Gone with the wind?

Thu, 11/22/2007 - 00:00
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First of all, Estrada's pardon diminishes him. He can stage all the motorcades he wants, visit the poor and make cutting remarks to his heart's content, but the fact is he owes his freedom to the mercy to a 60-year old diminutive woman who's consistently bested him. Not a good image for a 70-year old macho chauvinist who's taken pride in mastering women.

Second, although Estrada is supposedly the key figure in the so-called “opposition”, that group has been bewildered by the pardon. Some Erap supporters suspect their hero of caving and selling out to the enemy . When, on the day of his release, Erap called on a crowd of fans to applaud the president for pardoning him, nobody responded.

Third, should Estrada get too naughty and start making trouble, the government can yank hard on a short leash. Government officials have hinted that the pardon can be revoked as easily as it was granted. The Arroyo administration can also stomp on another sensitive Estrada spot: his loot. Government agents have been pressing the ex-convict to cough up the ill-gotten wealth he promised to return – P700 million and a mansion – and if he doesn't they threaten to garnish his property, kicking him out of his posh house. Although the ex-convict has blustered he would rather go to jail than give up his possessions, people know by now his bravado is hollow. After all, the day he was convicted he defiantly vowed never to accept a pardon from President Arroyo. Weeks later, he did just that.

If push comes to shove, it's hard to believe Estrada will be able to rally popular support for a cause as undignified as protecting his mistresses and mansions. If he insists on a confrontation, he could not only wind up in jail, but also stripped of his assets, with the possibility his confiscated billions will wind up in the administration's coffers...an irony so sweet, it's diabetic.

To this administration, in short, Estrada is a plump, waddling confusion bomb, thrown into the ranks of the opposition and the poor to cause dismay and division. With that out of the way, the government can then go back to focusing on its priority program, staying in power. For friends: brown bags stuffed with cash. For enemies: the back of its hand.

Of course, these calculations have one premise, which is that Erap has neither the guile nor energy to constitute a credible threat. Perhaps Arroyo's political strategists figure that he'll be too busy spending most of his time trying to rebuild his street cred, while at the same time desperately trying to hang on to his riches. If this premise is wrong – and already, Estrada's wife (the official one) has said he should run for president again – things could get interesting.

Not to worry, government will come up with another plan. Government is always coming up with a plan. The Arroyo administration is very much into political short-termism and quick fixes, as it lurches and careens from one scandal to the next. And scandals are inevitable, given the clumsiness or indifference with which politicians and government officials help themselves to public funds.

President Arroyo was recently quoted as saying that graft in the Philippines has mutated from being “a problem within the system – it may have become the system itself.” Well spoken. She just left out the bits about how her husband, friends and political allies seem to have a knack for having their names linked to each scandal. If some columnists are to be believed, when a cabinet member told President Arroyo that one of her allies had just offered him a P200 million bribe, she replied curtly: “Why didn't you take it?” If that story is true, her remark would make an excellent motto for her administration.

In the meantime Philippine democracy is stuck , the estate in flames while the leaders play musical chairs. This government's only recipe for “development” is to raise taxes which hit the poor the most (presumably, grafters and fixers who make billions are exempted). Many Filipinos are heartily sick of this administration, but are also tired, and wary. If the last People Power produced an Arroyo, what sort of monster could another uprising conjure?

It just seems a matter of time before the one group that can influence events – the military – steps in. The population, hapless and helpless, are just so many passengers aboard a careening bus. Its destination? Burma.

 

Comments

Submitted by pian (not verified) on
The main problem is that we have a very illegitimate democratic system. Our voters elect only those people who are popular and not if they are capable. The big dilemma if GMA is ousted, the VP will take over who was elected PURELY because he’s popular with the masses, and not because he’s capable to lead the nation. Our economy has never grown this much, I don’t want to take the chance by entrusting it to someone solely popular with the masses. This concession to pardon Erap only shows the illegitimacy of the system. GMA obviously pardonned Erap because he still commands a strong following from the masses. To prevent this transfer, no matter how believable Lozada initially is, his credibility is now being questioned. He admitted that a certain level of corruption is acceptable to him. Questions have arisen whether he was kidnapped, because his celphone was not confiscated, he dined in Outback restaurant, and he was able to go to the place he wanted to go all along, that is, La Salle Greenhills. I even read he committed a sin of omission regarding his consultation with the wife of Sen. Joker Arroyo. He didn’t correct the impression in which it appeared the wife invited him to her house to urge him not to testify, when the fact of the matter is (based on what I read) Lozada was the one who contacted the wife around September before Joey de Venecia testified, and he was crying and that he doesn’t want to testify. So the wife invited him to her house, and told him she couldn’t lawyer for him due to conflict of interest since her husband is a Senator, while he was then president of Philforest. She advised him then, since he was so distressed, that he doesn’t have to testify if he didn’t want to. Since this was one of those ordinary free consultations, she didn’t bother to tell Joker about it. So Joker was surprised when his wife was mentioned.

Submitted by pian (not verified) on
Below is a transcript of a supposedly wiretapped conversation between Joey and Jun I got from a website. Judge for yourself if Jun Lozada is indeed deserving to be treated a hero, but of course after ascertaining if this is genuine. usapang udifuta ________________________________________ TRACK 3... http://www.patriots4truth.blogspot.com <br> Joey (allegedly, Joey de Venecia): Hey Jun. Jun (allegedly, Jun Lozada): Hey Joey. Joey: Jun, can you hear me? Jun: Yeah. Go ahead. Joey: Yeah, where are you to put Chair (Abalos)? Jun: Ang formula ko doon is kuha ako ng points dun sa 130. Joey: Uh-huh… Jun: Di ba? Kasi saan ko pa kukunin di ba? (laughs) Itong mga … Joey: Kaya lang pare, we need to get some… at least from… something from them, di ba? Jun: Yeah.. from both sides. P*[email protected]!na… Joey: Pare.. start from the thing.. Because he’s the gatekeeper of the votes. P*ta. I can understand, but not that amount. Jun: Oh yeah. that’s too big, right. That’s too big. Joey: Pare, let’s develop a plan to talk to him. Jun: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So… Joey: And you know what he told me, between you and I. When we were in Hong Kong… in Shenzen. Don’t quote me ha. Sabi niya kasi, marami akong…... Tinanong ko bakit ba ang laki-laki? Singkwenta.. Sabi niya marami ako kelangan bigyan. Pati yung NEDA. He said the word NEDA ha. P*[email protected] For your information pare. Jun: Information? I would understand that… He’d like to look at… Joey: Maybe, wait, you can quote me and say, sabi ni Joey meron daw… sabi mo sa kanya may NEDA dun. (laughs) Di ba? He told me pare. (laughs) Jun: Sige, sige… Joey: P*[email protected]!na, baka magwala na naman yung… (laughs) Jun: For some reason, I have this chemistry with him. Sabi ko Chair… In fact, sabi niya, Jun, ikaw na mag-referee bukas ha. Sabi niya, I want you to be there. Ikaw na mag-referee, ikaw na magsabi kung papaano. Sige po Sir, ako na ang mag-aano sa ano… (laughs) Joey: Well anyway, so that’s where I’m looking at right now. .. ought to get you.. And then, uh, think of a strategy for Ben (Abalos?), and if you need me to back you up, I’ll be there. Jun: Hey Joey, regarding this Chinese embassy thing. I think I struck a motherload no? I’ll put them in Roxas Boulevard. P*[email protected]!na, di ba? Joey: In the Reformation? (Reclamation) Jun: No, p*[email protected]!na, that’s not prime. We’ll put them in the CCP complex. Joey: Yup, got it. Jun: P*[email protected]!na. Yeah, that’s, wala.. I can ??? that ??? agreement. (I can swing that gddam deal pare) Joey: You mean, owned by the Central Bank? Jun: Yeah! Can you imagine? P*[email protected]!na, same stature as the American embassy, better pa, di ba? The Japanese Embassy is in Roxas Boulevard. The American embassy is there. So p*ta, I just arrived that we put the Chinese embassy right in the midst of it all, di ba? Joey: Yes, yes, of course. That’s ??? to hear. That’s foresight. (That’s perfect) Jun: … don’t mention my name. I think he knows me well. Joey: Gaano kalaki, pare? Jun: P*[email protected]!na, as much as 15 hectares. (laughs) Joey: P*[email protected]!na. Tapos siguro kumuha rin tayo dun. Pero we need 10 finances. (10 financers) Jun: No, no, no, no. P*[email protected]!na. I cannot just tell you all the things that I’ve been asked to do. But that one I think, I can ??? for ourselves. Joey: I’ll talk to the… Jun: Talk to him right away.

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