To the staunch Aquinoist, mob rule trumps everything

Lest some people here are under the mistaken impression that we are out to undermine the new administration of President-Elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, I thought I’d set the record straight. Noynoy won the election fair and square. He bagged that lucrative seat by garnering a number of votes greater than any one of the competing candidates in this year’s elections. As such, quite obviously, the people have spoken as far as this legitimate democratic exercise goes.

There was no “people power”. There was only The Vote. No magic, no hocus-pocus, and certainly no miracle. Just the same old evaluation faculties of the Filipino at work exhibiting its breathtaking track record of consistency. Each individual Filipino selected a name on the ballot sheet, and a system to count and tally these selections (whether applied through machines or through the effort of human beings) was applied to determine the outcome.

All of this was made possible by an instituted process that is legally recognised and categorical in its implementation. The outcome of this exercise makes it quite clear that Noynoy Aquino was chosen by the Filipino people for the job of President of the Philippines over the years 2010 through 2016.

In no more than two short paragraphs I had described above (a) why Noynoy Aquino has the right to take his seat in the Office of the President this coming June, and (b) how this state of affairs was effected. Most people will not dispute Noynoy Aquino’s right to be President of the Philippines because of the clarity around how the people’s will was harnessed for the purpose of selecting the person for the job. So clear it is that only two paragaphs are needed to articulate the nature of this clarity.

Let us now come to the question of whether or not the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Renato Corona, holds a legitimate claim over the office he sits in today. It is a topic of discussion that rages in the national “debate” today. And it is the latest object of President-Elect Noynoy Aquino’s latest bratty tantrums. Indeed, the the debate over the question of Corona’s legitimacy rages on primarily because Noynoy Aquino’s tantrums over its implications on his swearing into his new office has made it an issue as far as the popular awareness goes.

In a breathtaking exhibition of his renowned pompous verbosity, blogger Abe Margallo calls up no less than 1,500 words in his latest piece to “clarify” (1) why the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice is questionable and (2) how, for that matter, any pronouncements made by the institution of the Supreme Court cannot be final or “infallible”.

More than a thousand and a half words to “debate” the finality of the resolutions delivered by an institution whose by-laws and due processes are clearly-articulated is quite remarkable. It is remarkable when one considers how — in just two short paragraphs — Margallo closes his piece by shoving down his readers’ throats a concept that is, even at its very best, utterly nebulous. And this nebulous concept — none else than “people power” — goes on to trump all of that about the Supreme Court which is black-and-white and categorically defined:

And don’t forget, People Power as in EDSA I can also vacate the entire Supreme Court or any of its decision repugnant to the people’s collective sense of justice as in the case of the Javellana decision that gave force and effect to the Marcos constitution.

In the end, it is the people and only the people, not the Supreme Court, that has the final say and is (legally) infallible.

So in short, what the traditional “expertise” of people like Abe Margallo would have their readers believe is that:

We can have all the rigour of our institutions spelt out in carefully-worded letters by the finest thinkers of our society, but at the end of the day a street mob of rabble roused by empty platitudes and emo politics trumps it all.

Poor ol’ gramps. Perhaps it is creeping senility at work here. Abe Margallo forgets to mention that the “final say” of “the people” is delivered via a number of institutional channels in a real democracy:

(1) Direct expression of popular will via elections and referendums where votes are cast indicating a selection among presented options.

(2) Indirect representation of a constituency’s collective will that is delegated to an elected representative in a government post.

The above two are the key legitimate channels for ordinary citizens to express and manifest their influence over their government. It comes down to the question of how astutely these implements are wielded by the electorate. Indeed, it comes down to how much Filipinos have earned or are deserving their “democracy”. If there is any undermining of what is legitimate going on here to be found, one need look no further than the Aquinoists amongst us.


About benign0

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28 Responses to To the staunch Aquinoist, mob rule trumps everything

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  2. May Party Sa Dasma Wala Akong Wheels says:

    What does Abe hope to accomplish by coming up with nonsense like that?

  3. presto says:

    Excellent piece benign0. Bravo.

    And, how many people can we fit into EDSA anyway? A couple of million? As if that is a clear indication of the “will” of the people in a country of over 90 million and fast growing.

    I have a feeling that no one knows how to or even if they can inform their representative in congress of their feelings toward certain issues. What can be done about that?

  4. Jay says:

    Exactly, as I have repeated to my argument to killemall who had decent points but is most likely drinking the Yellow Koolaide, what with his attempt (and a lame one at that) in making a Noynoy-Obama similarity, regarding his belief on the legitimacy of EDSA 2.

    EDSA 1 was overrated due to the same concept as benign0 described. Marcos wasn’t evil (enough), The people found their scapegoat and their savior in Cory and what they did wasn’t necessary. Yes its easy to justify their emotions regarding in partaking that event however they can express said emotions by voting Cory into the leadership with confidence. The following EDSAs meant even less considering how much less the gravity of the situation was.

    What is the use of a democratic system and respect to sovereignty if the prevailing attitude is topple the leader you chose in a democratic process when their performance is unsatisfactory? Why did the people choose the inept leader to begin with? They might as well go back to tribal government if they keep making these these mistakes that does not bring a long term satisfaction. What is the use of half-a$$ing the system when the half-a$$es voted in get taken out by the full-a$$es that wanted them there to begin with?

    The only thing legitimate is the lack of love and respect of the people for a organized, political system with the proper checks and balances. Nation building doesn’t happen in 6 years, especially when they take the law for granted. Noynoy is definitely a reflection of the majority of people in the country.

    • Jon Abaca says:

      For Abe Margallo, the people serve as the ultimate check and balance.

      His hypothesis fails on three points.

      – People here are impatient, as proven by their misbegotten belief that the system can be changed from a top down approach.

      – People here can’t concentrate on the pertinent issues, as proven by their pathetic attempts at argumentation.

      – People here are immature, as proven by their hostile reaction to valid criticisms.

      He’s totally out of touch with the people he calls his countrymen. Just like Conrado de Quiros.

      • ChinoF says:

        Seen in a business perspective, I see the people as the customers. Are the customers the ultimate check and balance? No way. It’s still quality control and management. The customers just send complaints and feedback… but they’re not check and balance. And yeah… customers can be dumb. 😛

      • Arvin Q says:

        And yeah… customers can be dumb.

        So can the management. 🙂
        Seen in a business perspective, the country is really heading for bankruptcy.

        On the other hand, I can also see that the problem lies in people stubbornly sticking to the belief that “the customer is always right” – I think that kind of mentality is what drives them to repeat past “revolutions”. These kind of customers believe that achieving change is as easy and quick as dumping a brand at the first hint of dissatisfaction.

      • ChinoF says:

        Right you there, Arvin. Both the customers and the management unwittingly worked on bringing about the bankruptcy. Hope we don’t become the next Enron in form of a nation.

      • Jon Abaca says:

        Being in IT, I’ve experienced many circumstances where the customer asks for a silly feature, only to bellyache when the said feature makes the project late.

        This Dutch man, however, believed that the customer normally doesn’t know what he or she wants, and it’s up to the service provider to help the customer find out. He said that constant communication is the key. Both the service provider and the customer needs to be able to voice out their concerns as soon as possible.

        Does the Filipino people really know what they want to do with this country?

      • ChinoF says:

        Forgot one thing… it seems that Abe favors anarchism, from his basic premise that the people rule… whether they’re dumb or not.

      • Jon Abaca says:

        Anarchism is too idealistic to work.

        Lots of people here can’t argue their way out of a paper bag. Without intelligent discourse, the lack of mediation will result in ever increasing levels of violence.

        That peaceful mob will turn into a lynch mob. And when it’s all said and done, those responsible will all do a collective “MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE!”

      • ben says:

        @Jon Abaca

        That peaceful mob will turn into a lynch mob. And when it’s all said and done, those responsible will all do a collective “MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE!”

        No they wont. Filipinos don’t have any sense of accountability.

      • Jon Abaca says:


        Who’ll they blame this time? My guess is the devil. That seems to be a common excuse among the less financially endowed.

    • J.B. says:

      I wonder what’s your definition of evil (enough). I grew up during Martial law years somewhere in the south and both the military and the NPA’s were too abusive at that time. Marcos raped every businesses he found unaffiliated as a crony and choke it to death literally. …there were far too many abuses and atrocities which are now in some history books…

      EDSA I was actually good in the sense that it get rid of a tyranny by a handful informed citizens. It’s only mistake was it installed the incompetent Cory. A decade after, EDSA II installed the garapal GMA.

      If an EDSA managed to install a Gordon, then that would be the best thing that could ever happen in history. Elections is far from bringing a Gordon-like presidency.

      If you grew up in places where both NPA’s and the military did their reign or terror, you’ll know that EDSA I aftermaths actually eased out significantly the terror wrecked by Marcos. It was sad that Cory didnt manage to maintain the momentum after bringing on board the Kamaganak Inc.

      • Jay says:


        Well during the EDSA rally, he never killed a citizen. Strange how he can have a change of heart after all the years torturing his people. I guess to me, evil enough is absolutely cold blooded and no remorse. I think Marcos experienced some of that in the very twilight of his political career. Most likely a wake up call.

        Yeah about the only positive of EDSA is automatically ridding itself a tyrant, but on the other hand in favor of another one that would have a direct influence with following generation of pinoys. New leader, same old attitude from people. If Gordon was installed via EDSA, we wouldn’t even be talking about this nonsense. We’d have other social issues to discuss and maintaining progress.

  5. Rob' Ramos says:

    The problem with the Yellow Army is that they can’t shake off the mystique of EDSA. Look at de Quiros and how he romanticizes the idea of EDSA without tempering it with either common sense or a good dollop of proper discernment.

    I was there, at the second EDSA. Not one of the thousands who just went there, no: I helped bring it about, organizing the student councils of the Catholic schools, training youth groups, involving myself with strategy. I was part of the Coordinating Council of KOMPIL II Youth. We rallied and ranted months before that fated day in January 2001.

    I’m not saying I regret what I did there, or at least that much. I’d like to think that we, the youth component of the whole thing, acted with the best interests in mind and based on information we had at the time. Information, by the way, our ELDERS gave us, or was screened through them.

    You had to have been there to know that… feeling. Its like one big prayer rally, the one where you get euphoria and rapture aplenty. Emotions get easily amplified in such a gathering.

    Even better, EDSAs by their nature are quick fixes, in more ways than one. Unlike in the process of (re)building institutions and creating structures of effective, efficient governance, EDSAs give you immediate “feedback.” There is a problem, you give it this solution, and it DOES SOMETHING.

    That’s what people who crow about EDSA, continuously, even if its become either irrational or destructive already. They want to FEEL that again, that “magkaisa” thing. They want these grand narratives and epic events.

    But EDSAs are sledgehammers. You have to have been on an EDSA, and then decided, for real, to commit to the rebuilding after, to know. An EDSA is like taking a large blunt object to the problems of your society. It tears down, sure, but can it build up?


    Actually, that’s what I don’t understand with some of the Yellow Army. Many of them were in BOTH EDSAs. They’ve been in government, and they also know the life in the NGOs since many of them came from there. Surely, these people should know the difference? Surely, such intelligent, well-informed people would know that there is a time for an EDSA but what the country needs now is to (re)build its institutions and structures of governance?


    To get their fix, they’re perfectly willing to destroy this nation.

    Sometimes, you wonder why God doesn’t just do an Atlantis on the Philippines.

    • ben says:

      Sometimes, you wonder why God doesn’t just do an Atlantis on the Philippines.

      He probably does 😆

      Thanks for that insight. At least you learned your lesson and admit things that other are afraid to. I, for one, was not around with any of the EDSAs. I was born in 1986 and left the country in 1992 then came back in 2004. I maybe young and inexperienced and perhaps maybe naive, but I do know for a fact that EDSAs do not change things. And this “democracy” which the people here love so much, it’s poisoning their minds making then think that a sort of “war” against the government is what will make things move forward. Well, the past two decades have really proven otherwise now hasn’t it?

      Look at Thailand now. My gosh… And Noy dared to threaten the people and the government that if he had lost, the incident in Thailand would look insignificant? This man really needs to be dealt with.

      • ben says:

        Man, why does my grammar suck so bad? haha!

      • ChinoF says:

        That’s the thought of Pilosopong Tasio in Ch. 14 of Noli me Tangere. He wished that a storm would come to whup his town. Why, asks his detractors. Because the lazy people won’t wake up unless disaster strikes. And thus, Rob Ramos, you did a “Pilosopong Tasio.” And I agree with it.

      • Jon Abaca says:

        So we have Pilosopong Tasio, who wishes that a disaster will happen, and Simoun, who’s actively making a disaster happen. Well, let’s hope the latter doesn’t make an appearance.

  6. NFA rice says:

    Let us not forget that the mob is typically the Manila mob. There is no unity even in such a vice.

  7. t0da says:

    I always have problems when a politician does something and says that it is “para sa bayan” (for the people). Recent examples include Chiz Escudero bolting his party, Noynoy deciding to run for president, and most political turncoat-ism.

    The “Filipino people” is a vague concept and always difficult to describe collectively.

    When these politicians use that reasoning, they think that it makes them look patriotic and nationalistic. But really, it’s weak because we know that these politicians are just being politically opportunistic. Maybe that’s why we have catch-all political parties with no ideological differences, who argue on style over substance.

    I digress a little.

    @ “In the end, it is the people and only the people, not the Supreme Court, that has the final say and is (legally) infallible.”

    But isn’t this the reason why we have institutions to represent us? As a citizen of the country, we do not determine what is legally infalible. It’s the Judiciary who does that for us. It’s nostalgic to invoke “the people and only the people”, but this is not how our government works (or should work). Maybe if we had a common law system like Britain?

  8. Jay says:

    @Jon Abaca

    Does the Filipino people really know what they want to do with this country?

    One side of them has it a temporary need but not as a desire, but when they REALLY find out how much time, effort and sacrifice it takes to help out the country, they back out and start finding excuses.


    One of the things I’ve learned growing up in America is the importance of initiative. Nothing happens if you don’t go out there and do it.

  9. benign0 says:

    I share all your frustrations. Like anything that is expedited, the results come quickly but are inherently unstable. Edsa “revolutions” bring about instant outcomes but end up building nothing.

    Any software developer will attest to how easy and quickly it is to write a program that runs on spaghetti logic (lots of if-thens and goto’s resulting in program flow going up and down and all over the place) that can solve a single or handful of problems. In contrast, a program that is resilient and scalable and therefore robustly applicable to a broader range of problems and situations takes a lot more patience and design rigour to write.

    The same design principles apply to any kind of engineering problem — from networks, logistics, and construction. Building for resilience and scalability requires world-class thinking — something that Filipinos are not exactly renowned for.

    A government with strong and stable institutions that can withstand a broad range of crises and governance scenarios takes time to build. In the case of our government which is propped up by ocho-ocho thinking, even the slightest rumour puts it at risk of collapse.

    The moronic ululations of people like Abe Margallo and his kind are the sort of people with a spaghetti logic mentality — one characterised by lack of structure and foresight.

  10. manila paper says:

    The latest on the SC/oath-taking hullabaloo:

    According to Noynoy’s handlers, they have written off the barangay captain option after realizing a barangay captain’s authority exists only in his barangay. Unless Noynoy wants to be President of only one barangay in Hacienda Luisita, he can’t do his oath in front of a barangay captain.


    Now his people are saying he will take his oath with Associate Justice Carpio-Morales, the lone dissenter in the SC’s decision allowing Arroyo to appoint Chief Justice Corona. I suppose they think this is enough to pacify those demanding that Aquino give due recognition to the Supreme Court.

    NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Noynoy will still be disrespecting the decision of the court if he does this. Cory took her oath before an Associate Justice in 1986 because the country was in a revolutionary situation. We are not in a revolutionary situation now. The only reason Noynoy’s backers have for instructing him to take his oath with Associate Justice Carpio-Morales is to spite Corona and spite the decision that majority of the SC already handed down. The yellow mafia could be planning to oust Corona, that’s why they’re being careful not to do anything to recognize him at all.

    This insistence on installing a Chief Justice who is friendly to them is very suspicious. They are moving heaven and earth over this matter which should not even be that big a deal in light of the country’s other problems. But we know which pending cases in the SC are at stake here.

    Noynoy should read this, then this, then get rid of his spokesman and all the hangers-on trying to tell him what to do.

    • Jon Abaca says:

      Given his age, Judge Puno MUST retire by May 17 because of Article VIII Section 11. Given Article VIII Section 4, the Supreme Court must always be composed for an odd number of judges so that one will always be the tie breaker. GMA could either make one step down (and look like she’s bossing the Judiciary) or appoint another judge (and look like she’s manipulating the system) .

      What else could GMA have done? It’s a damned if you, damned if you don’t situation! Then again, she could have at least EXPLAINED why she needed to appoint somebody so suddenly, but no. Lack of transparency leads to public outrage.

      Could she have appointed somebody sooner? Probably not, because Article VIII Section 11 states that Judges will hold office in good behavior until the age of seventy. I doubt being “close to 70” constitutes bad behavior, and would legitimize pressure to step down.

      Having a friendly chief justice pretty much compromises the very idea that the Judiciary is a distinct and independent branches of government. From a fairness standpoint, a truly fair judiciary would either be hostile to both parties, or friendly to both parties.

      Anyway, if Noynoy Aquino really wants to make an impact, he’d just take his oath under Judge Corona, and then amend the constitution so that ambiguous and seemingly contradictory rules like this are cleared up.

      • manila paper says:

        Notice how Aquino’s spokesman admitted that the SC’s decision was legal? (see links in my preceding comment). But he said it was unethical.

        Oh okay. And whose version of ethics are we supposed to follow? His?

        Ethics are subjective. The law is objective. That’s why we follow the law, not people’s different takes on ethics.

        This is what Miriam Santiago meant when she said:

        “The problem with critics is that they mistake the law as it is with the law as it ought to be, according to their layman’s interpretation. A line has to be drawn between the rule of law and the dystopian concept of freewheeling ethics.”

  11. Paolo says:

    You know what? There’s a good thing about having a mob:

    An easy target. BOMBS AWAY!

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