SETTING aside partisan interests, a group of concerned citizens has come together to initiate a non-partisan movement clamoring for real change.

Calling itself One Voice, the group acknowledges that there is a need for a consensus around peaceful and constitutional processes in the face of a growing alienation, even distrust, of democratic institutions among the public.

Noting that the apparent solutions being offered “serve personal or group interests and endanger, not strengthen, democratic institutions,” One Voice says it is time for the vast majority who are silent to speak out.

One Voice counts among its members various Catholic Church leaders, electoral reform advocates, businessmen, current and former government officials, academics, and noted personalities. Among them are Christian Monsod, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair; Raul Concepcion; Inquirer columnist Manuel L. Quezon III (who discusses the group in his column today); former Consultative Commission on charter change members Vicente Paterno and Rene Azurin; U.P. economics professor Solita Monsod; former Senator Wigberto Tañada; former local governments secretary Rafael Alunan III; and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo.

The Catholic Church hierarchy is represented by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Oscar Cruz (Lingayen-Dagupan), Archbishop Ramon Arguelles (Lipa), Archbishop Antonio Ledesma (Cagayan de Oro), Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi (Caceres), and Archbishop Orlando Quevedo (Cotabato).

One Voice is offering its five-point proposal anchored on solving the country’s real problems first, and not creating new ones through a questionable and hasty charter change. These are:

  1. Discontinue the present “people’s initiative”;
  2. A social reform program now;
  3. Elections in 2007 as scheduled, as indirect referendum, and electoral reform now;
  4. A Constitutional Convention (not a constituent assembly) after 2007 elections, assuming an authentic clamor for it; and
  5. A collective effort to rebuild the trustworthiness of democratic institutions.

On its first proposal, One Voice argues that the people’s initiative being conducted by Sigaw ng Bayan is legally flawed since there is no enabling law, and is being used for a revision of the Constitution rather than an amendment.

The initiative, it says, also employs “fallacious and deceptive reasoning” as there is no conclusive evidence that a parliamentary system is superior for political stability and economic growth.

One Voice adds that the initiative is also fraught with disturbing political implications that will result in even more power to those who already have it but more disempowerment and alienation of the people in terms of:

  • Taking away the power of the people to vote directly for president;
  • Fusing the Executive and Legislative and both chambers of Congress, thus removing certain systemic checks and balances of the presidential system;
  • Creating a powerful interim unicameral parliament, composed of incumbent politicians, which can introduce more amendments, some not even known today, like:
  • Weakening the Supreme Court as a check against abuse of power and violation of human rights;
  • Restoring power of the President to declare martial law on basis of “imminent danger” of rebellion — a phrase used by President Marcos;
  • Deciding whether the 2007 elections will be held;
  • Extending its own life.

On pushing for a social reform program now, One Voice says its principles are already included in Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution and related provisions, and can be done by executive implementation or legislation in a constructive bi-partisan way.

On electoral reform now in preparation for the holding of a credible 2007 elections, which could be an “indirect referendum” on the term of the present administration, One Voice is calling for a revamp of the Comelec as a commission and organization, which is the number one recommendation of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. as presidential adviser on electoral reforms.

Any drastic overhaul of the Constitution, it says, should not take place until the people are convinced that the electoral system is trustworthy. “How can the government even talk about changing the Constitution when it has not delivered on its promise to modernize the electoral system by 2004?”

In the interest of transparency, One Voice also proposes that any major change in the political structure must be held after the 2007 elections and should not benefit those presently in power.

Should charter change be necessary after 2007, One Voice is pushing for a constitutional convention rather than a constituent assembly (con-ass) being proposed by the House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

One Voice believes that overhauling the political system needs a broad representation of society in public, transparent and continuous proceedings. On the contrary, a “con-ass,” it says, “is subject to private deals, political trade-offs among small power groups, in piecemeal changes with big political or economic payoffs.”

To know more about One Voice’s five-point proposal, download its position paper here. Or visit its website.

20 Responses to One voice speaking up for real change

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » An ex-president’s voice

June 22nd, 2006 at 10:09 pm

[…] EVEN as a broad range of groups are uniting against attempts to amend the 1987 constitution, former President Fidel V. Ramos made another pitch for charter change, arguing that “the parliamentary system will enable our people to replace an oppressive, corrupt and/or nonperforming chief executive democratically and smoothly.” […]

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Speak up for real change in One Voice! » We are speaking out now!

June 22nd, 2006 at 10:19 pm

[…] One voice speaking up for real change (PCIJ) […]

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Louis 90

June 23rd, 2006 at 10:12 am

What is their position on Automated Elections?

Read Dick Gordon’s speech below when Senate Adjourned Sine Die without passing the bill and was reported in media as a challenge to a fist fight.

———————————————–
I rise on a matter of the highest collective privilege.

I believe at this point that we have to acquit ourselves before the bar of opinion of our people. Our people have questioned our capability as a Senate to enact the laws that are necessary. And I do know that all of us, practically all of us, want to acquit ourselves,
to be able to show that we may be slow at times but we want to make haste slowly so that we could study every bill, every law properly.

Mr. President, we had occasions in the past where we had to file bills which required speed. Just recently, we approved the Death Penalty bill. I believe we approved that in record time—-two days. There was
no opposition to it even if it was a very great issue of the day. Not because we concurred with it but because we believed that it was the right thing to do, even if this representation, although I sponsored it, cited the fact that we may not have the police force that is
capable to look into these cases, especially murder cases. And I would rather err on the side of caution, Mr. President.

Today, I was supposed to go very early to a meeting on the dialogue with the Lower House on the Cha-cha. At about twelve o’clock, I was already on my way to Shangri-La. I was told that we are going to adjourn all of a sudden. This was against the agreement made between me and the Majority Leader that we are going to take up this matter of automated election. And
so I called up the Senate President, the Majority Leader and we all agreed that we were going to take it up at two o’clock, and they told us to return at 1:30.

I was already proceeding here when Senator Enrile called me and said to come back. In fact, in the meantime, I called the other senators. I asked Senator Lapid to be here. I tried to call Senator Revilla. I
called up Senator Enrile. I called up Senator Angara to come over. I called Senator Roxas to come over here. I asked my staff to call all the others including Senator Arroyo.

Mr. President, I did so because this is a bill that we have been waiting for a number of months. We started deliberations of this bill in October 2005. During that time, we had four public hearings:

On October 17, 2005, we had Senators Enrile, Osmena, Pimentel, and Biazon as guest senator. The other senators were represented by their staff.

On January 30, 2006 we called another public hearing when we had Senators Arroyo, Enrile, Angara, Lim, and Biazon as guest senator. The senators represented by their staff were Senators Villar and Recto. Absent were Senators Cayetano, Santiago, Lacson, Osmena, ex-officio
members Flavier, Pangilinan, and Pimentel Jr.

On February 7, 2006, we had Senators Arroyo, Enrile, and Osmena. Absent were Senators Villar, Cayetano, Lacson, Flavier, Pangilinan, and Pimentel Jr. The senators who were represented by their staff were Senators Recto, Santiago, Angara, and Lim.

On February 22, 2006, attending were Senators Gordon and Lim. Absent were Senators Cayetano, Rectyo, Santiago, Arroyo, Angara, Lacson, Osmena, Flavier, Pangilinan, and Pimentel Jr. The senators represented
by their staff were Senators Villar and Enrile.

Since that time, Mr. President, we also called four technical working group meetings: November 3, 2005, November 17, 2005, February 15, 2006, and February 23, 2006.

After the sponsorship and after the period of debates, we called additional meetings out of respect for those who had questions on the bill and we addressed these. We called four meetings, four caucuses attended by Senators Osmena, Enrile, and, of course, Senate President
Drilon.

On May 19, 2006, we called another meeting and it was attended by Senators Osmena and Flavier.

On May 24, 2006, we called another meeting and this was attended by Senators Osmena, Drilon, Villar, and Recto.

On May 30, 2006, in addition to all those caucuses where we showed examples of how we could have technology that is existing displayed here in the Senate, we showed it on the Floor because we were not
getting the kind of attendance that we wanted in spite of notices and calls made to the senators everyday.

Mr. President, during the plenary session on March 21, when we sponsored this bill, the following senators had their interpellations for the bill: Senators Pimentel, Enrile, Arroyo, “Loi” Estrada, and, of course, when we were ready to put this on the Floor for Second
Reading, I was even touted by the Senate President as having too many amendments. Out of respect once again to my fellow senators, we made the necessary corrections on the bill to be acceptable to everyone.

We also introduced amendments on March 29, 2006. On April 5, 2006, Senator Pimentel introduced his amendments. There are many, many times that we have undertaken the period of interpellations.

In other words, Mr. President, throughout all these meetings, there was a tremendous effort made by our Committee as well as the members of the technical working group, some of whom are from the private
sector, people who were not paid by the government, people who were asked to be consultants. Some of them were paid by the government, but we have quite a few from the private sector. Some of these people were
the one who exposed the anomalies made by the Comelec during that last procurement of the OMR. They are the same people who are now advising
us once again to tighten up on the bill.

As I pointed out earlier, the bill was designed to see to it that we could have free, honest, fair and speedy elections. The bill was tightened up to make sure that we have electronic transmissions, something that was missing in the previous elections so that there is
no time to cheat. As we all know, cheating is done by way of retail cheating. When one tries to bring in a flying voter, that is retail cheating and we expect that the Comelec will address that even if it is not yet here, meaning to say, biometric technology. We are focused
on the count of the voting all the way to the canvassing and when we did that, we wanted to make sure that we had speed on our side. We have the virtues of current technology on our side and a sure technology. In reaction to the Supreme Court, we called it
“technology-neutral”.

In response to the Supreme Court’s statement that here was a pile of goods–practically an order sheet that was designed by the Comelec for somebody to win that bid,–we reacted to that, and, indeed, we came out with a bill that provides technological neutrality so that whatever is out there in the horizon or in current technology would be utilized.

Mr. President, I have a favorite saying, it is called: “It’s better to know where we’re going and not know how, than to know how we’re going and not know where.”

Mr. President, I thought we knew where we were going. I thought that what this country wanted was an election that would be speedy, that would be honest, that would be credible and that would obviate cheating.

So, every effort at urgency, every effort to search the experts and get their opinions to come up with the required technology was undertaken, Mr. President. We tried to reach out to the senators. We called them on the telephones. Our members came, some of them did not come.

Mr. President, we bent over backwards many times. I hold here a Gantt chart which I showed in the committee meetings. The Gantt chart said that we should have had this bill approved on the first week of April. If the gentleman will recall, right before Holy Week, I stood
right there and Senator Pimentel conducted an interpellation of this representation. We said we have to approve this and I was ready to cancel my official trip for the International Red Cross to Thailand just so we could finish this so that we could move forward. And at
that time we were already in the period of amendments. Tapos na po iyong period of interpellations. We were in the period of amendments.
Yet, there were still debates being undertaken. And again, out of respect to our colleagues, we answered the questions.

Now, Mr. President, we were promised, and the Senate President is witness to this, the Majority Leader is witness to this, and other senators. According to Senator Pimentel, when we get back, we would
finish it. He said, “Don’t go back on Monday,” because I promised I would go back on Monday. He said, “Go, and finish that and come back here on Wednesday, and we would finish it. ”

Mr. President, I was surprised when I got here on that day, on Wednesday. I was still being interpellated and I wanted to go on and finish all the concerns and get the amendments of the senators so we could be on time for the preparations for the 2007 elections.

Again, I was told, “Pagod na ako, Dick, matanda na ako. I’m limping. Could you kindly….I-postpone na muna natin ito.” Ang sabi ko, “Hindi ba ang pangako natin tatapusin natin ito sapagkat kailangang
matapos natin ito?” Ang sabi niya, “Pangako ko sa susunod, tatapusin natin iyan pagbalik natin.”

Unfortunately, Mr. President, that has not been the case.

Mr. President, I was promised that we would finish this bill by the Minority Leader. And yet, when it came to the moment of truth, there was no promise. There was another extension, “We will do that.” I pleaded to him when we went to China, when we went to Tibet, when we went to North Korea,… “Sabihin mo na sa akin kung ano ang ayaw mo, kung ano ang gusto mo para mailagay natin.” He said, “This is going to happen when we come back.” It never happened.

Then, what happened, Mr. President? We called for special presentations. We even had one in the Session Hall. We asked people and we were very careful to make sure that these vendors could not advertise themselves here. We just said, “We wanted to show that it is possible.” And they brought their machines here. They made a presentation here, right here, to make sure that we can prove that this is technology-neutral, that the election, as proposed, would work.

Now, Mr. President, what surprises me is, we claim that we want to remove cheating in elections, but do we have the sense of urgency for it? I do not think so. At the rate we are going, we are not going to finish this bill. Now, I am told, “Well, Dick, you know, I speak for the Minority, and you know, the Minority has said they don’t like the
bill. They have questions.”

Well, Mr. President, if they do not like it, we have had so many chances here. The members of the Minority should have been here. I know many members of the Minority approved this and they told me so.
But they should be here. We are here today. When we want to interpellate, any senator will come to the Floor and interpellate. If they are interested to make an amendment or to go against it, they should be here.

But, Mr. President, I understand we have passed bills on less than a majority here out of respect for one another.

Mr. President, I cannot just go on and on and on and keep asking the private sector, some of whom have doctorates in computer technology, to come here and volunteer themselves. They are still here today and
promise them, the senators, not to worry.

I was told by one of them, “Naku, do not expect that that bill will be passed because many congressmen and some senators may not like it because precisely they cannot cheat.” I heard that, Mr. President.
And I said, “Do not say that, that is not true. We are all honorable men here and I tell you, I think we are going to be able to get this through because everybody wants honest, clean elections in the Chamber.”

Yet, where are we today? I was promised that this will be the last day. I kept on saying that we had a caucus. And I said, “Let us put the automated election, it is doable.”

At the time all this was happening, we were way ahead of the Lower House. The Lower House had nothing. They had not even taken it on Second Reading. They had not even had their debates. And yet, last night, Congressman Teddyboy Locsin called me and said, “Tomorrow, can we meet because we are going to be ready with the bicam? We are ready with
the bill. We want to do it tomorrow evening na pagkatapos ng session.”

I said, “No, no, we are not yet ready. I think we will be able to approve it tomorrow. Please talk to your fellow PDP-Laban senators para mabilis na tayo.”

Mr. President, he called me again today, I saw him today, and he asked, “Are we going to meet today?”

I was really embarrassed because, my gosh, we talked about seven bills that were of highest importance, that we were going to give priority. But unfortunately, we were able to pass the budget at
mukhang ibi-veto pa ng Presidente. We were able to pass–thank heavens for Senator Arroyo–the bill on the abolition of the death penalty. We were able to pass that other bill, the Credit Information Bill. But the Lower House has not even gotten their acts together on
that one.

And yet, we were so close to this. Is this just rushing up legislation? I do not think so, Mr. President. Why? Because this is a bill that simply amends a policy that was already made under a previous law. The policy was made under the law that created the Automated Election Law, which is Republic Act No. 8436. That was
already approved. But, as we saw, the Supreme Court shot it down because it had a bill of particulars on what product practically to buy, short of saying the brand. The Supreme Court said, “You cannot touch that machine.” The Comelec officials insisted that they want to use that machine. That is why there is this sense of urgency because the Gantt chart tells us that if we do not do this, we may not even be able to make it for the elections in 2007. And if we do not make it in 2007, we are not going to have full-fledged computerized elections in 2010.

Are we saying here that India is much better than this country? Are we saying here that we do not trust our people? We may not trust our people in the Comelec, but I am sure we can trust some of them. Maybe
we are not sure of the technology that we have, but we can rely on a lot of other people who could teach us the right technology.

But, Mr. President, we ought to try, as I pointed out, many, many times. We have to have that sense of urgency and we have to make sure that we get this done.

Mr. President, is it too much to ask? We have done this in other legislations where we say, “Aprubahan na natin iyan on Second Reading or Third Reading and then balikan natin sa July para lamang gumalaw na.”

Yesterday, our colleagues heard my amendments. One of my amendments says the moment it is approved, the council of advisers will immediately kick in. The roll-up will go in precisely because we are in a hurry. We are late. But we need to practice it.

I cannot forever say, “All right, all right, I better work backwards.”

Mr. President, it has been said that this bill, if approved, even if we succeed in the pilot test, “Oh, the Comelec is going to go back there and try to monkey around with the system.”

Mr. President, that is why it is technology-neutral. And that is why we cannot go back to what is being proposed by the gentleman from Cebu, and say, “O, wala na iyang technology-neutral na iyan. Kailangang sabihin na natin kung ano ang specific.” That is precisely
what the Supreme Court rejected, Mr. President. If we go back there, then we are back to square one, in which case, ang mangyayari sa atin ay wala na namang eleksyon na matino. And what have we been reduced
to in the Senate, rightly or wrongly, because wrong is perceived to have been committed by the Executive? We have been conducting investigations left and right because of the failure or perceived failure or perceived cheating during an election that happened during
the last time.

And so, Mr. President, ang lumalabas ngayon, parang mabagal ang Senado. Halos wala tayong nagagawa dahil ang sisi sa atin ay panay na lamang tayong imbestiga nang imbestiga.

And so, Mr. President, this Chamber will forgive this representation if his patience may probably have run out. I tried to keep my peace. If my patience has ran out, it is not because of my pique or my personal weakness. It is the patience of our country that we test
today. If we say that we want clean elections, then I say to them, “acta non verba.” Show it by action, not words. Magaling tayong magsasalita rito and that is what we are paid for. I have always defended that the Senate must debate. That is why we are slow. We have to debate. We have to find out what is going on.

But, Mr. President, whenever we stand here, we must know what sticks in the craw of certain senators. If they do not like a particular provision of the bill, then they should stand up and say, “We would like to amend it”, not keep us guessing.

I went down on bended knee to our distinguished colleague today, not only because he is older than me, not only because I respect him, not only because I was pleading for him to get this bill approved, not because I want to author this bill, I pleaded with him and I knelt
down before him so that he would see that, subukan na natin ito. “Name it. Ano ba ang problema? Sabihin mo na sa akin para maipasa natin ito.” Test lamang ito. Iyon ba naman hindi pa mapagbigyan, test lamang?

I agree with Senator Osmeña that after this testing, we would go back to the Senate in 2008 after the elections and say, “We will refine the bill, if we have to.” In the bill itself, it says, “six months after the elections.” There must be a deadline upon which we will submit
what went wrong in these elections. In that bill, it provides for technological neutrality and technological neutrality means that if we have to go on to 2007 or 2010, we will get what is current.

So even if they hire a hack, it is possible that in 2010, there will be new computer technology, there will be new software, so much so that that hack is going to have a difficult time.

I have explained that we have a source code that will be kept in the Central Bank or even in SGS. And so that we could use it, we have what they call an “executable code.” An executable code is difficult to hack, Mr. President. And we can have millions of these, sabay-sabay, puwedeng iba-iba. So papaano nila dadayain iyon? Unang una, the time. There is no time because the moment the ERs punched the election result in the precinct, it will already be right away in the Congress
of the Republic of the Philippines, it will be in the Comelec, it will be in the provincial governor’s office, it will be in the municipality or city. At sabay-sabay, makikita iyan. It will be on ABS-CBN, it will be on Channel 7, it will be in all the media. And if we are not still satisfied with that, I am told–and I do not want to put it in the bill because it is technology-neutral and it is up to the Advisory Council to do that–that they can even show an overview by way of television screens to show the results in the precincts.

Ano pa ba naman ang gusto natin, G. Pangulo? Titestingin na nga. Kung gusto ninyo i-test na lamang natin sa isang presinto para matuloy, para masubok. Pero mukhang ayaw talaga. Mahirap imulat ang mata kung nagbubulag-bulagan; mahirap iparinig sa taong nagbibingi-bingihan iyong gusto nating ipagawa sa ating bayan.

Mr. President, this will only benefit the people of this country. It is not going to benefit any particular individual in this country. It is right into the alley of the Supreme Court that says, “You have to change the technology. You have to go in and move in and make sure that we have a good bid here.”

Mr. President, we could even make different technologies in different regions of the country so we can further protect it. I can argue that point until I am blue in the face that the technology exists and it is
going to be hard to hack it. But if people do not like it, what can we do?

The only thing I ask is decency, Mr. President, to a colleague. As lawyers, we are taught to be candid. We are taught to treat each other as officers of the court. Hindi ba itinuturo iyan sa atin sa law school? Sabihin natin candidly kung ano ang ayaw natin. At dito
sa Senado, we are supposed to call each other “gentleman”. A gentleman when he refuses something will say, “I have a problem here,
Mr. Senator, can you help me out with this?” Or, at least, if he is a gentleman and not a coward, Mr. President, he should stand up on the Floor and debate with the sponsor, if he is not a coward.

Mr. President, what I have to say needs to be said. Precisely, we want to protect the dignity of this Senate. Are we going back now to the country and say, “Thank the holy God because this Senate has finished the budget and we have finished the death penalty and we
still have a bill in the Lower House because they have not gone on bicameral.” I know quantity is not quality.

On the other hand, there is such a thing as urgency. And if I raise my voice it is not to raise my voice but to really vehemently argue my cause because at times it is very difficult to be heard especially in our Senate when people are not interested in what is being talked
about. We tried as much as we can to get the attention of everybody.

Mr. President, we are trying to get the attention of everybody here because this is what the public has been saying. And if some Senators feel that we should not be talking about this then I think it would be a bad day for the Senate when the Senate can no longer speak with
candor on the needs of the country. To my mind, this is a need. That is why I put out this Gantt chart once again. Whenever I put out something like this, some colleagues of mine would say, “Oh no, that is nothing. Do not believe that Gantt chart.” This is the work of people who are in the technical working group. I cannot say to them,
“Ah, ang sabi ng isang Senador dito, bale wala iyan. Huwag kang maniwala diyan. Kaunti lamang iyan.” I cannot do that, especially when we have asked them to do all these.

So, Mr. President, let me just point out that we have made every effort. . This is the last day. Does the Body think I like the situation that we are in today? We are leaving. We have not accomplished anything, especially on this matter when all of us agreed that this is a priority bill. What is wrong? What is wrong? We are telling our people we would test this principle of automated
elections.

Mr. President, we have done this in ARMM. We have tried to do this last time and we failed miserably. How much did we lose in that election? How much was spent? It was P1.3 billion. Bale wala. They are laughing at us. They are still paying storage fees for the machines na ipinipilit pa ng Comelec. Here we are trying to correct it. We are
trying to fix the problem. And all I ask is candor and decency. Kung ayaw ng isang Senador, huwag na niya akong paasahin na, “Approve na iyan. Sige pumunta ka na doon sa Thailand at pagbalik mo, ipasok iyan
at tapusin natin iyan.” All he has to do is write the amendments..

Kung ayaw ng Senado, who am I to go against the collective wisdom of the Senate? Kung ayaw nila, then wala tayong magagawa. That is the nature of all Senates, to conduct a debate, to convince one another.
And if we cannot convince one another, then vote.

We have not done that Mr. President. We have never voted. We have to get a consensus all the time. At ang napansin ko dito kapag isa lamang ang umaayaw, hindi tayo tumutuloy. I have often wondered. And some of
us have wondered. Senator Roxas and I have talked about it many times, bakit ganoon. Senator Enrile and I have talked about it many times, bakit ganoon dito. If somebody says, “I do not like it–the Senate
Majority Leader and I have talked about it–if one Senator says “I do not like it,” he is able to finish off the debate, Mr. President.

Ngayon kung ayaw nating marinig ito, perhaps charge it to my inexperience because the Senators are all veterans here. The Senators are all far more experienced, perhaps, brighter than this representation. But I do know one thing. I also know that when I come
here I dedicate all my efforts to try and get good legislation passed and represent our people properly so we can get the right kind of service and the right legislation in place, Mr. President. And if the
Body wants to charge me for that, go ahead and do so. But it has to be said. It is time to resurrect the Senate. It is time to get away and change our attitudes. It is time to give respect to one another. It is time to attend meetings if one is interested in a bill. It is time
to ask questions when he does not know something about the bill. It is time to put our amendments in place if we do not agree with certain provisions and put it to the test of voting on the Floor. That is what the Senate is for.

To try and get amendments in, we have to come up and tataya tayo. Sasabihin mo, “Ito ang amendment ko.” Just as I take the risk here and all of us take the risk every time we sponsor a bill, itataya natin iyan. Sasabihin ng isa, “Ito ang posisyon ko diyan”, at pagbobotohan iyan. At kung matalo siya, then we shake hands because
that is the nature of the Senate. He tries again. Huwag naman iyong, “Sige, aaprubahan natin iyan pagkatapos hindi. Hanggang sa huling-huling araw, sasabihin sa akin, “No, Senator Gordon, I cannot approve that because we vote as a collegiate Body and there are some people who want to vote against it and who do not want to vote because they have questions.”

Well, my answer to that is, ang tagal-tagal na nito mula pa noong October 2005. June 2006 na tayo. I have been waiting for their questions to be asked, I have been waiting for their amendments, I have been waiting to debate with them. But where are they, Mr.
President? If we had done this, then perhaps we would have created more bills in the process. We would have enacted more laws.

Pero, G. Pangulo, siguro it is in the nature of our country since we got occupied, no longer to be risk-takers, not to put our name on a speech. We have become a nation of balimbings. We have become a nation na ang hinihintay natin, “O buo na ba iyong kabilang street?
Sama tayo doon. O buo na ba sa EDSA? Sama tayo doon.”

It is time that the Senate take a position. Each senator must take a position on every proposition. I will always try even if our colleagues say no to me, I will constantly try. I will debate if our colleagues have good faith. I will accept their amendments if they have good faith. I will respect them if they respect the Chamber. If
they respect the purposes of this Chamber, I will be the first one to respect our colleagues.

I kneel down today for this bill, for a bill that would have solved the problem of some senators here on dagdag-bawas when they were victimized. I kneel down today instead of talking about Cha-cha and showing na ang political power lamang ang dinidebate ng mga senador at kongresista na gustong magbago ng parliament.

Today, Mr. President, at the meeting of Cha-cha, we kept our position. The Senate must vote separately. One Congresswoman there stood up and showed the whole nine yards when she said, “No, hindi kami
interesado na baguhin ang economic provisions. Hindi kami interesado na baguhin iyang police system. Ang gusto lamang namin ay iyong parliamentary system maipasok diyan at mawala ang presidential system.” In effect, iyon ang lumalabas na katotohanan.

Ganoon na ba ang mga kinatawan ng ating bayan? Hanggang doon na lamang ba tayo? Hanggang saan tayo maaapektuhan, doon tayo sasakay. At kung hindi tayo maapektuhan niyan, hayaan mo na siya, siya na
lamang ang magdi-discuss. At kung siya ay aabante, patirin mo. We have become a nation that conforms, a nation that says, “Pagbigyan mo na iyan. Talagang ganiyan iyang senador na iyan. Wala kang magagawa.
Hayaan mo na kasi walang mangyayari sa atin kung magdedebate tayo rito.”

Mr. President, this is what the Senate is all about. Nagdedebate tayo because that is our intention, to debate. Pero may hangganan iyan. At some point in time, we have to vote. And I am sorry if we cannot vote today. I really am sorry. I am sorry for our people
because they deserve a lot more than this. I am sorry for our people because they deserve urgency.

I am sorry if some of our distinguished senators cannot come out and put themselves to the test of debates, put themselves and their ideas to the test of their colleagues. And I am sorry because the legislative firmament of this country is weaker when we do that. And I am sorry when we delay because we have become a nation of procrastinators. That is why we have been conquered by people who say, “Don’t worry, I will grant you independence; don’t worry, I will lift martial law; don’t worry, we will do it tomorrow.” That is why
we are a country that hopes maybe this year, maybe next year, maybe never!

Mr. President, mahiya naman tayong lahat dito sa ating bayan. Thank you very much.

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Toro

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:02 am

A good reason why I cannot blame a lot of people who are dismayed and want to abolish the Senate because it has become obstructive.and playing too much partisan politics.

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SOL TUBAY

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:03 am

Senator could not have said any better.
I really pity our people who continue to suffer the excesses of many of the so-called leaders. what is most unfortunate is that majority do not even know that they are actually the victims here. Sabagay, may kasabihan, “ignorance is bliss.” But for people who can do something, no matter haow small, it would be a curse not to do anything at all.
In my literature class, I was taken aback by the reaction of ALL my students that they would not really do anything about young people prostituting themselves for as long as their own children are not into it. They would even take advantage of the opportunity to make money from these young prostitutes rather than try to stop them from going wayward. This is one glaring proof that indeed ours is what Prof. Randy David calls a “damaged society.” WE ARE NOT CONCERNED ANYMORE ABOUT ANYBODY EXCEPT OUR OWN SELVES.

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joselu

June 23rd, 2006 at 3:23 pm

One Voice.Whoes Voice is it really.
One thing sure is that they are really terrified for the day of reckoning.
It seems they attempted to put up a group of people that have some credibility.never mind the church presence.If the church people do not show how capable they are running the church.I find it hard to beleave that they would know more on how to run a country.It’s enough to ask the Bishops & archbishope if there is a growth in those going to Church or are they lost to other small groups.It’s enough to ask them what are they really doing to bring in more vocations.
One Voice talks of change. Talking of change and attaching so many buts & ifs.
They say they want change but want to elect the President directly by the people.
They say they want change but not now when it will benifit those in power.
If that is the case the change they want is to benefit those in power next..
Which leads me to conclude that all they are really doing is a delaying game.
Giving excuses that now is not the time.
But who are they to say when is the right time
When FVR first proposed change.
He was demonized in all sorts of ways.
He even did not have the shadow of any scandal to his name.But he was turned down.
It seems that the One Voice line-up of personalities is some sort of an elitist group.
Terrified of Sigaw.
They say they want social change
Are they saying that social change is not possible under a parlamentary/federal type of goverment?
haven’t they herd about multi-tasking
In as much as I want to take them seriously.I find their argument shallow.
I’m for a parlamentary system.
I do not beleave that by not electing a president directly the form of democracy will be lessend.
It seems that electing a president has turned to some sort of “bisio”, some sort of whim.
It seems that since we are a very “personalistic” culture.We seem to have brought down the right to elect as a very personal matter that we can elect anyone who attracts our fancy.
The purpose of a parlamentary system is to shield the position of the national leader from becoming a “popularity contest”
The purpose of the Parlamentary system is to bring back the politics of Issues & Parties & to go away from the politics of the “song & dance numbers” & personalities.
Our being a very “personalistic” oriented society is also one reason that there is much corruption in this country.Because corruption starts w/ inter personal matters.
One Voice.Actually a Voice of the few.Most likely the same Voices of the past year.
Those sanme Voices that are not capable to separate personalities from issues.

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lutongmakaw

June 23rd, 2006 at 8:19 pm

How about you doing some changes joselu. I suggest that you type your comment using the word processor first and edit all mis-spelled word and correct your tenses before pasting it here.

This forum is read by international bloggers and its a shame that filipino writer like you mangled the English laguage as if there is no another day…

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lutongmakaw

June 23rd, 2006 at 8:22 pm

How about you doing some changes joselu. I suggest that you type your comment using the word processor first and edit all mis-spelled word and correct your tenses before pasting it here.

This forum is read by international bloggers and its a shame that filipino writer like you mangled the English language as if there is no another day…

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Cecile Impens

June 24th, 2006 at 12:11 am

This is for you Joselu:
Does it matter to you if there is a “growth” in those going to church or are they lost to other small groups?

Don’t forget that there is a division between the church and the government, Joselu! Why do you think that the Churches (catholic, aglipayan, protestants, etc.) became the sole solice of the people, mainly the poor, the sick and the oppressed? They turned to God (you call it church) for comfort, hoping against hope that the Almighty High will answer their prayers, that God will provide for their wants, solve their problems and provide them spiritual comfort. If everything else fails, where do you go to, Joselu?
Your above statements are the proofs that you failed to see the true pictures on what made the Philippines the only Christian country in Asia. There is no need to scrutinize the Bishops and the archbishops concerning this matter.
You further stated that: They say they want change but want to elect the President directly by the people.

There is something wrong with this statement: if the people holds no mandate anymore to elect their leader, then, I may say that we may lay down to die, Joselu. Democracy guarantees us freedom to choose, and that’s include the choice of country leaders through elections.

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Toro

June 24th, 2006 at 10:05 am

My friend Joselu, my group stands by what One Voice speaks for. For one thing, correct me if I’m wrong, I didn’t find any leftist wing in their group, and obviously none were invited to join, thank heavens. I hope One Voice will screen groups that will try to affiliate with them. The Black and White Movement also has the same aspirations as One Voice, but people were turned off when it allowed the leftist party-list groups and known pro-communist individuals to join them. This is what prevented my group and I’m quite sure many others too, from supporting the B&W movement. We do not support any efforts with left-leaning interests. Have you noticed who are reacting strongly against the govt’s efforts to run-down the NPAs? Bayan and Anak Pawis for one.

I would like to offer an unsolicited advice to One Voice though. The People’s Initiative is going to win because of the very strong support given to it by the govt. Nobody can beat them even in the battle of the minds when you are outclassed by strong logistics and incentives offered by the govt. So far the Supreme Court has shown neturality and fairness in deciding cases against the govt. One Voice should submit the issue of legality of the PI to the SC. Let the SC decide the issue once and for all and let everyone be guided by that decision.

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Toro

June 24th, 2006 at 10:34 am

Joselu said, “They say they want change but want to elect the President directly by the people.”

It’s quite obvious One Voice advocates are for the retention of the present unicameral system when they prefer that people be the ones to elect the President. One simple reason for this. They do not trust politicians and will not entrust to them, under a parliamentary, the sacred right of the people to elect the leader of their choice. With the kind of people manning Congress and Senate, would you trust them?

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freewheel

June 24th, 2006 at 11:28 am

Hay, salamat! kahit laging delayed reaction ang CBCP buhay pa pala?!

Asus! pumo-porma na naman kaagad si JoeCon, Vic Paterno at Christian Monsod. Talking of hypocrites lurking in dark corners, waiting…

Hala! si MLQ3, handang maging boses ng kabataan, handa na din ba siya para sa ” I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” ? Hindi naman siguro… Dito muna ako kay Manolo, kasamang mangarap…

Bakit hindi inimbitahan ang Randy David, or Crispin Beltran?

One Voice does not speak with one voice obviously, and therefore a misnomer.

Tanong ko sa mga mahilig gumawa ng vitriolic attacks against the so-called Left;

Saan ninyo dinala ang bansa?

Bakit ganito ang kalagayan ng Inang Bayan?

Saan na NAMAN ninyo gusto kaming dalhin?

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scud_1975

June 24th, 2006 at 1:09 pm

Discontinue the present people’s initiative ? Why?

They may have One Voice,but they are not the Only Voice. I don’t even understand why they named their group as such. Ayos na sana dahil gusto nila peaceful and constitutional process, pero bakit ayaw nila sa proseso na pinipili ng ibang Pilipino? If they want others to hear their One Voice, learn to listen first.

“We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another – until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.” – Richard Nixon

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Toro

June 24th, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Saan ba palagay mo, Freewheel, dinala ng makakaliwa ang kanilang bansa kung kaya’t sa huli sila na rin ang lumansag sa kanilang uri ng pamamalakad at tuluyan ng naglaho ang makakaliwa? Pasalamat ka at dahil sa pakikipaglaban ng mga mamayan hindi kailan man magwawagi ang makakaliwa. Kung tayo’y umanib sa kanila masahol pa sa ngayon ang hirap na dinadanas ng bayan. Alam mo naman siguro ang patakaran ng mga komunista sa bagay na karapatang pangtao. Maliban sa North Korea at Cuba, mayroon pa bang natitirang makakaliwa. Maging ang Russia, China at Vietnam tinanggap ang pagkakamali at humanay na rin sa ating uri ng pamamaraan.

“Saan na NAMAN ninyo gusto kaming dalhin?” Freewheel, walang nagdadala sa iyo. Ikaw lamang ang makapagsasabi kung saan mo gustong dalhin ang sarili mo.

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Toro

June 24th, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Scud, tulad mo ako man ay gusto ng charter change ngunit hindi sa pamamaraan ng People’s Initiative na tinutulak ng pamahalaan. Dito tayo marahil nagkaiba ng paniniwala. Una na nga, Supreme Court na ang nagsabi na walang batas na nagbibigay pahintulot na palitan ang Constitution sa pamamagitan ng constitutional assembly through a People’s Initiative. Ang sa akin lang, gusto ko maganap ang charter change sa pamamagitan ng constitutional convention, hindi assembly composed of the incumbent Congress. Wala akong tiwala sa current congress na gumawa ng pagbabago sa constitution sa dahilang mahigpit silang kaanib ng kasalukuyang pamahalaan. Naipakita nuong nakaraang impeachment laban kay Gloria kung gaano sila masunurin sa dikta ng Malakanyang. Papano pa kaya sila makikinig sa mga bagay na dapat baguhin sa constitution na hihilingin sa kanila ng mamamayan?

Ako’y may ilang nais mabago sa constitution na ipinaabot ko sa aking congressman, basically seeking economic liberalization to hasten economic recovery and growth. Sinabi ko rin na hindi ako naniniwala na ang parliamentary is the ultimate solution to all our political and economic problems. Kailangan lang ang strong political will sa pagpapasunod ng batas, malinis at matapat na panunungkulan, at katarungan para sa lahat. Nakailang sulat na ako sa congressman ko; salamat naman at hanggang ngayon, limang buwan na ang nakalipas, hindi na ako sinagot. Papano ko ngayon maaasahan ang aking congressman na suportahan ito sa dahilang siya’y masunuring tuta ng Malakanyang? Di ba mas mahusay kung tayo ay maghalal ng mga deputado na magre-represent sa atin sa isang constitutional convention? At samantalang sila’y kumakandidato bilang deputado may roon tayong influence sa kanila upang sila’y makinig sa ating mungkahi sa mga nais nating mabago sa constitution.

Masyado ng malaki ang influence ng Malakanyang sa kasalukuyang Congress kaya’t huwag ka nang umasa pa sa kanila na masusunod ang gusto mo.
Asahan mo, Scud, ang kagustuhan lang ng Malakanyang at ng mga namumunong kaanib nito ang tiyak na masusunod.

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lutongmakaw

June 25th, 2006 at 9:02 am

I don’t think the current People Initiatives is a genuine PI that these advocators want us to believe. This so called PI is funded and supported by Malacanang whose ultimate objective is to maintain GMA in power under a parliamentary form of government.

Imagine GMA becoming a Prime Minister for good as she is clearly in control of the majority of the members of parliament through yet another fraudulent election and worse; the automatic corversion of the current Congressman as members of the parliament Not until GMA had proven herself to have won the past election fair and square, we should not allow and accept her to be the legitimate president as what she is claiming.

People want change, but changes should be for good to all people and not just to protect GMA to perpetuate herself in power. I fully agree with those who want change throught the Constitutional Convention, its the best option for our current situation as far as changing the constitution is in concern.

The transitional provision in the constitution tthey want to put spelled out the ultimate objective of their agenda.. its as clear as the glare of the sun.

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baycas

June 25th, 2006 at 10:12 am

i posted this fib at mlq3’s blog:

one
voice
launching…
another
among the many.
pray it would be heard not squeaking.

—–

to those who believe in change but wary of the government’s process to effect reforms:

have we not organized ourselves yet speaking with a single voice like a chorus does? have we, in unison, not conveyed our message loud and clear across the government yet?

nonpartisanship is the way to do it and a single voice is what we need to effect real change. one’s voice may just be a squeak but collectively (as we group as one) we can sound thunder and remove the earplugs worn by men and women of malacañang.

…squeak out and be counted, i dare say, and together we’ll have one voice.

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naykika

June 26th, 2006 at 5:34 am

Too many voices now. Why can’t the opposition unite with only “one voice” other than one more voice added to the already too many voices. It’s akin to the way I see how small businesses kill each other by running the same business, in the same location-all at the same time. Like somebody, successful at operating a hot pandesal business, then the next door neighbour will put up his, and the next one hers, and the whole neighbourhood end up with two many “panaderia” and not enough customers. Same with car washes, passenger jeepneys, and now the Internet Cafes. Now Ms Arroyo doesn’t even have to deal with all of them, cause she expects just like the preceding examples it’s going to result in internecine.

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Toro

June 26th, 2006 at 8:00 am

Yes, Naykika, the too many voices you hear, unfortunately, are from a few and do not represent the silent majority. However, if you look closely at the objectives of One Voice you will realize the group is addressing the vast silent majority to speak out on the major issues that confront everyone today. One Voice attempts to be the rallying point of the non-partisan silent majority who refused to join partisan political interests because they do not believe in initiating political and social reforms through radical change by dismantling the govt by military coups, “people power”, and other unconstitutional means as espoused by the Erap, the rightist and leftist groups.

One Voice is a group of concerned citizens coming together to initiate a non-partisan movement not associated with the extremists. It is not the same as the partisan opposition that is dependent on GMA stepping down. It goes beyond that. Whether GMA resigns or not, and obviously she will not, there are more important issues today than Gloria. There are five major problems, the real national problems, that must also be resolved now. (Read the 5-point proposal mentioned in the article and other related concerns.)

Gloria is fighting for her political survival. Every effort to remove her lawfully has failed, but that doesn’t mean the nation should be stymied from moving on and doing other things just because of her refusal to resign. The Gloria problem can be resolved later, but first things first.

One Voice aims to get a public consensus in the face of a growing public distrust in our democratic processes. Many are attracted by Charter Change, but unconcerned that the change will be done by a devious constitutional assembly of current subservient congressmen. Not through a constitutional convention where delegates are elected by the people. The proposed Charter Change looks good on paper. It is offered by this govt as a panacea to the national problems, but it is tempered with self-serving interests of politicians seeking political patronage. Look up your history book, it is reminiscent of how Ferdinand Marcos manipulated the charter change in 1971 which helped him become a dictator.

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INSIDE PCIJ » Impeachment, cha-cha: Winning hearts and minds

July 17th, 2006 at 6:39 pm

[…] THE battle for hearts and minds continues. As One Voice began placing advertisements on television, supporters of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today took out their own in at least two leading dailies, making an apparent pitch against the second round of attempts to impeach the president. […]

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