“No politics”: the trapo definition

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Unlike that other “victory” in 2004, Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Mexico’s Erik Morales has been correctly described as clean. He didn’t appoint the referee. He didn’t spend other people’s money to convince them he’s the better fighter. And he didn’t call the judges when they were tallying the scores either.

But Pacquiao’s victory is being tainted by the usual suspects: the politicians of the Arroyo administration who regularly cluck their forked tongues over “too much politics”. No politics and all unity has been these worthies’ mantra since the “Hello Garci” tapes broke into print and broadcast in mid-2005. They were at it again exactly a day after Pacquiao’s victory last week. Continue reading

Endorsed by Osama

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The news from online book dealer Amazon.com is that the sales of the book Rogue State: a Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (London: Zed Books, 2000) are suddenly booming.

The “rogue state” in the title is neither Libya, Iran, North Korea, or any other country the United States has described in those terms. The “rogue state” is the US itself. Continue reading

Sleepless she isn’t

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It was the media’s fault. They waylaid Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes, and given the military’s commitment to free expression, not all the intelligence agents in the country could have, or should have, stopped him from talking to reporters.

That’s Brig. Gen. Marlu Quevedo, chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, artfully explaining why ISAFP stood by with its hands in its pockets while Trillanes was being interviewed by print media reporters and later, by TV network ABS-CBN. Continue reading

Unknown quantity

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A coup by “radicalized” officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was one of the possibilities that could “resolve the present crisis” mentioned by a speaker at a book-launching last December at the University of the Philippines.

The crisis is the one that’s been hounding the country since the summer of 2005, when the “Hello Garci” tapes surfaced as the probable smoking gun proving allegations that Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo manipulated the 2004 elections. Continue reading

Fourth category migrants

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House Speaker de Venecia said over the weekend that if his campaign for a shift to the parliamentary form of government fails, there would be no hope for the country, and “we might as well migrate.”

The Speaker was talking to reporters after that “historic” meeting of the national directorate of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democratic Party, in which he, former President Fidel Ramos and Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and assorted Lakas denizens were all smiles as they decided—or thought they were deciding– the fate of the nation. Continue reading

A problem like Arroyo

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People Power 2 began five years ago in the evening of January 16. The impeachment trial of then President Joseph Estrada had ground to a halt with the 11 to 10 vote that prevented the opening of the second envelope on Estrada’s bank accounts. Slowly at first, but building into the hundreds of thousands, students and teachers, nuns and priests, professionals and working men, doctors and nurses, businessmen and farmers, small traders and clerks– the organized and the unorganized– gathered at EDSA and eventually forced Estrada out of office.

The culminating event of the second instance in which the people had directly acted to oust a president was Estrada’s departure from Malacanang, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s being sworn in as President on January 20. Continue reading

A vicious proposal

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There are two things wrong with the proposal to amend Section 4 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution to read thus “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

The first is that the phrase the Consultative Commission wants inserted, “the responsible exercise of” etc., is totally unnecessary. Continue reading

The morning after

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Everything happens in this country in the first quarter of the year, and there’s a reason for it.

Every new year begins with the end of the Christmas holidays. Christian Filipinos take their religious holidays seriously, the celebrations of which they take the greatest pains to make memorable. Not accidentally is the most important religious holiday of all, Christmas, also the longest in Christian Philippines. It is the one holiday Filipinos look forward to, and to which they assign the highest expectations. That is why how Christmas is celebrated—how much people spent, how businesses fared, how brightly-lit neighborhoods are, etc.—has become a gauge of the country’s material as well as mental state. Continue reading

Breaking from the past

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Two messages have been consistently beamed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies in the House of Representatives to the nation since the effort to impeach Mrs. Arroyo failed last September 2005.

They repeated the same messages in the final days of 2005 and as the country entered a new year. These messages are the need for the country to “move on” from the ordeal of the political crisis that broke last summer, and the urgency of reforming the flawed political system. Continue reading