Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wanna Bet?

I woke up this morning to a "predictive" text about the Supreme Court and its impending vote on the bogus People's Initiative. It read:
"In favor of Sigaw - Puno, Santiago, Tinga, Corona, Cancio, Nazario. Two undecided. Seven against. Fearless forecast is 8-7 in favor of PI."
We have all heard the rumors, and on the morning of oral arguments for and against the Singaw petition at the Supreme Court, texts like this are unnerving. If the information is true, then we are once again going to be terribly disappointed. Real constitutional law experts (as opposed to Raul Lambino) like Edwin Lacierda and Adel Tamano believe that the Supreme Court would be hard pressed to reverse itself in this matter. But we all know stranger things have happened in this Kingdom of the Possessed.

In dire times, most of us turn to God for comfort and blessings. This morning, at 9:00 am, Fr. Bernas will officiate mass at the Ateneo Law School (Rockwell) for the oppositors to the Initiative. Apart from praying for the strength of those who will represent us in the Supreme Court this afternoon, we will pray for the Justices. We will also pray for our apathetic people, the need for their hearts to be opened to the truth and the importance of justice and accountability.

But there still that pagan side to us. The side that can't help but wager bets. Wanna bet the SC will reverse itself? This is one bet I desperately want to lose.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thai and Hungarian Mirrors

A coup d'etat has been staged in Thailand, apparently in response to recent unsavory political events in that country. The tanks that ring important locations have yellow ribbons tied around their guns, a sign of loyalty to their much revered King. The Prime Minister, Thanksin Shinawatra, was in New York at the time. It seems his protestations have so far been ignored. An uneasy calm reigns in Bangkok. Too early to tell how things will pan out, but historically, coups Thai style are predominantly non-violent.

Riots are rife in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. People are irate over an audiotape wherein their Prime Minister, Gyurcsany, admitted to lying about Hungarian the country's economic situation. Gyurcsany's refusal to resign over this scandal has angered the people even more, and the riots have worsened.

The actions of the army in Thailand and the enraged people of Budapest are indicative of just how much each people value their national dignity. The coup in Thailand proves that changing the form of government does not ensure peace and prosperity. I truly wonder what pro-Cha Cha folk will say to that.

Now what do these international events have to do with us? The parallels between the Philippines and Thailand, our country and Hungary, are eerie. In Thailand, the PM has been accused of several anomalies, the Hungarian PM of lying. I don't have to list the Philippine similarities here, we are all aware of them. What does our collective apathy say about us as a people? Because a majority of Filipinos seem not to care about what has happened, what is going on, right under our noses, does this mean we are flawed? Flawed by utter selfishness (me first, then my family, then my business, my neighbor next to last, my country last), the dismissive attitude towards accountability, guilty of the refusal to admit responsibility, and the terrible sin of omission.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What Gives, ANC?

As media liaison for the Black & White Movement and STOP Cha Cha, one segment of the job is to monitor the news on TV, radio and in print. When it comes to television news, I naturally depend on ANC to give me the lowdown on current events as well as coverage of important news events. ANC does a pretty good job, and their correspondents are competent, they know their stuff. The Black & White Movement and STOP Cha Cha are grateful for ANC's coverage of our events and activities.

So, I thought it was great that ANC was covering the lively Senate hearing on the PCGG this afternoon. But as Sen. Serge Osmena was asking questions of Camilo Sabio, I was surprised when ANC cut its coverage in favor of a lifestyle show, "Shop Talk". Don't get me wrong, I think "Shop Talk" is an informative show. But when it takes precedence over a news event such as a hot topic like the Senate versus the PCGG, that confuses me. Is faux jewelry and ceramic art more important than alleged anomalous dealings by the PCGG?

With all due respect to Maria Ressa, who did answer my text, saying their EP (Executive Producer) was "watching and will go back if it (the hearing) moves", it seems that ANC has re-ordered its priorities when it comes to the coverage of news events. ANC touts its capability of giving us the news as it breaks (Ricky Carandang speaks about that in an ANC ad), as seen in last's year's impeachment hearings in the House (Pinky Webb alludes to it in the same ANC ad, saying that's what "made" them, and that's true), the coverage of last February's events, etc. There is nothing better for anyone interested in the news than breaking news. And I really thought that was ANC's core competence as a news channel, in fact, as the only all-news channel in this country.

The news is important to me. As Maria says in their ad, without ANC we wouldn't be able to get local news as it happens. And I do depend on ANC for this strength, not for its lifestyle programming. But that's just me, and I'm just one viewer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Derailing the Cha Cha Train

This is the proverbial calm before the storm. I don't mean Typhoon "Luis" either, even as it enters our area of responsibility. Well within our range of political vision is Gloria's Cha Cha and a Plebiscite should the Supreme Court reverse itself (am waiting for Edwin Lacierda to enlighten us on this subject, hopefully soon).

One Voice has been in our sights lately, and we all gain from their visibility. Meanwhile, the STOP Cha Cha campaign continues everywhere around the country, quietly doing the work we're good at - spreading the word about the bogus benefits of Gloria's version of Charter Change. To further bolster our ranks, it's time to focus on Manila and its environs through another get together:

This time, the half day workshop aimed at assessing the current situation regarding Cha Cha and formulating do-able action plans is being convened by highly respected individuals. Former VP Guingona, former Sen. Ting Paterno, Bro. Eddie, Nini Quezon Avancena and Bro. Armin have taken it upon themselves to gather civil society, business, religious, academic, political galvanizers together to plot out a unified strategy against Cha Cha.

This is by no means a closed door session, so please join us if you can make the time. The future of our democracy is at stake, apathy is a dirty word. Should most of us remain callous, this is the future we may leave our children:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A One Way Ticket to the Blues

"Choo, choo train chuggin' down the track
Gotta travel on, never comin' back
Oh, oh got a one way ticket to the blues" - Neil Sedaka
Firstly, the Majority in the House of Representatives screw us by killing the 2nd Impeachment. Secondly, they screw us again, this time by the deplorable act of House Resolution 1230, paving the way for a Constituent Assembly without the Senate. A member of the House was so scandalized, he said our only hope was to turn to the military, ask them to defend the Constitution from this rape (you should have voted for Impeachment, Teddy Boy).

But do we really care? So blatant a distortion of our Constitution, the bedrock of our democracy, should have us all so enraged, so insulted. But are we? They are getting away with it, as we nonchalantly go about our business of daily life, blithely unaware that we are being assaulted.

Funnily enough, the number 1230 has another terrible significance - On 30 December 2002, Gloria announced to all that she would not be running for president. That was her first public betrayal.

Meanwhile, the Three Little Pig Bullies throw their ponderous weight around, screaming libel at every turn, at anyone who dares question them. And the Usurper with a Speech Defect curls her lip in approval at our seeming acceptance of her evil.

So do we really mind all this? Maybe we have been cowed and bowed, happy to be swimming in a cesspool of iniquity.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Transitions - Impeachment to STOP Cha Cha

Now that the 2nd Impeachment has, in large part, been relegated to the background (save for a libel case against Alan Peter Cayetano - check out John Marzan) of our political landscape, our attention returns to the bogus People's Initiative of Gloria (PIG) and Charter Change.

Recently, Singaw ng Bayad presented their questionably obtained collection of signatures to the COMELEC amid much hoopla and "hakot", saying that the people have spoken (schumey begs to disagree). Not long after, their petition to the COMELEC was dismissed. This came as no surprise to us, having already heard COMELEC Chair Abalos proclaim that they had no choice. And so, Singaw will now troop to the Supreme Court to beg and plead that the Court reverse itself and make them happy. That part of Singaw's "moro moro" is still up in the air, but am for dang sure they and their supporters are working hard to make their "zarzuela" end the way they wrote it.

Yesterday, on Pinky Webb's and Edu Manzano's Saturday afternoon radio program (dzMM), I finally met Raul Lambino. He was accompanied by pro-Cha Cha columnist Chit Pedrosa, a woman who seems blithely unaware that 67% of our people are against this version of Charter Change. Completing our anti Cha Cha Tag Team was RP Santiago, a member of One Voice's legal group. The back and forthing was lively. Lambino and Pedrosa kept harping on the need for change, that the advocacy for charter change has been going on for decades, that the transitory provisions are just a small part of this initiative and therefore shouldn't really be bothered with, yada yada yada. RP dwelt on the process and questioned Singaw's need for speed. I got to rant on the why - that the Usurper in the Palace by the Pasig with a Speech Impediment was fully behind it to avoid accountability. Am happy to report that out of all the texts sent in by listeners, only one was pro-Cha Cha.

During one of the commercial breaks, trying to elicit sympathy from me, Lambino bemoaned the toll this initiative was taking on him. He sadly spoke about being hospitalized twice. I sympathized, but did say that is what happens when you back a bogus plan. He also said something about the honesty of his advocacy, defending himself by saying that he was an FPJ supporter. Uh... Mr. Lambino, can you say "operator"?

For everyone's refreshment, these are the reasons why we say STOP (Sa Tamang Oras at Paraan) Cha Cha:
  • Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to ensure her hold on power and block all efforts to hold her accountable for alleged lying, cheating and stealing especially since her lackeys don't look like winners should there be elections next year.
  • There is no enabling law.
  • The change from presidential to parliamentary, bicameral to unicameral are revisions, not amendments, to our Constitution. Like Lagman and Villafuerte of Webster dictionary fame, the proponents say there is no difference between the two words. Duh.
  • Should Cha Cha prevail, there will be no need for 2007 elections and the interim Parliament can extend terms for all elected officials beyond 2010.
  • We will lose our right to vote directly for our President. We will be allowing the likes of Nograles, de Venecia, Enrile to dictate our nation's directions. To where, pray tell?
  • The abolition of the Senate will remove the checks and balance necessary for good governance. We will be loosening the control on the directions of national change instead of strengthening it. We will be opening the door to even more graft and corruption. Do you really want a rubber stamp government? Who will act as fiscalizer?
  • Fusing the Executive and Legislative powers will allow for the same people to choose and promote programs of government without question. The entire national budget, except maybe for fixed expenditures (salaries and debt servicing) will be pork barrel.
  • The bulk of Representatives in this 13th Congress has shown itself to be terribly loyal to the sitting president. In gratitude to her largesse, they will continue to turn a blind eye to the real needs of our people and allow her and her family to go on raping and pillaging.
Remember - Yes to Cha Cha means Gloria Forever. We say, No to Gloria's Cha Cha, No to Plebiscite!