Monday, March 06, 2006

The Right to Remain Silent

I am glad that the military incident and the subsequent proclamation of PP 1017 two weeks ago emboldened those of you, who previously stayed on the sidelines, to share your convictions. There are 2 emails making the rounds – “Why we are not out in the streets” and “Galing sa isang Middle-Class Pinoy” that are quite interesting.

I appreciate why people can identify with these email messages. I felt the same way during the days prior to EDSA 1. I was a middle manager at that time, trying to build a career, and when I saw the likes of Cory side by side with the reds pushing the economy to the brink as they began calling for civil disobedience, I was indignant. I told everyone I knew who participated in such exercise that it was sheer foolishness... that it was bringing the economy down. And that if they would only stop, then we can all go about our business of building up our careers, our personal fortunes, and by extension, the economy. Hard work is the key. Politics was just a necessary evil.

I did not know and didn't mind the extent of pillage of our national treasury that Marcos and his cronies committed, nor the extent of human rights violations, including disappearances, happening around me. Really, it did not affect me directly, so I did not care.

And then EDSA 1 happened. People, led mostly by the middle class, came out. I was there, too, for 2 days, celebrating with the rest of the nation the end of a dictatorship, conveniently forgetting that only a few days before, I was all too willing to let Marcos rule forever, a bit embarrassed to be called a hero of EDSA, for simply being there.

EDSA 2 followed a similar path. While a committed few fanned the flames of discontent, the middle class waited on the sidelines until the opportune time to push the envelope proving once again that people power is a middle-class act. EDSA 3 only reinforced the idea. It failed because the middle class was conspicuously absent.

And now you tell us to stop the protests, because you have no intention of coming out to the streets and therefore people power will fail. You may be right – people power could fail. But that should not give you comfort, for it only opens up other forms of revolt – a peasant revolution, a military rebellion, or a communist takeover. When you have more than half of the people living in abject poverty, a restive military, and an oppressive regime – it’s a social volcano just waiting to erupt. And this time, it could be bloody.

You ask us why we can’t just redirect our energies towards building up the economy through productive work, like you do, instead of disruptive protest actions. You might be surprised to know that this is not a full-time job for us. Like you, we have a business to run or a job we try to keep. Beyond work, there are many in our ranks who are involved in civic projects through Rotary, Gawad Kalinga, and NGOs – trying to help in alleviating the conditions of our poor. So, please… you don’t have an exclusive claim to doing good for this nation, much less to patriotism.

You accuse us of being fools for allowing ourselves to be used by the leftists, Erap and Marcos forces, and other unscrupulous politicians to advance their agenda. We are not as naïve as you think. We recognize that it is Erap’s right to dream of one day regaining his lost glory just as it is the leftists’ right to push their ideology within the bounds of law. In the same manner, we recognize it is your right to express your willingness for your basic rights and freedom to be curtailed or to settle for a president who is a cheat, a thief, and an oppressor. We may not agree with any of you, but we do not get angry like you do, when people espouse views different from ours. Such is the way of democracy. It is the same democracy that gives us the right to think of you as the bigger fools, for allowing yourselves to be used by GMA to prop up her repressive regime.

And now that you have finally decided to speak up, you claim to represent the silent majority. Where did you get this idea? The majority could be silent, but they do not necessarily share your sentiments. At least when we claim that 80% of our people believe GMA cheated and 54% wants her out, we have the surveys to back our claims. Whether or not they will act on what they believe in is another story. Soon – when the flurry of mail forwards bottom out - you will discover as we have, that this nation is hopelessly divided. And that is how GMA intends to keep it in order to cling on to power.

How, then, do we move forward?

If you, the middle class, sincerely believe that the future of this nation is in your hands, then I urge you to arise now, be heard, and take the lead. If you believe GMA staying on is the best option for our country today, then I call for leaders to rise among you, and organize yourselves to act on your belief. Lobby your congressmen to ban protests. Tell your president of your unequivocal support, regardless of her alleged cheating and thievery. Go to the streets in thousands, if not millions. But do something. Put your money where your mouth is… because forwarding email messages around and wishing the protests away will not make it happen.

If, on the other hand, you share our convictions that GMA must go, then join us now and be counted. There’s an easy way to do this through our Black Friday Protest Movement. Just visit or send a blank email to to receive a regular bulletin from us. You may also forward this email to friends and colleagues and urge them to join us now.

Whichever side you are on, the important thing is to come out and be counted. The time to act is now. For if you continue exercising your right to remain silent – pretty soon, it will be the only right left for us as citizens.

God bless and God save this country.


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for some good men to do nothing.”

- Edmund Burke


Blogger romdel said...

I can't stand anymore watching Gloria bring back the era of Tyranny and Injustice, I believe now is the right time for those who are still skeptic in joining the movement. After seeing Prof. David's arrest on TFC, I was really mad with Gloria, with Lomibao, with Mike Defensor et al. I say enough with Gloria, enough with all the lies...let us serve the justice she deserves...the exit door to Malacanang.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 6:37:00 AM  
Blogger Etecina said...

Mr. Romano;

Isa lang pong masasabi ko, since you were there last Edsa 2. Why don't you just pray for our President's wisdom to run our nation. Surely, a heavenly wisdom will be given for those who seek for it. You know what? I don't go to the streets but I do believed in this "God is greater than our problems and God himself can provide whatever we ask for, for the benefit of the good". If all of us, just turn to Jesus our Saviour, repent and confess our sins. I'm telling you, there is a great revival in our country. Tried and tested yan, nasa Books of Kings yan but I won't get into details na but since si Ms. Arroyo na Presidente natin let's face it then, just take a look at China right now, most of the Christians there do not wish to eradicate or alleviate the communism and persecutions they are experiencing, not to change the goverment, as we Filipino always wants or wish for, but rather christians want a great revival to their country, tapos si God ng bahala. Ganun dapat attitude natin wala tayo sa communist or controlled country so please let's exercise our freedom, freedom to pray (by the way, in China you cannot simply have a Sunday Service in the public if you do not have permit) to our Lord. Sya ang Lord of our lords (or President). Remember that the vengeance is with God not with us. If in anyway, we were hurt and being manipulated by our goverment, then pray for those who hurt us, pray for those who manipulated us, and if you didn't see the God's wrath for them, surely there is always a next life where they can receive the wrath. So please, instead of noises and street protest, the best way to defend ourselves is to pray and give all our worries and burdens to our only Saviour Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Jher said...

"Put your money where your mouth is… because forwarding email messages around and wishing the protests away will not make it happen."

Ah no wonder you decided to put your money at starbucks.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Helga said...

With all due respect, Jher, we do "put our money where our mouth is", every time we go out into the streets to rally, conduct our fora, moderate this blog, or live our lives as Filipino citizens. Even when we do our Black Friday Protests. It seems you have missed our point - we are asking YOU to put your money where your mouth is, whether it is to join our call for Gloria to leave or support her. We are not behind the mass emailing of those pro-Gloria letters Enteng speaks of.

Etecina, I am all for prayer, but the Bible also says that God helps only those who help themselves. Prayer doesn't solve every problem, but hard work can certainly help.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Jher said...

helga - oh i do get your point. but we're allowed to disagree with each other's actions don't we? we, who forwarded the email, believe that this is just as legitimate an action as making a line at starbucks and doing a thumbs down sign. disagree as you may, this is our way of putting our money where our mouth is.

different sides of the fence will view both actions as laudable, or extremely stupid and senseless.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Helga said...

Of course, Jher! Far be it for me or anyone else to forbid the expression of opinion. Let's leave that to Gloria Arroyo, shall we? We all have our fans and detractors. Feel free to weigh in anytime. I hope to be around to agree or disagree. :-)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 3:25:00 PM  
Blogger Etecina said...

Lowdown column by Jojo Robles Friday, March 03, 2006

A different view

From a reader, who refuses to be identified, comes this compelling e-mail. It presents a fresh viewpoint on the current situation and deserves to see print:

Dear Tita Cory, senators, congressmen, businessmen, media people, leftists, and all bleeding hearts out there,

I am angry. And I know that there are many out there who are angrier than I am for the same reason. And that reason is simple. I am sick and tired of all you guys claiming to speak for me and many Filipinos.

I feel like screaming every time you mouth words about fighting for my freedom and my rights, when you obviously are just thinking about yours. You tell me that the essence of democracy is providing every citizen the right to speak his or her mind and make his or her own informed judgments, but you yourselves do not respect my silence and the choices I and many others have made. In other words, your concept of democracy is limited to having your rights and your freedoms respected, at the expense of ours.

I am utterly flabbergasted that you still do not get it: we already responded to your calls, and our response has been very clear —we chose not to heed your calls to go to Edsa or to Fort Bonifacio not because we do not love our country or our freedoms or our rights, but precisely because we love our country even more. Because quite frankly, we are prepared to lose our freedoms and our rights just to move this country forward. You may think that is not correct, you can tell me all the dire warnings about the evils of authoritarian rule, but quite frankly all we see is your pathetic efforts to prop up your cause. You tell me that you are simply protecting my freedoms and my rights, but who told you to do that? I assure you that when I feel that my rights and my freedoms are at a peril, I will stand up and fight for them myself.

You tell us that GMA is not the right person to lead this country because she has done immoral acts. As someone who sees immorality being committed wantonly in many ways every day and by everyone (yes, including you), I may have become jaded. But you have not been able to offer me any viable alternative, while GMA has bent over backwards many times to accommodate you while continuing to work hard despite all the obstacles and the brickbats you have thrown her way. From where I sit, she is the one who has been working really hard to move this country forward while all of you have been so busy with one and only one thing: to make sure she does not succeed. So forgive me if I do not want to join you in your moral pissing contest. Forgive me if I have chosen to see things from another perspective.

You say she is the problem. I say, we are the problem; more to the point, I think you are a bigger problem than she is. Taking her out may solve part of the problem, but that leaves us with a bigger problem: you. That is right, you!

While I felt outraged that she called a Comelec official during the elections and that she may have rigged the elections, I have since then taken the higher moral ground and forgiven her. Yes, my dear bishops, I have done what you have told me to do since I was a child, which you say is the Christian and moral thing to do: forgive. Especially since she has asked for forgiveness and has tried to make amends for it. Erap certainly has not apologized and continues to be defiant, continuing to insult us every day with his protestations. Cory has not apologized for her incompetence but we have forgiven her just the same because like GMA, she has worked hard, after all.

I know you think that GMA’s apology was not enough, or that she was insincere, or that that apology should not be the end of it, but please spare me the hypocrisy of telling me that you do so for the sake of protecting the moral fiber of society. The real reason is because you smell blood and want to go for the kill.

Well, I have news for you. I do not like her, too. I did not even vote for her. I voted for Raul Roco. But as much as I do not like her, I do not like you even more. I may not trust her, but guess what: I do not trust you even more.

You know why? Because all you do is whine and sabotage this country. You belittle every little progress we make; conveniently forgetting that it is not just GMA who has been working so hard to achieve them.

Every single day, we keep the faith burning in our hearts that this country will finally pull itself out of the mess and we work so hard to do that. Every little progress is the result of our collective effort, we who toil hard every day in our jobs. Yet, you persist in one and only thing: making GMA look bad in the eyes of the world and making sure that this country continues to suffer to prove your sorry point. In the process, you continue to destroy what we painstakingly try to build. So please do not be surprised that I do not share your cause. Do not be surprised that we have become contemptuous of your antics. You have moved heaven and earth to destroy her credibility, you have convened all kinds of fora and hearings and all you have done is test our patience to the core. For all your effort, you have only succeeded in dragging us further down. I say enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not asking that we take immorality lying down, or that we let the President get away with anything illegal. But you have tried to prove your accusations all this time and you have not succeeded, so it is time to let things be. Besides, you are doing something immoral as well if not utterly unforgivable. The Magdalo soldiers are consorting with the communists—the same people who have been trying to kill democracy for years. Cory has been consorting with Erap and the Marcoses.

So please wake up and take a reality check. In the absence of true and genuine moral leadership, many of us have decided to cast our lot with the President, even if we do not like her. A flawed leader is better than scheming power-hungry fools who cannot even stand up for their convictions in the face of an impending arrest.

Your coup attempts and the denials that you have consequently made only underscored what we think is true: you are spineless and unreliable people whose only defense is to cry suppression when your ruse does not work. You are like bullies who taunt and provoke, but cry oppression when taken to task for your cruelty.

I would have respected you if you took the consequences of your actions like real heroes: calmly and responsibly instead of kicking and screaming and making lame excuses. You say you are willing to die for us, that you do all these things for the country and the Filipino, but you are not even willing to go to jail for us.

Come on, you really think we believe that you did not want to bring down the government when that is the one and only thing you have been trying to do in the last many months?

We love this country and we want peace and progress. Many among us do not give a f—k who sits at Malacañang because we will work hard and do our share to make things work. If you only do your jobs, the ones that we elected you to do, things would be a lot simpler and easier for every one.

The events during the weekend only proved one thing. You are more dangerous and a serious threat to this country than GMA is. We have seen what you are capable of doing—you are ready to burn this country and reduce everything to ashes just to prove your point. If there is something that we need protection from, it is protection from you.

Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger pinoyAKO said...

tulungan natin ang gobyerno, simple lang yon baguhin nyo ang mga sarili at ibuhos ang panahon para mapaunlad ang pamayanan, tama na sa pambibintang, pagpapagamit, at pagpapawis na walang kabuluhan.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 4:54:00 AM  
Blogger Buduy said...

As an executive working here in Singapore and an OFW of the Phils. I wil continue to support groups like yours. Why? 1. Under d GMA regime, the ex rate has been to d advantage of the pinoys living n d Phils n not to us OFWs. 2. D continuing improvement of the budget deficit has seen lower interest rates which are not good for people who buy Tbills from the govt. like me, humihina ang kita ko dahil sa pag improve ng budget, kawawa na lang kayong mga pinoy na marami utang 3. Cory might lose hacienda luisita, kawawa naman, wala na nga siyang ipapamana kay Kris 4. Erap should be bak in Malacanang, para buhay ulit ang karaoke bar doon. More power to Black and White Movement.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger pinoyAKO said...

ay naku makipera pala itong si buduy.. magdonate ka na lang po at ang suportahan ay ang bahay kalinga movement.. makakatulong ka pa..tamang tama sa pagiging executive mo. if may idea ka papano mapalago ang economya natin ay mangyaring idocumento mo at ibigay sa least you have suggestions.. not pulos bunganga.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buduy said...

Pinoyaku, ano ka ba. Basahin mo ulit yung blog ko, di mo ata nakuha. Siguro kasama ka sa Edsa 3 no? Yung isa sa mga pumatay sa police na nag hahanap buhay lamang katulad ko dito sa Singapore na malayo sa pamilya ko para makatulong sa bansa natin na sobrang napapagtawanan na ng mga dayunan dahil sa mga grupong katulad nito.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger guerdon said...

hmm, to the one who wrote the original thread-- "the right to remain silent" (helga or enteng?)

in edsa 1 and edsa 2, the middle class came out because there was this recognizable giant of a threat to the country's rights: marcos in 1986, and erap in 2001.

today marcos is dead but you walk hand in hand with his cronies in your protests. erap still lives and you do the same. IS IT ANY WONDER WHY YOU CANNOT GAIN THE MIDDLE CLASS? get that across your thick skull before mouthing anything else.

you might say that GMA also walks hand in hand with some of marcos' cronies. i do not claim she does not. you might say she has illusions of grandeur. i do not claim she does not. you might say she is the wrong president for us. i will not gainsay that claim.

but the fact is, you say these things AS IF WE ARE NOT AWARE OF IT. you are simply belaboring the obvious, without any long-term solution to the problem. let's say you succeed. who do you plan to take over? the military? erap? susan roces? noli de castro?

give the middle class a clear and trustworthy solution to the mess you belabor to point at, and you will gain them. you gave us cory at edsa 1. we had davide, joker arroyo, and roco at edsa 2. people we could trust.

you have not given us anything but the nitpicking words you mouth to the impressionable youth and the inflammable/payable poor. and you walk hand in hand with imelda, imee, jinggoy and erap. and you brazenly ask us to join you?

you give us our right to remain silent and sneer at us behind our backs. i likewise give you your right to remain short-sighted. but i will not sneer at you. it would do no good.

it is a sad fact, knowing that loving the country has to mean loving the bad along with the good people. not because we believe in the bad people, but because we are all filipinos all the same. the country will always be greater than the summation of its parts.

we cannot choose to love the country only when things are going well. we will never be able to please everyone. the next person in malacañang will also face people like you again. because you will always insist on seeing the wrong and make mountains out of it. you think we are not affected by the ills of bad governance that is why we continue to be silent? wake up. who do you think you're talking to? the rich?

(ps-- kudos to buduy. nice work on the sarcasm)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger romdel said...

Ka Enteng, Galing ng mga rebuttal mo dun sa debate about cha-cha sa show ni Dong Puno sa TFC. Going against a lawyer like Lambino who is more of a salesman for Gloria is really tough pero kahit anong baluktot talaga ang gawin sa katotohanan, lalabas at lalabas ito. I hope people should do more to participate in these debates and the media to have more shows like these.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 5:23:00 AM  

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