October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

The Absentee President

Habitual Absentee - NARA - 534650may have done Filipinos a favor – by showing that his office is not the solution to, nor the source of all problems. The war in Marawi is hopefully winding to a close thanks to a professional army, and the MRT still is running badly while Metro Manila traffic is horrible. Meanwhile, there is mostly solidarity and respect for the soldiers that fight it out in Mindanao – a far cry from decades ago. There are those who help the victims and refugees of war, and those who are colder to them. And there is mostly joy that the USA and Australia are helping with their reconnaissance capabilities.

Powers that be

The President still has enormous powers – the power to appoint thousands of positions, the power of the purse which was used for pork barrel, the control over the state monopoly of force via the PNP and AFP  – powers patterned after Spanish and American colonial governors, I have read. Quezon fired the governor of Albay once. Quirino appointed the governor of Davao, Vicente Duterte. The power to declare martial law was curtailed in 1986. The Local Government Code in the time of Aquino gave LGUs (local government units) substantial autonomy and subsidies.

Other things move on without the President. Whether it is Senator Gatchalian’s trip to Germany to learn more about energy policy (link) which was incorrectly called a junket and according to him was paid by the German counterparts. Whether it is the more doubtful trip of several Senators to France to allegedly look at the French political system which is a mix of Presidential and Parliamentary. Marcos had something similar but degraded the powers of his Prime Minister, making him a better helper to take care of details. Maybe this time – if ever – it should be different.

Powers to be?

Maybe something like the Swiss Federal Council instead of the Senate? With a rotating head of government while the President is a ceremonial Head of State only? But maybe, maybe without Federalism for now? Tito had a joint governing body to take care of Yugoslavia after his death. What happened due to semi-tribal and macho politics of provocation is now very painful history. Maybe improve regional representation, knowing that, or how many centuries it took for the Swiss to learn to manage their own quarrels? My examples of culturally diverse countries are intentional.

Maybe a Senate by regions – to give names and faces people can relate to, to weaken the personality cult of Presidency? Maybe a Congress by proportional seating based only on political parties? With campaign refunds based on seats won like in Germany to weaken major donor influence? Issues that are systemic in nature can never be solved by changing the President. Cultural weaknesses like impunity and corruption – or the lack of a technology mindset that causes trains to break down – take generations to fix even with perseverance. Maybe changing things now makes no sense yet.

What will be?

Absentee kings (the Hanover dynasty) made the British parliament stronger, yet the Philippine House is showing its very weakness now. The majority of House members is lost in traditional politics, politics in its old sense of power alone, not politics in terms of shaping the polity’s destiny. What will happen depends a lot on the people themselves – whether they will keep thinking in the concepts of patronage i.e. subservience in return for advantages, which will fully return old ways. Or whether a sense of shared destiny and responsibility finally arises, not just ‘blame then rescue’.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 24 June 2017

62 comments to The Absentee President

  • sonny

    ‘PiE, a reflection: you’re in CPU mode (cache-speed)! I think we need a “main-memory storage medium” to catch ALL the points you bring up and write “programs” to process them into “output devices.” HELP! 🙂

    • I am stepping back a bit to regain my perspective. Then I shall attempt to index a little. Maybe with help from Edgar.

      • sonny

        My friend, between the fecundity of powerful interlocutors here and the TSOH, (truly I don’t include myself in either), I feel at a loss as to how to sort and direct the gems I gather in both blogs. For sure I don’t want either blog to slow down. Yet warily I try my darndest to keep up, always keeping in mind the two dicta: “abyssus abyssum invocat” and “ad astra per aspera.” (end of reflection; wish me luck I’m diving again … 🙂 )

  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/08/10/why-no-one-is-stopping-dutertes-drug-war/?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.71e9ad160ebf

    ..What is lost in all the analysis and reportage on Duterte is why he has managed to get away with it. The answer lies in the Filipino fetish for “political will,” a phrase much loved by politicians and political observers alike, to describe Filipino expectations of their presidents.

    From the start of his presidency, Duterte offered his subordinates and the public absolution for the drug war. All responsibility, he vowed, would be his, personally. He has said time and again that anyone convicted in a court of law will receive a presidential pardon. That declaration offers the key for his success at gaining public consent for his war on drugs. He has placed himself above, and thus beyond, ordinary law, making himself the supreme law..

    • http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/11/17/espenido-believes-divine-intervention-put-duterte-in-power

      MANILA – Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, former police chief of Albuera, Leyte, believes the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines is an act of God.

      In an exclusive interview with ANC’s Headstart aired Friday, the now-Ozamiz City top cop said he understands why Duterte continues to support police officers such as Supt. Marvin Marcos who led the police raid that killed Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. last November 05, 2016.

      “Nagsabi nga ako, there is divine intervention sa paglagay ng Presidente natin doon. I understand kasi sa kaniya, siya ang head of the state. Tinitingnan niya na yung kabuuan na talaga ma-inspire saka willing yung mga tauhan nila, mga pulis na magtrabaho nang tao,” said Espenido.

      President Duterte earlier said he would pardon the policemen involved in the controversial raid inside a Leyte jail that killed Mayor Espinosa.

      “Na-convict kayo? O sige i-convict mo walang problema ‘yan. But I’m giving you advanced notice: the Constitution says the president can pardon a criminal, either conditional or absolute,” Duterte said in a speech during the celebration of the 116th founding anniversary of the police service.

      The cops, led by Supt. Marvin Marcos, are facing homicide charges over the death of the mayor inside his cell at the Baybay City Sub-Provincial Jail in November 2016.

      Duterte, meanwhile, gave Espenido a special individual award for his “outstanding performance in anti-illegal drug operations that led to the eradication of illegal drug activities in Eastern Visayas and Ozamiz City.”

      He received the award during the 116th anniversary of the police service. Several other officers were also given awards for their service.

      Espenido’s stint as local chief of police in Albuera and Ozamiz City saw the death of two alleged “narco-politicians,” Espinosa and Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr.

  • http://opinion.inquirer.net/105774/president-angry-nation

    ..Reading these surveys, I suspect that, at this point, President Duterte can take pretty much any position on any issue, and the majority of the Filipino people would still follow him. By being able to speak outrageously in public, by repeatedly espousing hitherto unpopular causes, and by getting the nation to accept him as he is, he has turned public opinion on its head.

    It is important to understand how we have fallen into this mindset. I am convinced about two things: one, that Mr. Duterte has accidentally tapped into a deep well of anger against a dysfunctional social order—a system in which ordinary Filipinos could find no hope; and two, that, with an angry president at the helm, Filipinos have stumbled into the age of resentment, expecting it will lead to change..

    • http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2017/07/22/explaining-duterte/

      ..On Jan. 14, Duterte said, “Wala akong pakialam diyan sa Supreme Court… Kung gusto ko at it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare Martial Law if I wanted to. Walang makapigil sa akin.”

      It frightened many, especially those who experienced the abuses of Martial Law during the Marcos regime. The next day, Press Secretary, Martin Andanar blasted at media for reporting that Duterte is planning to declare martial Law.

      Andanar said: “The President has categorically said no to martial law. We consider this kind of reportage as the height of journalistic irresponsibility.”

      On May 23, Duterte declared Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao following intense fighting between government forces and Muslim extremists in Marawi City. He wants it extended five months more up to end of December 2017..

      • https://professionalheckler.com/2017/07/21/leaked-dutertes-sona-ii-speech/amp/

        ..Magsu-SUNA pa ba ako o papalakpak na lang kayo maghapon? (Canned Laughter/Applause) Let me continue.

        Sandali, sino bang operator ng teleprompter? Alisin mo muna ‘yan. ‘Di pa ako magbasa. Malito lang ako.

        Alam n’yo, usually, bumabangon ako, mga alas-diyes, alas-onse, ganyan. Kanina, masama ang pakiramdam ko. Matulog pa sana ako hanggang ala-una kaya lang itong si Honeylet at si Kitty, ang ingay sa sala. Nagtaka ako, “Bakit sumisigaw ‘tong mag-ina?” Si Honeylet, narinig ko pa, “Patayin mo na ang pisting ‘yan! Patayin mo na!” ‘Tapos si Kitty naman, ang sabi, “Motherfucker ka!” Napabangon tuloy ako. Paglabas ko… nanood lang pala sila ng ‘Game of Thrones.’ ‘Tang ina akala ko kung sino nang patayin.

        Kayo, nanood ba kayo ng Episode 2? (All: YES!)

        Maganda ba? (All: YES!)

        ‘Tong si Kitty, crush daw ‘yung pilay na bata, Brandon yata ang pangalan. Si Honeylet naman, napugian kay Johnny Snow. (All: JON Snow!)

        Eh ‘di JON Snow! Tang ina n’yong lahat, malay ko ba. Di naman ako fan niyang G-O-T na ‘yan. (Canned Laughter) Basta ako, pwede na sa akin ‘yung Sansa. Mukhang palaban. Hehehe (Silence)

        O, baka sabihin na naman ni Risa Hontiveros, rape joke na naman. Ulol! Ikaw lang ang ‘di nakakaintindi ng jokes ko. ‘Yung 16 million, na-gets nila! So ikaw ang may problema! ‘Yung teleprompter, pakibalik!

        Hindi na ako magpapaliguy-ligoy pa. Change has indeed come. (Applause)

        Ang sabi ng ating mga kababayan, mabagal kumilos ang gobyerno. Totoo! Mabagal talaga. NOON ‘YUN! (Applause) Last week lang, mabilis naayos ng LTFRB ang isang mainit na transport issue. Sa katunayan, kanina, nag-Uber ako papunta rito! (Applause)..

  • http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/916274/duterte-frustrated-at-red-tape-palace/amp

    President Rodrigo Duterte was just expressing his frustration at red tape and inefficiency in the bureaucracy, which foster corruption, when he said he wanted erring officials to kneel down before the public and promise to improve their service, Malacañang said on Saturday.

    The President also said he wanted to “destroy the government” and replace it with a new system..

    • https://www.facebook.com/witty.abdul.wa/posts/276322842847163

      ANOTHER DUTERTE’S CRAZINESS: “IF I HAVE MY WAY, I WOULD LIKE TO DESTROY GOVERNMENT AND REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING WHICH MOVE BY ITSELF AUTOMATICALLY” WHAT AN IRRESPONSIBLE STATEMENT AS PRESIDENT OF THIS COUNTRY!

      FIRST AND FOREMOST, DUTERTE, YOU ARE NOT A GENIUS BY SAYING ALL THOSE WORDS. KALABISAN NA ANG SABIHING MAHINA ANG ULO MO SA PAGPAPATAKBO NG TAMA SA GOBYERNO. ALL THOSE LINES ARE THE PRODUCTS OF A DISTURB MENTALITY. THE RESULT OF TAKING STRONG PAIN KILLERS TO ADDRESS YOUR HEALTH ISSUES. YOU ARE, WITHOUT DOUBT IS AT THE STATE OF CONFUSION. YOUR THINKING IS THE OBVIOUS DISPLAY OF A LEADER’S INCAPACITY TO GOVERN THIS COUNTRY IN THE RIGHTEOUS, PEACEFUL WAY. THIS STATEMENT IS ENOUGH FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES TO CALL FOR YOUR RESIGNATION AS PRESIDENT OF THIS COUNTRY!

      RODRIGO DUTERTE, PLEASE BE REMINDED ANG MGA FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION, WHO HELPED DRAFT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES, NA SIANG NAGING GABAY SA PAGPAPATAKBO NG GOBYERNO NG PILIPINAS AY HINDI IISANG TAO LANG. GRUPO SILA NG MGA MATATALINONG MGA TAO NA PINAG-ARALAN NG MABUTI ITO, MAY INTACT NA MORAL VALUES SA BUHAY NILA. DAHIL ANG CONSTITUTION AY GINAWA PARA SA MGA TAO HINDI PARA SA MGA HAYUP. THE PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO REGULATE HUMAN ACTS TO AVOID CHAOS AND PROMOTE PEACE AND ORDER IN THIS COUNTRY. KINASIHAN SILA NG DIYOS NA GAWIN ITO. AND FOR SUCH A NUMBER OF YEARS ITO ANG TUMULONG SA MGA PILIPINO NA UMUSAD. MAAARING HINDI SIA PERFECTO NGUNIT KUNG IKUKUMPARA SA IBA THE BEST PA RIN ANG ATING GOBYERNO DAHIL WELL DEFINED ANG MGA RIGHTS NG MGA MAMAMAYAN. SA KATUNAYAN, OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE ADOPTED OUR CONSTITUTION.

      RODRIGO DUTERTE, WALANG PROBLEMA SA ATING CONSTITUTION. WALANG PROBLEMA SA BATAS NG PILIPINAS. WALANG PROBLEMA SA PATAKARAN NG ATING GOBYERNO. ANG PROBLEM NAGMUMULA SA MALING PAGPAPATUPAD NG BATAS! HINDI NIRERESPETO AT SINUSUNOD ANG BATAS. AT GUMAGAWA NG SARILING BATAS ANG ISANG LEADER NA KATULAD MO! KAYA MAGULO ANG BANSA. HINDI UMUSAD ANG BANSA. KAYA BAGSAK ANG EKONOMIYA NG BANSA! YAN ANG KATOTOHANAN!

      RODRIGO DUTERTE, WAG MONG LINLANGIN ANG MGA PILIPINO. WAG MONG BALUKTUTIN ANG MGA PANINIWALA NILA KUNG ANO ANG TAMA SA GOBYERNO! IKAW BILANG PINUNO NG BANSANG ITO AY LABIS NA NAGKAMALI! HINDI KAPAKANAN NG MGA PILIPINO ANG NASA ISIP MO KUNDI KAPAKANAN NG CHINA! NAKASANLA NA ANG KALULUWA MO SA CHINA. GUSTO MO AT NG CHINA MAGING KOMUNISTA ANG BANSANG PILIPINAS NG PATULOY KAYONG MAGHARI AT LUBUSANG MAGING KANILA ANG MGA MAYAYAMANG ISLA NG PILIPINAS AT NAKIKINABANG KA! KAYAMANANG PAG-ASA SANA NG BANSANG ITO NA MAKAAHON SA KAHIRAPAN AT UMUNLAD NG TULUYAN. IKAW LANG AT ANG MGA ALIPORES MO ANG YUMAYAMAN. GANYAN KA KASAMA!

      GISING PILIPINAS! PALAYASIN SA GOBYERNO SI DUTERTE!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>