Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today, Manny Pacquiao and his usual entourage composed of the usual suspects and human leeches Lito Atienza and politico-wannabes, will motorcade around Metro Manila's main thoroughfares in celebration of "the real bayani," Manny Pacquiao. This, because there exists a bogus bayani in the person of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando who (again) has flooded his Metro-Gago contraptions with pink and blue ribbons which says, "Bayani ng Lahing Pilipino," pertaining to Pacquiao, but with color emphasis on "Bayani." The not-so-subtle message he is conveying to the reading public again attempts to remind "urbanidados" he is gunning for the presidency, this in spite of his 1% acceptance rating. I think it's just a waste of taxpayers' money since he can't even win the hearts of his men at the MMDA, much less the country.

The motorcade ends in Malacanang where Mr. Pacquiao pays a courtesy call to another bogus hero, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Of course, she may again make a shameless public declaration that she and Manny are both heroes. What gall, what guts. What pachydermic pronouncement!

But before she fibs on this again, let us not forget what had happened a few years ago - the lie that was EDSA 2. The foreign press did not stand idly as the events leading to EDSA 2 unfolded. Most of the wire services and the major international networks had correspondents monitoring events and reporting on these accordingly. As a result, the controversial nature of the GMA take-over in January 2001 did not escape international scrutiny and received widespread covergae in global media outlets.

The following offer glimpses of what was written about the power grab that deprived President Joseph Estrada of the presidential mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the Philippine electorate in the May 1998 presidential elections. These articles were written by respectable journalists whose keen poltical sense and acumen are unquestionable.

Sandra Burton of TIME says, "Remember Estrada - however cynically - was acting within the framework of the law and under the terms called for by the impeachment proceedings. Had he been declared guilty, he would have had to go. The troubling point remains that he had been convicted. But they had mechanisms to legally change their head of state. The option they chose, popular uprising, while rousing and probably justified, could portend a troubling future for democracy. But if those protests lead to unconstitutionally questionable successions, it becomes a subversion of democracy. Even now, we don't know what percentage of Filipinos wanted Erap to go."

Anthony Spaeth of TIME says, " But the Philippine polity is 77 million strong (2001 figures). Was this a revolution of the Filipino people - or a few hundred thousand Filipinos prompted by a few hundred individuals? perhaps this represents confusion between democratic pasions and the rule of law. More likely, though, People Power has become its own institution and one that seems monopolized by a certain clique. People Power has become an acceptable term for a troubling phenomenon: one that used to be known as mob rule."

Phil Zabriskie of TIME says, "Legitimacy questions crack the foundation of her presidency from her first day in office. The cracks deepened folowing Estrada's arrest in May, a foolishly showy affair that made him a martyr and caused mob riots quickly dubbed EDSA 3. An economy in meltdown, an army that could turn against her, an ex-president who might be more popular that she is, and now, the US soldiers landing on her shores. What Arroyo needs is a bulwark. But without an electoral mandate, the only source is a massive public support, the kind more likely to respond to image and inspiration than intellect."

THE ECONOMIST says, "Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over the presidency in unconstitutional circumstances that do not stand up well to scrutiny."

Philip Bowring of the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE says, "However, far from being a victory for democracy that is being claimed by leaders of the anti-Estrada movement such as Jaime Sin, the evolution of events has been a defeat for due process. For many, it merely confirms the fragility of political institutions in the Philippines and the likelihood that the streets will become a regular location for political action."

Hilton L. Root of the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE says, "The result is that the Philippines, known for the 'people power' movement that brought down Ferdinand Marcos, has the wrong kind of people power of the 21st century. The Philippines faces a political crisis that goes beyond the need to replace the person at the top. The challenge is to correct the situation in which society is divided into those who can outsmart the system and those who cannot. Removing Estrada will not save the Philippines."

Seth Mydans of THE NEW YORK TIMES says, "People Power 2 was met with doubt and criticism, described by foreign commentators s a "defeat for due process," as a "mob rule," and as a "de facto coup." It was seen as an elitist backlash against a president who had overwhelmingly been elected by the poor. This time it appears "people power" was used not to restore democracy but, momentarily, to supplant it."

Lee Kuan Yew in THE STRAITS TIMES as interviewed by the ASSOCIATED PRESS says, "The change of power in the Philippines was no boost for democracy because it was done outside the constitution."

Jim Mann of the LOS ANGELES TIMES says, "Now by contrast, we are witnessing the use of people power against a leader who was the winner of a legitimate democratic election. No matter how understandable it was, this outbreak of people power doesn't feel like an advance for the cause of democracy, quite the opposite. Who or what, ultimately, was this particular movement against?"

THE WASHINGTON POST editorial says, "...This time, however, the target of Filipinos' "people power" was not a dictator, like Ferdinand Marcos, but Joseph Estrada, a constitutional execurive who received more votes than any previous presidential candidate and who remained popular among the country's poor. Though he Supreme Court ruled that Vice-President Macapagal-Arroyo should be sworn in as president, the legality of the transfer remains questionable."

The ASIA TIMES online says, "Again, therefore, whatever crious legal construction anyone may now attempt to put on the ouster of Estrada, he was ousted by a military coup, with the connivance of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, major business groups and two former presidents. This will have any number of consequences, none too pleasant, for the coup markers and - more imporatntly - for the country. One loser among the coup makers will be the Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and his church. Economically, from the standpoint of foreign investors, would you put money into a country whose constitutional and legal system are only as reliable as the will and whim of an entrenched oligarchical elite..."

So, Mrs. Arroyo, before you make that public declaration again that you are a hero just like Manny Pacquiao, please remember how is it that you are now seated on your fragile throne - your stolen throne. Remember also that you once made a boastful and shameless declaration saying, "I'm married to the country."

I wonder, is this why you keep screwing the Filipino people?
(Image by Glenn Dasmarinas at


A friend of mine traveling in Syria relates how he stopped to watch three shepherds who were by a well watering their flocks. The three flocks were all mingled together at the watering place. My friend could not see anything different between them, and he wondered how they could get them all separated again without much trouble. But when one of the shepherds stood forth and called out, "Menah!" the Arabic for "Follow me," and sure enough, some thirty sheep immediately separated themselves from the indiscriminate mass and began to follow the shepherd up the hill. Then, a second shepherd lifted the same cry, "Menah!" and a second flock separated themselves and started after him, while the rest of the sheep remained as unconcerned as if no one had spoken at all.

My friend was so astonished that as he saw the third shepherd preparing to leave, laying his hand to his crook and beginning to gather some dates fallen from a palm beneath which he had been resting, he stepped up to him and asked, "Would your sheep follow me if I called them?" The man shook his head left to right and vice versa. "May I borrow your shepherd's cloak and crook and let me try?" My friend said that he even wound the shepherd's turban round his head and standing forth began to cry, "Menah! Menah!" but not a single sheep moved. They only blinked at him lazily in the sunshine. "Do they never follow anyone but you?" asked my friend. "Only when a sheep is sick, then the silly creature follows anyone, false shepherds included," the shepherd replied.

Whose voice are you following?