Passing Notes: ConAss and Cairo

The House politicians railroading the ConAss are on the wrong side of history. Quite frankly, I am tired of this very back and forth we have every time the issue of Charter Change props up. It is a crying shame that we have to resort to the streets to have our voices heard in this country, and it is also a crying shame that our public servants resort to corrupt practices in order to get ahead.

Our system needs a hard reboot. I am inclined to see this House Resolution play out if only to see what happens. Definitely there will be chaos, but will that necessarily be a bad thing? Of course there is always that concern that our people may not be able to live through an upheaval, but I think we’re not giving them enough credit. Much has been taken away from us, but not our resilience.

Nevertheless, I would like to see our political system implode from within. In the fashion that the 2008 Wall Street crash showed the excesses of neo-liberal capitalism, so must there be an event that exposes the excesses and limits of the patrimonial rent-seeking state. We hoped that Martial Law would have been it, but apparently this ‘political depression’ of ours happens in cycles too. We seem to have one for every decade so far and we mark a new decade soon. 2010 sounds like  a perfect time for a revolution if we didn’t have elections coming up.

Speaking of elections —

Seeing the presidential aspirants parade themselves on ANC didn’t exactly inspire confidence. I don’t trust Chiz Escudero. He’s intelligent but he gives you what you want to hear and not what he really means to say. If he defines himself solely as a contrast to the status quo, that doesn’t even begin to answer the question of what he really stands for. At all. He has ‘traditional politician’ written all over him. On the other hand, I found Mar Roxas more sincere but no more credible. I would trust him more if he chose to marry Korina after the elections (or better, not at all). He’s “trapo” too.

A bright spot is Rorscharch, the governor Ed Panlilo, who deserves every bit of that metaphor — he is someone people can project their hopes and aspirations to. However, he doesn’t strike me as incredibly intelligent (bright perhaps), but neither am I comfortable voting for someone who can be perceived as a sectarian leader. He can start running for president by leaving the priesthood, then maybe give himself five years as a lay man before he runs for public office.

But what was Erap doing there? He’s funny though. If we’re going to hand our country to hell in a hand basket I want Erap to do it. Again. There’s no entertainment value with Noli de Castro (except during Halloween).

Bottom line, to break the cycle we have to rewrite the rules of the system. I want to see a field of candidates that don’t inspire cynicism in me. I want to see intelligence, integrity and sincerity, qualities not usually associated with public office (and qualities, which if possessed, drives a person as far away from politics as possible). Much has been said about the inequity with our economic growth, but there is political inequity too. A free and fair society is one that makes it easy for those with good intentions, policy heft, and leadership ability to seek public office and do so proudly. We are not there yet, and we won’t be for quite a while.

Because to be fair to our history, we will get there. Following our trajectory, perhaps in 2016 or 2022 but not in 2010. No surprise why we all want next year’s elections to happen. We only need to give it a little push, and if we let the ConAss fiasco play itself out, I have no doubt that we will push harder. Maybe then we can walk further along the arc of history. Just maybe.


A week ago on the other side of the world, President Barack Obama gave his best speech yet in Cairo, a timeless city at the heart of the Muslim world. It was such a powerful speech, and I am in awe of his grasp of history, culture, politics and policy.

My students will be watching this speech in class.


3 thoughts on “Passing Notes: ConAss and Cairo

  1. hi sir, hopee here!

    i watched the anc special too… and i must agree with what you said about chiz… behind the monotonous eloquence i don’t think i see action behind those words. and erap…”kidding aside”…i don’t even believe he should’ve been there.

    so far loren and (surprisingly) binay were kinda credible though… or maybe i’m just not good a judge of sincerity behind eloquence that much… i’m so excited to VOTE!

    “see’ya in another life, brother”

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