Friday, August 17, 2012

To the Legislature: First Call for Patriots

This is the first call for Patriots from the House and Senate, members who still have the flexibility of mind to pivot, to change, to enlarge their vision of the Philippines.

Senator Sotto is in his last term. He's done. Cooked. So is Senator Enrile. It is not just his age. If he were 10 years younger, or 20, it would not matter. He's done.

They are patriots, no question. Years of service to the Philippines. But they are not the modern Patriot, capital P, quick to discern what is on the public's mind, and what is in their interest. Adaptable enough to let go of the back-room deal-making, horse-trading, and favor swapping. Willing to define personal best-interest by accurately reading public best-interest.

The Philippines is moving fast these days, moving past the trudging moral fossils who have hitched their ideals to a rusty wagon that does not fulfill Philippine needs. Moving past those without the courage to open their minds to change, to work hard for a modern, open, liberated Philippines.
Most members of the Senate get it. And I think maybe the House, too. Because they are young enough and smart enough to read the digital handwriting on the wall.

The Corona trial did not prove the power of President Aquino, as most suspect. It proved the power of a public tired of being conned.

The force of public opinion these days is being brought to bear at the speed of electricity. The oligarchs may still control most businesses in the Philippines, but they no longer command all the influence. That is moving sideways to an amalgamation of high-speed information gurus. These gurus are everywhere, with cameras and researchers and inside information.

  • Rappler, on topic, on the mark.

  • The Inquirer and other newspapers in print electronically. TV News, too. Timely, colorful, meaningful. Conrado de Quiros and Randy David can't keep up with the blast of comments their editorials generate.

  • Blogger Raissa Robles, crisp and edgy, on topic, on the mark. A whole force of perhaps 100 bloggers pounding out the ideas, usually strikingly aligned with the same viewpoint. Out with Corona, don't let Ms. Arroyo flee, get RH passed, get FOI passed. Ridicule and condemnation greet public utterances that are out of touch. Ask Senator Sotto about that. He is clueless in Manila.

  • The Facebook and Twitter armies, zipping out their observations, updates, and opinions. Thousands and thousands of well-synced Filipinos, driving their nation to a new style of action and interaction.

  • Text messaging, the common man's tool for staying in touch.

  • Advocacy groups: PCIJ, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, women's groups.  Even the UN and WHO and WTO and Pulse Asia pound out their observations, their information . Yes, the CBCP, too.

This is a tsunami, a force of information and opinion never before seen in the Philippines. The force is not formally organized to do so, but it often moves as if synchronized, the loud voices that join becoming a roar. No trip to Edsa is needed.

Only a rational view of the public good is needed.

When electronic voices speak in unison, they roar. Positively roar.

And this is a young power, pubescent, still growing its muscle and personality. It has not yet matured as the strong-armed force of public interest it is certain to become.

You saw the Senators in the Corona trial. Some were like deer in the headlights, frozen by the power of public condemnation of Mr. Corona. Knowing their political lives were on the table if they chose unwisely. They chose wisely.

You heard the roar to the rafters when President Aquino said two words during his 2012 SONA: "Responsible parenthood".  A nation spoke.  Loudly. They cried out for a responsible Philippines. They had been unified by electronics.

A deaf church turned the other cheek, winced, then started slapping out in desperation.

You see what Senator Sotto is dealing with now, a case of Senatorial plagiarism. How will he squirm out of this gross ethical lapse? His early remarks were to blame the people asking the questions, those challenging the good Senator. He even blamed the bloggers. Trying to pile guilt on them in the best Catholic tradition.

He can't win against "the force". He may not get it now. He will soon.

A lot is on the line with the RH Bill. It is a checkpoint, a demarcation line. Is the Philippines ready for liberation or still hooked on antiquated Catholic values? Is it ready to move into the modern global society of gender equality and care for citizens, or will the nation remain aloof and apart, mistaking that for independence?

If the RH Bill fails, it will strike a blow against all that President Aquino has done to bring the Philippines out of the dark alleys of corruption and connivance. The outer world will shake its collective head and cry, "still backward after all these years."

The electronic force says clearly, we want the RH Bill.

The Legislature can defy this force. They can reject the RH Bill. They can bow to the demand of an imposed morality that is holding the Philippines back, as it has for 400 years. They need not listen to the heads of 20 government agencies responsible for fighting poverty. They need not listen to the UN or WHO or Human Rights Watch or the WTO or women's groups.

They can deny the force. They can, like Senator Sotto, imagine it as a foreign attack on Philippine sovereignty.

Yes, they can do that.

There is a certain kind of courage to that, too, I suppose.

Rather like spitting into the wind.

All I can predict is that the names of those voting "no" will shoot across the Philippines within an hour of the vote.


  1. ...Joe America, insightful, piercing, eloquent

  2. Love the imagery, Joe!

    Just want to point out that Sotto's and his chief's response to the blogger was typical Catholic - no responsiblity, and squirm your way out of it. Imagine having the gall to throw back the question to the one you stole from!

    Just read your queries in Dicky Boncan's site and his replies. Makes you scratch your head, and say, that's why things never get done in this country.

    As an apologist for the RCC, he never takes any responsibility for anything, despite the large footprint and large voice his church posseses. It's always " corruption" , "political system" and "free will" . And they've been here for hundreds of years!

    1. Thanks Andrew. Yes, what a "scurrilous" response to the charge of plagiarism from Sotto's staff. Blaming the person doing the charging.

      I rather think that Senator Sotto is doing more for the pro-HR people than he imagines. How can anybody endorse his pile of stolen misinformation, improperly acquired, improperly used.

    2. I like JoeAm's "digital handwriting on the wall". Senator doesn't read this "wall", that's why he doesn't get it, "shucks, I'm in deep shit", he's playing macho, "so sue me." As Mareng Winnie would tell a crap that his speech is, "For shame!"


    3. Well, Doc, I rather think that humility does not come easy to those enlarged of ego, whether in the Philippines or U.S. In the U.S. they are usually pounded into humility by relentless outrage from a variety of places that causes them to resign. I hope the Philippines can also do relentless outrage, not letting up until the Senator accepts responsibility for his transgressions.

  3. From: Island Jim-e (AKA: The Cricket)

    1. Words written in stone (on stone..from the garden of stone)...or don't chisel your way through life...! I
    wonder what Rizal would say and do at stuch a historic
    time in this nations history?

    2. What keeps our islands from becoming as near to
    "paradise" as possible--perhaps the Churches should
    carry some of the guilt/shame/blame! They seem to
    neglect or conviently forget "the mission statement"-
    "the shalt nots"...and keep sticking their nose where
    it does not belong with the mis-guided assistance of a
    few "ignorant" but powerful "stage show puppets" and

    The "forbidden fruit" was from the tree of
    "knowledge of good and evil" and the Catholic church
    still thinks that it can do no "evil"--I hope that
    they grow up!

    3. The churches seem to forget or overlook the fact
    that the "other tree" in the Garden of Eden/Paradise-
    was the "Tree Of Life"--which presents the fuits of
    "Gods wisdom", immortality, and perfection--and man
    was denied (kept from) access--as was the churches
    and other institutions-creations of mankind!

    4. Mankind has sampled the "forbidden fruit of
    the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and we
    well know the difference in good, bad and rotten
    fruit! Any good respsonsible gardener knows when
    it is time to weed out-cull- the "evil fruit" and
    "bad trees" one likes to eat a pie that tastes bad!

    I hope our "legislators" transform them selves into
    true "patriots", do the right thing, grow into the
    "sainthood" of our island historic figures!


    1. I hope so, too Jim-e. It would be most refreshing.

  4. Plagiarism is the least among the problems here. It is sad that people do not even see that its government cites statements straight from medical quackery. The senator citing a medical fallacy is a much greater offense and nobody is speaking out against that.

    1. I think that people are digging into the medical reasoning cited by Mr. Sotto as well as his sources. This has come up quickly and I am guessing that every word he utters will be examined for merit. He still has two more speeches to give on the subject.

    2. Here's an example of the digging that is underway:

    3. There is no need to dig, the fact that the statements were lifted from a non peer-reviewed book means the information is not verified. This is not coming from a medical journal. The fact that a senator actually obtains scientific and medical information from this type of sources is the bigger offense. The country does not see this because most do not appreciate science. Most believe in anecdotes especially those that are in line with what they want to hear and read. This is a bigger problem, when national policies are being based not on facts but on personal imagined stories.

    4. And another one:

    5. This is the same doctor who makes the claim that vaccinations are harmful. This is harmful misinformation. This is the bigger offense. It is the main thing that drove me to speak against K to 12. No peer reviewed studies. Not research driven, not based on evidence. This is the senator's bigger offense.

  5. 1. After his Torno en Contra speech has been torn into pieces, Senator Sotto threatens to water down the RH Bill, to mangle it beyond recognition.

    2. The core argument of the Church against the RH Bill is the sanctity of life. That is, life is precious because it comes from the Divine.

    3. This argument, intransigently applied, has resulted in an opposite reality due to overpopulation: life is no longer precious, it is no longer holy, and in fact it has become dirt cheap.

    4. The sanctity of life is in its quality. And quality may not necessarily be a life of ease, but certainly it is not one of precarious existence. It is a life of relative comfort, where each life blooms and is able to realise its full potential.

    5. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Senator Sotto could be touched by Reason and perform a volte-face to support the RH Bill? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the members of the House and Senate answered this first call for patriotism?

    6. Then they would be true patriots. Of the Philippines. And not of Rome.

    1. I rather think that dinosaurs don't gain enlightenment easily, so Senator Sotto will not change. The best bet is to work on those congressmen who are in the middle, and swing them toward Philippine well-being.

      Your perspective is so true. So much energy spent defending life that is not born, so little care given to the living. I think the Church needs to define "life" a little better. It does not mean simply breathing. It means growing and learning and contributing.

  6. From: Island jim-e (aka: The Cricket)

    Question: What whould Rizal do? Would he act in the
    best interest of the Philippines or belly crawl to kiss
    the feet of those dominators who would keep the people
    as slaves and prisoners to serve their off-island
    empires and institutions!

    1. Rizal would do as JoeAm says. I've been reading about this courageous man, this open-minded kind and eloquent man, and channeling him to the best of my ability. I don't quite have it right yet, for he would never say "holy hooey", but I do strive mightily to say something important . . . or occasionally crack an original joke at least . . .

    2. p.s., Jose would never belly crawl to priests or oligarchs . . .


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