Saturday, November 03, 2007

Randy David on the Estrada Pardon

Long quotes
"What is important in the long term is the conscientiousness with which our society applies the distinction between law and politics. On it rests our ability to handle more complex and troublesome situations in the future. Parallel developments are taking place in other spheres of our national life. Our economy is demonstrating a remarkable autonomy that accounts for its steadiness in the face of political crises. Our justice system is trying painfully to become self-directing in its own sphere, despite the overt politicization of its prosecutorial agencies. It is our political system that has seemed unable to insulate itself from the effects of inherited inequalities, and to keep its operations from spilling into other institutions."

"Realizing its marginal role in Philippine elections, the middle class, the harbinger of modernity, has favored non-electoral modes for effecting transitions -- people power, impeachment, coups, calls for resignation, etc. It is this class that gave the country its two women presidents: Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of them the beneficiaries of people power."

"But people power is caught in a paradox, which limits its potency. Its spontaneous and unorganized character, driven by a strong moralism, is the source of its vitality. It is also its fundamental weakness. Middle class activism seldom leads to anything sustainable, like the formation of mainstream political parties. Even when, to its own surprise, it scores electoral victories, as in the case of Fr. Ed Panlilio’s successful run for governor ofPampanga province, the engagement tends to stop at the polls. Without a party on which to anchor itself, the middle class espousal of modern governance is quickly drowned out by the pragmatics of political patronage. No wonder, in the end, “trapo” [traditional politicos] like Ms Arroyo and Estrada will always find it easier to deal with one another."

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