Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pilipinas Forum 5: Edsa 3 Aftermath

Another long debate and exchanges here among members of more than 10 years ago. I could hardly join the discussion then, I was busy reading then compiling, editing for some typo and capitalization errors, etc., then submit to Enjoy the passionate debates!

EDSA 3: The Aftermath

May 9, 2001

I am all for the strict implementation of the law. One of the things that will make or break a nation is the respect people accord to the laws of the land. Nung hinuli nila si erap, bakit di sila nagpakita ng sipag sa pagtatrabaho sa paghuli sa iba pang mga big time na criminal katulad ng bilis ng paghuli na
ginawa nila kay erap. Equal application, equal protection. Ang sa akin lang ay nagmumukha kasi na sini-single out si erap. Equal application lang ng batas. Wala namang problema kung arestuhin nila si erap. kung arestuhin nila pati si FVR, ayos din! Ang sa akin, pag nagkasala, kahit president o ordinaryong magnanakaw lang siya, hulihin agad. Iwasan lang yung impression na may nasi-single out...

- Jolette Fajardo

Kung merong ebidensya kay FVR, kay Cory, Kay Cardinal Sin o kahit sino pa siya, eh di sampahan ng kaso at arestuhin. Tama ka, walang angat sa batas. Pihadong mayrong ebidensya ng katiwalian ng mga nakaraang presidente diyan. Kung mayroong maglalabas at maghaharap nito sa korte, eh di gamitin ang ebidensya para humarap sa hustisya ang mga may sala. Bottom line: No one is above the law. The law should apply to everyone equally. The question is, where is the evidence coming from. The bigger crime is arresting somebody with no evidence at hand.

-- Reggie Nolido

Why the hell would people insist on reinstating Erap Estrada, a thief, to being their President? One of the people who spoke onstage mentioned that when she wrote to Erap when he was still President about the lack of water in her area, Erap did something about it and there was water. She doesn't believe Erap could really do that, steal billions from the national treasury, when he paid
attention to something as trivial as lack of water in an obscure district. The short-sightedness of these people is a fault on their part but a larger responsibility is upon our shoulders since we know and we think and because we are educated but we didn't care enough.

-- Anna Liza-Su

For political change to be more stable, it should be within the framework of democratic institutions (i.e electoral process, impeachment, etc. etc.). Institutions in other countries work and function like well-oiled machines. Not so here in our country. In a way, the change in government after Edsa2 remain legitimate as the political institutions in the country threw its support even though it was propelled by a peaceful mass uprising called people power which has yet to be institutionalized (in the liberal democratic system). But it may be argued that it is enshrined in our constitution as an expression of direct democracy. Still there are still a lot of factors before it can be recognized as an institution and instrument of social/political change (written into law, tradition/practiced, etc.). What really spelled the difference in Edsa 2 and 3 was the outcome of events. Though clearly both are people power expressions,  Neaning there is a convergence of interests among its participants attracting
huge crowd turn-out, the two events speak of similar modes of action, their content, issues and goals are poles apart and in fact opposite with each other.

-- Bob Lim

There is need to concretize/operationalize pro-poor programs and anti-poverty measures. Easier said than done, I suppose. As a starting point, the government may try to put in place anti-poverty component in every development project or program. The idea is not only to institute genuine reforms for the poor but also to undercut Erap's mass base support. Maybe, it's high time to roll up our sleeves and be serious in instituting policy reforms and good governance. Otherwise, we'll witness countless EDSA reprises in our lifetime.

-- Glenn de Guzman

I cannot help but recall the events that happened in
Europe 60 years ago. Till today I cannot understand why the Germans could produce a Hitler and lead them all by the nose to probably the greatest disaster in recent memory.

How could Hitler ever risen to absolute power with all those intelligent, well educated Germans? My history classes explained that the German masses came from a humiliation that was their defeat in WWI when they were forced to accept surrender terms they signed with bitterness. And he promised to regain it for them. And he blamed the Jews (capitalists and entreprenuers), the communists, and the old Prussian bureaucrats for having sold-out zee Fatherland.

A spurned suitor, like an angry mob, an angry wife, a jealous husband? With them one cannot reason. That will be akin to negotiating from a position of weakness. In this situation one is dealing with the dynamics of water. It finds its own level, fills up every available space it reaches. It only flows above its own level if there is pressure. It continues to flow if it has a source. You want to stop its flow? Remove the pressure, cut the source.

Water boils. Water freezes. Water quenches thirst. It also drowns. It also floods. On water we can float. In water we can sink. It is when we control water that it serves us. It is when we waste water we become deprived of it.

Maynilad? Edsa 3? Water that quenches thirst, water that drowns our poor souls. Tubig, anyone?

-- Kori Coronel

GMA should not only announce a reform agenda BUT immediately act on it as well. Do not forget that Erap and other presidents before him did announce and promise many things including measures to alleviate poverty but did not follow them up with concrete actions. The rest is history. Hopefully these events will serve as a wake up call to GMA for her to be not just a "good" president but an excellent
one. Quite difficult to do but with the support of EDSA 2 people, she might just succeed...

-- Danny Padilla

I remember reading an article in Time sometime in 1998 or 1999 where this British broadcast journalist recalled the "magic" that catapulted Hitler to power. He said that Hitler may now be vilified by history as the most abominable despot to have ever lived, but no one seems to acknowledge that Hitler rose to power because of democracy! Hitler, is in essence a product of democracy. But what kind of democracy? The Germans were humiliated and here was a man who promised to bring them back to greatness. So with marching bands, loud music, rousing speeches and an emblem (swastika) that promised so much hope to a humiliated race, Hitler spoke to every German's heart and exploited that hopelessness to take power over Germany.

The same thing holds true for Estrada. We Filipinos need to believe in something -- a better life, a reason to be proud of ourselves, a reason to stay. In 1998, 11 million people collectively chose to cast these aspersions unto Estrada. But of course, like Hitler he wouldn't deliver.

The writer of the Time article went on to say that nothing in modern society is as sacred as democracy, no, not even God. True enough, some people are actually able to live decent, upright lives without the concept of an omniscient deity guiding their choices. But democracy? Even communists do not openly say they are against democracy (democracy being simply untenable in a society where everyone
is equal, since democracy draws power from either consensus or majority rule). But there is a "hole in the heart of democracy", and it is a gaping wound that no one seems able to properly diagnose. EDSA 3 is a symptom of this malaise. What is this hole? It is the fact that democracy sometimes lack the kind of intensive scrutiny necessary to wield the empowered choices that it ideally provides.

Estrada may be a detestable man, but he won fair and square, by virtue of the rambunctious, unprincipled, shallow democracy that we practice most of the time. So I am starting to think that our problems won't end with addressing poverty in itself. Freedom from poverty doesn't necessarily translate into freedom from ignorance. We have a wounded democracy, and beyond Estrada, the process of healing will take more effort and reflection on our part to make our democracy work better.

-- Vince Cruz

About the "hole in the heart of democracy" or rambunctious, unprincipled, shallow democracy that we practice most of the time. Democracy is a function foremost by the wealth of a nation or to an individual, his or her wallet or purse. The greater the wealth, the greater the democracy. There maybe a few exceptions but very few indeed. Wealth is also a function of education, etcera. The difference in principles and practice of democracy among people is demarcated by the line of wealth. Poor people have few choices bounded by narrow economic opportunities they have. The tragedy comes when political boundaries are wide and they are used to appropriate or widen economic opportunities.
Hardwork being a must did not become a virtue but political power appropriating economic resources -- corruption, guns and gold, shady deals, etc. Estrada as a symptom of a sick democracy, of course, he epitomize the idol of that lumpen section of the crowd in EDSA III of what they wanted to be given their initial condition . Drop out, not much education, dinaan sa show biz, sumipsip during Marcos, make some good deeds also for image, not much hard work but it works, kumain na parang walang katapusan, naging presidente pa.

Anyway, my thesis is that, poor and sick nation that we are, once we set our sights toward a development direction (or policy), we can't afford a sick practice of democracy. Sad to say, democracy must be sacrificed from time to time, even though the full and ideal practice of which is the ultimate goal. Like the farmer's son, his choices must be limited by his father for the timebeing until the son makes his own.

-- Joey Sescon

Yes its about time that these people Enrile, Miriam, Lacson et al., get killed (a taste or their own medicine). I used to say I'd be willing to sacrifice my salvation if I get blow away to pieces a dozen of them including Danding and Imelda. If one made a business plan about the benefits it would surely be
justifiable. I can help but blame the Catholic priests for giving us a conscience.

If this is war, then they would have been court martialed and shot to death for dividing the people against the real enemies. In this modern day the enemies are not the Spaniards or Americans but poverty and other major ills of the modern world.

We could have been addressing more pressing problems such as environmental degradation, deteriorating national health, etc. But here we are embroiled in a political fight who knows will lead to what between selfless and patriotic people versus the forces of ultimate corruption and their mindless selfish minions.

In the meantime, GMA has to act like Lee or Mahatir or any benevolent Dictator. Democracy is simply not for our country, not with a mad, insane, malnourished, emotionally unstable, rationally deprived, culturally damaged, majority.

--Emil Suntay

Cosmic Voyager Bob wrote: "My issue is not with having an elite, but with having an elite that is unrestrained by the institutions of democracy and free markets. Without these institutions, the elite can and often try to extract the most from the economy."

I agree with you 101%. You give them a finger and they take the whole f_ _king arm with the rib cage & organs attached and eat the spleen for breakfast. Some were born that way. Some were trained that way. Most of them were born & trained that way. It's a way of life. But institutions? That is why they are there.

Is it the elite's fault if the institutions go awry? Is the elite to blame if government fails to provide the safeguards and protect the greater good?
You & I know na hustler yang mga yan pare ko. But when confronted with immovable objects like yourself and our incorruptible friends in government who brook no hanky-panky, e di everything becomes even-steven. They will even bow. No hao-shao. You can be sure though that while sharpening the legitimate approach, they will likewise sharpen even more the illegitimate approach.

But after all is said and done, yes, everything hinges on the institutions. How do we protect the institutions? By making sure that those inside & out of it who spit & cheat are given the very long arm of the law.

-- Sam Aherrera

Who controls the institutions? The elite. Many of us know that the justice system is corrupt in many parts. Who did the corrupting? The poor, when they can't even afford lawyers? Who profits the most when the President, his Cabinet, or other agencies are corrupt? The poor? Who built this large thing known as the pork barrel used by Congressmen to buy
political patronage? The poor?

The political elite have controlled this country ever since the Commonwealth. They controlled the institutions. Through them, the economic elite controlled economic policies.

Isa na siguro yung pag sampol. There are other options--to provide adequate training to government personnel, to compensate them better, to lessen the number of levels that are politically appointed, maybe even to increase their salaries. Many, many options exist and have to be tried out. We must, however, always remember that our goal is to build "institutional memory" so that the institutions, regardless of the personalities that populate them, feel the burden of their history and legacy to do their job properly and in line with the purpose for which they were created.
Sorry, pero lumalabas yung bilib ko sa sistema ng Amerikano. Kahit gaano katindi yung political controversy, kahit gaano kalupit yung mga katarantaduhan, you never hear the threats of coups and rebellions.

-- Bob Lim

Kaibigang Sam, Your perception about the poor always having options in life is true. It's more than us na "kinakahon" sila, but rather, it is the whole Opportunity Structure that "boxes" them; that deprives them of their potential. Not many of them can be creative as we would like them to be. Especially when the level of creativity required of them grows higher the lower they fall in the income ladder. Creativity is limited by education, and the perennial failure of our educational institutions to educate Filipinos might probably explain why you cannot expect the EDSA 3 people to be as creative as you would like them to be. In cases where you have a defective educational system, creativity, average or exceptional, becomes the exception rather than the rule. More than stifling creativity, a defective educational system makes for an inconfident, insecure, and sometimes, an "irrational" citizenry.

As I have said earlier, putting ourselves in their shoes, internalizing their life experiences, knowing their minds, are keys to "unlocking the mystery" why these people follow the EDSA 3 Demagogues and all the Lies they wantonly peddle. Funny, but this requires a lot of creativity too.

-- Poch Bermudez

The people who massed up in EDSA after estrada's arrest do not understand that their deposed leader is being put to jail for committing the high crime of plunder. They do not understand that the arrest was affected in order that erap may be bound to answer for the commission of the offense. Estrada was not arrested because he is guilty, he was arrested so that he can face the charges against him in court. His guilt has not yet been determined; it is yet to be determined in the trial. Estrada was not arrested arbitrarily, he was served a warrant. A warrant of arrest will only be issued after the judge has personally determined that there is probable cause or circumstances that would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that the crime has been committed and that the accused has committed the crime. The suspect is put in jail - his liberty restrained - so that he can face the charges against him. The gravity of the offense determines whether the accused can be allowed provisional liberty by  posting bail. In this case, plunder being a non-bailable offense, the accused has to suffer the consequences of being detained for the whole duration of the trial until his guilt has been proven in which case, he is meted the corresponding penalty. Otherwise, he shall be set free. The state's interest in the preservation of peace and order necessitates this process of detaining suspected criminals as they stand trial.

This aspect of our criminal justice system has to be explained to the masses. Not just because the suspected criminal has held the highest office of the land does not mean he/she is already exempt from the processes of this system. The media has been harping on the supremacy of the law: that we are a government of laws and not of men. It is not actually the poor who refuse to understand this
but the rich and the elite who take side with estrada. The poor are just made to believe that the whole action of arresting and detaining estrada is a grave injustice not just to estrada himself but to the poor people like them. Thus, while these people may be rich, they are poor in reasoning..

If you say that people in EDSA 3 have the same perspective as those in EDSA 2 that our democratic institutions have lost their credibility, I totally disagree with you on this, your highness. Take a look. What triggered the massing up of people in EDSA 3 is the arrest of estrada. Did this erode the credibility of our courts? On the contrary, it is a plus factor in our judicial system to put a former president behind bars. EDSA 2 came at the collapse of the senate as an impeachment court. Hope we see the contrast here.

Your claim that "any People Power, in a sense, is a rule-breaking activity" does not and can never justify EDSA 3. In a genuine people power, people break man-made rules to follow the dictates of the unwritten laws of right over wrong. EDSA 3, on the other hand, seeks to perpetuate a wrong.

People now have a notion that by simply massing up at EDSA, they can get what they want even if what they want may not be legal and more so may not be right. But let them be. Soon they will realize that EDSA is not just that. EDSA is more about the legitimacy of claims, it is more about strengthening our democratic voice rather than sowing dissent. EDSA is more about going above the self to protect the country and not just an individual.

-- Dan Adan

You mean to say that Erap was unseated as President on the basis of mere speculation/ probabilty? What happened to what you lawyers call "BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT?" If he is not guilty as you say he is, then why did the people of EDSA 2 went to the streets and took the trial right out of the
Impeachment Court (which was, by the way, the duly constituted authority to determine a President's guilt)? If you remember, this was caused by the massive uproar over the non-opening of the second envelope, which, according to the people of EDSA 2, "symbolized" the suppression of the TRUTH. The
Truth, they say, was supposed to have found Erap guilty anyway, so they decided to speed up matters and oust Erap from office before he gets acquitted by the Senate. So, kung hindi matanggap 'yung NOT GUILTY verdict ng mga tao ng EDSA 2, hindi ba't logical na ang palagay nilang lahat ay GUILTY si Erap? Ito yung hindi maintindihan ng mga taong nasa EDSA 3 who obviously did not agree with the people of EDSA 2 in finding Erap GUILTY AS CHARGED.

How will you now explain the same thing to the Pro-Erap supporters who's asking the people of EDSA 2 why they didn't let the Justice System take its course when they disregarded the Impeachment Proceedings? Ibabato nila sa'yo pabalik yung statement mo: "We are a government of laws and not of men." Bakit dun sa EDSA 2 okay yung "extra-judicial" para magpalit ng Presidente, pero sa EDSA 3, bawal yung "extra-judicial" para magpalit ng Presidente. This is the double-standard that I was, all along, meaning to say, Dan. Do you now tell them that "WE KNOW BETTER, WE KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT AND WHAT'S WRONG, WE KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR ALL OF US" kaya okay lang na ginawa namin yung EDSA 2? at yung EDSA 3 hindi? Isn't this what you would call "elitism?"

You even do not have to come up with a citizen's movement. You just have to increase accountability inside the Judicial System. See, this is the problem, every time we have problems with our Institutions (like the Judiciary), we go come up with a "citizen's movement" or some similar external strategy. How about strengthening the Institutions from within?

What was common between Edsa 2 and 3 is that there was an overwhelming DISTRUST on our INSTITUTIONS to dispense justice as both sides felt it should be (EDSA 2: Impeachment Court; EDSA 3: SandiganBayan and the GMA Administration).

However which way, regardless of the intention, all EDSA episodes are essentially rulebreaking activities by themselves. When you hold revolutions, you are supposed to disturb the status quo. And in all EDSA cases, 3 included, they essentially broke/ break the existing Laws of that time. Wouldn't any revolution logically start with an "inciting to sedition" phase?

People Power activities, except EDSA 1, do not appeal to me. While inherently seeking the Good, I have, since EDSA 2, viewed People Power as a highly unstable transition of power, whereby the short term gains are harmful to the long-term net effect. And there are different sets of unwritten laws of right and wrong for different sets of people.

-- Poch Bermudez

There never occured a doubt in my mind that EDSA 3 will not prosper. it did not only lack all (except numbers maybe, which they even failed to sustain) the elements that made EDSA 1 & 2 successful, everything about EDSA 3 is actually the opposite of the earlier versions and is epitomized and summed up by their coined slogans "poor is power" and Poor People Power.

Now that EDSA 3 fizzled out as a peaceful means to effect change in government and is turning into a violent means of grabbing power, the poor people who went to EDSA would feel all the more disenfranchised that people power, the supposed weapon of the masses, did not work out for them the way it worked in February, 1986 and in January, 2001. poor people!

These poor people will heed back to their homes poorer than ever, feeling dejected and hopeless. poor people! And since their perceived Poor People Power did not materialize, all that is left of their monicker are the first two words. that will forever be the monicker of EDSA 3. and i can only shake my head while heaving a sigh, POOR PEOPLE! tsk! tsk! tsk!

-- Dan Adan

Can people sue for damages and compensation from the instigators of these activities? Sino ang mga umakyat sa stage to speak to this ESTRADA supporters? Sino ang may hawak ng mikropono? Sino ang
nagsabing, lusob sa Malacanang?

Sino ngayon ang nag de-deny na hinikayat niya/nila ang mga Estrada supporters na lumusob sa Malakanyang? Sino ngayon ang duwag na umamin ng responsibilidad?

This freedom of speech and expression is now being taken to its extreme, with no regard to the rights of others. Political speech is protected by the constitution, but to inflict physical harm or cause death to another person? Damage properties? To ENCOURAGE others to inflict harm to a fellow person and cause damage to properties?

-- Jojo de los Reyes

To my dear Mrs. Mcallister, Jojo, I could almost feel the pain and frustration you've been going thru. the faces of the youngsters we see on TV are the faces of your own children. our own children. the anti-riot policeman hit by stones thrown by an angry mob, face bloodied and sad, is a father to his children, husband to a wife, son to a mother. the fellow caught by the cops and repeatedly hit by truncheons is the same -- a father to his children, husband to a wife, son to a mother.

We as a nation came not only from the womb of our collective consciousness, but also from the womb of our mothers who sacrificed themselves so that we may have a better life. they who would forego a trip to the parlor and have a much-deserved pampering because her sophomore kid is going on a field
trip, or a bunso to a girl scout camping. in some homes, the children are not the only ones who crave for a piece of fried chicken -- the nanays also because the last time she tasted one was during the town fiesta.

The most difficult part of this suffering is that it does not seem to heal. It stabs you every now and then as you go thru your daily chores and your work. As you lie down and sleep beside the man you love thinking that some wife back home will not have hers tonight because your country is purging its demons of corruption and selfishness. and even when you wake up because as you open the door to the room of your children, you know that a mother back home will stare at that empty space in the banig and continue to stare for a son no longer curled-up under the tattered blanket.

At the end of this day in the season of the cholera, i am beginning to think this world would be a better place if we just let our mothers run government.

Please accept my deep and abiding wishes for the health and safety of your husband and children even as you have wished the same for ours. And may we all sleep in the tight embrace of our motherland.

-- citizen Kori Coronel

As president, she could have elevated her concerns by addressing the people and telling them that while she is concerned about the safety of her son, she is equally concerned about the safety of the throng at EDSA who are just being used by the opposition to stage a fake revolution.

She could have expressed her concern over the safety of the rest of the nation at the prospect of a civil war. By expressing such concern, she could have cracked at the heart of the masses. It could have been a good start at winning their confidence. As president, gloria should see these masses not as enemies
because her real enemies are the politicians in the opposition and not the people. It is sad that i only saw gloria, the mother, but not gloria, the president, at that moment.

This is indicative of the mindset that our president has. she might not have yet fully internalized her role as president of a nation. if not, she better brush up on this department and quick! she should show the nation that she is in control. i just hope that our president could show she is not the little girl in the company of the big boys but a real commander and leader of her people.

-- Dan Adan

Democracy, Government, Citizenship

Ah, we who worship by the altar of the Goddess of Democracy! Prostrate to the ideals of the rule of the majority! Alas, we wake up one morning, or rather, were shaken violently from our deep slumber, by people we cannot fully understand, somehow, unwittingly detest, marching to the very sacred grounds hallowed by our devotions. Masses of men, women and children we debated whether they were poor because they cannot understand or they do not understand.

What ails democracy? I daresay, democracy as an ideal assumes not a few things. Foremost, it assumes equality. To rights, civil and otherwise, to information affecting its practice, to control over assets of production, to ability to rise to leadership, to excel, to attain one's own potential as a human being. But alas! Such assumptions of equality is quixotic to democracy as moral ascendancy is to William Jefferson(?)
Clinton. As a pragmatist once said, all men are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

Democracy and government! They do not mix. They do not match. The first one deals with ideals. The second one with individuals like us. Ideals are infinitely esoteric. We are imperfect to say the least. Democracy is about ideals -- where truth, justice, and fairness are guaranteed by the rule of the majority. Government is about governing people -- who, while endowed with so much talents and potentials, are also with all their imperfections, frailties, weaknesses. Thus govt is about wielding power such that responsible citizens build a nation, while those irresponsible ones are restrained or penalized.

In a developing country like ours with a history of feudalism that continues to permeate even today, we cannot have a government on the mere basis of majority. I submit that the responsible citizens building a nation like ours should not submit their rights as a minority to the vote of the irresponsible who are the majority.

With this I bring into the discussion a third element which I consider to be the response to many of the questions I and a number of us here at the Forum have been asking -- that is CITIZENSHIP. I speak of citizenship in terms of principles, commitment, action, and reflection. Citizenship implies
firstly responsibility, and when one lives one's life in accordance to that continuing commitment, then one has earned the right to be a citizen. To earn the rights accorded to by the constitution. This is the criteria I use in saying that the ring leaders of EDSA 3 Daw has not earned their right to citizenship. In the same light, I will not condone the stonethrowing, pipehitting, carburning hooligans as having merely expressed their political sentiments.

That we may all be rightful citizens of the Republic is my prayer.

-- aspiring citizen Kori Coronel

I'm worried that this "state of rebellion" could be another basis for Enrile et al to escape prosecution (remember a few years back, Enrile was charged with complex rebellion with murder but was dismissed by the SC since this crime doesn't exist)?

-- Toto Bacolcol

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension,
which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it. (Article VII, Section 18)

As provided for in Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution (focus on first sentence), the President declared the "State of
Rebellion" to justify any or all the options mentioned if the situation will call for such measures. As in a State (from latin "status") of Violence or Invasion, under a State of Rebellion, she can "suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law..." if there is a threat to public safety.

-- Gilbert Cunanan

Yes, as Gilbert said, the legal thinking behind declaring a "state of rebellion" is to have the ability to do the acts mentioned in the first sentence--to call out the armed forces. Now as long as she does not go into the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the write of habeas corpus,
there will be no need to submit the report to Congress, etc.

-- Bob Lim

Unconsciously those poor (& rioting) people succumbed to displacing all their frustrations, fears, anger, resentments, hatred ... that have been suppressed repressed in their daily lives -- to the symbol of gov't. And this is quite easy to incite. Thus those who helped ignite, feed, pander ... to such -- bear a huge accountability, and as it happened, for the vandalism, damage to life, property and rights of others.

At the back of the minds of certain opposition elements, they could have wished for a carnage to happen to get points against the administration. Kudos to the police and armed forces that such did not happen.

-- Roy Picart

For some of us, EDSA 3 Daw trigerred a flurry of activities because its effect on our business is real-time. The markets we move in (currency market, stock/equity market, bond market, etc.) react quickly and are direct recipients of bad (and good) news. Allow me to share with you a sampler of conversations (C), caustic remarks [mine :-) ] (G) and implications (I).

(1) Call from
New York
C: "How's the going there at the Banana Republic of the
G: The monkeys are having a feast!
I: The markets are beginning to perceive us as another banana republic. The situation is volatile (more risks) and the outlook is negative (not a short-term investment possibility).

(2) Call from
C: "
Manila is off the radars. 'Looks like we'll miss you in the market for a while."
G: Oh, you know us - we love to go off the charts to boldly go where no man has gone before.
I: For those not invested here, it'll take a long while before investors will give us any meaningful attention.

(3) Call from Hong Kong
C: "We're getting worried about you guys out there. Why are you still there? Would'nt life be simpler if you just moved out?"
G: Aw, simple is no fun! I'm studying the "Logic of Failure": Why things go wrong and what we can do to make it a bigger error.
I: For those already invested here, the choice of another market is becoming an option worthy of serious consideration.

(4) Call from a director of a listed company
C: "How low can our stock price go?"
G: Theoritically, zero. But in your case, it won't happen. Your certificates would at least have wall paper value!
I: For those listed (and unlisted)companies, it's bad enough not to be able to tap the capital markets for needed capital, it's worse to see your company's market value go south . . . further south . . . away from your intrinsic value.

From where we sit, Edsa 3 Daw's economic cost is high. Recovery remains elusive. We have to help ourselves for nobody else will. Small steps . . . slowly quickening the pace . . .until we get there.


When we talk about erap's guilt we should situate it in the different stages of the processess he is subjected to. Poch, you are now saying that "the "Court" of EDSA 3 is asking that decision to be reversed."

How can they? No less than the Supreme Court has stamped imprimatur to the direct people's action in ousting estrada. You are now saying that the people of EDSA 3 can reverse our Supreme Court. That is just absurd and against the democratic principles we are protecting. That is what is dangerous – when people's actions can set aside legitimate decisions of our democratic institutions.

Let us now take a look at EDSA 3. What triggered the massing up of people in EDSA 3 was the arrest of estrada so he can be tried criminally in court. The arrest of the former president did not in any way erode the integrity of our judicial system, in fact, it boosted it. There was no collapse of any democratic
institution that could have justified the people's resort to direct people's action. Why are the people in EDSA 3 not justified in resorting to direct people's action? Simple. Because our regular courts are functioning well, unlike when the impeachment court collapsed and the people sought direct action as an option to continue what was started by the impeachment court.

You said, "What was common between the two episodes is that there was an overwhelming DISTRUST on our INSTITUTIONS to dispense justice as both sides felt it should be (EDSA 2: Impeachment Court; EDSA 3: SandiganBayan and the GMA Administration). This, Dan, was the common perspective that I was talking about."

I vehemently object to this thinking. The erosion of the people's trust in the impeachment court was justified. The senators are supposed to be representatives of the people in voting whether to pronounce erap guilty or not guilty of the charges filed against him. But at the impeachment proceedings their pro-erap stance was glaringly evident. The impeachment court prevented justice to take its course.

The Sandiganbayan and the GMA Administration are doing their job to let the wheels of justice run. Do you mean to say, Poch, that we should distrust our institutions when they are doing their job and they are doing it well? Thus, if those people in EDSA 3 distrust Sandiganbayan and the GMA administration, such distrust is misplaced and therefore can never justify the staging of any direct
people's action against the government.

Going now to the criminal charges against erap, his arrest signify that the court believes that based on the charges, there is a well founded belief that the crime has been committed and that the accused committed the same. But this "guilt" at this stage is not equivalent to the "guilt beyond reasonable doubt" required when his sentence would eventually be determined. This does not mean, too, that he is already stripped of his rights as an individual. He will be afforded all the rights of an accused in facing the charges against him in court. There is a possibility that he can be acquitted, not because he is not guilty but because of some legal technicalities which his lawyers may find that will exonerate their client. That is why the prosecution in the criminal trial of erap would have a more difficult job. They are now tasked to establish estrada's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Thus, while the people of EDSA 2 pronounced estrada guilty which justified his removal from office, the determination of his guilt in the criminal trial ongoing at the sandiganbayan is altogether a different ballgame. And while guilt beyond reasonable doubt is not required in the impeachment trial, it is the degree of guilt required in a criminal case.

-- Dan Adan

Dan, I am not a part of EDSA 3 nor do I espouse the idea that Erap should be reinstated and other similar "idiotic" beliefs. 8) What I was simply telling you is that this kind of thinking is one of the main driving forces behind EDSA 3. I do not submit to this kind of thinking. In fact, I have for a time now been advocating that people resort to Institutions in the settlement of any dispute or issue of national interest. I am not asking that the Government reverse its decision on Estrada's imprisonment. The people of EDSA 3 are. I think your statements are directed to them, not to me, because we think the same when you said that "people's actions can set aside legitimate decisions of our democratic

I stand firm with my OBSERVATION that EDSAs 2 and 3 were borne out of the middle and upperclasses' (EDSA 2) and the lowerclass/"masa's" (EDSA 3) DISTRUST in our INSTITUTIONS.

If Erap should be acquitted by that technicality, what then was EDSA 2 all about? If Erap gets acquitted, then I concede my point. 8) And so I now take it that the people" could find you guilty and the "justice system"/ "court" couldn't.

Five questions then:

1) Whose verdict (the people's or the justice system's) has a greater weight? and
2) So we could remove Presidents just by the verdict of the former (people) even with the latter (justice system) dissenting?
3) What happens now when Erap gets acquitted by a "technicality?"
4) Do we honestly think that there is still that possibility that the justice system could find
Erap guilty after EDSA 2?
5) Could the justice system actually go against the "supreme will of the Filipino people?"

I honestly think though that after EDSA 2, Erap could never enjoy the possibility that he could be found "innocent", hence, could never be afforded a fair trial.

-- Poch Bermudez

Strip all these events of the personalities associated with them and let us ask ourselves these questions: At a time when there is no immediate danger to public order or national security, is it proper for government to have the power to arrest people without a warrant, and without the situations prescribed in the rules of court for arrests without warrant?

Still, I was taught in law school that it is dangerous to allow warrantless arrests outside those prescribed by law or procedure for the simple reason that it now becomes an arbitrary act of the state, untempered by the principles of due process, equal protection of the law, and the separation of powers. If we allow this to continue under what we perceive to be a benevolent leadership, under the guise that it is legal, then we set a legal precedent and create legal grounds for the exercise of this action in other circumstances.

Are we creating this legal framework? Let us ask these questions now. Because whatever decisions we accept will have effects not just this year, but in the years ahead. I shudder if we give this power to government. We discarded it when we threw out Marcos in 1986. Because, considering how our electorate has voted, it is within the realm of the probable that we will have a President someday
that is the combination of the Machiavellian abilities of Marcos and the masa appeal of Estrada (think Juan and Eva Peron combined).

I think of legal principles in protecting individual rights as similar to building a house: Build it not for the days when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, but for those days when the earth shakes and the strongest typhoons come. Government can take care of itself; it has the whole army, the
police, and the bureaucracy for that. But build that house for that single person who has to take refuge from the storm.

Whoever incited those at EDSA to move and assault Malacanang should be punished, including those who did the actual attack. However, I believe this can be done within the context of regular procedure and laws, especially now that the immediate danger has passed. Ringleaders should be prosecuted for that, but resorting to extreme measures such as warantless arrests without the imminent danger posed by such threats opens a Pandora's box that I hoped we had closed with the fall of Marcos.

-- Bob Lim

Here is what worries and angers me most, some pro-Erap supporters seem to know more than the authorities. I know for a fact that a few people that I come in contact with, have been flapping their mouths, a day before that fateful Tuesday in Mendiola. They said, "Abangan ninyo, bukas nang madaling araw!" And sure enough, the mob from Edsa forced itself towards the palace.

Damn!!!! Is it possible to have these people arrested for interrogation?! What they know, could be the difference between continuing calm and the recurrence of violence and more bloodshed.

-- Richard Q. Mariano

After that "EDSA Trick," we now have the burden of proving to the poor and the masses that the system also works for them. To me this is liberal democracy and free enterprise (capitalism). In fact, I believe, so far it is the only system wherein they will really make it. The latter is the one discussed by Pope John II in his encyclical Centesimus Annus - Chapter IV on economics ("responsible capitalism") and by George Gilder in his "Wealth and Poverty."

The catch word is: To each according to their performance and inputs, whether labor or capital.

Definitely, the following do not exemplify capitalism: when one in the underground economy or micro enterprise is subjected to tong by crooked policemen and protection racket by hoodlums; when a budding entrepreneur or inventor gets the run around and red tape in city hall regarding his business application and papers, and his working capital is threatened to be consumed by "lagay";

When a worker is short changed by their employer after an honest day's labor; when a local small businessman can not match an artificially low bid by a crony firm on a gov't contract; when a poor gradeschool kid with top grades is not given the first honor but beaten by another whose parents have
donated computers and bought raffle tickets wholesale.

-- Roy Picart

Ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin ng katagang MASA?

Mula nang mauso ang katagang ito, talaga bang ang tandang mapapagkilanlan sa mga taong ito ay kahirapan, kamangmangan at kawalang- kapangyarihan? Kung ito nga ang paniniwala ng nakararami, parang gustong mabago na aking kaisipan tungkol dito.

Naisip ko ngayon, hindi totoong walang kapangyarihan ang masa. Ang kanilang pagkakaisa at pakikiisa sa isang magandang layunin ay maliwanag kapangyarihan.
At marunong silang mag-isip at talastas nila ang tunay na mga isyu. Hindi sila basta nagpapadala sa emosyon. Hindi nambabastos, hindi mga bangag at hindi sumasamba sa diyos-diyosang artista na handang magpakamatay para sa isang Presidente tulad ni Erap sa tama o sa mali.

Nagtataka ako ngayon, bakit nga ba dumikit ng lubusan sa ating isip na ang masasabi nating masa ay iyon lamang na pumunta sa EDSA 3 kuno at lumusob sa Malacanang. Di ba mga kasama, sa mahabang kasaysayan tunggalizn sa lipunan, ang masang ating kinagisnan ay hindi maihahalintulad sa mga klase ng taong nagpagamit at handang mangayupa sa mga naghaharing uri?

Sino nga ba ang higit na nakararami? Ang masang walang kapangyarihan at nagpapagamit ? o ang mga masang marunong mag-isip at may kalayaang gamitin ang kanilang kapangyarihan?

Hindi dapat lahatin o isahin ang tingin sa masa. Ang patuloy na kahirapan, kawalan ng kapangyarihan at pag-asa at pagpapagamit sa pulitiko o manloloko ay kadalasang isang "moral choice." Kita naman natin, ang ating mga kababayang masa na lumahok sa EDSA 1 or 2 ay hindi pumili sa ganitong landas at mithiin sa buhay.

-- Nap Imperial

I was wondering if the great divide is not simply a matter of wealth but a matter of consciousness. I've always referred to people I meet who are actually "masa" (by reason of origin or economic status) but who really think differently from the "masa" (because they're more informed or simply more thinking) as "evolved". (Sorry, I know it's a little bit condescending--but I also find the term slightly funny)

I think that there are also people from the wealthier classes who aren't "evolved". I have this office mate who's actually intelligent, cum laude sa B.A. and with so many awards, who's also a pretty good writer--but who blindly likes Erap and Ping. How does one explain that? Despite the fact that she's surrounded by so many anti-Erap in the office who have painstakingly informed her of the issues, she still is for him. As for
Ping, we know why she supports him, she's from the Chinese community.

-- Vicky Suarez

The Estrada masses were part of the masses. They were not the whole of it; others were the groups that you mentioned. The masses really are not homogenous and there are different levels and different beliefs. Some overlap both in their beliefs and organizations.

Siguro yung mga masses that you mentioned as being anti-Estrada have a higher level of organization and political consciousness (although I disagree with their economic principles of structured labor, protectionism, regulation, and nationalization). Meron namang group of masses that do not have that level of organization and consciousness. Many of them saw issues and how these personally relate to them (Erap being their champion, Erap as addressing what they believe to be important concerns, Erap as a possible source of dole-outs and jobs, etc.).

These people had a certain value system formed by their past experience, access to information and resources and, probably, lack of education. Because in THEIR minds, their acts as as rational as ours. Their perception is their reality. I do not pretend to understand their whole thinking, pero pag talagang inaral mo, makikita mo na marami sa kanilang pag-iisip e bunga ng environment at kundisyon nila at ng lipunan at gobyerno.

--Bob Lim

On "Plunder": it is defined and penalized under R.A. 7080 which was approved in July 1991. Its elements are:

1. It may be committed by a public officer (any person with a government position) and / or by a private person who participated with the public officer;
2. Said person amassed, acquired or accumulated wealth with an aggregate value of at least P/50M;
3. The accumulation was done through a combination or series of the following:

3.1 thru misappropriation / misuse of public funds;
3.2 receipt of any gift, commission, share, percentage, kickbacks or other pecuniary benefit in connection with a government contract / project or by reason of the office;
3.3 thru illegal/fraudulent disposition of assets of the nat'l gov't or any of its instrumentalities, agencies, subdivisions, even GOCCs ( as the SSS & GSIS);
3.4 obtaining or receiving shares of stock / equity / any participation or interest including the promise of future employment in any business or undertaking;
3.5 establishment of monopolies or implementation of decrees / orders intended to benefit particular persons / interests;
3.6 taking undue advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich oneself to the damage of the people and the Republic.

The qualifying circumstances, whether to mitigate or aggravate the crime, are the same as in other crimes. The applicable aggravating circumstances would therefore include: recidivism, evident premeditation, use of craft, fraud or disguise (as in the "Jose Velarde" ploy), treachery, aid of armed men, etc.

--Mel Manalaysay

No comments: