Too easily pleased

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Together with the brazenness with which the results of the May elections are being manipulated, the ease with which too many Filipinos are being pacified despite Commission on Elections duplicity, police and military partisanship, vote buying and violence must rank among the most telling indicators of why the country is in its present state.

I’m referring to the self-congratulatory mode evident in the gloating and the ohhs and ahhs (“it’s a miracle!”) that have greeted the poll victory that was nearly a defeat of priest-on-leave “Among” Panlilio in Pampanga, the defeat of several clueless celebrities and former military candidates, and the trouncing some Arroyo regime candidates are seemingly getting in the senatorial elections. Our Spanish masters had a word for it: consuelo de bobo: the consolation of fools. Continue reading

Illusions

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The results of the May 14 elections–and they’re likely to be the voters’ surprise of the decade– will not be known until weeks from now. But what’s certain is that they were primarily a contest between the administration and opposition coalitions. Except in rare cases at the local level, the candidates of smaller parties and groups won’t make it to the corridors of power. As representative as they were of the frustrations and hopes of the middle class, the candidates of the tiny Kapatiran Party didn’t stand a chance. Continue reading

Lambs to the slaughter

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Thanks to the politicians, but with no little help from the citizenry itself, the May elections are turning into one more futile exercise in a country world-renowned for the vanity of much that it does.

But the elections are no circus; they’re not as entertaining. What they are in terms of substance is an immense bore, primarily because of the skill with which every performer has avoided addressing what these elections are really all about. Continue reading

Gestures

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On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, two days after his release from hospital, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo announced that he was dropping the 11 libel suits against 46 journalists that he had been filing since 2003. As if to demonstrate that contrary to his lawyer’s allegations, he indeed is a public figure, his wife’s press secretary read Arroyo’s statement.

Arroyo described his decision as “a gesture of peace.” But he also implied that he deserved “redress,” and declared that he was nevertheless withdrawing the libel suits “to pursue a more positive and constructive relationship with those who will accept my offer of a handshake.” His statement also suggested that it was God’s –and therefore his–“spirit of generosity” that had moved him to withdraw the suits. Continue reading