Why re-opening the Hello Garci case is like the second invasion of Iraq

Making news today is another blast from the past — the re-opening of the 2004 election cheating scandal that engulfed most of former President Gloria Arroyo’s term from then ’til 2009 and a new investigation mounted on the back of a possible testimony from Zaldy Ampatuan and Lintang Bedong both of whom have admitted to being complicit in carrying out electoral fraud under the orders of the then President.

What does it all mean to the average Filipino?

I struggle with an answer. Subject these “developments” to the So What? Test and you come out of the exercise scratching your head.

How long will it take? Who will go to jail? What will change?

Even with those three fundamental questions, one already struggles to pinpoint this new circus’s relevance to a people whose immediate concerns do not go beyond scraping together their next meal or slogging through the ridiculous red tape that comes between them and their plane out of the country to overseas employment bliss.

Between teasing the truth out of an alleged case of election fraud many young Filipinos today barely remember and the price of investigating and prosecuting it — specifically, a possible get-out-of-jail deal with an accused mass murderer awaiting trial — one wonders whether the return on investment (ROI) of this proposal stacks up to the risks.

Firstly, identifying The Truth in a society that possesses a deeply-ingrained cultural aversion to dealing with it, by itself, already makes the exercise nakakatamad and nakakawalang-gana (roughly translated “an unsavory slog”). Why dig deep for a gold nugget for a people who prefer to surround themselves in turd?

Second, mass murder is hands down more horrifying than electoral fraud. And with very little resources — much less, chances of success — surrounding the noble cause of solving crimes for which the accused happen to be wealthy, the choice in this context is a no-brainer, one would think. Unforunately, the Philippines is not exactly renowned for its thinking faculties. Filipinos had six years to resolve the 2004 election fraud claims. What makes us think that it will be solved in the next six?

It is also interesting to note that the usual suspects — our “heroic” champions of “justice” in Philippine Congress — are likely to figure in this public spectacle that is guaranteed to fill their personal quotas for media coverage. Recall then how it is this same “institution” that, to quote former education secretary and Liberal Party leader Florencio “Butch” Abad “slammed shut” a bid to impeach then President Arroyo in 2005. Indeed, this failure to impeach Arroyo — this “outrage” perpetrated by duly-elected “representatives” of the Filipino people — then became the basis for calls for another Edsa “Revolution” to be mounted on Manila’s streets — a call led by the late former President Corazon Aquino that fizzled out spectacularly

In a country peppered by souls still heady and giddy about Fiesta Revolutions of past, the rallying cry in response to an impeachment bid against President Gloria Arroyo that catastrophically failed to pass Congress on 06 Sep 2005 was once again — you guessed it — FIESTA REVOLUTION! Led by no less than Madame Ex-President, former Time Woman of the Year, and Ms 1986 “Revolution” herself — Ms Corazon Aquino, what may now be billed Edsa IV (or Commonwealth Avenue I, as the case may be), promised to be another spectacle of sorts. This time there was no particular heir-to-the-throne around which the fete was organised. If it succeeded in its bid to amass enough warm bodies in the streets to make a statement, it would have marked a new low in the practice of a concept that Filipinos fancy themselves to have invented back in 1986. If it had failed, it will have further served to highlight the utter ridiculousness of how Filipinos conduct their affairs.

And failed miserably it did. Bursts of little street protests sporadically erupted in Manila’s streets in the days following the House dismisal of the impeachment bid, but none even remotely approached the kind of numbers these would-be anarchists crowed in the days leading to Tueday. Each were in fact smaller in number than the equally ridiculous street gathering in Makati on 25 July [2005].

Shortly after, Inquirer.net columnist Amando Doronila wrote in a 09 September 2005 article what practically comes across as a eulogy to the only casualty of this political song-and-dance…

One of the ‘truths’ that emerged from the dismissal of the impeachment complaints is that people power has been drained of its mystique as a magic formula to oust much-demonized leaders. The indiscriminate use of people power to overthrow unwanted leaders has drained its potency as a weapon for effecting political change. Its potency has been depleted by frequent use. The sputtering of protests after the House vote should be a rude reality check to Cory Aquino. She has been deserted by people power. And nothing could be more pathetic.

As we can see now, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has much to gain personally from this re-visit of an electoral “crime” that even the full force of his clan’s Yellow Army utterly failed to indict six years ago. Like George W Bush at the time he pondered re-starting a war his father left unfinished against a “dictator” who, as history would later reveal, was irrelevant to a “war on terror” of Bush’s own making, Aquino is likely out to vindicate his mother’s involvement in that embarrassing 2005 “revolution” that never was.

It is up to Filipinos and their “representatives” in Congress today to decide whether they want to jump into the bandwagon for a similar ride into a quagmire.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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76 Comments on "Why re-opening the Hello Garci case is like the second invasion of Iraq"

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Joe America

I wonder about ascribing the motive of “personal” or “vindictive” to probes of corruption. I see the clean-up that is going on nationwide – big things (Maguindinao elections) and little things (LTO transparency on contract bidding) – and say “this is good”. Why sharpshoot it? Undermine it? Man sweep the place spic and span. Look under every rock, even ones that have been examined before. How else do you uproot a really ugly culture of corruption?


redemption time for zaldy ampatuan? That’s good news.

You claimed: “Like George W Bush at the time he pondered re-starting a war his father left unfinished against a “dictator” who, as history would later reveal, was irrelevant to a “war on terror” of Bush’s own making…” Facts: o The objective of the first Iraq war to liberate Kuwait and the UN coalition force accomplished the objective. You’re wrong to clam it as unfinished war. Invading Iraq was not among the coalition’s objective though they should have done that. o If you’re referring to Saddam as the dictator that was irrelevant to war on terror, for the anti war… Read more »
I think there is a logical reason for the first inquiry of the alleged 2004 poll manipulation. The one being probed was sitting in power, and she had a lot of politicians from her party elected in house of representatives, therefore making any efforts of an impeachment futile. It is plain and simple to see the huge difference of the circumstance from the previous effort to what they plan on doing now. I don’t find anything wrong in doing another investigation with regards to that, the one who wasted the funds for investigation was not really the one doing the… Read more »
I find the timing of this investigation quite suspect. Obviously, the Ampatuans, the people allegedly behind the most heinous crime in the history of the Philippines is trying to strike a deal to get away with just a slap on the wrist. Escudero has been a senator for quite some time now. I don’t understand why he didn’t dig into this a few years ago. I mean, why only now? Don’t get me wrong, it would be good if something comes out of it but I have a feeling that this is just another diversion from the empty SONA and… Read more »
Hyden Toro
We are descending into a “Banana Republic”, like those countries in South America. We may even end up as a “failed state”, like Somalia. Noynoy Aquino is using these investigations to get away from his responsibilities as a President…His primary duty is to solve the economic problems; and address the economic issues. So far; he cannot produce a working program and plan to do so…so he wants to divert us to these unnnecessary issues. How about, if we investigate the conducts, of that Japanese Imperial Army collaborator, Benigno Aquino, Sr.? This person did a lot of suffererings and murders to… Read more »
benign0, reading your article and all this talk on who really won the 2004 elections sort of reminded me of al gore’s concession to dubya. http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/gore-concedes.htm even way back then when i listened to his speech, these words stood out: Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my… Read more »
Joe America
BenK, You write: I think you uproot a really ugly culture of corruption by starting with, “This corruption stops now and from this instant forward . . . You are basically arguing for a blanket pardon of all ill deeds done before. I think if it had been your house that was robbed, or if we think of Ampatuan victims, and excusing the criminals who did that, it becomes clear that it is necessary for law officials to track down old culprits no matter how cold the crime scene. On the other hand, yes, the new President should enforce good… Read more »

[…] comments BenK said No, Joe, I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying put at least as much effort into real-time co…BenK said You're right, actually. CPI is released in October, and represents the situation at […]


Noynoy is not P’noy previously. I just hope I’m not insulting penoys caling P’noy Penoy.

He is an international embarrassment.

The international diplomatic community will not tell you outrightly if a leader is an international embarrassment or not. That’s why we call them diplomatic community (and you’re a mind reader). And they’re country has a vested interests in our country. As for the corruption of his predecessor: “It is not the credibility of accusations that count in shaping public opinion, but the seriousness and sheer volume of accusations that do. Never mind the evidence. Let the junk media, those newscrafters, do the finishing touch.” USD exchange rate as your benchmark for Penoy’s peformance? Duh??? Tell it to the exporters. If… Read more »