Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pagbabago@Pilipinas Press Release


Reference: Bart Guingona, pagbabago@pilipinas President
Tel. No. 751-7647

PRESIDENT Arroyo must act directly and immediately to avert the crisis of credibility besetting her presidency and her government, a multi-sectoral group of young professionals said yesterday.

They also called on members of the Arroyo Cabinet to convince the President to face the issues raised by the so-called “Gloriagate” tapes and respond to the Filipino people’s demand for the truth.

In a statement entitled “Our people demand their leader to be accountable: Did the President cheat in the May 2004 elections?” members of Pagbabago@Pilipinas asserted that the “onus for action” rests entirely on the President to either disprove the authenticity of the tapes and therefore reinforce her legitimacy as President, or, failing that, act on the consequences of having been proved to be occupying a post “she had no moral right to occupy.”

The accusations contained in the tapes “are too gross, blatant and disgusting to be ignored or forgotten,” the statement added. The Arroyo administration’s legitimacy “cannot be defended by mere legality about the inadmissibility of these tapes…(and) certainly…not by threats of arrest or prosecution because such efforts would only appear like bullying people whom she is unable to convince.”

As to the President’s raising the need to concentrate on more urgent priorities like the economy and poverty reduction, Pagbabago@Pilipinas said “the quickest and most effective path to our people’s unified and focused action on these problems” is precisely by “promptly and definitively (laying) this controversy to rest with the truth and nothing but the truth.”

“This is a time for accountability and only the truth will matter to the people’s judgment,” Pagbabago@Pilipinas concluded.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Roots of An Immoral Presidency

The Roots of An Immoral Presidency

I have been trying to understand what moral compass this woman used to get to the Presidency as it is crucial to understand what guide she applies in her political decisions. Here is my rough and dirty reconstruction of the immoral foundations of this never elected president.

1. Fact in the real world: GMA becomes successor president because ERAP's corruption creates a public outrage strong enough to force his resignation Private moral lesson to GMA: It was not ERAP's corruption that was wrong. It was not even the public outrage to corruption. It was only the strength of the public demonstration of this outrage. GMA's application of the lesson is therefore to manage corruption as a communications matter not a key foundation of substantive governance practice. Corruption is fine as long as one can get away with it.

2. Fact in the real world: GMA gets declared winner of 2004 elections despite having cheated. Private moral lesson to GMA: People afraid of an FPJ win will accept even a flawed GMA win. Cheating is fine as long as it is not so blatant to be found out and it prevents an outcome that many powerful people did not really like.

3. Fact in the real world: GMA continues as president despite credible evidence shown to the public of her cheating in the last elections. Private moral lesson for GMA: Truth does not matter. Public outrage is unimportant if they do not march in the streets. Anyway, what's their alternative? Legitimacy is being in position. Only strength counts and as long as those wanting her out are not strong enough, life will go on for most people. Why change?

We have here an intelligent woman who has learned from her rise to and continued stay in power that:

1. It is not personal honesty that is important; it is only public perceptions that matter and these can be manufactured.
2. It is not the authentic will of the electorate that matters; it is only the manufactured appearance of an electoral victory that is acceptable to powerful people.
3. It is not the truth about a president's legitimacy to govern that matters; it is only the strength or force behind such truth that counts.

How long do you think our government and nation can last with a president, commander-in-chief, and top executive who does not care about personal honesty, only about the dangers of being found out; does not respect the true will of the people and ignores the truth, only bows to the force or strength behind that will and the truth? How long can we survive as a peaceful and civilized nation with our highest official that is immune to basic standards of honesty, respect for the people's authentic will and, most of all, adherence to the truth? The longer GMA stays in power after her illegitimacy to govern had been unmasked, the weaker is the case for her to even change or improve the way she governs. Why be honest when you can get away with corruption? Why follow the people's will when you can just cheat them? Why respect the truth when you can get away with ignoring it? It is clear that GMA is conscience-proof and only understands the force of numbers on the streets or in Congress or the firepower threatening her. As long as these superior arguments are not arrayed against her, she will continue and she may soon add another lesson into her personal manual of immorality: Filipinos do not have any moral backbone so why should their President have one? It would be great if enough Filipinos can teach this woman something new.