Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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My Thoughts On EDSA

Given what today is, I thought it would be a good idea to say a few words on the current brouhaha. Instead of just enjoying the holiday watching DVDs that is.

Just something I posted on a certain mailing list a few days ago:

I find it hard to believe that ousting GMA now would lead to any true change. We've seen what the countless political episodes have exposed: corruption at almost every level of government, both the executive and legislative branches beholden to bribery and extortion. The problems in our government are systemic in nature, and it would take more than the ouster of a single person to effect any meaningful change. Even if we were to find someone *with good intentions* to replace the president, he's still likely to be swallowed up by the system.

I don't know where the whole ZTE debacle will end; maybe they'll be able to oust GMA, maybe not. But what I fear is that we are finding ourselves trapped in a cycle of ousting bad leaders, and with each round our apathy for corruption only grows deeper. If people rose up against GMA and things remained the same afterwards, more and more of us would just give up against the seemingly irreversible tide of corruption that pervades the government.

It's a sad and cynical view to have of our government, but I find more and more that I just don't care what happens to GMA. It's not that I've given up hope in our govt, but I do not yet see any light at the end of that dark tunnel. Anyway, the Filipino nation is more than just the government, and there are other ways we can support our country than by meddling in politics.

I have to admit that I posted this there hoping to incite some discussion and find out where the list members (who by definition are mostly smart middle-class people) stand. I was not disappointed, but the discussion seems to have petered out at this point. Nothing has happened yet, I guess everyone's adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

More thoughts:

EDSA Revolution (1986) -- I was of course too young to remember the events... except for the fact that my favorite cartoons kept getting cancelled for some reason. But what I've read tells a story of a time of turbulence and despair such that there was no other way for people to regain their individual freedoms than to take to the streets and claim it back. I cannot personally attest to the factuality of the such narrations, since history is of course written by the winners. Hence, I do not presume to compare the current time to the events of twelve years ago.

EDSA 2 (2001) -- Whereas EDSA 1 was an outcry to regain lost freedoms, EDSA 2 was an outcry against corruption. Personally, I did not participate in EDSA 2. Sure, at some point I felt the fever, that wave of indignation rushing through the nation when Erap's goons tried to prevent impeachment, and I _almost _

went there. (Of course I didn't on account of being lazy.) But afterwards, I felt not too satisfied with the outcome. Maybe it's just because I'm Lawful Good, but somehow I was not entirely happy that the institutions established by law (impeachment) failed us and we had to go to the streets again to correct the course of our beleaguered country. But I went with it, I figured that we would learn from this mistake and be more vigilant, and we would never have to do it again.

Fast forward and it's now seven years later. And people are saying that we're back in the same place. Stories of massive corruption abound, witnesses being threatened, media being warned on what they can and cannot cover, massive bribes distributed to lawmakers, et cetera. And apparently, some people want to do it all again. Go back into the streets and demand resignation. Our institutions can no longer be trusted, they say. Impeachment doesn't work, we have no other choice. Another conjugal dictatorship, another midnight cabinet, the control the police and Congress, et cetera. Another revolution. Another shortcut.

I'm not sure how they imagine GMAs forced resignation would help our country. Their plan right now probably looks something like this:

  1. Force GMA to resign

  2. ???

  3. Profit! Er... corruption ends!

I'm not yet convinced that GMA's resignation is a moral imperative. And it seems that a large number of citizens are not yet convinced either. I'm not sure if it's possible for the current crop of personalities to convince me; I'm not even sure what they are offering in exchange.

Personally, I want our institutions to work. I want change to be effected without having to go out on the streets every time. I want the Senate hearings to push through and conclude, for legislation to be enacted to remove whatever loopholes allow the abuses of the GMA administration. I want charges brought before the courts (surely at the very least Abalos can be charged), and I want the law to take it's course. I want the people to be educated so that we can elect better leaders.

We have a government for a reason. While citizens have their part to play, we shouldn't have to go out on the streets to have change. Doing so is an indication of failure not only on the part of the president, but on all our institutions -- the Senate and the courts included.

Posted by under blog at #philippines

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Last modified at: Jan. 17, 2021, 4:57 a.m.. Source file