Solita no more

Winnie Monsod’s column in the Inquirer tomorrow will discomfit the Palace and confound the UP economist’s post-Garci crop of critics. (Well, at least some of them.)  It should also lay doubts about her alleged lack of public spirit to final rest. But of course it won’t; some will continue to attack her for sticking to the center when the center, self-evidently, won’t hold.

I cannot link to her column just yet (it’s seeing print in the first edition right about now, but the first copies won’t be available for a few more hours — at about the same time will publish it online). But suffice it to say for now that she goes Freudian, then Buddhist, on the administration’s latest, ah, initiative.

Where does the political center lie, I’m asked infrequently. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I answer: The center is where Winnie Monsod is.

PS. Update, at 10:07 am, April 1: Here’s the link to Solita Monsod’s Saturday column.


Filed under Readings in Media, Readings in Politics

22 responses to “Solita no more

  1. John,

    I’m not sure i agree with you that the center is where Solita is. She is incensed only because the unreformed COMELEC is going to do the cooking.

    The people’s initiative will be another opportunity for the COMELEC to handle and we very well know that electoral reform has always been the quixotic advocacy of Christian and Winnie Monsod.

    Quixotic not because of Abalos but because of the woman who placed him there. And yet, the Monsods seemed unmindful and unable to make the leap of logic. They have refused to blame the lady for the commission of various sins and glossed over her misdeeds because despite her cheating, the Monsods relied more on the surveys. Pragmatism over morality.

    Her anger is really more personal rather than reflective of the sentiments of the center, if there is one at all. She has arrived late in the day and perorates about the immorality of the whole enterprise. Where was she when Joc Joc, Raul and Norberto Gonzales were making the government bureaucracy look like a bunch of fools and a den of thieves. Where was her outrage?

    Still, it is a welcome surprise that Winnie’s anger is real. For someone to cry karma, this train must have hit a raw nerve in Winnie. And as they say in Filipino: “huli man daw…”

    So, welcome, Professor. If at all, this Cha Cha train was your comeuppance for stubbornly defending her and for refusing to believe that truth does not come in shades of grey.

    Thank you Winnie and I hope you say goodbye to all your rationalizations!

  2. The Bystander

    They profess their care for society, or so they say, but are too suspicious of the other side that they would rather cast their lot on the status quo. They always question the motives of dissidents and oppositionists that they forget the fact that the status quo could be more guilty of the same motives for which they are precisely indifferent about. There are quite a lot of so-called “opinion makers” who fall into this category. You can easily spot them in the opinion pages of newspapers or in your favorite public affairs shows. Unfortunately, it is in this atmosphere of cynicism and self-righteousness where tyranny is wittingly or unwittingly tolerated.

    Winnie Monsod? I’m still not convinced.

  3. DJB

    John — The Center should be where MORAL CONSISTENCY lies. But Winnie Monsod belongs with PDI itself in the steadfast belief that Erap really was deposed by “a popular uprising.” It’s really a way of avoiding the charge that Edsa-II was “The End Justifying the Means.” In fact, Winnie Monsod’s rhetoric has been almost indistinguishable from that of Javellana vs. The Executive Secretary. Her rhetoric is the doctrine of acquiescence, although laced with an abhorrence of Erap and the alternative.

    But if we continue to accept the validity of Edsa Dos, we are caught in a morally inconsistent position, because we must also legitimize the Military Mutiny of Angelo Reyes, and vouchsafe Hilario Davide’s Judicial Coup d’etat, as proper and acceptable means of REGIME CHANGE.

    This is utterly wrong and I challenge the “Center” to tell us Rightists and Leftists why you have not repudiated Edsa 2.

    Winnie Monsod is on the choo choo train, but wants to get off because she sees where it is actually going…with her acquiescence or not.

  4. DJB

    Not to put too fine a point on it but…

    We should hope that in the future the men and women of our Military will be loyal, honorable soldiers who would abhor Mutiny and Coup d’etat as means to any political end, no matter how good or well-intentioned.

    But we cannot expect such a high level of dedication to Moral and Constitutional principles from them, if the Law itself does not establish an example with Angelo Reyes.

    I claim that until the Mutiny of Angelo Reyes on 19 January 2001 is repudiated (preferably in bold headlines at PDI), we cannot professionalize the military, insulate it from politics, or expect our future soldiers not to follow the example we hold up as the very basis of the present dispensation.

    It would be as if Col. Benedict Arnold of the US Revolutionary Army had been appointed Secretary of Defense, Interior and the Environment between 1776 and 1786 and his acts of treason called “constructive patriotism” or something equally oxymoronic as the neologism in Estrada vs. Arroyo.

    Mutiny was enshrined in our military and political history by the Davide Court’s Edsa Dos Decisions.

    Coup d’etat by the Chief Justice is the other thing that has created a mind-bending contradiction in the Philippine Justice system, for the Erap case of plunder involves the Supreme Court itself as an activist player in the events under bar. It is a conceptually IMPOSSIBLE situation in which a Supreme Court Chief Justice became the principal protagonist in the events that they subsequently adjudicated. I won’t even go into this in a comment box. My brain hurts every time!

  5. ricric

    djb is right, moral consistency is important. monsod sorely lacks that.

    dawin is right, monsod is not reflective of the center. she is part of the corrupt elite who is supporting gma but are now beginning to have their own doubts. they now fear that gma is going out of control and that they themselves will be bitten soon.

    or is it kulang lang……..?

  6. Dirk Pitt

    Could it be that winnie is aspiring to be appointed to the cabinet? and now, she is starting to realize that this will not be; and so the drift?

  7. “But of course it won’t; some will continue to attack her for sticking to the center when the center, self-evidently, won’t hold.”

    I don’t think she’s a moderate at all, John, if that’s what you mean by “center”. But she does make an effort to straddle the fence and blur her pro-Arroyo leanings.

    Notice that she and most people who wants arroyo to stay claim “they’re not really pro-arroyo.” Winnie Monsod, Sassy Laywer, and Bong Austero fall into that category.

    because no smart arroyo supporter will openly claim their support for GMA, unless they don’t want to be taken seriously anymore.

  8. Sure, every now and then Winnie makes her criticisms vs. Arroyo. But that doesn’t mean she’s not pro-Arroyo.

    I’ve done my share of criticizing the political opposition too, but I don’t go around pretending I’m anti-opposition.

  9. manuelbuencamino

    I guess the first to suffer the karmic consequence of standing by Gloria was Solita herself.

  10. cvj

    John, i think you’re right in identifying Winnie Monsod as reflecting the views of the ‘Center’ [of the Middle class/Middle forces]. As i have no insights on any of her underlying personal motivations, from what i can tell, her writings are intellectually consistent with someone who has primarily been worried about the consequences of military coups. Now that she sees that threat receding or at least a greater threat to democracy emerging, she is now free to train her sights on Cha-Cha.

    If Monsod does not accurately reflect the center, it would only be because the real center lies between her and Bong Austero who seems to still be willing to give the people’s initiative the benefit of the doubt. We have to face the reality that BnW, mlq3 and the lot are still the minority among the middle.

  11. pinoy-ako

    the more you hit people like winnie, sassy and bong, the more you alienate yourselves, the more you widen the gap, the harder it becomes to reach that common goal, a better philippines for all of us. you say oust gloria now and things will be better. they say ousting gloria now won’t make thing any better. now that winnie has said something that is in parallel to your views, you still doubt her, her motive is of suspect. in the end, you simply don’t know how to trust. just because they think otherwise, then they cannot be trusted. and you ask why we are in such a mess? we don’t have to look far.

  12. Re: Solita Monsod. Was it an honest opinion or an opinion of someone begging for attention? We’ll never really know. But if it’s an honest one, she should revisit her past opinions because they sharply contrast with this one. For instance what would get her goat now that the government is pushing for chacha using government resources that did not get hers when GMA was buying off support against her impeachment with funding coming from the same variety of source?

  13. cvj

    i think it’s still fair game to hit ‘winnie’, ‘sassy’ and ‘bong’ or anyone else for that matter whenever we think they are wrong and we are right. when it comes to right or wrong, unity is a secondary consideration. of course, they are always entitled to hit back.

  14. noelet

    Mare said, “The similarity with the Marcos regime is palpable”.

    Pero when they were discussing in DEBATE the threats to media, she counter Sen. Saguisag’s analogy that the tactics of this administration is more oppressive like the no warrant raid.

    Mare opined on the contrary that its not. Now she’s using the same analogy.

    This is really a burst of anger from mare. To think of her calm stance in that DEBATE, nananakot ang Malacanan pero hindi naman natatakot ang media… so walang problema at walang issue.

  15. pinoy-ako

    so this is a hitting game. it’s all about i am right and you are wrong thing. there is no middle ground. prove me wrong, if you can’t then i am right. simply reinforces my earlier contention. we don’t have to look far why we’re in such a mess.

  16. cvj

    while it is good to seek common ground, sometimes you just cannot define ‘right’ as the middle ground between opposing views. more often than not, it’s not the discussions themselves but the lack of discussion that causes the mess.

  17. pinoy-ako

    what? the lack of discussion that causes the mess???? aren’t we doing that for the last several decades? isn’t that the national passtime? aren’t we just like those politicians in the halls of congress? ask your barbero and he will always have something to say. and you say there is a lack of it?

  18. cvj

    and so you think it is all this chatter that is holding us back? i would attribute a lot of our problems instead on all the corrupt deals that go on behind the scenes as well as on the abuse of power, both inside and outside government. more transparency (which includes discussion) is needed to expose and eliminate these ills.

  19. pinoy-ako

    all this chatter does magnify the chaos in an already chaotic situation. our problems can be attributed to so many things but i don’t think “the lack of discussion” as you earlier mentioned is one of them.

    expose the corrupt and abuse of power. demand transparency. i have no problem with that. my problem is when solita didn’ ride the cha cha train, you still put her sincerity and credibility in doubt. yes ,that is your opinion and i am just expressing mine. but my bigger issue is solita is not an adversary. she, connie and bong may see things differently but at the end of the day, they means well, in my opinion. that’s what matters most. and this is not about i am right and you are wrong discussion because nobody, nobody will give in.

    unity is of primary consideration. right or wrong is most of the time a matter of personal pride.

  20. cvj

    Rather than magnifying the chaos, ‘chatter’ is essential for achieving an understanding of the issues. Measures such as EO464, PP1017 or CPR are more problematic than all the noise that would be cancelled out in the process.

    Just to clarify, i’m not one of those who question winnie, sassy and bong’s sincerity. I agree that discussions tend to come to a premature end when the attacks become personal which is a pity. I do think though that they have their blind spots which are fair game to ‘hit’. In the realm of ideas, they are adversaries. We cannot all be right. Right or wrong does not depend on ego or numbers, but on facts measured against the prior standards society sets for itself.

  21. DJB

    I agree with CVJ about personal attacks and questioning the sincerity of people. Winnie, Connie, and Bong, ARE sincere people, imo. No one should abuse the privilege of commentary on other people’s opinions. Especially when the issues are clearly complex and multi-faceted.

    But my criticism of them is that their positions are MORALLY INCONSISTENT — you cannot apply them to situations “where the shoe is on the other foot.” They hated Erap so much, they didn’t see Davide and GMA and Angie Reyes committing even bigger crimes. they still don’t. They are elitists, but not MORAL elitists.

    That is why most of their arguments can be sunk by that variety of reductio ad absurdum typified by “What’s sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.”

  22. cvj

    DJB, you do pose a valid moral challenge not only to winnie, sassy and bong who apparently support arroyo, but also to mlq3, de quiros and others who believed in the morality of EDSA2. as for me, i still believe in the people’s action at that time, but am having second thoughts on the resolution for obvious reasons.

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