Jul 30, 2005


On the sham idea of "People Power fatigue"

Palace propagandists who spread the yarn "People Power fatigue" opportunistically forget to mention or refuse to admit that their principal Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was catapulted to office by the second People Power uprising in 2001.

They also fail to mention that it is a universally-acknowledged right of peoples and nations to form new governments and consequently demolish existing governments that they deem to be unfit, unwanted or oppressive.

Moreover, they use the Constitution as a shield from attempts by the real Sovereign power -- the Filipino people themselves -- when the latter flex their muscles and press their demand for Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's removal from power.

It is also obvious that they have no qualms (mis)using People Power for their own benefit. They proclaim as bogus People Power the anti-Arroyo demonstrations that are fast catching fire across the country, while declaring as genuine the pro-Arroyo mobilizations mounted by national and local government executives who require state employees, students of state schools and groups of persons to attend the rally and sing paeans to their beleaguered leader.

People Power is not a new concept. People Power 1 and 2 are only modern adaptations of what we used to call democracy. In 1896, the real first People Power was born in the Philippines when Filipinos began to wage armed struggle against the Spanish colonial rulers and thus giving birth to that entity called the Philippines. It was People Power because for the first time, Filipinos realized their nationhood, united among themselves and fought for the right to determine their own destiny as a nation. True to form, they were slated to inaugurate years later the first republic in Asia. (That the first Philippine republic was aborted is another story altogether.)

People Power is not about rallies or about going to Edsa or Mendiola. It refers to the sovereign power of the Filipino people to make and remake laws and political realities. When the people decide to come out and act on an issue, the Constitution plays second fiddle or is simply set aside as what we have seen in 1986 and 2001 when the uprisings chased away sitting presidents in clear violation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court and the sucessor-governments were forced to cope with and recognize the historical facts.

If and when the people again decide to put an end to the Arroyo presidency, it would not be a crime but a clear exercise of sovereign power on the part of the Filipino people.

Mrs. Arroyo has also raised the pseudo-bogey of endless People Power revolts as detrimental to democracy and to the economy. But she says so with a clear self-serving motive of defending her recalcitrant presidency from her greatest enemy -- the people.

People Power may destroy the next presidency but only if and when her successor would follow her steps or those of Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada. We are not a nation of fools or stupid folk who would depose a president without any sufficient reason or merely at whim.

True, the people are tired but not of struggling for authentic democracy and reforms but of the extremely rotten status quo dominated by cheating presidents, oppressive social structures and economic conditions, corruption in high places and foreign domination over various spheres of our national life. We are sick and tired of the system as we see and feel it everyday.

How dare Arroyo and her sycophantic cabal of supporters even insinuate that we would stop fighting these malignant problems and take hold of our destiny as people once and for all?!

Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan


The dance of death

In her SONA, GMA announced the start of a "great debate" on charter change and entirely skirted on the prevailing political crisis centered on her lack of moral, political and legal basis to govern and to lead in instituting reforms.

No one, except FVR and JDV, has bought the invitation to do this dance of death.

It is really a dance of death. It is an obvious ploy to prolong GMA's kapit-tuko hold on power. It seeks to divert the issues of Hello Garci, jueteng and other controversies that have reduced to nunal size whatever right GMA has to remain as president. It is a dance of death insofar as GMA would only be inviting more protests for refusing to face the issues head on and specifically for ignoring the growing clamor for her to leave the presidency pronto.

On another note, the deathly and deadly chacha seems to be aiming to maim and kill the impeachment complaint against GMA -- again showing clearly GMA's lack of interest in her own plea that her critics bring the issues before Congress and not to the streets.

But the people know better. Survey after survey by the leading pollsters Pulse Asia, SWS and Ibon prove that GMA is fast losing adherents, with more and more Filipinos seeking an end to her disgraced presidency and wanting a fresh, new leadership.

The street protests, the so-called Parliament of the Streets, are developing in terms of quality and quantity. The last protests coinciding with GMA's SONA mobilized between 60,000-80,000 from various political groups now united for the singular purpose of deposing Arroyo. These people and parties have publicly refused GMA's invitation to do the chacha.

We need no chacha right now. If GMA truly wants reforms in the political and electoral arenas, she should realize that she's the biggest stumbling block to attaining these reforms, that she cannot lead the people in this endeavor, and finally, that the people view her as defender and beneficiary of the rotten status quo.

The imperative remains: GMA has to go asap so real, honest-to-goodness reforms could be pursued.

Jul 25, 2005


Impeach GMA!

In the public interest, here is a PDF copy of the 54-page amended impeachment complaint versus Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

To obtain a copy, please click here.

Hosting of the file courtesy of Indymedia QC. File obtained from the Office of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and lawyer Neri Colmenares, one the private counsels serving the complainants and co-complainants.

Jul 21, 2005


New Politics anyone?

As we continue to search for good government, Bayan Muna and its allied political parties and organizations stand out today as the bearer of good news and a practical program to replace the bankrupt rule of the elite.

Barring the senseless anti-communist tirades, there are sound reasons to support and adhere the Bayan Muna viewpoint, principles and program of action.

Today's setup in the political, electoral, economic, cultural, military and diplomatic affairs are in shambles. The system has gone broke for a long time. The most intelligent and brightest among the elite can no longer claim a seeming "divine right" to monopolize political power simply because they have failed to deliver the promise of a better life to the Filipino people. This same elite class have only shown a readiness not to serve but to raid the national treasury.

We all thought that Joseph Estrada was already the worst, what with his making the presidency the apex of criminal activities. Little did we know what the next elite leader (Clinton classmate and US-educated Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) could do: Steal the presidency and get caught with it on tape.

Foreign investments, foreign consulting, foreign military aid, foreign borrowings have always been the de riguer in various spheres of our national life. But prosperity has remain a foreign idea. Much of the profits derived from the daily toil of our people (be it in farms, factories and offices) get repatriated to foreign shores and some to the pockets of the local elite.

Democracy meanwhile has been limited to formalities -- formal elections, formal institutions, formal laws and documents. The bigger classes of workers, farmers, the middle class and the patriotic entrepreneurs have yet to be given commensurate power. This is the reason why the people's demands are not met, social spending shrinking, the elite endlessly and ravenously raiding the public coffers while making such democratic formalities serve their selfish interests.

New Politics -- not the fake slogan of Arroyo in 2001 and 2004 -- seeks to depart from the elitist, pro-imperialist ways. It wants to realize the Filipino people's dream of authentic freedom and democracy. It has the following objectives:

• To establish a democratic, nationalist and popular government by empowering the people, ensuring their representation and participation in all levels of government decision-making.

• To assert national sovereignty and independence and protect the national patrimony from foreign domination and control.

• To promote a self-reliant and sustainable socio-economic development through the integrated programs of genuine land reform, national industrialization and protection of the environment

• To uphold and defend the people’s basic human rights and freedoms and ensure justice for all victims of human rights violations.

• To improve the social and economic welfare of workers, peasants and other marginalized sectors by providing a comprehensive and progressive program in basic social services and livelihood.

• To promote a national culture that is progressive, patriotic, scientific and popular and develop research and development in science and technology.

• To guarantee the right to self-determination of the Bangsa Moro, Cordillera and other indigenous peoples and ensure their participation in all matters that directly affect them.

• To remove all forms of gender oppression and discrimination against women and promote their full involvement in national affairs and other fields of endeavor.

• To advance a national comprehensive policy on peace negotiations to address decisively the root causes of the prolonged armed conflict that has historically beset our country.

• To foster a just policy of international relations that is independent, peace-oriented and mutually beneficial to our integrity, security and prosperity as a nation.

Let us support the bearers of New Politics. Better yet, let's join them and ensure the attainment of these objectives that best reflect our highest hopes for our nation.

Jul 19, 2005


Impeach the cheat!

The most hated and most despised Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would soon be the subject of an amended impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives.

According to reliable sources, the Minority and the Progressive blocs have started cooperating towards the filing of such an amended impeachment complaint. I have read a draft that has come my way, and I am convinced that the People of the Philippines have a strong case to impeach Mrs. Arroyo. There's a body of evidence enough to convict her for several if not all the possible impeachable offenses outlined in the 1987 Constitution.

Of course, the amended impeachment complaint would have its strongest case in Arroyo's being a certified cheat and liar. The House and the Senate may reject all moves to consider the tape as evidence but they cannot deny the fact of the cover-up she and her minions have been trying to do since June 5, when her Press Secretary unveiled the Gloriagate tapes and misrepresented the genuine with the fake and vice versa.

When the impeachment process unravels, the public would be treated to yet another lamentable spectacle of a sitting president being punished politically for pursuing bureaucrat-capitalist ways.

The cases against Arroyo would be more than enough to fulfill the impeachment process' role as an arena or measure in aid of the movement to remove her from power.

Jul 15, 2005


Si Raul 'o: Today's certified village idiot

Raul, my bayaw who married my sister Anne, was the butt of private jokes in the family. Referring to him occasionally, we all laugh when we say "si Raul 'o" as if we were consigning him to the National Institute for Mental Health the next day.

The phrase "si Raul 'o" came to my mind again soon after a certain Raul Gonzalez started inhabiting the Office of the Justice Secretary as per appointment by power klepto Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Instead of helping dispense justice for the common people, he has made it his personal crusade to rival The Firm in defending to the hilt her not-so-almighty but puny boss in Malacañang.

The NBI, an agency under his high and mighty office, is busy dispensing court cases on perceived enemies of Arroyo: inciting to sedition viz. Samuel Ong, and a spurious case vs. the printing shop that dared take on an order for anti-Arroyo posters.

Pre-empting her Señora and Congress, he befuddled the nation by making the sweeping generalization about the authenticity of the Gloria-Garci tapes. "Si Raul 'o" was mum and unapologetic when Arroyo herself faced the nation and admitted to being the female voice in the tapes.

"Si Raul 'o" also assumed a deathly silence when deans of major law schools told the House of Representatives that nothing's wrong with playing the Gloriagate tapes and using them in public and judicial proceedings. Perhaps Gonzales' old age and his long stint in the same House has eaten away his earlier more dynamic and infinitely more decent pronouncements denouncing the Marcos dictatorship.

Recently, "Si Raul 'o" and no one else could have made the recent tasteless, high-handed and undeserved remarks on Tita Cory viz. Kris Aquino.

Officials like him think they help Arroyo turn the tide of public opinion. We say otherwise. He's actually helping dig Arroyo's political grave. The insults he hurls at the people, the laughable threats (against users of Hello Garci ringtones and busina, those who played the tapes including the media), the non-sequitur verbal attacks on Tita Cory and plainly every putrid word that emanates from his mouth is fomenting public hatred towards the administration.

Simply put, "Si Raul 'o" has assumed the role as today's certified village idiot. We should thank him for helping unite the nation against him and and the village thief-cum-chieftain he serves.

Jul 13, 2005


Big protests at Ayala: Fantastic preview of The End for GMA

Fantastic! Although the rally was capped by a rather distressing personal experience, everyone (except perhaps the likes of GMA) are on the whole happy over the turnout, color, breadth and scope of today's protests.

The crowd estimate was at 80,000. This may be a bit off the mark, as the headcount may have been even larger if we refer to aerial shots by photojournalists of international wire agencies.

Its really nice to see our people exercise their democratic rights to free speech, free assembly and free redress of grievances. It is democracy in action. It inspires people to continue carrying on the fight for a better life for each Filipino and for each Filipino family.

News and photos:
Bayan Muna bats for Council as alternative to GMA, hails mass protests
Colorful, 80-strong rally demands GMA ouster, social change
Is GMA watching the rally? Its the preview of the end -- Bayan Muna
Photos of the rally on Yahoo! NewsLest it be forgotten, similar rallies were staged across the country.

All in all, this has been a good day for the struggle for democracy, and a preview of how the GMA administration may end as she continues to resist the widespread clamor for her resignation.

Featured photo by Associated Press photographer Bullit Marquez (courtesy of Yahoo! News)

Jul 12, 2005


To GMA's (dis)credit

Fitch and S&P are threatening to downgrade their ratings on Philippine debt papers purportedly due to political uncertainties and the failed implementation of the expanded VAT.

In so many words, the two rating agencies of this debt-ridden world are saying that Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has lost their confidence. True-blue seguristas, Fitch and S&P are practically saying that they could no longer trust GMA in ensuring that every cent and dollar of the humongous Philippine foreign debts could still be paid pronto.

This development is a big headache for GMA and the political and economic Establishment.

The people who have made a stand for GMA's resignation or removal from the presidency have likewise articulated a position for meaningful reforms including debt relief, debt cap and other measures that would cut down on the current exceedingly high payments on these debts that are mostly fraudulently-obtained, onerous-in-terms and graft-ridden in implementation.

The Glorigate only splashed fuel on the already red-hot coals of discontent over low social spending and the oppressive impositions. The situation has compelled the public to look both at the moral fitness of the current leader and the policies she has likewise pursued, including the public spending on debt.

The real danger that Fitch and S&P has seen is not merely GMA's imminent downfall but perhaps the prospect of a fresh, new government that could include in its reform program a stop on mindless and gargantuan debt payments.

Jul 10, 2005


Bishops' move

Archbishop Oscar Cruz and Bishops Deogracias Iñiguez, Antonio Tobias and Julio Labayen, would surely dissociate themselves with the pro-GMA statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference, and would rather minister to the growing movement to oust GMA.

The weak, ineffectual statement was welcomed only by the weak, ineffectual GMA. The CBCP missed the point of the entire exercise.

It seems that the Inquirer correctly got the public sentiment on the CBCP's "conclave": That Jaime Cardinal Sin would be terribly missed by fellow bishops and Filipinos.

The more progressive bishops from the Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical churches should not be stopped or dissuaded by the CBCP statement. They have a moral responsibility to God and country, especially as we expect the Palace to unleash a fresh round of misinformation this week.

It would be foolhardy of GMA if she mistakenly interprets the CBCP statement as a license to remain in power. The CBCP may have come out rather weak tonight but there's no stopping it from changin course and from adopting a more activist stance in the near future.

Featured photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan

Jul 9, 2005


Calm before the storm

Some said that GMA bought herself some reprieve, perhaps even a second chance, by surviving the catastrophic events of Friday.

Not really, because her political coffin has already been readied by a growing number of people and political forces who have since demanded her resignation. Right now, these forces are leaving it to her to decide when she would tender her letter of resignation and leave the confines of the presidential place.

The situation now is more than a stalemate because the broad anti-Arroyo movement has long seized the initiative and has even expanded its ranks with the defection of Tita Cory, the Makati Business Club and 10 members of GMA's official family.

People's organizations have started the countdown to GMA's end, and if GMA still manages to fool herself for a couple of days or weeks with the view that she cannot quit due to an alleged divine mandate, she risks arousing another people's uprising.

It would actually be to GMA's benefit if she seizes initiative as soon as possible by resigning pronto, and thereby secure herself a more respectable place in history. If she doesn't, she will join the ignominy of Marcos and Estrada who were forcefully flushed out of office by direct democratic action of the people.

Jul 8, 2005


New seal of the Philippine presidency

This is the new symbol or seal of the Philippine presidency.

But a small correction. In the case of GMA, the title around the seal should read this way: Sagisag ng Pekeng Pangulo ng Pilipinas.

Protest visual comes from the creative women of Gabriela. Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan


The end for GMA is near but...

Today's chorus was spectacular: Former President Cory Aquino, the Makati Business Club, the Liberal Party and ten members of the Cabinet have joined the growing movement for Mrs. Arroyo's resignation.

Across the capital, rallies erupted in Welcome Rotunda, Ayala Avenue and elsewhere in order to celebrate the growing national consensus for a GMA-free presidency.

The latest defections give an almost-fatal and nearly-mortal blow to GMA's intransigence. They represent pillars of the ruling elite who have long supported GMA but now view her as a liability to the stability of the system and to the pursuit of pro-imperialist and elitist "reforms".

As Bayan Muna rightly put it, the end for GMA is almost here, the countdown has started. But the people should be wary of how the elite would like the end to look and feel like.

Former President Ramos is proposing Charter Change "ASAP", with GMA remaining as president as the changes are being undertaken. The idea looks like a "honorable exit strategy" while at the same time inserts into the political debate today the long-running attempts to tinker with the Charter and make the latter compliant with the demands of imperialist globalization.

Most of the anti-GMA from the privileged and upper middle classes advocate "constitutional" succession by Noli de Castro. They could not perhaps countenance the probability of either an Opposition takeover or the progressive "council for unity and renewal" as caretaker government. The latter perhaps miffs the elitists because it may catapult to powerful positions representatives of workers, farmers, urban poor, professionals and SMEs. That is distasteful for the elite because it will undercut their hold on political power.

Jul 7, 2005


Authentic democracy 1

Cory became president in defiance of the Marcos Constitution. She was catapulted to the presidency by a nationwide uprising now dubbed People Power 1 that rendered irrelevant the results of the snap elections. Through that revolt, Filipinos clearly expressed their direct political power as the supreme sovereign in our country. If not for this uprising, Ferdinand Marcos would have enjoyed more time raiding the treasury and persisting in criminal acts such as massacres and killings, tortures and abduction.

When Cory assumed power, she abolished the Marcos Constitution and ruled by decree under a so-called Freedom Constitution. The present Constitution was ratified only a year later in 1987.
In 2001, Filipinos eventually set aside the Constitution in dealing with the corrupt Joseph Estrada who was using it, its institutions (Senate) and its processes (impeachment) to escape prosecution and public protests. We ousted him. Never mind if he did not want to resign. Never mind that he pretended to have been forced to quit. Never mind if he claimed that he would only temporarily relinquish his post. We ousted him in the second People Power. By "we", I meant the millions who packed the area in front of the Edsa Shrine, public plazas across the country and Philippine communities and embassies around the globe.

While we were forced to agree with GMA as Estrada's constitutional successor, only GMA and her sycophantic cabal proclaimed the constitutionality of Estrada's resignation or ouster. For the nation, it was Filipinos themselves who sent Estrada rushing out of Malacañang via the Pasig River backdoor.

The nation would have been better off had GMA proclaimed a revolutionary government and instituted revolutionary changes in the immediate aftermath of People Power 2. But her class origin and background found it more convenient to crown herself the Constitutional Successor and use the Constitution as license for various misdeeds (including dilly-dallying on Estrada's prosecution).

Given these, I'd say that let's put the Constitution and constitutional options in their proper places. Its just one of the options available to the Filipino people.

Some support Kabayan as successor to GMA when she finally resigns or is ousted. Others bat for a government of national unity or a coalition government. Still others warn of a military takeover.

In the final analysis, the decision rests not on GMA or on any other group. It would be Filipinos through their organizations, movements, parties and associtions who would determine the final look of the post-Arroyo leadership.

What if the post-Arroyo leadership (in whatever form) becomes worse for the nation? What if the thievery and oppression and poverty goes from worse to worst? Let's cross the bridge when we get there.

The political power and the people may be weaker today compared to the stranglehold of traditional politicians have on almost all elective positions, but ours is the initiative and momentum in the long-term. Because whether constitutional or not, changing of guards among the warring trapo groups teach the people two important lessons:

That unless this stranglehold on power by a few elite groups ends, we would remain saddled by a corrupt, incompetent, oppressive, pro-imperialist and anti-people government; and

That real People Power, real democracy would only happen when it has gone beyond form and gets substantial.

By that time, it would be the turn of the Filipino people (farmers, workers, professionals and SMEs) to take the lead and implement genuine democracy, sans the perfidies endemic to elite trapos.

More People Power uprisings may still be needed to reach that stage when we would have one-by-one weakened and eliminated these trapos out of the political leadership of the country.

Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan.

Jul 5, 2005


Desperate House Boys

The soon-to-be deposed Arroyo administration is suffering from an acute lack of rationality and respect to the intelligence of the Filipino as its sycophantic spinners are hard put controlling the widening damage wrought by the Gloriagate tapes.

In the House, GMA's equally-desperate partisans seem to have just the nearest cave when they speak about the Gloriagate tape. They say so much, eagerly lawyering for and obviously currying favor from GMA in either discrediting resource speakers or the tapes submitted to the continuing House hearing.

They say so much, perhaps thinking that their lengthy manifestations would make the public forget this essential fact: GMA has admitted to being the female voice in the tape.


Kailangan pa bang imemorize 'yan?

The desperate House boys waste the public's time and massacre gazillions of our collective braincells with: professions of fealty and love for GMA, their constant questioning of the raison d'etre for their hearing, their mindless motions while their colleagues have the floor, their bad grammar, and their obvious motive of constantly shielding GMA from "damaging" questions. Sometimes, they get to exhibit symptoms of GMA Idolatry, urging "respect for the office of the president", as if GMA is a reigning queen who is not accountable to anyone.

As what some of my friends say, we cannot stop people from siding with GMA and from joining her in her political grave.


Tym 2 go

At the rate things are going, it would be prudent for GMA to quit now.

If she relents tonight or tomorrow, the entire nation would be spared the sad spectacle of a plummeting peso and plunging stocks. If she gives up her kapit-tuko stance on the presidency, she would at the least reap some some goodwill for being showing grace amid pressure.

Bomalabs, says a friend from the House media pool.

For, indeed, power corrupts and corrups absolutely. Palibahasa ay nakatikim na ng kapangyarihan kaya talaga namang ayaw magpatinag si GMA.

I would just tell this GMA and her cabal of sycophants: Its tym 2 go, as they say in text parlance.

Take for instance the reported statement from GMA, through the Ignacio Bunye, that she would be willing to undergo impeachment just to clear her name.

The woman totally misses the point.

By saying she's in favor of impeachment, she's again confirming widespread perceptions that she indeed committed largescale electoral fraud and would undergo the political process before Congress only because it is highly unlikely that the both Houses would result in a partisan vote: Partisan in her favor.

But looking at the two pending impeachment complaints, there seems to be a concerted effort right now to disable the impeachment process and disable it so that genuine impeachment complaints would be prevented. The two complaints are largely unsubstantiated and -- surprise! surprise! -- both were endorsed pronto by members of Kampi, GMA's own party.

Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan.

Jul 3, 2005


The sound of a dying presidency

More than 500,000 folks have visited the TXTPower website since we first made available the scandalous Hello Garci ringtone.

Filipinos continue to have fun with the now 27 remixes of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's "a lapse of judgment", a grossly inaccurate term she has used to describe no less than 16 calls she made to Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano while the nation was awaiting the results of the counting of votes in the 2004 elections.

A few days ago, a new ringtone dubbed "I'm sorry" made its way to us and consequently to our website. This time, the "I'm sorry" comes from Mrs. Arroyo's pseudo-apology and was set to the tune of the melodramatic song "Tuliro".

The "Hello Garci" and "I'm sorry" ringtones are fast becoming the sound of a dying bogus presidency.

Because inasmuch as Mrs. Arroyo would like to capitalize on her own apology to worm herself out of the terrible mess she is in, the situation today is one of uncertainty and certainty. Mrs. Arroyo's stay in power is now uncertain. Her resignation or forcible removal from power, a certainty.

She let 22 days pass since her own spokesperson broke the news about the Hello Garci tapes, gave out such copies to the media and the public and made innumerable lies to cover up her voice and her crime. Her apology last week as truly incomplete, belated and unacceptable.

The opposition has called for her resignation. So has three Catholic bishops who have long criticized her for selling out the economy to foreign interests (a friendly term for imperialism). The progressive mass movement has upped the ante of protests. A cabinet member said to be a tax evader has quit and so did Arroyo's former nationl security adviser-turned-congressman. In Congress, the Hello Garci tapes have been played during official proceedings. Several big protests have been mounted. Anti-Arroyo jokes are proliferating. T-shirts poking fun at Arroyo and her husband are selling briskly. Cultural groups are having a field day composing and performing new protest songs.

On the same day she announced the exile of her husband, Ms. Susan Roces Poe stood up and spoke from the heart: Mrs. Arroyo must resign now. She has shamed the nation by stealing the presidency and disrespecting the memory of our forebears who fought for our right to be a free nation.

As of this time, more than a thousand are at the TXTPower website, downloading ringtones that are fast becoming the sound of the death knell for this blasted regime.

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