LP Civil War: Observations on the international “interventions”

It’s funny that I noticed it just now.

Well, truthfully, as the person in charge of drafting responses and actions for media consumption for our faction of the LP, it did – should have? – gotten my attention one way or another in this two-years-and-going-strong crisis of our once happy Liberal Family. I think I made a comment or two verbally about it during discussions on the big “What The Hell Do We Do With These Persons?” question, but for the life of me I somehow can’t recall thinking of a serious response to the “international” angle of the LP Civil War.

It came to me as I was trying to look for the names of the LP Founders over the Net. Since it doesn’t appear on the LP website (which is strange; I recall uploading it there when I was its webmaster), and after a while of clawing my brain for other possible sources (since the FNF Manila website only has the ToC of the book, Liberal Chronicles), I decided to check on that convenient, if questionable, one-stop-shop for info on the Net: Wikipedia.

I’ve also seen this before, the entry on the Liberal Party in Wikipedia, and I believe I posted a comment there somewhere questioning its biases. Although its much improved from the last time, I still see the “tags” that says someone from the Drilon faction made the entry, only this time he or she is circumspect enough to put in enough “balanced views” to make a point on bias hard to prove, yet hits the Atienza faction in ways that are, IMHO, subtle but rather effective.

The thing that prodded this post – when I should be commenting on the Primaries in the US or the effect a recession on the US economy could have on us – is that pervasive line of the Drilon faction that it’s they who have the international recognition.

When you come from a “Civil Society” kind of background, there is a certain appreciation for international recognition. Cognizance by people abroad gives you and your cause that patina of respectability and, somehow, legitimacy. This Wilsonian concept that worldwide (public) opinion dictates what and what isn’t has long been a very potent ammunition of causes – be it Left, Right or Center – since at least the founding of the United Nations.

So perhaps that was why I took for granted the fact that it was part of the blunt instrument used to bludgeon the real issue of the LP Civil War to insensibility.

The strangeness comes with the realization that, somehow, more weight was given for the opinions of foreigners over the sentiments of the locals. Consider the debate as going something like this:

LP-D: “we have the support of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and the Liberal International! In fact, we are hosting LI’s General Assembly!”

LP-A: “but… we have something like 70 – 80% of all local LP officials and members with us. There are more LP-A in the House. The City Council of Manila is LP-A.”

LP-D: “but WE have the support of LI and CALD!”

LP-A: “but…”

Well, something like that.

I have my opinions as to that CALD thing, but knowing how my word can’t possibly hold an iceball’s chance in hell against that of, say, an Acosta or a Coronel, I’ll just keep my peace there and just keep repeating, “remember Cambodia.” How tragic, Cambodia. Never has liberalism, democracy and the adherence to due process that is part of the cornerstones of each been so… dead than in Cambodia.

Anyway.

What I find really funny is how more weight seems to have been given to the position of people who would not even be directly affected by the consequences attendant to the LP Civil War than those who are in the front and trenches.

Why is it that the word of foreign politicians – our fellow Liberals as they are – mean more than that of the locals? So what if CALD officials – REMEMBER CAMBODIA! – recognize the Drilon faction? So what if LI’s GA was hosted by those people from the Makati office? Is media, civil society and Mar Roxas saying that they mean more than our men and women and young from the provinces and cities beyond Manila?

Its galling when you think about it. But hardly surprising when you go beyond the uber-biased national media and the pedigree and hear the stories from the ground. Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen comes across as an atypical local official: she goes around in “ordinary” clothing, jams with the staff, and is quite content sitting at the farthest seat from the head of the table during meetings. Yet this young Mayor of Iriga City comes from one of the staunchest Liberal families of Camarines Sur. The Alfelors suffered quite a bit when they refused to follow the herd in 1972 and join KBL because they were Liberals.

Yet when she went to the Senate to seek help, none of the four LP Senators even gave her the time of the day.

It appears that, in the post-Garci milieu, Truth and propriety mean little. What does it matter that we were the local Liberals and we were saying that there was something wrong with 8 July 2005? None of the arguments matter, none of the statements, none of the pleas to prevent a Civil War if only Drilon would convene the National Executive Council to decide once and for all where the Party was.

Truth matters not when you’re not anti-Gloria, it seems.

Instead, the opinions of foreigners have more weight. I saw those statements of support from CALD – REMEMBER CAMBODIA! LIBERALISM AND FREEDOM YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF IF YOU DON’T PRACTICE THEM! – in the attachments of the Drilon faction to the Supreme Court and COMELEC. Somehow, the fact that so many local officials of the LP contest the 8 July 2005 stand mattered little to the eight other judges Tony Carpio managed to convince to change their positions on the eleventh hour.

Somehow, it seems to matter little to Mar, too, that so many of the local forces of the LP detest Drilon and what he did to the Party. No, no: he has the support of civil society, national media, and the international liberals. Sino ba naman kami, di ba, compared to all that… pedigree? I suppose he’d find it ok to lose Antique, Ifugao, Quirino, Ilocos Sur, Basilan, Manila, Malabon-Navotas, Cavite, Batanes (yes, Batanes), Western Samar, at least a fourth – if not half – of Quezon Province, a fourth of Quezon City, to name a few. I mean, his faction has the support of Korina Sanchez, civil society and international liberalism, right?

Last time I looked, Liberalism was about the Rule of the Majority (with respect to the Minority for their dissenting opinion). Since when did it become an oligarchy of the pedigreed?

And not to be xenophobic, but… since when did the opinion of foreigners matter more than that of the locals most affected by the issue?

Throw away the old rules, kids. These days, the value of who and what you are will be measured on whether you hate Gloria or not. Everything is ok if you do, and you are, the very least, blind and indifferent if you’re not.

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