Sunday, November 27, 2005

south parketeer me

thanks chinks!

the people's will last elections

i heard cabinet secretary ricardo saludo give malacañang's side on many of the different issues targetted against it last week. i would like to share here what he presented regarding the results in the 2004 election.

first he was quick to "not say that there was no cheating last elections". basically, what he said was that the results of the presidential elections (gma's having won) "reflected the people's will". he proved this basic point by presenting the blow by blow monthly results of studies from different survey groups months before the may 2004. he showed how the lead of fpj over gma at the surveys got trimmed down slowly until eventually in may, gma was leading by around 6% over fpj. he cited controversies hounding fpj's citizenship, his "animosity" towards the media, and the opposition's being divided. on the other hand, he factored in k4's strong election machinery in gma's eventual overtaking of fpj.

he also gave statistics presented by 4 independent media who made exit polls, and there were in fact "agreement" in all. gma won according to these exit polls.

he presented also namfrel's partial results and cbcp's declaration that the elections didn't have any significant anomaly to have such a great effect on the results.

everything it seems points to either a collusion of all these independent groups or to the fact that it was gma whom people wanted to be president during that time. even with my bias, i can't really subscribe to the collusion theory.

however there are still things about it that need to be asked.
1. secretary saludo claims that gma's triumph reflected the people's will. but it's not the same as saying that gma won fair and square. "i'm not saying there was no cheating that happened." <-- his exact words. i don't suppose he is referring to fpj's camp who cheated.

2. if gma cheated, imagine the compromises that she had to make (and the side of the deal she has to fulfill perhaps even up to now). to think that fighting corruption is on top of her priorities.

3. and lastly, secretary saludo's general argument about all the issues during that talk were all practical. if it's true that he's speaking the side of malacañang, and all he talks about is practical reasoning, the government might lose sight of (or drop the desire totally for) the ideal, the true, the upright.

i think it's still cheating that is at the core of all these, and not whether it's her whom the people wanted to win in 2004. from that core, we can ask next what the surrounding conditions were there that made cheating possible, then make the people concerned go through the proper consequence. and also a restructuring of all offices concerned, if needed.

i will post next parts of the discussion on the other topics he covered, like the impeachment, other venues for the truth, ofw remittances and the economy, and alleviation of poverty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


i went through a 3day silent retreat last weekend, and happily i was able to sketch again. i think the last time i tried to draw was in grade school, in our art classes.

i liked what i was able to come up with since i didn't really expect much. i'm just someone who tries his hand at new things every now and then.

so what do you think? :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pulse Asia dims GMA’s glad return


President Arroyo’s happy arrival -- she brought good news from the APEC summit, where the Philippines was hailed as a model in the antiterrorism war, and enjoyed a relaxing stopover in Hong Kong with her family -- was dimmed by the result of the latest Pulse Asia survey.

The research company’s "October 2005 Ulat ng Bayan," released Monday, shows that her following in the Visayas has gone down. Forty-seven percent of the Visayans believe her resignation would be most beneficial for the Filipino people, while only 43 percent think the best thing is for her is to remain.

Nationwide, nearly 6 in 10 Filipinos, or 58 percent, preferred exit scenarios for her.

What would be the most beneficial thing to happen after her exit?

Seventeen percent think it would be a presidential election. Twelve percent believe it would be Vice President Noli de Catsro’s assumption of the presidency. Only 11 percent want her replaced by a temporary junta, which would prepare the nation for the election of a new president or a prime minister.

Monday, November 21, 2005

step back and rest

the evening local news tonight had nothing to say anymore about any of the following issues: jueteng, hello garci/cheating last elections, hyatt 10, gma resign, fvr, cory aquino, cbcp, black and white, rallies, mendiola, satur ocampo, communist, charter change/venable deal, graceful exit. except for several opposition congressmen who toyed with the "arrovo" booboo in some of the new 100-peso bills issued by bangko sentral, there was nothing in the news that could remind people that only several weeks ago, gma was under extreme pressure coming from various camps to step down. this is totally the opposite of the images of gma in the news tonight, enjoying a popsicle with his family in disneyland hk.

though the news was sadly still mainly about killings and carnapping and npa offensives, i thought that the absence of anti-gma news was a welcome breather for everyone. it's been there since late may, when the jueteng payola hearings started, and everyone, starting from those who love and adore gma from head to foot to those who would love to see her crucified upside down, would surely have good use for the break that we are in right now. for those who believe that gma deserves to stay in the position that she is holding right now, they will be sleeping sound tonight. for those who believe that there are questions which still needed answers, and that there is no quick way to close the various issues which hounded our nation the last 6 months, tonight's a night to recollect, rethink, replan.

and to rest. everyone needs to rest every once in a while.

sweet dreams everyone...

Friday, November 18, 2005

forum on the jesuit guidelines

fr danny huang sj, provincial superior of the society of Jesus in the Philippines, will be leading discussion on the guidelines he endorsed to jesuit partners and institutions this coming wednesday, 430pm at the ateneo de manila university (escaler hall). he will also try to answer questions and receive comments and suggestions regarding the said guidelines. everyone is invited...

Friday, November 11, 2005

3 stars & a sun

" It's been 4 hundred years of tears
For the brown man,
Still and all the fight has just begun
...3 stars & a sun!
...3 stars & a sun!
I'm ready to defend the 3 stars & a sun! "

lyrics from a song by francis magalona

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

reflections: 1

in addressing socio-political issues, the catholic church prescribes that its people use the pastoral cycle as guide to understand deeply the situation at hand and to find its meaning for oneself and for the people concerned (the society). it is believed that having processed the different available information surrounding a particular socio-political concern will have produced a more well-thought of and effective action plan.

the month-long sembreak that is given us has somehow afforded me enough time to withdraw from the political crisis besetting our country to do the third part of the cycle, the reflection part.

it is not a conscious effort though on my part. after immersing myself into the various issues which started piling up since late may this year till the middle of last month, i have experienced a very strong pull inside me forcing myself to stop following the daily goings-on in our country's political life. i guess that pull has always been there ever since, being a novice to the nuances of almost all of the political issues i am being exposed to (i am an AB Interdisciplinary Studies graduate, now taking up MA Philosophy, obviously with very minimal formal political studies). seeing how bad things are getting is a constant source of disappointment as i slowly get initiated to the adult world of politics and government. that's why after the last political briefing i was invited to give (to ateneo student leaders, 25 oct), i told myself that i am going to enjoy my break and leave this confused world of philippine politics for a while.

i should say that this withdrawal has somehow given me time to place myself on a different vantage point to look back at the past 5 or so months, to find which of the experiences has given me meaningful insights about the filipino, our society, and myself of course. this "reflections:" series will contain what i think are fruits of that stepping back.

to start off, i must admit that for the bigger part of last semester, i was practically lacking in hope. a friend priest in rome enthused that it seems that i am "more angsty" now than before. many friends whom i invited to view the posts i place here in this blog couldn't believe that i am suddenly very serious, and the mood seems too dark (i might soon change the page design of this blog again to something lighter than black, hehe). i noticed too that for the many times that i posted something about hope, about how much we need to believe that something positive for the filipino is goin to come out of this crisis, i was actually praying for hope, searching for it in myself.

i think hope is a gift. i can't fabricate hope and say that i have it. and precisely because it is a gift that i again remember to fold my knees and beg God to grant me enough of it that i will need. this i guess is the difference of my being a Jesuit who writes about present national issues against other writers. we witness the same events unfolding in our nation, but we see things differently.

for this next semester, there will still be more events to write about, many experts say that the crisis is still very far from over, but i hope that i shall write based on what i see, and that i shall see differently.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Jesuit Guidelines on the Political Crisis

These guidelines were prepared by the Society of Jesus Philippine Province Commission on the Social Apostolate whose members are Albert E. Alejo, S.J., Miguel B. Lambino, S.J., Jose Cecilio J. Magadia, S.J., Antonio F. Moreno, S.J., Karel S. San Juan, S.J., Primitivo E. Viray, S.J., Peter W. Walpole, S.J. and Roberto C. Yap, S.J. (Chair).

FR. DANIEL Patrick L. Huang, S.J., the provincial superior of the Jesuits in the Philippines, recently endorsed the "Guidelines in a Time of Confusion and Crisis," which was prepared by the Province Commission on the Social Apostolate. Produced after much discussion and consultation, the document is an attempt to provide specific guidelines for a Christian moral reflection on the ongoing political crisis and confusion that have engulfed our nation.

Father Provincial asks that these guidelines be read, reflected and prayed upon, and made the subject of serious discernment, toward action by individuals, communities and institutions. Father Huang recognizes that not all will agree with what is presented in the guidelines: some will judge that they go "too far"; others will doubtless think they do not go "far enough." For his part, Father Provincial personally believes that these guidelines offer sound directions to help us "read" our present situation and to orient us in our common search for authentic solutions to the grave problems of our country today. Nonetheless, these guidelines are not
presented as positions that all are compelled to accept and adhere to. If some, in conscience, differ with the positions taken in the guidelines, Father Huang is asking them to present their dissent with civility and intelligence, as input for the continuing task of communal discernment toward that which will serve the true good of our country.

Father Provincial exhorts the Jesuits and their lay partners to be united in prayer and deep concern for our country and our people. He prays that the Lord show us the way toward the truth, freedom and justice that our people yearn for; and that God bless us with courage and hope.

We are presenting nine guidelines here to share them with those who may be seeking direction and guidance in these troubled times.

1. The struggle to bring out the truth must go on. The freedom to advocate this struggle must be upheld. The President has not sufficiently rendered an account to the people (of the) serious charges (that) have been raised against her, and the efforts to hide the facts only confirm the suspicions of many. To dismiss the concern for truth in the name of stability is to condone the culture of impunity, under which those in power have long been able to commit crimes unpunished, and our people have become cynical-accepting corruption and deceit as normal in public life.

2. Those who claim that the "rule of law" (triumphed) in the recent impeachment proceedings confuse proceduralism with law. While it is true that the procedures of law were (followed), the spirit of the law was subverted. Evidence was not allowed to emerge.

3. Peaceful and legal means that protect and strengthen our democratic institutions must be used in the continued search for the truth. In this same spirit, the legislature, especially the Senate, must not be remiss in its oversight function, to ensure (that) the system of checks and balances, set in place by the Constitution (serves its purpose). Likewise, care should be taken that concrete actions do not support or strengthen groups with covert anti-democratic, adventurist or power-grab agenda.

4. We respect the decision of those who in conscience have reached a judgment that the President should not remain in office. Part of this process is the moral obligation to seriously consider alternatives that will be truly good for the country, and not abet the struggle for power among the elite and corrupt politicians.

5. The search for truth must include a search into the deeper truth of Philippine political life, the factors which make the present crisis just one of a series of political crises that hinder the country's development. It is necessary to listen to, reflect seriously on, and address the concerns of a large majority of people who seem apathetic or whose dissatisfaction does not seem to translate into political action. Some, for example, have lost trust in all politicians of whatever camp. Others, especially those in the provinces, feel excluded by and resentful of what they perceive to be (a status quo that allows Manila to make decisions) for the country again. Efforts must be made to address this disillusionment and sense of exclusion,
so that our people will be motivated to participate more vigorously in our country's political life.

6. If many of our people seem to be uninvolved or uninterested, it is primarily because of an overriding concern for economic survival during very hard times. The real and urgent concerns of the poor should be given highest priority amid (the) search for truth. Indeed, the search for truth is integrally linked to the fate of the poor. Corruption and dishonesty have made the lot of the poor worse.

7. Government and private sector to address the urgent needs of the poor in fields (of major concern), such as education, health, housing, livelihood and the like, should continue to be supported and, indeed, intensified. This is especially urgent in view of the looming international oil crisis.

8. While there may be reasons to consider amending the Constitution for the sake of greater responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of our people, Charter change as a diversionary tactic in times of political conflict, or as a means of perpetuating elite democracy, should be rejected. Thus, the rush to change the Constitution, especially through a constituent assembly, should be resisted. Furthermore, while major constitutional changes such as parliamentarism and federalism may seem to have merit, their concrete realization and implications should be carefully studied and discussed, rather than prematurely decided upon.

9. There may be no clear solutions or exit strategies to our present state. But our past history, especially during the martial law years, reminds us that we can continue being vigilant and work for truth and justice even when the alternatives are not clear. Thus, the following courses of action should be pursued:

a. Our educational institutions, parishes and other institutions should become centers for conscientization. Discernment groups must be organized to combat apathy, to heighten awareness and involvement and to prepare for future action. We echo the call of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in the statement of 10 July 2005, to "urge our people in our parish and religious communities, our religious organizations and movements, our Basic Ecclesial Communities to come and pray together, reason, decide and act together always to the end that the will of God prevail in the political order."

b. Conscientization that leads to organizing and reorganizing base groups and forming community or sectoral organizations should be given priority. Such groups can also be invited to deal with local problems, to engage local government and to do network-building with other sympathetic groups.

c. These and other groups should be mobilized toward vigilance and monitoring:

. First, the continued effectiveness of government programs for the poor.
. Second, appointment to public offices made by the President.
. Third, acts of apparent retribution against those who are critical of the government and the President.
. Fourth, the actual use of pork barrel by legislators and their possible abuse of it for themselves.
. Fifth, the preparations for forthcoming electoral exercises, through advocacy for automation, and the continuing task of voters' education.
. Sixth, the use of funds that will be made available in the event of a peace agreement in Mindanao.

d. Deeper study and reflection on institutional alternatives (such as parliamentarism, federalism, etc.) should be conducted at various levels, from university think tanks to grass-roots groups.