Friday, January 02, 2009

Obama's Inauguration and crowdsourcing resolutions for 2009

The estimated number of people who will pack it in at sites for President Barrack Obama's inauguration all over the US are expected to reach between 2 and 4 million.

However, ABS-CBN News says , some Filipinos living in the US will opt to watch the whole thing on television because of the crowds and traffic.

I'll probably catch this historic event on CNN or BBC with the rest of the world.

As the United States celebrates another historic moment, my thoughts return to a time when the Philippines celebrated something similar but not all together the same.

In June 1998, being employed with Radio Television Malacanang, I stood at the Quirino Grandstand (where recently elected Philippine Presidents are inaugurated) and watched Joseph Ejercito Estrada deliver his inaugural speech. He had been hailed as the President who had been voted by the most number of Filipinos and was a self-avowed champion of the Filipino masses.

Scarcely three years after his election, he was ousted and his Presidency virtually amounted to nothing but a string of scandals -- from his midnight cabinet and womanizing to his involvement in the illegal numbers games.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took her oath on the corner of EDSA and Ortigas. Many still wonder if her assumption into power was Constitutional.

It would have been another great moment for Filipinos.

But the events that followed gave a lot of people the feeling that they had made the wrong turn on what they thought was a road to salvation. Corruption scandals hit the Macapagal Arroyo Presidency as well.

What makes the Philippines laughable as a democracy is that its people never seem to learn their lessons.

The 2004 Philippine Elections saw President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo being sworn in as President -- for the second time.

That she won by a million votes is now questionable, especially after the 'Hello Garci' expose in 2005.

Someone who sounded exactly like President Macapagal Arroyo was caught on tape talking with a Commission on Election Official named Garcillano and asking if she was going to get a million votes more than her nearest contender, Fernando Poe. Jr.

As if this wasn't enough, we had the NBN ZTE scandal which involved Commission on Election Chairman Benjamin Abalos (the one who presided over the May 2004 Elections) and the pay off would have amounted to billions of pesos had this scuttled government transaction with the Chinese government gone through.

This is not to mention the P732 Million Fertilizer Fund scam that allegedly greased the wheels of the Macapagal Arroyo Presidential campaign.

If people are willing to plunk down US $ 50,000 for Obama's inauguration fund, it may be that generations of Filipinos (who are among the poorest people in the world) had actually been sold to long decades of penury for the Macapagal Arroyo Presidential inauguration.

In 2010, I hope that we will elect a better President. I have made my choice earlier than most Filipinos would and in my own way, have begun a personal campaign to have him elected.

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