Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hello Again, naturally

In 2005, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was almost driven out of power when it was revealed that tapes existed of her conversation with one of only 5 election Commissioners, Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano during the 2004 Presidential Election. In the recording, Gloria’s voice is unmistakably caught participating in the following discussion:

GMA: Hello…
Gary: Hello, ma’am, good morning. OK ma’am, mas mataas ho siya (he is leading, referring to the votes for Fernando Poe Jr.) pero mag-compensate po sa Lanao yan (but it will be compensated in Lanao).
GMA: So, I will still lead by more than one, overall?
Gary: More or less. It’s the advantage ma’am. Parang ganun din ang lalabas (The outcome will be the same).
GA: It cannot be less than one M?
Gary: Pipiilitin ma’am natin yan. Pero as of the other day, 982. (We will try. But as of the other day, 982).
GMA: Kaya nga eh (That’s why) …
Gary: And then if we can get more in Lanao…
GMA: Hindi pa ba tapos (It’s not over yet)?
Gary: Hindi pa ho, meron pa hong darating na seven municipalities (Not yet, there will be returns from seven municipalities).

GMA subsequently apologizes to the Filipino people for her “inappropriate” conduct but insists that the call did not matter anyway because she won by more than a million votes over her next rival. Since then, she has never failed to change the subject whenever the matter would surface, insisting that she has a country to run and peace to keep and so on and forth.

One major reason why I cast my lot as a candidate for the Senate was precisely to prove the inability of all our traditional politicians to search for the truth. I maintained throughout the campaign that what Arroyo did was without question a crime punishable by impeachment just as stoning was the prescribed penalty for adultery 2000 years ago. Only, just like before, who among our guardians could cast the first stone?

I have a personal stake in this issue. Together with 17 other candidates, I did not get a single vote in 22 voting centers in Maguindanao, an area in Mindanao that retained the henchmen of Garcillano. Cheating remains a sordid reality in our elections and it will continue to discourage people from participating in democratic processes and it will continue to disenfranchise citizens who do not have any access to the mighty powers available only to our traditional dynasties. The entire political structure is corrupted and so heavily stacked in favor of the Arroyos and the Zubiris it will take much more than retiring and reassigning a few fall guys. Our country needs peaceful revolutionary change starting from the top, nothing less.

Comes now Vidal Doble, a character with a name that le Carre could have invented. Doble is prepared to disclose how the wiretapping was perpetrated. Imagine how some people in the “intelligence” establishment in our country can listen with impunity to even the most confidential and perhaps criminal calls from the highest officials in our land?

But do our leaders want the truth to emerge? Immediately a cacophony of protestations erupted in the Senate chamber that sought to suppress the re-airing of the famous tape because we are patronizingly reminded about the criminal nature as well as the inadmissibility of a wiretap. Can we tell all these clowns that this method will not work any longer? This issue will not die just because our economy is booming and there is finally real peace in Mindanao and our educational system is First World and Philippine healthcare is the envy of the world. We need to know the truth. “Hello, Garci” needs to be reopened. Did Arroyo’s call to the Commissioner result in even one, illegitimate vote because if it did then we’ve had a pretender for President these last 3 years.

Gandhi’s Satyagraha is anchored upon the quest for truth thru sacrifice and active nonviolence. If we sincerely desire a country we can be proud of, a country that prizes justice and equality we need to be prepared to sacrifice. I don’t see the sacrifice coming from our traditionals any time soon. Once and for all, if we really want to find out what truly happened, we'll have to do it ourselves.


nina said...

hi sir. i think no one would ever want to expose the truth because if they did, they wont be able to assume their posts in the senate. look at ping, all he does is point fingers and not even examine the accusations being thrown at him. everyone is guilty, scathed from corruption, but no one would dare admit that they are. in the end, they are all rotten. sayang kasi your party didn't win.

Anonymous said...

.........aye, there's the rub, Dr. Martin....who among our guardians can cast the first stone ?....and to extrapolate this tragic state of the nation > 90% of our national leadership from the Barangay level to the highest levels cannot cast the first stone...and the people , sadder to say are ignorant, co-delinquent, cowardly, apathetic, permissive, unmindful, pessimistic...

pian said...

Reopening of the Hello Garci controversy is just a waste of time and taxpayer’s money. To people who question GMA’s legitimacy, it is our democratic system itself that’s illegitimate. Our voting populace comprise mainly of the masses belonging to the C, D, E crowd who vote based on personalities and not issues, so the likes of Erap and FPJ get elected. Our system is a popularity contest, majority of our voters do not watch debates at all for they don’t rely on issues, so your likes don’t get elected. Candidates should go to the voters and not the other way around (you don’t expect most of our people to watch debates). So it becomes necessary to establish a massive information campaign for the unknown candidates.
The accuser (the opposition) committed more lies (if GMA lied). You have Loren Legarda who switched principles (since I was questioned about party-switching). First she was anti-Erap, then all of a sudden, she became pro-Erap. Chiz E. and Alan C. did nothing all those years they were in Congress, from what I read, and they pledged to serve the public. They claimed to be anti-corrupt, and yet chose to run under the GO banner. Panfilo Lacson has a very dark past with the Kuratong Baleleng rubout case forever attached to him, and he claims to be clean. Trillanes is a coup plotter, who as a soldier pledged to protect the public, but as a coup plotter risked the public’s lives. He claims to be anti-corrupt and yet ran under the GO banner. Party-switching is not a non-issue for our parties are personality-based.
So indeed we need to elevate our economy first (hopefully to first-world status) before we can consider our system to be perfect, and by that time we can EFFECTIVELY deal with issues like integrity.

Anonymous said...

.....friend Pian...all you said are very true. But which comes first ? a successful economy in our case can only come after sickening corruption is solved..

pian said...

I believe if we upgrade the economy first then the temptation for corruption is lessened. Take the case of Singapore for example. It’s the most progressive Asian economy and that makes it the least corrupt.

Anonymous said...

.......friend Pian...personally I submit that the very srtict enforcement of draconian laws enabled Singapore to be what it is now. The Philippines to my mind is like a sack full of holes....whatever investment capital and gains of the economy will drain thru....

pian said...

But it would be easier to eradicate corruption if we can afford it. Singapore was able to implement its draconian laws because they are able to afford it. You first have to get rid of the temptation for corruption. It just wouldn’t work the other way around. When you want to get rid of corruption but the temptation is still there, then corruption is bound to return. So the economy must grow first and I find GMA to be capable of doing it.

Anonymous said...

...thanks Dr. Martin for the personal use of your blog, and regards to friend Pian for the exchanges.....lastly as they say in my back of the woods.." you make money from a booze bar , when your bartender and waiters a'int no drunks..."

pian said...

Since you seem to care for the country, then I suggest you tell ALL your contacts about them by text, e-mail, or word of mouth, to make a difference, if you haven’t done so, instead of simply making comments. Take ACTION!

Anonymous said...


You seem to have a "mis-informed" view of how things work.

> "if we upgrade our economy first..." - are we simply changing hard drives here? Are you aware of how money flows in a government? Or the roles that the people take in uplifting or bringing down an economy? Or the role that science and technology has in improving a nation's economy?

> "..then the temptation for corruption is lessened." - Is corruption really just a matter of temptation... or of the values of a person? If it's just temptation, would a booming economy bring even more temptation then because the politicians would have more money to be tempted with?

> "..eradicate corruption if we can afford it.." - How can having more money eradicate corruption? Build more jails, pay judges more, pay the police more? Following your train of thought, if we're gonna deal with the same people in the government: having more money => greater temptation => greater corruption.

> "..I find GMA to be capable of doing it.." - Hands down, this is where you really got it absolutely twisted. How can someone who apparently cheated her way to the presidency (by apparently using P728M Fertilizer scam money no less), and is involved in dubious projects/scam (Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., NAIA3-Piatco deal, IMPSA deal, etc.) and has a slew of political killings hounding her (google "Ofelia Rodriguez") be the answer to our destitute economy? HOW???

(To Dr. Martin sir: Don't you think sir that desiring a Senate seat at this point in time is a bit too ambitious? I think the people wants some credibility first.. it's easy to talk "Quiapo" and then go to "Makati"-- we've had a lot of politicians do that already. Maybe you have to prove first with your actions your genuine desire to help Pinoys improve their lives. And then we'd really notice you. Just my 2 cents' worth.)

-- Roy D., MD

pian said...

Most of the people fall for the temptation of corruption because they need the basics. I say most, not all, for indeed people have different values but the need for the basics are the same. If they have the basics then the temptation is lessened. Well, certainly GMA has the brains of an economist, and when you talk of corruption, I’m not saying she’s excluded from the pack, so it becomes a choice of the lesser evil. There’s a need to look for a better alternative, and I couldn’t find any. Corruption has been with us since time immemorial. You can’t rely on the current crop of politicians. The longer they stay, the more corrupt they become. Even the young breed of politicians like Chiz E. and Alan C. have the makings of traditional politicians, if they are not already.
The Ang Kapatiran candidates only lack adequate exposure, that’s all. Our people merely have to know them. And that’s where media’s role becomes important. Dr. Martin Bautista’s action of returning home after 17 years and abandoning a comfortable life to heal our nation is already proof that he truly means service. Our people should just be aware of them. I don’t find desiring a Senate seat as too ambitious but a good start in Philippine Politics to have him and his party around. Because if it’s too ambitious, then moreso with the likes of Chiz E and Alan C who are much younger but didn’t prove themselves in the House. They only gained media mileage because they attacked the First Family, and people then took notice. So again, it’s simply a question of publicity.

Anonymous said...

How do you start a peaceful revolution, when the people in government are not going to leave without a "fight"?