Sanctimonious and cheap

Standard

In addition to condemning “the continuing culture of corruption from top to bottom of our social and political ladder (sic)” the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) decided, after a 12-hour meeting last February 26, to —

1) “urge the President and all branches of government to take the lead in combating corruption wherever it is found;

2) “recommend the abolition of Executive Order 464 so that those who may have knowledge of any corruption in branches of government may be free to testify before the appropriate investigating bodies;

Continue reading

Unreformed

Standard

To begin with, most University of the Philippines students — even some Ateneo de Manila seniors — have heard about the oligarchic state. UP student activists regularly refer to it, though they tend to use more precise terms like “bureaucrat capitalism” to describe the private appropriation of public power as a means of plundering the public treasury.

This being the campaign period for the student council elections in UP Diliman, for their enlightenment the curious could venture into UP’s halls where they’re sure to hear student leaders urging their fellows to “serve the people” and to reject service to a government dominated by the wealthy, powerful and corrupt.

Continue reading

Unknown quantity

Standard

Will the Arroyo regime survive the NBN-ZTE scandal? Or to put it another way, will the Filipino people allow Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to realize her fondest wish of completing her term until 2010 and/or or running before or after that date for either president or prime minister in a parliamentary system of her and her allies’ devising?

Thanks to television, the NBN scandal has been a long-running and instructive look into how the faction of the political class now in power has been gouging the citizenry it claims to be serving.

Continue reading

The lower depths

Standard

The spectacle of the unseating of Jose de Venecia last Monday evening was appallingly instructive. Thanks to television, Filipinos had a chance to see their so-called representatives in action — and to see what they had wrought through their votes, their cynicism, and their indifference.

From Jose de Venecia himself to Prospero Nograles, from Mikey and Dato Arroyo to the 80 or so novice congressmen in the House of Representatives to the last sweaty felon pretending to be both patriot and lawmaker — Filipinos, and not just the voters among them, put them all there in the Batasan where the country’s laws are made.

Continue reading

We are not alone

Standard

Portions of this column were part of the statement I read in a press conference last January 28, 2008 in behalf of the plaintiffs in the suit for injunction and damages filed against police and other officials by four media organizations and 36 journalists.

Unless the media do something about it, in the next crisis situation journalists will again be arrested and charged with abetting rebellion or some other such offense reminiscent of the martial law catch-all of “subversion”. The suits media organizations and individual journalists filed last January 28 to stop government threats are part of their effort to prevent the recurrence of that evil.

Continue reading