You know, I was supposed to write about other stuff, like the recent escalation of the shooting war between Russia and Georgia, or the local escalation we have here in the Philippines over the shit that is the MOA for the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.
But I have very little knowledge of the former (other than it was caused by a breakaway province, which lead to a three-way free-for-all between said province, Georgia and Russia) to truly comment on it save that (1) this was surprising, since all our attention in that area of the world was focused on the Balkans as the next flashpoint; (2) I guess its hardly surprising, given the new belligerence of Russia, and; (3) the world doesn’t really need this right now. God-damn you, Vladimir Putin. What the FUCK are you trying to do?
As for the latter, I suggest you just hop on over to MLQ’s blog entry on it. You’ll find most of what you need on the MOA/BJE issue there. I’ll comment some more on that once I’ve read the MOA. But since Fr. Bernas has already commented on it, and when he talks, I consider it the professional opinion on all things legal, so right now I really have nothing to add except to point out that when the rich wage war its the poor who die (yes, I know it’s from Linkin Park, but its true, neh?).
What I want to talk about here is something that even Manolo, in his extensive quoting and mentioning of LP Drilon Wing Director General-on-leave Bong Montesa’s position on the MOA/BJE, didn’t touch on: the suppression of Bong Montesa himself, from his own political party, over a difference in opinion, if not belief.
I’ve met sir Bong in the various functions and activities of the LP before the Breakup, but was never on really close terms with him as I was with some of the other leaders from the LP’s “NGO block.” I considered him at the time as part of the “Chito Gascon” block, and, given the hostile relationship between me and my former mentor (I am his Anakin, so he said one time. And he was being nice, then), that means interactions would really be limited.
Still, I’ve always regarded Atty. Bong as “their” man; he is, after all, the man selected – yes, selected; Drilon started this fondness for appointing people to positions in the LP hierarchy that are supposed to be elective, but I always said that reflected a basic bias in their way of dealing with governance – to be their Director General when Mar Roxas was (also) selected to be the president of their wing of the LP.
The DG of the LP is, in very real terms, one of the more powerful officers of the Party, since he or she runs the day-to-day operations of the Headquarters. Meaning, the LP DG is the one who has regular access to both the resources of the Party and its leadership. During Eli Quinto’s long DG-ship, I saw firsthand just how much power and influence a DG could wield. We ran operations, after all, and served as the link between the upper hierarchy of the Party that is based here in Manila and the rank-and-file in the provinces. If you can’t appreciate what that situation brings, then I can’t really explain it to you in a short while.
DG-ship also carries an element of trust. As the head of operations, there must be a high amount of trust between the DG and at least two people in the Party: the President, and the Secretary General. Usually, the important relationship is with the former, since LP Presidents have always been hands-on people, and the SecGens rarely operative.
So when Bong Montesa got appointed LP DG, this was revealing. So maybe Mar had a little bit of balls, to appoint someone to the DG-ship that wasn’t a flunky of Drilon. Maybe, just maybe, the so-called “Golden Boy” of Philippine Liberalism would be asserting his currently nominal leadership of the Party his grandfather founded. Which, in my opinion, would be a good thing. The last this country needs is a president wannabee who has no balls, who is not his/her own man/woman. “Walang sariling bait,” to use the vernacular.
So when Manolo first quoted Atty. Bong in some of the first posts regarding the MOA/BJE, I was curious. The LP-Drilon wing has PR-ed itself as anti-government since backstabbing Gloria in 8 July 2005, so I was expecting quite a bit of anti-gov propaganda in Atty. Bong’s blog on the Mindanao Peace Process. At this time, I didn’t know his involvement in it, especially the fact that he is the one who drafted the controversial MOA.
When I saw the post criticizing the Supreme Court for torpedoing the MOA, and maybe endangering the Peace Process, I was very curious. And wondered whether this would sit still with the powers-that-be on his side of the seemingly-unbridgeable (despite MLQ3’s statement that we’ll unite anyway before 2010) Philippine Liberal divide.
It appears, his lords and masters didn’t like it, either.
Its funny how the news was treated. In the official website of the LP (*sigh* my poor baby… what have they done to you?), the position was loud and clear: “LP Director-General Montesa is on leave of absence in connection with GRP-MILF talks.” The Philippine Daily Inquirer, I think, presents said news in its true light: “LP disowns exec in MOA.”
Why do I say that the Inquirer headline speaks more clearly than the staid version in the Party’s official website (which, by the way, was posted only last 11 Aug. 2008)? Partly because of the stuff I heard over the grapevine, which I will not repeat here since I can’t substantiate it and I have a new policy of not repeating in official channels – and blogs, being printed, public domain works, are, IMHO, subject to the same code of ethics that we journ students were trained in – and partly because of my own experience with how the LP Drilon Wing has been treating dissenting opinions since 2005 at the earliest.
It’s funny to hear Cong. Jun Abaya say, “We understand and respect the position and role of Atty. Montesa’s role in the peace process; the LP is a party of various ideas and beliefs” and tell the public with the same breath that the reason Atty. Bong had to take a Leave of Absence from his role as Director General was in order “to avoid any prospective conflict with the position of the Liberal Party in connection with the peace talks.”
Why is this funny? Because, pre-Breakup, the only rule the LP ever took with dissenters and holders of minority opinions was that they cannot and should not criticize the Party’s stand directly. Their mere acting in dissonance with the Party stand in a public manner is already a critique, in my opinion, but at least there isn’t that “official-ness” that comes with actually verbalizing it. If the LP would require, or even expect, all dissenters to its official stands to take a LOA, for whatever god-damned reason, then why did Chito and Gov. Raul Daza stay on in active status? We never sanctioned Gov. Daza for his very obvious support of Erap, even when the man was out of power, despite Chito’s loud calls for us to do so. And neither did we castigate Chito for his (then) criticisms of GMA even when he was still an Undersecretary in DepEd.
For an organization to say that it respects its members dissension, yet calls on or expects said members to “go on leave” so as not to create friction with the Party stand is quite dissonant. There is a disconnect in the message being said and the impression being transmitted. “Oh, yah, we respect Atty. Montesa’s stand, but he has to go. You know, so there won’t be conflict and all.”
But then, I’ve always said that what the Drilon Wing preaches and what they do have a distinct disconnect. The “Pedigreed elite” of the Philippine Liberal Movement. The so-called paragons. Yet they have been worse than Marcos himself in the suppression of dissent and the suspension of the democratic process in the one political organization whose reason for existence is the promotion and defense of the ideals and principles of freedom, democracy and liberalism.
So I suppose its no surprise that they would come down hard on someone who is their Director General, when in political circles its easy to explain away the discrepancies between the person’s work outside of the Party and his position. It isn’t the first time that officers of the Party have gone against the Party’s official stand, after all. But these have been resolved quietly, and with the utmost of understanding and accommodation. One of the tenets of liberalism, after all, is respect for the minority opinion.
But then, the Drilon Wing was the one who thought having an “election mentality” to resolve issues – essentially throwing the question of leadership of the Party to the rank and file – was bad. Or that one shouldn’t ask questions on what was happening to the LP after 8 July 2005 should be left to the higher ups, that we in the rank and file should just trust in the inherent goodness of our leaders.
Great heap of hell that did to us.
Heh. You should hear how they want to gain control of the Party’s youth wing. Mar is said to have demanded that all officers of KALIPI resign first, and then an “ad hoc” committee will take over and plan for the still-to-be-held Congress which our constitution mandates for every three years as necessary for the election of new officers. This is a demand, by the way. Not a suggestion. I think their thinking is that, to the victors, the spoils. Because Tony Carpio said we defeated our own side with “judicial admissions.”
And the Foundation supports them on this? Amazing.