Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Davide Factor

Chief Justice Hilario Davide is set to retire on Dec. 20, 2005, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Many justices come and go, several silently. But, according to Supreme Court insiders, Davide is not going anywhere.

Indeed, I was told that Filipinos are going to find a "new Davide" after Dec. 20. He will become more vocal and will weigh in on issues confronting the nation, including the present political crisis. He will use his stature and credibility to help steer this country forward, I was told. He will be vocal against Arroyo and her corruptive effect not only on politics but on our national life.

"He might just reinvent himself," an insider said.

For a country sorely lacking in moral guidance, Davide could certainly fill some of this vacuum. Because the bench has a way of suppressing the opinions and positions of justices, his retirement could certainly unshackle him, which might be good for us poor souls.

One motivation could be that Davide will attempt to redeem himself. He was, after all, the one who legitimized Arroyo when she grabbed power in 2001. Davide cannot allow Arroyo to become his legacy to the Filipino people. And as Davide redeems himself, he will redeem, too, the Filipino people.

Oftentimes, redemption is the main engine that drives people -- especially decent people who happened to make bad choices -- as they approach the end of their lives.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

No more protests on EDSA

Listening to the AM radios this morning, I was struck by the curious focus in some of the discussions on the traffic mess created by the demonstrations yesterday at the People Power monument. Korina Sanchez railed against it, so did many of the blowhards on the air.

Then, this afternoon, the Metro Manila Development Authority announced that it no longer allows rallies at the monument. By then, of course, the government had already put out its agenda for the day: reduce the anti-Arroyo protests to a mere inconvenience, which, in turn, can be dealt with by the fascistic hand of Bayani Fernando. By then, too, it had laid the groundwork to justify the order that, of course, violates the Constitution.

It did not surprise me, too, that businessmen are now mouthing the same theme -- huwag na mag-martsa-martsa, they say -- in interviews, even in centerfold advertisement in today's Inquirer. Some have even asked Cory Aquino to stop these protests.

It is obvious that Arroyo feels vindicated and is now on the roll. It now feels it has gotten the mandate to do these stupid things.

What a wretched governmetn we have!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Those smug, condescending congressmen

One of the lies being peddled by the majority congressmen in Congress is that many of them were turned off by the minority congressmen's name-calling and all that. They used that as justification for not joining the cause to impeach Arroyo. The subtext, of course, was that they could have signed the complaimt, if not for the arrogance of the minority congressmen, as typified by Edmund Reyes's impassioned plea for more signatures.

That's just a lot of crap. If they really believed in what the impeachment process was about, they wouldn't be offended by such behavior by the desperate minority congressmen. Besides, the minority legislators only resorted to such desperate means as aping Russell Crowe after it was clear that they've lost the battle in that blood-drenched arena called Congress.

In any case, my pet peeves during the marathon hearings yesterday:

* Rep. Way Kurat Zamora. Somebody should stop this jerk. He thinks he's cute, but he's actually infuriating. He boasts of his supposed solid principles and of his province but what is Compostela Valley except a known battleground for Communist insurgents and the AFP? If he's so good, his province should not be suffering.

* Legislators who invoked good governance, ethics and all the gods. You'd think they would vote for impeachment, only to vote against in the end.

* Latin (or is it Roman?) adages. Dura lex sed lex? Dura lex Pyrex?

* Rep. Roman of Bataan. What's with his fixation with "proceeding" and "proceedings"? Anyway, he tried so hard to sound eloquent and it was so freaking off-putting.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Triumph of democracy"

What do you know, President Arroyo issued a statement today about the ARMM election and she said exactly what I had earlier said she would say, that the election was a "triumph of democracy."

She also said "I have directed that law and order be strictly maintained during the canvassing of votes and until all the winners are proclaimed."

Kaya naman pala!

"Abnormally peaceful"

It's interesting how yesterday's election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao baffled many people. One Comelec official said it was "abnormally peaceful", hence it was an aberration. Despite the inevitable incident here and there, the election was unlike any other before simply because of the absence of bloodshed.

The answer to this conundrum, of course, lies in this fact: the unpeace in the ARMM during elections is usually the handiwork of political kingpins and warlords identified with whoever sits in Malacanang. And, if I were the president, I'd make sure that the ARMM election -- this showcase of what is so wrong with Philippine democracy -- held at a time when she is so embattled would be a showcase instead of what ordinary folks should expect from a democracy: peaceful (never mind honest) elections.

We might scoff sometimes at the words "peaceful" and "honest" elections so often mouthed by politicians but the two, indeed, go together. In the ARMM, as in anywhere else in this benighted land, a state of unpeace is a prerequisite for dishonesty during elections. It is no accident that the ARMM elections are the most violent -- because it is also the most dishonest. As the Garci tapes have indicated, it is in the ARMM areas that cheating -- massive, decisive cheating -- takes place every election time.

So, when you think about it, yesterday's election could be the most honest in the ARMM ever.

The thing is, the powers that be had always held the trigger that is the cause of so much violence in the ARMM. Nothing proves this more than the "abnormally peaceful" elections there yesterday.

Mark my word: the recent ARMM election is something the Comelec and President Arroyo would declare proudly as a "triumph of democracy and autonomy." Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, I can almost see it, would declare that the ARMM election disproves the notion that the Comelec is corrupt and incompetent.

It's a fucking setup, that's what this election is.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Stoned

Excuse me, guys, but allow me to let you in on a little secret: I had my first pot last week. For years, I resisted the temptation to smoke it because I was afraid of what my mother always told us: Don't take drugs, because you'll regret it.

But, against my mother's wishes (and I'd like to think I'm old enough to fuck with my life), I took a few drags one night last week, in between sips of my favorite red wine. You see, my friends were quite, uh, encouraging.

And guess what? Pot is overrated. I expected nirvana but I was told my "trip" was weird. I talked all the time, they say. My feelings were ambivalent. I was told by my friends, for example, that I had told them that I -- and excuse me for the language here -- felt horny but was complaining that I didn't have a hard-on to back it up!

Worse, the morning after, I was flatulent the whole freaking time!

This was what my mother warned me against!? Of course, It was just pot, not LSD nor meth nor shabu. But I should have listened to her!

And I'm getting myself new friends.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Garci's letter to Gloria

In today's Inquirer, columnist Neal Cruz printed a letter from Virgilio Garcillano to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in which Garcillano practically pleads for his appointment as Comelec commissioner. Cruz said the letter was received by Malacanang on Nov. 28, 2003.

Read and weep:

"I hope I am not taxing your patience for repeatedly reminding you of my application for the position of Commissioner of the Commission on Elections. Although you have given me the hope of being appointed to that exalted position in case of vacancy, I still feel the need to remind you of my desire.

"On February 2, 2004, two of the incumbent Commissioners are retiring, namely Honorable Commissioners Ralph C. Lantion and Luzviminda G. Tancangco. Since February is only two months away, I am taking the liberty of appealing to Your Excellency to consider me for the said position. You are very busy and my name might escape your memory. Please allow me to refresh your memory about me.

"I am Atty. Virgilio O. Garcillano, the former Regional Election Director of Region 10, based in Cagayan de Oro City. I was one of those whom the First Gentleman approached when Your Excellency ran for Senator. I also had the pleasure of serving your party when Your Excellency requested me to monitor and/or protect the votes of the Lakas-NUCD Senatorial Candidates in Mindanao during the 2001 Election. After that election, Your Excellency generously shared your time and honored us with a dinner in the Palace. It was then that Your Excellency mentioned for the first time Your Honor's intention to make me one of the Commissioners.

"Appointment to that exalted position is literally like passing through the eye of the needle. I had been waiting for this opportunity. It is Your Excellency's imprimatur -- Your final decision -- that would relieve me of the agony of waiting for the appointment, Madam President.

"If given the opportunity, I will not put Your Excellency down.... "

Monday, August 01, 2005

Zuce is the key?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a witness to the La Vista payoff has come out. Michael Angelo Zuce, a former staff at Malacanang, came out in a press conference today and said that he was present when jueteng money changed hands between election officials and jueteng lords -- in the presence of President Arroyo. Malacanang called it part of a black propaganda against the president while the opposition said it has more witnesses to the La Vista payoff.

Having said that, we should expect any day now the disclosure that former finance secretary Cesar Purisima, the leader of the Hyatt 10, had less nobler motives when he led the call for Arroyo's resignation last July 8.

According to my sources, Purisima implicated the Supreme Court -- he had strongly hinted that the Supreme Court's alleged intervention in the EVAT issue was the reason for their resignation -- because the High Court failed to name his father, Amante, to the powerful Judicial and Bar Council. Purisima, accordingly, had lobbied very hard for his father's appointment to the council. When he failed, he had to blow off steam at some people, in this case the Supreme Court justices.

Now, that may be a lame reason to call for Arroyo's resignation but I'm convinced that it was a big factor in Purisima's decision to betray his president. In fact, if it hadn't been for that, I don't think he'd do what he did.