the People having a better appreciation of the diagnosis than the pundits and their betters! We need to re-establish the immune system of our institutions, not resort to pulling teeth willy nilly, or even the psychic dentistry of the Catholic Bishops, because the underlying condition is far more serious than we think.
The Leftists are in denial that people would be fatigued over something they've been doing for half a century as a matter of professional occupation. But even Joma has scaled back his grandiose fantasies by 90%, to hundred thousand man marches.

Here is Amando Doronila on the democratic legacies of Edsa People Power. What a yawn!

The BBC had a big retrospective on People Power fatigue in the Philippines. Lotsa pix.


blackshama said...


Since you have practised political dentistry (And I really do hope you have a licence, we PhDs only have a licence to do research! If not I can dob you to the PRC.) why not prescribe the cure that may include

1) Extraction
2) A root canal
3) Cosmetic dentistry.

Just diagnosing fatigue ins't enough. The medical sciences as well as all of the natural sciences will seek the likely cause. If the diagnosis is wrong then usually medical practitioners simply call it "idiopathic" that only means their medical science has reached the limit.

It seems that your diagnosis of the situation has come close to the idiopathic category.

Maybe it is about time to play the role of the physician that will prescribe the cure and not just the diagnosis. Our first Darwinist, Dr Jose Rizal just prescribed that the sick be placed at the temple steps even if he had made the right diagnosis. Rizal obviously changed his tune in El Filibusterismo.

DJB, you still have the chance for immortality and be our Lenin!

Anonymous said...

As a student of socio political economy, i would venture to say that all the EDSA'a are as of yet unfiniehd business mainly becasue of a pinoy cultural nuance called the "areglo system". That is why these coward's revolts were never consummated by justice which would have not only cauterized the past eveils but create a genuine "boundary event" from which the country can move on. The reason the pinoy culture continues to be raped and damaged is because there has never been blood spilt (preferably the plunderers) that is why we continue to be serially raped by the gang of the tradpol and the oligarch. Integrity is fine of you have a benchmark which can show that crime does not pay. Crime currentl pays in the Philippines (and how!) so unless and until someone slits the throat of leaders in full view of those planning to do the same. it will never end...

Lester Cavestany said...

The person who inspired People Power, the late Sen Ninoy Aquino, was quoted as saying, "It would always be the same crooks, the same money interests who would take fullest advantage of democracy or any kind of government in the Philippines, while the poor and the brave would always lose out. The batters change in the game of Philippine politics, but the baseball team remains the same and the game remains fixed."

Sad to say, I think Ninoy's words are still true today.

I hope things will change for the better soon.

blackshama said...


Now you have hit the nail on its head. That's why the old men such Frankie Sionil-Jose and Dodong Nemenzo have called for revolution which will get this EDSA revolution delusion out of our heads!

But perhaps Marx was indeed right but needs paraphrasing. EDSA is the opiate of the middle class!

Then Dodong has reason to say that he isn't deluded!

DJB Rizalist said...

haha. yeah dodong has been living with his delusions for a long time. but we are in a tough spot...hope we pull through...