Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final Victory for EDSA Dos

For someone like me who participated in EDSA Dos, such a victory would have been sweet. Now it is mostly an occassion for cognitive dissonance. As linked to by Manolo, blogger Bluepanjeet has expressed it best.

I hope those who marched for the ideals of EDSA Tres will similarly achieve their vindication. As DJB points out, the present Administration has provided many opportunities to do just that.

In the meantime, today's event has provided another occassion to showcase the cleavage between the two camps. Over at Ellen's, the commenters who are usually united (primarily by their opposition to Gloria) exhibited more than the usual divergence of opinion. In particular, when she posted the Black and White Movement's reaction to the verdict, commenter maarte had this to say...

"Both Black & White (Civil Society) and Bayan were among the participants in Edsa Two ousting Erap. Expectedly, they accepted the verdict. Why don’t they now conspire with other groups to oust Arroyo this time? Where’s Cory Aquino and the Catholic Church? Isang tambak kayong mga ipokrito ! Revolution na !"
...which was seconded by commenter emrjay...
"Yeah! i agree with maarte. Just ignore whatever they (Black and White and Bayan)said. Hypocrites!!!!"
and commenter Chi...
"Ako rin, same opinion here about Black and White Movement and Bayan. In fact, sila ang rason kung bakit ang Pinas ay nagkakaganito na niloloko lang ni Gloria.

Personally, I don’t expect more from them. They installed Gloria, they deserve Gloria!

Tama na ang mga press releases ninyo. Don’t justify anything dahil malaki ang kasalanan ninyo sa bayan for subverting the Constitution!
Gloria Arroyo, who is the proximate cause of such division, can very well exploit these resentments and mutual distrust to retain power. Just saying.

Update Sept-13-2007 1:16AM: At Uniffors, Manuel Buencamino reflects on the people's sense of justice (a blind spot for lawyers steeped in their profession), and mourns a lost opportunity.

Update Sept-15-2007 4:13PM: In his Inquirer column for today, Erap’s Conviction and the Rule of Law, Randy David explains the source of the cognitive dissonance that i referred to above:

"The legal system of any society is strengthened not so much when it succeeds in putting the high and mighty on trial, but when the law is applied consistently and predictably over time. We know there is rule of law when people have stable notions of what is legal and illegal, and know what to expect when laws are violated...

...The independence of the judiciary and the professional integrity of those who serve in the various agencies of government, including those in the police and the armed forces, are the minimum conditions needed to make the rule of law work in a democracy. Alas, under Ms Arroyo’s watch, we have seen the most blatant undermining of these institutions by the executive. The assault on the autonomy of the investigative and prosecutorial offices of government, in particular, has been so brazen one wonders if those in charge are still in possession of their wits. Investigations, prosecutions, and preventive suspensions have been utterly selective. The pace and pattern in which they have been conducted manifest an astonishing partisanship often bordering on sheer malice and whim. The law has plainly been used as a weapon to threaten and punish political enemies...

The result of all this has been the consistent erosion of public trust in the country’s legal system.
In his blog, Arbet furnishes specific examples of what David describes above. However, David also does not spare the Opposition as he also says that:

"...If blame must be allocated, it has to be laid at the door of those who have done everything, directly and indirectly, to prevent the Court from focusing on the strictly legal merits of the case. I’m afraid they come from all sides of the political equation [emphasis mine]. If we keep subverting the autonomy of our judicial system, or promote a cynical view of our courts, how much justice can we expect when it is GMA’s or Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos’ turn to be tried?"
A fair enough question.

Update Sept-16-2007 3:51PM: Over at Ellen's, commenter maarte quotes Ninez Cacho Olivares:

" Predictably, the so-called elites, along with the Catholic bishops and, of course, the leftists, hailed the Erap guilty verdict, praised the Sandiganbayan court for proving to one and all that “no one is above the law” when it convicted the ousted president.

They then issued statements to the effect that the Erap conviction sends a strong warning to all those in government not to engage in corruption and other criminal acts because the rule of law is being observed.

What dreamy idiots they can be, if they think that a guilty verdict on Estrada handed by a politicized judiciary can scare off these corrupt officials under the Gloria regime
I agree that we're dreamy idiots if we think that Gloria Arroyo will be brought to justice by simply moving on. However, even the Tribune editorial for today says that:
"Consider it divine justice, but the conviction on questionable grounds of ousted President Joseph Estrada served to highlight more the excesses of the Arroyo administration."
I think it is in this sense that Erap's conviction can serve as a warning.

Update Oct-26-2007 2:11AM: Looks like Gloria Arroyo took the warning to heart.


MBW said...

Hi Chuck,

I think some of the posters at Ellen's are feeling exactly the opposite of how Gloria feels - happy, elated, etc. (Tribune says she had a laughing party or was gloating in Malacanang following the verdict).

I believe many people are disappointed over the outcome all the more because the political situation in Pinas has become worse than during Estrada's time.

To me the Erap issue, Erap the man and former leader, is now a close book and that we now should MOVE ON to focus on someone more hideous, mor corrupt: GLORIA, at least until she's made to face her crimes.

If there is anything that I regret is not Erap as president (hell, I never thought he would be a good president in the first place) but his ouster, the manner in which it was done and the rape of the common people by those in the highest echelons of power who thought they had all the right in the world to waylay the masa who voted for Erap, was not right - didn't follow the Constitutional process which to me was paramount - but let lawyers and historians debate that for the moment.

Meanwhile, there are more pressing things that need everyone's, and I mean everyone, undivided attention: abuse and misuse of power at the highest level today.

I think we should all prevent Gloria from witnessing the division among her critics from all political fronts, i.e., pro Erap before, after, during, etc. and those who were always anti-Erap turned anti-Arroyo today.

If she can divide this public - then she will gloat even more and all the way to after 2010.

That's my thought - hence I refrain or try hard to moderate my own posts so so that they won't seem or sound like an attack on the civil society, the ordinary Pinoy joes who went to Edsa 2, and never mind the former J'accuse people in the Senate today who played a big role in the ouster of Estrada, etc.

Would be futile and counter-productive. As Chyt of Smorgasboard of Random Thoughts, would not do Filipinos any good at all. Our efforts efforts must be focused on Gloria and ousting Gloria, bringing her to justice and I believe when that happens, the healing will begin.

Just as DJB said, we shall overcome one day.

mschumey07 said...

Its time to go beyind personalities, we must focus on how to make Gloria accountable.


Like you, CVJ, I was part of that civil society that moved for Erap's ouster. And I also feel very bad that those in power (GMA, Angelo Reyes) polluted the people's struggle with their involvement. Erap's vacating his office would have been the people's victory, but as we were about to succeed, the opportunists who were lurking suddenly sprang out of their airconditioned rooms and moved to the frontlines. Nakakasuka. In the end, they might as well have bodily forced out Erap while on his swivel chair. I believe that the people would have succeeded in pressuring Erap to resign, if GMA and her ilk did not pre-empt the victory. What is unconstitutional about People Power II was not the sustained mass action against Erap; it was the power grab by GMA and her ilk, which was "legitimized" by Davide's administering her oath. I am sure he expected that a question would be brought by Erap before the Supreme Court which he headed. Why did he not make himself invisible during the "oathtaking ceremonies?"

I do not regret having been part of the people's struggle to pressure Erap into resigning. In demanding Erap's resignation, we were not installing Gloria to the presidency although it was an unfortunate necessary consequence; we were exercising our sovereignty as a nation. Sadly, that too, was trampled upon by the opportunists who would take over with more evil intentions. In the words of Manila Bay Watch, Gloria is more hideous than Erap.

Let us draw lessons from the past. But let us not slacken in our resolve to assert that in the final analysis, it is only when we let Presidents finish their terms that they finish their terms including illegitmate ones.

Jego said...

As shown many times in our history, the EDSA3 people will only achieve vindication with the help of the EDSA2 crowd. Something GMA has so far succeeded in preventing.