1. A Request for the Candidates

    Quite your bitchin’.

    The lines are drawn, the information is out there, the majority of the voters have made up their minds…and further black propaganda, temper tantrums, thinly veiled threats, insults, lies and innuendos are not going to work. As a matter of fact, if anything, what we’ve seen is that the Filipino public is becoming more discerning. Lies have fallen flat, black propaganda rebounded. Don’t believe it? Just look at the issues that have become relevant and look at those that did not.

    So shut the fuck up. All of you.

    The only thing left that will sway the remaining voters is to tell us about you. Not where you say you’ve come from, not what you think you’ve done for the country…it’s no longer even truly about your qualifications.

    It’s about hope and the promise of what you can bring to the country. It’s about making us believe that you are the President. Not some lackey, not some manipulator or agitator or loose cannon or  even a precocious savant. But the President. The man who will lead us out of the morass that we’ve found ourselves in.

    Wonder why some have failed to gain traction? It’s really not that hard to figure out with what has gone on in the last 10 years.

    At the end of the day, cutting through the rhetoric and looking past all of the issues and propaganda and innuendos, the truth is people today are going to vote for hope. Not since Martial Law have things felt so bleak. Manolo Quezon called it The Great Remembrance. I hope that this time our memories are a little longer than in 1986. To re-embrace the aura of People Power is well and good. But the constant need to manufacture that feeling repeatedly is destroying this country.

    Today, we need to build on this election, on this feeling

    So, if you want to have a chance at making a move in the last week, drop the cutesy slogans about corruption or poverty or track record or your overwhelming intelligence. Don’t give a fuck anymore (especially since, so many of the slogans are not even applicable to the candidate).

    Talk about hope and change and what you are going to do for us. And make us believe it.

    Belief is hope this election season.

    And this election must become a building block for the future. What type of future will we have, if the first step, the first building block is anger and hatred and insults?

    Sad as it is to say, the largest impediments to our growth as a  nation is not the poverty situation, the economic situation, the state of education or our health system. It’s our politicians and so-called civil servants. Their selfish whims and short-sided desires have pushed this country into a downward spiral.

    And no amount of People Power revolutions or revolts will fix that. You know why? Because at the end of the day, after revolts and revolutions, leaders still have to lead. They still have to make that conscious choice to put the country ahead of the self. Why did People Power fail in its long-term objectives? It’s not the so-called civil society oligarchs or big businesses. It was our so-called politicians.

    Hope and belief and change. They can happen, they will happen. And those are the dominant emotions driving this election. So, the question becomes for candidates, and Comelec; politicians old and new:

    Are you doing to remain selfish and shortsided? Or are you actually going to work to help this country?

    In one week, the people will make their choice. And if the Comelec lives up to their charter, it will truly be the choice of the people. That will be step one. Our step.

    Step two and all the little steps beyond are up to each and every one of you in government.

    I hope you feel the pressure. All of us do.

     

  2. Political Machinery is a code word…

    …for cheating.  Yes, that’s right. Cheating.

    In other countries, the context when using political/party machinery is different. Political machinery means making phone calls, going door to door, reminding people to get out and vote. Essentially, reminding party members to vote. We do not have that sort of party loyalty here, so it must mean something else.

    Which is why it drives me crazy that people throw around the term casually, as if it doesn’t really mean anything. Of course it means something, it means vote-buying, intimidation, coercion and so forth to manufacture votes for a political party.

     Just look at a couple of lines from news articles today:

    “Once that is done, it will be back to manageable levels and our party machinery will see us through to victory,” said Remulla, an NP senatorial candidate.

    Estrada ties Villar - Philippine Daily Inquirer

    From another article, supposedly from the Center for People Empowerment and Governance:

    Tuazon, however, said a candidate’s machinery would still be crucial in ensuring that one’s popularity translates into actual votes.

    “Manny Villar has been preparing his machinery,” Tuazon said. He said Aquino should do the same.

    Many local leaders from the administration party have defected to the NP.

    Why Villar ratings fell - Philippine Daily Inquirer

     So, here we have a guy who is supposed to be a member of center for good governance and all that,  taking an incredibly blase attitude towards machine-based politics. Not only that, he is exhorting another presidential candidate to ramp up his machinery!

    On this subject, Dr Alejandro Roces ran a column a few days ago that barely warranted a mention or comment (unsurprisingly). It was called "Machinery and Rhetoric" and cited an intriguing essay that explains why I have such antipathy towards the term political machinery in the Philippine setting:

    Within the context of politics and elections, the term ‘machinery’ is a neutral term for an unpleasant reality. In his essay, “Moral Appeals and Collective Action in 1953 and 1986 Philippine Elections”, Mark Thompson defines machine politics as: “This is the view that in competitive Philippine elections, votes have gone to the highest bidder. Machine politics is not ideological in character. Voters are mobilized by the distribution of patronage and pork-barrel not by issue-based politics…‘Spoils’ and ‘corruption’ are intrinsically linked to such a form of politics as the machine deals ‘exclusively in particularistic, material rewards’ for achieving electoral success…”

    Do any of us believe that this particular political reality has changed? Consider how much importance was placed on the Lakas-Kampi’s local political machinery. Consider how this was, initially, Teodoro and other Lakas party members justification for saying Gibo was not out of the running.

    Then consider how the party almost went into a meltdown as local politicians left the Lakas for the NP.

    Just keep this in mind the next time some party spokesperson or candidate starts spouting off about political machinery. In so many words, they are expressing their plans for vote-buying and coercion on a broad scale. They are talking about gaming the system.

     

  3. "

    Agra said being in the headlines and pilloried by angry protesters were taking a toll on him and his family.

    He said it pained him to see the name “bequeathed to me by my father” made the subject of snide wordplay—a reference to placards with the words “Agra-biyado” and “Agra-be” held up by protesters at the Department of Justice.

    “That hurts me because I am a family guy,” he said.

    "
    — 

    Agra breaks into tears but still sticks to order - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

    So were many of those killed. In denying their families their day in court, in purposefully ignoring and subverting legal jurisprudence, Agra has effectively made a farce of our legal system. He’s exemplified why the Philippines, as a nation-state, is no longer looked upon with respect, but pity. And in some international circles, outright disgust.

    If Agra really and truly stood by his decision and believed that it was proper and correct, he would not be crying. The backlash would not be affecting him. He could point to the law and say, “What I did was perfectly legal, look at the legal history upon which my decision is justified.” But there is no such legal history, there is no such defense. So, instead he has to use emotional pleas and justifications to defend and obscure his initial unethical, immoral and illegal decision.

    By any other name, whether from the father or because Agra is a crybaby, they are crocodile tears.

    By the way, love the nicknames.