Sunday, March 26, 2006

60 minutes on ANC

Last Thursday, I was the guest at Ricky Carandang's show at ANC (The Big Picture). I will not go into the other reasons why I chose to come out in that show (a major reason is because Ricky is a blogger like myself and I feel some kinship with members of the blogging community out there), but I must say that the experience was not altogether traumatic, on the contrary, it was quite fun and somehow liberating. Although Ricky and I disagree on various issues around the GMA controversy, we were able to hold a very civil and cordial discussion - further proof indeed that just because people belong to opposite sides of an argument, they need not call each other names or consider each other enemies.

I am told that the show has been replayed at least thrice already (Friday morning at 11 am, Saturday evening, and this morning). I am also told that there are people out there who have taped that show and are reproducing vcds of it for distribution among their friends. I hope someone out there will eventually find a way to upload that interview in the net; unfortunately, I am not very techno-savvy so the chances of having clips of that interview in this blog is like expecting rain at the Sahara during summer.

In that ANC show, Ricky called me the "poster boy" of the middle class. Yesterday, Alex Magno in his column at the Star called me the "prophet of the middle class" and "someone who personifies this nation's thoughtful and articulate Everyman." I do not know what to make of these new appellations - I still have to get used to the idea of having whatever I say dissected - but if that letter did strike a chord among many Filipinos and if it has paved the way for a more enlightened debate on the issues, then who I am to argue?

I cannot go into details of what transpired in that show, but to the best of my recollection, here are some of the highlights of what I said in that show (My critics: I know this is self-serving, so there is no need to point that out to me):

1. I explained the context around that letter, when, how, and what compelled me to write that letter. I apologized to ordinary people out there who did go to EDSA or Ayala on February 24 merely to celebrate the 20th anniversary of People Power, without any knowledge of the conspiracy between the left and the right and some sectors of civil society and business to overthrow the government through extra-constitutional means, and who felt slighted by that letter.

2. I explained that, generally, I have nothing against people who demonstrate. The rant in that letter was addressed mainly to those who were in on the conspiracy and yet pontificated on media that they were merely exercising their democratic rights and freedoms. I do find this duplicity repulsive: people seeking protection from the same democratic tenets that they are violating wantonly in the first place.

3. I also ranted against the deception and the attempts to obfuscate about what really transpired during that fateful weekend. Subsequent revelations have already made certain things clear: there was a conspiracy, there was a plan to install a military junta, certain people were offered a seat in that junta (and some, like Senator Ping Lacson and Bro. Eddie Villanueva have gone on record as saying they were offered but they refused the invitation), there was a money trail. And yet, how dare these people continue to assert that it was a simple expression of "freedom of expression" and "freedom of assembly."

4. Ricky asked what I thought about the assertion that extra-constitutional attempts to overthrow the government is justified considering that Congress itself has violated the constitution by throwing the impeachment case against GMA. I said that this was a matter of perspective. However, I said that while I myself am guilty of trashing Congress on some occasions (I have called them crocodiles in the past), the truth of the matter is that Congress also represents the best and the worst among us. Some of the best people in this country are in Congress and I refuse to believe that these people act like dumb driven cattle. I just do not buy the argument that everyone who voted against the impeachment did so on the basis of mere loyalty to GMA. I refuse to engage in mass repudiation of other people's honor and competence simply because I do not approve of some of their actions.

But granting for the sake of argument that Congress did fail on their solemn duty, I wondered why there is no call to abolish congress or to recall all the congressmen who voted against the impeachment.

5. Ricky asked me if I wasn't bothered about the "cheating" issue and about the Garci tapes. I said that I am generally against cheating in any form. I reiterated that I personally do not allow cheating in my classes (I teach four nights a week at a school at Taft Avenue). However, I maintained that cheating in elections is a serious issue that has been there since time immemorial and that kicking GMA will not solve that problem. And then I repeated that argument that is found in the post in this blog (How that letter came to be written).

6. However, the main point I raised was this: we fought so hard to restore democratic processes in this country, and yet when the fruits of these processes do not meet our personal preferences, we find it convenient to advocate doing away with these processes altogether. I explained that this is the main reason why I am for retaining GMA at this time - even if I do not like her- because I refuse to be selective about what aspects of democracy I want to uphold.

7. I maintained that if there is sufficient grounds and evidence to impeach GMA, then by all means, they should be filed in July and that Congress had better do a better job at it. I said that opposition congressmen are doing a disservice to this country and to Congress itself as an institution when they flail around and throw public tantrums when they lose their cause. In more mature democracies adherence to the results of democratic processes is a natural consequence. Unfortunately, in this country, walang natatalo in an election or in an argument -when they lose, nadaya sila or the process was unfair.

8. I am a Human Resource Management practitioner and I shared what many of us in the business sector know for a fact: there are many opportunities out there for the Philippines. Unfortunately, these opportunities are wasted because media projection of our country abroad is that we are a nation that is in a state of anarchy, that all we do everyday is bludgeon each other in the streets and take shabu. Investors are scared of coming into our country because of the perceived political instability and in our ability to respect democratic processes. Why do we have to stand in the way of progress just because we do not like the president?

9. Therefore, I reiterated many times that we should let the democratic processes take their natural courses. There are are proper courts and venues where people can seek redress for their grievances and we should trust the institutions and the people we elected to do these things to do the right thing. We just have to trust them. And if the results do not suit our personal preferences, then we should resolve to fight better and harder another day.

10. I expressed outrage at the assertion that Filipinos are apathetic just because we are not out in the streets or just because we haven't mustered collective indignation over what the moralists claim as wholesale destruction of the moral fabric of society. I said that we pay lip service to slogans like "Ang galing ng Pinoy" or "Bilib ako sa Pinoy" or "Matalino and Pinoy" and yet we do not trust that the ordinary Filipino will stand up for himself when he sees the need to do it.

11. I commented on the results of recent surveys that show GMA's ratings plunging. I said that leadership can not be a popularity contest and that popularity is only a valid issue during elections. I remember saying that a leader who sacrifices principles and program of government at the altar of popularity is doomed to fail. I also said that I agree that GMA's removal from office is a possible solution to end the bickering, but I maintained that this should not be done through extra-constitutional processes. After all, the same surveys show that only about 10% of those surveyed agree to a military junta.

12. Yes, I also took up the cudgels for Enteng Romano. I said that I did not approve of Enteng's arrest at Baywalk. I said that since the threats have been reduced, then there is no more need to arrest people without the necessary warrants.

There was a point in that interview when I was rather ambivalent. This was the time when Ricky wanted me to name names. I should have put my foot down at that point and refused point blank because like I said, I think that it is time to move the discussion to a higher level - out of the name calling and blamestorming. But then again, hindsight is always 20/20 vision.

After the interview, Ricky told me that the most powerful statement I made in that show was this "I am a consumer, please do not blame me if I do not buy your product." This was my message to the opposition and members of civil society who continue to call me names and put me down because I do not agree with their cause.

So there.

I would like to thank Ricky Carandang for being such a gracious and intelligent host. If I did well in that interview, it was mainly because Ricky's sincerity was so palpable one could almost touch it in that small studio.

*** *** ***

I have received many requests for me to move "platforms" from blogging to the mainstream media. I am not yet sure yet if I want to do this. Like I said, I am an ordinary person with too many preoccupations - a fulltime job, a consulting practice, a teaching job, and a Foundation to oversee. But who knows. Like I said before, I never expected to be a mouthpiece for any cause, I never expected that letter to be that big. But I guess some things in this world are just beyond our control. I will cross the bridge when I get there.

But I want to again express my sincerest gratitude to all those who continue to express support for me. I truly appreciate the trouble you are taking to leave encouraging words in this blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much you inspire me.

33 comments:

elloi said...

be yourself no matter what they say! The guys who trash you at the other side are very very silly anyway. Only in this country can you see revolts being hatched in starbucks and the by golly even the slogans are designed to be misunderstood.

alden said...

wow bong sikat ka na! congrats!

alden said...

btw , bong what is stand on the charter change? i am not for it becuase i believe that is not teh solution. and we havent optimized the cureent consitution is it would be premature to change it.

Anonymous said...

Bong, I don't envy you the attention you're getting. Sometimes, fate plays a larger hand in our lives than we care. We can face the challenge and we can choose to ignore it. In your case, whatever you choose, you have this one person supporting you. Only because I like the way you have chosen not to ignore emotions but still have retained a sense of reality and reason in viewing our situation. Emotions and name-calling alone will not get us anywhere.

pinoy said...

Outside the attempt to establish a junta or using extra constitutional means to oust GMA, which cause or actions of the civil society you don't agree with?

pons said...

sir bong, i was pleasantly surprised to see you as ricky carandang's guest. finally there is a face that goes with the words and that we can trash all those doubts being instiled by naysayers that you are just a mouthpiece for malacaƱang. in your persona, we saw a reflection of every hardworking employee and entrepreneur who just wants to work and do away with all these politics for the time being. i saw a reflection of me, my family, relatives and friends. i know you are reluctant to be called the voice of the silent majority, but thank you for, at least, giving a voice to me, my family, relatives and friends' sentiments which we ardently try but fail to coherently express. thank you.

pinky said...

thanks for sharing the highlights of your ANc interview which I am really sorry of having missed seeing. I hope I can get hold of a vcd copy of it eventually. Anyway, I really enjoy reading your blog and all your musings on the realities of our being pinoys in this chaotic country we are in.

acidboy said...

are you a part of the infamous "luli brigade"? i guess the name pertains to gma's hija, luli arroyo. it seems that if yuo have anything to say that runs against the b&w movement, the blackfriday protests, and the likes, and you are not a paid hack, then you are a friend of luli arroyo na inutusan para maki-post sa blogs. i don't know about that, pero if some of you are luli's friends- and that includes YOU, mr austero, then i would like to meet her and maybe go out on a date with her if it's alright. kkb lang nga kasi wala pa suweldo ko eh.

such fascist tendencies by these noveau-activists and their friends should be a waker-upper to the (in their words, apathetic and lazy) silent middle class.

jtagregado said...

naks. poster boy. hehe. just dropping by (minsan nalang ako mag drop by, kaya HI nalang)

Taga-Iyam said...

Tama ka nga pala doon sa sinabi mo na talaga namang may plano sila noon na hindi lang mag celebrate nang People Power, dahil, sino ang nag-se-celebrate nang ang mga banners nila ay against PGMA....? Also, tama ka pa rin nang sinabi mong....si Gloria lang and sa lahat nang presidents ang nanghingi nang tawad. At tama ka ulit nang isagot mo na may pagkakataon pa silang maghain nang impeachment complains.....and this time, sana nga rin naman ay talagang segurado sila na ang ihahain nila ay may tapat na kadahilanan at hindi lang para magpatuloy ang ating pagkakawatak-watak....!

carol said...

Hi Bong,

Just want to say that i enjoy reading your blogs. Sayang, i missed your interview on ANC.I would have wanted to see how the show went...anyway, keep on articulating your views. You just dont know how many of the slent majority have exactly the same sentiments. I have passed your open letter around and everybody who read it agrees 100%, well, except one who had a suspicious mind about you being a paid hack. Nevertheless, keep posting.

Anonymous said...

sino ba nag-umpisa ng "Luli" brigade na chismis? if you think other people have to be paid to write and say what they believe - sino naman nagbabayad ng internet mo, mr. acidboy? kung paano mo tignan ang ibang tao - yun din tingin mo sa sarili mo. tigilan mo na - your attitude is not appreciated here.

!van said...

agree po ako sanyo 101%.

a few weeks ago we were told to write a position paper for our comm class, i wrote something bout gma. imagine my surprise when a few days later i read an advertisemnt(ung letter nu po) in pdi having the same stuff, the same things i rant about in my paper, wrtitten on it; and i thought i was the only one feeling that way. i found a voice in you mr austero. keep it up po. stig!

"I am a consumer, please do not blame me if I do not buy your product." indeed this was ur most powerful statement in the show, beautiful, i say.(saw it twice already,wont mynd watching it a million times more). tuloy nyo lang po mr. austero, you have my support.

in times like this,i choose to be rational than be moral.

Anonymous said...

i like the fact that there are still people who still look on the grey areas instead of sticking to what's black and white (pun intended). sometimes, patience and waiting for something really does work out better than acting on instinct and impulsively trying to impose one's will to effect change. i see the logic in the argumentation despite the fact that there will always be allowances for double standards. sometimes, objectivity just doesn't work out.

-all of 21

Anonymous said...

what is ricky carandang's site? =)

Rhochie said...

Hey Bong,

This is an interesting read: http://forecast.countrywatch.com/macro/wire.aspx?uid=2050515&vcountry=137

You might want to check it out, specifically the 4th paragraph.

I still think there should be full disclosure, though. But I'm willing to wait it out. 'Rocking the boat' has never sat well with me, not when it affects millions of lives. Anyway, they'll have their chance again this coming June.

tintin said...

hi bong! you did great on your anc interview. :) and i must agree with you, ricky carandang is one of the better talk show hosts on anc.

Gee N. Dy said...

.MR. AUSTERO, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT INSPITE OF THE PRAISES YOU RECEIVED FROM PEOPLE YOU KNOW, OR YOU DON'T KNOW WERE NOTHING BUT LAMENTATIONS OF A GRIPING CLASS!
SA MGA NABABASA KONG WRITE UPS MO, SIMTOMAS ITO NG ISANG TIBAK NA NADEMO NOONG KABATAAN NYA. MERON KA SIGURONG FANTASY-PRODUCTION NA ISA KANG MAGIGING INSTITUSYON NG PAGBABAGO SA LIPUNAN. MALAMANG, KATULAD KA DIN NG MGA POLITIKO NA GUSTONG PUMWESTO SA LIPUNAN AT ANG FIRST TOOL IS TO PUBLICIZE YOUR GREIVANCES AGAINST ACTIVISTS NA SINASABI NYO, WALA NANG IBANG GINAWA KUNDI ANG MAGCOMMENT, MAGRALLY AT MANGGULO, MAGING SANHI NG TRAPIK AT MAKIBAKA SA KALYE. NEVER IN HISTORY THAT THE MIDDLE CLASS WERE THE DECISIVE FORCE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE. THEY WERE NOTHING TO MUSTER THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS KASI ANG TOOL NILA IS TO RENDER SERVICES AND BE AN APPENDAGE FOR CAPITALISTIC MODE OF PRODUCTION. NGAYON, ALAM KONG NAIINTINDIHAN MO ITO.PINAGAAKSAYAHAN KA NAMIN NG PANAHON KASI PARA MARAMDAMAN MONG HINDI LAHAT NG NAGBABASA NG BLOG MO Ay MGA TANGANG HUIMAHANGA SA MGA REACTIONARYONG KOMENTO MO. YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR OWN FREEDOM BY PROTECTING OTHER MAN'S LIBERTY.
YUN LANG!

Gee N. Dy said...

so, upon blog owner approval pala ito. VERY FASCIST...WELL, VEEERRRYYY FAAAASSSCCIIISST!!!
Pareho lang kayo ni GMA. Mababa ang pagtingin sa lipunang kinabibilangan ninyo. OUT!

BongA said...

Gee,

I do not censor comments in this blog. The reason why most blogs are moderated (yes, including the blogs of those you probably agree with)is precisely because of people like you. You broke the most basic rule of netiquette (do not write in upper case letters - that is a reflection of how rude a person is). This blog is moderated because there are trolls out there who think that freedom is absolute, it includes the right to libel others and indulge in senseless namecalling. If blogs are not moderated, people like you would have the time of day dropping profanity, making libelous statements, clogging up comment boxes with repetitions of the same comments, and indulging in all sorts of rude behavior that has no place in a civil society.

Calling me a fascist is not a reflection of my character - it is a reflection of yours.

If you want to engage in senseless namecalling create your own blog and do whatever you want to do there.

Rhochie said...

I always thought that Fascists beat down the dissenters... *shrug*

Anonymous said...

Now that youre famous (or infamous, depending) I think it's time to post the House Rules on commenting like Jessica Zafra did a few months back on her blog.

--Jeg

BongA said...

Tin,
thanks! yeah, i agree, ricky is one of the better anchors at anc.

Rhochie, thanks for the link! Will post that this week.

bong

jher said...

gee n. dy - you can disagree with bong but you do not have to be rude. is this your first time to comment? or the first time to use the internet? typing in all caps is considered shouting, and is a very rude behavior. try that attitude in even the most established of blogs and it will just be the same reaction, you are a very rude person.

bong - see what trolls do? you let them in inside your house, and they create a commotion and call you names as if it were their absolute right to do so.

Round Bottomed Scamp said...

Bong, I watched your ANC guesting also. Very interesting and insightful discussion between you and Mr. Carandang! Thank you for being brave enough to stick to your stand and articulating your viewpoints for everyone.

Sikat ka na!

jesse uy said...

for so as long a I can remember since the last presidential election I hated these noisy few that distract our "collective effort" to stabilize this country...now you have spoken the very hatred that is withn me...thanks

jesse

james said...

if we finally fall under communist rule I really wonder if the attitude of GEE N DY will be tolerated

Anonymous said...

gee n. dy - your rude!!! enroll in netiquette 101... we dont need a parrot here!!

Anonymous said...

hi, gee n. dy
"INSTITUSYON NG PAGBABAGO SA LIPUNAN"
"MAKIBAKA SA KALYE"
"NEVER IN HISTORY THAT THE MIDDLE CLASS WERE THE DECISIVE FORCE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE"
"APPENDAGE FOR CAPITALISTIC MODE OF PRODUCTION"
"REACTIONARYONG KOMENTO"
"VERY FASCIST...WELL, VEEERRRYYY FAAAASSSCCIIISST!!!"

wow!!! those words seems familiar... if i may add a few more...

"IBAGSAK"
"IBASURA"... etc.

btw, who is "NAMIN" in "PINAGAAKSAYAHAN KA NAMIN NG PANAHON"?

from dubai, uae

domingo said...

Bong, let's take advantage of the current attempt to amend (revise?) the Constitution.

I suggest you lead (or organize) a separate "People's Initiative"--without the "help" of TRAPOS, of course,--to include the following amendments to the Constitution (in addition to those now being proposed) to "constitutionalize" the "peaceful" yet "legal" ouster of, not only GMA, but ALL TRAPOS who have, collectively (since independence on 04 July 1946) destroyed this nation.

These amendments, if approved by the reserved ELECTORAL POWER the people will exercise by casting their vote during the plebiscite to be conducted soon, will "clean the slate" and afford other Filipinos the "equal access to opportunities for public service" (Sec. 26, Art. II).

ONE TERM ONLY
NO RE-ELECTION TO ANY POSITION
NO DYNASTY

01. No person who has ever served in any local or national position, including incumbents, shall be qualified for election to the same or any other elective office at any time after the ratification of this amendment.

02. This prohibition shall apply to the immediate relatives of the person concerned.

Approval of these amendments (or words to that effect) mean that we let incumbent TRAPOS serve until the end of their terms (2007 local or 2010 GMA). But that NO OLD TRAPO or immediate relative be ever allowed to qualify for any election, nor a NEW TRAPO (to become a vanishing breed of those elected after ratification) be ever allowed to serve for more than one term in any local or national elective position.

After that "clean sweep," let the Sovereign Filipino People begin--finally, without TRAPOS--the RENEWAL.

Expect a violent reaction from ALL TRAPOS, of course, but how would the ordinary promdi--the Sovereign--react to this "radical" suggestion?

The Sovereign promdis now have in their hands the opportunity to be "radical," to effect the change they've longed for since 1946, by simply exercising their reserved Sovereign ELECTOR POWER—peacefully, constitutionally.

Why not give it a try now? To find out, why not use your Blog or, perhaps, a separate Blog site just for this?

Timbikti said...

gee, huwag naman pambabastos. matinong debate lang.

mindanaoan said...

ganyan n talaga yan, nasanay na sa kasisigaw sa kalye...sorry mr bong but i can't help it :). these guys don't live in a real world, they live in their ideal universe. i just cant stand people who think their views are always right and resorts to name calling to boot. its just like someone asking me "kaibigan, are u saved?". my blood boils everytime.

i like your blog a lot and your views resonate with mine. keep it coming.

kayak said...

gee, pwede ba dalhin mo na ang basura mo at bumalik ka na sa bundok kung saan ka nararapat. matinong usapan ang kailangan natin upang maunawaan ang mga isyung may kinalaman sa ating mga karapatan. Di mo na kailangan pang igiit ang pagiging pasista sa pamamagitan ng paporma. Tama si Anonymous, at 4:28 pm pamilyar na sa akin ang mga litanyang iyong binitiwan. Mga litanyang iniukit sa inyong kaisipan ng isang "obsolete" na kilusan. Huwag mong supilin ang aming karapatang ipahayag ang aming saloobin dahil sawa na kami sa inyong walang habas na panggugulo. Ito ay kapulungan ng mga sibilisado, makibagay ka.