I wrote my last piece—the first part of this article—in the midst of EDSA’s horrible traffic, going to and coming from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to talk to a friend who was departing for Washington, D.C. and Quebec on some speaking engagements. As soon as it was done, I had to look for a free wifi zone along EDSA to beat an inflexible deadline. I found one in a friendly hotel, but in my rush to dispatch the article, I failed to copyread what I had written.
This is a recurring failure. As a student of Chesterton, I have tried to justify this failing by quoting the old literary giant, “Having written it, no power on earth could compel me to read it.” Or words to that effect. So very early the next morning, a friend called to say I had done a great job, except that I had left a couple of sentences unedited, and omitted most of the things I should have put in. He was absolutely right, so this is an attempt to make amends.
SEVERAL issues contribute to the continuing idiotization of our politics. As noted earlier, the propaganda surveys are its most deceptive instrument. But we have to consider the roles of the oligarchy and big business, the military and the police, foreign governments, foreign NGOs and foreign institutions, the Church, the bureaucracy, the political dynasties, and the electoral process itself.
All of these, in varying degrees, contribute to the idiotization of our politics. Except that we cannot hope to cover all of these even in a series of columns. A younger person with more years ahead of him should probably embark on this project.
Whoever is in power, the oligarchy and big business like to exercise control. They try to own not just Congress or the Cabinet or some members thereof, but the President himself. Thus, a group of tycoons reputedly headed by someone known as RR, whose power and influence have risen beyond all proportions from Erap to PNoy, is reportedly planning to bankroll the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, even though she is not even a natural born Filipino—she is also married to an American citizen—-and therefore not qualified to run for president or vice president or even to continue sitting in the Senate.
The group seems to believe that their money alone could overcome her citizenship problem, and with the infected PCOS machine still in charge of the voting, she could easily run away with the elections, as she did with the 2013 senatorial elections. Once in office, she would be the easiest to control and manipulate. As a lawyer who knows his law, Senate President and Liberal Party stalwart Franklin Drilon knows that Grace Poe is not qualified to run for president, or even to remain in the Senate, so he will not push for it. But PNoy believes he is above the Constitution and the law and may want to impose Ms. Poe upon his party and the nation. This could provoke a “revolution.”
The only way for this idea to prosper is for PNoy to assure the LP and the nation that this is merely a swindle. He would run as Poe’s vice presidential candidate, and rig the elections in their favor. But that after they are “machine-elected” by Smartmatic’s PCOS, Poe would be swiftly removed from office, and he would become president all over again, without having to lift the existing term limit that bars a president’s reelection.
The idea is absurd, but it is reportedly supported by some of PNoy’s big business cronies. This is how wild and dangerous they have become.
In a Times article on Wednesday, former Defense Secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto B. Gonzales warned against a group of non-elected political lackeys now exercising the vast powers of the Aquino presidency, without any accountability. This refers to the old Hyatt-10, which Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ousted from the Cabinet before they could move to oust her; they now wield the sharpest knives in the criminal syndicate disguised as a student council.
They are the ones behind the massive unauthorized fund transfers that scandalized even the Supreme Court, and the policy to privatize many of the essential duties and services of government, resulting in untold profits for the cronies and untold misery for the people. Yet they could not have done half of what they have done without the active collaboration of the business cronies.
It was apparently to satisfy their insatiable greed that Aquino transferred to the private sector, almost whole and entire, the government’s duty to provide roads, bridges, other infrastructure, public utilities and other basic goods and services and allowed that sector to tax the public for the use of these facilities. There are no longer any free services from government. The poor and the unemployed have to pay for every public good at skyrocketing prices.
“The very meaning of “reinventing government,” once a noble notion when it was first espoused by Osborne and Gaebler, has been completely perverted and idiotized.”
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IN THE RUNUP to the 2016 elections, Aquino has ignored the widespread public clamor for the Commission on Elections to ban Smartmatic and junk its PCOS voting machine, which the Comelec had illegally divested of all its safety and security features and accuracy mechanisms in order to rig the 2010 and 2013 elections. The 2010 presidential election proclaimed PNoy as president, and the 2013 senatorial elections proclaimed Grace Poe and 11 others as senators.
The Comelec humored opponents of the PCOS machine, like former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman and Philippine Computer Society president Toti Casino and Nelson Celis, by allowing them to make a presentation on an alternative “hybrid” (manual and electronic) voting system, which would allow utmost transparency at the least possible cost to the government. The demonstration earned rave reviews from those who witnessed it, and sparked some hope that we might finally have a real election in 2016.
But authoritative sources tell us that Malacanang has just told the Comelec to clear all obstacles to the use of Smartmatic’s PCOS machine all over again, at the cost of P14 billion. PNoy does not want to risk losing the 2016 elections and spending the rest of his life in prison. This is how crazy and hopeless the elections have become.
Despite all this, none of those avowedly interested in the presidency are demanding a cleanup of the electoral system, as a conditio sine qua non for the holding of the 2016 elections. Only the National Transformation Council, which now stands as the only credible opposition to the Aquino regime, but which has not announced any candidates for 2016, is demanding an overhaul of the electoral system as an integral part of regime and system change.
Instead of working to clean up and invigorate the system, the presidential wannabes would rather invest all their time, effort and money in a scheme to capture and control the crooked electoral system and ensure their victory, no matter how foul-smelling. The common good is the first victim they have fed to the beast of selfish ambition.
“The very meaning of “reinventing government,” once a noble notion when it was first espoused by Osborne and Gaebler, has been completely perverted and idiotized. “
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IN THE SEARCH for presidential possibilities, the fully discredited Senate continues to be mentioned as a possible source of presidential candidates. This is absolute nonsense. Except for Ramon Magsaysay, Diosdado Macapagal and Fidel Ramos, all our presidents were once members of the Senate. Magsaysay and Macapagal themselves were not exactly strangers to the Senate; they were members of the House of Representatives. So the Senate used to be known as the training ground of presidents. But PNoy completely destroyed it when he bribed 19 senators, most of whom are still in office, to convict and remove Chief Justice Renato Corona on a non-impeachable offense, and when he presided over the 2013 electoral operation to force a 60-30-10 win of his senatorial candidates, even in anti-administration constituencies.
So why are we still talking about the Senate and those ambitious senators?
Sen. Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes 4th, and 16 other senators were all completely muddied in that anti-Corona bribery scandal; they have never been investigated nor cleared. The neophyte Sen. Grace Poe on the other hand became the mysterious, unheralded and unexplained topnotcher in that senatorial election, even in places where the voters had never heard of her at all. The mystery has never been explained.
On May 18, 2013, the Comelec website gave Poe 20,147,423 votes. A few days later, this rose to 20,333,327 votes. By July 11, however, this was reduced to 16,340,333 votes. In the final count, this went back to 20,333,327 votes. To this day, nobody could say what really happened. The PCOS voting has been described as one election where the winner cannot prove that she won, and the loser cannot prove that he lost.
Someone has tried to shoot down my naysaying the propaganda surveys by asking this rather embarrassing question: If the propaganda surveys were all manufactured, fudged, or crooked, how come the election results usually manage to confirm the published forecasts? One theory suggests that the propaganda surveys are used to condition the minds of voters, so they end up voting according to the surveys. But how many voters ever get to read about the surveys? Very few. So not all the voters vote for a certain candidate because they have been brainwashed by the surveys.
The more realistic explanation is that it is the cheating machine that makes use of the surveys to ensure the pre-determined results. Once the “survey results” are disseminated, and any portion of the population accepts them as fact, the political operators on the ground immediately get to work and use the “survey” to guide them in designing the actual election results. The large syndicate at the Comelec then delivers the pre-determined results.
After the process is completed and all the “winners” have been proclaimed, some “pundit” would now come forward to commend the fraudsters for their forecast. “Wow, how accurate!” So accurate indeed that they were able to predict with amazing accuracy the results in certain places in Mindanao, where people do not normally vote for national candidates but leave it to their local leaders to decide how many votes should finally go to which candidate, depending on the financial arrangement.
We no longer have a real election. This is what we must restore. In 2010 and 2013, we were merely told how we voted, and we were expected to accept what we are told. Yet in 2010, a group of fishmongers told me that although they were unschooled movie “fans,” they knew the distinction between movie stars and senators. They would therefore not be bamboozled into making a senator out of any movie star just because he or she is a movie star.
But then, as now, the myth persisted that the masses always went crazy for movie stars. So even if the masses had stopped voting for movie stars, the political operators running the elections continue to use the myth about movie stars in order to elect celebrities and movie stars, even if people had stopped voting for them. It is time to throw out the rascals and institute real electoral reforms, instead of simply saying that our people are ignorant, so our system is rotten.