It is difficult to take seriously a man who once likened President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to the Lord of the Rings character Aragorn. Conrado de Quiros has an extensive track record of articulating a taste for seeing nebulous airy-fairy processes trumping the more real black-and-white due processes that lend stability to most democratic states. Back during Noynoy’s campaign for the presidency, de Quiros often gushed about the efficacy of “people power” — how the “spirit” of this “force” somehow presents a more robust mandate to govern and, as such, exists by and of itself. This is a legacy of the sort of thinking that latched on to the idea that the presence of a mob alone lends a person around which said mob rallies a mandate to effect an action (such as govern).
In the case of this moronic “people-power”-as-mandate that de Quiros keeps pontificating about, the flaw in that thinking is that in reality, one needs institutions and processes built around these to channel the people’s “will”. The validity of the authority claimed by a street mob is vastly more debatable than the validity of the authority vested by, say, a systematic accounting and aggregating of individuals’ votes (such as in an election, a plebiscite, or a referendum). This is a notion not too different from the way energy released in an explosion (such as one coming from a bomb) fundamentally differs with that coming from a controlled combustion (such as what comes out of an engine). An explosion is raw and in most cases destructive. A controlled combustion is energy that is harnessed and therefore productive and, as such, sustainable.
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So today, we see the esteemed Conrado de Quiros yet again spouting new moronisms underpinned by this same old thinking. In this most recent of his ululations, de Quiros is now advocating a similar dose of “people power” in the summary passing of judgment on former Secretary and retired General Angelo Reyes.
Indeed, you go by the principle that flight is an admission of guilt, then you must at least suspect, if not find, Reyes guilty as charged. There is no more resolute form of flight than the permanent one he took.
But of course, Mr de Quiros. Everyone with an asshole has an opinion on just about every matter. And Reyes’s obvious guilt is your opinion. But even if your opinion is worth the ink used to print it, just like your Aragorn of 2011 mutineer-turned-“senator” Antonio Trillanes, you fail to grasp the whole point of Congressional “inquiries” such as that Senate “inquiry” in which Trillanes went on a tililing rampage against Reyes. There is no judgement that is meant to be passed in any of the Congressional kibitzing that are making headline news today. The jobs of the law makers who make up these grandstanding exercises is, guess what: to make laws. As such the outcome expected of these law makers is a clearer view of how legislation needs to be improved. Senator Jinggoy Estrada himself made this quite clear:
The instigator of the witch hunt himself, Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, admitted that the only tangible outcome of the Senate inquiry into AFP corruption is a “committee report” and a bahala na (“hope-for-the-best”) prayer that the Department of Justice would run with their “findings”…
â€œAko gusto ko na ring matapos lahat it [I also want everything to be finished]. Come out with a committee report, enact bills to reform budget system of the armed forces. Tapos bahala na yung [Afterwards, itâ€™s up to the] Ombudsman, bahala na ang [Itâ€™s up to the] DoJ [Department of Justice] to prosecute,â€ he said.
And for that end, Angelo Reyes was turned into a maddened and bewildered bull.
A committee report — one intended to “enact bills to reform budget system of the armed forces” (in Estrada’s Tarzaneque English) — Mr de Quiros and NOT the verdict around which the little gray blob in your head seems to have connected the synapses of its handful of neurons.
Perhaps learn a bit, Mr de Quiros, from your colleague Amando Doronilla whose habitual bigger take on the issues you presume to dissect with what seem to be severely stunted faculties, I sample below from his recent work:
What is undeniable is that Reyesâ€™ death highlighted the larger issue that the military establishment, more than his person, is on the spot for alleged corrupt practices involving disbursements of public fundsâ€”a practice no less reprehensible than the financial venalities in its civilian counterparts in the legislative and executive departments of government, which are now inquiring with hypocritical zeal into how honest is the military establishment in spending its funds or whether it can be trusted as a custodian of these monies, in protecting this largesse from the predatory raids or looting by greedy generals and colonels.
Compare yours — summary judgment — to Doronilla’s — a landscape of opportunities to improve frameworks. Whilst you busy yourself with the task of hammering a nail, Doronilla lays out the scheme of nails to be hammered. The difference in scope and depth of thinking applied to yours and his work, to me, kind of serves as a good measure for comparing the quality of the minds that produce said thinking.
And in case you hadn’t jumped up high enough to catch the key irony here sailing way above your little pointed head, I’ll spell it out, Mr de Quiros by again quoting Mr Doronilla who does a lot more justice to the concept in a way that even my own brilliant mind can never hope to equal:
When General Reyes and the general staff walked up the stage at EDSA, at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, 2001, where civilian leaders were assembled amid huge demonstrations against President Estrada, to declare the withdrawal of the militaryâ€™s support from his government, a new era was born. Reyes declared: â€œOn behalf of the 113,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines, we wish to announce that we are withdrawing our support from the incumbent president. We will support his constitutionally mandated successor under Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution â€¦ the AFP must protect the people and the State.â€ With these words, Reyes transferred the Armed Forcesâ€™ allegiance to Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. â€œWe have burned our bridges behind us and there is no turning,â€ Reyes declared as a thunderous roar welled up from about half a million people, chanting, â€œSoldiers of the people are taking a stand!â€
There’s your “people power” in all its flawed glory, Mr de Quiros; and the pivotal role played by the very people you selectively demonise today. The reason you are so easily able to apply this selective logic to your moronisms is because, at the end of the day (with apologies to those who hate that clichÃ©) the rulings of street mobs will ALWAYS be subject to debate and (as you demonstrate) flawed interpretation.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.