Seven Things PNOY would never never never ever say in his last SONA

And other speeches.

If you were one of those who were able to listen to his Excellency’s last State of the Nation Address or SONA kudos to you. Two and a half hours of good news can be tiring to the ear and a strain on critical thinking. So many good news from this government that we are literally drowning in it. It was a perfect example of a political swan song: A political Con onor muore ala Madame Butterfly: The start of his Excellency’s departure from Malacanang and back to Times Street. Every dog has its good day and Aquino has it but he also has his bad days.

Anyway, Instead of ranting against his Aquinoness it might be more fun to guess what would be the things he would never never never ever say in any of his speeches:

One. “My countrymen, as of the twenty-third of this month, I signed Proclamation #1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law.”

Two. “I remember Ninoy …”

Three. “Democracy is so overrated.”

Four “Walang Kaibi-Kaibigan at walang Kamag-anak-anak!”

Five. “Earn, Respect! Power! BANANA!”

Six. “Its me Its not you”

Seven. “I am sorry”

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The Liberal Party and Its Coalition: An Alliance of Paper Tigers

Perhaps in the past the Nationalist Party was something to behold. Perhaps in the past the Liberal Party was something to be respected. But alas like Camelot this has become the stuff of illusions – political shadows and mirrors. The truth is the ever since the beginning the Philippines has been governed by the elite political families – collecting taxes and administering people at the local level. Not dissimilar to the Ancient Roman Republic when these elite were called the nobility or the Patricians. Political parties and beliefs were a means: an image: a vehicle that can be used to achieve political power.

Of course there was from time to time an introduction of new political personalities players: A NEW MAN: Heroes and celebrities, the new rich, Who are voted or rise to power. Plebians in the Republic of Rome their Tribune. And we do have it here.

So does the Liberal Party and its Coalition of Political Parties really that formidable? NO.

And this is because the Liberal Party and its Coalition of Political Parties are Paper Tigers. As Mao Zedong said, “In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of; it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe that it is nothing but a paper tiger” (Mao said this in 1946 during an interview with American journalist Anna Louise Strong).

In reality, what props up the President , aside from the military and the police, is not the the Liberal Party and its coalition of political parties but a coalition of political families. Nearly every town and province in the Philippines is ruled by a political families. They may be fat political dynasties, meaning nearly all positions in government is occupied by a family members. Then there are thin political dynasties, the position is handed down from one member to another; one from generation to the next. Changes occur and they do when the locality, the city or town, becomes progressively economically, sometimes.

And that is why it is not uncommon to see political turncoats: political butterflies. And that is why it is not uncommon to see political families fighting each other and even backing different candidates. Regardless of the political outcome the family wins.

Thus the joke that LP stands for Lakas Pa Rin is grounded on self-actuallizing truth.

So the Liberal Party and its Coalition is of no consequence to the politics and election of the President. Look at practice of political and legal self-preservation. The political families must and will survive. And that is why they are keeping mum and choose the winning side.

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The Temptation of Electoral Ostracism: The Ancient Athenian Way

When we speak about democracy it is inevitable that we go back to Athens. Acknowledge as one of the first place were the practice of democracy was started. However. It is a democracy somewhat unfamiliar to us – only a specific group of Athenian males were allowed to vote. And they had instituted certain democratic practices we do not use, although for us it is a social control often employed: Ostracism.

During the time of Pericles and Themistocles the democratic process of ostracism was used. Any Athenian could be sent away from the city for a period of time – 10 years would be the norm as I remember. This was a democratic process similar to an election. The candidate to be ostracised was nominated and he was given two chances to defend himself, refute the charges and convince the electorate not to send him away.

Anyone could be nominated. One could be charge with corruption, a social crime or even becoming too powerful.

And if you “won” your wealth would not be confiscated but you would not be allowed to bring it with you. The ostracized just had to leave.

This was different from the legal process where one could lose one’s property or head. The Great Athenian statesman Pericles was ostracized and even the legendary Themistocles suffered the same fate – ironically the hero and general of the Battle of Salamis ended up as a satrap of the Persian Empire.

In recent years they found archeological evidence of electoral process of ostracism – two jars filled with pieces of clay that bore the name of the electors.

Given the enormity of corruption and incompetence of our leaders; Then compound it with the legal constipation of our courts there are times when I wished, despite its inherent flaws and abuse, we could bring back the electoral process of ostracism, at least one would not be burdened by corruption and incompetence protected by tenure and an army of lawyers.

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