Monday, February 20, 2012

Mob rule in disguise

In the February 15th issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, columnist Conrado de Quiros outrightly dismissed as frivolous the growing trepidation that the ongoing Corona impeachment trial in the Senate might bring about a constitutional crisis. “What crisis?” de Quiros wrote.

His argument is very simple. Public opinion cannot be ignored, de Quiros said, because it’s the people who are the foundation of government. The people “are the air the three branches of government breathe.” He concluded his column by saying that “there is no constitutional crisis where there is People Power.”

De Quiros further wrote: “What makes the omission, or exclusion, of the people from all this talk of a constitutional crisis particularly glaring is that we are at the heart of the People Power months. Edsa II took place in January and Edsa I in February. February 25 particularly blazes forth like a huge neon sign in that respect, the date that most embodies or symbolizes People Power. It’s time we flocked once again to the Edsa Shrine, or to Padre Faura, or to the Senate Building, and made our sentiments known. And made our will known. And made our power known.”
Catholic nuns dare soldiers to lay down arms, EDSA Revolution 1986.
Reposted  from Le Montage Photo Courtesy of  princesse_laya.
While de Quiros is right about the people being the true source of political power, he forgot, however, to mention that we also now live in a so-called representative democracy, where the people have transferred their right or power to those they elected through the electoral process. That in making their decisions, our representatives must follow the letter of the law and obey the Constitution, without of course disregarding the weight of public opinion. So if our elected leaders follow the law, then they are presumed to be acting on behalf of the people. And if they don’t, a constitutional crisis is triggered that could lead to a public rebuke of the incumbent government or stir up some militant segments of society to break the impasse by violent means. This is all possible, but de Quiros is invoking people power as the ultimate and only solution, which is messy and chaotic.

What has people power, Philippine-style, really accomplished?

EDSA I brought down a dictatorship and re-installed democratic institutions of government, including the three branches of government we have now, and of course the continuation of oligarchic control of government. EDSA II deposed a corrupt president, but replaced him with a more corrupt one, and of course, perpetuated the rule of oligarchs.

The lives of Filipinos did not change much after both EDSA I and EDSA II. The poor remain stuck in poverty, the economy as whole did not take off and catch up with the economies around us, and corrupt politicians continued to run amuck.

And what will another EDSA People Power accomplish as envisioned by de Quiros? It will destroy the democratic institutions of government that were restored by EDSA I, resulting to the return of authoritarianism where the executive branch or the President and his cabal of advisers will yield uncontested political power. In short, President Noynoy Aquino will tear down everything his mother Cory helped build.

We all know what happened during the martial law regime—civil and political liberties were suppressed, and the oligarchy consolidated its grip on political power and control of the economy. Conrado de Quiros understands this fully well. As a young and brilliant writer, he was a member of the Malacanang think-tank that propped up the New Society under Ferdinand Marcos. He was one of those aspiring writers and artists shepherded by Malacanang to serve the aims of the Marcos repressive government.

Now, de Quiros is at the service of a dictator in the making. In calling for another EDSA uprising, de Quiros is invoking the mob to get out on the streets and push the country into the precipice of another black period in its history.
Tanks roll in during EDSA 1986. Reposted from Le Montage .Photo Courtesy of
princesse_laya. Click link to view "The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution
is a Big Hoax,"
Read the following transcript of a conversation recorded on the Internet on February 2010, before the presidential election that catapulted Noynoy Aquino to the presidency (loosely translated from Pilipino):

“You might be eating your own words later. Conrado de Quiros vehemently criticized the Aquinos after the Hacienda incident (referring to the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004). But after Cory's death, he was the first to support Noynoy. That’s because it’s easy to criticize even though you lack information. The problem is, you don’t even know the entire story.” [Reply to Prison Break]

“Who knows what Noynoy promised de Quiros when they talked to each other. Maybe he would become press secretary when Noynoy is elected president. You find out the truth in your story which has no value. There’s nothing free anymore today, there is an exchange for de Quiros’ support. It appears you never learned anything.” [Reply to Ellen (Tordesillas) is a moron].

Does it still surprise you why de Quiros is now an avid Noynoy Aquino supporter?

One-hundred-and-seventy-five years ago, in 1837 to be exact, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, in his address before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, strongly expressed his opposition to mob rule, over the issue of the perpetuation of American institutions.

In his speech, Lincoln reminded his audience that if there was any danger to the established institutions, it would not come from abroad. Lincoln said, “If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

But Lincoln was more worried about the prevailing disregard for law in the country during that time. He was referring to the “growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of courts, and the worse-than-savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice.” Lincoln, of course, was referring to accounts of outrages committed by mobs from New England to Louisiana which were spreading like wildfire throughout the land.

To dramatize the danger of mobs in many of the states, Lincoln said “the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation.”

Because of the growing strength of the mobs, Lincoln admonished that “the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed—I mean the attachment of the people.”

How do we fortify against the rule of the mob? Lincoln’s answer is simple.

He said: “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of ’76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honour. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues and colours and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.”

Abraham Lincoln was echoing the genuine voice of the people, not the foolish idea of a mobocracy as Conrado de Quiros seems to evoke by challenging us to revive the spirit of EDSA I and EDSA II as their anniversaries are bearing upon us.

Whatever the outcome of the Corona impeachment trial, the Filipino people should respect the decision of the senator-judges. Should the Senate finally come to grips with reality that the ongoing impeachment trial is useless and will not bring any good to the nation and decide to put a stop to the charade, so be it. Let no one, including President Noynoy Aquino flaunt the threat of another EDSA revolt every time he senses defeat of his needless assault on the constitutional foundations of our government.

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