February 2008


Just a few hours before the CBCP released its statement, Lito Banayo at the Senate’s NBN-ZTE deal hearing, was explaining an “ecosystem of corruption” diagram which Romulo Neri presented to their group last December 2007. As Banayo narrated what he recalled Neri said about the different groups indicated in the diagram, I remember he mentioned Neri saying something like, “She has the bishops.” (referring to GMA and why calls for people power would not come from the Church or something to that effect).

After eagerly awaiting if the bishops would finally join most protesters’ call for Gloria Arroyo’s resignation, many were understandably disappointed, others even incensed and dismayed that the CBCP once again (in July 2005 the group also refused to join the calls for resignation during the height of the “Hello Garci” tapes) decided to choose such a bland stand (ayan nag rhyme pa). Unfortunately, it appears the Church leaders still think they can trust Arroyo to lead a fight against herself.

While for sure the defenders of greed and corruption will be quick to use the bishops’ statement as leverage, people should still resist the urge to label the bishops as in cohorts with the enemy. People who believe that GMA must go should not be disheartened. Maybe this time there would be much more meaning when it is the people who convince the Church’s leadership when it is time for evil leaders to go than vice-versa.

People seem to be coming to a decision on their own, anyway.

The power is really with the people.

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Kudos to Studio 23 for deciding to air yesterday’s Senate hearing (rather belatedly lang nga, starting after lunch pa ata). A big “Boo!” to other major networks: GMA 7, QTV 11, ABS-CBN 2, ABC 5, who deemed their regular programming of cartoons, Koreanovelas, afternoon soaps and sports events replays more important than the people’s right to know. That’s public service for ya.

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In my daily commute to fetch K from school, taxi drivers have been engaging me in conversation about recent events, particularly Jun Lozada‘s testimony at the Senate’s NBN-ZTE Deal hearings. I guess one reason is my destination. When they learn I am bound for the UP Diliman campus, it almost always triggers questions like, “Ano hong tingin nyo dun sa sinabi ni Lozada?” or “Di po ba nagbigay na ng stand ang UP, Ateneo at La Salle?”

I take this as a good sign, of the keen interest of the people to know how others feel or think about the issue. What has really struck me though is the disenchantment and shared distrust for almost all people in government. This morning the taxi driver I talked to posed this question to me (which I think is what most people are also asking): “Sino ipapalit natin sa kanya? (referring to Gloria Arroyo)” For a second I wanted to quote Conrad de Quiros who said in his column today:

A dog is an alternative to Arroyo. At least it is loyal, at least it is cute.

It seems the enormity of the problem — graft and corruption (which does not end with Arroyo’s removal from office) and the deeply rooted social malaise — is not lost on the people. Sadly, while the problem has long been identified, at the moment, people still seem to be at loss on what to do.