I really like this post by Manolo Quezon. It explains why a formidable coalition of local officials does not necessarily make it invincible on the national stage. PaLaKa will collapse if its presidential candidate loses because in this country the Constitution gives the power of the purse to the president. The president is the air of these ampao types of political parties.
The Long View
When size doesn’t matter
By Manuel L. Quezon III
One thing is sure: swept under the rug is the issue of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her administration being the least-respected and least-liked in modern times.
The political landscape is littered with the wrecks of formidable party machines that broke down and failed to accomplish their mission: to get a presidential candidate successfully elected. Going back to the presidential campaigns of 1986, 1992 and 1998, Ferdinand Marcos, Ramon Mitra Jr. and Jose de Venecia Jr. all presided over coalitions that firmly controlled the lower house. They all went down in defeat. The common complaint of all three candidates was: the local leaders, on which their pyramids of power rested, took the money and ran—for office—with the cash of their national candidate for president.
This is the dilemma faced by the President and the colossal administration coalition she has nurtured all these long years. But every official in that coalition faces the problem of politics being a continuum, in which the power held yesterday becomes less relevant than the power held tomorrow.
Promoting Growth Diagnostics
Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
Business Word, Yellow Pad
29 June 2009
The Washington Consensus (WC)—systemic market-oriented reforms that have to be undertaken simultaneously—has long been dead.
Even before the current global recession’s onset, the WC as applied to developing countries or emerging markets had already fallen out of favor. The mantra of deregulation, liberalization, and privatization could no longer cast its magic spell in developing countries. Latin America was the WC’s laboratory. It was here where lessons were drawn to systematize, consolidate and codify the WC. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was also in Latin America that WC first tasted a series of political defeats. The WC decline is correlated with the rise to power of Left if not populist regime.
The global recession originating in the US merely confirmed that the ideology of the Milton Friedman school—manifested in the deregulation of the financial markets—creates as much damage to mature economies as developing countries. The worldwide crisis is the last nail in the Washington Consensus’s coffin.
Back to square one
By Francis M. Varela
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE GOVERNMENT’S budget deficit reached P123 billion for the period January to May 2009. This announcement was met with some relief in the financial markets, as investors were braced for a bigger figure.
The amount of P123 billion in five months is still a worrisome number, though. While the government assures us that it will achieve the full year deficit target of P250 billion, this target itself is a worrisome number. This will be the highest nominal deficit incurred by the national government. This will constitute 3.2 percent of GDP: while not the highest historically, it will breach the 3 percent threshold that economists consider sustainable. Moreover, there are fears, publicly expressed by some financial institutions, that this target can be breached to reach as high as P400 billion.
Lakas Kampi is indeed a giant. Organization, money, government resources are in their hands. But flashback to 2007 senatorial elections. Although Lakas Kampi was divided in the local level they were solidly united behind the senatorial ticket and yet they were routed. Because the choice was clear. The opposition had no problem communicating its message to voters. There were no distractions. The focus was on GMA and any national candidate associated with her became her.
Lakas Kampi is doomed at the national level if 2010 is fought like 2007. So the idea is to throw the opposition off its game. No middle of the ring toe-to-toe fighting. Move to corners and tire out the opposition with feints like cha-cha, GMA running for congress, transition governments, and all sorts of other talk.
Palaka is big in the small pond (congressional and local offices) but is nowhere in the big pond. As long as the face of corruption looks like a frog they will get nowhere. If they cannot elect a president or a majority senatorial slate, they are nothing. So they throw in everything, every impersonal “objective” issue to avoid turning the fight into personalities.
Here’s the thing. They will keep pushing until time runs out. Why? Because that way, we debate legal issues instead of focusing on the personalities who will stand in for Gloria in 2010.
Take Gilbert Teodoro for example. Here’s a guy who, if only he were not in Gloria’s camp, would merit serious consideration. But we are not looking at him that way and asking ourselves why a guy like that would run on the ticket of a party that totally supports everything Gloria has done.
He sells himself as Mr. Clean in the cesspool. As if that’s possible without totally disowning Gloria and her followers. But until time for cha-cha runs out he will get a free pass.
And after chacha runs out, the next issue will be the legality of Gloria running for a lower office. And all that time Gilbert and Gloria’s senatorial slate will be under the radar.
How do we, without defaulting on the cha-cha issues, keep the heat on any and all national candidate running under Gloria’s party?
Because at the end of the day, if Lakas Kampi control the national offices, we are fucked.
The war is all about “who” not “what.” Because in politics, it is the “who” that tells us the “what comes after.”
Let’s not lose our focus.
My Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom column for 24 June, 2009
Just do it
It would be nice if former president Ramos made a clear and positive declaration to our people whether he still supports Gloria Arroyo or not.
He has to stop titillating the public with his on-again off-again support for her. It’s been going on for too long.
It’s simply not fair. He already has the public confused with his equivocation, must he also befuddle them with mixed metaphors?
“But as chief executive and commander-in-chief, she (Arroyo) must perform with greater agility and skill than the ordinary circus juggler, whose feet are on the ground…The President still on the high-wire may be riding a bicycle, while still balancing the critical issues whose number may increase because of outside forces. That is how difficult and complex it is to be in the hot seat or pressure cooker called Malacañang.”
Public Works secretary Hermogenes Ebdane has the answer to a question that the motoring public has been asking for years.
“Why does traffic slow down for no apparent reason?”
“If there is no vehicular accident, then chances are there might be a huge sexy billboard up ahead,” Ebdane said,
His deputy, DPWH Director for Planning Service Melvin Navarro, agrees wholeheartedly.
“It’s so huge, you can’t help but look and in the thick of traffic, a split-second distraction can mean slowdown, if not accident.”
Wow! The answer was right in front of our eyes!
There is such a dearth of intelligence in government. We need Ebdane-Navarro in 2010.
Confused about the events unfolding in Iran? This analytical piece written by Filomeno S. Sta.Ana III for Business World’s Yellow Pad sorts things out.
Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
22 June 2009
The popular upheaval in Iran, arising from the alleged fraudulent outcome of the presidential election, has reached a point of no return. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has declared a “religious ultimatum” to the demonstrators to end their protest actions or face the consequences. In the same vein, he warned the opposition leaders that they “would be responsible for bloodshed and chaos,” arising from the escalation of protests.
The ayatollah has drawn the line in the sand. Iran and the rest of the world will soon know whether that line will be crossed…irreversibly. Soon after the declaration of the hard-line “religious ultimatum,” thousands still poured out into the streets, resulting in clashes between the demonstrators and the security forces. Meantime, it has been reported that Mir Hossein Moussavi, the main opposition candidate whom many believe was robbed of victory in the presidential election, has prepared himself for martyrdom.
Our gut reaction is of course to condemn State violence, suppression of democratic rights, and election fraud. But how we feel is different from how the main actors domestically and internationally have to respond to a complex situation. How the Iranian domestic crisis is resolved will have profound, strategic consequences not only for Iran, or the Middle East, but also for the rest of the world. Oil, nuclear weapons, the Palestine state, terrorism, Israeli aggression, Arab elite contradictions—all these hot issues are linked to Iran.
The situation is so complicated that the analysis cannot be reduced to George W. Bush’s framing of good versus evil or to a Filipino columnist’s beguiling commentary about a clash between the “old Iran” and the “new Iran.”
Ellen Tordesillas reports that Arroyo is taking a side trip to Cartagena, Colombia.
Cartagena, that’s where the cumbia comes from.
Cha-cha girl wants to do the cumbia on her way to Brazil where she will do the bossa nova.
Ellen also said that Gloria’s plane will do a brief stop-over in San Francisco. If the rumors about her husband are true, he won’t be arrested as long as he stays in the plane because it’s Philippine territory.
Wouldn’t it be great if, during the stop-over, the aircraft maintenence crew finds something that will require some repairs and everyone on board has to disembark for a few hours? Then we will know if Gloria’s husband is really wanted for questioning by the FBI. I wonder if the consulate will send a car to the airport so FG can sit inside the diplomatic car while the plane undergoes repairs.
“While the Court has taken an increasingly liberal approach to the rule of Locus Standi, it is not an open invitation for the ignorant and the ignoble to file petitions that prove nothing but their cerebral deficit.” – The Supreme Court to Oliver Lozano on his case against HR1109
And Lozano filed a motion for reconsideration!
Reminds me of the guy who went to his proctologist for a prostrate exam…
Doctor sticks a finger up his ass, probes around and says, “I’ve got bad news for you, you’ve got prostrate cancer.”
Guy says, “Doc, I want a second opinion.”
Doctor says, “Okay, if that’s what you want.” And sticks a second finger up his ass.
My column in today’s Business Mirror
In the news last month was the opening of a multibillion-peso amusement park in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte. Called Gloria’s Fantasyland, the amusement park promises children fun and excitement with the choco-cup ride, the midi-flume ride, the carousel, the swinger, the Apollo, the minitrain, a giant roller coaster, a horror house, and interactive rides like Happy Journey, Fight Shark, World of War and Telecombat.
Gloria’s Fantasyland is owned by Romeo Jalosjos, a former congressman convicted of two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness against an 11-year-old girl.
I know…my steaming-hot morning coffee went shooting out of my nose, too.