If there’s one thing about this whole mess called Gloriagate has done for me, its allowed me to view my world in an entirely different light.
I’ve always mantained that what made People Power II different from the May 1 Mayhem was intent, and the people behind it. At that time, who could fault the intentions and probity of the leaders of the so-called “Middle Forces,” the men and women we young guns looked up to?
When the Garci tapes took an… unusual twist on 8 July 2005, I think what happened put me into a certain type of crisis. Mostly, this was caused by the sudden shift by people I considered my paragons.
Another very important reason – especially to a Mentat – was the process involved. As a “moderate,” I was brought up and trained to believe that the ends can never justify the means. Isn’t that one of our major complaints against the Left and Right? All for the Revolution. All for the State (or for Persons in Authority).
Moderates – indeed, Liberals, the ones who hold the Center – pride themselves in an almost-fanatic adherence to processes, because these allow for the best expression of democratic decision-making. Processes have to exist and have to be equitable so that justice can be served and tyranny – whether of the majority or the minority – can be avoided.
The best example for me was the way the LP came up with the decision to support GMA’s 2004 candidacy. All five major candidates were given a chance to convince the LP (and, haha, I think it was Ping Lacson who came in second; I have to look into that). I’m sure not everyone was happy with the result, but how can you challenge something that went through a process that not only had protocols approved by everybody but also allowed everybody to speak their mind? In the end, despite the stigma attached (even then) to the Gloria name, the LP had no difficulty defending its decision, and even came out on top of the other political forces.
This… conundrum faced by the Party has, essentially, ripped away much of the veil that idealism had on me with regard to those I considered our seniors in the Moderates. No matter their credentials, no matter how much respect I had for them, it still pales to the fact that they lied in order to get a result they wanted.
Perhaps if they had sat down with us and explained why not only was the Truth bent for their purposes but also why dissent and an honest attempt to come to the truth of the matter were suppressed. Perhaps I could understand. For no matter what their pronouncements were from July 8, it could not remove from my mind and heart the shadow of great doubt stemming from personal knowledge that, at least on the LP side of the incident, July 8 had been rigged. And that rather than face the consequences of their action, or at least provide an expalanation to the rest of their compatriots in the Party, we who stood against the few that obviously hijacked the Party on July 8 were run around in circles or otherwise suppressed.
But what struck me most is the… posturing. The insistence in something that is essentially an opinion – if not an outright lie, in the case of the LP – as truth. The truth. The part of me that was Trained by Moderates could not stomach, much less reconcile, the fact that these people defending the Drilon act of July 8 knew the truth yet not only refused to set things right but suppressed all attempts at correcting a misperception.
It was as if, suddenly, just because one thinks the cause is right – i.e. the ouster of Gloria based on tapes whose veracity has not been fully certified – all actions done for that cause is right.
If the person doing the act was a Leftist or a Rightist, I probably would not have a problem. But since these people claim to be “moderates,” liberals and democrats even, then I think there is a problem there somewhere.
It was as if, like many of those holier-than-thou pastoral councils and religious groups. being righteous was an excuse to do away with things that do not subscribe to one’s point of view.
I was told about what occured during the recent CALD conference in Cambodia. Jan Tolentino, KALIPI secgen and YLDA chair for membership, was asked by the latter org to attend for it, as YLDA was petitioning for membership in CALD and none of the other execom were available. Incidentally, LP DG Eli Quinto asked if Jan could bring SolGen Ed Nachura’s letter to CALD’s member-parties, asking that, if the alliance would not recognize the leadership elected by the Party’s majority last March 2, CALD could at least temporarily give the chairmanship to another member-Party (the LP is this year’s chair for CALD) pending the resolution of the petition filed by Drilon at the COMELEC. Jan gave the letters to the hotel’s concierge for delivery to the addresse’s rooms and never talked about it in the conference’s sessions.
The next day, the five Drilon-affiliated LP congressmen gave him a thorough dressing-down. Jan claims that the more he explained, the more the congressmen raised their voices so he decided to shut up and take it all in stride.
Later on, CALD Exec. Dir. John Coronel and the representative for the host Sam Rainsy Party, told Jan that he should “voluntarily” withdraw from the conference or YLDA will be sanctioned. Jan left without a second thought.
There is a fact sheet circulating claiming that the actions against Jan were done because he had embarassed the LP delegation and was spreading black propaganda during the conference. I find these claims absurd because (1) the issue was not discussed by Jan in the conference itself, and (2) the letters given to the member-parties were not combative in nature but informative, even supplicatory. I should know that they didn’t contain any black propa because I drafted those letters and saw them signed by SolGen Nachura.
Even more incredible was the action of CALD prior to Jan’s dressing down. During its execom, CALD passed a resolution supporting the Drilon faction of the LP, without even hearing the other side. In fact, Neric Acosta was said to have commented that, althought the Drilon faction did not have the majority in the LP, it was the “soul” of the Party and therefore represented liberalism best in the Philippines. One member-party rep even was reported to have said, even if Neric, Drilon and co. were to leave the LP and/or form their own party, they were still welcome in CALD.
The last statement I can understand; I told EPQ that I had misgivings about the letters, since Neric was a close friend to many of the regular CALD delegates and participants, add to the fact that John Coronel is a known Drilon supporter and a close friend of Neric and Chito. EPQ said that I shouldn’t worry soo much because I knew – as writer of the letters – that nothing bad was in the communiques, and that if CALD was true to its ideals then the very least it could do was listen to the other side of the story.
Yet… if an organization and political parties and leaders who claim to fight for democratic processes, human rights and free speech could (1) make a stand without hearing all sides, and (2) take sides and action without giving the accused a fair hearing…
This is a horrible experience for me. I remember Sam Rainsy being here and asking that proper democratic processes be followed with regard to his case in Cambodia. I know for a fact that free speech and the right to dissent is a cornerstone advocacy of nearly all CALD member parties. God’s Most Sacred Light, but isn’t it practically a mantra of the Drilon faction that they want Gloria out because not only did she lie and cheat, but she was suppressing the truth and free speech, and clamping down on dissent?
This is horrible.
Are today’s liberal leaders merely communists or rightists in liberal clothing?
If liberalism and democracy makes its stands and positions based on factors other than established processes that guarantee fair treatment for all parties concerned, then what makes us different from communism and facism?
If the truth can be so conveniently disregarded, or a groups’s opinions – and there is even the admittance that they are not the majority! – enforced so harshly and totally, what right do these people have to demand democracy, liberalism and human rights from those they contend with? How are they different, then?
This is horrible. Truly, truly horrible.
Is this the world even our own leaders in the liberal democratic movement – the so called “soul” of Philippine liberalism – wish to bequeath to us? A world either of corruption and deciet or heavy-handed, truth-suppressing, dissent-quashing self-righteousness?
Horrible. Truly, truly horrible.