Sunday, April 02, 2006

Deadma is the name of the game

I got back to Manila today after an out of town gig to run a training program for a top auditing firm and saw on TV our national leaders displaying how they have mastered the art of deadma (dead malice, conversational term for ignoring someone). Cardinal Rosales was officiating at his first mass as newly-minted prince of the church and as can be expected, the politicians were in full force. Media made a big to do with the fact that President GMA and President FVR were standing next to each other but refused to hold hands during the singing of The Lord's Prayer, but did exchange a perfunctory handshake during the offering of peace part of the mass. Warring ex-partymates Senate President Drilon and Manila Mayor Atienza ignored each other.

Despite claims to the contrary, it does seem that not everything is purely "professional" and have in fact gotten personal in the national scene. The non verbal language among our leaders can best be described as frosty. Who can blame ordinary people for doing the same at a time when our leaders themselves are acting like children?

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior does send confusing messages to the people. These are confusing times for our country, and it is important for our leaders to rise above their differences and show civility even if only in the course of performing official functions. Such is not only expected of them, it is part of their job descriptions.

*** *** ***

I am also bothered by the news that ABS CBN is offering monetary settlement to the families of the victims of the Wowowee stampede. While I do empathize with the network's predicament and recognize that business considerations require a more pragmatic approach (God knows how the scales of justice are heavily tipped on the side of the giant network in the first place, having more resources and access to the best litigators, and well, the tools to sway public opinion to its side), couldn't they be a little less insensitive and couldn't they have at least allowed justice to take its natural course first? After all, this is a network that fancies itself as a crusader of justice and truth (no matter what it takes, they say). Again, deadma is the name of the game. As if it is not enough that they have already resumed showing of that noontime show as if nothing happened and as if lives were not needlesssly lost, they are now trying to short-circuit the process and wants a less bothersome way to achieving a closure.

Deadma sa katarungan?

*** *** ***

Media has also seemingly glossed over the allegations of Senator Enrile that Senator Jajajamby Madrigal cheated in the last elections. Why aren't they conducting an investigation on the allegations? The Senate has distinguished itself as an institution that thrives on investigations. But I guess when one of their own is involved, deadma is a better approach to solving problems.

*** *** ***

Some people have been asking me about my stand on charter change. I haven't written about it because I am still ambivalent and haven't made up my mind about it. There is a part of me that thinks perhaps a parliamentary system does present a better, less disruptive way of changing leaders but it does seem a bit of an overkill to change a whole system of government just for that purpose. On the other hand, if there is a way to simplify legislative processes in this country (the Senate passed less than 10 laws last year and someone actually made quick computations on the tab - it came to a staggering amount, I think someone made a comment about it somewhere in this blog), then perhaps it is worth considering.

But from what I know, the proposed document is a draft which will be discussed by a convention. While I can also empathize with the cynicism of some people - they insist that it is a done deal- I refuse to believe that all those people in the Senate and the Congress will simply act as a rubber stamp in the event that a charter change debate will actually happen.

But here is what I know for sure, and I know some people will call me to task for saying this: if GMA will go on record to say that she will work towards ensuring a peaceful transfer of power to someone with a viable program of government as soon as the new constitution is in place, then I will consider supporting charter change and work to make sure that the potentially onerous amendments are thrown out. Like I said in the past, the best and the worst Filipinos are found in Congress, and I believe they are capable of rising to the challenge when the situation calls for it.

And I challenge the opposition to work towards this goal: rally around someone who has the integrity, the vision, and the competence to lead this country, and I am very confident that people will support you. Give us a viable alternative outside of the communists, the traditional politicians, and the recycled candidates whose faces are deeply etched with bitterness and rancor. Rise to the occasion and show that your interests lie in not only opposing government for the sake of getting media mileage, but in actually getting this country to a better destination.

So I am alarmed that the really substantive issues about charter change have been buried in the avalanche of opinions and exchange of allegations over the whole people's initiative brouhaha.

I always get turned off at people who are quick to accuse Filipinos, particularly the masa, of being stupid enough to sign anything shoved at their faces or be herded to a rally, simply in exchange for a few bucks. Come on people, Filipinos are not really that stupid. They may accept money when it is offered to them, but I doubt very much if money alone is enough motivation to come to a rally, or to sign anything. Call me naive or ignorant, but I will go down to the grave protesting this simplistic generalization. Four or five rogues who admit on television that they did it for the money is not enough renunciation of all Filipinos.

Wag deadmahin ang kakayahan ng Pinoy mag isip at manimbang. Let's talk about alternatives!

8 comments:

Anonymous#1 said...

I'm like you too, Bong...I hate it that we have people in our society who so easily look down on others. They don't realize kasi that we have a shared future - one man's success is like our own, so we have to support each other.

I personally believe it will take time before we see our country truly democratic, with a strong middle class who will get the government we all deserve today. For now, we have to educate ourselves - including the lowest classes in the farthest reaches of the country, as well as the next generation...we have to plant the seeds TODAY. Let's be good citizens in our everyday lives, let's demand decent, above-standard media and reject those who cannot come to par with out expectations, let's expect only the best from government and civil servants and they will come to par with that expectation, let's keep reading, being aware and making our own minds up - without being influenced by others. Let's speak up when it's needed and be part of solutions and not problems.

IMO, Cha Cha is long delayed. The 1987 Constituion is too restrictive for economic progress and yes, I don't want the Senate around anymore. If we need stronger parties to make it work, then let the politicians do their jobs. Let's expect it of them.

We can still change the Constitution and introduce reforms in the future. Things are not stagnant, change is always an option.

icon said...

hi..this 'comment' actually has nothing to do with your recent blog. i am the daughter of noel a. maico, your mano noel. the open letter was great and we all saw you in anc...yesterday was lola tatsons 9th death anniversary and everyone was there, it turned out to be somekinda reunion..anyway, your stand (in the open letter) is also the family's stand. i read your blogs and they're awesome, reading them makes me want to improve me and my younger sister's writing (since we both are writers..i am a writer in our college paper and my younger sister is the editor-in-chief of our alma mater's high school paper). tc!

eon said...

puro deadma na lang. kaya pati ang halos lahat sa atin deadma din.

BongA said...

thanks guys for the comments!

icon,

thanks for dropping a line and getting in touch. it is always heartwarming to hear from kith and kin, specially those who are closely linked to our lives. please leave a message again with your email address and your phone numbers - which I will not publish of course. I want to write to you directly.

thanks

tito bong

The Bystander said...

Ya, we should make deadma-deadmahan to the following:

1. the Hello Garci tapes;
2. the fertilizer fund scam;
3. the violations of our right to assembly;
4. the more than 100 extra-judicial killings of militant leaders;
5. the continued persecution of critics of our beloved President;
6. the tampering by Garci of his passport;
7. the people's initiative to amend the Constitution which would lift the term limits of our beloved congressmen;

We should move on because all those who criticize the President are nothing but a bunch of power hungry fools. Nakakainis na talaga itong mga kalaban ng mahal nating pangulo. Ba't nila pinakikialaman ang pangungurakot ni GMA?

Anonymous said...

Kailangan ba sarcastic para iparating ang punto?

The Bystander said...

to anonymous:

sorry for sounding "sarcastic" but if that's what it takes to send the message, then i personally see nothing wrong with it.

sometimes one has to be politically sarcastic to get his message through. it's different from being personal because in the latter case, the commenter attacks the person instead of the message.

but if you or the blog owner don't like it or are not used to it, you can always remove it. it's your right, anyway.

and though i don't see eye to eye with mr. austero's political views, rest assured that i respect his views just the same.

my only point after reading mr. austero's post was this: while we readily notice the usual deadmahan of hypocrite politicians (administration, opposition), i find it strange how people (not necessarily mr. austero) can be so oblivious to more important and pressing issues.

BongA said...

Bystander:

It is your right to assert what issues are or should be important or pressing, but unfortunately, no one is an authority on any of these. Let's just keep this in mind: opinions are simply that - opinions, they are not bible truth.

Bong