smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

No apologies

That’s the treacherous thing about calling the Filipino people your Boss, and continuously making such a big deal of it. First of all, it’s plain rhetoric, ok? A figure of speech, a manner of speaking. But when the shit hits the fan, it becomes a bludgeon that can be used to beat you over the head with.

Now this:

You set yourself up for this, boss.

Should he apologize? Of course not! He’s the fucking president, isn’t he? And look at what happened to the last bitch who tried to do that? HAH! Her apology turned a bludgeon into a thousand knives. And that’s what’s gonna happen here too, if Aquino apologizes.

The apology will be considered an admission of guilt and the rabble will just use that as another rallying cry for his ouster. Filipinos – or at least the spinners amongst us – aren’t a particularly forgiving lot. With those people, it’s always a bait-and-switch. Like Frank Drilon telling GMA to apologize then later joining the chorus ridiculing the apology as being too little too late.

Look. Thanks to the Supreme Court, we all know that the DAP is unconstitutional. Thanks to Renato Reyes of Bayan (or Akbayan or Anakbayan or whatever permutation of Bayan there might be), we know that the President signed off on it. Edwin Lacierda even confirmed it – just like Toting Bunye did with those Garci tapes. So, yeah, that’s pretty much an airtight case for the President’s involvement in an unconstitutional act.

Do we really need an apology?

What would it serve? To soothe our ruffled feathers? HAH!

How sincere can that apology be when the official party line is that all those acts were done in good faith. How can the President be apologizing for DAP when his mouthpieces maintain that they didn’t know they were doing the wrong thing?

And speaking of good faith, that defense smacks of bad faith itself.

First of all, the Constitution is considered written into every single fucking law, rule, contract. Everything, in other words, that this benighted government does. And that self-same Constitution is clear as day about the limitations of the President’s powers to realign funds. Doesn’t it beggar the intellect of people to ask us to accept that they honestly thought they weren’t doing anything wrong?

Hold up. It might actually be possible – considering that they’ve surrounded themselves with yes-men (Is this Constitutional? Yes sir! err… what are we talking about sir?), stacked the Supreme Court in their favor, AND pocketed more Congressmen than you can shake a stick at! Given all that, it probably isn’t impossible for the President to have received bad advice.

HOLY SHIT! That means HE isn’t responsible at all!!!

See, toldja he didn’t have to apologize.

And besides. Kris Aquino.

Advertisements

Filed under: politics, ,

If you can’t beat it, work with it

I think it’s time the Comelec faced the facts.

Candidates will not be dissuaded from putting up their posters wherever they damn well please, there will never be enough outraged people to outweigh the voting power of those who don’t care, and the common poster area rule is perhaps one of the most ridiculously unenforceable rules in the entire history of unenforceable rules.

And orbiting this nucleus of hard facts, are a number of satellite postulates that can’t be ignored either: no matter how fairly the Comelec treats candidates and party-list organizations, those candidates and party-list organizations with the ability to mobilize media coverage will always be able to portray the Comelec as biased; the leveling effect of the common poster area is illusory at best; and – apart from the common poster area rule itself being intrinsically unenforceable – the Comelec’s own field personnel are either incapable or unwilling or too poorly motivated to even mount the good ole college try at tilting at windmills.

This isn’t to say that the idea behind the common poster area rule is trash. On the contrary, the concept that candidates should be restricted in this way is a good one because, if nothing else, the opposite means that candidates will most likely plaster anything and everything with campaign propaganda that they are not responsible enough to clean up afterwards; and because the practice of proliferate postering only reinforces the notion that it takes money, not character, to win in elections.

These laudable considerations aside, however, the fact remains that the mechanism for achieving those ends are pitifully laughable, exposing the Comelec to ridicule and accomplishing little beyond chipping away at what little credibility the poll body still has.

Hopefully, the Comelec’s bright boys and girls will soon realize that, perhaps, the Fair Elections Act is approaching the problem wrongly.

Obviously conceived as a means of making the elections more sober, for lack of a better word, using the boring American campaigns as a model, the Fair Elections Act ignores the fact that we Filipinos do elections differently. For us, this isn’t a process imbued with quiet dignity and somber gravity. It’s a fiesta – a festive occasion ultimately not far removed from basketball. And there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with that if you were to accept that as it is and not compare with your idea of what elections should be, i.e., the way the Americans do it.

Take phone banking for instance. The Americans use rows and rows of telephones to actually call people on election day urging them to vote. Both the Republicans and the Democrats do it. They also send out vehicles to pick people up from their homes and take them to the polling places. Here at home, we call that hakot.

So, if some aspects of the way Americans run elections are undesirable to us, why should a boring campaign be more acceptable? It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sure, you can smash it into place but it’ll be a terrible fit.

Better by far to simply embrace the cultural realities in which the election campaigns are embedded and then institute process controls. Kinda like how they stopped men pissing on the floors of Schipol airport toilets. It’s a case of since you can’t beat it, work with it.

Okay. At this point, you’re prolly waiting for some idea I can propose. Well, I don’t have anything at the moment. But, hey! That isn’t my job, is it? LOL

Seriously tho, I do have something, although I can’t guarantee lawfulness at this point. I was thinking that maybe, the Comelec can work something out with the DILG so that no winner can assume office without first organizing and carrying out a clean up operation, post-elections. While there is scant legal bases for this kind of move, there is a chance that it will appeal to the Filipino’s sense bayanihan *cringe* which, at the moment of victory, will be tripping high on euphoria.

I know it’s lame, alright? But you get the idea, right? Hopefully, the Comelec’s bright boys and girls do too.

If you have an idea on how illegal postering can be controlled in the absence of a common poster area rule, why not share it in the comments below?

Or don’t. LOL

Filed under: 2013 Elections, politics, polls, pop-culture, , ,

Awesome

It takes a good leader to make hard decisions. It takes an awesome leader to make hard and unpopular decisions just when he needs to be popular – like in the run up to an election year for example?

From this news report, it seems like Noli de Castro knows what an awesome leader is. I mean, sure, it was Cerge Remonde who said

I think we should not glorify and glamorize these people by giving in to their demands as to whom they would want to negotiate with. I think that could be a very bad policy.

But the way things work around here, if de Castro wanted to score a few easy brownie points, he could’ve easily overriden sensible voices and gone on to Sulu for the photo ops. It is, I think, to his credit that he seems to be toeing the reasonable line with this one. 

Which prolly begs the question, when has he ever gone against this government? I’m all for that whole loyalty thing, but there comes a time in a politician’s life when, if he can’t break ranks, he can at least make his discomfiture known. Has de Castro ever done that?

The answer to that question will be relevant to those who are now considering him for 2010. He’s done a significant amount of good, sure; but a person who has kept his ass too safe will turn off the voters.

All told, de Castro might know what it takes to be an awesome leader, but is he good enough to actually be one?

Filed under: 2010 watch, news, politics, , , , ,

Militarization is it?

It’s funny how we so love the labels created by agitators. It’s a public relations tool, really: reduce a complex idea into as brief a statement as possible – a one-word slogan would be best – and feed it to the masses. After all, the masses don’t need to fully under the whys and hows; they just need something to chant or scream until their throats are raw – a kind of shortcut to meaning. It’s the power of symbol, and some say that it lay at the heart of Hitler’s success as a demagouge. This administration has seen more than its share of these ‘key words’ and now the latest agit-prop is “militarization.”

gloriageneralsWhat the rest of the world understands as the process of preparing for war or other violent conflict, we gleefully appropriate the word “militarization” to refer to the naming of former military officials to top government posts. Implicit in the use of the word is the promise of dark days of repression to come, the demise of liberty, and the extinction of all that is good and beautiful …. zxngrkCKZ!

The preponderance of military men in high government positions isn’t necessarily the portent of doom that some people wish it to be – yes: i think they actually want it to be that, so that they can later on have the bragging rights of having called it out first. If we’re being calm and logical about it, the appointment of military men to high government positions can actually be attributed to a number of factors:

First, very few people in the lucrative private sector want to enter the thankless public service. With GMA as appointing authority, even fewer. This means that, second, candidates for top level positions are actually drawn from a pretty shallow pool of people currently – or were – in the public service. Third, of the people currently – or previously – in the public service, there are very few who are as well trained as military men of officer rank in management and planning – skills needed by any good administrator. This is so because the military invests much in the training and schooling of its officers. In fact, it is the rare military officer who spends more than a week being unemployed after retirement from the service. They get snapped up by private corporations who see their upper management skills as potential assets. An uncle of mine was picking among offers three months before he finally retired from the service!

Outside this logic loop, military men are also much in demand on their own right – without necessarily being fiddle to private sector top picks. This is especially true for such services as reasonably require a background in military-style operations and discipline. It’s all well and good to emphasize the civilian nature of, say the PDEA, but the truth of the matter is, the learning curve is much steeper (steeper=better) when the person trying to learn the ropes has a background in activities like intelligence gathering, urban skirmish, and enemy engagement. And yes, dealing with crooks nowadays is practically like dealing with a para-military unit. You don’t send Mother Teresa in to arrest a bunch of BDSM brothel whores with whips and ballgags.

So talk of militarization is likely to be just more fear-mongering.

In fact, if anything, there was a massive de-militarization of society when the Reserve Officer Training Course – and it’s latter day cousin, Citizen’s Military Training – was effectively shelved.

Filed under: language, politics, , ,

All apologies

I wish I was like you easily amused
Find my nest of salt, everything’s your fault
I’ll take all the blame, opposite from shame
Sunburn, freezerburn, choking on the ashes of her enemy

– Kurt Cobain

The once venerable Corazon Aquino – now called Sorry Aquino by Dick Gordon because she apologized to Joseph Estrada for being one of the movers behind his ouster in 2001 – ought to apologize to the Filipino as well.

She should apologize for helping take the nation into what she now considers a disastrous detour. Following her logic, she’s at least partly responsible for all the shit we’ve been through since 2001. Following her logic, if she hadn’t decided to play God with the country’s fortunes – if she hadn’t decided to completely take a crap on the millions who voted for Joseph Estrada – then we wouldn’t be in the cesspool we are now.

By extension – still adhering to her logic – what reason could we possibly have for believing her whining now? If she failed so miserably to forecast what was good for the nation then – and in the process irreparably weakened the foundations of our democracy – why should we believe that she is right this time about doing the exact same thing all over again? Thus, she should also apologize to the Filipino people for ceaselessly trying these past four years, to railroad us into the same detour which, by her own admission, led to our disastrous present circumstances.

Of course, in the aftermath of her apology, her spinners have tried to pass it off as a joke. Right. Tell that to her kumadres and sycophants in the Black & White movement. Maybe they’ll be as forgiving towards her as they were towards Jess Dureza. 

And speaking of her comrades in arms, maybe she should apologize as well to those who took to the streets in 2001 for turning their sacrifice into a sham. I mean, Estrada was convicted of plunder. He is a criminal in the eyes of the law and, swallowing the affront to the Constitution in 2001 as a fait accompli, that conviction amounted to something like a saving grace: they may have trampled all over the Constitution but at least they got that crook sent to prison. Now, those 2001 putschists don’t even have that anymore. And they have Cory Aquino to thank for that.

And after she’s done with all her apologies, she should pick up the phone. GMA has been calling her since the news of her apology hit the newsrooms. Seems like GMA wants to invite Sorry Cory to join the Honest Mistake Club.

 

time

Filed under: news, politics, , , , , , ,

The right reasons

Amending the Constitution shouldn’t be as painful as pulling teeth. Nearly everyone agrees, in the first place, that the one we have now can use a little updating. The most fundamental argument for charter change, after all, ought to be that we want to give ourselves the right to take certain actions, or to do things in a certain way, that wasn’t necessary when the charter was originally written and ratified. And like it or not, things have changed since 1987.

Unfortunately, Charter Change is not the most popular of ideas. Mere mention of it conjures up images of tyrants and no-election scenarios (ironic that – most people against amending the constitution do not balk at playing the NO-EL card as though elections were the most sacred thing to them, when they’re the same ones who routinely try to rouse the people to revolutions that, perforce, make elections pointless). As a result, the intrinsically laudable nature of periodic amendments to the constitution gets buried under an avalanche of populist fear-mongering.

chacha1

Charter change moves which, in the normal course of things, would lead to an updated constitution, ought to go through three phases. First it must be debated upon and proposed (in any one of three ways); second, the proposed amendments or revisions must be subjected to public debates; and finally, the proposed amendments or revisions must be submitted to the people through a plebiscite. One, two, three – and perfectly constitutional.

The problem we have – especially now – is that the anti-charter change contingent doesn’t even want to start that constitutional process. In fact, they don’t even want Congress to talk about it. Now, ordinarily, that wouldn’t be too problematic, except that they’re trying to nip the process in the bud by scaring the public into joining their raucous chorus.

For the most part, anti- moves now drum up this ‘Gloria Forever’ slogan and equate it with amending the constitution. The greatest weapon in the anti- aresenal therefore is nothing other than hatred for GMA. And they have done this so successfully that if you ask ten people on the street why they don’t want charter change, prolly six or more of them will tell you it’s because they hate Gloria ten different ways from Sunday.

Hand in hand with this hate-mongering is the bogeyman of term extensions. Anti- campaigners paint fearsome scenarios of amendments that would allow Gloria to extend her term, or allow her to run again. Most preposterous of all, of course, is the story-line that goes in a parliamentary form of government, Gloria will be able to run as MP for Pampanga and from there mount a run at the Prime Ministership – and voila! a constructive term extension.

Why is that preposterous? It’s fucked up because they’re saying that that scenario will unfold if we change the charter now. But the truth is, the move to a parliamentary form has always been part of the background noise for charter change, and that whenever that move happens, the same course of action remains open for GMA. So, even if they are successful in amending the Constitution only by, say 2013, GMA can still run for MP that year, and become PM soon after. If they amend it only by 2016, GMA can still run for MP then too. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how long she has to wait because no one can land her in jail for another half-a-decade at least. It took us even longer than that to convict Estrada, dint it? And even then, she can always skedaddle to some friendly country and have her proxies run the show for her.

Coming in a distant third and fourth are the political ambitions of grandstanding politicians like Mar Roxas – who, putangina, is a moron by the way – and substantive issues. In fact, I even hesitate to put substantive issues on the list of justifications for opposing charter change because I’ve never heard a single argument along those lines. 

So, the two biggest reasons being forwarded to justify short-circuiting the constitutional process of amending the charter are hatred of the incumbent, and the possibility of a term extension. WHile both are intrinsically flawed arguments, they have nevertheless been incredibly effective. Which, to my mind, highlights two things: those against charter change who routine spout this drivel are engaging in a fair amount of intellectual dishonesty for the sake of effective public persuasion; and that in so acting, they are doing the Filipino people an incredible injustice by forcing us to continue living with an anachronistic charter so that they can advance their own political motivations.

I, meself, am against changing the charter because – by my limited understanding of issues – I don’t think it’ll do any good. I don’t believe we are ready for a parliamentary form of government, nor do I even believe that form to be superior to the presidential system we have now. But just because I believe this way, that doesn’t make me think that I am absolutely right. Hence my gripe about how this whole anti-charter change campaign is being run. I may be against charter change, but damnit, I want the opportunity to have my mind changed through a reasonable and objective discussion of the issues. As it is, all I’m getting from these people who profess to have my best interests at heart are their propaganda. 

It’s prolly too late now, but anti-charter change campaigns should follow an entirely different model.

chachac2

Instead of trying to head off charter change, anti charter change campaigners should let the process initiate and then focus their efforts on convincing the public that the Constitution shouldn’t be tinkered with; and instead of focusing and capitalizing on hatred for GMA, they should make good-faith attempts to present substantive issues for debate so that when the people refuse to ratify the amendments or revisions, they will be doing so for the right reasons.

Filed under: politics, ,

Mar Roxas is a moron

“Putang ina! … Patayin ang Gloria-forever Cha-cha na ito!” 

Real classy, moron.

 

hedidnt

Filed under: 2010 watch, politics, ,

Gordon’s bullshit

I remember complaining how, everytime the Supreme Court rules against someone, the media always plays it up as a slap-on-the-face. That, of course, has roots in the idea that being slapped on the face is one of the gravest forms of insult possible, implying that the person doing the slapping has tons of disapproval and contempt for the person being slapped.

I mention this now because i find it curious that ever since the SC’s decision to grant JocJoc Bolante’s petition for habeas corpus over the Senate’s objections has not been characterized by media anywhere as a slap on the Senate’s face.

And now, Gordon – the same moron who gave insult to Thais and later on tried to weasel out of it – is trying to salvage things

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Gordon said the Blue Ribbon committee decided to release Bolante in the spirit of Christmas.

“We want to do this out of justice, out of humanitarian interest because of Christmas,” he said.

HAH! Whatta load of bullshit. Gordon secured the release of Bolante to moot the habeas corpus petition because he knows that the Senate’s actions would not pass muster. 

And so, from ordering Bolante’s arrest to force him into ‘telling the truth,’ Gordon ordered

 … Rodolfo Noel Quimbo, Blue Ribbon committee Oversight Office Management director general, charged Bolante with the crimes of disobeying summons issued by Congress, and false testimony yesterday.

Which begs the question, if they could file charges after all, why didn’t they do that in the first place? The answer ought to be obvious. It was much easier, more convenient, and more telegenic to just trample on the guy’s basic right to due process, which – as some smart guy once said – was designed to protect the presumption of innocence accorded to even the most hated person.

Gordon, for all his bullshit and bluster – not to mention spit spraying – seems to have forgotten that, and so (hehe) he got a slap on the face from the SC.

Filed under: judiciary, media, politics, , , , ,

Who died?

Who died and made Anakbayan the boss of Manny? Who died and gave politicians the right to ‘advise’ people not to go into politics and – essentially – to not quit their day jobs?

In case these party-list types haven’t noticed – or maybe because they had a deadened sense of irony – they letting anyone run for office these days. So what makes Manny Pacquiao less suited for a career in politics than, say – a former news anchor? With the proliferation of lawyers in this country, politicians – party-list representatives included – do not even need to have skillz in law-craft. In this benighted country, politicians are expected only to look good and speak well. Sincerity trumps integrity, and celebrity hands sincerity its hat and kicks it out the door. 

Manny shouldn’t run. And as a fight fan, I am perfectly within my rights to voice the opinion that he shouldn’t risk the country’s place of honor in the international arena. It’s his fault for getting us there. Now that we’re there, it’s his responsibility to keep us there til someone comes along and takes over for him. Atlas can’t just put down the world and walk away. 

But politicians condescendingly telling Pacquiao to stick to boxing? WTF? No one – least of all party-list representatives – have the right to tell people with no political background that they can’t jump into the sandbox. Last I checked, politics was an old-boys club by dint of circumstance, not design. SO although the way things are practically guarantee that only politically connected people can have a real chance at winning elective office, theoretically, if anyone can get the same level of winnability even without a pedigree, that person is just as entitled to a shot at public office.

The root cause of all the hackles raised at the thought of a Pacquiao candidacy is fear. Fear that his overwhelming popularity will be used by the administration one way or the other. Well, duh. Tough. Deal it with it, Anakbayan.

First off, you don’t know Manny’s mettle as a pol. He may talk dumb, but like generations of your populism have pretty much ensured that politicians don’t need to be eloquent except with their wallets and their dance moves. 

Second, don’t try to pretend that you’re above using celebrity to further your causes. If Manny Pacquiao were critical of the government, you people would be creaming your panties trying to get him to run under your crimson banners. 

Third, everyone has a right to be voted for. If actors can run for office, so can dumb jocks, aryt?

Fourth, if the guy wants to flush his career down the toilet, that’s for him to decide, for us fight fans to crucify him for, and for you politicians to live in fear of. Not that he’s going after your turf anyway.

So leave Manny alone! (cue blond-emo-gay-video :D)

Filed under: 2010 watch, politics, sports, , ,

Hope

Well, well. Lookit

Citing initial field reports, Jimenez said day one of registration in Quezon City’s 1st district yielded 79 new voters; 303 for the 2nd district and 61 for the 3rd district. In Manila, its 5th district recorded the most number of new registrants with 256; followed closely by the 4th district with 221. 

So that’s fairly impressive, right? I thought that this registration thing would be greeted by something like a huge collective yawn by voters so thoroughly indoctriinated against trusting the system. As it turns out, people are still excited about being able to vote in 2010.

Good thing too. The way I see it, these numbers represent a rejection of regime change short-cuts. There is hope, after all, that not everyone is taken in by the allure of yet another ersatz revolution. 

The challenge now is to keep the numbers this high – or to better them even – in the coming months. All of a sudden – for me at least – the idea of an involved youth doesn’t sound as far-fetched as it used to.

Filed under: 2010 watch, musings, politics, society, ,