Bato Bato Sa Langit

Yesterday, there was a mild Earthquake that hit Quezon City, a significantly stronger one that hit Olongapo City, and a much anticipated one that hit the political jungle of the Philippines. This much anticipated one proved to be several degrees less stronger than the one that hit Quezon City.

The Catholic Bishop of the Philippines (CBCP) issued its third Pastoral Statement (The PCIJ’s Article with a copy of the CBCP’s full statement and the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s news report) and it is basically the same as the one they issued last except for this -

We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans:

24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.

24.2. But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen’s negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.

The last bit actually takes out all present endeavors since both side are not out for the common good but for their own good. And this statement is similarly double-edged:
We join the outcry of groups that have denounced the increasing number of extrajudicial killings of journalists and activists, many suspected of being sympathizers of communist rebels, allegedly by some ultra-rightist elements in the military.

At the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the great number of extrajudicial killings that sometimes do not come to light in the newspapers but are known to us in our dioceses … referring to those killed in “agaw armas [gun snatching] operations, for failing to pay so-called revolutionary taxes or for blood debts.

The bishops said many of these murders were reported by our people as allegedly perpetrated by insurgents.

I am quite sure as this news spreads out reactions will be diverse. And perhaps in the end despite the loud statements of one or five Bishops it must be remembered that they voted or reached a consensus on the issue. A timely reminder to us that present impeachment process hinges not on the number of cases filed nor on the number of complainants but on the number of Congressmen who will allow it to be transmitted to the Senate ( Even at the Senate it will be more a matter of numbers than arguments - of course arguments may or may not persuade the numbers, but then there are other means). The latest Postoral letter will be interpreted (and spin around like a top) different ways by those in the Administration and in the Opposition.

Again the incident with the CBCP brings out the danger of using subordinates to fight the Administration. If the Opposition wants to make headways it has to take part in the battle.

Going back to the CBCP statement, There might also be some criticism on it for not being strong enough and some of the Bishops or even the CBCP itself will be attacked the same way the middle class was attacked or pilloried when they did not join any of the mass demonstrations.

I don’t want to be rude but …

As a member of the much pilloried middle class allow me to make on or two observations on the present movement to oust Arroyo or seek the truth and justice. In Tagalog we have a saying Bato Bato Sa Langit Tamaan Wag Magalit. So tabi-tabi po.
1) It is not the middle class but majority of Philippine society that opt not to participate in such actions.

2) The people compromising the Opposition seem to come from different the classes in Philippine society but can group as such

(a) Political Idealists, Romantics, and Fellow-Travellers who wish to attain the ideal but have not yet been saddled with the reality of governance or politics. Sheltered in Ivory Towers, the Acdemic Life, cause-oriented organizations supported by donations, and houses of worship.
(b) People who can afford morals and who have the means to leave the country when things heat up. Persons who would like to solve the problem on the macro rather than on the micro level.
(c) Ex-Politicians who want to regain power and politicians who want to gain power. And who will in no time, once they attain power, will surely adapt the practices and deportment of those they have replaced.
Take your pick.

3) Of course on the Administration side you would have the following:

(a) Politicians who want to hold on to power and justifying it by citing destiny and the greater good. Believes that ambition is not bad so long as it is aligned with the good of the majority. Ironically, this seems to be the same argument from people on the opposite side.
(b) People who have a mutually beneficial relationship with the administration. Ironically, when the dust settle one might find the same people, or at least psychological clones, occupying this spot on the new government.
(c) Conservatives who want to maintain the status-quo.

(d) Pragmatists and practitioners Realpolitik who have no illiusions about politics from both sides of the political fence.
Sorry folks, Just an observation by someone from the middle class. Speaking for myself and no one else. Just a single voice from the over-taxed, much pilloried, and will never leave the country part of Philippine Society.

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