Wednesday, November 7



Other than the indecent “UP_ _ URS!” there is no better caption I can think of for the picture reproduced here below than that which is the title of this article.

President Arroyo, Speaker Jose de Venecia and former President Fidel Ramos give the thumbs-up sign during the caucus of the ruling Lakas party at Malacañang last Saturday to chart the party's direction for 2010 and beyond. The meeting was attended by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, House leaders Raul del Mar, Arthur Defensor, Prospero Nograles, Neptali Gonzales II., League of Municipalities and ULAP head Ramon Guico, League of Cities president Jerry Trenas and League of Provinces president Loreto Ocampos.

Hypocrishe looks quite glum indeed despite her evidently forced half-smile in the picture. The other two machos beside her obviously appear much happier. It is not surprising because of the immediate circumstances surrounding such an incredibly hypocritical posturing for public consumption.

“I go down, you go down!” Joe de Venecia threatened GMA some two weeks ago.

“Her days are numbered!” or words to that effect, seconded the former tobacco twirling former President soon after the blunt threat was hurled against GMA by his protégé-trapo and provincemate.

“He is still the Speaker FOR NOW…” GMA’s allies kept on repeating after the picture taking, referring to old crass Joe de Venecia.

As of now GMA still has the cash and the power, but her smiling enemies have the swing-vote in the lowest house of Congress - - for the TIME BEING!

Here below are excerpts of today’s editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer which so accurately describes the mutually expedient yet so potentially treacherous relationships among our political TRAPOS. With this and its recent editorials and those from other major local newspapers, the moral basis for CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION from our citizenry against our TRAPOS’ cash-on-the-barrel power politics, is being laid out.


Last updated 01:16am (Mla time) 11/07/2007

MANILA, Philippines--Over the weekend, as the nation remembered its dead, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attended to keeping her political prospects alive and kicking. On Nov. 1, vehicles of Pampanga province’s officials were seen parked along J.P. Laurel Street, indicating a huddle in Malacañang. It was just one of many such meetings, including the summoning of first-term congressmen on two occasions in recent weeks. On Saturday, another meeting was held at the Palace. There, former President Fidel Ramos, Speaker Jose de Venecia, the President and the usual suspects, young and old (and all so thoroughly corrupted by power), basically decided that their loyalty to their country ends where their loyalty to their party begins.

Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. of Mandaluyong City put it bluntly: The Speaker “should not also alienate his House allies in pushing for his moral revolution advocacy.” Translation: What are we in power for?

Two days later, her party intramurals tidied up, the President addressed foreign and local city government leaders, and distilled the party line: “We have made huge strides with our economy, including 27 quarters of growth, a surge in investments, six million new jobs, a strong peso and the best stock market in a generation. We are confident that politicians, especially the city officials here with us tonight, want to continue with the gains and not stop the progress.”

The exemplar of this progress is the increasingly institutionalized Malacañang cash bar and buffet, courtesy of the President. This Tuesday, after weeks of bumbling and confusion, the source of the half-a-million-peso cash buffet servings to congressmen was finally revealed. It was the President’s very own pet political party, Kampi, that doled out the money. Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. claimed that Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa claimed in turn to have doled out the cash, and that he was surprised Kampi was giving him, a Lakas-CMD party member, money. But he said thanks for the half a million, anyway.

To be fair, Abante shouldn’t have been surprised. Party affiliation has never been so meaningless as it is now. We should point out that no president, ever, has been so promiscuous when it comes to party affiliation, thus rendering it inconsequential. Ms Arroyo is titular head of Lakas-CMD, of the Liberal Party and of Kampi. All previous presidents were content to head one party or movement at a time. But this is part of Ms Arroyo’s claims of progress.

What the President has proven is that her idea of democracy is posturing. Ramos can complain about the President’s pardon for Joseph Estrada being a “national calamity,” but then she manages to trot him out before the cameras to preen and do his trademark thumbs-up like any other minor party functionary. The Speaker can shriek about a “moral revolution,” but he has to pipe down when his fellow congressmen point out that morality is something that shouldn’t disturb the delights of access to the President’s cash bar and buffet.

And the opposition? Posturing is welcome, too, and so long as it is within limits, you can bet the cash bar will now open up to the Estradas and their friends, too.

When Estrada announced that he supported impeachment, he did so only after renouncing calls for Ms Arroyo to step down. The sentiment was echoed by his son and political heir, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

How meaningless Estrada’s support for impeachment is, is betrayed by the comment of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, lone congressman of the Estrada bailiwick, San Juan. Zamora referred to the submission of a supplement prepared by Adel Tamano (who served as spokesman of the Genuine Opposition) as “frivolous,” even though the supplement was meant to fortify the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido.

In other words, money is power, the President has the money and she will subsidize everyone else’s power -- Ramos’, De Venecia’s, Estrada’s -- for so long as they keep her in power. Forget Ramos’ claims to morals. Or the accusations leveled by De Venecia’s son. Or Estrada’s claim to being more than an over-the-hill ex-con. They have all bowed before the real power in our Buffet Republic.