Friday, 29 June 2007

New SND and amnesty in the making...

Conjuangco scion Gilbert Teodoro has been appointed as the new Secretary of National Defense in place of Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane who was put back in his erstwhile position at the DPWH. Hmm, I wonder what the AFP top brass will think of it. Another outsider, another mighty-tooty lawyer to be under. To be fair, they were kinda impressed with Avelino Cruz way back.

Hmmm, I wonder how long it would take for Sec. Teodoro to impress the armed forces. And maybe, just maybe, having a civilian, a lawyer to boot, back at the helm of the DND will put a stop to the legal brinkmanship being practiced by the AFP in the conduct of its counter-insurgency operations.

Hmmm, another amnesty for coup plotters in the offing? We should expect another round of military adventurism in the future then.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A New Animal...

Philippine political evolution has given birth to a new animal. Quite different from its most immediate progenitor, Lintang Garci, Lintang Bedol is the most pernicious animal ever to come out of its gene pool.

While most leeches, or in the vernacular “linta”, are known to be predatory, they are known around this part of the globe as blood-suckers or haemophagic leeches. They attach to the host, suck blood, then fall off to digest after they are full.

Lintang Garci and Lintang Bedol are of this haemophagic variety. However, they are even more. They not only suck blood, they wreck havoc on the national scale, corrupting elections and installing unelected leaders. More than sucking blood, they suck the moral fiber out of society.

While they are both known to be slippery bastards, with the uncanny ability to lie between their teeth without batting an eyelash and able to exploit the letter of the law to advance their interests (well, the devil can quote scriptures, right?), what makes Lintang Bedol more dangerous than Lintang Garci is shown by its tendency to strike back like a cobra when cornered.

When Lintang Garci was being hunted down for his 2004 exploits, he simply disappeared. He challenged his detractors to file charges against him. Never did he challenge the Comelec.

With Lintang Bedol’s challenge to the Comelec to sue him, he has ascended another step in the evolutionary process. This is an animal that will that will probably rank with praying mantises and the black widow spiders, animals whose participation in the sexual act usually results in the death of their mate.

The sky is the limit for Lintang Bedol.

While the Romans had Lamia or Hannibal to scare their children to sleep, future Filipino children should probably have Lintang Bedol as their bogeyman. Our political future depends on it.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Esperon and Legislative Inquiries: Finding a Common Ground

As I have commented in the Philippine Commentary, in circumstances where the executive and legislative departments of the government are at loggerheads, a military officer is put between a rock and a hard place if summoned to attend a legislative inquiry. While Esperon's declaration that he will use EO 464 in case he will be required to appear before Congress has been highly criticized as another example of a military officer talking about something he hardly has a clue on, it reflects the general confusion of military officers on this matter.

On the one hand, as a military officer and following the principle of subordination to authority to the Chief Executive under its commander-in-chief power, he may be ordered by the President not to appear before Congress under the pain of court martial if he insists on doing so (Gudani vs Chief of Staff).

On the other, military officers have the duty to advise Congress on matters of professional expertise in accordance with the latter's duty to make legislative inquiries in pursuance of the legislative mandate. Further, the power of Congress to conduct legislative inquiries has been said to be broad and encompassing that it can demand officials of the executive to appear before it, except when executive privilege is invoked.

On the practical side, his career will surely suffer if he gets on the bad side of the two protagonists. Where is he to turn to? Is it possible to find a common ground and before a court order from the SC is issued? Senator Joker Arroyo, in a recent statement, said it is embarrassing to have another Supreme Court decision to decide on a tiff between the executive and the legislative.

As a matter of procedure, instead of demanding that military officers appear before Congress, why not ask their immediate civilian superior to appear before it? The Secretary of Defense, as the alter-ego of the president has the authority to speak on matters involving the armed forces and national security. In this way, we skirt the issue of placing military officers in a situation where politicians can pressure them to air their political views. In a perfect world, military officers should have no political views or they keep it to themselves lest they prejudice the subordination and loyalty required of them and demanded by their oath and commission. We all know that we don't live in a perfect world and we have one of the most politicized military on this side the free world. At the very least, the exchange between members of Congress and the Secretary of Defense will be as between politicians, not between a politician and a soldier.

If that cannot be implemented or the matter really needs the attendance of the military officer, unless executive privilege shall be invoked, military officers should attend legislative inquiries. The compromise really can be found in the manner and selection of questions to be propounded to the military officer. In this respect, Malacanang's position on the matter of prior knowledge of the line of questioning and general topic of the inquiry appears to be on the spot.


When i first heard the song, I thought to myself "What the hell is thing song blabbing about?" Well, forgive me for thinking that because I only heard the refrain which I thought smacked of viligantism.

After hearing the whole song, I concluded that the Filipino rap community has a future after all.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Left-Right Combination (Parang Boxing?)

I don't see how the left-right political spectrum applies to Philippine politics anymore. And I still read about a lot of people using the left-right spectrum to describe political conviction.
Using the left-right political spectrum, I think,benefits only the local communist movement as it evokes an image of thecommunist party standing for the people. Thus, they use the rhetoric of democracy and "power to the people" even when we all know what they mean is"power to the party". They are to the extreme left of the traditional left(by traditional left, i mean harking back to the French Parliament during the time of the French Revolution where it was supposedly derived from).
Makes sense? It doesn't to me.
In the United States and Europe, there are various opinions about what determines whether one sits on the left or on the right, but it is generally drawn along the following lines (Thanks to wikipedia):
  • Equal outcomes (left) versus consistent processes (right). It is basically a process-based reasoning vs end-result principles dichotomy. Pre-EDSA II, Erap and his group are rightists invoking the "rule of law" (consistent processes) vs the left, the civil society's insistence on People Power as a justified use of the people's sovereignty (equal outcome). Presently, GMA is a rightist, invoking the "rule of law" to suppress dissent and Erap aleftist, rousing the people to oust GMA. Conclusion: In the Philippinesetting, left-right politics is based on your location vis-a-vis the seat ofpower. You are a rightist if you, or someone you support, are in power andleft if you are "out left in the cold".
  • Redistribution of wealth and income (left), or acceptance of inequalities as a result of the free market (right). In this respect, everyone is a leftist based on what they say. Even the elites are leftist because they saythey believe in the redistribution of wealth as a prerequisite for national development, its just that they believe in giving the wealth of the other elites and not theirs. No one is a rightist. I haven't heard anyone stand upto say "let us accept the present poverty as this is a result of the freemarket. It's the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith at work."
  • Whether the government's policy on the economy should be interventionist(left) or laissez-faire (right). Push. Well, maybe confused. Basically, floating in the middle. Politicians have basically fudged the difference (some do not even know there is a difference). They can basically hover above the issue by saying the government should intervene when it needs to and not when it doesn't. That is probably why they sing and dance atpolitical gatherings during election periods, no question and answer portion.
  • Support for widened lifestyle choices (left), or support for traditional values (right). Conservative vs Liberal. Again, push. It depends on who the politician is facing. If they are facing church groups, extol traditional values. Kapag mga yuppie, siyempre liberal tayo repapits. Pag nagkaipitan, kung saan mas maraming botante, hanggang eleksyon lang naman eh.
  • Whether the state should prioritize equality (left) or liberty (right). Parehong positive. No choice, extol both.
  • Whether the government should promote secularism (left) or religious morality (right). Same as widened lifestyle vs traditional lifestyle.
  • Collectivism (left) versus individualism (right). Yung para sa tama. Pag na-elect na, collectivism yata pero yung pagkakaiintindi nila, para may collection. Colect and collect lang.
  • Support for internationalism (left), or national interest (right). Politiko: Again, yung para sa tama lang. Tamaan sana kayo ng kidlat.

I think all politicians have moved to the center, at least, based on what they claim to stand for. Or maybe they have become politically ambidextrous.Either way, only the Left is left standing. So, for the sake of clarity, why don't we just call them Communists?

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Those Geniuses at the DOJ...

After spending valuable government resources pursuing and flushing out from hide-outs the venerable Senator-elect Gregorio B. Honasan, the DOJ now comes up with a resolution clearing him of coup d'etat charges. Instead of hunting terrorists, military and police intelligence operatives were hunting down the ultimate political opportunist for months. And now, this?

For those who watch professional wrestling, GBH would put Rated-R Superstar Edge to shame. Nobody could do so much damage nary the contrition. He says he always had the best intention for the country. Yeah, right.

Wow, the DOJ must be populated by ultra-just and outstanding lawyers. On second thought, it might just mean their a bunch of idiots down there. Wait, now that I thought about it, it might just be that they're a bunch of mindless puppets whose strings are being pulled from somewhere along the banks of Pasig River.

wasn't it a few months ago that the maverick senator was reported to have met with the President in Malacanang?