Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Burp2: Crunching Numbers

The election aftermath in the Philippines seemed designed to strip the population – voting or otherwise – of its last fig leaf of dignity. Gone were the images of millions lined up for four-five hours under the cruel talons of a summer sun just to vote, a testament to a people’s hunger for a moment, just a split-second, of being able to wield control over their nation. In their place were now images of vociferous mouths shrieking “cheating,” of masked men with plastic noses rumbling “cheating,” of foreigners intoning “cheating,” of suddenly self-righteous men shrieking about offers of “cheating” for amounts from 50 million to one billion pesos.

Makes one wonder whether any of these screamers even briefly considered the impact of this on the said millions: peeling off the last veneer of possibilities from their awareness to re-affirm the mantra that they were stupid, ignorant and therefore must depend on the ruling oligarchy, and to revive their sense of the futility of life itself… No wonder practically everybody’s looking for a plane ticket out.

I’m reading all these news reports and wondering WTF they want: re-do the entire elections? Oboy.

Which is why I wasn’t too fired up over collecting my second winning bet, though the dinner revolved around fruits of the sea, paid for by this cadre-turned-actuarial who ruined my planned scenario by blurting out, immediately: “I read your blog. I want you to crunch the numbers now.” Oich! I pretended momentary deafness and concentrated on finding out how many sturgeon’s eggs one could balance on the tip of one’s tongue.

Okay, here goes: yes, Virginia, there is a women’s vote. Few post-election analysis will state that outright, as women are considered a minor species, but it explained the discrepancy between GWP and BM votes, and the discrepancy between LM and SO votes, as well as the wave that carried Ms. Hontiveros to number 13, following her decimation of Kit Tatad on the issue of reproductive health and safety, said wave having carried GWP consistently through past elections. Expect a scramble now among patriarchs for the women’s allegiance, without calling attention to the pivotal nature of women’s political participation, building what may be referred to as the sisterhood under the old-boys-network.

Yes, Virginia, the state of alienation of overseas workers from Philippine politics increases with time and distance and neglect, explaining the low voter turn-out – excuses and justifications notwithstanding. Material conditions of daily existence exert their primacy inevitably.

Yes, Virginia, if the spectrum of Lefts got together, they can bring a full senatorial slate to victory and probably elect a president; but it’s far easier to ally with class enemies than with ideologues quarreling over interpretations of passages from writings done 50 to a hundred years ago. It’s kind of like the priesthood where there can only be one pope. See Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, etc. In other words, check out histories of self-referent systems of beliefs and schisms.

And finally, yes Virginia, Philippine political power is becoming more and more balkanized among family dynasties, which are and will be major obstacles to the development of progressive democracy and justice in the Philippines. Family dynasties are totally without compunction, as we saw during the Marcos dictatorship, with regards to human, civil and women’s rights.

And finally, too, my losing bettor friend came out with the numbers he was interested in: “What was the price of the alliance? Any money trade-offs?”
Oich. “That I do not know,” I told him straight up. “If at all, that would only be known to a handful.”

“But if you were the one negotiating, how much would you ask for?”

“A senatorial candidate’s campaign costs about 125 million pesos. For two candidates, I would ask for 300 million pesos minimum, 500 million pesos max to cover this-that expense and brokerage fees. But that is only my thinking and again, I say I do not know.”

Footnote1: A great disservice was done in the tacit sanitizing of the Marcos clan. Unforgiveable. Don’t look now, but some people are bent on auctioning off Imelda’s jewels before the Arroyo admin ends. Cash and carry: they turn it to cash and carry it away.

Footnote2: If I knew how to cry, I would cry with Ms. Grace Padaca, who wept for the people of Isabela province when she lost to the Dy dynasty and its logger-allies once again – ironically, during the hottest summer of the decade in the archipelago. I’ve never been to Isabela but recall a gift of two foot-long sweet-fleshed lobsters from its then-pristine waters, a long, long time ago.

Cut the trees, boil your brain. -- #


Anonymous said...

I have not read anything about a women's vote -- but I see it now, after I read this. No one will acknowledge it, no?

Unknown said...

It's a political culture of machismo, lorded over by trying- hard to be machos (and that includes some [stand-in] women).

Anonymous said...

June 6, 2010

Mam, thank you for the great literature! Refreshing, joyful to the hilt. Just stumbled on your blog, via Marxism Leninism something after hitting those articles about whether there will be war in Korea soon or when, and where will I seek cover once those bombs start falling all over. I am here as an academic OFW in Hanyang University Ansan City, that is why. I go home next month, and must scour the national bookshelves if ever they have the latest Ninotchka Rosca treasure yet. Otherwise misfortune of a summer holiday with no latest Rosca reading.
what's the latest mam?

Still your avid fan and reader, pardon the self appointment,

NOY Amante (aka Maragtas Amante
formerly from UP Diliman)
Hanyang Universty Erica Campus
Ansan City, Republic of Korea