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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Monday, August 22, 2005

Not So Black And White

Ricky Carandang gave the goings-on in the Black and White Movement held yesterday. While the movement is a step in a direction aimed at galvanizing all anti-GMA forces, my somber feeling is that it will amount to nothing beyond motherhood statements.

I take aim at the name of the movement itself. It is pharisaical at its best and a show-off at its worst. The name of the movement implies a very clear divide between the forces of good and the forces of evil. But is it all that clear?

Arrayed against each other on one hand are the black ops of the GMA administration whose sole aim is for GMA to finish her term or at the very least, abbreviate her government with her honor intact. On the other hand are the white knights of civil society astride on the high moral horse seeking to move the public in a unified denunciation of the president, her removal and other needed political reforms.

The motives are genuine, the intent pure but what or who makes up the movement? The Hyatt 10 whose loyalties can no longer be relied upon? The Makati Business Club whose unelected members think they are God's gift to the Philippine economy? The members of civil society who think they are God's right hand armed to smite the enemy? The members of several religious orders who, with perhaps the exception of the Society of Divine Word and the Society of Jesus, never collectively spoke out against fascism and tyranny during the dark days of the Marcos regime? Are these the leaders of the Black and White Movement?

Ricky Carandang spoke about the movement addressing their own weaknesses. Maybe far more than their weaknesses, they should confess their faults and sins. Those who, among then, became involved in this administration directly or covertly, or those who, among them, knowingly profited from their connections with the government, or those who, among them, tolerated or participated in the illegal inanities under the Nuremberg defense of "Befehl ist befehl", by their commission or their intentional omission, they are as much a part of the blame and as much a part of the problem as they are now seeking a solution. And for these things, they must not only put on sack clothes but must do restitution, if only to give credence and credibility to this movement.

Cleansing is a necessary part of credibility. After all, without it, the administration can blast them with hypocrisy and all sorts of innuendoes, which when spun properly, can put the movement, instead of the administration, on the defense. Because of its name, this has unwittingly become a Donatist controversy. The members must be pure if they want to purify the government. That premise, of course, is not necessarily a given but a very powerful moral argument. After all, how many times have we heard both sides claiming he who is without sin, cast him let the first stone?

Moreover, these movements are short-lived once their purposes are achieved. The August Twenty One Movement effectively died after the EDSA Revolution. The Black and White Movement spoke about electoral reforms since they believe the COMELEC became an Arroyo tool to cement her victory.

But fast forward to the past, where was civil society after EDSA DOS? Did they speak of reforming, eradicating or legalizing jueteng that caused the downfall of Erap? No. They were profiting from Code NGO bonds and warring amongst themselves whether to defend or destabilize the Arroyo government. What guarantees do we have that their ideals will be carried out after seeing Arroyo gone?

The only true movements that last are the revolutionary and religious movements. Red October would not have happened without a zealous revolutionary philosophy. Nazism would not have taken a foothold in the Weimar Republic without the ultra-bigoted "blame our poverty on the Zionists" pragmatic unreasoning of Hitler and his Brown Shirts. Martin Luther King would not have dreamt his dream of civil rights equality without foot soldiers willing to be bloodied, lynched and even salvaged. Does the Black and White Movement have zealots willing to carry out the fight to the end or are they just content preaching to the choir?

If the Black and White Movement is to succeed, it ironically cannot remain a distinct movement but must become enmeshed with the public, even after its goals are attained. Its ideals must convince and persuade rather than be imposed on the public to the extent that the ideals of the movement shall have become the ideals of the people.

For instance, the people must believe in their hearts that electoral honesty is a principle worth dying for instead of adhering to the "accept bribes but vote your conscience" Cardinal Sin maxim. And for this to succeed, the members of the Black and White Movement must participate in the political mainstream, not as bloggers, philosophical advocates or outsiders but as politicians themselves.

The late President Marcos always had his favorite maxim at hand when asked to prove himself and that is: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". I would like the philosophers and shakers of this movement to take on the not-so- black and white realm of national and local politics. Then, let us see if they will be devoured by the system and eat their words or if they can change the political spectrum from ROYGBIV to a simple black and white affair.

That will be a day worth watching in sepia.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent insights, Attorney.
Maybe GMA's role in history will be to provide us with a baptism of blood and fire. EDSA I and EDSA II were very peaceful exercises and did not provide us with catharsis. We need a storming of the Bastille, or something to that effect, in order to cleanse us and shake us out of our complacency. From all accounts, GMA is very tough and stubborn. She could be much more obstinate and hard-headed than Marcos or Erap ever were. As Homobono Adaza grudgingly admits, "she is a warrior". It may take a boodbath to remove her from power. And perhaps that is what this country needs. We need to lose our innocence in order to grow out of this false piety and cringing religiosity. Perhaps GMA's destiny is to be the sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered at the altar of history in order for us to attain maturity and summon the courage to take our fate into our hands. We need to realize that, before God disposes, man first proposes. We cannot leave our fate to God without first taking action. Ironically, Cardinal Sin may have done us no favors by advocating peaceful changes in government. It only postponed our initiation into the real world.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous manuelbuencamino said...

The focus should be on Gloria's criminal and immoral behavior during the last election. Let's say the leaders or the bulk of the oust Gloria movement are all drug addicts, rapists, kidnappers, prostitutes, and all the unsavory characters you can think of, does that change what she has done? She still deserves to be ousted because of what she did. That's the issue not who is against her.

5:28 PM  
Blogger carlosceldran said...

To Mr B before me, I understand your moral affront to what she (supposedly) did (it's still not conclusively proven just yet), but please realize that she was not the only "cheater" in the last election. There were cheaters before her and there will be cheaters after. Thats just the game called Philippine politics. And considering that they were all playing by the same twisted rules. GMA really did win fair and square.

And once anyone - and I mean anyone - can offer me a REALISTIC and DETAILED point by point plan (including alternative economic agenda, etc) that we can use once we remove her, then by all means I will agree with you and support her ouster as well. But until then, to ask for her to resign without any alternative plan would be just the kind of pure reactionary idiocy that gets us into trouble.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous edwin lacierda said...

Manuel,

I have no problem with your premise. Gloria deserves to be prosecuted but my problem is the name of the movement itself and what they proclaim.

It sets itself out as having no middle ground, solely an either or arrangement. That is moral absolutism which I am not prepared to accept. While it has a place in religious dogma, it certainly has no place in politics.

And even if there is a place in politics, where is the presumption of innocence? Do we substitute the judgment of the Senate for that of ours even before hearing all sides of the argument because we have heard the tapes over and over again? Truth to tell, I will gladly join in convicting GMA if that is the collective wisdom of the impeachment court but not before that.

And sir, no, I will not join a cabal of murderers, traitors, drug addicts, rapists, kidnappers but this much I will tell you, I will give them their day in court as I have defended some of them in the past or hear their case before I issue my judgment for or against them.

If you read the impeachment complaint, you will realize that the offenses alleged against GMA are not as black and white as you think it is. And even the Garci tapes, which I personally believe is not in violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law as I have written in my blogs, must be adjudged on its admissibility.

We must give due process to GMA. Even the devil is given that decency. To quote Thomas More in a Man For All Seasons, "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down--and you're just the man to do it, Roper!--do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

The Black and White Movement seemed to have forgotten the little mite called due process and the only judgment they will accept is conviction. If that is the sense of justice of the Black and White Movement, then please count me out.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice thoughts from everyone except celdran which i do not understand where he is coming from. mr. celdran probably does not have a conscience to guide his life and his decisions. i pity such a person.

10:20 PM  
Blogger carlosceldran said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:21 PM  
Blogger carlosceldran said...

Oops. I had to repost for wrong spelling. Please dont pity me. I dont need it. At least I have the guts to post my name with my opinions, Mr. Anonymous. Cant say the same about you.

5:26 PM  

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