Undermining Institutions

Two Saturdays ago, I had to read to my father and explain to him a petition that we had to sign to appeal the ruling of Malacanan on the reconstitution of our “citizenship case”. He is turning 85 years old this July and he now has difficulty hearing. (My father, who was stricken with retinitis pigmentosa, has been blind since I was four years old, 46 years ago. How he has raised us and be what we are now, despite his disability is another story altogether.) The case was filed sometime in 1992 when I parted ways with the Villafuertes and was dismissed by the Bureau of Immigration (BID)sometime in 1995. It was revived when I decided to run again in 2001, with the BID ordering its reconstitution because according to the complainant the records of the case were lost. To make the long story short, we appealed the new BID ruling and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reversed it. Malacanan reversed the DOJ ruling just recently when it was brought to them on appeal. Hence, our petition to the Court of Appeals. While I have accepted this as part of the consequences for being on the other side of the political fence, it pains me to see my father go through all these harrassments. My citizenship case has gone through four Presidents. Sadly, decisions on the matter depended on how close were our political opponents to the powers that be.

Almost at the same time, I received another complaint filed with the Comelec to remove me as City Mayor because of my citizenship. The timing is suspect. Commissioners Borra and Tuason, signatories of the Comelec en banc resolution affirming my Filipino citizenship and qualification to be  elected, are retiring next month. Commissioners Ferrer and Brawner, who formed part of the division which disqualified me last year, will still be around. (We moved that Commissioners Ferrer and Brawner inhibit themselves from my case. Commissioner Brawner did. Commissioner Ferrer did not. We obtained and presented a PAGC certification that Commissioner Ferrer, prior to his appointment to the Comelec, was lawyering for the Villafuertes.) The way things are now, its anything goes. I can not imagine how one Comelec division can reverse a Comelec en banc decision. But in my case, it happened. Although, later on, they decided to throw out the case because of a technicality. And maybe because of the public outcry generated by the unjust ruling. The fate of my citizenship case lies again on who will be appointed as replacements of the retiring Commissioners.

There seems to be a hidden hand in all of these. A case was filed with the Comelec six months after I already have taken office and a month before some Commissioners are retiring. The haste by which the DOJ ruling was reversed by Malacanang to pave the way for another deportation case makes me wonder all the more. The cards seem to be falling into place for another kill. While I am quite concerned as to how all of these will turn out, I believe my case pales in importance if we look at the bigger picture. The local allies of the administration, while they may have successfully harassed their opponents, have contributed to the erosion of the people’s trust and confidence on the national leadership and our institutions. I am sure mine is not an isolated case.

The recent surveys, whether, it is Pulse Asia or SWS, shows that the credibility of the government is close to its lowest ebb. People seem to have lost their trust on government institutions. Its stewards have failed us. Partisanship has been the call in most cases. The bureaucracy has been overly politicized. Retiring CSC Chairman Karina David, in fact, complained that that it has worsened during her watch. The light at the end of the tunnel might be “two and one half light years away still”. Let us just hope they do not amend the charter!

47 Responses to Undermining Institutions

  1. Manuel says:

    Hasn’t the Arroyo administration learned its lesson? Just a year ago, the administration tried to evict Iloilo governor Niel D. Tupas, Sr. from his post on the basis of trumped-up charges before the Ombudsman. The accusation? That he stole P20,000 in giving out that amount to the Philippine Board Members League of the Philippines for the training needs of one board member. The Ombudsman resolved the case with dispatch even as bigger cases involving tens of millions of pesos gathered dust in its filing cabinets. Governor Tupas was found guilty and imposed the penalty of dismissal.
    When Governor Tupas asserted his right to due process, the Arroyo dobermans called the Philippine National Police — the same PNP now being used to harass and intimidate media — were deployed to carry out the forced eviction. Some 300 policemen in full battle gear stormed the Iloilo capitol with an armored personnel carrier providing cover. It was as if the policemen were raiding a major Abu Sayyaf lair.
    The forcible eviction was stopped with the timely arrival of a TRO from the Court of Appeals. That was a stroke of fate. The situation would have turned bloody, because Governor Tupas was determined not to go voluntarily.
    This angered the people of Iloilo, and when Governor Tupas ran for re-election, he won by the biggest margin ever in the history of Iloilo — 202,000 votes.
    Will the Arroyo administration commit the same mistake?

  2. Goldie says:

    Whenever I present Fred W. Riggs’ “An Ecological Approach: The ‘Sala’ Model”, my session participants always agree that it aptly describes the state of Philippine public administration, although not as critically as most in the audience would. The catch is that it was written in 1962. In 45 years, we have gone from bad to worse. And the past 7 years accounted for the steepest decline.
    There are only a few glowing torches in this deepening darkness – the brightest perhaps being Naga City during your administration. Now there are those who want to snuff out even these last beacons of hope.

  3. Guillermo Prat says:

    Unfortunately Manuel, morality and conscience is not to be found with the leadership we have. So, the few who have morality and cosncience on their side have to continously prove their worth. Power corrupts, absolute power..people like Mayor Jesse and Gov. Ed of Pampanga just have to have the intestinal fortitude to continue to stand up. And people need to know what the score is. Unfortunately, media is seldom on their side. If the television did not carry those scary scenes at the capitol in Iloilo, Tupas would have been history. I hope Mayor Jesse keeps posting his travails. I wonder how the media of Naga handles this story?

  4. jcc says:

    I said in my post with PCIJ that I am anti-Chinese, but not the good Chinese. I take off my hat to Mayor Robredo. My sympathy too goes to his ailing father. The system is corrupt because people running the system are corrupt. We are a nation of psychopants, weaklings and boneless individuals and we do not want people with principle and are forthright because we are rocking the boat full-load of scoundrels and scumbags.

    COMELEC commissioners are more corrupt than the judges of regular courts, Supreme Court included.

    But Mayor Robredo must duplicate his pure intentions and policy of transparency by allowing every post in his blog, including those views that are contrary to his.

  5. Guillermo Prat says:

    Hi Mayor, good to see your posts moving again, after a long silence. jcc, individually, we may be weaklings and boneless individuals because we would rahter flow with the tide. When one stands out, we question his/her purpose. So why stand out and rock the boat? If you drive, do you bribe the traffic aide just so you don’t have to march to the LTO to get your license? I don’t. Curbing corruption can be as easy as that. Do your share. Cheers!

  6. jcc says:

    i don’t flow with the tide. i hit corruptions left and right, congress, executive, supreme court. what is your share other than posting comments just like me? cheers!!!

  7. jcc says:

    ur hi mayor greetings already carries a sycophantine tenor, heheheh!

  8. Guillermo Prat says:

    Hi Mayor, you too jcc. I am too lazy to look it up but, what is sycophantine tenor? Like you, jcc, I post comments but i have not reached your level. Interesting comments you have on the PCIJ blog. Keep it up!

  9. Guillermo Prat says:

    jcc, you wanted to know what I had done? I worked for the government for a few years, headed the bids and awards committee among other things. Businessman here in Davao still calls me “gago” for not making a pile of money when I had that job. I also give my license to the traffic aide, register my own business and vehicles without the use of fixers. That is just a short list. Cheers.

  10. jcc says:

    cheer up.. my hat is off for you mr. prat… and i will not call you “gago”. you are the epitome of a true public servant. but your tribe is getting extinct unless the nation regenerates morally.

    but don’t be too hard on low-level government employees who because of small income have to make some money on the side. traffic aide and fixers belong to our disadvantaged society, their actions may be wrong but they needed to survive too.
    go for the big fish.

  11. Guillermo Prat says:

    jcc, mild contradiction is saying the “nation regenerates morally” and allowing small income earners to do their thing because they “needed to survive too.” Small fry can become “big fish” too, once you take the big fish out of the water. Don’t you thinks so? Each one has a share in nation building, big or small. Hirap talaga mag discuss the chicken and egg.LOL

  12. jcc says:

    i never say allowed small graft. i said do not be hard on them and realize that the reason these small fry try to make money on the side because of hard life. big fries make big money out of greed and not out of necessity. they do not seem to be the same apply to me..

    realistically, traffic aides can never become big time presidential appointees with the capabilities of hand-dipping their fingers in our government treasury. even if you take out the bigh fish from water, they will never become big fish…. tabios and dilis can never become huge whales, voracious sharks or swamp alligators… not a chicken and egg argument to me. hehehheheeee.!!!!!

  13. Guillermo Prat says:

    You are right jcc, I suppose. But you did say “nation regenerates morally” and I take that to mean every citizen, not just the big whales. True, life is difficult but let us not use that as an excuse to say, take whatever you want from whoever you want. What goes out eventually comes back to “punish” the offenders. Karma as they say. Enough of this as we may be boring the mayor to death with our discourse.LOL

  14. jcc says:

    i really mean every citizen… but it is not entirely correct to say that you cannot regenerate morally unless you refuse to come across with the solicitation of a traffic aide for a sum of money in exchange for a traffic infraction and would rather take one inconvenient trip to LTO to pay your traffic fine.

    the irony is, some people would rather give out small amount of money to poor government workers not out of convenience but as a political statement that this money directly benefited the less fortunate, rather than commingled their traffic fine in the collective funds in the treasury for which the big fish can feast on.

    while the action was wrong, the motivation was morally right….

    u don’t have to worry about the mayor being bored about comments on his blog. this discussion is justification for this blog. the mayor, i suppose, would be lonely without anyone discussing on his blog site. (hehehehhehe).

  15. Guillermo Prat says:

    You really don’t mind, mayor Jesse? I have to think long and hard about your statement: wrong action but morally right motivation. Malalim for me to comprehend at this point.
    As to the inconvenience for a trip to the LTO, it is for me “just” punishment for an infraction I committed. I would prefer to take my “medicine” than “escape.” Suppose I bribe the traffic aide but ask him to issue me the violation receipt so I stisfy both your point of view and mine too. What do you think?

  16. jcc says:

    not all all intended to satisfy my or ur position. some people i said would do abnormal things to make a political statement. wrong but morally right; it is akin to killing one person in an emergency situation, to save 10 other people. nothing so fancy or esoteric about it. .. it is wrong to conclude that people who did it under this circumstance is incapable of “regenerating morally”.

    please don’t be so enamored with ur capability to make one inconvenient trip to LTO to pay ur traffic fine. this is not the only way to show ur patriotism or love of country or u have the capacity to change. other people will see your position as unabashed support of a government that is corrupt. but u were right in the position that everyone of us must change individually and collectively.. not bribing traffic aide is one of them, but when u accede to his demand for a sum of money in exchange for a traffic ticket and u look at it as an opportunity to spite a corrupt government by not contributing any penny in its treasury, ur submission that this person making a political statement is incapable of moral regeneration simply because he bribed a traffic aide may not entirely be correct.

  17. Guillermo Prat says:

    jcc, the score is Lions-3 ; christians – 1
    That is what happens when we justify our “need” to spite the government.
    But you are right, everyone is capable of moral regeneration, we just differ on how it can happen. For me, it cannot happen when the score is 3:1 in favor of the lions. or, one moral right cannot over haul three wrong doings. It is simple math. Our collective karma is down the tube in that formula. Cheers

  18. jcc says:

    3-1 score is arbitrary.. how did u arrive at the score, your formula and ur parameters?

  19. Guillermo Prat says:

    How did I get a 3:1 ratio of the lions over the christians? here is how:
    One point for the christian as you suggested, giving to a poor traffic aide is helping a fellow man.
    The three (3) for the lions comes from:
    1. your traffic infraction which brought you face-to-face with the aide;
    2. your “love” offering to the aide which makes you a briber;
    3. the aide as a bribee for receiving what ever you give him.
    So, score is one good christian point versus three negative lion points.
    And like I said, the collective karma is negative by the simple math of 3 minus 1.
    Net result: no moral regeneration can happen.
    Pushed more, keep bribing and the briber will have developed a habit hard to break while the bribee will expect everyone to give to him. As in the past, bribee will now have an un documented income to have a second, maybe even a third family.
    Like you said, them are my parameters and formula.
    Arbitrary?
    Maybe.
    But just think jcc: how does one develop habits, be they good ones or bad ones?
    I can just imagine the face of the aide when you tell him: eto boss, iyo nalang ito dahil political statement ko ito. The guy must be saying to himself: ya,..right.,boss, 500pesos ho and multa sa violation na ito e, 200 lang ang inabot mo. LOL reminds me of that text were the police says:hindi na ako tumatangap dahil christiano na ako, eto envelope, paki lagay :love offering.”
    Cheers.

  20. jcc says:

    wrong: traffic infraction is not a sin.

    one who is driving but forgot his driver’s license and was being cited for it; colored blind person who saw green instead of red; in our ordinary daily life we were careless in failing to observe traffic signs and policemen will cite us for that. in law these are classified as ” malum prohibitum infractions”, not mala en se – the sin u were talking about is a sin in the “mind” ( malan en se) not he class of “sins” classified as malum prohibitum. universally or even biblically, these are not sins.

    “bribe to spite the government “- it is universally accepted that a human being is not a chattel of the state. a person is endowed with fundamental rights of free expression and he has the right to remove the yoke of oppression being imposed by him by the state, he has even the right to overthrow a corrupt government. if u view that “bribe to spite a corrupt government” from that inalienable right of a person for free expression and a desire of a just government” that “bribe” u are talking about is justified not a sin.

    if u view your bribe money as a contribution to a disadvantaged member of our society so he can a full good meal, that is neither a sin. it will be a sinonly if u acknowledge it as a bribe, but not when you give out in order to share ur wealth.

    so my score: 0-3 in favor of my model, a spiteful citizen against a corrupt government.

  21. Guillermo Prat says:

    jcc, now you have totally lost me. Are you a lawyer? that is the impression I get from what you just said and from your other posts at the pcij blog. anyhow, fine if you don’t think in terms of “sin.” but consider how much more pleasant it would be driving down EDSA when people follow “man-made-laws.” We can always, always justify our traffic infractions, follwoing your model.
    We are moving in the same direction, but like the riles ng train, we will not meet as we form two parallel lines that can extend to eternity.
    Cheers.

  22. Guillermo Prat says:

    BTW, I did not use the word “sin.”
    If you forgot your license, tough. Take your punishment like a man.
    Color blind? Oh come on, you have got to be kidding! Your examples are bordering on comical and pathetic. And it is a pathetic excuse to say you want to make a political statement by not paying the fine.
    Do your examples of “dis-obedience” extend to dealings with the customs when you enter the country with dutiable electronic equipment? Collective karma is really down the tube with what you propose.
    Cheers

  23. Guillermo Prat says:

    “Support your local police-bribe a cop today.” That was a bumper sticker in the 70’s

  24. jcc says:

    don’t oversimplify the issue. you call that the fallacy of oversimplification. yes I am a lawyer and i am a true-bloodied Nagueno, and please don’t argue my point by bringing it to your own point of view… rest assured that i am doing this for academic exercise and not for a silly idea that i am promoting a bumper sticker to “Support ur local police bribe a cop today”. look for the higher ideals i was trying to bring out in my posts… the right of the people to make a political statement in protest of a corrupt government is a fundamental right of free expression… don’t triviliaze it by with a claim that i am supporting a “bribe-cop” bumper sticker..

    u see people see things differently, ur score of 3-1 is actually 0-3 for me..

  25. jcc says:

    u speak of collective karma, i take that to mean as a punishment for sin.

  26. jcc says:

    don’t oversimplify the issue, that way you avoid the fallacy of oversimplification. don’t trivialize my point and seek to humor us with the triviality of a bumper sticker of “support your local police, bribe a cop today”.

    seek to fathom the higher ideals i was trying to put across in my post that “a person has an inalienable right to free expression” and that right includes the right to make a political statement and refuse to contribute any money in the government which he perceived to be corrupt and had ceased to become the representative of the people.

    ur “collective karma” statement means a punishment for a sin to me. u may not have said it in so many words, but you have implied that my model is a sinner not capable of moral regeneration.

    from my perspective, your lion is 0 and my model is 3. so my score remains, 0-3 in favor of my model, a spiteful citizen.

    my being a lawyer has nothing to do with the issue, but maybe i am, and i am a true-bloodied Nagueno.

    Cheers for u and for Mayor Robredo!!!!

  27. jcc says:

    what a mess!!!?????…i made the posts earlier but the system did not take them. then after a while i made another post rewriting my previous posts and the system took it.. then this morning i see my earlier posts which were not taken by the same side by side with their revision. i am sorry for that Mayor Jesse. Cheers.

  28. Guillermo Prat says:

    jcc, I can accept the higher ideal of rights you wish to impress on me, but bribery is that and nothing more. It is not a high ideal at all.
    I survived working for the government inspite of the offers to enrich myself because my parents lived a life of honesty and integrity. They want us to do the same.
    Sugar coating of helping a fellow man just does not wash with me. and I hope law school did not teach you that principle. Do your lawyer associates think the same way, bribery is fine because it is not bribery, it is helping a fellow man in his need.
    My wife is a lawyer so I am sure she did not learn that lesson from her law professors otherwise there would not be any peace in our home.
    Think of another example, one that does not reek of bribery, and maybe we can have common ground to “spite” this government we do not like or do not want to support. But not owning up to your traffic infraction and bribery are against the law, last time I checked.
    Cheers.

  29. jcc says:

    there is a little bit of judgmental tone in it. one who has a contrary views as yours may not a a peaceful family as yours, only your way brings peace, and hopefully salvation too.

  30. jcc says:

    u always speak of your sterling quality as a public servant, and your parents too – instead of others telling about it for u.. and u also insinuate that ur wife has a better law education than i do because i am promoting bribery and she doesn’t .. mr prat when will u ever learn that we are not comparing people and family here. we are simply discussing ideas and concepts, not personalities, even if i have the most stupid ideas in this world, that does that not give u any righ to insinuate that that i am less schooled than your wife. or you can keep your judgmental views in private but not broadcast it in the whole world because i am not even a public official and my conduct is off limit for comment but you can always comment on my ideas short of comment bordering on personalities.

  31. Guillermo Prat says:

    Ok jcc, no personalities, as you say. and as you say, it is a stupid idea but I would not go as far as saying it is the most stupid idea in this world. Are you happy now?
    Cheers.

  32. jcc says:

    galileo was excommunicated when he said the most stupid thing during his time, that the sun was the center of the universe.

    or rizal was put to firing squad when he said that a friar can father a daughter in the person of maria clara… stupid thing is a question of perception and comprehension.. concepts may seem ludicrous in a particular era but may prove to have some spark of brilliance in some other era.

    cheers mr. prat, i know u to be a good man from the way yo passionately defend your position.

  33. Guillermo Prat says:

    Thanks jcc. I believe the book of ecclesiates (tama ba ang spelling) says in part: there is a time and a season for all things, or something to that effect.
    Next time I am in Naga I will look you up. I was there twice in March as my daughter graduated from the DIA program of the Ateneo. over a cup of coffee we can discuss all forms of crazy/stupid ideas that will find a place under the sun. Maybe Mayor can join us too.
    Cheers.

  34. jcc says:

    no such luck mr, prat, though i would be much willing to see u in person or even the mayor if he would give us the honor. i left the country in 2000.. heart-broken…

  35. Guillermo Prat says:

    Hope the US of A is better for you jcc.
    Drop into davao whenever you get back to this side of the globe.
    Cheers.

  36. jcc says:

    will do that…

  37. jcc34 says:

    mr prat, i have put up a novice blog site for me. please visit me sometime.

    thanks

    http://jcc34.wordpress.com/

  38. jcc34 says:

    mr. prat visit me sometime in my novice blog site.

    http://jcc34.wordpress.com/

  39. Jef Menguin says:

    Mr Mayor,

    I agree with the thesis of your blog.

    And I enjoyed the exchange of ideas between Mr Prat and jcc. They practically created their own entry.

    Jef

  40. Guillermo Prat says:

    JCC, cruising the Bahamas. How decadent can you get!?LOL Ka ingit mo oi, as we would say down here. But you are right, spending on a trip makes me also feel antsy considering the number of people who can no longer buy rice.
    Sorry but I have not checked this site for some time so I did not see your invite in May. Will keep in touch.
    Cheers.
    Chtio

  41. chris says:

    indeed there is a time and season for all things… and it’s quite disappointing to see that this blog has turned into GP’s and JCC’s personal / private playground.

    jcc: prat’s right. supporting the “bribe” example? not the best move there.
    prat: get off your high horse, dude!

    i’m sure jcc would have something more to say after prat’s “decadent” remark. while we will miss the entertainment (it is!), i think that it is best continued somewhere else. in jcc’s blog, maybe. duman, pwede po tabi kamo magralatikan nin pahingurag.

    marhay na banggui tabi sa gabos.

  42. jcc34 says:

    your disappointment is personal. there are others who may think that idea discussion could be enlightening. jeff thinks otherwise. mayor robredo did not halt this discussion because it is proof enough that people visit his blog. ano man kaya noy ta medyo balat sibuyas ka. dai man ibinogtak ni mayor an blog nainiyo para pakiramdaman an “feeling mo”.

    ano man pati anlabot mo sa ideya ko dai ko man ipinagpipiritan iyan saimo. kung kontra ka okay lang, demokrasya pa kita noy.

  43. Guillermo Prat says:

    Chris, jcc and I share the same dreams, i think. It is difficult to ride a high horse, almost got thrown by one with a mean spirit.LOL At the end of each of your day, ask yourself what it is that you valued that day. Keep asking that question until you arrive at a good list. You will discover that facing certain situations, you may not want to stand for what you say you value. Some people call it principles. Life is difficult, is the first sentence in the book, “The Road Less Traveled.”
    Duh…

  44. chris says:

    jcc / gp: ok, i relent. after days of asking myself daily what i value, i’ve come to realize that we need this kind of entertainment in this blog. so on with the show, boys! garo man lang ni platika kan mga gurang sa plaza burubanggui.

    jcc: from the looks of it, gp is way ahead of you. he’s assailed your bribe example, effectively belittled your academic background, and called your lifestyle decadent in the face of hunger here in the philippines. but lo and behold… you two apparently share the same dreams. so he says. imagine that….

    gp: so after striking down (almost on a daily basis) practically every opinion of every significant blogger here, what’s the principle to be had?

  45. jcc34 says:

    chris, gp and i may have different way of looking at things but it does not mean that we have no respect for each other. everything is clear between us. we discuss ideas, though they may be diametrically oppose ideas but those opposing ideas do not make us enemies.

    bottomline is, i dream of progressive country and vibrant people and so thus gp and maybe yourself too.

    by the way, i know how to distinguish between admiration and mockery. gp used the word “decadent” in a very inoffensive way and not as form of mockery from my standpoint.

    as to the old people’s discussion at the plaza everynight, you would be amazed to find out that they talk more sense than most of us.

  46. erleen joy says:

    hi.to gp, jcc: such intellectual conversations you had here. i appreciate and enjoy every idea and philosophy that has transpired in the posts. You two, i can say, really share same and great sense of wisdom. oh, maybe not that ‘same’ but in a way, though. At first, I was intimidated by the way these two exchange their ideas, but hey, I learned a lot. Thanks sirs! God bless.

    And yeah. i also dream of a progressive country and vibrant people.
    It takes time, indeed. Let’s all look forward to seeing our own as one. ü

  47. Guillermo Prat says:

    JCC and Chris, missing you guys. How goes it with you? Being in Mindanao has made it a bit difficult to keep up with this blog and the comments. I am sure you are all aware of what is happening so I have re-focused my priority: dreaming of peace in this troubled island. No fair when you guys use your native bicolano dialect that my daughter understands a bit.he he. Do keep going, even without me. Cheers

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