I PRAISE Chairman [Banjamin] Abalos and the rest of the Comelec [Commission on Elections] for doing a good job last May election/ If massive cheating occured, then why are a majority of the GO candidates marching their way to the Senate? Why did Mike Defensor, the most loyal Cabinet member of this administration, not make it to the Final 12? Why did Lilia Pineda, a known close friend of the President, fail to sit in the Capitol of Pampanga? Let us give where credit is due. We are all tired of loudmouths and baseless accusations that never cease to pull the country down. By the way, I like the way Chairman Abalos pronounced "senator" in proclaiming the newly elected lawmakers.
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[PANFILO] LACSON wants to head the Senate blue-ribbon committee. "I want to advance my advocacy of accountability among public officials. If only for it, I want to chair the blue-ribbon committee. But I won't beg for it nor exchange my vote to get that committee," he said, referring to his vote for Senate president. Since majority of the Senate is now GO [Genuine Opposition] and they are serious about their anti-corruption drive and putting corrupt public officials in jail, will they prosecute Erap? Or will they go only for administration candidates and their allies?
THE RESULTS of the recent elections showed that Filipinos are not yet mature, although growing. Many based their analysis and decisions on what they hear and see, less on what they read, because many are tired of reading. There is more analysis actually when reading. This resulted in education through media. It is now a powerful tool to build up one's image, as what actors and actresses do to build up their careers. People now cannot differentiate fiction from half-truths or from truths. Political events are watched like soap operas on prime time. And media would take advantage of political gossip and scoops to make stories more valuable for money. Errors in reporting are justified by icing them with more controversial ones. This is the "education" that Filipinos have had after Marcos. Democracy was abused like the phenomenon of "people power." "Will of the majority" is falsely equated with what is "right." "People power" is wrongfully used for protest while, in fact, it must be used for reforms. It is easy actually to incite protest but too hard to campaign for reforms given human nature. Politicians would also take advantage of the Filipino attitude of fanaticism as many will follow them blindly because of the image media has made for them. It is not very different from being an actor with many fans (which is actually short for fanatics). No wonder a politician even after tainted with graft and corruption would still have many followers and loyalists. One would not be surprised that even after the evidence presented in the impeachment trial, the PCIJ reports of his properties and "Darth Vader" friends, the well known stock manipulation in the Philippine Stock Exchange, Erap can still gather people at the EDSA Shrine or still win in a snap election, if one is held. A politician can easily change his position and principles as long as he has many fanatics that will put him in the Senate or presidency. Many have seen how many senatorial candidates have crossed party lines, and ate their principles but still managed to be in the Top 5 of the senatorial lineup. These filthy political tricks were hidden under the rags of issues like "Hello Garci" and election cheating. Another trick of "throwing the garbage on others' backyard and exposing it" in the form of gossip is being maneuvered to hide behind inefficiency and incompetence. Political sugar-coated media speeches are used to lure fanatics to his side, like courting a lady persuaded with enticing poetry. Many young opinion-makers and also bloggers would say that what is wrong is the system as a whole but they must realize that the voting public is part of that system. -- Henry Delgado, MD, EMAS Offshore Pte Ltd, Singapore
FROM TIME to time I would usually hear either from the administration or the opposition about their political bickering and how one is better than the other. However, I've been observing lately how politics is actually practiced in our country, and let me emphasize that this is from a college student point-of-view. I am studying at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas taking up Political Science and I believe one of the precursors for you to be a student of politics is for you to love politics. That is why, let me share my opinion about Philippine politics. When the Arroyo administration previously called for a change in the Constitution through constitutional assembly, it eventually failed. Next here came Lambino et al who started this people's initiative; eventually it failed also. Later on, the administration then called for a constitutional convention but eventually election time came. Now let me ask this question: Why is the government so obsessed with this charter change? Is it not that the present democratic system is already the best that would exemplify democracy? I think what's only needed is to practice genuine public service to the people, and its priority is social services and not foreign debt nor military funding. Now, here comes election time and the adminstration is calling for national unity and reconciliation. I believe that it is true in its very essence that we need unity and reconciliation, that we need to stop all this political bickering and all for our country to move on. However, I think it is ironic for a government to call for unity and reconciliation if its instruments for peace, i.e. the military and police, are primarily the cause of disunity. How many activists, students, priests, lawyers, women have been killed allegedly by the military? It is also ironic that a government is clamoring for economic reforms that would lead to economic stability and development, but has failed to see who is directly affected by the expanded value-added tax or E-VAT and the oil deregulation law -- none other than the masses. It is also ironic for a president to call for sincere and honest public service if she has not answered yet the all-time box office hit "Hello Garci" scandal, which by the way the very institution that is supposed to be independent in the electoral process has even let Garcillano run for public office. I wonder how much it would cost to buy konsensya in the depratment store, because definitely I'll save my entire allowance just to buy one and give it as a gift to Madame President and her little scalawag Garci. Sometimes, I would think that the heroes of the past like Gat Bonifacio would most likely lead another revolution if he's alive right now; heck, there is a revolution happening. Maybe, during the Marcos regime, the principles and ideas of the Communist Party were needed to have genuine political and economic reforms. That is why maybe, sometimes, I would think the New People's Army is actually the real army of the people. If this government can't do anything to stop its mediocre political and economic reforms, I think the Left is the only remaining answer to our problems. Nonetheless, I still hope that the likes of Satur Ocampo and Liza Masa may change the system without violence and let democracy work at its best. -- Lean Porquia, University of the Philippines in the Visayas
ALL right. The Comelec has yet to proclaim the winners yet -- largely due to the interference of TEAM Unity -- but I think it's safe to say that Genuine Opposition candidates are going to get most of the 12 seats up for grabs in the Senate. 7-3-2 (GO-TU-independent) the last time I checked. Now what? I don't know. What I do know is that, barring some miraculous turn of events, impeachment is not going to happen. The Congress is unquestionably Arroyo's; though there are congressmen who oppose her, notably the representatives of party-lists like Bayan Muna and Anakpawis, the grim truth is that they are the minority. Not to mention the fact that Arroyo's allies in the Congress have demonstrated time and again a lack of delicadeza. They're not going to shy away from employing underhanded tactics or bulldozing through all opposition (regardless of how legitimate the dissent is) to get what they want. Which means that though the Senate would probably vote to impeach Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a trial, the Congress would never let the impeachment case reach the Senate in the first place. Charter change? Well, the entire country saw what happened the last time Congress tried shoving that down our throats. Every major faction -- the opposition, the activists, the Church, etc. -- made its opposition to Cha-cha known, and its proponents hastily backed down. But I seriously doubt that's the end of that. Cha-cha continues to lurk in the background, waiting for a chance to reenter the political scene. Unfortunately, there's not much the Senate can do if or when Congress decides to revive the issue. Besides complaining on national television, that is. That worked last time, helping to sway public opinion against the initiative and the proposed Constitutional Assembly, but Filipinos are quick to forget. They can forget, for example, that a candidate who once hated Erap enough to cry is now hand in hand with him in election ads. They can forget all the reasons they didn't like Cha-cha and become swayed by the propaganda of the administration. As I said, I don't have all the answers. No crystal ball wherein the future reveals itself to me. But I have to hope that GO accomplishes something besides proclaiming their disgust at the current administration, and plotting its demise. The 2007 elections are behind us -- now we must hope we voted the right people into their positions.
IF we look at the results of the recent elections, both at the local and national level, I can't help but see a tiny glimpse of hope budding up. That is if we have to believe the analysis of the press of the circumstances surrounding these results. We are witnessing an upsurge trend of protest votes not only against GMA, but also against the system as a whole. If for that alone, there is reason to begin investing our hopes on better politics ahead...
I VOTED for GO (Genuine Opposition) candidates not because of Erap. I think GO candidates are brilliant people and have their own minds. If anything (and this may sound brutal) they might just be riding on Erap's popularity among the masses. That's how things are in politics. Let's not box Erap with all these corrupt and negative things. Let the one without sin, cast the first stone, as the Bible says. Erap has long vacated the president's post but graft and corruption still runs rampant in the government. The Cebu lamp posts, the Garci tape, the Macapagal highway... I mean everyone is at it. I believe at some level we all are corrupt. And it goes the same with lies. Lies are lies regardless of color.
TO THOSE who sold their votes for P20, P50, P100, P500, P1, 000, P2, 000 -- let this article be a reminder that this will be the last amount of money that you will see from your chosen candidate until the next election. Let this article be a reminder to you that for that amount of money, your chosen candidate will be taking 10 times as much money from you. To the vote selling public, you are what is wrong with the Philippines; because of your weakness of conviction, you have let another election pass you by. When I hear Filipino citizens criticize candidates because of the lack of money they gave, I wonder just how much they understand or comprehend what they are saying. Do they not know that the money that is being given to them for their vote is probably coming from the Filipino public as well? When I hear Filipino citizens judge a candidate by how much money they gave, it is yet another slap in the face for those Filipinos who consider their vote a prized possession. So, to the vote selling public, you are as guilty as those officers and candidates who buy your vote. You are participating in the economics of cheating, the economics of bribery, and the economic of fools. Thus, do not complain if the candidate you voted for, the same candidate who bought your vote, who bought your integrity, is the same candidate who does not make good on his promise of making your life better. Are you telling me that you trust a candidate to do all that he promised, when he doesn't even have the integrity to run a campaign that is clean and honest? To the vote selling public, enjoy your misery! To those who voted and did not sell their votes, I applaud your integrity, and let your integrity and love of your country be the start of a brighter Philippines. Do not be dismayed by reports of those who sold their soul, because in the end, you are what makes the Philippines a great nation. You are the true Filipino.
"IT'S probably the first time in his life that Pacquiao has lost this publicly," said a friend of mine. "Don't tell me you're feeling sorry for him," said someone else. "I am. Pacquiao's always been the hero, the winner, the idolized. Losing to a girl whom almost no one out of Gen San knew, until she became the person running against him, must hurt," said my friend. "He deserved it." "Well..." "I mean, if Pacquiao had run for a position in the executive branch, he might have fared better. He's just so out of place in the legislative. Seriously. How can a man who bungles his English post-fight interviews make our laws?" "But he's always been the winner," my friend repeated. "And he lost. In front of the entire Philippines. You don't feel the slightest bit sorry for him?" "Was he planning to give up boxing for politics? No. Can you be a good boxer and a good politician at the same time? No. Come on. He was asking for it." "I'm a big fan of Pacman." "So am I! I just think he should stick to boxing." "So do I! I wish he'd never run in the first place." "Not me. It's a good thing he ran and lost. Lesson learned." "That's cruel." "That's life." Listening, I wondered if plenty of other Filipinos were having the same discussion. Differently worded, in different places, but the same. I found myself agreeing with both of them. Is that possible? It can't be denied that Pacquiao has done more to boost the morale of the country than every single senator, congressman, and the First Family combined. But it also can't be denied that Pacquiao has never done anything that hints he would have been a good politician. His fame rests on his humility; politicians need to toot their own horn. Loudly. His fame rests on his charisma -- even when he massacres the English language, we love him. But that's because for a boxer, charisma rests on coming across as one of the masses. As one of those who rose from the bottom to the top. But the charisma of politicians rests on something entirely different -- coming across as the savior of the masses. A politician is not a role model, he is the person who slips the medal around the role model's neck. Pacquiao is a boxer. A very good one. In this case, his loss was a victory -- let's leave it at that, and wish him luck in his next battle. Hopefully, this time it will be in the boxing ring, not the political arena.
STATED in the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Article VI, Section 3: No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. Wanted by the masang Pilipino is someone who could raise their status quo, maybe someone who could flood their drained bank accounts. Required by the entrepreneurs who subsist in the fluctuating world of stocks and business is a big name that could grant incentives and hoist their eminence in the market. In the sagacity of idealism, others may seek articulation to be the voice and image of what was once a reverie. In the world of ignorance, others may yearn for the face -- the one whose posters they once thought were endorsements of a new beauty clinic. How many times have the Filipinos been fooled? They were but images that portray good actors or actresses -- so good that they made us believe that their role is their real personality. Just like how Eula Valdez and Jean Garcia played their role as Amor Powers and Claudia Buenavista that struck the country. We were once on top -- a country that was taking pleasure in its riches until we felt the dictator's arm clutching our freedom. The state loves freedom, no doubt -- proven by the rally scenes that take over the news everyday. The state's excellent economy was forfeited to reclaim the free will that was taken from us. Now that we have salvaged what was left of us, we are given much power to make a change -- a good one, to retrieve what was once ours. Pinoys should establish standards. We should vote for someone able -- someone who has the capabilities, a person with knowledge and understanding to construct laws not for himself but for the majority of the people. He should be an individual who has the guts to stand on his principles, not changing sides -- favor to the appealing and someone who has the record. Last May 14, the Filipino people were doctors of the ailing land and jurors of the historical reality contest. We may not have unexplained powers to change the present, but we have supremacy to direct the future. Stated in every Filipino's hope is someone who will lead the nation to its prosperous condition.