09 July 2005

Different Voices, Perilous Times

With so many different voices and messages, some contradicting and yet all supposedly speaking and acting on behalf of the nation’s best interest, how do we then discern whose voice and message should we heed, and whose voice and message truly have the nation’s best interest at heart?

At this point, we’ve already heard Cory, a business group (Makati Business Club), FVR, JDV, a political party (or parties? the “two” Liberal Parties), the ex-cabinet members (the Cabinet-10), the administration’s political party and some of the remaining cabinet members (Tiglao, Ermita, Claudio, Defensor). Of course, we’ve always heard the usual angry voices of the militants, the leftists, and the opposition. (By the way, hearing words like “liars” and “thieves” coming from Imee Marcos’ mouth makes you wonder if she is talking to herself or to her parents or both.)

We also even heard an American government official commenting on the nation’s politics. But we can easily dismiss this American voice and rule it out, as this obviously does not have our nation’s interest truly at heart. We should all ignore it, but nonetheless be very cautious of actions they may take or are already taking, especially those actions done behind the scenes. While they may sound and appear to be after our nation’s interest, the Americans (or any other nation for that matter), as every Filipino should know by now, are really only after their own nation’s interest. Rightly so, I might add. We should not feel bad about it, and perhaps, we could even learn something from that.

The CBCP was supposedly scheduled to give a statement today. While I wonder what the Catholic bishops would say about the nation’s current situation, should we really still listen to them on non-spiritual matters such as politics? As Conrado de Quiros had so elegantly and correctly put, “The bishops do not exist to decide on what's best for this country's political life, they exist to decide on what's best for this country's spiritual life. The bishops do not exist to decide on what's best for this country's body, they exist to decide what's best for this country's soul”. We all know that for centuries the Catholic Church has been a constant factor in the shaping and re-shaping of this nation. For better or for worse, only history can tell. Since Cardinal Sin has already passed away, perhaps it is already high-time that all Filipinos (the clergy included) should now recognize the separation of church and the State. Leave church-matters to the church, and State-matters to the State. This does not only apply to the Catholic Church but also to the other religious organizations, by the way.

I think the voice calling for changing the form of government and the subsequent charter change is very self-serving and very ill-timed. I can see TRAPOS all over this suggestion, as well as ageing politicians with their unrealized ambition of their youth to be in power, or perhaps to be back in power. This is their Viagra, a prescription for impotent politicians, who see this as their only chance at erection, err, election to power (and to hold on to it longer. Pun intended.) I do not think that tinkering with the constitution during these perilous times will serve the nation’s best interest. I am no student of history, and maybe I am mistaken, but didn’t Marcos, at one time, change the form of government to hold on to power?

As I have mentioned before (see post below), the opposition has no alternative (or should I say, “is no alternative”), even if they try to convince the people about a “caretaker council” with “caretaker” Roces as their alternative. So far, their supposed caretaker is not even biting. I just hope and pray that Ms. Roces would continue to be enlightened and not allow herself to be used by these puppet masters (the likes of Binay, Escudero, Marcos, the Estradas, etc). There are too many dark forces (Lacson included) in the opposition to even seriously consider them as a viable alternative.

Both the calls for resignation and the calls for impeachment is a call for Arroyo to step down and be replaced by her constitutionally mandated successor. These voices are the hardest to discern of them all. Which among these calls should we listen to? Which ones should we ignore? Discerning the real objective of the caller is the hard part. What is real and what is not. (Drilon’s call seems to be self-serving as he has something to gain when Arroyo steps down.) I believe that there is more to the resignation of the Cabinet-10 than what it seems, and they are right to say that we should listen to their message, at the very least, instead of entertaining conspiracy theories and name-calling. I have no connections or sources to speak of, but I do know that there are idealists, and there are pragmatists. During these perilous times, the question is which of these two serves the best interest of the nation? Since the future of the nation is ‘only’ at stake here, and since future generations will ‘only’ look back at this episode in our nation’s life, my bet is on the idealists. (Yes, you can call me naive.)

07 July 2005

no Jose Velarde, no Jose Pidal

I recently posted a comment in Jim Paredes' blog (with several mistakes, I might add.) I inadvertently posted my comment twice, and both posts had the same grammatical errors. I blame my fast clicking finger on both accounts. I’m no English major, so sa aking mga kababayan, I am sorry. I ask for your forgiveness for whatever “lapse in grammatical judgement” I may have committed in any of my previous (and future) posts. I now wish to move forward with my blogging life :) Jim’s blog (or Mr. Paredes’ blog, lest somebody thinks that I know him personally) has been insightful, and more or less aligns with my own reflections on what is happening on this nation (or state of the nation. heheh). His “musings and random thoughts” on life and his music make me think that if Apo Hiking Society were the Beatles, Jim would be John Lennon. (How’s that for a compliment, Mr. Jim? :) Hopefully, that would aid in your speedy recovery eh. Godspeed :)

After promoting my blog in his blog (forgive me for that momentary selfish act) and inviting him to check it out, I then signed the post as Jose Andres. I suddenly realized that my chosen nom de plume has a discomforting resemblance to two other notorious Joses of recent Philippine history. Horror of horrors! I immediately disclaimed any relations to the two Joses. Belated as my realization may seem, I have to set the record straight. Although how I wish this could be true, I have no millions hidden in secret bank accounts (or millions for that matter, whether secret or not :) It also dawned on me that Rizal might be turning from his grave upon hearing that his name has become the favorite of money launderers (and not just any money launderers mind you, but the kind that steals from the people they have sworn to serve – the most despicable type of thief.)

I originally wanted “AndresJose” in the URL of this blog, but it is already taken. (I guess I am more biased towards Bonifacio. But I know nothing, so I just leave that to the scholars.) Good thing that after the switch, it is still available. I just hope that through this blog (forgive me for this momentary self-aggrandizing act) that I somehow can reclaim the good name of Rizal that has been so tarnished by the likes of Mr. Velarde and Mr. Pidal. While I am at it (feeling self-important, that is :) , I now call on Mr. Jim and to all the other bloggers (and non-bloggers) out there who still cares for this nation, that perhaps by spreading and making our thoughts about this nation known, we can perhaps help form that collective consciousness as a nation (that we so lack), and ultimately help rebuild this nation blog by blog :) (I can dream, can I?)

05 July 2005

Post-Arroyo Options

I would say that almost every other voter who voted for Arroyo (I mean the "real" voter who went to the polls and wrote on the ballot, and not whose votes were magically produced by some magician named Garcillano) thinks she’s the lesser evil of all the presidential wannabes of the last election. While there is no more point in arguing the merits of each of the options we were given in 2004, there is still merit to ask why there seems to be a dearth of potential good leaders for this nation. Is there somebody out there? Is this nation so cursed that nobody is qualified to lead it, somebody who would put the nation's welfare above his own and his kamag-anak \ kaibigan \ kaklase \ kamahjong \ kabit's welfare? (By the way, this does not only apply to the presidency, but also to the justices, senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, baranggay captains, and everyone else who is supposedly serving in the public trust). Is this is too much to ask? Is there such a Filipino?

Now that people are looking at post-Arroyo options, these questions are begging for answers. Who to replace her now (if it comes to that)? Some quarters are calling for a snap election (but with the same Comelec and the same archaic system?) Others want a transitional/revolutionary government. Even Erap claims he's ready to lead such a transitional government. The opposition claims (rightly so, I think) that the administration is using scare tactics to cling to power, with Noli being bandied about as the boogeyman, and a military junta as the source-of-all-evil, but the opposition also claims that they will only identify their clear alternative when the administration can give an assurance that Arroyo will step down. (I hope it is not Roces, or worse Cortez. Can we force Escudero to name their alternative? Do they really have one?) Almost everyone who wants a change in the presidency wants to replace it with what they think is the "suitable” alternative. "Suitable" meaning to whatever "suits" their own vested interests and selfish-agenda. Even if they try so hard to claim it otherwise, most of the groups who are clamoring for a change are brandishing a "change" that is really "for" them, and not for the nation.

Some groups (like the civil-society groups, I think) are calling for a systemic change. This sounds very interesting. I even have to look up what “systemic” exactly means, but how can we effect a "universal", "total", and "complete" change? I'm all for change and I honestly do believe that we really need a systemic change for this nation to progress, but other than a total and complete annihilation of every living Filipino in the whole universe, I cannot think of any other means to effect a systemic change in this nation. I think the rotten part of our culture is so deep and so ingrained in each and every Filipino. It would take several generations to erase any trace of them. Is there a way to achieve this systemic change within this lifetime? For all the groups calling for this change, how do you propose should we do this? Believe it or not, I'm not being a smart-ass about this. I am in all honesty interested on how can we effect this change. Are you talking of a revolution? A revolution against who? Against big business? Against the land-grabbers (the landed-elite) who stole the land from our ancient ancestors? Against the government (but replace it with what)? Are you talking of socialism (but the collapse of the Soviet Union has already proven that humanity is not capable of that system, unless we were ants)? Are you talking of surrendering our sovereignty to another nation like China or the US? (I am not very creative and not particularly good at problem-solving. Help!)

I don’t think there is a Filipino who would not want this systemic change to happen as soon as possible. I don’t think there is a Filipino who would not want to see his nation progress and become a nation that can take care of her own people. To those groups who are calling for this change, please, please let us know how we can effect this change, if possible within this lifetime. I hate to admit it, but the reality that we have now is to just accept the person the Filipino people has mandated as a replacement to the President (if it comes to that) – the Vice President. I think no one would doubt (except Loren) that Noli won the vice-presidency (going by the FPJ-Noli supporters during the last elections). There is no other person (or group of persons) who has the authority and mandate (if you still believe in democracy) to replace Arroyo, except Noli. No snap-elections. No transition/revolutionary-government. No military junta. No opposition-yet-to-be-named-alternative. (The opposition can stop claiming that they have an alternative. They don’t.)

We can rant and curse all we want about the intellectual capability, the leadership qualities and the character of this person (to some, he has a questionable reputation as a broadcaster), but that's all we got. Tough luck. Let’s impeach Arroyo, accept Noli and move on. The administration should stop scaring the people just to hold on to power. I too cringe at the thought of having Noli as our President. I shudder at the thought of him making policy decisions that will affect 80M Filipino souls. As offensive as that may sound to him, that is the truth. I am sorry. If this will be good or bad for the nation, we only have ourselves to blame. Perhaps this nation needs to hit rock-bottom before that kind of change can happen (if this is not rock-bottom yet, what is?). Whatever happens, we must remember that we have brought it all upon ourselves. Perhaps then and only then, can this systemic change (in whatever form will that be) can start to happen – and that’s where we will need all the prayers – for him and for us.

03 July 2005

Why would anyone want to become president? Loren? Francis?

I cannot fathom why would anyone want to become the president of this nation. For fortune? For fame? For greatness? For power? For prestige? Is there really anybody out there who is so selfless to think of the nation way above himself or herself? I wish I could ask Loren Legarda that question (and of the current occupant as well, more on that on the next posts). I am sure, several years from now (perhaps in 2016? – if there is still the Philippines then), I would be asking that same question to Francis Escudero. But let’s tackle Loren for now. Seeing that she will not be chosen as the administration’s running mate in the 2004 elections, she bolted out and ran alongside FPJ, supposedly she thinks FPJ is the most qualified for the job. But of course, nobody believed her, even FPJ’s supporters didn’t believe her. She’s deadset to become president in 2010, believing that FPJ (because of his popularity with the masses) will become the president and her - the vice-president, a launching pad for 2010. If what the Philippines needs is a self-less leader to get out of its rut, then Loren fails so miserably. Now that there’s a prospect (albeit, so slim) of Arroyo stepping down, she comes out of her obscurity of being a private citizen and again reviving her ambition of becoming president. Perhaps power is a very potent addicting drug, once you’ve tried it, you cannot stop yourself for craving for more.

The very same potent drug is now being tasted by Francis Escudero, a congressman on his way to the Senate (and perhaps onto the presidency in 2016?). The current House Minority Leader and the de-facto spokesperson of the opposition, Escudero just recently tasted victory in getting the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the E-VAT (I am no economist, but I think this again screws up the economy), claiming that “this is a victory of the citizens against the oppressive policies”. Aaah, what a statement, it makes one wishes that you have a Francis Escudero on your side to protect you against oppression. Where was one Francis Escudero when Erap was oppressing the Filipino people with his “ako/kamag-anak/kaibigan-first” policies and “midnight-cabinet” deals? Where was he when Erap was screwing the nation’s economy? Perhaps, he thinks that screwing the economy will “free” the citizens from “oppression”. This is also the same congressman who thinks FPJ is the most qualified for the job of the president, just like Loren Legarda. Are these two self-less enough to lead this nation? Go figure.

02 July 2005


Welcome. This blog is not really about me. It’s about, as the title claims, what is running through my mind (if anyone cares at all) as I read the day’s events on a nation called The Philippines. A nation you can be proud of, ashamed of, or both. If you don’t think these two emotions towards ones nation can ever be mixed, try being a Filipino. Yup, I am a Filipino - born and bred on this land. If you happen to notice the two names concatenated on the URL of this blog, chances are you are too. I have no illusions that I can ever compare myself to these two great men, nor can I ever claim that I can ever think like these two great minds. Though, it would really be interesting to know what could be running through their minds right now if they are reading the day’s events in the nation they once helped build. What would Rizal think? What would Bonifacio do? I barely passed Philippine history. I leave that to the scholars.

I guess by now, you more or less know the reason that urged me to create this blog. The events of the past few weeks (and perhaps the past few years) have stirred enough emotions about my nation to finally put what I am thinking in writing. I could write them all on paper, hide it and forget all about it. I could do that, or publish them and hope that somehow it could change The Philippines (for now, and the world later)! :) Kidding. The thought of having your writings published (albeit freely now, thanks to the internet) appeals to my vanity. I guess I am a frustrated writer, and besides, this can be a form of therapy. (By the way, this is the extent of what I will say about me on this blog). So, here it is, or at least until I lose interest, delete this blog, and pretend it never existed.