Sidebar to catastrophe

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It is almost certain that some kind of a deal was struck between the leaders of the July 27, 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the Arroyo government.

An amnesty, or perhaps a pardon for the mutineers and their leaders after a showcase trial, is thus likely, despite Malacanang’s repeated assertions to the contrary and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s insistence that the government will pursue the cases against the mutineers and their leaders. After all, if there is anything consistent about Mrs. Arroyo, it is her capacity for saying one thing and doing another, as the entire nation has learned to its sorrow. Continue reading

Sincere and utterly principled

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Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo over-read a portion of US President George W. Bush’s speech before the UN General Assembly last Tuesday, September 21. Incidentally the 32nd anniversary of the declaration of martial law in 1972, that date was marked in the Philippines in a rather subdued manner, and in the context of fears over creeping authoritarianism.

Romulo said that the Philippines welcomed Bush’s “candid admission” that “the US had made the mistake of compromising with dictators.” But the so-called “admission” was buried in the middle of Bush’s speech, limited US complicity with dictatorships to tolerating and excusing them and only in the Middle East, and was made to justify the US policy of regime change. Indeed, Bush was justifying the US attack on and continuing intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was putting them up as models for emulation in the Middle East. Continue reading

Arrested democracy

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Among other qualities he shared with almost every traditional politician ever spawned by the slimy swamp we call Philippine politics, Ferdinand Marcos was a segurista—someone who made absolutely sure that things would turn out as he wanted.

Marcos had demonstrated that trait many times in the course of his political life. But he did so most especially when he ran for a second term as President in 1969. “Overkill” was a term current at the time to refer to the nuclear capacity of the United States to destroy the world several times over. It came to describe among Filipinos Marcos’ campaign tactics during the elections held in November of that year. Continue reading

The US’ loss: the world’s gain

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If the people of the world were to vote in the US elections, George W. Bush would not be reelected this November. A July-August survey by the research group GlobeScan Inc. and the University of Maryland, USA, found that a vast majority of people in 30 out of 35 countries prefer the Democratic Party’s John Kerry over Bush for president of the United States.

Out of this 35, in only three countries did those surveyed express a preference for Bush—in he Philippines, Nigeria and Poland. It’s a group that has no discernible commonality, although we know that in the Philippines, the most successful experiment in colonialism in all of human history might have something to do with it. There’s also the dominance of US media over global information, which results in world affairs’ being perceived through American lenses. Continue reading

Zones of discomfort

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There are enough Filipinos to populate another country who think there are quick solutions to this country’s problems, even if those problems have been decades and even centuries in the making.

Their so-called leaders encourage this assumption through their statements, acts, and policies—or what pass for policies. Insurgency and rebellion can be addressed by killing guerillas and their sympathizers, says the military. The police thinks the death penalty’s the solution to crime. Keeping “pornography” off the screen, say your barber, the Catholic Church, and SM Cinemas, will stop fathers from raping their daughters, husbands from patronizing brothels and officials from stealing from the public treasury, and will curb immorality in general among the populace. Continue reading